Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Brightness of Hope

A Perfect Brightness of Hope

 To me hope embodies happy feelings, anticipation of good things, 
the best of the gospel, and zest for life.
 In this church we celebrate “a perfect brightness of hope.” (2 Ne. 31:20.) 
What a light, ebullient phrase that is. 
I’ve stood on a mountaintop at sunrise and thought of that phrase.
 Hope—what it does to my soul when I feel it!
 Hope—what it does for the world when we act on it!

Our joy and our hope begins and ends in our Savior. 
A sister expressed to me:
 “Not long ago I was feeling sorry for myself. 
I’ve been struggling to pay bills. 
Upon retiring to bed one night feeling the worse for the daily battle, 
I lay in my bed moaning to myself. 
It was then that I looked up to the picture I have of the Savior on my wall. 
His eyes seemed to look into my very soul, 
and at the same time these words came to my mind:
 ‘I am here. I’ve always been by your side,
 taking the pain you feel as well. 
I drank the bitter cup for you and I gladly did so. 
I love you. 
I always will and I’ll always be here 
with you every step of the way.’
I felt like the Savior’s arms had circled my body and were hugging me.
 I felt so secure, so loved and wanted—
a feeling I can still feel as I write this on paper. 
The feeling of loneliness left me immediately.”

“As tears streamed down my face, 
As I read this letter, I thought,
 “How blessed she is to have a 
personal testimony of the Savior.” 
What is more joyous?

Don’t defer hope. Don’t put it off, postpone it, or delay it. 
Proverbs 13:12 states, 
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” [Prov. 13:12
How true. 
Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, hope deferred 
sickens our hearts. 
To prevent illness, grab onto and hold onto your hope.

My friend who found herself so unhappily 
married told me that it was the smallest
 things that kept her going during those 
first weeks when all her world looked black. 
A bunch of crocuses burst through the snow, 
then announced their victory with purple blooms. 
The robins whistled from their nest 
in her front yard tree. 
The sun broke over the horizon every morning.
 People in her office lived their quiet routines. 
A person spoke kindly to her at the grocery store. 
Her little niece hugged her around the legs. 
Each small, loving, daily detail confirmed her hope
Little details and small events showed 
that life still was good.
She didn’t feel it, but she did 
not defer her hope
She focused instead on every 
confirmation that God lives. 
And if God lives, life could still be sweet, 
and she could feel hope again

Let us hope for a better world. 
To hope for a better world means 
that we invest in it now. 
Our investment is measured 
in the sum of small things. 
My neighbor Amy planted a spring 
garden every year of her adult life.
 Her own failing health did not dampen
 her need to plant the flowers 
she knew she might not live to see.......

I think of hope as a basketful of glorious spring 
flowers, each blossom representing one part of 
what my family, friends, and I hope for. 
Together these hopes are a radiant, abundant, 
fragrant bouquet. 
Whatever our metaphor for it, hope remains an 
effervescent, expectant, happy part of life.
Remember—hope matters. 
May we “press forward with a steadfastness 
in Christ, 
having a perfect 
of hope.” 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Comforter

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.
Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.
In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.
Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!
And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.

Words: Henry W. Baker, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern (London: 1868)

Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the

 Inner Man

Of the First Quorum of the Seventy
October 2007

    1. "In 
      Thessalonians chapter 5, Paul admonished the  
      members  to act in 

manner as becometh Saints. He proceeded
 to list 
attributes and behaviors. In verse 19 Paul counseled
  these four simple words:
“Quench not the Spirit.”

The beckoning invitations of the world attempt to divert 
our attention from the strait and narrow path. The 
adversary labors to dull our
 sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit, whether we are 
teenagers,young adults,
 or mature men and women. The role of the 
Spirit, the Holy
Ghost, is essential in every season of our mortal lives.

The path to eternal life is not on plateau. 
Rather, it is an incline, ever
 onward and upward. Hence, ever-increasing spiritual understanding 
 energy are required to reach our destination. Because the
 opposition by Satan continues, the continuous enlightened 
guidance of
 the Holy Ghost is absolutely essential. We dare not hinder,
 disregard, or
 quench the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

When we invite the Holy Ghost to fill our minds 
with light and knowledge,
 He “quickens” us, that is to say, enlightens and enlivens the 
inner man or woman. 4 
 As result we notice measurable difference in our soul.
 We feel
 strengthened, filled
 with peace and joy. We possess spiritual energy
 and enthusiasm, both of which enhance
 our natural abilities. We can accomplish more than we
 otherwise could do on 
 own. We yearn to become holier person.

We determine the level of our current personal
 contribution by examining
 our present choices and priorities against
 questions such as these:
  1. 1. 
    Do I spend more time with sports than Church attendance
  2.  or callings?
  3. 2. 
    If I have a free day, do I choose to attend the temple
  4.  or to visit the mall?
  5. 3. 
    Do I resort to computer games or surfing the
  6.  Internet rather than offering meaningful service to 
  7. others in my home and community?
  8. 4. 
    Do I read the newspaper religiously but find it 
  9. difficult to read the scriptures daily?

To ensure we quench not the Spirit, but rather invite His presence, 
there is another step to take. Let us pray frequently and fervently. 
The Savior’s tender and comprehensive promise is 
recorded in the Doctrine andCovenants:
    “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.”
    “Seek me diligently and ye shall find me.”
    “Ask, and ye shall receive.”
    “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
    “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given 
  • unto you, that is expedient for you.” 5
Note that sequence, brothers and sisters. 
We draw nearer to the Savior as we keep His commandments 
with exactness. 
We earnestly petition the Father in the name of Christ. 
Then, through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, 
we receive divine direction and clear understanding."

  • Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen,
    for God speaks in the silence of the heart.

    ~ Mother Teresa