Among other things, my gospel study in November included the following:
2009 Outline for Sharing Time and the Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation
November Theme (and weekly gospel principles): My Family and I can serve others.
November Scripture: "By love serve one another" (Galations 5:13).
Chapter 42: Family: The Sweetest Union for Time and for Eternity
Chapter 43: "He Was a Prophet of God": Contemporaries of Joseph Smith Testify of His Prophetic Mission
Chapter 44: The Restoration of All Things: The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times
Chapter 45: Joseph Smith's Feelings about His Prophetic Mission
Father in Heaven knew that you would face challenges and be required to make some decisions that would be beyond your own ability to decide correctly. In His plan of happiness, He included a provision for you to receive help with such challenges and decisions during your mortal life. That assistance will come to you through the Holy Ghost as spiritual guidance. It is a power, beyond your own capability, that a loving Heavenly Father wants you to use consistently for your peace and happiness.
Spirituality yields two fruits. The first is inspiration to know what to do. The second is power, or the capacity to do it.
Impressions of the Spirit can come in response to urgent prayer or unsolicited when needed. Sometimes the Lord reveals truth to you when you are not actively seeking it, such as when you are in danger and do not know it. However, the Lord will not force you to learn. You must exercise your agency to authorize the Spirit to teach you. As you make this a practice in your life, you will be more perceptive to the feelings that come with spiritual guidance. Then, when that guidance comes, sometimes when you least expect it, you will recognize it more easily.
Vicki F. Matsumori, “Helping Others Recognize the Whisperings of the Spirit,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 10–12
The importance of helping others understand is described in the Doctrine and Covenants. Parents “in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized” are told to help their children “understand the doctrine.”
One reason we are encouraged to pray and read the scriptures every single day is that both of these activities invite the Spirit into our homes and into the lives of our family members.
Because the Spirit is often described as a still, small voice, it is also important to have a time of quiet in our lives as well. The Lord has counseled us to “be still, and know that I am God.” If we provide a still and quiet time each day when we are not bombarded by television, computer, video games, or personal electronic devices, we allow that still, small voice an opportunity to provide personal revelation and to whisper sweet guidance, reassurance, and comfort to us.L. Whitney Clayton, “That Your Burdens May Be Light,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 12–14
No matter the burdens we face in life as a consequence of natural conditions, the misconduct of others, or our own mistakes and shortcomings, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth as part of His eternal plan for our growth and progress. Our unique individual experiences can help us prepare to return to Him. The adversity and afflictions that are ours, however difficult to bear, last, from heaven’s perspective, for “but a small moment; and then, if [we] endure it well, God shall exalt [us] on high.”1 We must do everything we can to bear our burdens “well” for however long our “small moment” carrying them lasts.
Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and love for others. There is no surprise in that, since the Lord proclaimed those as the first and great commandments. It is love of God that will lead us to keep His commandments. And love of others is at the heart of our capacity to obey Him.
First, I give counsel to husbands and wives. Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion. Pray for the love that makes weaknesses and mistakes seem small. Pray for the love to make your companion’s joy your own. Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften the sorrows of your companion.
I hope you will go out today looking for opportunities to do as He did and to love as He loves. I can promise you the peace that you felt as a child will come to you often and it will linger with you. The promise is true that He made to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”
I am confident it is the intention of each member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. At baptism we covenanted to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.”8 How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that “oh, surely someone will take care of that need.”
We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.