Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Approaching The Throne Of God With Confidence

I hope you all enjoyed General Conference a few weekends ago! I always love being uplifted and taught by prophets of God! Today, I want to share one of my very favorite talks from this past General Conference.

Elder Jörg Klebingat of the Seventy gave a talk titled Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence. He started his address with these two questions; on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God? and what thoughts would come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now? Immediately this caught my attention! What would I do if I was to meet my Savior today? Would I be confident in answering His questions or would I think back on all the things I may have done wrong in this life?

Sure, there are probably some people in the world that can honestly say they would be perfectly confident in meeting God today, but I think a majority of the world would be at least a little nervous about it! I know I would be! And I know that's a sign that I need to improve my spiritual confidence!

While Satan will do all he can to destroy our spiritual confidence, it is 100% our choice to act and change to build that confidence! Elder Klebingat gave six suggestions on how we can improve our spiritual confidence. Remember, these suggestions will only work if you take the initiative and act for yourself.

First, take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.
Take control! It's your spirit! Don't let the mistakes or decisions of others control how spiritually confident you are or are not. 2 Nephi 2:27 says "men are free according to the flesh... they are free to choose liberty and eternal life...or to choose captivity and death..." Only YOU can make this choice for yourself! Don't blame others or rely on others.
"Spiritual confidence increases when you take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ daily."

Second, take responsibility for your own physical well-being.
I'm telling you guys, this is a big deal! I know that when I've been in peak physical condition I've also been in peak spiritual condition. When I slack and don't take care of my body I can feel my spiritual "fitness" weakening as well. Taking control of the "natural man (or woman)" inside of us and controlling our appetites shows that our spirits are stronger than our bodies.
"Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit, with the help of the Savior, is truly in charge of your natural man or woman."

Third, embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life.
John 14:15 states: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." It's as simple as that. We cannot expect to receive all the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for us if we are not abiding by all His rules. On a mission, the concept of exact obedience is pounded pretty hard into your head. And for good reason! I have felt the blessings that come when I consciously make the effort to be as exactly obedient as I can be.
"Spiritual confidence increases when you are truly striving, for the right reasons, to live a consecrated life in spite of your imperfections." 

Fourth, become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly.
I've found in my own life that if I like doing something I'm a lot more likely to do it over and over again. I've come to LOVE repenting! That's why I enjoy doing it every single day! Not a day goes by where I don't make at least one little mistake (a shocker, I know) so I try to never let a day go by without seeking forgiveness from my Heavenly Father. As I try to keep myself as "unspotted from the world" (D&C 59:9as possible I can feel my relationships with Christ and God growing stronger and closer.
"Spiritual confidence increases when you voluntarily and joyfully repent of sins, both small and great, in real time by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Fifth, become really, really good at forgiving.
"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." (D&C 64:10) The commandment applies to all of us. When we forgive everyone it is so much easier to feel the forgiveness we need from our Heavenly Father.
"Spiritual confidence increases when you know that the Lord knows that you bear no ill feelings toward another soul."

Lastly, accept trials, setbacks, and "surprises" as part of your mortal experience.
I'm going to let you all in on a little secret: this world is very, very far from perfect. Sometimes things don't go completely as planned. And that is totally and completely okay. We are on this earth to be tested and tried. If our purpose is to go through trials and find joy through overcoming them, then why not rejoice when a trial comes our way? Sure, it's going to be hard, but it's an opportunity to prove that you can do hard things and remain faithful! Don't be freaked out by the fact that you have a few weaknesses. If we didn't have weaknesses this life would hardly matter. Use those weaknesses to improve and progress.
"Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that 'often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into your life because of what you are doing right'"

Everyone reading this, whether you are a bishop, a new convert to the church, an average Relief Society member, or someone who doesn't know much about religion at all, everyone can increase their spiritual confidence. I know that through all of these suggestions Elder Klebingat gave us we can become confident in the sight of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I invite everyone to evaluate your confidence before God and act accordingly.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

We Are His Greatest Creation

Today I want to talk about something really important to me! Our bodies! I know, it may not seem like a very spiritual thing at first, but I promise it is!

The whole reason we came to this Earth was to receive a body. We needed to become more like our Heavenly Father so we can someday experience the same blessings that He does. As His spirit children we lived with Him but we couldn't live exactly like Him.

In a general conference talk, President Boyd K. Packer said "Our physical body is the instrument of our spirit."

A temple is a place for Heavenly Father's spirit to reside on Earth. Our bodies are instruments for us to house our own spirits. We are literally temples! Depending on who is reading this, you may or may not know how much time/effort/talent is put into making temples perfect (not to mention the cost)! It's A LOT! It takes years from the time a temple is announced to be built in an area to the time it's actually usable!

Temples take maintenance and care, so do our bodies! Temples are an expression of God's love, so are our bodies! Seeing a pattern?

The following Mormon Message is one of my favorites because it helps me put into perspective how grateful I should be for a healthy working body. Enjoy!

When I think about how I was created in God's image (See Genesis 1:27) I can appreciate my body and all of it's strengths and flaws so much more.

Think about it for a second! You are a replica of the Creator of the universe. Maybe your body has a few flaws. Maybe it has a lot of flaws. Maybe it just flat out doesn't work quite right. But no matter how poor or perfect are bodies are, they are a divine and essential gift from the one who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Sometimes I have to just stop and marvel at the awesome things are bodies can do!

Now believe me, I know exactly what it's like to be told "you are a child of God, be grateful for your body" and still thinking "well He could have given me a better one." These beautiful bodies we have been given are so important, and Satan knows that. He attacks them in every single way possible. Think about the epidemic of eating disorders and self hatred that sweeps the world. Satan is doing everything in his power to stop God's children from appreciating and taking care of what we came to Earth to receive.
In the General Women's Meeting, Dieter F Uchtdorf gave this address:

"Yes, God loves you this very day and always. He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer.
Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? ... Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?
He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become."

Sue never let her physical limitations hold her back from following Christ!
I testify that this is true. Your Heavenly Father loves you, He blessed you with the body you have, He expects you to take care of it to the best of your ability, and most of all He gave you your body and all of the trials you experience in this life so you can someday live with Him again.

Friday, October 3, 2014

General Conference

Tomorrow (October 4th, 2014) marks the beginning of the 184th Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!

Let me tell you why this is just so exciting!

General Conference only happens twice a year. Twice a year we get to hear directly from the prophet of the Lord. If getting to hear from the prophet doesn't sound exciting then I don't know what does!

This is the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and his two counselors, Henry B. Eyering and Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

The men (and women!) we get to hear from this weekend are truly called of God. They are called to lead this church and teach us the gospel. Through the prophet and apostles we can learn God's will for us. They receive direct revelation from Heavenly Father about what this world needs.

General Conference is one of the only times we get messages from so many general authorities and auxiliary leaders in the church! So, come, join with us! Partake of the abundant feast of the good word of God, straight from the mouth of His prophet!

Anyone in the world can watch General Conference at lds.org or byutv.org. In Mesa, AZ it can be watched on Cox 114 or Direct TV 374. Anyone who has BYU TV can also watch it on TV.

In Mesa the morning sessions start at 9am and the afternoon sessions start at 1 pm both Saturday and Sunday. For the men the priesthood session starts at 5pm on Saturday evening.
In Idaho and Utah all the sessions are one hour ahead!

I know, without a doubt, that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. He is called of God and holds His authority. I can promise that as you listen to his words and the words of all the other leaders, God will answer your questions and teach you His will for you.