By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Friday, January 19, 2007

"The Abundant Life"

In the May 2006 Ensign there is a talk by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin titled "The Abundant Life." This is an inspiring, hopeful talk. I loved it!

Elder Wirthlin starts with the analogy of horse sold at auction. The horse was a leftover, old and spent. Nothing anyone would want. I won't spoil the story by recounting it here--follow the link and enjoy the full details. It ties in nicely with Elder Wirthlin's point, which is a discussion of "the hidden, untapped potential that lies within each of us."

I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with many wonderful people from many walks of life. I have known rich and poor, famous and modest, wise and otherwise.

Some were burdened with heavy sorrows; others radiated a confident inner peace. Some smoldered with unquenchable bitterness, while others glowed with irrepressible joy. Some appeared defeated, while others—in spite of adversity—overcame discouragement and despair.

I have heard some claim, perhaps only partly in jest, that the only happy people are those who simply don’t have a firm grasp of what is happening around them.

But I believe otherwise.

I have known many who walk in joy and radiate happiness.

I have known many who live lives of abundance.

And I believe I know why.

Today, I want to list a few of the characteristics that the happiest people I know have in common. They are qualities that can transform ordinary existence into a life of excitement and abundance.

The characteristics of these happy people are as follows, according to Elder Wirthlin:

  1. They drink deeply of living waters.
  2. They fill their hearts with love.
  3. They, with the help of their Heavenly Father, create a masterpiece of their lives.
Elder Wirthlin says:

Brothers and sisters, the abundant life does not come to us packaged and ready-made. It’s not something we can order and expect to find delivered with the afternoon mail. It does not come without hardship or sorrow.

It comes through faith, hope, and charity. And it comes to those who, in spite of hardship and sorrow, understand the words of one writer who said, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

The abundant life isn’t something we arrive at. Rather, it is a magnificent journey that began long, long ages ago and will never, never end.

The abundant life, a life of joy and love and developed potential, is a life that our Heavenly Father wants for each of us. It is a life that we want for ourselves. Close your eyes and picture eternity. How do you want to spend that eternity? I think we would all say that we want happiness, joy, accomplishment, love, peace, and all good things. Elder Wirthlin's talk convinced me that it is possible to have an abundant life and to have it for all eternity. He describes how to reach this goal and says frankly it isn't easy. But it would be so very worth it, don't you think?

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

To Seek

As I was perusing the Topical Guide, I came to "Seek, Sought" and stopped to look at the scriptures listed. There are quite a few, and many urge us to seek the Lord. Some speak of things to not seek. To me, seek is an active verb, implying effort and persistence rather than a casual looking for something. It is something we conciously decide to do and then work at.

In Deuteronomy 4:29 we read, "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul." Seeking with all our heart and soul would take focus, concentration, and effort. It would also mean not giving up if it takes time. I thought it was interesting that in Ezra 7:10 we are told, "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments." So seeking is something to prepare for, as well as to do.

I think about this and it makes sense that seeking is to search for something important, to deliberately make up our minds to search, and to conduct the search with diligence, continuing until we are successful. What could be more important than to seek the Lord and the things of eternity?

Another notable idea is found in Proverbs 8: 17, where we are told, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." Early is a key word here. We are not to delay or procrastinate in searching for something important, in this case wisdom and understanding. In Isaiah 26:9, the prophet speaks of seeking the Lord early when he writes, "With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." I think he is saying that there are consequences to not seeking the Lord early, at the very least that those who delayed will be compelled to learn righteousness in ways that might be more difficult than if they had sought the Lord early, when they had time to do their seeking in the right way.

I mentioned that some scriptures tell us of things that we should not seek after. One such verse is Jacob 4:10 where we read, "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works." Another is Alma 39:14 which says, "Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you." So we do need to give some thought and attention to what we seek after.

In Matthew 7:7, perhaps one of the best known verses using the word seek, it says, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" The Lord is telling us that we will not seek in vain.

There are many other scriptures that speak of seeking, but those I have chosen above seem to cover the main points--that we must decide to seek and then actively pursue what we are searching for. We must be wise in what we seek after and not waste our time on things of this world rather than on things of eternity. It seems to me that we are going to be seeking something and we would do well to make that something important and worthwhile. I know this time spent on these scriptures has given me an incentive to refine my own searches.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

First Post of the New Year

What with the holidays and various minor illnesses that have left me not feeling up to par, I haven't made a brilliant first-of-the-year post yet. Nor will I today.

Be that as it may, I have a new toy. It's called
LibraryThing and on it you can catalog all your books. You can list up to 200 books for free, then after that you can pay $10 a year, or $25 for a lifetime membership and list all the books you want. I have 190 up--and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I have also rigged it to display random books in my sidebar on each of my blogs. You can click on "my library" in the phrase "Random Books from my library" in the sidebar and look at my catalog of books at LibraryThing. Cool, eh?!

Better posts to come in the future.