Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ponderize 1 John 4:7-11 (June 19-25, 2016)

For the next 9 weeks I am going to take a slightly different approach to my ponderizing post.
I will still be including my thoughts about a scripture, but it will be related to what I call my personal leadership pattern.  This pattern is broken into 9 chapters.  Today is chapter 1.  

Chapter 1. - Core Principle - Leadership is Love in Action

We have all heard many definitions of what leadership is.  If you asked 100 people to finish this statement “Leadership is . . .” you would likely get 100 different answers.  The problem is that each leader is defining leadership based on what has made them a better leader.  While there are many people who have been successful leaders that are worth emulating, I don’t think that a particular CEO, military leader, religious leader or politician is able to perfectly model the kind of leadership that that is life changing, or better yet, soul changing.  Only by modeling the leadership style of the one perfect being can we begin to approach real leadership.  I have heard the term “Lead like the Savior, but that statement never really resonated with me until I read a passage in  Neal A. Maxwell’s book “A More Excellent Way”.  He said:
"Leadership is love in action. Most human situations in which we are called upon to exercise leadership are in fact those in which there will be little recognition and small applause. Our encounters are apt to be frustratingly drawn-out rather than rapidly performed."  Neal A. Maxwell, A More Excellent Way – Essays on Leadership for Latter-day Saints
This definition, "Leadership is Love in Action", really spoke to me.  This is a powerful principle.  Leading with love is at the core of being able to lead like the Savior.  You can only truly lead like the Savior when you strive to love those you lead like He loves us.  With that type of love in your heart you are more concerned about the flock than you are about yourself.   This principle was demonstrated by the prophet Mormon.  Notice how it says in Mormon 3:12 that he had loved his people according to the love of God that he had within him.
12 Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.  Mormon 3:12
Consider this quote by Elder Maxwell.
     The prophet Mormon unselfishly consented to lead a people who were in steep decline. He prayed for them, but confided that his prayers were without faith because of the people’s wickedness (see Morm. 3:12) Other times a visionary leader, like Joseph in Egypt, lifts people out of the endangered routine they’re in by preparing them for the specific challenges of the future (see Gen. 41:46–57 A few, like Lincoln, though in a political role, provide spiritual leadership as well. Lincoln, by the way, warned of how individuals of ambition and talents would continue to arise and that such an individual “thirsts and burns for distinction, and if possible … will have it,whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen” (cited in John Wesley Hill, Abraham Lincoln—Man of God [1927], 74; emphasis in original).
      No wonder we have been told, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and this includes self-worship! Ex. 20:3 emphasis added). One way or another, the grossly selfish will finally be shattered, whimpering, against the jagged, concrete consequences of their selfishness.  (Neal A. Maxwell "Repent of our Selfishness" April 1999 General Conference)
     Of unselfish George Washington it has been written: “In all history few men who possessed unassailable power have used that power so gently and self-effacingly for what their best instincts told them was the welfare of their neighbors and all mankind” (James Thomas Flexner, Washington: The Indispensable Man [1984], xvi).
     Power is most safe with those, like Washington, who are not in love with it! A narcissist society, in which each person is busy looking out for number one, can build neither brotherhood nor community. Aren’t we glad in this Easter season and in all seasons that Jesus did not selfishly look out for number one?
This idea that leadership is love in action is obvious in the scriptures, but it is often overlooked because we don’t see the words “Leadership is” at the beginning of the scripture.  But if you re-read 1 John 4:7-11 with the question in your mind, “What is Leadership?” then you can easily see what he is trying to communicate to us.
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might alive through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  
He is telling us to love one another, but not simply to simply love them, but to follow his example and act in love.  When we have love, then we have a desire to serve.  Elder Russell M Nelson said:
Hence, our highest priorities in life are to love God and to love our neighbors. That broadly includes neighbors in our own family, our community, our nation, and our world. Obedience to the second commandment facilitates obedience to the first commandment. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (3 Mosiah 2:17)  (Russell M. Nelson, "Teach us Tolerance and Love", april 1994 General Conference.)
A review of the greatest passage of scripture on leadership reminds us that "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood . . . only by love unfeigned".  (D&C 121:41)  N. Eldon Tanner helps us understand what that means.
"To be an effective leader or teacher one must show love and actually feel love for the person he is trying to instruct. No power is as motivating as the power of love. Christ loved everyone—the weak, the sinner, the righteous. Sometimes the ones who need to be loved most are the ones who seem to deserve it the least. Though we may not appreciate or approve of what someone does, we must still show love for the individual". (N. Eldon Tanner, Leading as the Savior lead,)
To truly lead as the Savior lead, we must try to emulate the one characteristic that drives all of his other actions.  He is love.  His leadership is based on love.  He cares for his flock because he loves them.  He loves each of us in was that are incomprehensible to our finite view of eternity.  As we learn to act in love we will become someone who leads more and more live the Savior.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ponderize Alma 31:19-25 (12-18 June 2016)

The Rameumptom and Fast and Testimony Meeting

I heard a comment the other day that sometimes fast and testimony meeting looks like the rameumptom experience described in Alma Chapter 31.  Has your fast and testimony meeting become a rameumptom type experience?

     19 Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure.
      20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
      21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.
      22 Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about.
      23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner.
     24 Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods.
     25 Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride.

Note some of the characteristics of this type of worship.  
- Everyone gets up and says the same thing. 
- Their “testimony” was based on pride, not gratitude
- They only thought of spiritual things on the day of worship and never spoke of God outside of that worship day.   
- Their hearts were set upon the things of the world
- They were boastful and prideful.  

How do we keep our testimony meeting from becoming like this?  
What is the purpose of fast and testimony meeting?
Let’s reference  Handbook 2. 18.2.3

     After the sacrament, the bishopric member who is conducting the meeting bears a brief testimony. He then invites members to bear heartfelt testimonies  and to relate faith-promoting experiences. The bishopric encourages members to keep their testimonies brief so more people may have the opportunity to participate.
     It may be best to have young children learn to share their testimonies in settings such as family home evening or when giving talks in Primary until they are old enough to do so in a fast and testimony meeting without assistance from a parent, sibling, or other person.

Some key points:
- Testimony comes from the heart
- They are based on faith.
- They are simple and short
- The point about having young children learn to bear testimony before doing it is fast and testimony meeting may be to help prevent the “look at my kid” syndrome that could distract from the spirit.  

What can we do?  Here is a quote by Elder Uchtdorf:

     "Instead of worshipping God and loving our neighbor, we reveal the real object of our worship and love—the image we see in the mirror.
     "Pride is the great sin of self-elevation. It is for so many a personal Rameumptom, a holy stand that justifies envy, greed, and vanity. [See  Alma 31:21) In a sense, pride is the original sin, for before the foundations of this earth, pride felled Lucifer, a son of the morning “who was in authority in the presence of God.” Doctrine and Covenants 76:25 
     "If pride can corrupt one as capable and promising as this, should we not examine our own souls as well? (Deiter F. Uchtdorf, Pride and the Priesthood, October 2010 General Conference)

   So, here is the bigger question.  Is there room at the pulpit during fast and testimony meeting for those who’s heartfelt testimony is not as strong the “standard” testimony that we have labeled acceptable.  Can someone stand and say “I believe”, “I hope”, “I wish”, or “I think" rather than “I know”? What if a member is struggling with doubts?  Are we able to listen with love as they pour out their heart as they struggle through what will someday become a faith-promoting experience?  Perhaps there is room at the pulpit for those who’s testimony is based on faith, comes from the heart, and is simple and short.  

Cross References:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ponderize Alma 12:9-11 (5 - 11 June 2016)

  9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.  
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.  
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.  Alma 12:9-11

Here are a few of my thoughts about this passage of scripture. 

  • I understand this scripture to mean that we are to be very careful who we share our spiritual experiences and personal revelation with.  We would be particularly leery of sharing with those that are not spiritually mature.  Generally it does not help them, it only causes them to harden their hearts. 
  • I find it interesting that lack of the knowledge of things of God is what allows us to be taken captive by the devil.  Ignorance appears to equate with the chains of hell. 
  • Remember that the mysteries of God are the knowledge of God.  It is an accurate knowledge of who he is.  (D&C 84:19-22) This is critical to understand when seeking revelation.  We are seeking to know God, who he is, how we can become like him.  When we receive this knowledge, we must be willing to act upon it and not harden our hearts.  I am thinking particularly of the circumstances relating to the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants.  



Quote:
     Occasionally during the past year I have been asked a question. Usually it comes as a curious, almost an idle, question about the qualifications to stand as a witness for Christ. The question they ask is, “Have you seen Him?”     That is a question that I have never asked of another. I have not asked that question of my brethren in the Quorum, thinking that it would be so sacred and so personal that one would have to have some special inspiration, indeed, some authorization, even to ask it.     There are some things just too sacred to discuss. We know that as it relates to the temples. In our temples, sacred ordinances are performed; sacred experiences are enjoyed. And yet we do not, because of the nature of them, discuss them outside those sacred walls.    It is not that they are secret, but they are sacred; not to be discussed, but to be harbored and to be protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence. (Boyd K. Packer, “The Spirit Beareth Record”, April 1971 LDS General Conference)

Cross References:
D&C 84:19
D&C 46:9
D&C 8:11
Luke 2:19
1 Nephi 15:3-11
2 Nephi 1:23

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ponderize 3 Nephi 18:12-13 (May 29 - June 4, 2016)

This week’s ponderize scripture came to me as I was listening to Elder Renlund's last conference talk.
I call it the principle of more or less.  Or, looking beyond the mark.

In his talk he quoted 3 Nephi 18:12-13
12 And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock.
 13 But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them.
As I read this scripture I thought of the many times I have seen people look beyond the mark. (Reference Jacob 4:14) Or they do more or less than intended.  This includes gospel hobbies that set aside the plain and simple truths of the gospel for some missing mystery.  The gospel is intended to be so simple a child could understand it, but with such eternal meaning that a lifetime of study will only bring a modest understanding.  Our goal is not to root out some deep doctrine that was somehow missed by the brethren, but to come unto Christ and be perfected in him.

Jacob 4:14
 14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.
Quote: 
     Certain members have wanted to add substantially to various doctrines. An example might be when one advocates additions to the Word of Wisdom that are not authorized by the Brethren and proselytes others to adopt these interpretations. If we turn a health law or any other principle into a form of religious fanaticism, we are looking beyond the mark.
     Some who are not authorized want to speak for the Brethren and imply that their message contains the “meat” the Brethren would teach if they were not constrained to teach only the “milk.” Others want to counsel the Brethren and are critical of all teachings that do not comply with their version of what should be taught.
     The Lord said regarding important doctrine, “Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me” (D&C 10:68) and “That which is more or less than this cometh of evil” (D&C 124:120). We are looking beyond the mark when we elevate any one principle, no matter how worthwhile it may be, to a prominence that lessens our commitment to other equally important principles or when we take a position that is contrary to the teachings of the Brethren.  (Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Looking Beyond the Mark",  March 2003 General Conference)

Cross References
Jacob 4:14
D&C 3:2
Joshua 1:7
D&C 10:4
Mosiah 4:27
Alma 41:1
John 7:45-53
Jacob 5:48
Mosiah 9:3
3 Nephi 11:40
Hebrews 12:1
Exodus 18:18
1 Timothy 1:3-4

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ponderize (22-28 May 2016)

The slow stain of the world

  20 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?
  21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
  22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?  Alma 5:20-22

Quotes:

In the October 1995 women's conference President Hinckley said:
"With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history". (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong against the Wiles of the the World", October 1995 General Conference)

Here is a second quote by Elder Uchtdorf:
     We are created by the Almighty God. He is our Heavenly Father. We are literally His spirit children. We are made of supernal material most precious and highly refined, and thus we carry within ourselves the substance of divinity.
     Here on earth, however, our thoughts and actions become encumbered with that which is corrupt, unholy, and impure. The dust and filth of the world stain our souls, making it difficult to recognize and remember our birthright and purpose. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2016 general conference)

This quote by Elder Russel M. Nelson points out some of the worldly things that have insidiously and slowly stained many people.
     In the century that has elapsed since the last meeting of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, there have been notable advances in virtually every field of human endeavor. Think of the progress made in transportation, communication, commerce, agriculture, medicine, science, and electronics.
     But spiritual progress has lagged behind. We see evidences of increasing ethnic strife and hatred. Nationalism seems to be taking priority over brotherly love. Violence and civil wars are raging. Divorce and diminishing regard for the sanctity of human life have eroded the strength of the family—the basic unit of society. Immorality, infidelity, and promiscuity—once shunned—are now tolerated and even condoned. We have witnessed the insidious intrusion of pornography, with its attendant denigration of the human soul. And gambling, which preys upon the poor and the compulsive, has crept from the realm of the illegal into the arena of governmental sponsorship.  (Russell M. Nelson, "Combating Spiritual Drift-Our Global Pandemic", Address given at the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago, Illinois, 2 September 1993)

Questions for additional thought:

  • How does sin stain our garments?
  • In what ways to we allow the world to slowing stain us?  
  • What does it mean to be cleansed from all stain?
  • How does Christs blood cleanse our stain and make our garments white?  


Cross References.
Isaiah 63:2-3
D&C 133:48, 59
1 Nephi 12:10
Alma 13:11-13
3 Nephi 27:19-20

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ponderize D&C 89:18-21 (15-21 May 16)

 18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
 19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
 20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
 21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.  
D&C 89:18-21

When I read the promise of the Word of Wisdom I tend to take the pragmatic view:  Can you run and not be weary?  If not, then perhaps you need to check your obedience to the Word of Wisdom.   However it goes deeper than that.  
In years past the Mormons where held up as having better health than the average American.  This is no longer the case.  We are not singled out as having better health as a people than any other group.  Why is that?  Perhaps it is that most of the people in the United States have come to the realization that smoking is bad for you and it causes cancer and heart disease.  Many people in the US have stopped smoking.  This has narrowed the gap.   Unfortunately the standard American diet has also become the standard for the LDS community.   This poor diet is known to be the primary cause of the increase in obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.   The majority of LDS members in the developed world have chosen to disregard verses 10-17 of this “principle with promise”.   Simply applying the principles in these verses would reduce the instance of these preventable diseases.    Who is the destroying angel in our day?  Just as there were plagues in Egypt called down by Moses, so too there are plagues in our day.  These plagues are causing unnecessary disease and death.  We think the benefits of the word of wisdom are limited to preventing lung cancer from not smoking.  However, it is more than that.  If we seek to obey all of the Word of Wisdom we will be spared from a whole list of chronic (yet preventable) illnesses. 

Quote:  
The Word of Wisdom was “given for a principle with promise” (D&C 89:3). That word principle in the revelation is a very important one. A principle is an enduring truth, a law,a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions. Generally principles are not spelled out in detail. That leaves you free to find your way with an enduring truth, a principle, as your anchor.  (Boyd K. Packer, “The Word of Wisdom, The Principle and the Promises”, April 1996)

Cross References:
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
2 Timothy 3:1-7
D&C 93:35
Alma 7:23
D&C 104:17
Genesis 9:3-4
Abraham 4:29
1 Timothy 4:3
Daniel 1:8, 15-21
D&C 59:16-20
D&C 49:18
Romans 14:23
D&C 42:43
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Leviticus 11:43-44

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ponderize Mosiah 2:20-22 (8-14 May 2016)


     20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
     21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

     22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.  Mosiah 2:20-22

My Thoughts
The first question that comes to my mind is what does it mean to be an unprofitable servant?  The thing we have a hard time remembering is that our Heavenly Father has given us more than we can ever repay.  He did this because he loves us and he wants us to become like him.   The gift of His Son exceeds all that we can ever give back to Him.  He simply asks us to love him and keep his commandments.   That is why it is critical for us to overcome pride.  Pride is enmity toward God.  It is the power by which Satan rules over us.  When we have pride our will is in competition with God’s will and we stop seeking what he wants for us and start seeking what we want.  At that point it doesn’t really matter what that other thing is because when we are placing our will above God’s will we are on the road to sin.  The natural man will not choose do follow God because the natural man is an enemy to God.  So, the path that Christ showed us is the path of prosperity.  It is the path of safety.  And while we can never do enough in this life to repay Him, we can certainly please him by keeping his commandments.  We obey Him because we love Him.  

Quote
President Joseph F. Smith said, “I believe, that one of the greatest sins of which the inhabitants of the earth are guilty today is the sin of ingratitude, the want of acknowledgment, on their part, of God and his right to govern and control. We see a man raised up with extraordinary gifts, or with great intelligence, and he is instrumental in developing some great principle. He and the world ascribe this great genius and wisdom to himself. He attributes his success to his own energies, labor and mental capacity. He does not acknowledge the hand of God in anything connected with his success, but ignores him altogether and takes the honor to himself; this will apply to almost all the world. In all great modern discoveries in science, in the arts, in mechanics, and in all the material advancement of our age, the world says, ‘We have done it.’ The individual says, ‘I have done it,’ and he gives no honor and credit to God. Now, I read in the revelations through Joseph Smith, the prophet, that because of this, God is not pleased with the inhabitants of the earth but is angry with them because they will not acknowledge his hand in all things.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, pp. 270–71.)

Cross References

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ponderize Alma 7:11-12 (1-7 May 2016)

 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.  Alma 7:11-12

My Thoughts:
This scripture created more questions in my mind than answers.  For example:
  • Why was it necessary that Christ suffer for our pains and afflictions.  Wasn't it enough to suffer for our sins?
  • How could he have suffered for our sickness? Is this just talking about spiritual sickest, or physical sickness also?  If all things are spiritual, then maybe it doesn’t matter, because in God’s eyes they are the same.  
  • Was it necessary for Christ to come and take upon him our infirmities so that he could be filled with mercy? Was he not full of mercy before?  
  • How does our own personal suffering help us know how to succor others? 

Quote:
Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us.There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see  Alma 34:14)  He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  (Elder David A. Bednar, "Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease”, April 2014 General Conference) 

Cross References:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ponderize D&C 109:22 (24-30 April 2016)

22 And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;   D&C 109:22

As I pondered this scripture I thought about how the temple arms us with power.  It caused me to reflect on the incredible blessings that we are promised in the temple.  Last week I had the opportunity to go and do the initiatory ordinance for some family names.  I made it a point to listen carefully to the blessings we have been promised.  If that were all of the blessings we were promised by temple attendance, that would be incredible in itself.  However, we are promised much more.  The sealing ordinance provides blessings that are beyond our compression to grasp their significance in our eternal destiny.  While there are temporal blessings of protection that come from temple service, it is the knowledge of who we are and who we serve that gives us a glimpse into His power that He shares with us through His priesthood.   

Quote: 

In modern revelations the Lord refers to temples as houses “built unto my name”  (D&C 105:33 see also  D&C 109:2–5, 124:39) In the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith petitioned the Father “that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them”  (D&C 109:22) He also asked for a blessing “over thy people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house”  (v. 26) And as the Lord appeared in and accepted the Kirtland Temple as His house, He declared, “For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house”  (D&C 110:7)
These scriptures help us understand that the process of taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ that is commenced in the waters of baptism is continued and enlarged in the house of the Lord. As we stand in the waters of baptism, we look to the temple. As we partake of the sacrament, we look to the temple. We pledge to always remember the Savior and to keep His commandments as preparation to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, in the ordinances of the holy temple we more completely and fully take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.  (Elder David A. Bednar, "Honorably Hold a Name and Standing”, April 1997 General Conference) 

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Ponderize Isaiah 58:13-14 (17-23 April 2016)

13 ¶If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.  Isaiah 58:13-14

I am pondering this scripture because of the phrase about the sabbath being a delight.  I have always thought that if we obeyed the law of the sabbath, then we would find delight in the sabbath.  But now that I think about this scripture in more depth and read it carefully, it says for us to “call the sabbath a delight”.  Calling the sabbath a delight is part of the commandment, not part of the blessing.  Often our church callings make the sabbath as much of a day of work as it is a day of rest.  So, the command is to find delight in doing the work of the Lord on his holy day and putting aside our own pleasure. When we do that, then we delight ourselves in the Lord and we are blessed.  When you think of it in this context, then you begin to see that the day to rest from our labors (D&C 59:10) is not a day for us to do our own pleasure by laying around all day, but rather it is a day to turn from our personal labors and focus on doing the work of the Lord.  

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     Not pursuing your “own pleasure” on the Sabbath requires self-discipline. You may have to deny yourself of something you might like. If you choose to delight yourself in the Lord, you will not permit yourself to treat it as any other day. Routine and recreational activities can be done some other time.
     Think of this: In paying tithing, we return one-tenth of our increase to the Lord. In keeping the Sabbath holy, we reserve one day in seven as His. So it is our privilege to consecrate both money and time to Him who lends us life each day.22 [See  Mosiah 2:21
     Faith in God engenders a love for the Sabbath; faith in the Sabbath engenders a love for God. A sacred Sabbath truly is a delight.  (Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Sabbath is a Delight”, April 2015 General Conference) 

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