Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Talk

I thought I'd do a little missionary work and share my talk with all of you. I've included links so you can learn more about my church if you'd like.

Disclaimer: Some of the things I will mention about my children are fictional. They are perfect angels and would never behave in ways that I will discuss shortly.

In the grand council in Heaven we were given an option of two plans to follow. We obviously all choose the plan offered by Heavenly Father allowing us to have our agency. His plan provides a way to prove our selves worthy to return to live with Him again. One way for us to do that is by being obedient.

Being obedient means being submissive to the will of another and to comply with the demands or requests of one in authority.

As a parent, I’m trying to teach my children to be obedient. I find it frustrating when my repeated attempts fail. I’m considering using the song “Quickly I’ll Obey” in my future attempts. It says exactly what I want them to do and if I sing it often enough maybe it will sink in.

When my mother calls me, quickly I’ll obey. I want to do just what is best each and every day.

When my father calls me, quickly I’ll obey. I want to do just what is best each and every day.

There are good reasons I want my children to obey me. Safety is a major issue in some cases like: you always look both ways before crossing the street, only go on parent approved websites, or don’t run with scissors. Sometimes the reasons are more for my benefit or for them to become independent, well behaved individuals such as: clean up after yourself, be polite, or stop picking on/staring at/talking to/touching your brother/sister. Life would be so good for me if only my kids would do exactly what I wanted them to do. Right? There would be no need for yelling or getting angry. We could live happily with each other without most of the contentions that can happen on a daily basis. While contemplating this talk topic I began a self-examination. I expect my children to obey but how obedient am I? I came to the conclusion that I'm a perfectionist that has an all or not quite getting it mentality. There are some commandments and laws that I have no problem obeying. Since they’ve been ingrained in me since I was a child I don’t even think about not obeying them. But I’m far from perfect. There are some commandments and laws that I keep attempting to obey but always fall short. I usually get frustrated for a while and I want to quit trying. I really need to make improvements on these so they become second nature to me like the others. Then I began to think how happy it would make Heavenly Father if I were obedient all the time. Can you imagine a world where everyone obeyed the commandments all the time? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

It’s very likely that sometimes my children think I’m crazy or mean for asking them to be obedient to some of the things I request. Like why is having a clean room so important? Or why do I have to share my toys with someone? Or no you can’t have ten cookies in one sitting. I’m sure they see this as me limiting their choices and making their life not fair. That’s the way it is for some of us also. Some see only the sacrifice and limitations in obeying Heavenly Father’s commandments. They may not like giving up 10% of their income because after all they did work hard for it. And they could really use it with the economy being so bad. Some may think that having an occasional coffee or beer won’t really hurt them and it’s only bending the rules a little bit. But as we walk in obedience to the principles and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can enjoy a continual flow of blessings promised to us by Heavenly Father.  (I liked that line so much I repeated it so everyone heard it.)

What would some of those blessings be?

When obeying the Word of Wisdom, we have greater control over our lives, greater capacity to come and go, to work and create. We are promised the blessings of a healthy body, an alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Lord also promises blessings of protection against evil and greater receptiveness to spiritual truths as we treat our body with respect and reverence.

Our obedience to His commandments will influence our ability to receive answers to prayer. When we pray daily and often we are blessed with a closer relationship with Heavenly Father and will have His Spirit to guide us. We can receive revelations and blessings that we ask for. When we pray as a family that can bring us closer to each other. By turning to God in prayer, we can find answers to our questions and meaning in our life’s experiences, no matter how difficult they may seem. As we pray daily with faith, sincerity and real intent, we will see God’s influence in our life as we receive divine guidance and blessings. He may warn us of danger or strengthen us to resist temptation.

When we obey the Law of Chastity, we will enjoy more fully the influence of the Holy Ghost in our life. By following this law, we will have greater happiness and blessings and find deeper marital love in our families.

The windows of heaven will be opened and blessings poured down upon us if we obey the Law of Tithing. 3 Nephi 24:10 says that there will not be enough room to receive these blessings.

By studying the scriptures daily, we will gain increased faith in Jesus Christ. We will grow more like our Father in Heaven and will be better able to live righteously. We will be blessed with joy, hope, and an understanding of God’s plan and our place in it. We can also be blessed with personal revelation while studying the scriptures.

Obedience is essential for the Atonement to work. God has promised, “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42). True repentance brings peace and forgiveness.

After listening to Sister Sanderson’s talk last week I was reminded how much children learn through example. In order to teach my children to be obedient I have to show them that I can be obedient also. Thankfully there are other examples we can all turn to to learn of the importance of obeying. The examples I’m going to share come from Pres. Monson’s talk “Models to Follow”. He says:

“All of us love the beautiful account from the Holy Bible of Abraham and Isaac. How exceedingly difficult it must have been for Abraham, in obedience to God’s command, to take his beloved Isaac into the land of Moriah, there to present him as a burnt offering. Can you imagine the heaviness of his heart as he gathered the wood for the fire and journeyed to the appointed place? Surely pain must have racked his body and tortured his mind as he “bound Isaac … and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And … stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” How glorious was the pronouncement, and with what wondered welcome did it come: “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Abraham was a model of unquestioning obedience.

The prophet Noah was “a just man and perfect in his generations,” one who “walked with God”. Ordained to the priesthood at an early age, “he became a preacher of righteousness and declared the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He warned that failure to heed his message would bring floods upon those who heard his voice, and yet they hearkened not to his words. Noah heeded God’s command to build an ark, that he and his family might be spared destruction. He followed God’s instructions to gather into the ark two of every living creature, that they also might be saved from the floodwaters.

Said President Spencer W. Kimball: “As yet there was no evidence of rain and flood. … [Noah’s] warnings were considered irrational. … How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual! But time ran out. … The floods came. The disobedient … were drowned. The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building.”

Noah had the unwavering faith to follow God’s commandments. May we ever do likewise. May we remember that the wisdom of God ofttimes appears as foolishness to men; but the greatest lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and we obey, we will always be right.

I now turn to a mighty Book of Mormon prophet—even Nephi, son of Lehi and Sariah. He was faithful and obedient to God, courageous and bold. When given the difficult assignment to obtain the plates of brass from Laban, he did not murmur, but declared, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.””

These are just a few of the many examples of obedience we can find in the scriptures.

When it comes to all these “rules” we have to remember that Heavenly Father is not some demanding dictator. His commandments are for our own good. Heavenly Father loves us and wants to bless us in all aspects of our life. He wants us to be happy today and forever. He has given commandments through His prophets that, when followed, will benefit our life. These instructions from Heavenly Father help us live a happy and productive life. They give us direction as we try to prove ourselves worthy to return to Him. The more we learn about and love God, the more we will desire to do His will (John 14:21).

When we choose to follow Heavenly Father and keep His commandments, we grow in wisdom and strength of character. We can experience joy even in times of trial, and we can face life’s challenges with a spirit of peace. In the scriptures, we learn that true happiness comes from obeying the commandments of God (Mosiah 2:41) that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).

The commandments should never be regarded as confining or inconvenient, but rather as standards to live by that will bring joy and enable us to one day live with God.

Our loving Heavenly Father will bless us for our obedience with “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23).

I'd like to close with the third verse of "Quickly I'll Obey".

Heavenly Father loves me, blesses me each day. I want to do just what is best each and every day.

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