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Never Lose Hope

My message to you today, my brothers and sisters, is simply this: the Lord is in control. He knows the end from the beginning. He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis. His purposes will be fulfilled, and someday we will understand the eternal reasons for all of these events. Therefore, today we must be careful to not overreact, nor should we be caught up in extreme preparations; but what we must do is keep the commandments of God and never lose hope!
M. Russell Ballard, “The Joy of Hope Fulfilled,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 31

In Him all things hold together

The Infinite Atonement

Christ's death and resurrection were specifically foretold in a multitude of scriptures, including this from Isaiah.

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. . . . and the earth shall cast out the dead. [Isaiah 26:19]

Ponder how that prophesy was later dramatically fulfilled as recorded by Matthew:

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. [Matthew 27:52­53]

As signified by Jesus' personal resurrection and the recognition of him by friends, immortality is not merely being one droplet in some floating sea of cosmic consciousness! Resurrection is not being a mere molecule in an unremembering cloud of drifting molecules! His resurrection was personal and recognizable. So will ours be! Did not the resurrected ancients go into Jerusalem and appear unto many?

Oh, how we adore Jesus for his ato…

He went about doing good

The spirit of giving gifts has been present in the mind of each Christian as he or she commemorates the Christmas season. Our Heavenly Father gave to us His Son, Jesus Christ. That precious Son gave to us His life, the Atonement, and victory over the grave. 
What will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that He 'went about doing good.' As we do likewise, the Christmas spirit will be ours.
Thomas S. Monson, "What Is Christmas?" Ensign, Dec. 1998, 5

John Taylor's courage

John Taylor's strength of witness and conversion were illustrated by an event that occurred near Columbus, Ohio, where a group of trouble-makers, learning that he had scheduled to preach a service there, decided to tar and feather him. When a few Church members heard about the plot, they urged him to cancel the meeting, for they lacked the strength to protect him. Expressing his thanks for their concern, he decided nevertheless to fulfill the appointment. At the meeting, the English convert proceeded to lecture his audience about the blessings of freedom guaranteed in the American Constitution and about the valor of their forefathers in fighting for liberty. Having laid that groundwork, he suddenly shifted his focus: 'I have been informed that you purpose to tar and feather me, for my religious opinions. Is this the boon you have inherited from your fathers? Is this . . . your liberty?' After letting the implications of these accusatory questions seep in, he …

genuine hope is needed

Genuine hope is urgently needed in order to be more loving even as the love of many waxes cold; more merciful, even when misunderstood or misrepresented; more holy, even as the world ripens in iniquity; more courteous and patient in a coarsening and curt world; and more full of heartfelt hope, even when other men’s hearts fail them. Whatever our particular furrow, we are to ‘plow in hope,’ without looking back or letting yesterday hold tomorrow hostage (1 Cor. 9:10). Neal A. Maxwell, "Brightness of Hope,"Ensign, Nov. 1994, 3

if you wish to go where God is, you must become like God...

I shall speak with authority of the Priesthood in the name of the Lord God, which shall prove a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. . . . If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses, for if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from Him and drawing towards the devil. . . . Search your hearts, and see if you are like God. I have searched mine, and feel to repent of all my sins.
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:588; paragraph divisions altered.

a want of faith in God

With some there is a fearfulness, a want of faith in God...As I have often done, I again invite those who are distrustful, and fearful that God is going to forsake this people, to leave, if they do not wish to be Saints and repose confidence in the God of the Saints.  I wish such characters would leave...All I ask of you is to apply your hearts to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be Saints.  I will not ask anything else on this earth of you only to live so as to know the mind and will of God when you receive it, and then abide in it.  If you will do that, you will be prepared to do a great many things, and you will find there is much good to be done.  We have no time to spend foolishly...

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 3, p. 375

No Way to Extract Himself

A few years after the pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, a young man took an ox team up Millcreek Canyon on a cold winter day to get logs to build a house. It was extremely cold, and the snow was deep. His sled held five large logs. After he loaded the first one, he turned around to load another. In that instant, the log already on the sled—22 feet long and about 10 inches in diameter—slipped off the sled and rolled down on him, striking him in the hollow of his legs. He was thrown face-forward across the four logs still on the ground and pinned there, alone, with no way to extract himself. He knew he would freeze to death and die alone in the mountains. "The next thing this young pioneer remembered was waking up, sitting on a load of five logs nicely bound on his sled with his oxen pulling the load down the canyon. In his personal history he wrote, 'Who it was that extricated me from under the log, loaded my sled, hitched my oxen to it, and placed me on it, I cannot sa…

gratitude

When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your life.


President Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (1997), p. 250




The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil.  Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life...Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place.  How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!


President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th edition (1939), page 263

own each day

One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical hour decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. He only is right who owns the day and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded by worry, fret and anxiety. Finish each day, and be done with it. You have done what you could.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

faithful obedience

"At times we may rationalize that the Lord will understand our disobedience because our special circumstances make adherence to His laws difficult, embarrassing, or even painful. However, faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task, will bring the Lord's guidance, assistance, and peace."Bruce A. Carlson, "When the Lord Commands," Ensign, May 2010, 39


"...the Lord is able to do all things according to His will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him...Wherefore, let us be faithful to Him."1 Nephi 7:12

Priesthood power as a shield

"Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling. You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary's mischief will be that power. You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Boyd K. Packer, "The Power of the Priesthood," Ensign, May 2010, 9

there is no double standard for parents

We should never permit ourselves to do anything that we are not willing to see our children do.  We should set an example for them to imitate.  Do we realize this?  How often we see parents demand obedience, good behavior, kind words, pleasant looks, a sweet voice and a bright eye from a child or children when they themselves are full of bitterness and scolding!  How inconsistent and unreasonable this is!


Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 208

We need to love God

“God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration. “No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 21-22

kind words

Kind words cost no more than unkind ones...and we may scatter the seeds of courtesy and kindliness around us at so little expense. If you would fall into any extreme let it be on the side of gentleness. The human mind is so constructed that it resists vigor and yields to softness.


-Jeremy Bentham

be your best self

Never act toward someone as though you are never going to come across him again in life...Never sacrifice what the future may hold for some immediate gain. Be yourself with everyone you meet---but be your best self, for you can be sure that before you have lived out your life you are going to meet again....You always meet people a second time.

-Samuel Goldwyn

diversions

When I look back on my life nowadays, which I sometimes do, what strikes me most forcibly about it is that what seemed at the time most significant and seductive, seems now most futile and absurd. For instance, success in all of its various guises; being know and being praised; ostensible pleasures, like acquiring money or seducing women, or traveling, going to and fro in the world and up and down in it like Satan, exploring and experiencing whatever vanity fair has to offer. In retrospect all of these exercises in self-gratification seem pure fantasy, what Pascal called “licking the earth.” They are diversions, designed to distract our attention from the true purpose of our existence in this world, which is, quite simply: to look for God, an, in looking, to find Him, and, having found Him, to love Him, thereby establishing a harmonious relationship with His purposes for His creation.  (emphasis added)
Malcolm Muggeridge

Washington's wisdom

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. Let your heart feel for the affections and distresses of every one, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse; remembering the widow’s mite, that it is not every one that asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worthy of the inquiry, or the deserving may suffer.

-George Washington

Impatience

I used to think of impatience as simply a natural part of some people’s personality, but over the years I have come to conclude that habitual impatience is a mark of immaturity.
-Dr. Harold Lee Snow

Integrity

A man is already of consequence in the world when it is know that he can be relied on, that when he says he knows a thing, he does know it---that when he says he will do a thing, he can do it, and does it.

-Samuel Smiles

a personal citadel

Each good man has in himself a quiet place wherein he lives however torn seemingly by the passions of the world. That is his citadel, which must be kept inviolate against assaults. That quiet place must be founded upon a rock and the rock must be a belief, a fervent and passionate belief, in the existence of the ultimate good, and a willingness to put forth his strength against the ultimate evil.


-Dr. Foster Kennedy

the great crisis of life

The great crisis of life are often like a bolt out of the blue of a Summer day; there is not a moment for preparation. In such crises all that a man has been doing in the way of preparation suddenly bears fruit. He often acts instinctively; he does that which he is in the habit of doing and, because he is in the habit of doing his best and all his instincts prompt him to put forth the best that is in him, he seizes the golden moment and does not discover until afterwards that it was golden.


-Hamilton Mabie

a great ocean of undiscovered truth

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on a seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

-Sir Isaac Newton

Obedience

When obedience becomes our goal, it is no longer an irritation; instead of a stumbling block, it becomes a building block. …Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated.


President James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1999, p. 47

What is a man...

What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Sure He that made us with such large discourse, Looking before and after, gave us not That capability and god-like reason To fust in us unus’d.

-Shakespeare (from Hamlet)

Truth

If we would only testify of the truth as we see it, it would turn out at once that there are hundreds, thousands, and even millions of men just as we are, who see the truth as we do, are afraid as we are of seeming to be singular by confessing it, and are only waiting, again as we are, for someone to proclaim it.

-Leo Tolstoy

Good people

Years ago I preferred cleaver people. There was a joy in beholding a mind bearing thoughts quickly translated into words, or ideas expressed in a new way. I find now that my taste has changed. Verbal fireworks often bore me. They seem motivated by self-assertion and self-display. I now prefer another type of person; one who is considerate, understanding of others, careful not to break down another person’s self-respect. .....My preferred person today is one who is always aware of the needs of others, of their pain and fear and unhappiness, and their search for self-respect...I once liked clever people. Now I like good people.
Solomon Bennett Freehof

Love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O no! It is an ever fixed mark That looks on tempest and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me be proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
-Shakespeare, Sonnet cxvi

Purpose in suffering

No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God.




Orson F. Whitney

Living worthy of the companionship of Heaven

I am not so anxious about the Spirit; let a man walk as pure and holy as the Gods and angels, and then see if there will not be the light of eternity in him.  Let a man or woman talk without spot or blemish and the Spirit and power of God Almighty will be with them all the time, and the angels of God will be round about them all the time, they will be preserved to do the will of God preparatory to an eternal exaltation.  
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Volume 4, p. 63

The beauty of our religion

When you hear a man pour out eternal things, how well you feel, to what a nearness you seem to be brought to God.  What a delight it was to hear brother Joseph talk upon the great principles of eternity; he would bring them down to the capacity of a child, and he would unite heaven with earth, this is the beauty of our religion.

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Volume 4, p. 54

Pride and Humility

Pride is the switch that turns off priesthood power.  Humility is a switch that turns it on...Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman.


President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2010 General Conference

The Race

THE RACE
I
"Quit! Give up! You're beaten!" They shout at me and plead. "There's just too much against you now. This time you can't succeed!"
And as I start to hang my head In front of failure's face My downward fall is broken by The memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will As I recall that scene For just the thought of that short race Rejuvenates my being.
II
A children's race; young boys, young men How I remember it well. Excitement, sure! But also fear. It wasn't hard to tell.
They all lined up, so full of hope Each thought to win that race. Or tie for first, or it not that At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side Each cheering for his son And each boy hoped to show his dad That he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went Young hearts and hopes afire To win and be the hero there Was each young boy's desire.
And one boy in particular