This morning I was reading my scriptures, pondering and thinking about some things from the Ensign magazine.
This month’s Ensign (September) has some of the most important thoughts I think I have ever read.
Here are a few of them and one nugget from Robert Gay, who I deeply admire.
Years ago some of my associates and I began partnerships that extended loans to impoverished people in India. One of the first women we loaned money to built a small, successful business. We asked her what she was going to do with her newfound profits. She told us, “I am going to buy my son back from slavery.”
I have never forgotten her words. Out of desperation for food, her family had sold their son into indentured servitude. The harsh reality of our world is that many people live without what many of us take for granted: electricity, education, employment, clean water, sufficient food—let alone the liberating truths of the restored gospel.
Everything we receive in this life is a blessing from a loving Father in Heaven. But with blessings comes responsibility.
When I was 17 years old, my father spoke of this challenge to a group of Church members.
For dutiful servants, he said, “godly responsibility always precedes individual opportunity. Ours is a choice to see if we will take the talents, the resources, and the blessings God has given us and blaze new paths to realize His purposes or sit on the sidelines content in our individual successes or failures. … In the world of faith, you always stand at this crossroad.”
A fundamental question you should consider is this: “What am I going to do with the blessings that have been bestowed upon me?” Will you be like those of the world to whom the prophet Moroni says, “Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life?” (Mormon 8:39). Or will you rise like disciples to whom the Savior says, “Unto whom much is given much is required”? (D&C 82:3). Will you engage or be content on the sidelines? Will you lift others or think only of yourself?
Everyone Has Something to Give
God invites us to be agents of action and to be anxiously engaged in good causes (see D&C 58:27; 2 Nephi 2:26). It is easy to limit the impact of our love, our influence, and our blessings to only close friends, loved ones, and those of our own choosing, but the Savior asks more of us. “If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?” (Matthew 5:46). Paul added this exclamation point: “[Without] charity, I am nothing.” Charity, he added, “seeketh not her own” (1 Corinthians 13:2, 5). We are to leave our comfort zones and bless those around us, including strangers, those who reject us, and even those who despise us.
Some of you will say, “Who am I? I am no genius. I have no unique talent. I am nobody special. I just feel fortunate to get through each day.”
To each of you, no matter your fears or uncertainties, I say, “Never sell yourself short!” Today you and I live in a world where good and evil share the stage, but the Lord tells the faithful, “Nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20).
Let this one absolute truth from heaven sink into your mind and heart—you have the power within you to astonish this world. You are a son or daughter of the most powerful Being and force in the universe. You are endowed with His all‐knowing light and truth, by which you may forsake all evil (see D&C 93:37). Moreover, the Lord teaches this profound truth: “To every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (D&C 46:11).
2. This note on preparedness from President Monson– struck me as something Brian and I need to get absolutely better at. We are not in debt, but we could be more prepared.
We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have a supply of debt and are food-free.
3. And a whole lesson on Bridling your Passion from Elder Bednar.
I will definitely be teaching a family night lesson on this. I am feeling prompted to continue to impress this upon my children.
“See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.”
Affects an area of sensitivity. Bridling our passions means controlling emotions and desires, which people can feel sensitive about, because the natural man wants them to have free rein. But if we overcome our sensitivities, we can develop self-discipline.
Is placed on animals that are of great use. We are told to “bridle all [our] passions,” not to suppress or kill all our passions. Controlling our emotions and desires does not mean to stamp all of them out because they are all bad. Just as we bridle animals because they are useful and helpful, we bridle our passions so that we can control them and allow them to serve a higher purpose.
Helps to tame and train. Just as wild animals can be hostile, unpredictable, and destructive, so can our passions and emotions be if left unchecked. When we tame our emotions, we can train them and redirect them in positive ways to fulfill a greater purpose than they ever could if we simply allowed them to run wild.
Helps to direct. The reins attached to a bridle help us direct an animal in the way we would like it to go. Similarly, we can channel some strong emotions into good works or other appropriate outlets in order for us to become better people and of greater service. By bridling our passions, we can “be filled with love”—one of the highest and greatest emotions—and become more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
4. And finally this terrific quote from Elder Ballard on a talk on the Atonement and the Value of One Soul that he gave years ago. My friend, Linda Francis, who I adore shared this on Facebook and I loved the entire talk.
“Fathers, mothers and missionaries play before very small audiences. Yet, in the eyes of the Lord, there may be only one size of audience that is of lasting importance–and that is just one, each one, you and me, and each one of the children of God. The irony of the Atonement is that it is infinite and eternal, yet it is applied individually, one person at a time.”
It was just a great morning basking in the spirit and contemplating change in my life….read all 4 of these talks and see how they impact you.