Relief Society version of the 14 Day Walk With Christ
This past December when I was teaching the lesson the first Sunday of the month I had a very strong feeling that the Savior wanted to know if the goals we were setting this years as sisters, were going to bring us closer to him. So, I decided to do this for my RS sisters in my ward. I have since had several sisters in the missionary mom email group ask for it. I couldn’t get it to work in my program and had to fix some stuff on it, but it is fixed now and is in PDF format so most people can get it that way. I just emailed them all and told them it would be on your website – hope that was okay. I thought that would be easier for them to get.
Cut the ‘Day #; away from the story for the day and fold it inside of the story. Mark on the outside of the folded paper w/the Day inside it what day it is…example: ‘Day 1’, ‘Day 2’, etc. Then place them in order and put them inside a white envelope or clear cellophane bag with a picture of the Savior on the outside of it. You can include things that go with each day like treats or photos, etc. if you want. I included a picture that a friend of mine had sent me from Israel at the end of the ‘walk’- it was a picture of Galilee and I had typed on the photo – ‘Walk In His Footsteps’. It was a beautiful photo of the Sea of Galilee and I had typed that on the photo as well….so sisters would know what the photo was of and so they would be able to have a photo of somewhere the Savior had actually walked….that was the idea anyway. I told them not to peek ahead and to open it after they had read the last day. You open each one of the stories each day for 14 Days in the morning to help you focus that day on how you can become like the Savior. It is a beautiful thing to do for Easter and Christmas too. Ending it on Christmas Eve or Christmas or ending or beginning it at Easter is nice.
The only way we can really know another person is to walk in their shoes: think what they think, learn what they know, and what they would say, do what they would do. Christ said, “Be ye therefore perfect”. We can only accomplish this as we become like him
The Lord asked the question of the Nephites: “What manner of men ought ye to be?” Then He answered by saying, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Ne. 27:27.)
In the morning: set aside enough time to open the envelope for that day. Each day has a set of questions followed by a story, poem, or scripture to help you walk with Christ. Read and PONDER what is written. Try to keep what you read in mind throughout the day. Perhaps take it with you to reread. At the end of the day: evaluate how you did, and write your thoughts and feelings in your journal.
Day 1 – Faith
And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”
I am a Child of a loving Father in Heaven. Trust in him and have faith. He will never lead us astray.
Peace Be unto You
Peace Be unto You, Friend, Apr. 1976, 36In the evening of the day Jesus was resurrected, His disciples met together in a room with the doors shut tightly against the Jews whom they feared. Suddenly, Jesus was standing in their midst. The apostles were startled and perhaps a little frightened, for they supposed they were seeing only a spirit.
To ease their alarm, Jesus spoke to them saying, Peace be unto you, and then to help them know that it was really He, Jesus showed them the mark of the soldier’s spear in His side and the nail prints in His hands and feet where He had hung on the cross.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
One of the apostles, Thomas, called Didymus, was not present when Jesus appeared to the others. When he was told of the Savior’s visit he would not believe his brethren. However, eight days later Thomas was meeting with the disciples behind closed doors when, without warning, Jesus again appeared before them in the room. And again He allayed their fears by saying, Peace be unto you.
Then, knowing of Thomas’s doubts, He said to that disciple, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
Thomas realized now that all that he had been told was true and answered, My Lord and My God.
Then with a mild reprimand, the Savior told Thomas what the difference is between belief and a true faith:
Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Gone is the sting of death. The grave is robbed of its victory.
He was the master of life and death, the man of miracles. It was He who made the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead to live.
Day 2 – Prayer
Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?
If you pray why worry and if you worry why pray.
Work as if it is all up to you and pray like it is all up to the Lord.
Sometimes, we have to P.U.S.H. a little harder. Read the following story to see how prayer and trusting in the Lord will make things happen.
The Rock / P.U.S.H. A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing it with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Noticing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind. “You have been pushing against this rock for a long time, And it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These troubled thoughts discouraged and dishearten the man. “Why kill myself over this?” I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough. And that is what he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his thoughts to the Lord. “Lord” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even been able to budge that rock. What is wrong? Why am I failing?” The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, When I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?” “Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.” At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is simple obedience and Faith in Him… By all means exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains. P.U.S.H. ! When everything seems to get you down or go wrong, …Just P.U.S.H.! When people don’t react the way you think they should, … Just P.U.S.H.! P.U.S.H.—– PRAY UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS!!!!!!!!!
God can reveal to us our talents and our strengths so that we will know what we can build upon. Be assured that in all our righteous endeavors, we can say, as did Paul: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philip. 4:13.) Also be assured, as Paul said further, that there will be no temptation befall us but what is common to man: but God will, with each temptation, provide a way to escape. (See 1 Cor. 10:13.)
Day 3 – Obedience – Be Obedient and Be Blessed – What manner of men (or women) ought ye to be?
Missionaries quickly learn that the reward for obedience is the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit. With that companionship a missionary cannot fail. So, it is with us as we strive to do what is right – we will always have the companionship of the Holy Ghost to guide us.
For as by one man=s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
D&C 130:21 When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated@
Listen closely for the still small voice today to guide you where ere you should go. Read this story to give your more insight on obedience.
R. Conrad Schultz, “Faith Obedience,” Ensign, May 2002, 29
In this world in which we live, things are not always what they appear to be. We sometimes are unaware of the powerful forces pulling on us. Appearances can be very deceptive.
A few years ago I had an experience with deceptive appearances where the results could have been tragic. My wife’s cousin and family were visiting us from Utah. It was a calm summer day on the Oregon coast, and we were fishing in the ocean. It was pleasant, and we were having a good time catching salmon, when for some reason I turned around to see a huge eight-foot wave bearing down upon us. I only had time to shout a warning before the wave hit us broadside. Somehow the boat stayed upright, but Gary, our cousin, was thrown overboard. We were all wearing life jackets and with some difficulty maneuvered the boat, half filled with water, to where he was floating and pulled him aboard.
We had been hit by what is called a sneaker wave. It doesn’t happen often, and there is no way to predict an occurrence. Later we found that up and down the Oregon-Washington coast, five people had drowned that day in three separate boating accidents. All were caused by the same sneaker wave, which for no apparent reason had welled up off the ocean surface. At the time we went out over the bar, the ocean was flat and calm and gave no sign of any danger. But the ocean turned out to be very deceptive and not at all what it appeared to be.
As we make our way through this life’s journey, we must continually be on guard and watch for those things which are deceptive and not what they appear to be. If we are not careful, the sneaker waves in life can be as deadly as those in the ocean.
One of the sneaky ploys of the adversary is to have us believe that unquestioning obedience to the principles and commandments of God is blind obedience. His goal is to have us believe that we should be following our own worldly ways and selfish ambitions. This he does by persuading us that “blindly” following the prophets and obeying the commandments is not thinking for ourselves. He teaches that it is not intelligent to do something just because we are told to do so by a living prophet or by prophets who speak to us from the scriptures.
Our unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s commandments is not blind obedience. President Boyd K. Packer in the April conference of 1983 taught us about this: “Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God. … We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see” (“Agency and Control,” Ensign, May 1983, 66).
Day 4 – Be Ye Fishers of Men
l9 – And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Pray for a missionary experience.
l7 – And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
Read the following quotes and scriptures and ponder on these things as you go about your day today. Have a beautiful day.
Spencer W. Kimball said-“No person who has been converted to the gospel should shirk his responsibility to teach the truth to others. This is our privilege. This is our duty. This is a command from the Lord.”
Heber J. Grant said- The best way in the world to show our love for our neighbor is to go forth and proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
D&C 4:4 – For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
1 – “And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,2 – And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.3 – And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the peple out of the ship.4 – Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.5 – And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.6 – And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.7 – And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.8 – When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.9 – For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:10 – And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.11 – And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
The ‘fishers of men’ are covering the earth with the gospel net in search of the faithful. Joseph Smith said- ‘We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object.’
Day 5 – The Fruits of Your Labors
Do not be discouraged. Be longsuffering, joyous and of good cheer.
Do I have the spirit of love, joy, peace and longsuffering? They shall know you by your desires and works.
25 – Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruitof my labors;
22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 – Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law
19 – My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver
1 Nephi 8:10
10 – And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
1 Nephi 11:21-22
21 – And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?22 – And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which shedddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
38 – And by their desires and their works you shall know them.
Heber J. Grant’s Testimony
AI know that God lives, I know that Jesus is the Christ, I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, I know that the Gospel tree is alive, that it is growing, that the fruits of the Gospel growing upon the tree are good. I have reached out my hand, and have plucked the fruits of the Gospel, I have eaten of them and they are sweet, yea, above all that is sweet. That is the inspiration that comes to every Latter-day Saint who realizes the force of this Gospel that we have espoused. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the plan of life and salvation. God lives; Jesus is the Christ, and He is the chief corner stone of this great work He is directing it, and He will continue to direct it.Heber J. Grant
Day 6 – Hold to the Rod
What does ‘Hold to the Iron Rod’ mean to me?
How does the word of God lead to the joy and happiness that come from partaking of the tree of life?
If the Savior came today, would I be worthy to kneel at his feet?
By faithfully holding fast to the word of God, we are led to a fullness of joy.
Although the young man in the story is much younger than many of us. The story has good insight into this subject. Read the scriptures that the story references.
Tears of frustration filled my eyes, so I couldn’t make sense of the words I had been reading.
“And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward,” read the verses I was studying for seminary. “And they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree” (1 Ne. 8:24).
I was 14 and struggling. I didn’t have many friends. Those I had were beginning to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and immoral behavior. The pressure to participate was growing daily. I was struggling to stand up for my beliefs. I was struggling to find friends. I could understand why temptation was called “mists of darkness” (1 Ne. 12:17). I felt blind to the light of the Spirit.
I was trying to do what was right, doing my best to follow “the path which led to the tree” (1 Ne. 8:22). But I could relate to those people “who had commenced in the path” but were lost because of the “mist of darkness.” I felt like I had “wandered off and [was] lost” too (1 Ne. 8:23).
I rarely cried. But that night in my room, as I read those verses, I couldn’t keep the tears from spilling out. I really felt lost, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted a solid metal handrail right there by my bed that I could grab on to and follow back to heaven.
My seminary teacher had said the rod of iron symbolizes the word of God in the scriptures and given through the prophets today. But I couldn’t hold on to a symbol. I shut my scriptures and poured my heart into prayer: “Father, where is my iron rod?”
The question stuck in my head for days. Then one night, like Lehi, I “dreamed a dream” (1 Ne. 8:2).
In my dream I was on my stomach on the seminary classroom floor. Something behind me held my legs so tightly that I couldn’t get free, and it was slowly pulling me backwards. Terror smashed me so I could hardly breathe. I was too scared to look back, but I knew I was being dragged into a darkness that would mean more than death. It meant spiritual destruction.
I looked around desperately for anything I could grab on to. It was then that I saw in front of me the Book of Mormon resting on a chair. Somehow I knew that if I could just make it to the book, I would be safe.
I woke up halfway between safety and destruction. I knew I had to go one way or the other.
Suddenly, I was more interested in the Book of Mormon. But while the dream was my wake-up call to read the Book of Mormon, it was the actual reading that changed my life. The Lord blessed me for being obedient. I found spiritual strength in the face of temptations. I found confidence to break ties with my old friends and reassurance that I was better off by myself until my prayers to find better friends were answered.
Most important, I could feel the Spirit when I read the Book of Mormon. I could feel the love of God. It felt so good I never wanted to put the book down. I had found my iron rod.
Soon after, tears again blurred the words I was reading. But this time they were tears of joy as I read Nephi’s promise to his brothers.
“And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?
“And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction” (1 Ne. 15:23–34).
Day 7- Keep My Commandments
In the spring we often see kites flying freely in the air. At first you assume the kite string is holding the kite down and as you hold the string you can feel the kite tugging to be set free. You imagine that if you let go of the string, the kite would soar off into the atmosphere. But in reality if you let go of the string, what happens to the kite? It plummets to the earth. The commandments are like the kite string. They appear to others to be holding us down, keeping us from soaring, when in reality it is our obedience to the commandments that allow us to reach our highest potential as sons and daughters of Heavenly Father.
1 Nephi 2:20 – And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
Do I keep the commandments and do I realize they are given to us by a loving Father in Heaven who wants the best for us?
Look Both Ways
by Janet G. Lee
From an address delivered at Brigham Young University on September 15, 1992.
You can just close your eyes and rush across the road. But what if you do it when a car is coming?
Janet G. Lee, ALook Both Ways, New Era, Feb. 1994, 46
My four-year-old niece Mollie was playing at her grandmother’s house one day when she asked if she could cross the street to visit a favorite aunt. Mollie was cautioned to look carefully both ways before crossing. Always an inquisitive child, she questioned this procedure, so her grandmother replied, You could easily get hit by a car, and I love you so much I don’t want anything to happen to you.
Before long Mollie was back. You lied to me! You said I would get hit by a car if I didn’t look both ways. Well, I closed my eyes and ran over and back and a car didn’t hit me!
Just as a loving grandmother cautioned a four-year-old child to look both ways before crossing a street, a loving Father in Heaven has given us detailed instructions to ensure our happiness and safe arrival at our ultimate destination. Yet we often question the consequences, or think we can get away with taking chances, so we close our eyes to some of God’s commandments and cross the street of life. At such times it appears that we might not get hurt if we obey only some of God’s laws. But the Lord has said, ‘Keep my commandments.’ He didn’t say, ‘Look this list over and pick out what you think applies,’ or Try to work on part of these some of the time.’ His instructions were simple, yet direct and unqualified ‘Keep my commandments’.
Day 8 – Setting a Good Example
Do I do the right things for the right reasons? Do I set a righteous example for others? Do I believe that Heavenly Father is watching over me and knows what I do?
Col 1:10 – That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God
The Power of Example, Tambuli, Apr. 1982, By President N. Eldon Tanner
The example we set before the world will determine, in large measure, whether we gain friends or enemies. It is most important that each of us live according to the standards of the Church, adhering to the precepts of the gospel and keeping the commandments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which have been so well defined for us.
It is always impressive to read the stirring stories of what can be accomplished through the power of good example. I recently read a story which I would like to repeat. A nonmember relates that about ten years ago he was assistant manager of a discount store where they hired 16-18 year old students to work the night shift. He stated:
AI don’t remember how I hired the first Mormon girl, who was about 16 or 17, and I don’t even remember her name. But I’ll never forget her example. She was unusually honest, dependable and neat and clean, yet those words can’t fully describe her the way I’d like. Compared to other kids, she was really noticeable.
Soon he hired one of her friends and found that she, too, was an exemplary employee. Both were friendly and helpful in their attitudes towards other employees and the customers.
Pretty soon I tried to hire any more of their Mormon friends that I could find. Individually and collectively, they were the best people I ever had work for me, he said. Never was there a single occasion when any of them disappointed me or proved to be untrustworthy. They were the finest employees and fellow workers than anyone could want.
One night he wanted a pizza for dinner but was unable to leave the store, so one of the Mormon girls went to get it for him. When she returned he found she had been in a minor accident. He offered to pay for the damages to her car because she was on his errand, but she refused, saying it was her responsibility. He said: I didn’t think many young people that age would have that kind of character and I’ve never forgotten it.
This man recently met some LDS missionaries through his son, has had some of the discussions, and has attended some meetings. AAI have found that the things I admired in those girls 10 years ago are also found among the Mormon adults I have met, he said. AAI like their emphasis on the family and they seem to me like the happiest group of people I have ever met.
How wonderful it would be if all of us could make that kind of impression on those with whom we come in contact! Another recent article about a conversion carried this headline: Example Is Vital Conversion Factor. We hear many stories of conversions through the example of some of our members, but think of the impact if we all were having so as to influence others by our example.
We are fortunate to have the gospel of Jesus Christ and to understand what it can mean to us as we prepare ourselves here to live forever in the presence of God. The world does not understand the meaning of eternal life; we have the opportunity and responsibility, therefore, to teach all nations this glorious principle.
Day 9 – Making Righteous Choices
Do I strive to make my weaknesses become strengths? Do I think about the Savior when I have a choice to make? Will my decisions cause the Savior to suffer?”you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD,choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Ezra Taft Benson, “In His Steps,” Ensign, Sep 1988, 2
In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—this is a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been so well organized. Now is the great day of the devil’s power. But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number of priesthood holders on the earth.
Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good enlist new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions showing the cause we support. The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will win. But what remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this battle—and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last days and fulfill our foreordained missions?
Great battles can make great heroes and heroines. We will never have a better opportunity to be valiant in a more crucial cause than in the battle we face today and in the immediate future. Some of the greatest battles we will face will be fought within the silent chambers of our own souls. David’s battles in the field against the foe were not as critical as David’s battles in the palace against a lustful eye.
Each of us has his or her own battlefield. The tactics which the enemy will use against us will vary from time to time. He will seek to exploit our weak spots, so we must be alert to the devil’s devious designs—the subtle sins and clever compromises as well as the obvious offenses.
We must remember that the devil seeks to make all men miserable like unto himself. We must also remember that the Lord loves us and seeks for us the fulness of joy which He enjoys. We must choose whom we will serve.
Christ lived on earth and was subject to all manner of temptation, but He won every battle. He is the most successful warrior that ever walked the earth, and He wants to help us win every battle, be it personal or public. When we fall short, His atonement will compensate for us on condition of our repentance.
Jesus knows His kingdom will triumph, and He wants us to triumph with it. He knows in advance every strategy the enemy will use against us and the kingdom. He knows our weaknesses and He knows our strengths. By personal revelation, we may discover some of our strengths through careful and prayerful study of our patriarchal blessing. In prayer we can ask Him to reveal to us our weaknesses so that we can amend our lives. The Lord has promised:
“If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. … if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27.)
Day 10 – Pause to Help and Lift Another
“A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another”
We need to walk more resolutely and more charitably the path that Jesus has shown. We need to “pause to help and lift another” and surely we will find “strength beyond [our] own.” If we would do more to learn “the healer’s art,” there would be untold chances to use it, to touch the “wounded and the weary” and show to all “a gentle[r] heart.” Yes, Lord, we should follow thee.
“A new commandment I give unto you,” he said, “That ye love one another; … By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34–35.) This love that we should have for our brothers and sisters in the human family, and that Christ has for every one of us, is called charity or “the pure love of Christ.” (Moro. 7:47.) It is the love that prompted the suffering and sacrifice of Christ’s atonement. It is the highest pinnacle the human soul can reach and the deepest expression of the human heart. Howard W. Hunter, “A More Excellent Way,” Ensign, May 1992, 61
Do something to lift another today.
My ancestors’ experiences as handcart pioneers on Rocky Ridge in 1856 reminded me that we are not alone in our struggles.
My second great-grandmother Julia Hill and her sister Emily were baptized as teens in England, and then their parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Hill, disowned them. Nevertheless, Julia and Emily earned their own passage to America and sailed from Liverpool on the ship Thornton. Also on board this ship was Captain James G. Willey, who led the fourth handcart company west.
Once 23-year-old Julia and 20-year-old Emily arrived in Iowa, they joined the Willey handcart company. Early winter snowstorms caused everyone to suffer from hunger and exposure. On Rocky Ridge in Wyoming, many starved or froze to death. Those who survived were comforted in their suffering by their testimonies of Jesus Christ. But I believe what saved Julia and Emily, in addition to their testimonies, was their love for each other as sisters.
During one particularly difficult time for me, I prayed for understanding and had a dream about Julia and Emily. Their example of sisterhood lifted and encouraged me. Whether what I saw in my dream really happened exactly as I imagined does not matter to me. What does matter is the lesson I learned. I came to see clearly the parallel between it and my own struggle.
In my dream, I could see Julia and Emily stranded in the snow on the windy summit of Rocky Ridge with the rest of the Willey handcart company. They had no heavy clothing to keep them warm. Julia was sitting in the snow, shaking. She could not carry on. Emily, who was freezing as well, knew that if she did not help Julia stand up, Julia would die. As Emily wrapped her arms around her sister to help her up, Julia began to cry—but no tears came, only soft whimpering sounds. Together they walked slowly to their handcart. Thirteen died that terrible night. Julia and Emily survived.
We all have trials, but like Julia and Emily we needn’t perish on the windswept summit alone. Though we may feel abandoned, we are not. The Savior is near, and our brothers and sisters in the gospel are near as well. Perhaps we can even do as Emily did and lift another, even though we ourselves are suffering. When we do this, our brothers and sisters become as important as ourselves. We become sanctified—made clean and holy through our service. We become more like our Savior.
Julia and Emily understood this.
Day 11 – Good Works
Alma 41:3 – And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
Do I possess Christ-like qualities of patience, brotherly kindness, and charity? What can I do to better develop those qualities within myself? Am I willing to give up things of the world in order to receive His good gifts?
Do something to lift another today.
Margaret D. Nadauld, “The Joy of Womanhood,” Ensign, Nov 2000, 14–16
I am inspired by the lives of good and faithful women. From the beginning of time the Lord has placed significant trust in them. He has sent us to earth for such a time as this to perform a grand and glorious mission. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches, “Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men” (D&C 138:56). What a wonderful vision that gives us of our purpose on earth.
Where much is given, much is required. Our Heavenly Father asks His daughters to walk in virtue, to live in righteousness so that we can fulfill our life’s mission and His purposes. He wants us to be successful, and He will help us as we seek His help.
That women were born into this earth female was determined long before mortal birth, as were the divine differences of male and female. I love the clarity of the teachings of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve in the proclamation on the family, where they state, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” 1 From that statement we are taught that every girl was feminine and female in spirit long before her mortal birth.
God sent women to earth with some qualities in extra capacity. In speaking to young women, President Faust observed that femininity “is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your … capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength. It is manifest differently in each girl or woman, but each … possesses it. Femininity is part of your inner beauty.” 2
Our outward appearance is a reflection of what we are on the inside. Our lives reflect that for which we seek. And if with all our hearts we truly seek to know the Savior and to be more like Him, we shall be, for He is our divine, eternal Brother. But He is more than that. He is our precious Savior, our dear Redeemer. We ask with Alma of old, “Have ye received his image in your countenances?” (Alma 5:14).
You can recognize women who are grateful to be a daughter of God by their outward appearance. These women understand their stewardship over their bodies and treat them with dignity. They care for their bodies as they would a holy temple, for they understand the Lord’s teaching: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Women who love God would never abuse or deface a temple with graffiti. Nor would they throw open the doors of that holy, dedicated edifice and invite the world to look on. How even more sacred is the body, for it was not made by man. It was formed by God. We are the stewards, the keepers of the cleanliness and purity with which it came from heaven. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:17).
Grateful daughters of God guard their bodies carefully, for they know they are the wellspring of life and they reverence life. They don’t uncover their bodies to find favor with the world. They walk in modesty to be in favor with their Father in Heaven. For they know He loves them dearly.
You can recognize women who are grateful to be a daughter of God by their attitude. They know that the errand of angels is given to women, and they desire to be on God’s errand to love His children and minister to them, to teach them the doctrines of salvation, to call them to repentance, to save them in perilous circumstances, to guide them in the performance of His work, to deliver His messages. 3 They understand that they can bless their Father’s children in their homes and neighborhoods and beyond. Women who are grateful to be daughters of God bring glory to His name.
You can recognize women who are grateful to be a daughter of God by their abilities. They fulfill their divine potential and magnify their God-given gifts. They are capable, strong women who bless families, serve others, and understand that “the glory of God is intelligence” (D&C 93:36). They are women who embrace enduring virtues in order to be all that our Father needs them to be. The prophet Jacob spoke of some of those virtues when he said their “feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God, which thing is pleasing unto God” (Jacob 2:7).
You can recognize women who are grateful to be a daughter of God by their reverence for motherhood, even when that blessing has been withheld from them for a time. In those circumstances, their righteous influence can be a blessing in the lives of children they love. Their exemplary teachings can echo the voice of a faithful home and resonate truth in the hearts of children who need another witness.
Grateful daughters of God love Him and teach their children to love Him without reservation and without resentment. They are like the mothers of Helaman’s youthful army, who had such great faith and “had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47).
When you observe kind and gentle mothers in action, you see women of great strength. Their families can feel a spirit of love and respect and safety when they are near her as she seeks the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the guidance of His Spirit. They are blessed by her wisdom and good judgment. The husbands and children, whose lives they bless, will contribute to the stability of societies all over this world. Grateful daughters of God learn truths from their mothers and grandmothers and aunts. They teach their daughters the joyful art of creating a home. They seek fine educations for their children and have a thirst for knowledge themselves. They help their children develop skills that they can use in serving others. They know that the way they have chosen is not the easy way, but they know it is absolutely worth their finest efforts.
They understand what Elder Neal A. Maxwell meant when he said: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?” 4
Daughters of God know that it is the nurturing nature of women that can bring everlasting blessings, and they live to cultivate this divine attribute. Surely when a woman reverences motherhood, her children will arise up and call her blessed (see Prov. 31:28).
Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.
Sisters, regardless of your age, please understand all that you are and must be, all that you were prepared to be in royal courts on high by God Himself. May we use with gratitude the priceless gifts we have been given for the lifting of mankind to higher thinking and nobler aspirations, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Day 12 – A Great Attitude- Look for the Positive in all Things
Do I see myself and others as Heavenly Father sees us? Do my thoughts and actions affect my attitude? Am I living my life so that those who know me but don’t know the Savior will want to know Him? Will I be touched by the Master’s Hand as I live my life?
John 16:33 – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The Touch of the Master’s Hand
Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while To waste his time on the old violin, But he held it up with a smile. “What am I bid, good friends?” He cried. “Who’ll start the bidding for me? One dollar! Only one? And who will make it two? Two dollars, once. And Three! Three dollars, once. And three dollars, twice. And going, and going,” but no… From the back of the room a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow. And wiping the dust from the old violin, And tightening the loose strings, He played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angels sing. The music ceased, and the auctioneer with a voice that was quiet and low, Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?” As he held up the bow. “One thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two. Two thousand dollars, and three! Three thousand, once. And three thousand, twice. And going, and going, and gone!” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We don’t quite understand
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply. “Twas the touch of the master’s hand.” And many a man with life out of tune and battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like this old violin. A mess of pottage, a glass of wine. A game and he travels on. He’s going once, and going twice. And going, and almost gone. But the Master comes, and the thoughtless crowd never can quite understand The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.
Day 13 – Obtain Knowledge-Seek learning even by study and also by faith. 1? How can the Holy Ghost help me to know the truth?
And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
How can I gain a knowledge of Jesus Christ? Do I take the time to read my scriptures each day? Do I take the time to pray AND listen for the answers? In all my decisions today will I ask, “What would Christ do?”
I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
And by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive (D&C 11:11-14; emphasis added).
Partial talk: Richard G. Scott, Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge, Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86
President Ezra Taft Benson emphasized the importance of spiritual knowledge, saying:
We should make daily study of the scriptures a lifetime pursuit. The most important [thing] you can do is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles.
You must see that searching the scriptures is not a burden laid upon [us] by the Lord, but a marvelous blessing and opportunity (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 47).
President Spencer W. Kimball commented:
Spiritual learning takes precedence. The secular without the foundation of the spiritual is like the foam upon the milk, the fleeting shadow. One need not choose between the two for there is opportunity to get both simultaneous (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 390).
As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles. Carefully separate them from the detail used to explain them. Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances. It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle. I have tried to do that with gaining spiritual knowledge. The result is now shared in hope that it will be a beginning place for your study. That statement of principle is:
To acquire spiritual knowledge and to obey it with wisdom, one must:
In humility, seek divine light.
Exercise faith in Jesus Christ.
Hearken to His counsel.
Keep His commandments.
As spiritual knowledge unfolds, it must be understood, valued, obeyed, remembered, and expanded.
The following scriptures teach why we should seek divine light.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Ps. 119:105; emphasis added).
I, the Lord, will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words (2 Ne. 10:14; emphasis added).
It is I that speak; I am the light which shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee. YY
Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do goodCCyea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
Analogies with physical light help us understand the power of spiritual light. A bulb ignited in a dark room overpowers darkness. Yet if the darkness is too intense, it can overpower light, as with a bulb plunged into a bucket of black ink. Spiritual light overcomes the darkness of ignorance and disbelief. When transgression severely clouds a life, the focused spiritual truths of repentance cut the blackness as a laser penetrates the darkest ink.
Day 14 -What is the pure love of Christ?
These past 14 days have I felt a greater love for my Savior? Have I felt his loveCan I commit to live each day as he would?
Scriptures to read: Moroni: 7:40-48
His hands… Tools of creation… Stronger than nations Power without end…. And yet through them… We find our truest friend.
His hands… Sermons of kindness…Healing men’s blindness Halting years of pain… Children waiting… To be held again. His hands would serve His whole life through Showing man what hands might do Giving, ever giving endlessly
Each day was filled with selflessness And I’ll not rest … Til I make of my hands what they could be Like the ones from Galilee.
His hands…Warming a beggar… Lifting a leper Calling back the dead… Breaking bread… Five thousand fed. His hands… Hushing contention… Pointing to Heaven Ever free of sin… Then bidding man to follow Him
They take his hands… His mighty hands… Those gentle hands And then they pierce them… They pierce them He lets them because of love From birth to death… Was selflessness
And clearly now… I see Him with His hands calling to me And though I’m not yet how I could be I will make my hands like those from Galilee.
(Words take n from the song “His Hands”)