Edwards Family

Edwards Family

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My testimony

Last night in my letter to my MTC missionary son I felt like sharing my testimony with him.  Here it is. 

I want to share my testimony with you. 

I know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ, who atoned for our sins so we can repent and become exalted. I know it. I know that the Holy Ghost helps us very often if we tune into Him – through feelings, thoughts, warning of danger, testifying of truth, reminding us of things we’ve learned, sanctifying us, and guiding our big and small decisions. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church on the earth, and that it has the fullness of the gospel, including God’s priesthood power, saving ordinances and temples, living prophets and revelation. We are so very blessed to have the fullness, rather than just some truths. It’s like how much more you can play on that awesome conference center organ with all the keys and stops, than you can on a little mini keyboard. The mini keyboard still plays some music, but not as much and not as powerfully. I know that Jesus Christ will come to earth again, and the most important thing we can do to prepare is come unto Christ and repent. 

I know that families are central to God’s plan and that because of the priesthood power, temples, and Christ’s Atonement, families can be together forever! Which is super de duper awesome!! I know that the family and home are the best places to learn the gospel and develop our character to become more like Christ. I know that a gospel that invites sacrifice of time, talents, and funds is a gospel with the power to help us change into the beings God needs us to become. I know that if we hold fast to what we know in the gospel, any little things we don't understand will make sense later. The old adage is true -- it's best to doubt your doubts and feed your faith, until your doubts are resolved or disappear. 

I know that by studying true doctrine, ESPECIALLY in the Book of Mormon, our attitudes and actions change from the inside out. From my powerful experience last December with reading the Book of Mormon in one month I know that book is true more than I ever have before. And I know that Joseph Smith was right when he said that the Book of Mormon is the truest book on the earth, and living its principles brings you closer to Christ than any other book. 

I know that Jesus Christ leads this Church through giving revelation to living prophets and apostles, and that they are inspired of God for our needs today. If we follow them we will be blessed. Period. I know that our opportunities to serve as a missionary for you, or in other callings like Dad’s bishop-ing or my seminary-ing, are incredible opportunities to bless others AND ourselves. Those callings bring us closer to the Savior, help us stretch, grow, do hard things, study hard, ask for and receive revelation, become less self-centered, and change in wonderful ways. They help us to become like Jesus. Which is what we want. I know that through Christ ALL things, including our challenges, can work together for our good. Challenges are part of the plan, and we can choose to let them make us bitter or better. I also know that Satan is real and he knows our strengths, weaknesses, and life missions. Because he’s real I know that it’s uber important that we put on the armor of God chain mail every single day through power holy habits like:  

connecting prayer (not just saying a prayer)
feasting on scriptures (not just skimming the surface) and words of the prophets 
serving others, which includes missionary work, callings, small acts of kindness and friendship, service projects, helping the poor and needy, and especially serving in our own families 
obeying the commandments, modern prophets, and promptings from the Spirit
using holy music and media, avoiding worldly music and media
in other words – continually filling ourselves with God’s light and pushing away darkness

It’s all true, Adam! I know you already know that. But I just wanted to say it anyway. 

I love, love, love you!! 


Friday, November 21, 2014

My seminary student totally made my day!

One thing we discussed in seminary this morning was modesty. 

I thanked the girls in the class for dressing modestly, and said I'm sure the boys in the room appreciate when they dress modestly. Boys were nodding their heads in agreement. After class, one young man came up to me and said, "Sister Edwards, I like your outfit. You are modest AND fashionable." 

Young man, you just totally made my day! 

The MOST important commandment.

“The most important commandment is the one you have difficulty keeping  today!  Now, if you have made mistakes, make today the beginning of a change in your lives.  Turn from the thing that you have been doing that is wrong.  The most important of all the commandments of God is that one you are having the most difficulty keeping today.  If it is one of dishonesty, if it is one of unchastity, if it is one of falsifying, not telling the truth, TODAY is the day for you to work on that until you have been able to conquer that weakness.  Put that aright and then you start on the next one that is most difficult for you to keep.  That’s the way to sanctify yourself by keeping the commandments of God.”

(Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 73-14)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Good stuff takes effort, but sin thrusts itself upon you.

"All good things require effort. That which is worth having will cost part of your physical being, your intellectual power, and your soul power—“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt. 7:7.) But you have to seek, you have to knock. On the other hand, sin thrusts itself upon you. It walks beside you, it tempts you, it entices, it allures. You do not have to put forth effort. … It is like the billboard advertising attracting you to drink and to smoke. It is like the message that comes into your very homes with the television and radio. … Evil seeks you, and it requires effort and fortitude to combat it. But truth and wisdom are gained only by seeking, by prayer, and by effort" 

(David O. McKay, Conference Report, Oct. 1965). 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cool quotes about gifts of the Spirit...and a mini handout to glue into your scriptures

Tomorrow in seminary we're discussing gifts of the Spirit in D&C 46. Click here for a mini handout of these quotes that you can glue into your scriptures. Just print it on both sides and then cut it into four handouts. 

Three places in the scriptures you'll find a list of spiritual gifts. 
  • D&C 46:11-26
  • Moroni 10:8-19
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

God wants us to ask for the best gifts. 
  • D&C 46:8 – “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts.”
  • 1 Cor 12:31 – “Covet earnestly the best gifts.” 
  • 1 Cor 14:1 – “Desire spiritual gifts.”
  • Moroni 7:48 – Pray with all the energy of heart to be filled with charity. 

Ask to be shown your gifts. 

President Henry B. Eyring – "My challenge to you is to pray to know the gifts you've been given, to know how to develop them, and to recognize the opportunities to serve others that God provides us" (“Help Them Aim High," Ensign, Nov 2012).

Elder Gene R. Cook -- "One of the great processes you go through in life is to discover yourself, to find those gifts and capacities God has given you. He has given you great talents, the smallest part of which you have just begun to utilize. Trust the Lord to assist you in unlocking the door to those gifts. Some of us have created imaginary limits in our minds. There is literally a genius locked up inside each of us. Don't ever let anyone convince you otherwise" ("Trust in the Lord," in Hope [1988], 90-91).

Ask for the gifts needed to overcome your weaknesses. 

President George Q. Cannon – “How many of you ... are seeking for these gifts that God has promised to bestow? ... If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct my imperfections. No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them” (Millennial Star, Apr. 23, 1894, 260). 

Ask for specific gifts that are most helpful. 

Elder Robert D. Hales – “One [gift of the Spirit] that I believe has impact on each of our lives is the gift of prophecy or revelation. This gift is different from the priesthood office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus”  (Ensign, Feb 2002, 12).  

President Joseph Fielding Smith –  “All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance” (Church History & Modern Revelation, [1953], 1:201).

George Q. Cannon has called the gift of discerning of spirits “a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter-day Saint. … No Latter-day Saint should be without this gift, because there is such a variety of spirits in the world which seek to deceive and lead astray” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. in 1 [1987], 156–57).

There are an infinite variety of spiritual gifts. 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie – “Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 371).

Less conspicuous gifts of the Spirit.

Elder Robert D. Hales – “Other gifts [are]...the gift to ponder, looking to God for direction, the gift to hear and respond to the still, small voice, the gift to be calm, which includes the ability to curb anger and to be temperate rather than contentious, the gift to study and to listen, and, perhaps the greatest gift of all, to have charity” (Ensign, Feb 2002, 12).

Elder Marvin J. Ashton –  “Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being 
judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost” (Ensign, Nov. 1987). 

The scriptures give us three lists of spiritual gifts. 

D&C 46:8-29 – Know that Jesus is the Son of God, believe in their words, know differences of administration (administering & leading the church*), know diversities of operations (discern whether a teaching or influence is from God or another source*), word of wisdom (gift of wisdom - the ability to use knowledge in righteous ways*), word of knowledge – teach to be wise and to have knowledge, faith to be healed, faith to heal, work miracles, prophesy (John taught “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” – Rev 19:10*), discerning spirits, speak with tongues (speak in different languages, or tongues*), interpretation of tongues. (*Explanation of gifts from lds.org under Index of Topics: "Spiritual Gifts.")

Moroni 10:8-21 – Teach the word of wisdom by the Spirit (teach by the power of the Holy Ghost*), teach the word of knowledge by the Spirit (teach by the power of the Holy Ghost*), exceedingly great faith, gifts of healing, work mighty miracles, prophesy, beholding angels and ministering spirits, all kinds of tongues, interpretation of languages.

1 Corinthians 12:7-10  – Word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophesy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues.

Moroni 7:43-48, 1 Cor 13 – Faith, hope, charity.  Pray with all energy of heart to be filled with charity, the greatest gift of all, the pure love of Christ, if you don’t have it you’re nothing, cleave unto it.

Besides granting us gifts, the Holy Spirit changes us in other amazing ways. 

Elder Parley P. Pratt (1807-57) --  "The gift of the Holy Spirit adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates, and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form, and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being" (Key to the Science of Theology [1979], 61).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Preparing for Christ's Second Coming...great stuff from the seminary manual

Tomorrow's seminary lesson is about preparing for Christ's Second Coming in D&C 45. Here are some great quotes, videos, and other stuff from the manual. 

The most important preparation is to come to Christ and repent. 

"Assure students that the most important preparation we can make for the Second Coming is to come to the Savior, repent, and be cleansed of our sins. Invite students to think about whether they need to repent of anything and what they must do to be cleansed of sin." (Doctrine & Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013, page 120). 

"Preparing for the Second Coming"

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: The Ten Virgins in the Last Days (D&C 45:56-57) 

“The arithmetic of this parable is chilling. The ten virgins obviously represent members of Christ’s Church, for all were invited to the wedding feast and all knew what was required to be admitted when the bridegroom came. But only half were ready when he came” (“Preparation for the Second Coming,” Ensign, May 2004).

"They that are Wise"

President Spencer W. Kimball: Adding oil to our lamps 

“In the parable, oil can be purchased at the market. In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living. Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity—these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 256).

"Taking the Spirit as Our Guide"

The three things the wise virgins did in D&C 45:57 were: 

  1. Receiving the truth
  2. Taking the Holy Spirit as their guide
  3. Avoiding being deceived 

"Be Not Troubled" 

Stand in Holy Places (D&C 45:32)

“‘Holy places’ may have more to do with how one lives than where one lives. If we live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then we stand in a holy place. … A holy place is any place where a person enjoys the Spirit of God” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 196).

"Stand in Holy Places"

President Boyd K. Packer: We need the Spirit and we need not fear

"We live in troubled times-very troubled times. We hope, we pray, for better days. But that is not to be. The prophecies tell us that. We will not as a people, as families, or as individuals be exempt from the trials to come. ... We need not live in fear of the future. We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do" ("The Cloven Tongues of Fire," Ensign, May 2000).

Here is an overview of last days events from Elder Ballard.  

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presented a comprehensive overview of the events of the Second Coming in an article titled "When Shall These Things Be?" by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

One more good one...

P.S. This isn't from the seminary manual but it's my favorite talk to help you live with excitement rather than fear about the last days. It's Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's "Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast." Here are a couple great quotes from it:

"We cannot stop living life. Indeed, we should live life more fully than we have ever lived it before. After all, this is the dispensation of the fullness of times. ... God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe." 

Ten awesome talks by Elder Holland!

Click here to see these ten awesome talks. 

Thank you to the people who gathered these beautiful talks and pictures all in one place!