Time is a Gift

The current prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, once said,

Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.

So often in life we put off the things that matter most in order to accomplish our temporary goals. We think we’re doing ourselves or others a favor, but in reality we’re robbing ourselves and those we love of precious time. As important as work, school, and other such things are, what is of most importance and the highest value to us is our relationships. Our relationship with God, with Christ, and with our family and friends.

So many of us look back and wish we had spent even just a little less time with our ambitions and more time enjoying the simple things with the ones we love. One less hour at work and one more dinner at home. One less day away and one more afternoon hike. Etc. Etc. No one really looks back and wishes, “If only we could’ve had that vacation!” More often it’s the little things, the minutes or the moments that could’ve left an eternal imprint upon our hearts.

The things we can do are simple: pray together as a family more often, always attend church together, read the word of God together, have more dinners as a family, especially at home, take an evening out of each week and dedicate it to family time, and so on. It’s these simple things we do that add up to a lifetime of fond memories.

Use time wisely, it is a gift. Perhaps that is why it is called the present.

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Pop, You’re “Poifect!”

The 20th of June is my birthday… right around Father’s Day. I always felt kinda bad about that, feeling like it kinda… you know… took the focus away from Father’s Day. But this year is different! I’m some forty miles away from the Canadian border. That’s definitely too far away to have a family dinner and some cake. Dad, you’re welcome! This year, it’s all you, baby!

But seriously, fathers are awesome. Just like a mother, a father has a special place within the family. That place cannot be filled by another. Traditionally, the father is the head of the household. He is the provider, the bread maker if you will, and the protector. He is the patriarch. In a typical LDS family, the father holds the priesthood and presides over them. He uses his priesthood to guide his family and administer to them through priesthood blessings and obeying what the Lord wants him to do for them.

Joseph F. Smith, sixth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said,

There is no higher authority in matters relating to the family organization, and especially when that organization is presided over by one holding the higher priesthood, than that of the father. The patriarchal order is of divine origin and will continue throughout time and eternity. There is then a particular reason why men, women, and children should understand this order and this authority in the households of the people of God, and seek to make it what God intended it to be, a qualification and preparation for the highest exaltation of His children. In the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father, and in all home affairs and family matters there is no other authority paramount.

I am grateful for my dad, and the blessing of having a father who holds the priesthood authority of God. He has been an incredible example of strength to me, and his love for me and the rest of my family is astounding. He has sacrificed much so my siblings and I could have the blessings we enjoy right now. And he’s got a great sense of humor too. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

If you no longer have a father here on the earth to celebrate Father’s Day with, remember that you still and will always have your Father in Heaven. He is the greatest Father there is, and He is certainly worth celebrating on Father’s Day as well, and every day.

Dads are awesome, and I’ve got the best one.

Lehi’s Vision

The account in the Book of Mormon known as Lehi’s Vision or Lehi’s Dream is well-known among Latter-day Saints. In it, the prophet Lehi sees the tree of life and, with the help of an iron rod (which symbolizes the word of God) leading to the tree, approaches and eats of the fruit of the tree. When he looks around, he sees his family and beckons them to come and eat the fruit as well. All of them do except for his two oldest sons Laman and Lemuel.

If you are unfamiliar with this story, I encourage you to read the full account. Here’s a link for your convenience.

I’ll take a small section of the vision, which Lehi is giving to his children:

And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.

And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.

And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.

And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.

Lehi’s son, Nephi, was an exceptional young man that grew to become the second prophet in the Book of Mormon, after his father Lehi. He knew God, he knew Jesus Christ and the power of His atonement, and he knew and recognized the Holy Spirit. Something I’d like to note, however, is that in Lehi’s vision Nephi does not take the fruit himself. It was given to him by his father.

Just like our Heavenly Father is the source of all wisdom and truth, our earthly parents are a source of wisdom. We do not gain knowledge and experience in an instant. It must be taught to us. Parents have the sacred responsibility in raising their children in righteousness and truth, in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The very first verse in the Book of Mormon begins,

I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;

Nephi was taught all he knew by his father and mother, and he makes sure the reader understands that fact right off the bat. I had, and still have, the great blessing of being raised by parents that taught me about Jesus Christ and His gospel. I know that the knowledge and understanding I have could not have come without their guidance, wisdom, and experience. I know that the role of a father and mother in a child’s life is a sacred commission from God.


Family and Friends

Proverbs 14:20

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.

I am truly grateful to be blessed with amazing family and friends who love and support me. I definitely would not be where I am, character-wise and literally, without the encouragement I received, and still do receive, from friends and family.

That’s… mostly it. I suppose I could go on and on about how awesome everyone is, but it would probably be somewhat repetitive. Maybe I can add some depth to this topic though. I suppose I can try…

The family is instituted of God. It is a foundation that has existed since the beginning of time. Before we came to this earth we lived together as a spiritual family, brothers and sisters, with God as our Heavenly Father. When we began our mortal lives, we were born into family units. Our Father in Heaven understands how important the family is. It is essential for spiritual, physical, and emotional development. It is essential for expanding our social qualities. In our families, we learn how to love one another. We are connected by love, by experiences, by blood, by circumstances.

And of course, the family extends to our friends, to our loved ones. When we’re not at home with our families, we’re out with our friends. They’re our family away from home. Heavenly Father also understands the importance of friendship, and beyond. Friends help us to cope; they comfort us during hard times. Friends lift us up and strengthen us. Friends are there to rejoice with us when we are happy. Friends make the bad times go quicker, and the good times to go a little bit slower. Friends can keep us moving in the right direction, or keep us steady in a secure place or state of mind.

Horrible things were happening to Latter-day Saints while the prophet Joseph Smith was a prisoner at Liberty Jail. With desperation, and in a time of seeming abandonment, the Prophet prayed to the Lord, pleading with Him and asking Him why he was allowing such suffering to happen. The Lord comforts him, telling Joseph that his suffering would be but a moment. He then brings an important fact to Joseph’s remembrance in Doctrine and Covenants 121: 9-10.

Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.

The Lord reminds him about his friends, that his friends still love and support him, and that in time he will be among them. I am grateful for my family and friends that have and will always be there for me in times of trial. I know that I can always turn to them and they will receive me with warm hearts and friendly hands. I know that our family and friends are blessings from our Heavenly Father. I love my family and I love my friends.

I know God is my Father. I know Jesus Christ is my eldest brother and my Savior and Redeemer.

We are the children of God.

Romans 8:16

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

It is a blessing for me to know that I am a child of God. Understanding this divine relationship with our Creator is key to receiving His strength and being comforted by His love. God is indeed our literal Father. Just as we have parents on the Earth, He is the Father of our Spirits. He loves and cares for us just as a nurturing parent watches over a child.

When we pray, we are not sending out hopes and wishes to some indifferent being that may or may not talk back. When we pray, we are talking one on one with our Father. He listens and He cares, and I know that He answers our prayers and wants to bless us.

Matthew 7: 7-11

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

We are imperfect beings, often prone to selfishness and envy, yet we know how to give good gifts. Our Father in Heaven is perfect in every way. His love for us is perfect. If we can give good gifts, surely He will bless us in ways we can’t even imagine. I know this to be true. I know that our Heavenly Father loves each of us more than we can even think to comprehend. Having this understanding has been a great comfort and a great strength to me throughout my life. I know that when I kneel down to pray, my Father in Heaven is listening with the intentions and concerns of a loving parent.

If you are feeling distanced from God, remember that He is your Father and wants nothing more than to pour down blessings upon you. We simply need to show our faith and love for Him, submitting ourselves humbly to Him as a child. I can promise anyone who is reading this that they can know of God’s love for them through sincere, faithful prayer. He is our Father. Tell Him you love Him. You will be blessed with strength and peace.