Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Hijacked Plans

I have two thoughts going on in my head where this blog is concerned. (This is going to be a bit about me again)

I want to share some of the thoughts I'm having as I study the Second Coming but I also feel this push to continue with my last post on receiving personal inspiration and write about how to incorporate scripture study into our daily lives.

The second thought is stronger and so it is going to win. But before it does,...I just finished listening to a talk by Elder Jeffery Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the subject of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Wonderful, powerful talk. Worth your time - especially the ending so keep listening. Check this link out to listen to, read, or print the talk

"Terror, Triumph and a Wedding Feast"

The thing about writing a post on how to study the scriptures is that I don't feel like I am any kind of expert at all! I look around at the other blogs that are like this one - church and doctrine related spiritual content blogs. There are so many out there written by some incredibly talented and intelligent people. (if you check my profile you can see some of those blogs) I am amazed at all the work everyone puts into their blogs and the links everyone provides and I think my little blog seems so simple and insignificant. I know for sure of only one person who is benefiting from this blog - me. For me, this blog is "Much More Him" but for the Savior, this blog is "Much More Lisa" as He is doing what He does best, taking any service or sacrifice or offering we make in His behalf and turning it into a blessing for our own lives.

So, I do not profess to be the world's foremost authority on how to incorporate scriptures into our daily lives. I don't even profess to accomplish this every single day. But I'm trying and I've grown to recognize the difference in my life on the days I don't read scriptures, as opposed to the days I do read them. On days that it doesn't happen, I can literally feel my spirit hungering for the nourishment of the Word of God - it is a deep hunger that can't be filled any other way.

If we want to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and be guided in all we do and feel the love of God powerfully in our lives, there is a price to be paid. That price consists of giving up the things of the world that take you away from the things of God. It is that simple, yet it can be so hard to do at times. Even something as worthwhile as this blog, can be a distraction from what is most important if I am not careful.

Here are two powerful quotes on the topic:

“I have heard many well-intentioned Church leaders and teachers instruct congregations to find time for daily scripture study, ‘even if it’s only one or two verses per day.’ Though I understand the point they are trying to teach and applaud the sincerity of that conviction, may I gently suggest that if we are too busy to spend at least a few minutes every day in the scriptures, then we are probably too busy and should find a way to eliminate or modify whatever activities are making that simple task impossible (Elder M. Russell Ballard, "When Thou Art Converted: Continuing Our Search for Happiness", 68).

As I think about your schedules and the pressures you face at this time in your lives, I can understand why scripture study can so easily be neglected. You have many demands pulling at you. In some cases, just maintaining your social life is a full-time occupation. But I plead with you to make time for immersing yourselves in the scriptures. Couple scripture study with your prayers. Half an hour each morning privately studying, pondering, and communicating with your Heavenly Father can make an amazing difference in your lives. It will give increased success in your daily activities. It will bring increased alertness to your minds. It will give you comfort and rock-steady assurance when the storms of life descend upon you” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Be Strong in the Lord, and in the Power of His Might”). 

The second quote was said to college-age young adults. I am no longer a "young adult" :) and so the part about a social life being a full-time job no longer applies to me. But, I'm sure you could substitute anything in there like motherhood, providing for a family, taking care of aged parents, etc.

The point is that we NEED to create time to read scriptures every single day and it doesn't matter if you read 1 chapter or one verse or 10 chapters. What matters is that you read for a sufficient amount of time so as to make a spiritual connection and nourish your hungry spirit. 
Trust me when I say that I COMPLETELY understand how life can get so demanding that having a moment to have a complete, intelligent thought can be a triumph. My children, ages 6 and 4, still demand about 99.9% of my brain capacity with their constant questions, comments, requests, tattling and just little-kid-ness.(not to mention all of the other demands on my time) But this time will pass and I am told I will miss it (I am confidant that I will) so I try extra hard to not get too frustrated but it would be nice to be able to study without the constant interruptions. (my children are very early risers so getting up before them to study just doesn't happen.)

Some things that work for me:
*Listening to scriptures or talks on-line or on CD.
*Watching General Conference DVD's while doing the dishes or cleaning the kitchen
*Keeping a copy of the scriptures in the car so if for some reason I ever find myself sitting ALONE in the car, waiting for something with a few moments to spare, I can read the scriptures with that time. (Hay, it's actually happened before!)
*Obviously after the kids have gone to bed is a good time for me. I'll tell you though that sometimes I just want to sit and not think for a while. I allow myself to watch tv a little but then I try to turn it off and use the rest of my time to read or listen to talks on-line while I work on other projects. 
*Attending my church meetings is so important. Church is a place to study scriptures! Did you know? You are studying as a group but if you are paying attention and pondering and taking notes, (Yes! taking notes in Sunday School! It is amazing how the Spirit talks to you if you are taking notes!) you will leave having been spiritually nourished and the Holy Ghost will most likely have given you some great personal instruction (NO SKIPPING SUNDAY SCHOOL!)

Anyway, the point is to make it work. No matter the worldly cost. The entertainments and shiny and blingy things of the world will pass away. They are not all bad but if what you are doing is distracting you from what is most important then it is time to beg the Lord to bless you with the courage necessary to let them go. He'll help you. It's what He does. You are His work and glory. He wants you Home (you want you Home too). You will NEVER regret giving up the things of the world for the things of Heaven.

Two more quotes and then I'm done ranting for now: :)

"The scriptures make the danger of delay clear. It is that we may discover that we have run out of time. The God who gives us each day as a treasure will require an accounting. We will weep, and He will weep, if we have intended to repent and to serve Him in tomorrows which never came or have dreamt of yesterdays where the opportunity to act was past. This day is a precious gift of God. The thought "Someday I will" can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity."
--Henry B. Eyring, "This Day", Ensign, May 2007, 89–91

"On many days, doing what matters most will not be easy. It is not supposed to be. God's purpose in creation was to let us prove ourselves. The plan was explained to us in the spirit world before we were born. We were valiant enough there to qualify for the opportunity to choose against temptation here to prepare for eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God. We rejoiced to know the test would be one of faithful obedience even when it would not be easy."
--Henry B. Eyring, "This Day", Ensign, May 2007, 89–91

Here is one more thing that works for me...

I am honest with our Father in my prayers. I tell Him that I'm having a hard time making time to read the scriptures. I ask Him to bless me with a greater desire to do so. I ask Him to help me see how I can make some changes. I ask Him to give me oodles of courage in those moments when something of lesser importance is screaming my name.

AND here is one more thing I ask for...I ask Him to help me remember that I have asked for this help.

That seems to be the clincher for me. When I am having a hard time saying no to the things of the world that are getting in the way of what is more important, and there is a battle going on inside of me about which way I'm going to choose in that moment, the Holy Ghost reminds me that I asked for help in these situations and then the decision is so much easier.

Our Father and our Brother, Jesus Christ, love us incredibly. They are eternal. They know what we do not know and can see what we cannot see. INVOLVE THEM IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE. You will never be sad that you did.

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