Saturday, January 4, 2014

Personal Strength

I read this talk this morning and it really hit me. I thought it was fabulous! 
Recently I was blessed to meet with a most impressive group of youth from the state of Idaho. One virtuous young woman asked me what I feel is the most important thing they should be doing in their lives right now. I suggested they learn to recognize the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives.
How profound! of all the things that we can be doing with our time, the most important thing is not to understand the Atonement, but to recognize the power of it in our lives. I thought a lot about this. How can I recognize the power of the Atonement in my life more? I haven't quite come to figure that out, but Elder Richard G. Scott helped me come to some conclusions.
He shares the story of Ammon teaching the gospel to a people who were "a wild and hardened and a ferocious people." (See Alma 17-27 for the whole story) Some were converted, and to show the Lord that they would change their ways, they buried their weapons of war. When their unconverted bretheren came to war against them, they chose to succumb to the sword rather than risk their spiritual lives by taking up arms. Because of this, more were converted. Well, years down the road, their unconverted bretheren again came with sword to rage war against the believers. This time was a little bit different. Those who were converted had families. They knew that they had a big responsibility to protect their families. But they had covenanted with the Lord to never take up arms again. They were at a loss. Their captain, Helaman, knew that breaking their covenant with the Lord would never be justified. He offered an alternative solution for their families to still be protected. The sons of those who had covenanted went to war in protection for their rights and their families. How hard that must have been as a father. To feel helpless in protecting their families for a covenant they had made with the Lord. But they recognized the Atonement in their lives. They remembered the covenants that they had made with their Lord and they understood that they could not break that. 
We all make covenants or promises with the Lord. And Satan who knows us so well, knows just what to send us to hit our weak places. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can fortify our weak areas to create strength. 
Each of us has had times in our lives when we have made poor choices. We are all in desperate need of the redemptive power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Each of us must repent of any rebellion. “For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” He cannot because He knows what it takes to become like Him.
But how? How do we build up our fortifications between our vulnerabilities and our faithfulness? Elder Scott tells of 4 ways:
  • Make covenants and receive ordinances for yourself. Then steadily and consistently work to provide ordinances in the temple for your own ancestors.
  • Share the gospel with nonmember or less-active family members or friends. Sharing these truths can bring a renewed enthusiasm into your life.
  • Serve faithfully in all Church callings, especially home teaching and visiting teaching assignments. Don’t be just a 15-minutes-a-month home or visiting teacher. Rather, reach out to each individual member of the family. Get to know them personally. Be a real friend. Through acts of kindness, show them how very much you care for each of them.
  • Most important, serve the members of your own family. Make the spiritual development of your spouse and children a very high priority. Be attentive to the things you can do to help each one. Give freely of your time and attention.

     As we lose our life in the service of our Father in Heaven's children, Satan's temptations will lose power in our lives. What a miraculous promise. I know that we can find strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that He is the source of all goodness and all hope and love. How grateful I am for this knowledge and for my Savior who has done all for me. The church is true my friends!!

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