Keeping Hold of the Commandments
My dear brothers and sisters I am very grateful for the opporunity to speak to you today. My name is Taylor Foster and I’m very glad to see all of you here. I’d like to give a special thanks to all of my friends and family that have travelled to support me this morning. As you all know I have been recently called to serve a mission in Arkansas. I’d like to share a certain phrase in the call “The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life.”
John 14:15 “If ye love me keep my commandments” This phrase has such precise and profound wording. It leaves nothing to chance, and I pondered it I came across the definition of the word “Keep” “To hold or retain in one’s possession; hold as one’s own, or have the use of.” This of course put me into a whole other course of thought. The commandments are not just rules but tools to be kept, used, held, and treated as treasures themselves not just for the treasures they unlock but for their own value. As well as for the value they have in our Heavenly Father’s eyes. For obedience is the only way to follow the greatest commandment which is to Love God with all our heart might mind and strength.
D&C 130:20-21 says “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of thes world, upon which all blessings are predicated and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” When I was a little girl, and even now as a less little girl… In order to “ask” for anything from my Dad Harold I had to ask not with my mouth… but with my actions. In order to ask to play with a friend my room as well as the rest of the house had to be in order… I know that this is how heavenly father would have us ask as well, to find we must search… to open we must knock that’s the key
John 8:31-32 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, THEN are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Obedience is truth. Though many in the world may view following every commandment burdensome, it is being true to ourselves and others as well as (in our case) the name that we have taken upon ourselves, the name of Jesus Christ. As I thought about all of this I thought of this comparison…there are many keys to salvation, the keys of the priesthood for example, and obedience (our obedience) is like the hand holding those keys. Our level of obedience keeps those keys within grasp and thereby those blessings… with our obedience we can choose to be unlocking, holding, dropping, and then picking up those keys. In other words to choose the level of growth we obtain at any given moment.
We aren’t perfect, but heavenly father has given us many scriptures speaking of the blessing of obedience and acting on faith.
· Phillipians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which Strengtheneth me”
· D&C 5:34-35 “Stop and Stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee. And if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day”
· SUPER POWERS!! I mean those scriptures to me sounded like super strength, never going hungry, and lifted up??? Flying… Okay so maybe it’s not exactly like super powers, but I do have a testimony that the powers of heaven can help us feel and be a little more super than before.
President Uchtdorf wrote a talk in the July Ensign this year entitled “Always in the Middle” I want to address some of the things he says. First of all he tells us some advice he gives the missionaries (I know I thought that appropriate as well) “I often tell them they are in the middle of their missions. Whether they just arrived the day before or are to depart for home the day after, I ask them to think of themselves as always being in the middle” he goes on to say that being in the middle will “embolden and energize” those who take on this different perspective. He observes that thought this seems like just a mind trick it is true that no matter our beginning or ending we are always in the middle of something bigger. I love the story he shares of replacing his parents’ headstone and how the dash between dates impressed him. He said “This small symbol of a lifespan suddenly filled my mind and heart with an abundance of rich memories… each of these treasured memories reflects a moment in the middle of my parents’ lives and in the middle of my life.” No matter how insignificant or significant we may feel a choice or a mistake may be, it is the middle, we have time to become even better than before. “Whether we are at the beginning or the end, whether we are young or old, the Lord can use us for his purposes if we simply set aside whatever thoughts limit our ability to serve and allow His will to shape our lives.” As my mission date has gotten closer, I have felt less and less ready for this next step. But as I read and prepared for this talk an overwhelming calm has settled in my heart. I have gained a testimony that “Considering ourselves in the middle of things can help us not only to understand life a little better but also to live it a little more meaningfully… Being always in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final. For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us. We are always in the middle.” I know that even though I’m going to make mistakes on my mission… life is not ended by one mistake, and that my Savior is there to help me begin anew.
I also loved this change of perspective brought to me by Emily Dickenson’s saying “Forever is composed of Now’s” I know that every moment is precious, and that as we take advantage of the now’s we can put aside the blessings of Forever.
The World was created to provide us with the opportunity to be like God. Abraham 3: 24-25 “We will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” Through obedience we can see this goal accomplished, and the final key will be earned. The key to our mansion on high.
Mosiah 2:41 “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it”
Matthew 5:14-16 “Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither to men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven”
Heavenly Father has mostly imperfect deciples but he depends on them to glorify his name to those who don’t know him. I know that if we are obedient our light will shine brighter than stars, and our desiscion to follow the commandments will help others do the same. Alma 34:32 “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” I also have a testimony that no matter the cost, being obedient can be and should be fun. Psalms 118: 24 says “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we [should] rejoice and be glad in it” I am very grateful for this opportunity to grow and I say these things…..