Sunday, August 20, 2017

Marriage is from God

Today was my last day to teach my Sunday School class. I was called to help my wife teach Sunbeams. It is a sad day. At the end of class i asked if they wanted for me to continue texting them a spiritual quote each day and they were excited and wanted me to continue. That made me very happy. 😀

Today's lesson was on marriage and family. We discussed ways to teach non-members how marriage is between a man and a women. This quote was from a talk by D. Todd Christofferson and one that everyone really liked.

We also discussed ways to be the spouse that we want to attract. That was a fun part of the lesson. This is a great bunch of kids and I will miss them 😢

Craig

Mobile Wallpaper

Friday, August 18, 2017

All things prove there is a God

Background image by: Dylan Toh https://flic.kr/p/WvKaAf

Literally everywhere I look, I am amazed at the beauty and majesty of all of God's creations from nature, to the immesity of space, to our bodies. They all sing praises unto God whether they personally want to recognize His existence or not. They themselves are proof of His existence and supreme creation.

There a two videos that i just love that help demonstrate the magnificence of creation both in space and in our cells. Enjoy!!



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Spiritual Buffet


Alexa made a weekly quote challenge that is really fun. This weeks challenge was to make a quote using a picture of the scriptures, and this is my entry.

I thought this was funny but it also got me thinking. I personally love buffets. I love selecting my food, enjoying different foods, and honestly i just love to eat. Relating that to a spiritual buffet, we need to enjoy every minute of our feast. We should enjoy looking up footnotes, cross references, highlighting, and most importantly pondering the scriptures. As we learn to do this we will find even greater power flowing into our lives. Let us look forward to and fully enjoy the buffet before us through all avenues of God's word to us.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Charity is the pure love of Christ


Written by Craig Conover on 12/13/2008

This last summer, my wife and I decided to start homeschooling our girls. It works out nicely because I do most of my work for the year during the summer which gives me freedom to focus on other things for the rest of the year. The first thing we wanted to focus on was homeschooling and then finish up my schooling at BYU Hawaii in January. Our school is called, Zion's Academy, and I am the Principle and Seminary teacher, and my wife is the Vice Principle, and teacher, but we actually do the teaching together, it is kind of fun. Our girls even gave us names while they at school, Mrs. Mom and Mr. Dad. I still get a kick out of it when they call me, Mr. Dad. I have to tell you that I never realized that teaching could be so much fun; we just have tons of fun every day.

I have really been thankful for the opportunity of spending 30 minutes every day teaching my girls about the Gospel. They learn so quickly and it is neat to see how their little minds work. I had to learn a lot also, because I tend to teach at a higher level than could be most effective. I have noticed that when I bring it down to their level they really soak it all up.

I tell you this because for just a minute I want to talk specifically to the children and try to help them understand what Charity is and some suggestions on how to help them learn to develop charity in their own lives and then I will finish by addressing the whole congregation.

For starters, I bet many of you children already know what Charity means, but for those that don't, “Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men should have for one another" LDS.org. Now lets see... What does the "pure love of Christ" really mean? To start off with we need to understand what pure means. Hopefully, all of you like ice cream, I know my girls do. It seems that they would do about anything for ice cream. Each of you children close your eyes and imagine that you have a big bowl of your favorite kind of ice cream, maybe Rocky Road, or cookies n' Cream, or whatever is your favorite. Imagine taking a few bits... I can almost taste my bowl, it creamy and just absolutely yummy? Go ahead and take another bite, but now instead of yummy goodness, it has loads of salt in that bite. Hopefully none of children have ever had a bite of salt because it is very yucky. Ok, back to our imagination, did that bite taste very good, of course not? What if every other bite of your yummy ice cream was salt instead of ice cream? Would that bowl of ice cream be very good? No, it would not. So, we could say that a pure bowl of ice cream was simply that, just creamy, yummy ice cream goodness, right? Now that is the same with the pure love Christ. It is simply that, pure love without any salt or in other words, angry thinking, mean actions, selfishness, and things like that.

Now, that we have a better understanding of what pure means let's see if we can understand what the pure love of Christ means, at least in part. Let me ask a few quick questions to all the children, but first can I have all you children raise your hand high in the air, like this, and keep it up to show me that you are ready for the question... Let me see all those hands…

?-That is perfect!... Now, keep your hand raised high in the air if you have a favorite toy, that you just love? If you are like my girls you probably have several.

-Very good!... Now for the next question, can you switch hands and put your other hand high in the air.

?-Good job!... Ok, now keep your hand raised high in the air if you love your mom very much? Wow, look at all that love. That is the reason that I choose moms instead of us dads, because I was a little nervous of the outcome.

-Ok, are you children ready for the last question? Lets see how ready you are. For this question can you raise both of your hands really high in the air.

?-You children are so good. Ok, here is the question. Keep your hands raised really high in the air, if you love your mom more than your favorite toy?... Again, keep your hands raised really high in the air if you love your mom more than your toy?

-Look at all those hands, this is so cool looking. Let’s see if you children can impress your mommies and daddies by taking both of those amazing hands of yours and folding them up real tight in your lap... Like this… Good job! You are all so awesome.

Now, can each of you see the difference in love between the love that you have for your toy and the love that you have for your mom? Can you see how the love that you have for your mom is much greater than the love that you have of your toy? You love your mom and I know that she loves you even more. But, did you know that your Father in Heaven and your older brother Jesus Christ love you with an even greater love? Isn't that amazing. You are loved by your parents and you are loved even more by your Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. Hopefully, now you can see, how charity or the pure love of Christ "is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul” LDS.org. How can you children learn to love with such great love? You are probably thinking of a few ways right now, but there are many ways to develop such great love. Each of your parents, try and help you on a daily basis to develop such great love. Let me give you just two quick examples that my wife and I have done to help our girls learn to develop charity or the pure love of Christ. These two examples should help each of you children to think of some ways that you can learn to love with Christlike love.

The first example is that in our home, our girls have a daily routine chart that they complete each morning, well… we are not perfect at it, but they do a good job. Anyway, one of the things that they have on their chart is, to do one nice thing for someone that day. Once they do one nice thing, then, they get to put a star on their chart. They do different things each day, whether it is helping their sister make their bed or helping their younger sister get dressed. The result is always the same. They feel very happy inside and the sister they served feels happy inside as well. Because of this small act of service they both, now, have an increase of Christlike love in their hearts. It is so neat as a parent to see your children serving each other.

The last example has to do with the time of year that we are in. Do you children know what time of year it is? Yep, its Christmas time. This month is a easy month to learn to love with a more Christlike love. As a family we go to Chick-fil-a on Tuesday nights because they have family night with kid crafts and of course, cheaper food. It is always fun. Well, the last time we went, they had a Christmas tree with ornaments all over the tree. Each of these ornaments had a child's name on it and something they would like for Christmas. Each of these children were in need and less fortunate. My wife grabbed one for our family to buy a gift for, and then on the way to the car she asked if she could get one for each of our girls so that they can have that wonderful experience themselves also. It was such a great idea of hers. I just wish that I could think of others even a fraction as much as my wife does. If I could do that, I would be much better off, but that is why I married her, she is just awesome. So each of our girls went back in and picked out their own ornament and child that they wanted to buy a gift for. When they got in the car they were so happy, it was just neat.

Now I would like to shift my remarks back to everyone. I was so excited when I heard that one of the topics we were to speak on was charity. I told my wife the two topics that we were given and told her to pick which everyone she wanted. I thought for sure she would pick service but she picked charity. I have to say that I was quite disappointed. It was weird, but, it almost felt as if something precious and dear to me was taken from me. Well, to my great joy, and I mean it literally, when my wife sat down to prepare her talk she decided to change to service and I got back my precious topic of charity.

Well, my talk preparation took an unexpected turn on Friday night just before I went to bed. I had been praying about my topic and I felt strongly that I needed to direct my initial remarks to the children. At first I was a little reluctant because I had already been preparing and gathering my thoughts which consisted of many of my favorite prophets and their powerful words on charity. But as I started to prepare for the children my talk just seemed to fall into place. I had a renewed desire to help them understand this vitally important God-like characteristic that we all must be found possessed of it at the last day. So, here I am with just a few minutes left and I pray that the Spirit will be with us as I try to convey to your hearts a little of what is in my heart.

If you have your scriptures please grab them and follow along because theses verses are so very powerful. I want to use Moroni 7 as my guide and wow there is so much in this chapter it is crazy. So let’s get started.

We read in verse 1:

1 And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time.

This is great, Moroni took precious room left on the plates to record the words of his father. It is not hard to understand why he would do that. All you have to do is read it and it is all clear. This is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon and it had to of been one of Moroni’s also. Ok, moving on. So we come to the great three, faith, hope, and charity.

I used to want to look at these three as a ladder, where you can take one at a time and could advance to the next. But no matter how I looked at it they still got all twisted together. I now look at them as a bike. If you separated the bike and the two peddles would the move forward? No, but together they propel forward. I consider the bike frame to be charity and one peddle is faith and the other is hope. Let me show you in the scriptures. Turn with me to verse 40-42.

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?
41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope

Background image by: Jarno Lindroos https://flic.kr/p/H79Sa1

Do you see why they can’t be looked at as a ladder, but as peddles, each giving a little at different times but also each constantly present. Now for the frame, but remember that the frame is not necessarily next it is just more evident now that the bike is in motion. Turn to verse 43-44

43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.


Now that we see the correlation between these three God-like attributes we can talk in more detail about what charity is. We don’t have to travel very far, just to the next verse, 45-47:

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.


There is no summing that up, it is very clear to the simplest of minds. Now I must close and I want to close with the big why. Why; is charity so important, Mormon tells us this as well, verse 48:

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Is that not the goal, to see him as he is and to be purified even as he is pure?

I want you all to know that I love this Gospel with all my heart. I know that it is the only true church upon the face of the whole earth. I know that it was restored again upon the earth by Joseph Smith, whose sacrifice and focus causes my heart to overflow with love and gratitude. I also know that Moroni under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost gave us chapter 7, that if we learn and apply these teachings we will one day become like our Father in Heaven and give glory to Jesus Christ for giving us such teachings. I also know that we will one day embrace Moroni and shed tears of joy and gratitude for him being an instrument in the Lords hands in giving us these great teachings, and then we will have an opportunity to embrace and thank Mormon for his inspired words. If we heed these teachings, there will be such a day as I have testified and our joy will be full and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Source: http://ldstalks.blogspot.com/2009/01/talk-on-charity.html

Craig

Current Temple Recommend

This is in memory of the Tucson Temple Dedication that took place this morning. I went to the 9 am session and one of the speakers made this connection and I thought it was pretty cool. Choose The Right also means Current Temple Recommend. In the car ride home my daughter, Alexa, said that backwards it means Return To Christ, which is super cool as well.

Craig

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Savior will provide

Isn't it amazing and assuring that we can always turn to our Savior in our best and our worst of times and he will provide the much needed love, comfort, and peace we need. According to our faith and belief in Christ we will even see miracle both great and small in our lives.

My daughter, Alexa, decided to do cross country and I am very proud of her. If I remember correctly, it was her first or second time to run she was having a hard time. They provided ice water along the way and she was really enjoying her ice and had two left. I guess this boy behind her was doing even worse than she was and somehow had missed the ice. Alexa thought that he needed the ice more than she did but was torn because she felt that she really needed it too. She finally concluded to keep one and give him the other. He was very appreciative and it helped him. Alexa continued running and when she went to enjoy her last ice that she had, to her surprise there was still two pieces of ice, not just one. She was so thankful for that miracle in her life.

Miracles will abound in our lives as we exercise faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and surely  "He can and will provide" Jeffrey R. Holland.
Holland

Friday, August 11, 2017

Mosiah 4: 11


I have been thinking about this scripture a lot lately. I know that at first this verse may seem to be kind of a downer. After all, King Benjamin tells us to always remember that we are nothing then goes on to call us unworthy creatures. However, this loving reminder is precisely why this verse brings me so much comfort, hope, and joy.

Often in my life, at times when I am growing spiritually and feeling close to my Father in Heaven, I begin to see the immense depth of my sins and imperfection. This happens to all of us, I know. This is why we always hear bishops, stake presidents, and general authorities saying, "Trust me. I'm far from perfect." and that they have to repent every day.

The truth spoken in this verse is how we cope with this realization. To "retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness" is to always remember to whom you owe your joy and never forget that in this state we can not truly be worthy of God's love. It's not physically possible. And that's okay. We must accept that we are unworthy of God's love and Christ's sacrifice before we can really appreciate what we have been given. 

It brings me so much joy knowing that our father in heaven and our savior, Jesus Christ, love me, an unworthy creature, so much that if I will just repent and come unto Christ they will lovingly lift me up to the joy and glory which they themselves have received and do enjoy. 

So in summary: when I feel that my insurmountable imperfections will keep me from returning to my Father, I read this verse and remember His infinite love for me. The love that allows me to even consider returning to His presence.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Greatest event since the resurrection


I was wanting to find an amazing picture of Christ to print and put by my bed and I stumbled upon the above picture, which I feel is just stunning. The detail is simply amazing. Look at God and Christ, you actually feel that you are there with them. You can even see the nail prints in Christ's hands. I wish I had the actual sculpture. 

Next, I wanted the perfect quote to go with it. A quote that brought together this amazing boy and his greatness, and yet putting even greater light on my Savior, and again, I stumbled upon this quote. 

"When God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ come to earth, as they did in 1820 when they appeared to the young boy prophet, Joseph Smith, it is not something that concerns only a handful of people. It is a message and a revelation intended for all of our Father’s children living upon the face of the earth. It was the greatest event that has ever happened in this world since the resurrection of the Master. Sometimes I think we are so close to it that we don’t fully appreciate its significance and importance and the magnitude of it." Ezra Taft Benson https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-ezra-taft-benson/chapter-7-joseph-smith-an-instrument-in-the-hands-of-the-lord?lang=eng

I then pulled out just this sentence to complete my quote.

"It was the greatest event that has ever happened in this world since the resurrection of the Master."

Here Joseph Smith stands in his spotlight, but just below the spotlight of the Savior. I just want to bear my testimy that Joseph truly, did see God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, the only Begotten of the Father, standing before him in their true form, consisting of a body just as tangible as his own. He did converse with them face to face and he bore that testimony to the world and his innocent blood was spilt because of it. His testimony and the sealing of that testimony will stand to condemn or exalt all men at that last and great day. Be courageous and stand behind Joseph and declare with soberness the same testimony; that Jesus did rise again and that he truly has a body like unto us, and He is in the exact similitude of the Father and they are distinct personages and yet unified in word, deed, and purpose. They came down from their glorified throne to restore the gospel of Christ in its fullness and with their all knowing eye, selected Joseph Smith Jr. to restore that gospel through. And we shall have the word of God through this great servant and prophet and when we accept, love, and reverence Joseph, then will we come to know the true character of Jesus Christ and His Father and begin our journey back to them. These things I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Jesus is the Living Christ



Be faithful - be fearless - be patient

I am reading Journey to the Veil by John Pontius, and let me just say that this book is absolutely amazing and a must read for all the humble followers of Christ. My faith has increased and my love for my Savior has greatly deepened. I really liked John's montra, "be faithful, be fearless, be patient."

As a coach for Brendon Burchard, I know the power of having three words that we reflect upon throughout the day and aspire to become. Pick three words that you want to live into, and then repeat and reflect on those three words several times a day. I recommend setting a reminder in your phone to remind us to reflect and become.

Background image by: Stefan https://flic.kr/p/XerX6W

Craig

Monday, August 7, 2017

Be steadfast and immovable

This is such a great scripture.

Mosiah 5:15
Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/5?lang=eng

Let us never tire being obedient to the word of the Lord. When we do this we will find that our ability to be steadfast and immovable becomes greatly enlarged. Then will all our works be the works of righteousness and we will become disciples of our Christ. As we stay faithful to this path we will begin to see the great blessings of this scripture distill upon us... And how glorious will be that day!!!

Background image by: Dom Haughton https://flic.kr/p/WU1xU2

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Follow Christ and Become Like Him


This morning was an amazing spiritual high. It started out with these words that my sister Debbie texted me.

"In this day and age we spend a lot of time "following" people. We follow them on instagram, Facebook, twitter, YouTube and more. We follow them for various reasons. Some of them have a gift or skill we want to learn more about. We want to cook better so we follow a chef, we want to decorate better so we follow someone with our own taste and style of decorating, we might be a fitness guru or a health guru so we follow people with those gifts and skills. Or we might follow people because we want to get to know them better. We keep in touch with all their current pictures and posts on their lives and their families. And then their are those that we follow just to stay in touch with, but whatever the reason, we spend time each day "following" other people. The question I want to pose is this, how much time do we spend each day "following" the Lord.  Do we try and improve on His gifts and talents, do we keep up with His posts (aka the scriptures), do we even try and stay in touch with him? So the next time you head to YouTube, instgram or any other social media to "follow" your friends remember your truest and greatest friend. The one who has done the most for you and spend some time "following" Him."

As I read these thoughts this scripture came to mind.

2 Nephi 31:12-13
12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism--yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/31?lang=eng

The amazing thing, is that the thoughts from my sister were in line with and prepared me for my Stake Priesthood Session. The theme was following Christ and becoming like Him and helping other to do the same. 

My tears of joy started to flow with the amazing hymn, "I believe in Christ."

1. I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.

2. I believe in Christ; oh blessed name!
As Mary’s Son he came to reign
’Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
Who did gain all his Father hath,
Who said to men: “Come, follow me,
That ye, my friends, with God may be.”

3. I believe in Christ--my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.

4. I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

That is such an amazing song. It enhances my love for the Savior and my desire to do all that is necessary for me to become like Him and one day bath His feet with my tears.

Moroni 10:32
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/10?lang=eng

I won't include all my notes from the session, but needless to say, it was an amazing one and packed with stores and content that kept my eyes moist.

The first verse of the closing song was really good too.

Hymn 263 Go Forth with Faith

1. Go forth with faith to tell the world
Of Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Bear witness he is God’s own Son;
Proclaim his wondrous word.
Go forth with hope and courage strong
To spread the word abroad
That people of all nations
Are children of our God.

That is my desire to proclaim Jesus Christ from the house tops. I guess I will have to be content with my blog for now. Let me just say that I love my Savior and desire for all to follow the pleading of the Lord to the young, rich man and to us, "come, follow me." Luke 18:22.

Craig

Journal - How have I seen the hands of the Lord in my life


The weekly quote for my Sunday school class. Journaling is enriched when we include spiritual things. One great question to ask ourselves is: "Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?" Henry B. Eyring https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/o-remember-remember?lang=eng

Mobile wallpaper

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Let your light so shine


Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/5?lang=eng

Monday, July 31, 2017

I believe - Will you?


Choose the right while the storms rage


This is one of my favorite quotes now. We get so stuck in just trying to endure the storms of our life that we loose sight of the real test, which is to endure them well. I love how Eyring puts it, "to chose the right while they [storms] rage." Let us not let down our guard during the storm. Let us rather increase our intensity for good and be like the stripling warriors: 


Alma 53:20-21
20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all--they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/53?lang=eng

Let us be true at all times even in the midst of the raging storm.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Shipshape and Bristol Fashion


Shipshape and Bristol Fashion: Be Temple Worthy--in Good Times and Bad Times, By Elder Quentin L. Cook https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/shipshape-and-bristol-fashion-be-temple-worthy-in-good-times-and-bad-times?lang=eng

Here is an excerpt from his talk:

When I was a young missionary assigned to the British Mission, my first area of labor was in what was then the Bristol District. One of the local Church leaders emphasized that missionaries serving in that area needed to be “shipshape and Bristol fashion.”

Initially I didn’t understand the point he was making. I soon learned the history and meaning of the nautical phrase “shipshape and Bristol fashion.” At one time Bristol was the second busiest port in the United Kingdom. It had a very high tidal range of 43 feet (13 m), the second highest in the world. At low tide when the water receded, the old ships would hit bottom and fall on their sides, and if the ships were not well built, they would be damaged. In addition, everything that was not carefully stowed away or tied down would be thrown in a chaotic fashion and ruined or spoiled. After I understood what that phrase meant, it was clear that this leader was telling us that, as missionaries, we must be righteous, follow rules, and be prepared for difficult situations.
This same challenge is applicable to each of us. I would describe being “shipshape and Bristol fashion” as being temple worthy--in good times and in bad times.
While the fluctuation of the tide in the Bristol Channel is somewhat predictable and can be prepared for, the storms and temptations of this life are often unpredictable. But this we know: they will come! In order to overcome the challenges and temptations that each of us inevitably faces, it will require righteous preparation and the use of divinely provided protections. We must determine to be temple worthy regardless of what befalls us. If we are prepared, we shall not fear.

Wallpaper version:

As we prepare to go to and stay temple worthy, Dieter F. Uchtdorf said this:


The first step on the path of discipleship begins in the exact place where we stand.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Powerful words from Jeffrey R Holland on the sacrament

Picture from DeseretNews

Speaking to the Aaronic priesthood holders during the sacrament meeting at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree on Sunday, July 23, 2017, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught them some powerful things about the sacrament.

"Elder Holland emphasized the importance of the ordinance by noting it is repeated every seven days, to every congregation of any size and to every man, woman and child, and that the sacrament invokes all other covenants made in the Church, including those of the temple.

“And we put it on the backs of teenagers,” he said of the Aaronic Priesthood’s involvement in the sacrament, asking the youth to “consider that God thinks enough of you to have 12-year-olds pass it, 14-year-olds prepare it and 16-year-olds bless it.”


"He challenged his listeners: “What does that say about God’s confidence in you? You need step up and stiffen your backs.”

Read full article at DeseretNews.com http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685601/Elder-Holland-delivers-face-to-face-message-on-Aaronic-Priesthoods-roles-with-the-sacrament.html

Friday, July 28, 2017

God works among men according to their faith


From my reading this morning, I came upon this verse:

2 Nephi 27:23
For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/27?lang=eng

I have been thinking a lot about faith as of late, and I just love that verse. It points out three important things. 

1. God is a God of miracles
2. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever
3. He works among men according to their faith 

Let me expound upon each of these briefly. 

God is a God of miracles
You don't find a car salesman saying that he is a man that performs surgery, or a dentist saying he builds houses. You find those of their profession claiming they do their profession, a car salesman sells cars, a surgeon performs surgery, a dentist works on teeth, and a home builder builds houses. Similarly, God is telling us that He is a God of miracles, meaning He performs miracles as His profession. In Moses 1:39 it reads, 
"For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." How does He do this; by miracles. Not just one miracle, but continuous miracles. 

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever
So, if he performed miracles for those that have past, did he stop performing miracles? Has His work to save souls stopped? Does He love the olden day saints and prophets more than modern or future saints and prophets? Of course not, all of these are absurd questions, and yet this is what all of churches of day profess, because the reveled word of God has ceased, revelation has ceased, and miracles have ceased. The question and key is not if they have ceased, but rather why am I or you not filled with revelation and seeing miracles in our lives continuously?

He works among men according to their faith 
The answer to the above question is answered with this statement: "I [God] work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith." Playing on the analogy I used earlier, why would you call a surgeon, dentist, car salesman, or home builder if you do not need their services and believe or hope that their services would satisfy your needs? Recently, I made a post called, Hope is putting faith to work (http://spiritualcrusade.blogspot.com/2017/07/hope-is-putting-faith-to-work.html). Here is the quote I used in that post: 


Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier. Thomas S. Monson. 

This relationship between hope and faith is interesting. If we have a cavity we believe and hope that a dentist would be able to take care of and fill the cavity. Our hope then initiates putting our faith to work, we pick up the phone and make an appointment with the dentist and through our faith we get in the car and go to our appointment. Similarly, with everything we do in life. Our hope drives us to study for the exam, call the mechanic when our car breaks down, jump in the pool to cool off, and the list goes on and on. Now, on the flip side, the services required are administered based on the actions (faith) of the individual. For example, when the dentist comes in to fill your cavity, he performs the service based on the action performed by the patient. If the patient comes to the appointment, he fills the cavity, but if the patient lacked the faith to come to the appointment, the cavity can't be filled. This is where we bring this full circle to answer the question, Why am I or you not filled with revelation and seeing miracles in our lives continuously? It is simply because we lacked the hope in God and His son, Jesus Christ, and therefore without sufficient hope, faith is not exercised and without faith (actions), no revelation or miracles can be administered. Quite frankly, we never showed up to the appointment.

I would like to bear testimony here today, that miracles have not ceased and revelation has not ceased. As we exercise great faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will receive revelation and have miracles in our lives on a continual basis. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Discerning of spirits - taught more than other point


We need to be more diligent in seeking after this great gift of the spirit. It will help us to discern between the spirits of those around us, but more importantly discern the spirits that are about us to tempt us and try us.

George A. Smith, who received his endowment with Parley P. Pratt in December 1843, and who also  
was a witness to all the dimensions of Joseph's teachings on this subject, later said, "There was no point upon which the Prophet Joseph dwelt more than the discerning of Spirits" ("Minutes of Meetings held  in Provo City," 28 November 1869, Church Archives). 

Enter into the Fold of God

Mosiah 18:8-9
As we become true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will be delivered from bondage and our burdens will be made light. To receive all that God has for us, we must forget ourselves and look outward. Only through service to our brothers and sisters, loving them and our Lord, can we be delivered from our trials.

However, you need to remember that "the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people". Your Father in Heaven will continue to try "[your] patience and [your] faith."

"Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day." (Mosiah 23:21-22)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Great Pioneer Quotes to Celebrate Pioneer Day


I love learning about the pioneers and their faith in their Savior which made it possible to endure what they went through. Below are some pictures that me and my daughter's made. I hope you enjoy them!







Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hope is putting faith to work


Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier. 
Thomas S. Monson

I love this definition of hope, it makes it an action verb and shows its relationship to faith. Just like a muscle, faith and hope grows and gets stronger as we use them. You may wonder how do we use our hope and faith. Everyday I coach clients and we deal with fears and limiting beliefs. I have them write down this phrase: More stage time = Greater power. Our minds are like a stage and thoughts that we allow onto the stage of our minds are the thoughts that we are giving our power to. We need to be very careful that we are only giving power to those thoughts that serve us, therefore we MUST watch our thoughts. 

Mosiah 4:30
But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/4?lang=eng

Alma 12:14
For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/12?lang=eng

From a religious perspective, as you can see, there are more types of thoughts that we should be sure we are not giving power over our lives. 

So, what I tell my clients is that I am a visual person and I vizualize my mind like a stage and when limiting beliefs or fears (same thing as doubting), or thoughts contrary to a disciple of Christ, enter my mind, I invite my bouncers up on my stage and have them grab that thought. Now, limiting beliefs and fears are very strong because they bring their big brother emotion along with them every time. This is also one of Satan's greatest tools to have us feel and crave sin. So, I have my bouncers grab the thought and it's emotion and I visualize them escorting them both off my stage and out of my life, and I say these words, "I delete and erase you." Our minds are very obedient and when we tell them to do something they obey. The next step is very important. Brendon Burchard (the guru I do coaching for) always says that "a power plant doesn't have energy, it generates energy." This is our opportunity to generate the feelings and emotions that we want to serve us. I invite my bouncers into my audience and they bring the thought that I want to serve me up on stage, and then I generate the feelings and emotions for that thought. As I do this is say, "I replace you with ______."

This whole process is putting our faith to work, which was initiated by our hope. Hope for a more positive, abundant, fulfilled, successful, or righteous life. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

3 picture quotes for the Home teaching message: A Disciple’s Life

First Presidency Message
A Disciple’s Life

"Sister Kaku’s story is similar to that of many others. She had a desire to know the truth, she paid the price to gain spiritual light, she demonstrated her love for God and her fellowman, and along the way she experienced hardships and sorrow.


"But no matter the opposition, no matter the sorrow, she kept moving forward in faith. And just as important, she kept her joy. She found a way not only to endure the hardships of life but also to thrive despite them!


"Those who are a little kinder, a bit more forgiving, and a touch more merciful are the merciful who will receive mercy. 


"Those who make this world a better place, one caring and loving act at a time, and who strive to live the blessed, satisfying, and peaceable life of a disciple of Jesus Christ are those who will eventually find joy."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude


I love this talk by Thomas S. Monson,
 An Attitude of Gratitude, that he gave in April 1992 General Conference. Below are my two favorite quotes and then I have posted the full talk below. Enjoy!!


"We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude."

Background image by: Hilton Chen https://flic.kr/p/VZEtB1


"If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."


The Power of the Book of Mormon

In the book of Luke, chapter 17, we read:

“And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

“And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

“There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:11–19.)

Through divine intervention, those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master’s blessing, the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.

Like the leprosy of yesteryear are the plagues of today. They linger; they debilitate; they destroy. They are to be found everywhere. Their pervasiveness knows no boundaries. We know them as selfishness, greed, indulgence, cruelty, and crime, to identify but a few. Surfeited with their poison, we tend to criticize, to complain, to blame, and, slowly but surely, to abandon the positives and adopt the negatives of life.

A popular refrain from the 1940s captured the thought:

Accentuate the positive;

Eliminate the negative.

Latch on to the affirmative;

Don’t mess with Mr. In-between.

Good advice then. Good advice now.

This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.

We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.

A favorite hymn always lifts our spirits, kindles our faith, and inspires our thoughts:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings; name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. …

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,

Do not be discouraged; God is over all.

Count your many blessings; angels will attend,

Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Well could we reflect upon our lives as individuals. We will soon discover much to prompt our personal gratitude.

First, there is gratitude for our mothers.

Mother, who willingly made that personal journey into the valley of the shadow of death to take us by the hand and introduce us to birth—even to mortal life—deserves our undying gratitude. One writer summed up our love for mother when he declared, “God could not be everywhere, and so He gave us mothers.”

While on the cruel cross of Calvary, suffering intense pain and anguish, Jesus “saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” (John 19:26–27.) What a divine example of gratitude and love!

My own mother may not have read to me from the scriptures; rather, she taught me by her life and actions what the “Good Book” contains. Care for the poor, the sick, the needy were everyday dramas never to be forgotten.

Second, let us reflect gratitude for our fathers.

Father, like Mother, is ever willing to sacrifice his own comfort for that of his children. Daily he toils to provide the necessities of life, never complaining, ever concerned for the well-being of his family. This love for children, this desire to see them well and happy, is a constant in a time of change.

On occasion I have observed parents shopping to clothe a son about to enter missionary service. The new suits are fitted, the new shoes are laced, and shirts, socks, and ties are bought in quantity. I met one father who said to me, “Brother Monson, I want you to meet my son.” Pride popped his buttons; the cost of the clothing emptied his wallet; love filled his heart. Tears filled my eyes when I noticed that his suit was old, his shoes well worn; but he felt no deprivation. The glow on his face was a memory to cherish.

As I reflect on my own father, I remember he yielded his minuscule discretionary time to caring for a crippled uncle, aged aunts, and his family. He served in the ward Sunday School presidency, always preferring to work with the children. He, like the Master, loved children. I never heard from his lips one word of criticism of another. He personified in his life the work ethic. I join you in an expression of gratitude for our fathers.

Third, all of us remember with gratitude our teachers.

The teacher not only shapes the expectations and ambitions of pupils; the teacher also influences their attitudes toward their future and themselves. If the teacher loves the students and has high expectations of them, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities will develop, and their future will be assured. A citation to such a teacher could well read: “She created in her room an atmosphere where warmth and acceptance weave their magic spell; where growth and learning, the soaring of the imagination, and the spirit of the young are assured.”

May I express public gratitude for three of my own teachers. I thank G. Homer Durham, my history professor. He taught the truth, “The past is behind; learn from it.” He loved his subject; he loved his students. The love in his classroom opened the windows of my mind, that learning might enter.

O. Preston Robinson, my professor of marketing, instilled in his students that the future is ahead and we are to prepare for it. When he entered the classroom, his presence was like a welcome breath of fresh air. He instilled a spirit of “You can do it.” His life reflected his teaching—that of friendly persuasion. He taught truth. He inspired effort. He prompted love.

Then there was a Sunday School teacher—never to be forgotten, ever to be remembered. We met for the first time on a Sunday morning. She accompanied the Sunday School president into the classroom and was presented to us as a teacher who actually requested the opportunity to teach us. We learned that she had been a missionary and loved young people. Her name was Lucy Gertsch. She was beautiful, soft-spoken, and interested in us. She asked each class member to introduce himself or herself, and then she asked questions that gave her an understanding and an insight into the background of each boy, each girl. She told us of her childhood in Midway, Utah; and as she described that beautiful valley, she made its beauty live, and we desired to visit the green fields she loved so much. She never raised her voice. Somehow rudeness and boisterousness were incompatible with the beauty of her lessons. She taught us that the present is here and that we must live in it. She made the scriptures actually come to life. We became personally acquainted with Samuel, David, Jacob, Nephi, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our gospel scholarship grew. Our deportment improved. Our love for Lucy Gertsch knew no bounds.

We undertook a project to save nickels and dimes for what was to be a gigantic party. Sister Gertsch kept a careful record of our progress. As boys and girls with typical appetites, we converted in our minds the monetary totals to cakes, cookies, pies, and ice cream. This was to be a glorious occasion—the biggest party ever. Never before had any of our teachers even suggested a social event like this one was going to be.

The summer months faded into autumn; autumn turned to winter. Our party goal had been achieved. The class had grown. A good spirit prevailed.

None of us will forget that gray morning in January when our beloved teacher announced to us that the mother of one of our classmates had passed away. We thought of our own mothers and how much they meant to us. We felt sorrow for Billy Devenport in his great loss.

The lesson that Sunday was from the book of Acts, chapter 20, verse 35: “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35] At the conclusion of the presentation of a well-prepared lesson, Lucy Gertsch commented on the economic situation of Billy’s family. These were depression times; money was scarce. With a twinkle in her eyes, she asked, “How would you like to follow this teaching of the Lord? How would you feel about taking your party fund and, as a class, giving it to the Devenports as an expression of our love?” The decision was unanimous. We counted very carefully each penny and placed the total sum in a large envelope.

Ever shall I remember the tiny band walking those three city blocks, entering Billy’s home, greeting him, his brother, sisters, and father. Noticeably absent was his mother. Always I shall treasure the tears which glistened in the eyes of each one present as the white envelope containing our precious party fund passed from the delicate hand of our teacher to the needy hand of a grief-stricken father. We fairly skipped our way back to the chapel. Our hearts were lighter than they had ever been, our joy more full, our understanding more profound. This simple act of kindness welded us together as one. We learned through our own experience that indeed it is more blessed to give than to receive.

The years have flown. The old chapel is gone, a victim of industrialization. The boys and girls who learned, who laughed, who grew under the direction of that inspired teacher of truth have never forgotten her love or her lessons.

Even today when we sing that old favorite—

Thanks for the Sabbath School. Hail to the day

When evil and error are fleeing away.

Thanks for our teachers who labor with care

That we in the light of the gospel may share.

—we think of Lucy Gertsch, our Sunday School teacher, for we loved Lucy, and Lucy loved us.

Let us ever have an attitude of gratitude for our teachers.

Fourth, let us have gratitude for our friends. Our most cherished friend is our partner in marriage. This old world would be so much better off today if kindness and deference were daily a reflection of our gratitude for wife, for husband.

The Lord spoke the word friend almost with a reverence. He said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14.)

True friends put up with our idiosyncrasies. They have a profound influence in our lives.

Oscar Benson, a Scouter of renown, had a hobby of interviewing men on death row in various prisons throughout the country. He once reported that 125 of these men had said they had never known a decent man.

In the depths of World War II, I experienced an expression of true friendship. Jack Hepworth and I were teenagers. We had grown up in the same neighborhood. One afternoon I saw Jack running down the sidewalk toward me. When we met, I saw that there were tears in his eyes. In a voice choked with emotion, he blurted out the words, “Tom, my brother Joe, who is in the Navy Air Corps, has been killed in a fiery plane crash!” We embraced. We wept. We sorrowed. I felt highly complimented that instinctively Jack, my friend, felt the urgency to share with me his grief. We can all be grateful for such friends.

Fifth, may we acknowledge gratitude for our country—the land of our birth.

When we ponder that vast throng who have died honorably defending home and hearth, we contemplate those immortal words, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The feelings of heartfelt gratitude for the supreme sacrifice made by so many cannot be confined to a Memorial Day, a military parade, or a decorated grave.

At the famed Theatre Royal, situated on Drury Lane in London, England, is a beautifully framed plaque containing words which touch my very soul and prompt feelings of deep gratitude:

1914–1918

Actors, musicians, writers and workers for the stage who have given their lives for their country. Honour to the immortal dead, that great … company of shining souls who gave their youth that the world might grow old in peace. Their name liveth forever more. These nobly played their parts, these heard the call for God and King and home. They gave their all.

Since ye who pass in quest of happy hours

Behold the price at which those hours were bought,

Strew here the fragrance of memorial flowers,

The silent tribute of a grateful thought.

Sixth and finally—even supremely—let us reflect gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where does my spirit go when I die? His called missionaries bring to those who live in darkness the light of divine truth:

Go, ye messengers of glory;

Run, ye legates of the skies.

Go and tell the pleasing story

That a glorious angel flies,

Great and mighty, great and mighty,

With a message from the skies.

He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.

Only He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)

Earlier, perhaps perceiving the culmination of His earthly mission, He spoke the lament, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58.) “No room in the inn” was not a singular expression of rejection—just the first. Yet He invites you and me to host Him. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20.)

Who was this Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief? Who is this King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the author of our salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.” (Matt. 4:19.) He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:37.) He pleads, “Keep my commandments.” (John 14:15.)

Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.

My sincere prayer is that we may, in our individual lives, reflect that marvelous virtue: an attitude of gratitude. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.