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"I stand at the door and knock" (Revelation 3:20; Kimball)

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 

Revelation 3:20

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told the following story about Revelation 3:20:
“Holman Hunt, the artist, felt inspired to capture this stirring scripture on canvas. One day he was showing his picture of ‘Christ Knocking at the Door’ to a friend when the friend suddenly exclaimed: ‘There is one thing wrong about your picture.’ “‘What is it?’ inquired the artist. “‘The door on which Jesus knocks has no handle,’ replied his friend. “‘Ah,’ responded Mr. Hunt, ‘that is not a mistake. You see, this is the door to the human heart. It can only be opened from the inside.’ “And thus it is. Jesus may stand and knock, but each of us decides whether to open. The Spirit is powerless to compel a man to move. The man himself must take the initiative (The Miracle of Forgiveness 1969, 212).

Lessons from Jonah and the great fish, the omniscience and omnipotence of God (Jonah; D&C 3; Joseph Smith; Maxwell)

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish athree days and three nights. Jonah 1:15, 17 Consider what this incident from the life of Jonah teaches us about the Lord, about His omniscience and His power to accomplish His purposes.  The great fish that swallowed Jonah would have been "prepared" many, many years previously by the Lord, whether through His use of evolution, genetics, etc. or otherwise.  In other words, we may safely assume that this fish was NOT just magically "poofed" out of nowhere just prior to its appearance in the water at the moment it swallowed Jonah.  Rather, it was born and grew to maturity, over the course of many years... In addition, consider the fact that this "great fish" was in the exact place and at exactly the right time to be able to swallow Jonah, save Jonah from drowning, etc…

The Lord of the Universe (Maxwell)

...At Christmastime...we celebrate a special star that announced Jesus' birth at Bethlehem. Thus, the so-called "little star of Bethlehem" was actually very large in its declaration of divine design! It had to have been placed in its precise orbit long, long before it shone so precisely! Persuasive divine design is underscored in what the Lord has said: "All things must come to pass in their time" (D&C 64:32). His overseeing precision pertains not only to astrophysical orbits but to human orbits as well. This is such a stunning thing for us to contemplate as to our obligations to "shine as lights" within our own orbits and personal responsibilities! (See Philippians 2:15.)

In Jesus there is a unique blend of both meekness and majesty. Though the Lord of the Universe, Christ was meekly willing to live in this world, which he created under the Father's direction. In Paul's words, he agreed to reside on earth as a person of no reputation (see…

"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God." (C.S. Lewis)

"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God."
C.S. Lewis
Source: “Mere Christianity” (1952)

Christmas is the spirit of giving (Monson)

"Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others."

—President Thomas S. Monson, "Christmas Is Love"

There are no ordinary people (C.S. Lewis)

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.” C.S. Lewis

"as long as the earth shall stand." (Maxwell)

For my part, I am glad the book will be with us “as long as the earth shall stand.” I need and want additional time. For me, towers, courtyards, and wings await inspection. My tour of it has never been completed. Some rooms I have yet to enter, and there are more flaming fireplaces waiting to warm me. Even the rooms I have glimpsed contain further furnishings and rich detail yet to be savored. There are panels inlaid with incredible insights and design and decor dating from Eden. There are also sumptuous banquet tables painstakingly prepared by predecessors which await all of us. Yet, we as Church members sometimes behave like hurried tourists, scarcely venturing beyond the entry hall to the mansion.

May we come to feel as a whole people beckoned beyond the entry hall. May we go inside far enough to hear clearly the whispered truths from those who have “slumbered,” which whisperings will awaken in us individually the life of discipleship as never before.

The Book of Mormon: A Great Answ…

there is a chance for all of us to be much better (Brigham Young)

A man can commit sin, and return to the Lord and receive forgiveness; but who has the assurance that he will have power to repent? Who has the right and privilege granted unto him to swear, or to take that which is not his own and make use of it for himself? I know of no such right... I know of no person who has a right to sin.
“Brother Brigham, don’t you sometimes sin?” If I do, it is none of your business; and the whole of you are not smart enough to catch me in a wrong. Look back at my life since I have been preaching the Gospel, and point out, if you can, the iniquity I have committed. “Have you not taken the name of God in vain?” Not the first time have I ever used the name of my Savior, or the name of a holy angel, or the name of the mother of Jesus, or the name of our Father in heaven with trifling feelings. “Have you not taken that which was not your own?” No; and I have not been able to get half of what is my own. I am going to have much more than I now have—not twice or thric…

"I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Monson, Joshua 1:5)

"Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change." —Thomas S. Monson, ""I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee""
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with aMoses, so I will be bwith thee: I will not fail thee, nor cforsake thee. Joshua 1:5

The real Christmas (Hunter)

“The real Christmas comes to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master.”

-The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams (1997), 269; quoted in Ensign, Dec. 2012, 55

the new covenant (Jeremiah 31)

31 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a anewbcovenant with the house of cIsrael, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the acovenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 33 But this shall be the acovenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my blaw in their inward parts, and write it in their chearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all aknow me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their biniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:31-34

the first test of a great man is humility (Ruskin; Jensen)

I resonate to the English author John Ruskin’s memorable statement that “the first test of a truly great man is his humility.” He continued: “I do not mean, by humility, doubt of his own power. … [But really] great men … have a curious … feeling that … greatness is not in them, but through them. … And they see something Divine … in every other man … , and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.”

Elder Marlin K. Jensen, April 2001 General Conference

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2001/04/to-walk-humbly-with-thy-god?lang=eng

infinite attention (C.S. Lewis)

"God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had ever created." 

Source: “Mere Christianity” (1952) 

Relying on God every day (C.S. Lewis)

"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done." 

Source: “Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis” (2006)

"angels are silent notes taking" (Orson Hyde)

God has spoken, and I know it, because I have heard his voice, and know the voice of the GoodShepherd, and am thankful that I have felt his power. Do I know that he has given this authority to use his name? Yes, gentlemen, I know it; and not only so, but I know that there are heavenly messengers that are now near me, as near as brothers Watt and Long, who are taking notes as faithfully as they are, and more so. The natural eye cannot see them, but they are here, and by our acts and our words shall we be judged. Yes, and these messengers transmit our words and our acts up on high, which are registered there in books; and by-and-by, when the dead, small and great, shall stand before God, these are the books that will be opened, and the dead will be judged out of the things that are written in the books. Then let us be careful what we do and what we say. The sacred writings on earth contain the law, but the records above contain the facts. Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses 8:24
Angels abov…

God is more interested in our place in His kingdom than our place in mortal organizational charts (Maxwell)

God is infinitely more interested in our having a place in His kingdom than with our spot on a mortal organizational chart. We may brood over our personal span of control, but He is concerned with our capacity for self-control. Father wants us to come home, bringing our real résumés, ourselves! Even so, our mortal jealousies still occur regularly over money, turf, a slight, or the “robes” and the “fatted calf” given to others (see Luke 15:22–23). True belonging occurs when we know who we are and to whom we really belong! Remember the popular lines in Fiddler on the Roof about Anatevka? There, “everyone knows who he is and what God expects him todo” (Joseph Stein, Fiddler on the Roof [1964], 3; emphasis added), to which might be added “and what God expects him to be.” Yes, we are free to choose the mortal perks with their short shelf life. However, ahead lies that great moment when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ! (see Mosiah 27:31D&C 88:104). …

our lives are the sum total of our seemingly unimportant decisions (Hinckley, Maxwell)

Many individuals preoccupied by the cares of the world are not necessarily in transgression. But they certainly are in diversion and thus waste “the days of [their] probation” (2 Ne. 9:27). Yet some proudly live “without God in the world” (Alma 41:11), with gates and doors locked from the inside! Mark it down, brothers and sisters, people too caught up in themselves will inevitably let other people down! Let us adopt the attitude recommended by President Brigham Young: “Say to the fields, … flocks, … herds, … gold, … silver, … goods, … chattels, … tenements, … possessions, and to all the world, stand aside; get away from my thoughts, for I am going up to worship the Lord” (Deseret News, 5 Jan. 1854, 2). There are so many ways to say to the world, “stand aside.” Periodically, husbands and wives can reason together, taking inventory. Minor corrections may be needed, and besides, such conversations can be more precious than we know. Alas, so many couples are too busy. Moments are the molecul…

fidelity, not geography, really determines distance from God (Maxwell)

Like the prodigal son, we too can go to “a far country,” which may be no further away than a vile rock concert. The distance to “a far country” is not to be measured by miles but by how far our hearts and minds are from Jesus! (see Mosiah 5:13). Fidelity, not geography, really determines the distance!

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, October 2000 General Conference 

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/10/the-tugs-and-pulls-of-the-world?lang=eng

God, who knows everything, still spends time listening to our prayers (Maxwell)

Isn’t it marvelous, brothers and sisters, that God, who knows everything, still spends time listening to our prayers? Compared to that cosmic fact, what does the world really have to offer us? One round of applause, one fleeting moment of adulation, or an approving glance from a phantom Caesar?

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, October 2000 General Conference

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/10/the-tugs-and-pulls-of-the-world?lang=eng

"...the best day I have ever lived" (Brigham Young)

My exhortation to every man, woman, and child that has named the name of Christ—my positive command to you, which I urge upon you, and which it is your imperative duty to hearken to and obey, is to so live every moment that there will not be a dark spot upon your lives—that you can say every night, "The last is the best day I have ever lived. God be praised that I have been enabled to so live this day that I can go to sleep with a clear conscience." In short, so live that when you wake in the spirit world you can truthfully say, "I could not better my mortal life, were I to live it over again." I exhort you, for the sake of the house of Israel, for the sake of Zion which we are to build up, to so live, from this time, henceforth, and forever, that your characters may with pleasure be scrutinized by holy beings. Live godly lives, which you cannot do without living moral lives. A man can commit sin, and return to the Lord and receive forgiveness; but who has the ass…

broken vessel (Holland)

silver lining (Holland)

We must be different in order to make a difference in the world (3 Nephi 12:13-16)

13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

15 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay,but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;

16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
3 Nephi 12:13-16

The kingdoms that God has prepared are innumerable (Brigham Young)

The kingdoms that God has prepared are innumerable. Each and every intelligent being will be judged according to the deeds done in the body, according to his works, faith, desires, and honesty or dishonesty before God; every trait of his character will receive its just merit or demerit, and he will be judged according to the law of heaven as revealed; and God has prepared places suited to every class. The Savior said to his disciples—"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." How many kingdoms there are has not been told to us: they are innumerable. The disciples of Jesus were to dwell with him. Where will the rest go? Into kingdoms prepared for them, where they will live and endure. Jesus will bring forth, by his own redemption, every son and daughter of Adam, except the…

Every trial is necessary for salvation (Brigham Young)

Can you discern and understand the dealings of the Lord with this people from the beginning? If we can understand this, it is indeed a matter of great rejoicing to us. All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. If we obtain the glory that Abraham obtained, we must do so by the same means that he did. If we are ever prepared to enjoy the society of Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or of their faithful children, and of the faithful Prophets and Apostles, we must pass through the same experience, and gain the knowledge, intelligence, and endowments that will prepare us to enter into the celestial kingdom of our Father and God. How many of the Latter-day Saints will endu…

Our religion is peace, hapiness, wealth and the fullness of good things... (Brigham Young)

Our religion is peace, happiness, wealth, and a fullness of good things to walk in the light of truth. These blessings are with and for the Latter-day Saints, and we have nothing to do but to live for them. God has given us our tabernacles, and planted in them the germs of eternity; and it is for us, in this present existence, to let the spirit overcome every passion of the flesh, and never to suffer the spirit to submit to the temptations of the flesh. Labor to bring everything into subjection to Christ, for this is his earth. It came from God in the beginning, and that, too, not by any chances of creation; for all that you see and can comprehend and understand, that is good, is produced by the Almighty Creator of the worlds. Respect one another; do not speak lightly of each other. Some, if they get a little pique against an individual, are disposed to cast him down to hell, as not worthy of a place upon earth. O fools! not to understand that those you condemn are the workmanship of…

Popularity and Principle (Maxwell; Brigham Young; Tanner)

There are real dangers—subtle and obvious—when members fall into lockstep with the world’s ways. In so many respects, the world’s ways head in opposite directions from gospel destinations. Moreover, as a covenant people, our behavioral loyalties are to be with the Lord, not with the Caesars of this world. But the tugs of the world are real and persistent. Besides, following the fashions of the world is merely to pursue eventual obsolescence, “for the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Cor. 7:31). Typically, President Brigham Young spoke sternly concerning popularity and what can be its ruining acclaim: “I do not want ‘Mormonism’ to become popular. … I would rather pass through all the misery and sorrow, the troubles and trials of the Saints, than to have the religion of Christ become popular with the world” (inJournal of Discourses, 10:297). President N. Eldon Tanner cautioned, “This craving for praise and popularity too often controls actions, and as [people] succumb they find thems…