Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bearing Burdans

Alma 13:28
"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus being led by the Spirit..."

I have heard many times in church that we will not be tempted above that which we can bear. But this scripture seems to clearly say that we have to be very proactive about not being tempted 'above that which we can bear.' It counsels us to "watch and pray continually" for this blessing. That means the blessing is not automatic. We need to pray for our temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that we'll have the power to conquer them. And we need to always be on guard- "watch... continually." To me that implies that I need to be looking out for and staying clear of things I know might be hard for me to turn down. It implies that I have responsibility to keep the temptations in my life low. Or at least to not escalate them.  This interpretation makes a lot more sense to me, and seems to mesh with principles of agency and consequences more than saying "we'll never be tempted above that which we can bear." I also find it empowering to the repentant person, because it gives clear action steps of how to gain the blessings of not being tempted above what we can handle. That is so much more empowering than just saying, "you won't be tempted more than you can handle, so just deal with it and make the right choice!"

Action steps to receive this wonderful blessing:

  • Pray for my temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that I'll have the power to conquer them. 
  • Actively analyze my mental/emotional/spiritual armor and environment, and look out for things I know might be hard for me to turn down. Like Joseph of Egypt, FLEE from them.

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference Highlights

April 2014 General Conference 
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Spotlights
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"Forge unshakable faith." -Elder Holland



"Happiness is not the absence of a load." -Elder Bednar
We need the load for spiritual traction, like a truck with a heavy load can get unstuck.

When we are baptized, we are given the opportunity to be yoked with Christ. If we do so, this gives him the opportunity to share in pulling and lifting our burdens with us. I never thought about the yoke in quite that way before.


Kindness
"Those we meet in parking lots, elevators, and grocery stores are those God have put in our way to love." - President Monson (requoting Kimball)  
I really appreciated this perspective, and it makes a lot of sense to me! This morning on my run I waved to an older man who was getting the paper off his porch. He waved back with a big smile and a hearty "good morning." That made me pretty happy. :)
Kindness spreads happiness!
"Each person has within them the ability to increase the sum total of the world's happiness." - Monson


Spiritual Whirlwinds
"The world will not glide calmly towards the 2nd Coming. All things will be in commotion." - Elder Anderson
Parable of the Tree in a windy place:
  • A tree in a windy place, in order to stand up to the winds, does two things: 
    • 1. Increases the rate at which its roots grow, spreading them wider and deeper to increase their strength. 
    • 2. Increases trunk strength and flexibility.
  • Likewise, we are the trees, growing among turbulant whirlwinds of the devil's making. Our spiritual strength can and must increase the pace at which it is growing and strengthening. This will keep us from being "tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine." (Ephesians 4:14)

"We have greater access to temples than past generations." This is on purpose! We need the strength of the temple to face the whirlwinds. The feeling of peace in the temple each time we go is a reminder of the feeling we're striving for in life. That feeling of peace is also a contrast to the turbulence of the whirlwinds and what they produce, should we be swept up among them.


Treasures in Heaven
I've never really thought much about how to "lay up treasures in heaven," or what exactly those treasures are. Elder Teh explained the treasures as gospel habits and their results, he also stated that my time spent on spiritual things in this life will directly impact the life I have in my next estate.  *WA-BAM* A spiritual puzzle piece just fell firmly into place for me. :D

What kind of a life do I want in my next estate?
Not one full of grumbles, complaints, shopping, endless entertainment or being lonely and unhappy in my head...

I want spiritual frontiers! Creations that bring giddy joy and overwhelming peace. I want the great calming stillness of the universe, as well as the buzzing activity of family. I want kind and courteous relationships that bring delight.

Through Elder Teh's talk I realized that my actions now are creating my "mansion in heaven." They are painting on the canvas of eternity. I don't want the ugly dashes of unpleasant backbiting and hurtful words on that canvas. I want it to be beautiful. And I didn't realize until just now that I am the painter. It is fully in my capacity to keep that canvas beautiful, or not. This is very exciting. I feel like bouncing up and down in my chair and singing "I'm a painter of eternities!"

"Families are the Jewel of heaven." -Sister Reeves That family life and gospel living in the home factor into this is no question. I don't have a home without my honeys to fill it. Creating mansions in heaven would be pointless without my fellow architect to draw the plans with. Thus, another major point I gained from this conference is this renewed understanding of why I want to do all the little things at home-- scriptures with Amy and Will, prayers, FHE's, singing hymns and teaching my littles that we love Jesus-- and the determination to LIVE THE GOSPEL. I want to live the gospel as much as I can live it, and love doing it. This quote sort of wraps up this whole idea for me: "The ultimate end of activity in the church is that  a man, a woman, and their children may be happy at home." - Elder Packer  So it's ok that sometimes Amy won't go play on her own, I have but few choice years to play alongside her in the world of childhood. It's ok that sometimes the dishes pile up and the floor gets days-worth of grimy, as long as the reason is that I'm valuing my family and the gospel first.

Paint on.