Messages of Love | Patrick Kearon

Messages of Love | Patrick Kearon


>>WHAT A THRILLING LIFE AWAITS .>>THE ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGE
IS A SACRED ACTIVITY.>>A TRULY EDUCATED MAN NEVER
CEASES TO LEARN.>>THE FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS. THE OUTCOME IS UP TO YOU.>>THIS BYU DEVOTIONAL ADDRESS
WITH ELDER PATRICK KEARON IS GIVEN ON FEBRUARY 14, 2012.>>ELDER PATRICK KEARON IS OUR
DEVOTIONAL SPEAKER THIS MORNING. HE WAS SUSTAINED A MEMBER OF
THE FIRST QUORUM OF THE SEVENTY IN APRIL 2010 AND
CURRENTLY SERVES AS AN ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF THE PRIESTHOOD DEPARTMENT AND THE MEDIA SERVICES DEPARTME. ELDER KEARON WAS EDUCATED IN
THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE UNITED KINGDOM. HE HAS LIVED AND WORKED IN
THE UNITED KINGDOM, SAUDI ARABIA,
AND THE UNITED STATES IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES. HIS CIVIC AND COMMUNITY
INVOLVEMENT INCLUDES SERVICE ON THE BOARDS OF CHARITIES,
A SCHOOL, AN ENTERPRISE AGENCY,
AND A COLLEGE. SINCE JOINING THE CHURCH ON
CHRISTMAS EVE 1987, ELDER KEARON HAS SERVED IN
NUMEROUS CHURCH CALLINGS, INCLUDING ASSISTANT WARD CLERK,
WARD YOUNG MEN’S PRESIDENT, BISHOP’S COUNSELOR,
BRANCH PRESIDENT, STAKE PRESIDENT,
AND AREA SEVENTY. ELDER KEARON WAS BORN IN
CARLISLE, CUMBERLAND, ENGLAND. HE AND HIS WIFE,
JENNIFER CAROLE HULME, ARE THE PARENTS OF FOUR CHILDRE,
ONE OF WHOM IS DECEASED. AND NOW WE’LL HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY OF HEARING FROM ELDER PATRICK KEARON.>>HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! THIS IS A DAY WHEN WE
CELEBRATE LOVE. WE THINK OF LOVE
LETTERS AND HEARTS, ROSES AND CHOCOLATE. MANY HOPE TODAY TO RECEIVE A
MESSAGE FROM ONE THEY LOVE,
AND SOME ARE PLANNING TO DELIVER A MESSAGE
TO ONE THEY LOVE. I HOPE YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTE. MY PARENTS LOVED ME DEARLY,
OF THAT I HAD NO DOUBT. BUT WHEN I WAS TEN,
I HAD TO ATTEND BOARDING SCHOOL IN ENGLAND WHILE MY
PARENTS CONTINUED TO LIVE THOUSANDS OF MILES
AWAY IN SAUDI ARABIA. THE SEPARATION WAS AN
ENORMOUS WRENCH FOR ME. ON THE LONG FLIGHT TO ENGLAND,
I REMEMBER FEELING QUEASY IN THE PIT OF MY STOMACH AS
I LEFT BEHIND THE HEAT AND SUNSHINE OF ARABIA,
FLEW ACROSS THE MILES, AND DESCENDED THROUGH
MULTIPLE LAYERS OF CLOUD INTO THE COLD,
GREY SCENE OF LONDON’S HEATHROW AIRPORT. THE RAIN DROPLETS ON THE
AIRPLANE WINDOW SHOT PAST, AND I FELT SO VERY,
VERY FAR FROM HOME. I ARRIVED AT THE SCHOOL IN
MY UNIFORM OF GRAY SHORTS, SWEATER, TIE, AND CAP,
PULLING MY GREAT GREEN TRUNK OF BELONGINGS BEHIND ME. THE LONELINESS WAS OVERWHELMING. I SLEPT IN A DORMITORY OF
ABOUT 15 OTHER BOYS; IT WAS A VERY FOREIGN EXPERIENC,
COMPLETE WITH RICKETY, METAL-FRAMED BEDS AND THE
OCCASIONAL PILLOW FIGHT. EVERY MORNING AFTER
MAKING OUR BEDS, WE BOYS WOULD STAND ASIDE
WHILE OUR BED-MAKING SKILLS AND “HOSPITAL CORNERS”
WERE GRADED. THERE WERE UNFAMILIAR SMELLS,
UNFAMILIAR FOODS, AND VERY UNFAMILIAR TEACHERS. MY LATIN MASTER WOULD WALK
AROUND THE ROOM AND PECK OUR HEADS WITH THE TIP OF HIS
BALLPOINT PEN IF WE DIDN’T KNOW AN ANSWER. I WAS VERY WELL-PECKED. OUT ON THE FIELDS
DURING SPORTS TIME, ON A RARE, CLEAR DAY,
IF A PLANE WAS FLYING HIGH OVERHEAD LEAVING A VAPOR TRAIL,
I WOULD STUDY ITS COURSE TO SEE IF THAT PLANE MIGHT BE
HEADING BACK TO ARABIA, FEELING A DEEP PANG IF IT WAS. I LONGED,
SOMEHOW TO JUMP ABOARD AND GO BACK HOME TO MY PARENTS. THE BRIGHTEST SPOT IN ANY
WEEK CAME DURING BREAKFAST TIME WHEN MAIL WAS DELIVERED. I WOULD LOOK ANXIOUSLY FOR
THE TELL-TALE BLUE AIR MAIL LETTER THAT MY MOTHER SENT
FAITHFULLY EVERY WEEK. AS THE TEACHERS CAME
AROUND THE TABLES WITH LETTERS TO HAND OUT,
I WOULD LITERALLY BE ON THE EDGE OF MY BENCH WAITING
TO SEE IF ONE WAS FOR ME. IN SO MANY SENSES,
THIS WAS HOGWARTS, BUT WITHOUT THE OWLS
AND WITH NONE OF THE MAGIC.
THOSE BLUE AIR MAIL
LETTERS WERE OFTEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK,
PARTICULARLY IN THE EARLY DAYS, WHEN MY LONELINESS WAS MOST
ACUTE. I WOULD RECEIVE THOSE
LETTERS FROM HOME WITH SUCH HAPPINESS AND RELIEF. I WOULD WAIT UNTIL I COULD
BE ALONE TO CAREFULLY UNSEAL IT AND THEN EAGERLY READ THE
MESSAGES OF LOVE, REASSURANCE, AND ADVICE FROM MY PARENTS. I SAVORED EVERY LINE AND FELT,
FOR THOSE MOMENTS, CLOSER TO HOME AND CLOSER
TO MY PARENTS’ LOVE, AND RECEIVED THE COURAGE
I NEEDED TO CONTINUE ON ANOTHER WEEK. THERE IS MUCH IN THE NATURAL
COURSE OF MORTAL LIFE THAT CAN MAKE US FEEL ALONE AND AFRA,
EVEN WHILE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE,
AS I WAS AT BOARDING SCHOOL. AND WE ALL FEEL FAR FROM
HOME AT TIMES. IN FACT,
MOST OF YOU ARE FAR FROM HOME WHILE YOU ARE HERE AT BYU. PERHAPS THIS IS A RELATIVELY
NEW AND PAINFUL EXPERIENCE FOR YOU,
AND YOU ARE STILL FINDING IT HARD TO ADJUST;
HOMESICKNESS CONTINUES TO GNAW AT YOU. FOR OTHERS,
MAYBE YOU’VE BEEN AWAY FROM HOME FOR SEVERAL SEMESTERS
OR EVEN SEVERAL YEARS, AND YOU’RE ACCUSTOMED TO IT. AND INDEED FOR SOME,
PERHAPS BEING AWAY FROM A SITUATION WHERE YOU DEALT
WITH NEGATIVE INFLUENCES AND DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIPS HAS
BEEN A GOOD THING, AND HAS GIVEN YOU A CHANCE
TO BEGIN TO BECOME THE PERSON YOU KNOW YOU CAN BE. WE DON’T SEND BLUE AIR MAIL
LETTERS MUCH ANYMORE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH HOME,
AS EMAIL AND CELL PHONES, FACEBOOK, SKYPE,
AND TWITTER HAVE REPLACED OLD-FASHIONED LETTER-WRITING. BUT MESSAGES FROM HOME,
MESSAGES OF LOVE AND REASSURANCE AND GUIDANCE,
HOWEVER THEY ARRIVE AT YOUR DOOR OR IN YOUR INBOX,
CAN HAVE POWERFUL INFLUENCE TO STEADY YOU ALONG YOUR
JOURNEY WHILE YOU’RE AWAY FROM HOME. THEY REMIND YOU THAT YOU ARE
LOVED AND CHERISHED. LETTERS, CARDS,
TEXTS, EMAILS, AND PHONE CALLS FROM
MOM AND DAD, BROTHER AND SISTER,
GRANDPARENTS, RELATIVES, AND FRIENDS GO A LONG WAY TO
HELP US WHEN WE FACE CHALLENGES AND ADVERSITY FAR
FROM THE COMFORTS OF HOME. I STILL GAIN STRENGTH AND
COMFORT FROM A PHONE CALL HOME TO MY MOTHER IN ENGLAND,
WHO IS NOW 90 YEARS OLD. OF COURSE IN SO MANY WAYS,
WE ARE ALL FAR FROM HOME. THE METAPHOR HERE WITH OUR
ETERNAL HOME IS CLEAR. WE KNOW WE WERE BLESSED TO
BE IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, OUR SAVIOR,
AND MANY OF THE NOBLE AND GREAT ONES IN OUR
PRE-MORTAL EXISTENCE. WE KNOW WE RECEIVED OUR
FIRST LESSONS FROM THEM AND HAD MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO
CHOOSE GOOD OR EVIL AND TO EXERCISE EXCEEDINGLY GREAT FAIT. WE KNOW WE ARE HERE ON EARTH
TO BE PROVEN, TO SEE IF WE WILL DO ALL
THINGS WHATSOEVER THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL COMMAND US. DO YOU EVER FEEL HOMESICK
AND LONG FOR YOUR ETERNAL HOME, AND FOR THE LOVE AND
AFFIRMATION AND PURE TRUTH AND LIGHT WE KNOW EXIST THERE? DON’T OUR SPIRITS YEARN TO
BE WHERE THEY KNOW THEY BELONG BEST,
THERE IN THE PRESENCE OF FATHER, ENCIRCLED ABOUT ETERNALLY IN
THE ARMS OF HIS LOVE? OUR ETERNAL FATHER HAS NOT
LET ANY OF US LEAVE HOME, LEAVE HIS PRESENCE,
WITHOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACCESS HIS LOVE AND HIS GUIDANC,
EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES. PRESIDENT EYRING ASSURES US,
THE FATHER OFFERS US, THROUGH PRAYER IN
THE NAME OF HIS SON, THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMMUNE
WITH HIM IN THIS LIFE AS OFTEN AS WE CHOOSE. SOMETIMES WE FORGET THIS. SOMETIMES WE DOUBT THIS. SOMETIMES WE CUT
OURSELVES OFF FROM IT. BUT HE HAS ENDOWED US ALL
WITH THE LIGHT OF CHRIST TO ENABLE US TO JUDGE
RIGHT FROM WRONG, TO DETERMINE LIGHT FROM
DARKNESS AND TRUTH FROM ERROR. AS WE REPEATEDLY RESPOND TO
THE LIGHT OF CHRIST AND TRAIN OURSELVES TO LAY HOLD
UPON EVERY GOOD THING, WE INCREASE OUR SENSITIVITY
TO THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT AND ENHANCE OUR ABILITY TO
RECEIVE THE MESSAGES COMING TO US FROM OUR ETERNAL HOME. AS OFTEN AS WE SINCERELY
SEEK AND ARE WORTHY TO RECEIVE, OUR ETERNAL FATHER
COMMUNICATES WITH US THROUGH REVELATION,
MESSAGES THAT COME TO US IN THE REFLECTIVE MOMENTS OF PRAYE,
THROUGH THE WORDS AND ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE SCRIPTURES,
FROM THE TEACHINGS OF LIVING PROPHETS,
OR IN THE PEACEFUL MELODIES OF HEAVENLY MUSIC. HIS MESSAGES ARE OFTEN QUIET,
AND WE ALL KNOW THAT WE CAN MISS THEM IF WE ARE NOT
READY TO RECEIVE. IN FACT,
IT IS OFTEN BECAUSE WE ARE SO BUSY RECEIVING OTHER
MESSAGES THAT WE IMPAIR OUR ABILITY TO RECEIVE THE
MUCH-NEEDED MESSAGES FROM OUR ETERNAL HOME. WE NOW LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE
MESSAGES SURROUND US, EVEN BOMBARD US. OUR SMARTPHONES,
OUR COMPUTERS, AND OUR TABLETS ARE
CONSTANTLY BUZZING, BEEPING, AND VIBRATING WITH EVERY NEW TE,
SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE, EMAIL, AND PHOTOGRAPH. IT REALLY IS INSTANT AND
INSISTENT MESSAGING. THIS EXTRAORDINARY
TECHNOLOGY CAN DO ENORMOUS GOOD. ONE EXAMPLE OF THAT IS HOW
THE GLORIOUS MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
CAN BE SHARED, STREAMED, AND RECEIVED THROUGH EVERY
KIND OF HANDHELD DEVICE. BUT WE MUST BE SELECTIVE IN
THE MESSAGES WE CHOOSE TO RECEIVE,
AND IT IS VITAL TO OUR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING THAT WE
DO NOT CONSUME SO MUCH OF OUR TIME RECEIVING GOOD MESSAGE,
EVEN BETTER MESSAGES, THAT WE MAKE OURSELVES
UNAVAILABLE TO RECEIVE THE BEST. JUST AS I COULD NOT WILL ONE
OF THOSE BLUE AIR MAIL LETTERS FROM MY MOTHER TO
APPEAR EVERY MORNING AT BREAKFAST TIME,
WE CANNOT FORCE MESSAGES FROM OUR ETERNAL HOME. THE LORD DECIDES WHEN AND
HOW AND WHAT TO COMMUNICATE WITH US. IT IS TRUE THAT EVERY ONE
THAT ASKETH RECEIVETH, AND HE THAT SEEKETH FINDETH,
BUT WE MUST REMEMBER AND TAKE HEART IN THE FACT THAT
IT SHALL BE IN HIS OWN TIME, AND IN HIS OWN WAY,
AND ACCORDING TO HIS OWN WILL. WE CANNOT DEMAND
MESSAGES OF THE LORD. WE MUST WAIT UPON HIM. BUT EVEN AS WE WAIT UPON THE LO,
WE CONTINUE TO PURSUE HIM AND TO PERSIST IN OUR
PETITIONS ELDER NEAL A. MAXWELL TAUGHT: “REVELATION IS NOT A
MATTER OF PUSHING BUTTONS, BUT OF PUSHING OURSELVES,
OFTEN AIDED BY FASTING, SCRIPTURE STUDY,
AND PERSONAL PONDERING. REVELATION REQUIRES US TO
HAVE A SUFFICIENT DEGREE OF PERSONAL RIGHTEOUSNESS,
SO THAT ON OCCASION REVELATION MAY COME
TO THE RIGHTEOUS, UNSOLICITED. THERE HAVE BEEN REMINDERS
RECENTLY OF THE GOLDEN AGE OF MANNED SPACE FLIGHT,
PARTICULARLY THE APOLLO MISSIONS TO THE MOON IN THE 196. THESE WERE INCREDIBLE FEATS
OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. THE CREW WAS THE BRIGHTEST
AND MOST ABLE OF THEIR CLASS, LAUNCHED INTO SPACE ATOP THE
SATURN FIVE ROCKET, STILL THE MOST POWERFUL
MACHINE EVER MADE BY MAN. BEFORE THEY COULD LAND
ON THE MOON, THEIR SPACECRAFT HAD
TO BE SLOWED TO ENTER A LUNAR ORBIT. THIS MEANT DOING SOMETHING THAT,
AS WITH SO MUCH OF THIS ENDEAVO, HAD NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. AND THAT WAS TO TRAVEL
AROUND THE FAR SIDE, OR SO-CALLED DARK SIDE,
OF THE MOON. ALL THE WAY THERE,
THE CREW HAD BEEN ABLE TO BE IN CONSTANT RADIO CONTACT
WITH MISSION CONTROL IN HOUSTON. BUT WHEN IT CAME TIME FOR
THEM TO GO AROUND THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON,
COMMUNICATION WOULD BE LOST, AS THE MOON WOULD QUITE
LITERALLY BE BETWEEN THE SPACECRAFT AND THE EARTH. ALL OF THE SCIENCE,
ALL OF THE ENGINEERING, ALL OF THE COLLECTIVE
INTELLIGENCE OF THE MOST GIFTED AND DEDICATED
PRACTITIONERS OF THIS GROUNDBREAKING ENDEAVOR HAD
NOT BEEN ABLE TO COME UP WITH A WAY FOR THEM TO
COMMUNICATE WHILE THEY WERE BEHIND THE MOON. SO, FOR 45 AGONIZING MINUTES,
ALL COMMUNICATION WAS LOST WITH THE CREW. ALL THEY COULD DO AT MISSION
CONTROL IN HOUSTON WAS WAIT AND HOPE,
WAIT AND PRAY, AS EACH OF THOSE 45 MINUTES
TICKED TENSELY BY. WHAT IF A PROBLEM AROSE,
AND THERE WERE A MALFUNCTION OF SOME KIND? HOW WOULD MISSION CONTROL KNOW,
AND HOW COULD THEY POSSIBLY HEL? WELL, THE SPACECRAFT DID EMERGE
FROM ROUND THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON,
THE RADIO SIGNAL WAS RE-ACQUIRE, AND MISSION CONTROL MUST
HAVE ERUPTED WITH SHOUTS OF RELIEF AND JOY AS THE SAFETY
OF THE CREW WAS CONFIRMED. AND SO IT CAN SO EASILY BE FOR . WE CAN BE,
LIKE THE ASTRONAUTS, ASTONISHINGLY BRIGHT, CAPABLE,
AND GIFTED IN OUR OWN WAYS, SHOOTING FOR THE MOON. WE CAN HAVE HAD THE MOST
EXTRAORDINARY LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND BEEN GIVEN
REMARKABLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH IN OUR LIVES. PERHAPS WE HAVE RECEIVED
EXCEPTIONAL TEACHING AND TRAINING FROM PARENTS,
TEACHERS, MISSION PRESIDENTS, LEADERS, AND WE HAVE COME
FAR AND LEARNED MUCH. WE WILL HAVE CAUGHT GLIMPSES
OF OUR ETERNAL POTENTIAL, OF OUR MISSION HERE ON EARTH
IN THIS MORTAL PHASE OF OUR EXISTENCE. BUT IN ORDER TO CONTINUE OUR
PROGRESSION ON THE COURSE THE LORD WOULD HAVE US SET,
AND RETURN SAFELY BACK TO OUR ETERNAL HOME,
WE MUST REMAIN IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH HIM. IF WE PLACE BARRIERS BETWEEN
OURSELVES AND THE SOURCE OF OUR CRITICAL COMMUNICATION,
REVELATION FROM OUR HEAVENLY FATHER,
WE WILL BE UNABLE TO RECEIVE THE MESSAGES OF GUIDANCE
WE NEED FROM HIM. PROBLEMS WILL ARISE,
AND MALFUNCTIONS OCCUR, AS OUR MORTAL LIVES TAKE
THEIR NATURAL COURSE. WILL WE FIND THAT WE HAVE
CUT OURSELVES OFF FROM THE ONE TRUE SOURCE OF OUR
GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION. ON THIS VALENTINE’S DAY,
LET US EXAMINE THE CONDITION OF OUR HEARTS AND HOW WE ARE
DOING IN RECEIVING THE MESSAGES OF LOVE,
GUIDANCE, CORRECTION, AND REVELATION FROM OUR FATHER,
THE GREAT GOD AND CREATOR OF THIS UNIVERSE. WHAT BARRIERS DO WE PUT
BETWEEN OURSELVES AND THE LORD? DO WE SOMETIMES FIGURATIVELY
PLACE OURSELVES ON THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON WHERE WE
CANNOT HEAR MISSION CONTROL? THERE ARE MANY CONDITIONS OF
OUR HEARTS THAT MAY AFFECT OUR ABILITY TO TUNE IN AND
RECEIVE THE MESSAGES OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. I WILL TOUCH UPON ONLY THREE. ONE: OUR HEARTS MAY BE
BURDENED BY THE CARES OF DAILY LIFE AND THE CLAMOR
OF THE WORLD. TWO: OUR HEARTS MAY BE
HARDENED BY SIN AND UNWORTHINES. THREE: OUR HEARTS MAY BE
MALNOURISHED BY A POOR DIGITAL DIET. FIRST, OUR HEARTS MAY BE
BURDENED AND TROUBLED BY THE CARES OF DAILY LIFE AND
THE CLAMOR OF THE WORLD. WE MAY NOT MEAN TO DO IT,
WE MAY NOT EVEN KNOW WE ARE DOING IT,
BUT OCCASIONALLY WE CAN PUT OURSELVES ROUND THE DARK
SIDE OF THE MOON WHEN OUR HEARTS BECOME
OVERBURDENED BY THE WORRIES, PRESSURES, IRRITATIONS,
AND DEADLINES OF DAILY LIFE. WE MAY NOT BE FACING
ANYTHING ALL THAT UNUSUAL, OR EXPERIENCING A PARTICULARLY
STRETCHING CHALLENGE, BUT OUR HEARTS ARE BLOCKED
FROM THE PEACE AND COMFORT THAT THE LORD WOULD GIVE US
JUST BECAUSE WE ARE TOO TROUBLED AND TOO CONCERNED. WHEN WE STAY UP TOO LATE AND
WORK TOO HARD IN ORDER TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF OUR DAYS,
FATIGUE SETS IN, WE BECOME OVERTIRED,
AND THEN THE WORLD LOOKS TO US A MUCH GLOOMIER PLACE;
THINGS GET OUT OF PERSPECTIVE AND OUT OF PROPORTI. THERE ARE PAPERS TO WRITE,
EXAMS TO TAKE, RESEARCH TO DO,
JOBS TO FULFILL, MAYBE CHILDREN TO CARE FOR. THERE WILL BE FINANCIAL WORRIES,
FAMILY CONCERNS, AND QUESTIONS OF THE SOUL
OVER WHERE TO GO NEXT OR WHAT TO DO WHEN THIS PHASE
OF LIFE IS COMPLETE. AND ON THIS DAY,
HOW COULD I NOT MAKE REFERENCE TO
THE WORRIES OVER DATES, OR THE LACK THEREOF,
CONCERNS OVER WHETHER TO BECOME ENGAGED,
OR INDEED THE WANT FOR SUCH AN OPPORTUNITY. YOU MAY NOT EVEN REALIZE
JUST HOW MUCH THE NOISE AND BUSYNESS OF THE WORLD AROUND
YOU AFFECTS HOW YOU FEEL AND ALTERS YOUR ABILITY TO HEAR
AND RECEIVE THE MESSAGES YOUR ETERNAL FATHER HAS FOR YOU. WHEN YOU ARE FEELING
OVERWHELMED AND OVERBURDENED, IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND
A WAY OR A TIME TO SLOW DOWN, FIND A QUIET SPACE,
AND DRAW CLOSE TO YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER. JUST THE MERE SUGGESTION
THAT YOU MIGHT CARVE OUT SOME TIME FROM YOUR ALREADY
OVERSCHEDULED DAY INCREASES THE SENSE OF
PRESSURE YOU FEEL. YOU MAY DOUBT THAT CHOOSING
TO SPEND THAT SEGMENT OF TIME WILL ACTUALLY YIELD
ENOUGH BENEFIT AND SO IS BETTER SPENT GETTING
SOMETHING ELSE DONE. HOWEVER,
THAT’S WHEN PROBLEMS ARISE AND SMALL GLITCHES CAN TURN
INTO A MAJOR MALFUNCTION. PRESIDENT PACKER TEACHES A
VITAL TRUTH WITH REGARD TO OUR HEARTS BEING BURDENED
AND TROUBLED BY THE CARES AND CLAMOR OF DAILY LIFE. HE SAYS,
“THE SPIRIT DOES NOT GET OUR ATTENTION BY SHOUTING OR
SHAKING US WITH A HEAVY HAND. RATHER IT WHISPERS. IT CARESSES SO GENTLY THAT
IF WE ARE PREOCCUPIED WE MAY NOT FEEL IT AT ALL. OCCASIONALLY,
IT WILL PRESS JUST FIRMLY ENOUGH FOR US TO PAY HEED. BUT MOST OF THE TIME,
IF WE DO NOT HEED THE GENTLE FEELING,
THE SPIRIT WILL WITHDRAW AND WAIT UNTIL WE COME SEEKING
AND LISTENING.” WE MUST EACH FIND,
AND THEN GUARD, A TIME EACH AND EVERY DAY TO
REMEMBER THESE WORDS OF THE LORD: “ALL FLESH IS IN MINE HAN;
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.” A SEGMENT OF TIME,
WHEN WE CAN BE STILL, QUIET, AND REMOVED FROM THE
BUSYNESS OF OUR LIVES WILL HELP TO RE-CENTER US,
RE-FOCUS OUR PRIORITIES, AND BRING US BACK INTO A
POSITION WHERE WE CAN RECEIVE AND FEEL THE
MESSAGES OUR HEAVENLY FATHER WISHES TO SEND US. REMEMBER THAT IF OUR HEARTS
ARE PREOCCUPIED WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FEEL FATHER’S MESSAG. HIS VOICE IS NOT A HARSH VOICE,
NEITHER IS IT A LOUD VOICE, NEVERTHELESS IT BEING A
SMALL VOICE IT DOES PIERCE THEM THAT HEAR TO THE CENTER,
TO THE VERY SOUL, AND DOES CAUSE
THEIR HEARTS TO BURN. WHEN WE MAKE OURSELVES READY
AND TAKE THE STEP OF FAITH TO PUT HIM FIRST AT SOME
POINT IN OUR DAY, AND WHY NOT FIRST? WE FIND PEACE EVEN IN THE
MIDST OF AN OTHERWISE HECTIC SCHEDULE. BUT WE MUST MAKE THE CHOICE
TO MAKE IT HAPPEN BY PUTTING HIM FIRST. NUMBER TWO: OUR HEARTS MAY
BE HARDENED BY SIN AND UNWORTHINESS. THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT THAT
HEARTS CARRYING SIN AND UNWORTHINESS PLACE BARRIERS
BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND GOD. SOMETIMES A HEART CAN CARRY
SIN FOR SO LONG THAT IT BECOMES DESENSITIZED TO
SPIRITUAL THINGS, AND BECOMES INCAPABLE OF
RECEIVING AND FEELING THE MESSAGES OF THE LORD. IF THERE IS SOMETHING YOU
CARRY IN YOUR HEART TODAY THAT IS BLOCKING YOU,
IN ANY DEGREE, FROM TRULY CONNECTING WITH
YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND FEELING HIS LOVE AND HIS
PLAN FOR YOU, RESOLVE NOW TO PUT IT RIGHT,
LET IT GO, GIVE IT UP, OR THROW IT OUT. HEARTS BECOME HARDENED BY
UNWORTHINESS, PARTICULARLY WHEN WE
CONTINUE TO LIVE AS IF THAT UNWORTHINESS IS
NOT ACTUALLY THERE. THIS IS COMPOUNDED AND
COMPLICATED WHEN WE PARTAKE OF THE SACRAMENT OR
PARTICIPATE IN OTHER ORDINANCES AS IF OUR
HEARTS WERE CLEAN, WHEN REALLY THEY ARE NOT. NEPHI TEACHES A BEAUTIFUL
TRUTH WHEN HE SAYS, “THE LORD GOD WORKETH
NOT IN DARKNESS. HE DOETH NOT ANYTHING SAVE
IT BE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WO, FOR HE LOVETH THE WORLD,
EVEN THAT HE LAYETH DOWN HIS OWN LIFE THAT HE MAY DRAW
ALL MEN UNTO HIM.” IN THE SPIRIT OF THAT LOVING,
TENDER REMINDER THAT HE DOES NOTHING SAVE IT BE FOR OUR BENE,
AND THAT HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE THAT HE MIGHT DRAW
EACH OF US UNTO HIM, THE SAVIOR HIMSELF SAYS:
“WHEREFORE, I GIVE UNTO THEM A COMMANDMENT,
SAYING THUS: THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY H,
WITH ALL THY MIGHT, MIND, AND STRENGTH,
AND IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST THOU SHALT SERVE
HIM.” WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK FROM GIVING HIM
YOUR WHOLE HEART, YOUR WHOLE MIND,
AND ALL YOUR STRENGTH? LET YOUR HEARTS FEEL THE
REALITY OF LEHI’S TEACHING ABOUT YOUR PERFECTLY LOVING
AND PERFECTLY FORGIVING SAVIOR. BEHOLD,
HE OFFERETH HIMSELF A SACRIFICE FOR SIN,
TO ANSWER THE ENDS OF THE LAW, UNTO ALL THOSE WHO HAVE A
BROKEN HEART AND A CONTRITE SPI. HE OFFERED HIMSELF A
SACRIFICE FOR YOU, AND HIS SUFFERING CAN ANSWER
THE ENDS OF THE LAW, FOR YOU. BEHOLD,
HE WHO HAS REPENTED OF HIS SINS, THE SAME IS FORGIVEN,
AND I, THE LORD, REMEMBER THEM NO MORE. CAN WE EVER HEAR THIS
PROMISE TOO OFTEN? THESE SCRIPTURES,
AND MANY OTHERS, CAN BRING YOU THE STRENGTH
AND THE DETERMINATION TO ACT, TO CHANGE, TO REPENT,
AND TO OFFER UP TO THE LORD YOUR BROKEN HEART
AND CONTRITE SPIRIT. HE OFFERED UP HIS LIFE FOR YOU. YOU CAN OFFER BACK YOUR HEART. I, THE LORD,
REQUIRE THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN OF MEN. THIRD,
OUR HEARTS MAY BE MALNOURISHED Y A POOR DIGITAL DIET. WE MAY BE SUFFERING IN MANY
ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES, WITHOUT FULLY RECOGNIZING IT,
BECAUSE OF A POOR DIGITAL DIET. AS WITH SO MUCH IN LIFE,
WHAT WE CONSUME IS A CHOICE. SO DON’T BE SURPRISED THAT
IF YOU SPEND MUCH OF YOUR TIME CONSUMING ONE KIND OF
MESSAGE THAT YOU BECOME AFFECTED AND INFLUENCED BY IT. SPENDING TOO MUCH OF OUR
TIME WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, CELEBRITY OR ENTERTAINMENT
NEWS, GAMES, AND THE PURSUIT OF ONLINE
TIME-HUNGRY ACTIVITIES CONSTITUTE A POOR DIGITAL DIET. WHEN WE CHOOSE TO CONSUME
THE ATTITUDES AND OPINIONS OF THE MASS MEDIA,
WE WILL FIND OUR OWN VALUES AND VIEWPOINTS FOLLOWING SUIT,
AND MOST OF THE TIME WE DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT IS HAPPEN. WE TELL OURSELVES WE’RE NOT
BEING AFFECTED BY THESE MESSAGE, BUT THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE. ELDER BEDNAR POSED
THESE QUESTIONS. ONE: DOES THE USE OF VARIOUS
TECHNOLOGIES AND MEDIA INVITE OR IMPEDE THE CONSTANT
COMPANIONSHIP OF THE HOLY GHOST IN YOUR LIFE? TWO: DOES THE TIME YOU SPEND
USING VARIOUS TECHNOLOGIES AND MEDIA ENLARGE OR
RESTRICT YOUR CAPACITY TO LIVE, TO LOVE,
AND TO SERVE IN MEANINGFUL WAYS? A LOT OF THE TIME WE KNOW
WHAT WE NEED TO CHANGE IN OUR DIGITAL DIET,
BUT WE DON’T DO IT. WE SAY WE’RE GOING
TO START TOMORROW, DON’T DIETS ALWAYS START TOMORR,
BUT THERE IS LITTLE WORTH IN SAYING THAT. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. OTHERWISE,
WE ARE BOUND BY OUR OWN BEHAVIOR AND LACK OF
GRIT TO CHANGE IT. WE ALSO NEED TO BE AWARE
THAT MANY OF TODAY’S MESSAGES IN THE MEDIA CAN
CAUSE US TO DOUBT OUR FAITH, COMPROMISE OUR CONVICTIONS,
AND VIEW THE WORLD THROUGH CYNICAL EYES. BUT WE CAN DEFLECT DECEPTIVE
MESSAGES WITH OUR FAITH INTACT IF WE ARE CONNECTED
IN A VIBRANT, CONTINUOUS STREAM TO THE
SOURCE OF TRUTH, TO THE SOURCE OF LIGHT. IF WE HAVE QUESTIONS OR DOUBTS,
WE GET OUR ANSWERS FROM THE FATHER AND CREATOR
OF THIS UNIVERSE, THROUGH THE DELICATE AND
PRECIOUS CHANNELS OF REVELATION THAT OPERATE WHEN
WE REMOVE ALL BARRIERS TO OUR HEARTS. WE CHOOSE TO LOOK
TO GOD AND LIVE. I LOVE WHAT PRESIDENT PACKER
HAS TAUGHT. HE SAID,
“WE ARE NOT OBEDIENT BECAUSE WE ARE BLIND,
WE ARE OBEDIENT BECAUSE WE CAN SEE.” I RECENTLY
EXPERIENCED A REMINDER TO WATCH MY OWN DIGITAL DIET
WHEN I HAD BEEN CONSUMED WITH A PARTICULAR STRAND OF
NEWS STORIES ONE DAY. I HAD A SENSE THAT I HAD
SPENT TOO MUCH TIME ON IT, BUT IT WAS ONLY WHEN LATER I
PICKED UP A BOOK BY ELDER OAKS AND READ A FEW CHAPTERS,
THAT I BECAME ACUTELY AWARE OF THE CONTRAST. THE FEELINGS THAT I
EXPERIENCED WERE NIGHT AND DAY. THE NEWS I HAD BEEN SO
CONSUMED WITH LEFT ME FEELING UNSETTLED AND UNEASY,
WHILST THE BOOK BROUGHT ME PEACE AND A SENSE OF ORDER AND . THIS SEEMS TO BE A LESSON WE
NEED TO LEARN SEVERAL TIMES OVE. ELDER NEAL A. MAXWELL TAUGHT,
“NEVER MIND IF THE WORLD DOESN’T UNDERSTAND OR EVEN
MOCKS THIS SACRED PROCESS OF REVELATION. PAUL SAID: ‘THE NATURAL MAN
RECEIVETH NOT THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD: FOR THEY
ARE FOOLISHNESS UNTO HIM: NEITHER CAN HE KNOW THEM,
BECAUSE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.'” WE BELIEVE THAT
WE ARE THAT WE MIGHT HAVE JOY, AND THAT MEANS JOY HERE AND NOW,
TODAY AS WELL AS IN ETERNITY. IT IS HARD FOR US TO FEEL JOY,
HOWEVER, WHEN WE MAKE CHOICES THAT
BLOCK THE VERY MESSAGES THAT BRING IT TO US. AS YOU EXAMINE THE CONDITION
OF YOUR HEART AND THE BARRIERS YOU MAY BE PUTTING
IN THE WAY OF YOUR COMMUNICATION WITH GOD,
YOU WILL KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO,
YOU WILL KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE. I INVITE YOU TO ACT NOW. BE BOLD IN CHOOSING TO
REMOVE ANY OBSTRUCTION TO THE SWEET, COMFORTING,
GUIDING MESSAGES OF LOVE FROM YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER. THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE
ANY OF US COULD RECEIVE OR CARRY IS A REMINDER OF WHO
WE ARE AND HOW WE ARE LOVED BY OUR ETERNAL FATHER AND
HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST. WHEN THE TRUTH AND REALITY
OF THIS SUPREME MESSAGE SINK DEEP INTO OUR HEARTS,
WE CANNOT REMAIN ROUND THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. WE ARE DRAWN BACK TO THEM,
BACK TO THEIR LOVE, BACK TO THEIR LIGHT,
AND BACK TO THEIR ARMS. PRESIDENT UCHTDORF
FERVENTLY DECLARED, “BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
THE MOST POWERFUL BEING IN THE UNIVERSE IS THE FATHER
OF YOUR SPIRIT. HE KNOWS YOU. HE LOVES YOU WITH A PERFECT LOV. HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW THAT
YOU MATTER TO HIM.” MY WITNESS TO YOU TODAY IS THAT
YOUR ETERNAL FATHER IN HEAVEN IS REAL. HE LIVES,
AND HE LOVES YOU, ADORES YOU,
CHERISHES YOU, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU,
ESPECIALLY THOSE OF YOU WHO MAY BE THINKING,
“WELL, NOT ME.” ESPECIALLY THOSE OF YOU WHO MAY BE THINKING,
“WELL, NOT ME.” HE ESPECIALLY LOVES YOU. JESUS CHRIST IS HIS SON,
HIS GIFT TO US ALL, THE SAVIOR OF ALL MANKIND. I CONCLUDE WITH THE WORDS OF
PRESIDENT MONSON: “REMEMBER THAT ONE WITH AUTHORITY
PLACED HIS HANDS ON YOUR HEAD AT THE TIME OF YOUR
CONFIRMATION AND SAID, ‘RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST.’
OPEN YOUR HEARTS, EVEN YOUR VERY SOULS,
TO THE SOUND OF THAT SPECIAL VOICE WHICH TESTIFIES OF TRUTH. AS THE PROPHET ISAIAH PROMISED,
‘THINE EARS SHALL HEAR A WORD, SAYING, THIS IS THE WAY, WALK Y”
IN THE SACRED NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, AMEN.>>TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL WITH
ELDER PATRICK KEARON WAS GIVEN

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