Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spiritual Strength

I'm really a horrible blogger, but I really have been thinking about this blog of mine (I've wanted to post, but I've wanted to be in the right mindset to write a blog post.)  At times, I wanted to blog frustration but I don't want this to be a forum of negativity.  (I don't know why the font colours are different, so bear with me so I can figure out how to change it)

However, I thought this would be a good time to post.

So I Spoke on Sunday and I thought that my fellow blog fans would like to read it.

It's quite a simple topic when it comes down to it, but we all need the spiritual strength sometimes to make the best choices in our lives,  We've got the Holy Ghost to be the conduit to receive inspiration and revelation which leads to spiritual strength.  Now that I look back on writing and giving this talk at church, there were a lot of things that I wanted to say but not enough time to say it.  So  I will post my talk in this post and then write another post (after a little more serious reflection and if you want to write your comments on the topic as well that would rock, and then I can include them in my thoughts)

So Here It Goes

Today I would like to speak about having spiritual strength. Since during times in my life I may have not inwardly felt this spiritual strength and I have felt that I have needed to work on receiving more of it. This is something that I felt an urgency to increase in my own life as I am continuing to seek more from the gospel.

I would like to begin by retelling a story from Wendy Watson Nelson, the wife of Elder Russell M. Nelson. 

“A few months prior to my marriage, I had an experience that illustrated, just how vital it is that we are prepared with the skill and understanding necessary to do what the Lord needs us to do.  I accompanied Sheri Dew to Palmyra to participate in a symposium on the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Since our obligations lasted into Saturday evening, in order to be home in time to meet our Sunday commitments, we booked an early morning Sunday flight back to Salt Lake City.  That morning we had arrived at the Rochester Airport at 4:30am.  We walked towards the terminal, when suddenly-unexplainably – I tripped and fell and did what could only be described as a cartoon face-plant right into the cement.

Sheri was walking ahead of me, heard me fall, and turned around and saw me face down on the pavement...which was quickly turning red from the blood pouring from a large gash in my forehead and nose.  She helped me to a sitting position on the sidewalk, and then began to look for something to slow down the bleeding, and began to look for someone to help us.  There were three police cars parked only a few feet away but not a policeman to be found.  It was so early in the morning that there was not one other person in sight.

I instantly knew what had to be done.  I said to Sheri, “You’ve got to pray for me.” Without hesitating, she knelt down on the pavement next to me and began to plead with the Lord.  The only way I can describe that prayer is to say that she prayed with power.  She petitioned the Lord to stop my fear, the bleeding, and the pain.  She also pleaded that she would know what to do to take care of me.

Sheri then darted off in search of help.  Minutes later an officer arrived, took one look at me, and called the paramedics.  About five minutes later a fire truck, with sirens blaring, and an EMT truck..., arrived.  After trying to bandage me up, Sheri instantly intervened: ‘‘No, I`m taking her home. ” With a flimsy bandage finally applied ... I walked with Sheri`s help through the airport.  With the injury finally protected by a bandage that covered most of my forehead and nose ... I settled back into my seat on the plane. 

As the plane took off, I mentioned that I had an appointment later that week with a dermatologist... and I should have him look at the injury.  Sheri response was careful, ‘‘Oh ... you know, after all you`ve been through this morning, you`re probably not going to feel much like going to church today,  why don`t we call ahead and see if we can find a surgeon, a plastic surgeon, in Salt Lake who will see you today”  I still had no idea just how serious my circumstance was.  Upon landing in Salt Lake City we learned that we were to go immediately to LDS Hospital.  An hour later I was in surgery, where it took countless stitches to put my face back together.  However, the surgery did not take place until after I received a priesthood blessing.  There was several reason Sheri was the right person to be with me.  She had the spiritual skill and understanding to know how to petition the Father with power in the name of the Son, so that the pain, the fear, and the bleeding would stop.  And then she knew how to hear the voice of the Lord and His directions through the Spirit to get me from the airport sidewalk to the surgical suite. 

I have often wondered how differently the story might have unfolded had Sheri not been with me.”

May I pose a question which I think we need to pause and think about whether it is now, or during this upcoming week.  “What Can I do to Increase My Spiritual Strength?” and “What is the Source of My Spiritual Strength?

Here are a few quotes that my assist in answering these questions.

Julie B. Beck has said, “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. Qualifying for the Lord’s Spirit begins with a desire for that Spirit and implies a certain degree of worthiness. Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s Spirit with us.  Making and keeping temple covenants also adds spiritual strength and power to life. Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation.  Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us.  Those who earnestly seek help through prayer and scripture study often have a paper and pencil nearby to write questions and record impressions and ideas.”

President Henry B. Eyring has said, “Increased spiritual strength is a gift from God which He can give when we push in His service to our limits. Through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our natures can be changed. Then our power to carry burdens can be increased more than enough to compensate for the increased service we will be asked to give. ”

Rex W. Allred has said, “To be eligible for exaltation, a person must grow in spiritual power and be sanctified to the point that he develops a powerful and personal relationship with the Savior.”

David A Bednar said, “The very nature of the Redeemer’s Atonement and the purpose of the restored Church are intended to help us receive . . . spiritual strength.  One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others.”

Thomas S. Monson, our prophet wrote an article in the Washington Post this week, about dealing with the results of September 11, 2001, however I feel that in the same way it applies to spiritual strength.  He said, “We owe it to God the same faithfulness he gives to us.  We should strive for steadfastness and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises in our lives.  The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly “need Him every hour,” We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.  It is constancy that God would have from us.  Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm.

I leave a challenge that if you are seeking spiritual strength to follow the example of Enos in 1:4, “and I kneeled down before my Maker and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.  Enos had the desire and the faith to pray unceasingly until he had an answer and an increase of spiritual strength.

I encourage you to seek and find spiritual strength through fervent prayer, scripture study, seeking council from our leaders, attending the temple, attending institute, attending church, serving in our callings, being great Home and Visiting Teachers, fasting, and serving those who are waiting to hear the gospel.  And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

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