Category Archives: Faith

She Will Live In Your Bounty

EVA MARIE BYERLY

Believe that she matters!
And Believe that she always will!
She will always be with you!
She’ll be part of the days you’ve yet to fill!
She will live in your bounty!
She will live as you carry on your life!
So carry on, Full of Hope, She’ll be there,
For all your Days of Plenty


RAIN!

Change is as inevitable as rain in the spring.

Some of us just put on raincoats and splash forward.

I love the rain.  My Grandmother would always tell me the story of when I was about three years old it was pouring rain outside.  We were leaving the house to go some where.  Before I got in the car I paused, threw my arms open wide in the rain, tilted my face toward the grey sky and with a delighted voice yelled “Rain!  Rain!”

The past few years have brought so much change into my life I feel like I have not been able to take a deep enough breath to inhale it all in.  But nevertheless I will continue to splash forward welcoming the new rain…or snow!


SEEK LEARNING BY FAITH

Here is a piece of a Talk By Elder David A. Bednar on faith.  I have to read it slowly to fully understand what he is saying.  He briefly touches on one of my favorite bible stories: Joshua and the people crossing the river Jordan.  He uses this story as an example of assurance, action, and evidence of faith.

The Principle of Action: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

The Apostle Paul defined faith as “the substance of things hoped for [and] the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Alma declared that faith is not a perfect knowledge; rather, if we have faith, we “hope for things which are not seen [but] are true” (Alma 32:21). Additionally, we learn in the Lectures on Faith that faith is “the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness” and that it is also “the principle of action in all intelligent beings.”1

These teachings highlight three basic elements of faith: (1) faith as the assurance of things hoped for that are true, (2) faith as the evidence of things not seen, and (3) faith as the principle of action in all intelligent beings. I describe these three components of faith in the Savior as simultaneously facing the future, looking to the past, and initiating action in the present.

Faith as the assurance of things hoped for looks to the future. This assurance is founded upon a correct understanding about, and trust in, God and enables us to “press forward” (2 Nephi 31:20) into uncertain and often challenging situations in the service of the Savior.

For example, Nephi relied upon precisely this type of future-facing spiritual assurance as he returned to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass—“not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do. Nevertheless [he] went forth” (1 Nephi 4:6–7).

Faith in Christ is inextricably tied to, and results in, hope in Christ for our redemption and exaltation. And assurance and hope make it possible for us to walk to the edge of the light and take a few steps into the darkness—expecting and trusting the light to move and illuminate the way.2 The combination of assurance and hope initiates action in the present.

Faith as the evidence of things not seen looks to the past and confirms our trust in God and our confidence in the truthfulness of things not seen. We stepped into the darkness with assurance and hope, and we received evidence and confirmation as the light in fact moved and provided the illumination we needed. The witness we obtained after the trial of our faith (see Ether 12:6) is evidence that enlarges and strengthens our assurance.

Assurance, action, and evidence influence each other in an ongoing process. This helix is like a coil, and as it spirals upward it expands and widens. These three elements of faith—assurance, action, and evidence—are not separate and discrete; rather, they are interrelated and continuous and cycle upward. And the faith that fuels this ongoing process develops, evolves, and changes. As we again turn and face forward toward an uncertain future, assurance leads to action and produces evidence, which further increases assurance. Our confidence waxes stronger, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.

We find a powerful example of the interaction among assurance, action, and evidence as the children of Israel transported the ark of the covenant under the leadership of Joshua (see Joshua 3:7–17). Recall how the Israelites came to the river Jordan and were promised the waters would part, and they would be able to cross over on dry ground. Interestingly, the waters did not part as the children of Israel stood on the banks of the river waiting for something to happen; rather, the soles of their feet were wet before the water parted. The faith of the Israelites was manifested in the fact that they walked into the water before it parted. They walked into the river Jordan with a future-facing assurance of things hoped for. As the Israelites moved forward, the water parted, and as they crossed over on dry land, they looked back and beheld the evidence of things not seen. In this episode, faith as assurance led to action and produced the evidence of things not seen that were true.

True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to action. Faith as the principle of action is highlighted in many scriptures with which we are all familiar:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26; emphasis added).

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22; emphasis added).

“Awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith” (Alma 32:27; emphasis added).

And it is faith as the principle of action that is so central to the process of learning and applying spiritual truth.


“Have you tried Prayer?”

So the past few days I have been studing faith while trying to improve my personal prayers. Where there is faith there is some kind of action. When we pray to God even if we do not know if He is there we are exercising faith. I know that God is real. That He is our loving Heavenly Father. I know that He hears and answers prayers.

Below is an article written about prayer and faith. I have bolded some parts that stuck out to me. I loved reading this article and I hope you will to. It has inspired me to improve my personal prayers and make family prayer a goal.

Come unto Him in Prayer and Faith by President Thomas S. Monson

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”1 So spoke the wise Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel.

Jacob, the brother of Nephi, declared, “Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith.”2

In this dispensation, in a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”3

This divinely inspired counsel comes to us today as crystal clear water to a parched earth.

We live in troubled times. Doctors’ offices are filled with individuals who are beset with emotional problems as well as physical distress. Divorce courts are overflowing because people have unsolved problems. Human resource administrators in government and industry work long hours in an effort to assist people with their problems.
One human resource officer assigned to handle petty grievances concluded an unusually hectic day by placing facetiously a little sign on his desk for those with unsolved problems. It read, “Have you tried prayer?” What he may not have realized was that this simple counsel would solve more problems, alleviate more suffering, prevent more transgression, and bring about greater peace and contentment in the human soul than could be obtained in any other way.

A prominent American judge was asked what we as citizens of the countries of the world could do to reduce crime and disobedience to law and to bring peace and contentment into our lives and into our nations. He carefully replied, “I would suggest a return to the old-fashioned practice of family prayer.”

Strength in Prayer
As a people, aren’t we grateful that family prayer is not an out-of-date practice with us? There is no more beautiful sight in all this world than to see a family praying together. There is real meaning behind the oft-quoted “The family that prays together stays together.”

The Lord directed that we have family prayer when He said, “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.”4

Will you join me as we look in on a typical Latter-day Saint family offering prayers unto the Lord? Father, mother, and each of the children kneel, bow their heads, and close their eyes. A sweet spirit of love, unity, and peace fills the home. As father hears his tiny son pray unto God that his dad will do the right things and be obedient to the Lord’s bidding, do you think that such a father would find it difficult to honor the prayer of his precious son? As a teenage daughter hears her sweet mother plead unto the Lord that her daughter will be inspired in the selection of her companions, that she will prepare herself for a temple marriage, don’t you believe that such a daughter will seek to honor this humble, pleading petition of her mother, whom she so dearly loves? When father, mother, and each of the children earnestly pray that the fine sons in the family will live worthily that they may, in due time, receive a call to serve as ambassadors of the Lord in the mission fields of the Church, don’t we begin to see how such sons grow to young manhood with an overwhelming desire to serve as missionaries?

I am sure that family prayer motivated a letter written some years ago by a young Latter-day Saint girl attending a Colorado high school. The students had been asked to prepare a letter to be written to a great man of their choice. Many addressed their letters to well-known athletes, to a noted astronaut, to the president of the United States, and to other celebrities. This young lady, however, addressed her letter to her father, and in the letter she stated: “I have decided to write this letter to you, Dad, because you are the greatest man that I have ever known. The overwhelming desire of my heart is that I might so live that I might have the privilege of being beside you and Mother and other members of the family in the celestial kingdom.” That father never received a more cherished letter.

As we offer unto the Lord our family prayers and our personal prayers, let us do so with faith and trust in Him. Let us remember the injunction of Paul to the Hebrews: “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”5 If any of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now. William Cowper declared, “Satan trembles, when he sees the weakest Saint upon his knees.”6 Those who feel that prayer might denote a physical or intellectual weakness should remember that a man never stands taller than when he is upon his knees.

We cannot know what faith is if we have never had it, and we cannot obtain it as long as we deny it. Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.

Accepting His Invitation
If our desire is to discard all doubt and to substitute therefor an abiding faith, we have but to accept the invitation extended to you and to me in the Epistle of James:

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”7

This promise motivated the young man Joseph Smith to seek God in prayer. He declared to us in his own words:

“At length I came to the conclusion that I … must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to ‘ask of God,’ concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

“So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. … It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.”8

Now, if we have hesitated in supplicating God our Eternal Father simply because we have not as yet made the attempt to pray, we certainly can take courage from the example of the Prophet Joseph. But let us remember, as did the Prophet, our prayer must be offered in faith, nothing wavering.

It was by faith, nothing wavering, that the brother of Jared saw the finger of God touch the stones in response to his plea.9

It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Noah erected an ark in obedience to the command from God.10

It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Abraham was willing to offer up his beloved Isaac as a sacrifice.11

It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea.12

It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Joshua and his followers brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down.13

It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Joseph saw God our Eternal Father and Jesus Christ, His Son.14

Now, the skeptic may say that these mighty accounts of faith occurred long ago, that times have changed.

Have times really changed? Don’t we today, as always, love our children and want them to live righteously? Don’t we today, as always, need God’s divine, protecting care? Don’t we today, as always, continue to be at His mercy and in His debt for the very life He has given us?

Times have not really changed. Prayer continues to provide power—spiritual power. Prayer continues to provide peace—spiritual peace.

Faith in Action
Wherever we may be, our Heavenly Father can hear and answer the prayer offered in faith. This is especially true in the mission fields throughout the world. While presiding over the Canadian Mission, under the direction of President David O. McKay (1873–1970), Sister Monson and I had the opportunity of serving with some of the finest young men and women in all this world. The very lives of these young missionaries exemplified faith and prayer.

There sat in my office one day a newly arrived missionary. He was bright, strong, happy, and grateful to be a missionary. He was filled with enthusiasm and a desire to serve. As I spoke with him, I said, “Elder, I imagine that your father and mother wholeheartedly support you in your mission call.” He lowered his head and replied, “Well, not quite. You see, President, my father is not a member of the Church. He doesn’t believe as we believe, so he cannot fully appreciate the importance of my assignment.”

Without hesitating and prompted by a Source not my own, I said to him, “Elder, if you will honestly and diligently serve God in proclaiming His message, your father will join the Church before your mission is concluded.” He clasped my hand in a vise-like grip, the tears welled up in his eyes and began to roll forth down his cheeks, and he declared, “To see my father accept the truth would be the greatest blessing that could come into my life.”

This young man did not sit idly by hoping and wishing that the promise would be fulfilled, but rather he followed the sage advice that has been given of old: “Pray as though everything depended upon God. Work as though everything depended upon you.” Such was the missionary service of this young man.

At every missionary conference I would seek him out before the meetings and ask, “Elder, how’s Dad progressing?”

His reply would invariably be, “No progress, President, but I know the Lord will fulfill the promise given to me through you as my mission president.” The days turned to weeks and the weeks to months, and finally, just two weeks before we ourselves left the mission field to return home, I received a letter from the father of this missionary. That father wrote:

“Dear Brother Monson:

“I wish to thank you so much for taking such good care of my son who recently completed a mission in Canada. He has been an inspiration to us.

“My son was promised when he left on his mission that I would become a member of the Church before his return. This promise was, I believe, made to him by you, unknown to me.

“I am happy to report that I was baptized into the Church one week before he completed his mission and am at present time athletic director of the MIA and have a teaching assignment.

“My son is now attending BYU, and his younger brother was also recently baptized and confirmed a member of the Church.

“May I again thank you for all the kindness and love bestowed upon my son by his brothers in the mission field during the past two years.

“Yours very truly, a grateful father.”

The humble prayer of faith had once again been answered.

There is a golden thread that runs through every account of faith from the beginning of the world to the present time. Abraham, Noah, the brother of Jared, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and countless others wanted to be obedient to the will of God. They had ears that could hear, eyes that could see, and hearts that could know and feel.

They never doubted. They trusted.

Through personal prayer, through family prayer, by trusting in God with faith, nothing wavering, we can call down to our rescue His mighty power. His call to us is as it has ever been: “Come unto me.”15

the Lord as they pray for help and seek to do their part to find a solution.

Notes
1. Proverbs 3:5–6.

2. Jacob 3:1.

3. D&C 6:36.

4. 3 Nephi 18:21.

5. Hebrews 11:6.

6. William Cowper, Olney Hymns, in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 2nd ed. rev. (1966), 161.

7. James 1:5–6.

8. Joseph Smith—History 1:13–14.

9. See Ether 3:1–16.

10. See Genesis 6:13–22.

11. See Genesis 22:1–14.

12. See Exodus 14:15–22.

13. See Joshua 6:2–20.

14. See Joseph Smith—History 1:14–19.

15. Matthew 11:28.


Dispute not because ye see not

The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Learn about faith from the scriptures and living prophets. Read Hebrews 11; Alma 32:17–43; Ether 12:6–22; and Joseph Smith—History 1:11–20. Read two general conference talks on faith. Exercise your own faith by establishing a habit of prayer in your life. Begin by regularly saying your morning and evening prayers. After three weeks of following this pattern, discuss with a parent or leader what you have learned about faith and how daily personal prayer has strengthened your faith. In your journal express your feelings about faith and prayer.

“I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore,dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” -Moroni  (Ether 12:6) 

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13) 

Heavenly Father makes promises and He keeps them.  Many times we do not see these promises until after our faith has been tried.  For some the trial of our faith last our whole lives and promises do not come to light in this life but in the next.  But they do come.