Sunday, January 4, 2015

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Anxiously Engaged in 2015

Today I had the opportunity to lead our discussion in Elder's Quorum and ring in the New Year!  Happy New Year 2015!

As I prepared my thoughts my mind kept being directed to the term "Be Anxiously Engaged" as we discover in the Doctrine and Covenants.  I decided this would be the foundation of our discussion.  The scripture below is powerful and appropriate as we set new individual goals and resolve to change and become better people and priesthood holders.  As priesthood holders and members of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ we have a great responsibility to live life on purpose and not idle away our time here upon the earth.  We have a message to tell the world!  It is one of glad tidings and good news!

Below are some of the thoughts I shared with the Elder's in our quorum at church...
GOALS 2015
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; - D.C. 58:27

The first step in selecting a goal is to think about the way we are living and decide how to improve. We can then select personal and family goals to help us improve. If we want to become stronger spiritually, for example, we should examine our spiritual strength and set appropriate goals for improvement. In doing so, we might consider the following questions:

  • Do I pray as often as I should?
  • Do I know what the prophet says, and do I follow his counsel?
  • Do I read/study the scriptures regularly?
  • Do I faithfully carry out my priesthood assignments?
  • Am I honest in paying tithes and offerings?
  • Do I think clean and worthy thoughts at all times?
  • Does our family hold family home evening every week?
  • Has our family been sealed in the temple and how often do I go? 
  • Am I preparing to go to the temple?
  • Is our family preparing others to receive the gospel?

Suggestions for planning a day:
  1. Set aside a quiet, prayerful time each morning for planning.
  2. Focus on what you need to do that day.
  3. Write what you need to do on a task list.
  4. Prioritize your list.
  5. Use your time wisely to accomplish the most important items.

Points to Ponder

ü  What are the top 10 priorities in your life?
ü  In what ways are worthwhile goals important in achieving eternal life?
ü  In what ways can you better manage your time?
ü  What are some less-important activities that consume too much of your time?
ü  Why is the wise use of time an eternal concern? 

We should all constantly evaluate our progress. To live righteous lives and accomplish the purposes of our creation, we must constantly review the past, determine our present status, and set goals for the future. Without this process there is little chance of reaching one’s objectives”
 – Elder O. Leslie Stone

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace." 
                                                                                       -President Benson

None of us are perfect and are all at different places in our spiritual progress and journey here in this life.  The following scripture from The Book of Mormon is reassuring as it teaches us that we learn line upon line and precept upon precept.

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. 

In recent years we have been reminded by our leaders that a significant prophecy is being fulfilled in our day. The Lord said: “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time” (D&C 88:73). To hasten is to urge on, to accelerate, to move or act quickly.
Specifically, the Brethren have called upon the Latter-day Saints to hasten the work of (1) reaching out to those who may not now enjoy the blessings of the restored gospel; (2) extending the blessings of that gospel to those who have died without the opportunity to receive its requisite covenants and ordinances; and (3) searching out and caring for the poor and needy among us.

As an opening challenge to the New Year we asked each Elder to take 2 copies of The Book of Mormon and mark the following scriptures which answer 23 Questions that people wonder about.  We also asked them to record their testimony in the front of the book and then to give them out to people who haven't had the chance to read from its pages yet.  It is part of our duty and admonition to Flood the Earth with this 3rd witness or Testament of Jesus Christ, The Book of Mormon.  It is a companion book of scripture to the Holy Bible.

1.           How can a person know that The Book of Mormon is true?
               (Moroni 10:3-5[p. 529].)
2.           What is the purpose of man's existence? (2 Nephi 2:25 [p. 59].)
3.           What happened in America when Jesus was born in Bethlehem?
               (3 Nephi 1:15-21 [p. 408].)
4.           Why was Jesus Christ baptized? (2 Nephi31: 4-9 [p. 113].)
5.            Do little children need repentance and baptism?
                (Moroni 8:1-24 [pp. 525-26].)
6.            What do we witness "Unto the Father" by being baptized?
                 (2 Nephi 31:10-14 [pp. 113-114].)
7.             Just what is the gospel of Jesus Christ? How did the Savior explain what it is?
                (3 Nephi 27:13-21 [p. 459].)
8.            Why was the atonement of Jesus Christ necessary?
                (2 Nephi 9:4-14 [pp. 72-74]; Alma 34:8-17 [pp. 293-94].)
9.            Who were the "other sheep" referred to by Jesus as recorded in John 10:16?
                 (3 Nephi 15:13-24 [pp. 437-38].)
10.           What happened in America when Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem?
                  (3 Nephi 8:5-23 [pp. 422-23].)
11.            How can a desire to believe develop strong faith?
                 (Alma 32 [pp. 288-91].)
12.            To what extent are men accountable for their choices and their actions?
                 (2 Nephi 9:25-27 [p. 75]; 2 Nephi 2:27 [p. 59]; Helaman 14:30-31 [p. 403].)
13.            How can a person turn his personal weaknesses into strengths?
                 (Ether 12:27 [p. 510].)
14.            Why should we not procrastinate our repentance?
                 (Alma 34:30-41 [pp. 295-96].)
15.            What should we pray about? (Alma 34:17-28 [pp. 294-95].)
16.             How did a prophet who lived in 600 B.C. describe our day?
                  (2 Nephi 28:1-32 [pp. 106-109].)
17.             What happens to our spirits at death? (Alma 40:11-14 [p. 308].)
18.              What will our bodies be like in the resurrection?
                  (Alma 40:23 [p. 309].)
19.              How can God be both just and merciful? (Alma 42 [pp. 311-13].)
20.              Are we saved by grace, by works, or both?
                  (2 Nephi 25:23 [pp. 99-100].)
21.              Does the Lord always protect the righteous from the unrighteous?   
                  (Alma 60:12-13 [p. 359].)
22.              In a world with so many conflicting voices, how can a person judge what is good and               what is evil? (Moroni 7:14-19 [p. 522].)
23.              Does the Bible contain all of God’s word? (2 Nephi 29 [pp. 109-111].)

I know that The Book of Mormon is true.  I have had the privilege of reading it many times and studying its pages in unison with The Holy Bible.  The three testaments together strengthen my faith and testimony in our loving Heavenly Father.  The Book of Mormon is an ancient record of a people who journeyed from Jerusalem 600 B.C. to the Americas.  It is a fascinating genealogy of records kept testifying of Jesus Christ and His gospel message to the inhabitants of the earth.  I challenge you to accept your FREE copy and begin reading this New Year!

~ C. J. Poulsen

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