Monday, December 31, 2012

Philippians 3:13-14

I am not the kind of person that can word things eloquently on the spot. I usually have to ponder on a topic and write things out and proof read about a million times before it makes sense. I practice this process every time I am asked to give a talk in church. It may sound silly being read over the pulpit but it's not as bad as it would be if I were to go up there with a note card. One thing good about writing out my entire talk is that I get to share it on this knowledge blog for everyone. I hope you enjoy the talk I gave today in Sacrament meeting.

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters. Today my talk is on Philippians, Chapter 3 verses 13 and 14.
“13 - Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 - I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. “
What a beautiful scripture to reflect on with the pending New Year. A scripture about no regrets and making goals.
We have all had a busy year in our own special way. We each have had to deal with different trials and tribulations. We have also received different blessings and hopefully we have tried to improve ourselves and become closer to Christ. But if you are anything like me you know you could have worked harder at improving yourself than you did. Now we could focus on this last year for a minute and remember everything that went wrong and all the mistakes we have made but please don’t waste your time on regret.
Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the problem free philosophy of Timon and Pumba. Hakuna Matata: it means no worries. Just go with the flow, do whatever you want. We are outcasts, the world has turned it’s back on us so we’ll do the same, right? Well today I am going to play the role of the singing monkey and ask you, who are you? Can you answer me? Do you know who you are?
When our Father asks us why we have forgotten him we might be like Simba and say, “No, how could I forget you?” And just like Mufasa our Father might reply, “You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life.” Then after hitting Simba on the head, Rafiki told him, “Yes the past can hurt, but the way I see it, You can either run from it or learn from it.”
In last years Relief Society Broadcast Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf talked about the little blue flowers called forget me nots and how beautiful they were if you just stopped to notice them. Here is a quote from that talk:
”God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.
Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.
In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him. If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose or dazzling orchid, you may miss some of life’s sweetest experiences.”
Jesus died for our sins so that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven someday. They understand we are not perfect and they have laid out a plan to accommodate that. Failure and mistakes are OK. It is perfectly normal to mess up as long as you keep trying and make sure you are on the right path. Like Paul said “ press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God.”
When we make a physical goal we usually need to look ahead pretty far first, decide where we want to end up and then make smaller goals to help us get there. We create a map to follow one step at a time much like Dora the Explorer. All maps have blank spots between landmarks. These blank spots are obstacles you have to overcome before reaching your next destination. On Dora they must follow the path and help their friends along the way. They must guard against Swiper the Fox to protect their mission and purpose.
Heavenly Father is a lot like Map from Dora. He knows exactly where we need to go and how to get there he provides encouraging words and instructions along the way. He warns us when Satan is around and helps us conquer our quests. He always has patience when we ask him, "where do we go next."
We always need to be continually moving forward. There is no stand still. Life moves fast and if we are standing still then we are falling behind. Always have a goal and learn something new every day that will help you become closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” All the little things add up to make big things happen. High performance comes from healthy routines. When someone asked Stephen King how he writes he answered, “One word at a time.”
We need to start small. Read our Scriptures, Pray fervently to our father and ask for his help and guidance. Once we know where he wants us to be we need to do everything in our power to get there. He has a special calling for each of us that no one else can do. He is there to help us accomplish our mission.
Sometimes we may feel that what he is asking is too hard but at the end of the day the only person who can stop us is ourselves. Marianne Williamson said, "We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world."
In another talk by Elder Uchtdorf titled Of Regrets and Resolutions from this last conference, he talks about the regrets of those nearing the end of their earthly visit and what we can change in our life to avoid saying the same things.
“When we are young, it seems that we will live forever. We think there is a limitless supply of sunrises waiting just beyond the horizon, and the future looks to us like an unbroken road stretching endlessly before us.
However, the older we get, the more we tend to look back and marvel at how short that road really is. We wonder how the years could have passed so quickly. And we begin to think about the choices we made and the things we have done. In the process, we remember many sweet moments that give warmth to our souls and joy to our hearts. But we also remember the regrets—the things we wish we could go back and change.
Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence.
Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?
Would it not be wiser for us to “lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”
How do we do this? By following the example of the Savior, by incorporating His teachings in our daily lives, by truly loving God and our fellowman.
We certainly cannot do this with a dragging-our-feet, staring-at-our-watch, complaining-as-we-go approach to discipleship.
When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be.
Declaring our testimony of the gospel is good, but being a living example of the restored gospel is better. Wishing to be more faithful to our covenants is good; actually being faithful to sacred covenants—including living a virtuous life, paying our tithes and offerings, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and serving those in need—is much better. Announcing that we will dedicate more time for family prayer, scripture study, and wholesome family activities is good; but actually doing all these things steadily will bring heavenly blessings to our lives.
Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self.
Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.
The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets. The more we rely on the Savior’s grace, the more we will feel that we are on the track our Father in Heaven has intended for us."
We all know life is hard and we are all busy. But time is going to pass whether we plan for it or not. Change is good. But it’s not always easy. We need to Remember who we are and take our place in the Circle of Life. I admonish all of us to forsake the Hakuna Matata attitude and to live our lives on purpose. Go to your Father in Heaven and ask which pathway you should take. Make sure you have time to help your friends along the way and beware of the dangers of Satan that distract us from our quest.
You are a child of God with Godly potential. Embrace your future and seek guidance from our Heavenly Father who will lead you closer to Christ, who is the prize. Don't beat yourself up when you make a mistake, just get up and try again. Believe in yourself and you will go far. Let's make 2013 be our best year yet!
I humbly say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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