The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Making General Conference Better In 3 Steps

Conference.JPG

As we continue Conference today, I wanted to share 3 ideas about Conference that can make watching Conference more impactful, and especially make the next week better as you consider ways to apply the teachings of the weekend to your life over the next 6 months.

Taking Notes During Conference:

When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me.

What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel. That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood.

Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days.

(Robert D Hales, “General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony”)

I have tried this and it works very well! We will all get Conference on our phones and online very soon. Rather than trying to write down exact quotes of what is said (you’ll have it on your phone anyway!), focus on writing down how you feel, what the Spirit says to you. You will never get that back, so keeping notes on that is the most important writing you can do.

Listen for Hope

If in the days ahead you not only see limitations in those around you but also find elements in your own life that don’t yet measure up to the messages you have heard this weekend, please don’t be cast down in spirit and don’t give up. The gospel, the Church, and these wonderful semiannual gatherings are intended to give hope and inspiration. They are not intended to discourage you. Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.

(Jeffrey R. Holland, “Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You”)

The messages of General Conference are specially designed to help you get through the next 6 months. They are messages of hope and encouragement.

When we listen to Conference hoping to find the spiritual strength we need, we will hear the things God wants to give you. Try not just to listen passively. Try to find the exact messages of hope for you.

Then go back to idea #1 and write down what the Spirit tells you. These personal messages of hope will give you the strength you need tomorrow, next week, and over the next 6 months.

What You Do Next, Matters Most

There is a treasure chest of heavenly direction awaiting your discovery in the messages of general conference. The test for each of us is how we respond to what we hear, what we read, and what we feel.

I promise that as you hear the voice of the Lord to you in the teachings of this general conference, and then act on those promptings, you will feel heaven’s hand upon you, and your life and the lives of those around you will be blessed.

Neil L. Anderson “The Voice of the Lord”

After today, we are all now being tested. Whatever you hear today, what the Spirit speaks to you today, is now the test. Listening to Conference is great, but the test is not if we will listen.

The test is if we will act. Listen today with the intention to take action.

Conference is going to be great, let’s all make the most of it by listening for hope, writing down what the Spirit speaks to us, and then taking action!

 

Today and forevermore God’s grace is available to all May 27, 2018 Sunday Studies

Last week the Sunday Study pointed out that we all come up a bit short (Romans 2:23). Satan might use that to try and push you down and convince you that you aren’t good enough and never will be. But that isn’t true! Part of the reason Satan would want to do that is because when we come up a bit short, we naturally start looking for help. And that is a very good thing, because in God’s plan there is ALWAYS help!

This theme is repeated over and over in the scriptures!

Revelation 3:20

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.

Matthew 11:28

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Alma 36:18-21

  18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

  19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

  20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

  21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

Can you see why Satan would want you to turn inwards and away from the help that is there for you? It is because that help comes in the favor, grace, and mercy of the Savior.

Elder Uchtdorf teaches this with such power! Here is what he taught and the challenge he gives us:

“Today and forevermore God’s grace is available to all whose hearts are broken and whose spirits are contrite. Jesus Christ has cleared the way for us to ascend to heights incomprehensible to mortal minds.

I pray that we will see with new eyes and a new heart the eternal significance of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. I pray that we will show our love for God and our gratitude for the gift of God’s infinite grace by keeping His commandments and joyfully ‘walk[ing] in [a] newness of life.’” (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Gift of Grace”, April 2015).

Rather than beating ourselves up, let’s lift ourselves up knowing of God’s love for us and then lift up someone else who might not be as aware of that love as you are! Give thanks to God in prayer and then get up and go show thanks to God by helping someone else.

Next week we will study what the favor and grace of God does (and doesn’t do) for us.

Today’s Scripture Study

Revelation 3:20

Matthew 11:28

Alma 36:18-21

2 Nephi 25:23

Zechariah 1:3

D&C 88:63

The Gift of Grace by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf