Monday, November 30, 2015

Trust In God

Hello Everyone, surprisingly it hasn't really snowed yet, or at least snowed and stuck.  But the temperature is dropping, and Winter is just about on us.  The good thing is as soon as it starts snowing we can start hoping for Spring to come back!

Today it'd just like to share a short scripture, but one that has stood out to me recently.  It comes out of the 58th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants in which guidance from the Lord is given and many great pearls of wisdom are given, such as the one I wish to focus on today:

31. Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled? 

By far one of my favorite styles of writing is the use of questions, either rhetorical or literal.  In this case the question is more rhetoric.  The Lord points out to us that he has fulfilled all his promises.  If we keep his commandments he has promised blessings, and God is ever-faithful.  From Preach My Gospel in Chapter 6 under the Christlike attribute of Hope it says that hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises.  

That is something that this message brings: hope.  We hope for a brighter future, and eventually a perfect brightness as we press forward through the mists of mortality.  It is through this trust in God that our relationship is built.  For without trust, would our actions fall in line with what he has asked?  Likely not.  From this verse I ask myself the question: Do I trust God?  And more often than not I gauge my trust by a review of my actions.  If I trust that God will bless me as I attend church, am I attending church?  Or if I trust god that he will bless me as I pray daily, am I honestly saying earnest prayers daily?  Questions are the basis for growth in knowledge, I feel that some of my earlier posts have highlighted this fact well enough.  But it's these simple questions, and oft-times simple answers that are able to create the necessary course-corrections needed to stay on the straight and narrow, and not wander into broad roads and be lost.  
Take hope that God is capable and remembers the promises he has made.  Surely God commands, but just as surely does God bless those that obey.  This simple fact I know, for it has been the sustaining influences of his blessings that have kept me afloat over the past year, and it is those sustaining blessings that keep us afloat during all of life's tempests.  I hope and pray that you all have a great week, and truly "with joy...draw water out of the wells of salvation." (2 Nephi 22:3)

Love, Elder Gailey

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Commitments and Goals

Hello Everyone, I wish for this week to simply share some thoughts of mine on one of my favorite quotes that can be found in Preach My Gospel.  

It comes from Chapter 8 entitled "How So I Use Time Wisely?" and reads simply:

“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.” 

-Elder M. Russell Ballard

Within our mission we have had a great focus on commitments and covenants and being true to what we say we're going to do.  Looking back I've actually spoken a number of times recently on this topic.  As with almost every skill learned on a mission, goal setting and committing have applications to our lives before and after our missionary service.  If you a truly committed to a goal, little will stop you from finding time and allocating resources to achieve that goal.  But problems arise when we don't want what we want badly enough to sacrifice for it.  If we truly want to understand the scriptures more, we have to sacrifice time that we could use on other things.  If we want to grow closer to our Father in Heaven, we have to sacrifice time to pray to him with "all the energy of heart" as the Book of Mormon puts it.  

In life, we have a finite amount of time to do things that we want to do.  We can't pour ourselves purely into things that can be classified as time-sinks, or hobbies or activities that you can pour endless hours into with the same outcome.  With our time we should strive to be good stewards of the time we have been allotted.  By setting, and most importantly achieving, goals we are able to use that time wisely because we comprehend that we have a need to accomplish a task in a finite amount of time.  If we fail to do so, as Elder Ballard alludes to, we'll fail to use our time wisely and pour a great deal of time into things that do little to help us grow, learn, and progress.  

I know that before my mission, I sunk my time into many things that didn't exactly have the greatest worth, and it's serving now as a wonderful contrast of how well I'm expected to use my time on my mission.  I've mostly overcome my well-honed skill of procrastination (mostly).  But I'm sure the real test lies ahead, as with all of us.  Greater trials of our work ethic and time management skills lie ahead, and I know that as we perform positively we will gain skills and confidence that will surely aid us later in life and in the eternities.  After all, isn't God able to fulfill all of his words?  And should we not strive to do that amongst ourselves with the goals we set for ourselves?  

I hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Oaths and Promises

Hello Everyone! 

As I was reading in the Book of Mormon with a Recent Convert while I was on exchange with another Elder in the Zone, we read the following passage that stood out to me:

"And I spake unto him, even with an oath, that he need not fear; that he should be a free man like unto us if he would go down in the wilderness with us...and it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake" (1 Nephi 4:33-35)

This passage stands out to me in the fact that all it took to calm Zoram was a promise from Nephi.  A simple verbal commitment was all it took to turn a frightened servant into a loyal friend.  In this scenario Nephi was holding all of the cards, so to speak.  Zoram had no bargaining power or leverage which he could apply on the sons of Lehi.  So why would Zoram take such heart at a simple verbal promise made by a young man?  I think a large part of the reason rests on the fact that in ancient Israel, a man's word was law.  By the testimony of a mere two witnesses, judgement could be passed.  No need for surveillance footage or fingerprinting services back in the days of Zedekiah (barring the obvious reason that there weren't any at the time).  

So the testimony and witness of two men was held as truth, and lest we think Nephi was alone in wanting Zoram to come into the wilderness, there would have at least been Sam who would understand the import of not wanting Zoram to return to Jerusalem.  Here Zoram had two witneses (if not a begrudging witness from Laman and Lemuel as well) that if he went down unto the tent of Lehi, that he would be a free man and no longer a servant.  

When we ponder on the importance of keeping our commitments and promises it's good to remember that the Lord specifically commanded us to not bear any false witness when he gave the 10 Commandments to the children of Israel on top of Mount Sinai.  Our Heavenly Father is perfectly truthful, and can fulfill all of his promises with exactness.  We too must learn, by trial and error in some circumstances, the importance of doing the same.  Honesty is a heavenly virtue.  It is a virtue that was well held by civilizations of old, and must find it's way back into our current culture.  Honesty is a godly virtue, and as such deserves our attention when pondering ways that we can grow closer to the Savior.  

Honesty is one of those Christlike attributes that I've brushed over in the past, but recently I have found great wisdom and insight as I have worked on being honest in my dealings.  I know that great blessings come as we are honest, for in honesty we are being the polar opposite of Satan who was a liar from the beginning.  Let us all be honest.  With honesty, all things are made better.  

I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Monday, November 2, 2015

"I Will Give You The Good of the Land"

Hello Everyone, it's been a surprisingly beautiful Fall week here in Ballston Spa, it hasn't snowed and stuck yet, but it's getting mighty chilly in the nights.  I guess Winter is almost upon us, but that means Spring is just around the corner!

This week I wish to relate a thought that was given in a Ward Council meeting that I was sitting in on once.  At the beginning a spiritual thought was shared by a member of the council in which he shared the a few select verses from Genesis chapter 45.  By way of introduction, now is the time in the book of Genesis when Joseph, the once youngest son of Israel, has been in the land of Egypt for a great many years.  He has worked as a servant in Potiphar's house, been throw into prison for many years, interpreted Pharaoh's dreams, and was overseer of Egypt's food storage program through the 7 years of plenty and is currently managing the stores in the 7 years of famine.  His brothers come from the land of Canaan to purchase food from the Egyptians during this famine.  After revealing his true identity to his brothers and the reunion that followed, Pharaoh commanded Joseph, his second in command, to do a few things in the following verses:

18. And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt,and ye shall eat the fat of the land.

19. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come.

20. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.

Joseph his commanded to get his family and bring them to Egypt.  We likewise are commanded to gather our family, past and present, and join our Father in Heaven.  And in like manner we are commanded to "regard not [our] stuff" for the blessings of heaven are ours.  I know that at the end of the day, the point of this life is to be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven.  It truly is the greatest purpose in heaven to live as a family together in time and eternity.  

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey