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if

14 Apr

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

the path i had feared to see

6 Mar

I said, “Let me walk in the fields.
He said, “No; walk in the town.”
I said, “There are no flowers there.
He said, “No flowers but a crown.”

I said, “But the skies are black,
There is nothing but noise and din.”
And He wept as He sent me back;
“There is more,” He said. “There is sin.”

I said, “But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun.”
He answered, “Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone.”

I said, “I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say.”
He answered, “Choose tonight
If I am to miss you, or they.”

I pleaded for time to be given.
He said, “Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”

I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town.
He said, “My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for a crown?”

Then into His hand went mine;
And into my heart came He;
And I walked in a light divine,
The path I had feared to see.

-George MacDonald

keep the chain unbroken

20 Feb

When I think of the wonders that have come to pass in my lifetime–more than during all the rest of human history together–I stand in reverence and gratitude. It is all so miraculous and wonderful. When I was born, the life expectancy of a man in the United States was 50 years. Today it is more than 75. To think that 25 years have been added to the life of an average man in North America and western Europe is miraculous. And with all of this there has been the restoration of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. You and I are a part of the miracle and wonder of this great cause and kingdom that is sweeping over the earth blessing the lives of people wherever it reaches.”

“…In that sacred and hallowed house there passed through my mind a sense of the tremendous obligation that was mine to pass on all that I had received as an inheritance from my forebears to the generations who have now come after me.”

“As I sat in the celestial room of the temple pondering these things, I said to myself, ‘Never permit yourself to become a weak link in the chain of your generations.’ It is so important that we pass on without a blemish our inheritance of body and brain and, if you please, faith and virtue untarnished to the generations who will come after us.”

“Stay close to the Church. Stay close all of your lives. It really does not matter where you serve, what office you fill. There is no small or unimportant duty in this Church and in the kingdom of God.”

“It is not the calling we have, it is not the office in which we serve, but rather the manner in which we serve.”

“Brothers and sisters, as President Clark said: ‘In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how.’ Is there gladness in our hearts and joy in our lives as we reach out to bless others?”

“God bless you, my dear friends. Be faithful. Be true. Be loyal to the great cause of which you are a part. Never become a weak link in the chain of your family’s generations. Do whatever you are asked to do, and do it with a glad heart. Do not worry about office or position in the Church. Simply do whatever your calling requires, and do it with joy and gladness.”

-Gordon B. Hinckley, “Keep the Chain Unbroken” Nov. 30, 1999, BYU Devotional

becoming the pure in heart

18 Jan

This talk made me think of Comms like nobody’s business.

Zion is “every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.” (D&C 82:19.) As I understand these matters, Zion can be established only by those who are pure in heart, and who labor for Zion, for “the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (2 Ne. 26:31.)

As important as it is to have this vision in mind, defining and describing Zion will not bring it about. That can only be done through consistent and concerted daily effort by every single member of the Church. No matter what the cost in toil or sacrifice, we must “do it.” That is one of my favorite phrases: “Do It.” May I suggest three fundamental things we must do if we are to “bring again Zion,” three things for which we who labor for Zion must commit ourselves.

First, we must eliminate the individual tendency to selfishness that snares the soul, shrinks the heart, and darkens the mind.

Second, we must cooperate completely and work in harmony one with the other. There must be unanimity in our decisions and unity in our actions. After pleading with the Saints to “let every man esteem his brother as himself” (D&C 38:24), the Lord concludes his instructions on cooperation to a conference of the membership in these powerful words:

“Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:27.)

If the Spirit of the Lord is to magnify our labors, then this spirit of oneness and cooperation must be the prevailing spirit in all that we do. …

Third, we must lay on the altar and sacrifice whatever is required by the Lord. We begin by offering a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.” We follow this by giving our best effort in our assigned fields of labor and callings. We learn our duty and execute it fully. Finally we consecrate our time, talents and means as called upon by our file leaders and as prompted by the whisperings of the Spirit. …We can give expression to every ability, every righteous desire, every thoughtful impulse. Whether a volunteer, father, home teacher, bishop, or neighbor, whether a visiting teacher, mother, homemaker, or friend —
there is ample opportunity to give our all
. And as we give, we find that “sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven!” (Hymns, no. 147.) And in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.

-President Spencer W. Kimball, “Becoming the Pure in Heart” April 1978, General Conference

an eye single

30 Nov

(D&C 88:67) In that scripture for a brief moment I could see that inhibitions and fears and self-consciousness could be conquered if I stopped performing for the admiration of mortals and sought honestly and faithfully to glorify only God.

I learned that day that appreciation for our own worth has nothing to do with the applause of one’s neighbor and everything to do with having integrity before the Lord. We all need a higher image of ourselves, but Satan would have us believe it comes totally from the praise of others when in fact it comes from our relationship with God.

Just focus on pleasing God. Let God worry about pleasing the people.

I promise you that if this year your eye is fixed, centered, riveted, and so cemented that it cannot be distracted by the allure of the crowds or the vanities of this world—then you will hear your calling from God. Your destiny rests in that call. Keep your eye single to God’s glory, and in doing so fill your bodies with such brightness of light that you will fulfill your destiny as one created in his image.

-Patricia T. Holland, “An Eye Single” Sept. 10, 1985, BYU Devotional

where shall i serve today?

29 Nov

“Father, where shall I serve today?” I said,
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed me out a little spot
And said, “There, tend that for me.”

I said, “Oh no, not that,
Not that little place.
Why, no one would ever see —
No matter how well my work was done —
Not that little spot for me.”

The words he spoke — they were not stern.
He answered me tenderly,
“Little one, search that heart of thine,
Art thou serving them or me?
Nazareth was just a little spot
And so was Galilee.”

-Meade McGuire

let not your heart be troubled

25 Nov

“I come this morning with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course. I am not suggesting that our conversation be all honey and blossoms. Clever expression that is sincere and honest is a skill to be sought and cultivated. What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears.

Cynics do not contribute.
Skeptics do not create.
Doubters do not achieve.

This nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. . . . I have faith in America. You and I must have faith in America if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. -Harold B. Lee, Deseret News, 27 October 1973.

I am certain that if we will emphasize the greater good and turn our time and talents from vituperative criticism, from constantly looking for evil, and lift our sights to what may be done to build strength and goodness in our nation, America shall continue to go forward with the blessing of the Almighty and stand as an ensign of strength and peace and generosity to all the world.

We are the creatures of our thinking. We can talk ourselves into defeat or we can talk ourselves into victory.

We have been blessed with the bounties of heaven and the bounties of earth. Oh, how magnificently and munificently we have been blessed! Now, with gratitude in our hearts, let us not dwell upon the few problems we have. Let us rather count our blessings and in a great spirit of gratitude, motivated by a great faith, go forth to build the kingdom of God in the earth.

On one occasion when the Savior was walking among a crowd, a woman who had been long sick touched his garment. He perceived that strength had gone out of him. The strength that was his had strengthened her. So it may be with each of us. Let me urge you to desist from making cutting remarks one to another. Rather, cultivate the art of complimenting, of strengthening, of encouraging. What wonders we can accomplish when others have faith in us.

-Gordon B. Hinckley, “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” Oct. 29, 1974, BYU Devotional