This is one of the best talks on the enabling power of the Atonement I have ever read. It is also very practical in the approach...In short, it is VERY, VERY, VERY good. http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1966
The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become. Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Liahona, Jan. 2001, 40; Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32.
Look to God for What Is Needed Each Day In Luke it is recorded that one of His disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” ( Luke 11:1 ). Jesus then gave a pattern for prayer that has become known as the Lord’s Prayer. The same is recorded in Matthew as part of the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 6:9–13 ). Included in the Lord’s Prayer is the petition “Give us this day our daily bread” ( Matthew 6:11 ) or “Give us day by day our daily bread” ( Luke 11:3 ). I believe that we would all readily acknowledge that we have needs each day that we want our Heavenly Father’s help in dealing with. For some, on some days, it is quite literally bread—that is, the food needed to sustain life that day. It could also be spiritual and physical strength to deal with one more day of chronic illness or a painfully slow rehabilitation. In other cases it may be less tangible needs, such as things related to one’s obligations or activities in that day—teaching a less
Man is endowed with power and wisdom sufficient, if he will exercise them, to silence his tongue, and cause his hands to cease their operations. His feet may be swift to shed blood, but he has power to pause, and combat and conquer the enemy; for good is present with him also and he is influenced in a greater or lesser degree by the Spirit of the Lord. You experience these two opposites of good and evil in yourselves every day you live, you are tried, tempted and overtaken in sin, by saying and doing that which is wrong. Now from this time henceforth, pause, and whatever you do, let it be done in a spirit of reflection, never again act in haste, but let your actions always be the result of mature consideration. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:92
As the Great Exemplar and Daystar of our lives, is it any wonder that Christ chooses first and foremost to define himself in relation to his father--that he loved him and obeyed him and submitted to him like the loyal son he was? And what he as a child of God did, we must try very hard to do also. Obedience is the first law of heaven, but in case you haven't noticed, some of these commandments are not easy, and we frequently may seem to be in for much more than we bargained for. At least if we are truly serious about becoming a saint, I think we will find that is the case. Let me use an example from what is often considered by foes, and even by some friends, as the most unsavory moment in the entire Book of Mormon. I choose it precisely because there is so much in it that has given offense to many. It is pretty much a bitter cup all the way around. I speak of Nephi's obligation to slay Laban in order to preserve a record, save a people, and ultimately lead to the res
In King Lear (III, vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not even given him a name: he is simply called "First Servant." All the characters around him--Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund--have fine long-term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they are quite wrong. The servant, however, has no such delusions. He has no notion how the play is going to go. But he understands the present scene. He sees an abomination (the blinding of old Gloucester) taking place. He will not stand for it. His sword is out and pointed at his master's breast in an instant. Then Regan stabs him dead from behind. That is his whole part: eight lines all told. But, Lewis says, if that were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted. The doctrine of the Second Coming teaches us that we do not and cannot know when Christ will come and the world drama will end. He may appear and the curtain may be rung down at any
I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A [mathematical] sum [incorrectly worked] can be put right; but only by going back till you find the error and then working it fresh from that point. [It will] never [be corrected] by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot "develop" into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound. C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York: Macmillan Co., 1973), p. 6
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.
I have personally verified that concepts like faith, prayer, love, and humility hold no great significance and produce no miracles until they become a living part of us through our own experience, aided by the sweet prompting of the Holy Spirit. In early life I found that I could learn gospel teachings intellectually and, through the power of reason and analysis, recognize that they were of significant value. But their enormous power and ability to stretch me beyond the limits of my imagination and capacity did not become reality until patient, consistent practice allowed the Holy Spirit to distill and expand their meaning in my heart. I found that while I was sincerely serving others, God forged my personal character. He engendered a growing capacity to recognize the direction of the Spirit. The genius of the gospel plan is that by doing those things the Lord counsels us to do, we are given every understanding and every capacity necessary to provide peace and rich fulfillment in this
We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming. Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind. In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality. Elder Richard G. Scott, October 2010 General Conference