Jan 10, 2016

Meeting the Challenges of Today's World

by Elder Robert D. Hales

This was such an awesome talk for my young adult children!  Elder Hales words of advice were spot-on, of course! I can't wait to discuss this as a family.

These words were also good for me.  Here are my takeaways from this talk:

"[I am] blessed with the gospel plan.  That eternal plan includes holding fast to the iron rod- cleaving to God's word and the words of His prophets.  We need to tighten our grip on the rod that leads us back to him."

Am I cleaving to God's word and the words of His prophets?
The Hebrew word for cleave is 'dabaq' which means to "cling to" or to literally "stick like glue".
Am I clinging to the scriptures by studying them and pondering (or ponderizing as Elder Durrant counseled us) them daily?
Am I stuck like glue to the things the prophets have asked and counseled me to do?

As a boy whenever Elder Hales was about to make a poorly considered choice, his father would say, "Robert, straighten up and fly right!"

I need to make sure I daily "straighten up and fly right" and tighten my grip on the iron rod by trying to improve daily and heading Elder Lawrence's advice by asking Heavenly Father "What do I need to change?" "How can I improve?" "What weakness need strengthening?", and then obeying the promptings I receive.

"You are responsible to think about the consequences of every choice you make.  Ask yourself, "If I make this choice, what is the worst thing that could happen?"

Even as an adult, I still make tons of choices daily. I am responsible to stop and think about the consequences of every choice I make.- How will it affect me?  How will it affect my spouse and my children?  

My youngest learned a saying in school that I just love it goes something like this:
Before you speak,
think and be smart!
It's hard to heal a wrinkled heart.

As a wife and a mother, my actions no longer just affect me.  They affect my entire family.
Thinking through things before I do them, even the little things, is great advice.

""You are rich if you can live happily within your means."
"Pay your tithing and then save!"
"Don't compete with others to have expensive toys.  Don't buy what you can't afford."

""Knowledge does away with darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is. . .In knowledge there is power.""
"Education will prepare you for what is ahead. . ."

I am never to old to stop learning.

"So exercise your faith every day, and you will "wax stronger and stronger. . . and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ."

I love the first few verses of Hebrews 12 that remind us to:
Run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

We can keep our faith strong by:
". . .Make certain you are worthy to take the sacrament and hold at temple recommend."

"Go to the temple regularly."

"Serve in the Church."

"In addition to serving in Church callings, follow the example of the Savior, who simply "went about doing good."

"Be careful about taking advice from your peers.  If you want more than you now have, reach up, not across!"

"No one can reach upward on your behalf.  Only your faith and prayers will cause you to lift yourself and have the mighty change of heart.  Only your resolve to be obedient can change your life.  Because of the Savoir's atoning sacrifice for you, the power is in you."

When I read this I thought about the famous Star Wars quote:
"The Force is with you, always"
Within each us us there is a force that is greater and more powerful than the one referred to in the Star Wars movie.  It can be with us 24 hours, 7 days a week, if we let it.  We can use the "force" or the power of the atonement to change, to become better, to lift yourself closer to the Savior.

"You may want to conduct what I'll call a "personal council." After praying, spend time alone, Think about what is ahead.  Ask yourself:  "What areas of my life do I want to strengthen so that I can strengthen others?  Where do I want to be a year from now? two years from now? What choices do I need to make to get there?"  Just remember, you are a pilot, and you are in charge.  I testify that as you come to yourself, your Heavenly Father will come to you.

Growing up, my dad would often individually call each one of us children into his bedroom for a "Father's Council".  He would first talk to us about how things were going, and then he would ask us what things we would like to change.  Together we would plan and set goals for the future. I probably didn't appreciate these councils as much as I do now.  They taught me how to plan for the future and how to set and keep goals.

Elder Hales is suggesting we can have these same kinds of councils with ourselves. How often we hold them is up to us.  I love the idea of taking time to really think about what it is you want in and how you plan to work to get it.  You are in charge.  As we work towards our worthy goals, Heavenly Father will help us.

"The Lord will always keep His promise: "I will lead you along."  The only question is, will we let ourselves be led?  Will we hear His voice and the voice of His servants?
"I testify that if you are there for the Lord, He will be there for you.  If you love Him and keep His commandments, you will have His Spirit to be with you and guide you."