Sunday, January 29, 2012

No Sacrifice Is Too Great

Challenge: Go to the temple--no excuses.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Not Just a Tithing Slip

The top of a tithing slip reads "Tithing and Other Offerings." Most of us are good tithe payers, but we usually forget about the "other offerings" besides fast offerings. The other funds listed on a tithing slip are:
  • Ward missionary: helps young men in your ward serving missions elsewhere
  • General missionary: helps missionaries all over the world, including their training at MTCs
  • Book of Mormon: pays for printing and other costs
  • Humanitarian aid: helps people in need worldwide, especially after natural disasters
  • Temple construction: pays for building temples and buying the lands upon which they are built
  • Perpetual education: helps people escape poverty by loaning them funds to get an education
  • Other (specify): for example, a newly established one is the general temple patron assistance fund, which helps people who are poor or far away get to the temple so they can receive their ordinances
Of course regular tithes go to these funds and much more as well, but we have the opportunity to decide where we want our contributions to go (Note: This applies to additional money not paid as tithing money, meaning tithes should be listed under the Tithing category only; extra donations can be listed elsewhere.) Giving offerings to these funds is an easy way we can serve in the Church and keep our temple covenants.

Challenge: Next time you pay tithing, donate to one of the other funds as well.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not-So-Obvious Addictions

When we think of addiction, we think of drugs, alcohol, pornography, and gambling. While these addictions may be the most severe and evil, they are not the only ones that can control our lives. Elder M. Russell Ballard said in Conference of October 2010, "Remember, brothers and sisters, any kind of addiction is to surrender to something, thus relinquishing agency and becoming dependent. Thus, video-gaming and texting on cell phones need to be added to the list." These activities are only two on a long list of not-so-obvious addictions:
  • Facebook, blogs, and any other online activity that monopolizes your time
  • Work
  • Shopping
  • Food
  • Exercise and dieting
  • TV and movies
  • Dating and romance
  • Games on your phone, iPod, tablet, or computer
  • Music
Anything can become an addiction if it takes over your time and willpower; it does not have to be overtly sinful, like drugs. Remember, there is opposition in all things, meaning everything can be good or evil depending on how you use it. Be aware of Satan's sneaky traps to get you to turn something harmless into something harmful.

Challenge: Assess your activities to see if there are any hidden addictions in your life and get rid of them!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Priesthood Power vs. Keys

President Joseph F. Smith explained:
The Priesthood in general is the authority given to man to act for God. Every man that has been ordained to any degree of the Priesthood, has this authority dedicated to him.

But it is necessary that every act performed under this authority, shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order. The power of directing these labors constitute the keys of the Priesthood. In their fullness, these keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of The Church. He may delegate any portion of this power to another, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor. Thus, the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum, each holds the keys of the labors performed in that particular body or locality. His Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment, for a seventy who presides over a mission has no more Priesthood than a seventy who labors under his direction; and the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum. But he holds the power of directing the official labors performed in the mission or the quorum, or in other words, the keys of that division of that work. So it is throughout all the ramifications of the Priesthood—a distinction must be carefully made between the general authority, and the directing of the labors performed by that authority. (“Distinction between Keys of the Priesthood and Priesthood,” Improvement Era, Jan. 1901, p. 230.)
Challenge: Priesthood holders, use your priesthood power and keys as authorized. Women, support the men in doing so.