It's been a week since I gave this talk in church and today was the first day since then that I read through it. It was good for me to reread what I had written. Every word of it was written for my own benefit. I thought I'd post it in case you had any interest. If not, I understand....it's kind of long. I was told that I talked the longest. My husband timed me at 13 minutes!! I was trying to talk slowly, so as to not rush, but 13 minutes??! I was aiming for about 8-10 so I'm glad I over shot it a little. I still cant believe I was able to rattle on that long though.
So now I've posted on politics and religion....what other taboo topics should I discuss here?? : )* * *
Henry David Thoreau said, “Knowledge doesn’t come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven.”
When I set out to write this talk last Sunday I decided to just open my scriptures somewhere in the middle and see if there was any divine guidance waiting for me on the other end. I opened my scriptures to the Words of Mormon
. I flipped through and saw that it was only one chapter, so I decided that I’d just read the whole thing. When I got to the 7th verse, my heart warmed up and started to pound gently in my chest. I read:
And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.
The Lord’s will is carried out on earth through those who are willing to serve one another. I was asked to speak today on: “Being and instrument in the hands of God”. As I thought about what it means to be His instrument, I came across a quote by Kathleen Hughes 1st counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. She said:
“God knows the needs of His children and He often works through us, prompting us to help one another. When we act on such promptings, we tread on holy ground, for we are allowed the opportunity to serve as an agent of God in answering a prayer.”
I started to wonder how I could prepare myself to be that instrument? What would I need to do personally to prepare for this task? This preparation is what I would like to focus on today.
I believe this process begins with a desire to perform the Lord’s work. D&C 6:8
reads: Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.
Countless people perform the Lord’s work each day. The sincere and devoted teacher, the volunteer youth counselor, the Red Cross worker, and the full time missionary all carry out Heavenly Father’s good works, and none of this good can start without first the desire to serve Him. Our Heavenly Father wants us to be sensitive to Him. He wants us to reach out with all of our hearts so that He can pour out His love upon us. We innately desire to reconnect here with the love we felt while we were in our Father’s presence. The more we obey and serve God, the more we desire to help others. The more we help others, the more we love God and on and on.D&C 88:63
promises: Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
During the course of our busy lives serving others can be difficult, even when we have the best of intentions. We need to pray to our Heavenly Father and ask him to show us the ways and means that we can serve Him and His children and then wait for the answers to come, knowing that they will. A helpful and practical way for us to be more aware of how we can be His instrument is by writing down our thoughts and inspirations as we receive them. In this way we will be better equipped in remembering what we have been prompted to do. Writing things down allows for reflection later and it is during our moments of reflection that we learn the most about ourselves and our Lord. If we don’t have a natural desire to be God’s instrument, then we can pray for that desire. God will infuse us with His spirit if we will but ask. He will know of our desire to serve Him and He will show us the ways that we can become all that He would have us be.
Our desire to serve the Lord will grow and flourish if we strengthen our personal testimony. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said,
“Honestly evaluate your personal life. How strong is your own testimony? Is it truly a sustaining power in your life, or is it more a hope that what you have learned is true? … Your testimony will be fortified as you exercise faith in Jesus Christ, in His teachings, and in His limitless power. …” Alma 32:27
says: But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
What a blessing it is to know that no matter where each of us are with our own personal testimony, we can always increase our knowledge of our Heavenly Father and our convictions in His words. When we allow our testimony of Him to grow, we will discover that God loves us. You and I, individually. When we begin to trust Him and to exercise faith in Him we will begin to believe and know with the deepest of conviction that He will never lead us astray. That He will always guide us in the direction that we need to go. He will always show us how we can improve ourselves and how we help others along the way. We may at times feel that we aren’t capable of being God’s instrument but we can come understand our weaknesses in a different way when we read Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
For me personally, an extremely effective way that I have been able to grow my testimony has been through service in my calling. By being involved in the Young Women program I have been presented with many opportunities for service that would not have otherwise been mine to enjoy. Preparing weekly mutual activities, attending camp, and now speaking in sacrament meeting have all been extremely effective in increasing my testimony and stretching what I previously thought were my limits.
As we continue to increase our personal testimonies, which is a lifetime pursuit, we can become more confident in our Heavenly Fathers love for us and we will begin to seek Him out more diligently. As we get to know our Father in heaven we begin to understand how He speaks to us. These revelations are different for every person but they always come from the same source and that is through the gift of the Holy Ghost
President Ezra Taft Benson said:
“We hear the words of the Lord most often by a feeling. If we are humble and sensitive, the Lord will prompt us through our feelings. That is why spiritual promptings move us on occasion to great joy, sometimes to tears. Many times my emotions have been made tender and my feelings very sensitive when touched by the Spirit. The Holy Ghost causes our feelings to be more tender. We feel more charitable and compassionate with each other. We are more calm in our relationships. We have a greater capacity to love each other. People want to be around us because our very countenances radiate the influence of the Spirit. We are more godly in our character. As a result, we are more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and thus able to comprehend spiritual things.”
When we listen to and act upon the promptings of the spirit we will be set upon a course that will ultimately allow us to reach our fullest potential. This potential not only includes what we will learn or accomplish along the way, but also the opportunity to bless other people in a way that only we can.
Finally, the most important part of being an instrument in the hands of God is this. Follow through. Stretch your limits. Step out of your comfort zone if that is what you feel prompted to do. Seek out those among you that you can serve. Reach out to someone in need. Encompass charity in all of your actions. Be true to who you are and who our Heavenly Father wants you to be. As we do these things we will discover that this is how we accomplish our mission here on this earth. We listen to the still small voice of our Father in heaven who loves us and would never lead us astray. We trust that he has a specific plan for us that if we will but follow His promptings we will find the path of least resistance. We will feel His love for us, the pure love of Christ, the most meaningful expression that we can experience here in this life. We will truly be doing Gods work, walking our divine path, and loving every minute of it.
Once again, in the inspired words of Henry David Thoreau,
Do a little more of that work which you had sometime confessed to be good, which you feel that society and your justest judge rightly demands of you. Do what you reprove yourself for not doing. Know that you are neither satisfied or dissatisfied with yourself without reason. Let me say to you and to myself in one breath, Cultivate the tree which you have found to bear fruit in your soil.
And never forget, Philippians 4:13
which states, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.* * *
After this I bore my testimony but that was only for the select few in the house! Sorry. : ) By the way, the songs on my page.....I love them.