The Holy Ghost is a Gift Meant to Share
Emory S. Martin
The Holy Ghost is a Gift Meant to Share
We leave this month to serve in the Japan Tokyo Mission as office staff.
I served in Japan 40 yrs ago as a young missionary; and Carolyn served in “Ohio” as a sister missionary and it just so happens that Ohayo means “Good Morning” in Japanese.
Let me share two events in our recent last past.
Two years ago - Carolyn’s brother passed away in his early 60s - & it reinforced our family’s understanding that life does not always go as planned.
A t the family gathering - My brother-in-law Mark asked me if Carolyn and I were planning to serve a mission together- I said YES - definitely.
· (Carolyn & I have always talked about it – since we were young)
· When Mark asked me to share the details my plan – I had nothing at all to share- so……perhaps my “plan” was really perhaps no more than a wish.
· Mark encouraged me to actively plan to accomplish this goal – if it something we really wanted to do. So …. Carolyn and I took that good advice and began planning.
One year ago - Carolyn encouraged me to take our plan to serve a mission to the Lord in prayer – before I ACTUALLY submitted - in writing - my “retirement” request at my workplace .
I planned a temple trip while in Dallas for work – and CONSIDERED how I would make this petition to the Lord. I would participate in a temple session – I would then take time to sit in the temple and offer a prayer explaining that it was our desire to serve and how we wanted to proceed – and then I would to ask the Lord to please give me a confirmation this would be right. THEN - I would wait and listen for an answer
The day arrive – I drove to the temple - I dressed in white, and sat in the chapel area waiting for the session to begin. I opened the scriptures to read- and suddenly – so unexpectedly - words came to my mind – and my heart burned within me “Everything will be OK”. The Lord CLEARLY answered the prayer I brought with me to the temple – EVEN before I had a chance to formally say the prayer. I was so surprised – and grateful….. and shared my experience with Carolyn.
That answer to the prayer in my heart came through the power of the Holy Ghost.
With the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, came the restored covenant of baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We got to witness this this weekend with Sister Cane’s baptism and confirmation – performed in the same manner as in the days of the early Church almost 2000 years ago– See Acts 19:2–6)
Let me share some thoughts on this subject of the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Please see Elder Bednar’s October 2010 address as the source for much of this material https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/receive-the-holy-ghost?lang=eng
- as well as Elder Rasband’s talk from April 2017)
In 1839, Following Prophet Joseph Smith’s only meeting with the President of the U.S. - Pres. Van Buren, Elias Higbee wrote: “In our interview with the President, he interrogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day. Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost. …” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 42.)
Such a sweeping simple statement stressing the importance of this Gift – the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
An amazing vision from beyond the veil
Several years after the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, he appeared to President Brigham Young in a night vision and shared a message. What was that message? “Tell the people to be humble and faithful and [be] sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach [you what] to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits. It will whisper peace and joy to their souls, and it will take malice, hatred, envying, strife, and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord they will go right” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 98).
This is a key tenet of our faith - We have had several talks recently – in General Conf and from this pulpit – confirming that “when we will follow the Spirit of the Lord we will go right”
The gift of the HG was given to us shortly after we were baptized – thru the laying on of hands we were charged to RECEIVE the Holy Ghost.
“The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts.”
We must want it – but there is more than just “wanting”
We must choose to receive it, we must act to receive it.
Every week when we renew our Gospel covenants thru the sacrament ordinance, we are promised anew the gift of having the Spirit of God to be with us– or in other words - having the light and guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost – which will show us “all things what we should do” in our personal lives.
The witnessing power, testifying, power, comforting power, cleansing power; the purifying power; the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost– is so vital to our lives as followers of God’s Son
…. is multi-faceted gift that extends beyond us as an individual– it a gift we share ….. via inspired love for others and through teaching and service to our fellow man.
The Gift of the HG is like receiving a 5 pound box of chocolates – This is NOT a gift intended for you or me ALONE - to just keep to ourselves- but we must share it with others.
You all know this – In every general conference and regularly in the Ensign and even in our own lives… we hear accounts of personal timely acts of testimony or service given in a flash of inspiration.
· Our beloved prophet President Monson was always visiting someone on their birthday (without knowing it was their birthday) or someone in the hospital who really needed him. Speaking words of kindness and love, speaking words of gratitude, speaking words of encouragement, speaking words of direction, speaking uplifting words of faith and hope – speaking words of testimony – speaking words of comfort – speaking the words an angel might speak to someone in need of heavenly help. .
Pres Monson: “We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness. … We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.”… “If we are observant and aware, and if we act on the promptings which come to us, we can accomplish much good.”
Reflect now on how you (or your family) may have been blessed by the inspired outreach of another – just when it was needed.
Perhaps you can also identify an act of your own– even a simple act – that may have been almost angelic help to another.
President Monson taught that "The Lord's purposes are often accomplished as we pay heed to the guidance of the spirit." …."The more we act upon the inspiration and impressions which come to us, the more the Lord will entrust to us his errands."
…."Never postpone a prompting." (October 2012 Gen Conference)
We must “receive the Holy Ghost” , seek the Holy Ghost; listen carefully to the Holy Ghost; respond to its promptings – Receive the GIFT to bless our own lives – but also to extend blessings to others– blessings in the form of actions; blessings in the form of words.
There are a lot of inspired teachings about how we can develop sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
--- There are a lot of inspired examples of a sensitive person following the promptings of the Holy Ghost for the benefit of others.
I will share some of both.
HOW BE SENSITIVE TO THE STILL SMALL VOICE
Elder Perry (April 2014) An obedient horse … needs little more than a gentle tug from the driver to do exactly what he wants it to do. This gentle tug is equivalent to the still, small voice with which the Lord speaks to us. Out of respect for our agency, it is never a strong, forceful tug.
We cannot compel, coerce, or command the Holy Ghost. Rather, we should invite Him into our lives with the same gentleness and tenderness by which He entreats us
Let me suggest that we need to (1) sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost, (2) appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our lives, and (3) faithfully obey God’s commandments.
Elder Rasband (April 2017) … These feelings are gentle, a nudge to act, to do something, to say something, to respond in a certain way. If we are casual or complacent in our worship, drawn off and desensitized by worldly pursuits, we find ourselves diminished in our ability to feel.
Elder Rasband (April 2017) If we pay attention to the promptings that come to us, we will grow in the spirit of revelation and receive more and more Spirit-driven insight and direction.
Elder Rasband (April 2017) The Lord knows the needs of all His children—and He knows who is prepared to help. If we let the Lord know in our morning prayers that we are ready, He will call on us to respond. If we respond, He will call on us time and time again and we will find ourselves on what President Monson calls “the Lord’s errand.” We will become spiritual “first responders” bringing help from on high.
Elder Rasband (April 2017) We must be confident in our first promptings. Sometimes we rationalize; we wonder if we are feeling a spiritual impression or if it is just our own thoughts. When we begin to second-guess, even third-guess, our feelings—and we all have—we are dismissing the Spirit; we are questioning divine counsel. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten.
GB Hinkley: You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God.
Punchlines from General Conferences Examples of Heeding the Promptings
Father to Son: “Don’t climb on that rock”
Visiting Teacher at the door of the woman in emergency labor waiting for the ambulance “ I thought I should come by to see you”
Mission President to Assistants: “Let’s invite all missionaries of the Fukushima zone to the leadership meeting”
Missionary to Person Closing the Door: “Is there anyone else who might be interested in our message?” (foot stuck in door)
Woman to Friend’s sister Tiffany (who she had only met once and who lives 30 minutes away): “I thought I should bring you this extra loaf of homemade bread”.
The crippled man to the blind grandfather whose $195 depression-era farm mortgage was now overdue: “Dear Brother Larsen, I’ve had you on my mind all day today. I am wondering if you are in financial trouble. If you are, I have $200 you may have.’ - I received a wireless message from heaven this morning, and I could not get you off my mind all day”
From my Family
A family friend …. in note to my mother who just the day before used the rest of her cash to pay tithing: “I thought you might be in need of some help – see check enclosed”
OCTOBER 2008 | The Ministry of Angels; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland; Of the Quorum of 12
From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children…. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.
I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day… Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people….
EM: This angelic service is very important in the home - and among our friends- and into the formal calling of home teacher or visiting teacher or others in our stewardship – but can extend to any one in our circle.
· I like the stories of some totally random person being inspired to come to the timely charitable vital service of someone in need.
· But perhaps there are more common stories .. perhaps less dramatic but no less inspired… where the angelic help comes from someone very close to us – a famil member or a friend – and who knows but perhaps …home teachers and visiting teachers have “first dibs” at providing inspired service to an individual in need – if we will seek and follow the Spirit.
President Thomas S. Monson,….said: I know of no experience more sweet or feeling more precious than to heed a prompting only to discover that the Lord has answered another person’s prayer through you.”
IN CONCLUSION - let us “receive the Holy Ghost” - walk in obedience to the Lord’s commandments -and keep our covenants “with precision” - and pattern our lives - so that we might share the gift of the Spirit by ministering to others though it’s guidance.
Let us pray to the Father to bless us as we through our life’s spiritual odyssey as disciples of Jesus Christ … with the Spirit’s companionship – to hear it’s still small voice and have the faith and caring and courage to take action ---to DO IT- to share the fruits of the Spirit in our homes and in our small piece of the world.
Jesus said, I am the vine , ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these….. ye have done it unto me.”
“You are my hands”
Moroni 8:26: And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.
Peace can come to both the giver and the receiver as we follow the promptings of the Spirit to serve one another. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1985/10/draw-near-unto-me-through-obedience?lang=eng
APRIL 2010 | “You Are My Hands”; Dieter F. Uchtdorf
A story is told that during the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives.
Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: “You are my hands.”
Christ did not just speak about love; He showed it each day of His life. He did not remove Himself from the crowd. Being amidst the people, Jesus reached out to the one. He rescued the lost. He didn’t just teach a class about reaching out in love and then delegate the actual work to others. He not only taught but also showed us how to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”
Don’t climb on that rock
When I was about 11 years old, my father and I went hiking on a hot summer day in the mountains near our home. As Dad hiked up the steep trail, I jumped from one large rock to another along the sides of the trail. Intending to climb one of the large rocks, I began to clamber to the top of it. As I did so, I was surprised when my dad grabbed me by my belt and quickly pulled me down, saying, “Don’t climb on that rock. Let’s just keep on the trail.” Minutes later, as we looked down from higher up the trail, we were stunned as we saw a big rattlesnake basking in the sun on top of the very rock I had intended to climb. Later, as we were driving home, I knew Dad was waiting for me to ask, “How did you know the snake was there?” So I asked, and my question led to a discussion about the Holy Ghost and how the Holy Ghost can help us. I have never forgotten what I learned that day. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/how-does-the-holy-ghost-help-you?lang=eng
During this time, I worked closely with President Reid Tateoka of the Japan Sendai Mission. As part of his usual mission routine, President Tateoka planned a meeting for missionary leaders in the southern portion of his mission. A few days prior to the meeting, President Tateoka had an impression, a feeling in his heart, to invite all missionaries of that zone to the leadership meeting, instead of the prescribed small number of elder and sister leaders. When he announced his intention, he was reminded that this meeting was not designed for all missionaries but only for mission leaders. However, setting convention aside in order to follow the prompting he had received, he invited all missionaries serving in several coastal cities, including the city of Fukushima, to the meeting. On the appointed day, March 11, 2011, the missionaries gathered together for the expanded mission meeting in the inland city of Koriyama. During this meeting a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck the region of Japan where the Japan Sendai Mission is located. Tragically, many coastal cities—including those from which the missionaries had been gathered—were devastated and suffered great loss of life. And the city of Fukushima suffered a subsequent nuclear event. Although the meetinghouse where the missionaries were meeting that day was damaged by the earthquake, through following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, President and Sister Tateoka and all missionaries were safely assembled. They were out of harm’s way and miles from the devastation of the tsunami and the nuclear fallout. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/how-does-the-holy-ghost-help-you?lang=eng
Elder Oaks: By divine assignment, the Holy Ghost inspires, testifies, teaches, and prompts us to walk in the light of the Lord. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/let-the-holy-spirit-guide?lang=eng
And so, Peter explains, “add to your faith virtue.” This virtue is more than sexual purity. It is cleanliness and holiness in mind and body. Virtue is also power. As we faithfully live the gospel, we will have power to be virtuous in every thought, feeling, and action. Our minds become more receptive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ. We embody Christ not only in what we say and do but also in who we are. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/becoming-a-disciple-of-our-lord-jesus-christ?lang=eng
Personal revelation from the Holy Ghost will prompt us to learn, speak, and act on eternal truth—the Savior’s truth. The more we follow Christ, the more we will feel His love and direction; the more we feel His love and direction, the more we will want to speak and teach truth as He did, even when we face opposition. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/what-shall-we-do?lang=eng
Here in mortality we have again covenanted to serve the Savior in the work of salvation. By participating in sacred priesthood ordinances, we pledge that we will embark in the service of God with heart, might, mind, and strength. We receive the Holy Ghost and seek His promptings to guide our efforts. Righteousness emanates out to the world when we understand what God wants us to do and then we do it. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/here-to-serve-a-righteous-cause?lang=eng
We must be sensitive to our spiritual bits. Even with the slightest tug from the Master, we must be willing to completely alter our course. To succeed in life, we must teach our spirit and body to work together in obedience to God’s commandments. If we heed the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost, it can unite our spirits and bodies in a purpose that will guide us back to our eternal home to live with our eternal Father in Heaven. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/obedience-through-our-faithfulness?lang=eng
Each of us must stay in condition to respond to inspiration and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The Lord has a way of pouring pure intelligence into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, and to warn us. Each son or daughter of God can know the things they need to know instantly. Learn to receive and act on inspiration and revelation. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/these-things-i-know?lang=eng
When she saw that she was passing blood and that the flow was increasing, she called her husband on the phone. He told her to call for an ambulance and that he would meet her at the hospital, which was 20 minutes from her home. Before she could place the call, she heard a knock at the front door. At the door she was surprised to see her Relief Society visiting teaching companion. They had no appointment for that morning. Her companion had simply felt she ought to come by to see Elizabeth. She helped her into the car. They arrived at the hospital minutes before Joshua arrived from his work. The doctors decided in less than 20 minutes to take the baby by surgery to save Elizabeth and her baby. So a tiny girl came into the world, crying loudly, 15 weeks ahead of schedule. She weighed one pound, eleven ounces (765 g). But she was alive, and so was Elizabeth. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/the-caregiver?lang=eng
Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, we receive added capacity and spiritual gifts, increased revelation and protection, steady guidance and direction, and the promised blessings of sanctification and exaltation in the celestial kingdom. All of these blessings are given as a result of our personal desire to receive them and come as we align our lives with the will of God and seek His constant direction. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/an-unspeakable-gift-from-god?lang=eng
As I reflect back on my experience with Ben in the Bountiful Utah Temple, I have many sweet feelings and impressions. One clear recollection is that while I was absorbed in the grandeur of what I could see, a small child near my side was recognizing the powerful feelings in his heart. With a gentle reminder, I was invited not only to pause and kneel down but also to heed the Savior’s call to become as a little child—humble, meek, and ready to hear the still, small voice of His Spirit. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/an-unspeakable-gift-from-god?lang=eng
We all have experiences with the Holy Ghost, even though we may not always recognize them. As inspired thoughts come into our minds, we know them to be true by the spiritual feelings that enter into our hearts. President Boyd K. Packer has taught: “The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. … While we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had a feeling …’” It is through these sacred feelings from the Holy Ghost that we come to know what God would have us do, for this, as stated in scripture, “is the spirit of revelation.” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/an-unspeakable-gift-from-god?lang=eng
The Holy Ghost inspires us to reach out to others in service. For me, the most vivid examples of heeding the promptings of the Holy Ghost in the service of others come from the life and ministry of President Thomas S. Monson, who said: “In the performance of our responsibilities, I have learned that when we heed a silent prompting and act upon it without delay, our Heavenly Father will guide our footsteps and bless our lives and the lives of others. I know of no experience more sweet or feeling more precious than to heed a prompting only to discover that the Lord has answered another person’s prayer through you.” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/an-unspeakable-gift-from-god?lang=eng
President Harold B. Lee taught, “The most important of all the commandments of God is that one that you are having the most difficulty keeping today.” King Benjamin explained, “I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.” If you are struggling with keeping these standards and commandments, I encourage you to look for support within the gospel. Read your scriptures. Spend time on the Church’s official website, LDS.org, to find answers to your questions. Talk to your parents, your Church leaders, and those who shine brightly as they live the gospel. Pray. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father, who loves you. Use the gift of repentance daily. Serve others. And most important, listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/arise-and-shine-forth?lang=eng
` May I share with you the account of how our Heavenly Father answered the prayers and pleadings of one woman and provided her the peace and assurance she so desperately sought? Tiffany’s difficulties began last year when she had guests at her home for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. Her husband had been in medical school and was now in the second year of his medical residency. Because of the long work hours required of him, he was not able to help her as much as they both would have liked, and so most of that which needed to be accomplished during this holiday season, in addition to the care of their four young children, fell to Tiffany. She was becoming overwhelmed, and then she learned that one who was dear to her had been diagnosed with cancer. The stress and worry began to take a heavy toll on her, and she slipped into a period of discouragement and depression. She sought medical help, and yet nothing changed. Her appetite disappeared, and she began to lose weight, which her tiny frame could ill afford. She sought peace through the scriptures and prayed for deliverance from the gloom which was overtaking her. When neither peace nor help seemed to come, she began to feel abandoned by God. Her family and friends prayed for her and tried desperately to help. They delivered her favorite foods in an attempt to keep her physically healthy, but she could take only a few bites and then would be unable to finish. On one particularly trying day, a friend attempted in vain to entice her with foods she had always loved. When nothing worked, the friend said, “There must be something that sounds good to you.” Tiffany thought for a moment and said, “The only thing I can think of that sounds good is homemade bread.” But there was none on hand. The following afternoon Tiffany’s doorbell rang. Her husband happened to be home and answered it. When he returned, he was carrying a loaf of homemade bread. Tiffany was astonished when he told her it had come from a woman named Sherrie, whom they barely knew. She was a friend of Tiffany’s sister Nicole, who lived in Denver, Colorado. Sherrie had been introduced to Tiffany and her husband briefly several months earlier when Nicole and her family were staying with Tiffany for Thanksgiving. Sherrie, who lived in Omaha, had come to Tiffany’s home to visit with Nicole. Now, months later, with the delicious bread in hand, Tiffany called her sister Nicole to thank her for sending Sherrie on an errand of mercy. Instead, she learned Nicole had not instigated the visit and had no knowledge of it. The rest of the story unfolded as Nicole checked with her friend Sherrie to find out what had prompted her to deliver that loaf of bread. What she learned was an inspiration to her, to Tiffany, to Sherrie—and it is an inspiration to me. On that particular morning of the bread delivery, Sherrie had been prompted to make two loaves of bread instead of the one she had planned to make. She said she felt impressed to take the second loaf with her in her car that day, although she didn’t know why. After lunch at a friend’s home, her one-year-old daughter began to cry and needed to be taken home for a nap. Sherrie hesitated when the unmistakable feeling came to her that she needed to deliver that extra loaf of bread to Nicole’s sister Tiffany, who lived 30 minutes away on the other side of town and whom she barely knew. She tried to rationalize away the thought, wanting to get her very tired daughter home and feeling sheepish about delivering a loaf of bread to people who were almost strangers. However, the impression to go to Tiffany’s home was strong, so she heeded the prompting. When she arrived, Tiffany’s husband answered the door. Sherrie reminded him that she was Nicole’s friend whom he’d met briefly at Thanksgiving, handed him the loaf of bread, and left. And so it happened that the Lord sent a virtual stranger across town to deliver not just the desired homemade bread but also a clear message of love to Tiffany. What happened to her cannot be explained in any other way. She had an urgent need to feel that she wasn’t alone—that God was aware of her and had not abandoned her. That bread—the very thing she wanted—was delivered to her by someone she barely knew, someone who had no knowledge of her need but who listened to the prompting of the Spirit and followed that prompting. It became an obvious sign to Tiffany that her Heavenly Father was aware of her needs and loved her enough to send help. He had responded to her cries for relief. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/we-never-walk-alone?lang=eng
President John Taylor (1808–87) summed up the essential qualities of missionaries this way: “The kind of men [and women and couples] we want as bearers of this gospel message are men who have faith in God; men who have faith in their religion; men who honor their priesthood; men in whom … God has confidence. … We want men full of the Holy Ghost and the power of God[,] … men of honor, integrity, virtue and purity.” https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/06/called-to-the-work?lang=eng
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/ps/119?lang=eng
Great and marvelous events seem to motivate us, but small things often do not hold our attention. Noting that the Liahona worked by faith, Alma stated, “Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means … [the people of Lehi] were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey.” (Alma 37:41.) Is our journey sometimes impeded when we forget the importance of small things? (See Alma 37:46.) Do we realize that small events and choices determine the direction of our lives just as small helms determine the direction of great ships? (See James 3:4; D&C 123:16.) Are we ever like Naaman, the leper, expecting some great thing before we will pay attention to prophets? (See 2 Kgs. 5:1–14.) https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1990/04/small-and-simple-things?lang=eng
I am grateful that the Lord answered the prayers of this young man by prompting me to do the seemingly small thing of asking to see him. I did not know of any of his problems at the time but was able to help him to once again take hold of the iron rod of the gospel to guide his life. We must never ignore or pass by the prompting of the Spirit to render service to one another. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1990/04/small-and-simple-things?lang=eng
Revelation continues with us today. The promptings of the Spirit, the dreams, and the visions and the visitations, and the ministering of angels all are with us now. And the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost “is a lamp unto [our] feet, and a light unto [our] path.” (Ps. 119:105.) Of that I bear witness, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/10/revelation-in-a-changing-world?lang=eng
The Holy Ghost communicates with the spirit through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings, through impressions and promptings. It is not always easy to describe inspiration. The scriptures teach us that we may “feel” the words of spiritual communication more than hear them, and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes. [See 1 Ne. 17:45.] https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/10/revelation-in-a-changing-world?lang=eng
When I was a young man in high school, one of my passions was American football. I played middle linebacker. The coach worked the team hard, teaching us the basics. We practiced until the skills became natural and automatic. During one play against our biggest rival, I had an experience that has helped me over the years. We were on defense. I knew my assigned opponent, and as the play unfolded, he moved to my right into the line of scrimmage. There was a lot of noise from players and fans. I reacted as the coach had taught us and followed my man into the line, not knowing if he had the ball. To my surprise, I felt the ball partially in my hands. I gave it a tug, but my opponent didn’t let go. As we tugged back and forth, amid all the noise I heard a voice yelling, “Packer, tackle him!” That was enough to bring me to my senses, so I dropped him on the spot. I have wondered how I heard that voice above all the other noise. I had become acquainted with the voice of the coach during the practices, and I had learned to trust it. I knew that what he taught worked. We need to be acquainted with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and we need to practice and apply gospel teachings until they become natural and automatic. These promptings become the foundation of our testimonies. Then our testimonies will keep us happy and safe in troubled times. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/finding-strength-in-challenging-times?lang=eng
Like us, all these missionary couples are finding new purpose and fulfillment in their lives. Section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 4] is taking on new meaning. “Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1987/10/in-the-service-of-the-lord?lang=eng
One Saturday morning I was on my way to fulfill an assignment on a welfare farm. We were to clean the weeds out of an irrigation ditch. My route took me past the home of an elderly widow in my ward, who was weeding her front yard. The temperature was already in the mid-eighties and she looked like she was near to having sunstroke. For a fleeting moment I thought I should stop and lend a helping hand, but my conscience allowed me to drive on by because, after all, I had an assignment on the welfare farm. I wonder what would have happened if I had followed the spontaneous prompting of the Spirit and unleashed the genuine compassion I was feeling. I wonder what would have happened to her; I wonder what would have happened to me. But I couldn’t do that because I hadn’t been assigned. We need more spontaneous acts of compassionate service. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1986/04/principles-and-programs?lang=eng
There are so many ways that our families can bring joy to others through service by extending ourselves. I am very thankful for the strengthened testimonies we have received through service, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1981/10/finding-joy-by-serving-others?lang=eng
Maybe we don’t know a widow whose home needs paint or a new neighbor on our street. But promptings will come, encouraging us to do something good for someone. When we lived in Idaho, we enjoyed doing little things for “Uncle Joe,” the ward’s favorite pioneer. After we moved, we remembered him occasionally and thought that we really should write a letter to brighten “Uncle Joe’s” day. The idea began pressing on my mind, and finally we mailed a note to him. But it was too late. Only one day later we received word that “Uncle Joe” had passed away. An opportunity for service had slipped by because we had ignored a first impulse. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1981/10/finding-joy-by-serving-others?lang=eng
Number two: Faith is the ability to do what we are prompted to do, and when we are prompted to do it. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1981/04/building-bridges-to-faith?lang=eng
Thus the Lord, by revelation, brings inspiration into one’s mind as though a voice were speaking. Elder Harold B. Lee gave this testimony: “I have a believing heart because of a simple testimony that came when I was a child, I think maybe I was around ten—maybe eleven—years of age. I was with my father out on a farm away from our home, trying to spend the day busying myself until father was ready to go home. Over the fence from our place were some tumbledown sheds which had attracted a curious boy, adventurous as I was. I started to climb through the fence and I heard a voice as clearly as you are hearing mine—‘Don’t go over there!’ calling me by name. I turned to look at father to see if he were talking to me, but he was way up at the other end of the field. There was no person in sight. I realized then, as a child, that there were persons beyond my sight and I had heard a voice. And when I had heard and read these stories of the Prophet Joseph Smith, I, too, know what it means to hear a voice because I’ve heard from an unseen speaker” (Divine Revelation, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, Provo, 15 Oct. 1952, p. 6). https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/04/communion-with-the-holy-spirit?lang=eng
After an association of more than fifty years with the leaders of the Church here upon the earth—prophets, seers, and revelators of this dispensation—during which period of time I have witnessed the inspiration and revelation of the Lord to his servants, I add my testimony that the Spirit of the Lord has borne witness to my soul that these things are true. I testify that if we can bring our eternal spirits into attune with the promptings of God’s Holy Spirit, the hand of God may be made visible; and the listening ear so attuned may be responsive to the celestial whisperings of the voice of God, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04/the-matter-of-personal-testimony?lang=eng
Those who become candidates to inherit all that the Father has must learn early that a home teaching assignment is more important than any TV program or any other worldly interest. When the still small voice prompts us, let’s DO IT and DO IT NOW! https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1975/10/do-it?lang=eng
We want you single sisters to know of our great love for you. You can be powerful instruments in the hands of God to help bring about this great work. You are valued and needed. Other women, even though married, may not be mothers. For those in either of these circumstances, please be assured that the Lord loves you and has not forgotten you. You can do something for another person that no one else ever born can do. You may be able to do something for another woman’s child that she may not be able to do herself. I believe some compensatory blessings will come in this life and in the hereafter to sisters in those circumstances. These blessings and a comforting peace will come to you if you can love God “with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” You can still be highly successful in whatever you do as instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work…I have thought about Jim Drinkwater many times and wondered how he came to be one that the Lord could trust. Jim was a little, crippled man that God trusted to help a blind farmer with a heavy mortgage and three children. I have learned a great deal from my grandfather’s experience with Jim Drinkwater. I have learned that a person does not need to have a Church calling, an invitation to help someone, or even good health to become an instrument in God’s hands. How then do you and I become instruments in God’s hands? The prophets and the scriptures teach us how. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/becoming-instruments-in-the-hands-of-god?lang=eng
Third, those who receive by the Spirit intend to act. As the prophet Moroni instructed, to receive a witness of the Book of Mormon, we must ask “with real intent” (Moroni 10:4). The Spirit teaches when we honestly intend to do something about what we learn. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/receiving-by-the-spirit?lang=eng
One cannot help but wonder how many gifts and blessings surround us that we do not receive. The Lord has said: “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift” (D&C 88:33). https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/receiving-by-the-spirit?lang=eng One of the most well-known and frequently cited passages of scripture is found in Moses 1:39. This verse clearly and concisely describes the work of the Eternal Father: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (emphasis added). A companion scripture found in the Doctrine and Covenants describes with equal clarity and conciseness our primary work as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father. Interestingly, this verse does not seem to be as well known and is not quoted with great frequency. “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength” (D&C 11:20; emphasis added). https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/the-tender-mercies-of-the-lord?lang=eng
That young man received the Lord’s tender mercies through an inspired priesthood leader. I repeat again, the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness and obedience enable us to receive these important gifts and, frequently, the Lord’s timing helps us to recognize them. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/the-tender-mercies-of-the-lord?lang=eng
The work of reactivation is no task for the idler or daydreamer. Children grow, parents age, and time waits for no man. Do not postpone a prompting; rather, act on it, and the Lord will open the way. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/the-sacred-call-of-service?lang=eng
You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God. That which tears down, which leads us into forbidden paths—that is of the adversary. I think it is just that plain, just that simple. https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-gordon-b-hinckley/chapter-7-the-whispering-of-the-spirit?lang=eng
How great a blessing it is to have the ministering influence of a member of the Godhead, having received that gift under the hands of those who acted with divine authority. If we continue to walk in virtue, we may enjoy the fulfillment of the promise made by the Lord when He said: “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” (D&C 121:46.) https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-gordon-b-hinckley/chapter-7-the-whispering-of-the-spirit?lang=eng
May I give a special word of counsel to parents who stand as heads of families: we need the direction of the Holy Ghost in the delicate and tremendous task that is ours in strengthening the spirituality of our homes. Listen to the promptings of the Spirit. Be humble. You may be led to someone by the hand of the Lord because of your spirit, your attitude, your feeling, your humility. https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-gordon-b-hinckley/chapter-7-the-whispering-of-the-spirit?lang=eng
There may be moments when we are tempted to justify our actions by believing that the end justifies the means. We might even think that to be controlling, manipulative, and harsh will be for the good of others. Not so, for the Lord has made it clear that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance.” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/perfect-love-casteth-out-fear?lang=eng
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/eph/5?lang=eng
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/gal/5?lang=eng
Back story to President Monson’s exemplary life of service….
(FEBRUARY 1986 President Thomas S. Monson: Man of Action, Man of Faith, Always “on the Lord’s Errand” By Jeffrey R. Holland President of Brigham Young University)
A story from 1950….
Twenty-three-year-old Tom Monson, (a) relatively new bishop .., was uncharacteristically restless as (he attended a) stake priesthood leadership meeting ….. He had the distinct impression that he should leave the meeting immediately and drive to the Veterans’ Hospital high up on the Avenues of Salt Lake City. Before leaving home that night he had received a telephone call informing him that an older member of his ward was ill and had been admitted to the hospital for care. Could the bishop, the caller wondered, find a moment to go by the hospital sometime and give a blessing? The busy young leader explained that he was just on his way to a stake meeting but that he certainly would be pleased to go by the hospital as soon as the meeting was concluded.
Now the prompting was stronger than ever: “Leave the meeting and proceed to the hospital at once.” But the stake president himself was speaking at the pulpit! It would be most discourteous to stand in the middle of the presiding officer’s message, make one’s way over an entire row of brethren, and then exit the building altogether. Painfully he waited out the final moments of the stake president’s message, then bolted for the door even before the benediction had been pronounced.
Running the full length of the corridor on the fourth floor of the hospital, the young bishop saw a flurry of activity outside the designated room. A nurse stopped him and said, “Are you Bishop Monson?”
“Yes,” was the anxious reply.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “The patient was calling your name just before he passed away.”
Fighting back the tears, Thomas S. Monson turned and walked back into the night. He vowed then and there that he would never again fail to act upon a prompting from the Lord. He would acknowledge the impressions of the Spirit when they came, and he would follow wherever they led him, ever to be “on the Lord’s errand.”
When I hear this story – I can see how President Monson learned this important lesson early in life – and put that lesson to good use – to the point that he stands as a great example of someone who .. through the gift of inspiration by the Holy Ghost frequently acted as a tool in the hand of the Lord to do his work.
Elder Rasband: If we pay attention to the promptings that come to us, we will grow in the spirit of revelation and receive more and more Spirit-driven insight and direction. The Lord has said, “Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good.” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/let-the-holy-spirit-guide?lang=eng
Think of it as being what is called a first responder. In most communities the first responders to a tragedy, disaster, or calamity are firefighters, police officers, paramedics. They arrive with lights flashing, and may I add, we are so incredibly grateful for them. The Lord’s way is less obvious but requires just as immediate a response. The Lord knows the needs of all His children—and He knows who is prepared to help. If we let the Lord know in our morning prayers that we are ready, He will call on us to respond. If we respond, He will call on us time and time again and we will find ourselves on what President Monson calls “the Lord’s errand.” We will become spiritual first responders bringing help from on high.
First promptings are pure inspiration from heaven. When they confirm or testify to us, we need to recognize them for what they are and never let them slip past. So often, it is the Spirit inspiring us to reach out to someone in need, family and friends in particular. “Thus … the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things,” points us to opportunities to teach the gospel, to bear testimony of the Restoration and Jesus Christ, to offer support and concern, and to rescue one of God’s precious children.
We must be confident in our first promptings. Sometimes we rationalize; we wonder if we are feeling a spiritual impression or if it is just our own thoughts. When we begin to second-guess, even third-guess, our feelings—and we all have—we are dismissing the Spirit; we are questioning divine counsel. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/let-the-holy-spirit-guide?lang=eng
Fourth, we must act on the first prompting.
President Monson has taught, “As we pursue the journey of life, let us learn the language of the Spirit.” The Spirit speaks words that we feel. These feelings are gentle, a nudge to act, to do something, to say something, to respond in a certain way. If we are casual or complacent in our worship, drawn off and desensitized by worldly pursuits, we find ourselves diminished in our ability to feel. Nephi said to Laman and Lemuel, “Ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel [the] words.”
Third, we must recognize the Spirit when it comes.
As she began to shut the door, I felt to do something I had never done before and have never done since! I stuck my foot in the door, and I asked, “Is there anyone else who might be interested in our message?” Her 16-year-old daughter, Marti, did have an interest and had fervently prayed for guidance just the day before. Marti met with us, and in time her mother participated in the discussions. Both of them joined the Church. Resulting from Marti’s baptism, 136 people, including many of her own family, have been baptized and made gospel covenants. How grateful I am that I listened to the Spirit and stuck my foot in the door on that hot July day. Marti and a number of her dear family members are here today.
Second, we must be willing to receive the Spirit.
Each week as we partake of the holy sacrament, we make a covenant to “always remember him,” the Lord Jesus Christ, and His atoning sacrifice. When we keep this sacred covenant, the promise is given that we “may always have his Spirit to be with [us].” How do we do that? First, we strive to live worthy of the Spirit. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/let-the-holy-spirit-guide?lang=eng