Sunday, December 20, 2009

Meeting Challenges

In Elder's Quorum today, the teacher used a quote from Neal A. Maxwell about foreordination.

This is what Elder Maxwell said, "When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship. When we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the assurance that God will not overprogram us; he will not press upon us more than we can bear (D&C 50:40).

The doctrine of foreordination, therefore, is not a doctrine of repose; it is a doctrine for the second-milers; it can draw out of us the last full measure of devotion. It is a doctrine of perspiration, not aspiration. Moreover, it discourages aspiring, lest we covet, like two early disciples, that which has already been given to another (Matthew 20:20–23). Foreordination is a doctrine for the deep believer and will only bring scorn from the skeptic."

The parts I underlined really got me thinking about how each of use face and respond to challenges. According to this doctrine, we know we've been foreordained to the callings that are being extended to us today. We were foreordained to these callings according to how we exercised our agency in the pre-existence. Armed with the knowledge of these two things, we know we accomplished much before this life and we know we can accomplish much in this life. Consequently, we know we can meet and beat any challenges given to us in this life. And knowing that, at least for me, gives me great comfort and motivation.

Source: "Meeting the Challenges of Today" by NEAL A. MAXWELL

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas and Minimalism

I really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's Christmas Devotional talk last night. He talked of those who lived in the Savior's time and didn't even know He was the Messiah. Much like "those whose hearts were closed to the Spirit" could not see Jesus in His day, many of us today do not make the time let alone take the time to seek the Christ.

My favorite quote of the whole devotional and perhaps the most important lesson for me was, "Some are so caught up in the details of running their lives, that they don't make time for much else."

When it comes to our testimony of the Savior, all of us need to ask ourselves what we can take out of our lives to make room of Jesus. Is there an hour or even a half-hour TV program we could "delete" from our lives to give us the time to study the scriptures? Do we really need to spend an extra 45 minutes at work reading and answering email? Could we use that time to meditate and pray? Each of us has unique lives and situations and so everyone will not have the same temptations. But regardless of who we are, we can all ask the question, "are we taking and even making the time to learn of Jesus?"

What can you not do today in order to make time for prayer and scripture study?