GCBC Week 15: “Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done” by Elder Robert D. Hales

I remember being very moved as I watched and listened to this talk during general conference.  I did not know that Elder Hales had been ill, but his changed appearance made it clear that he had undergone some kind of serious medical circumstance.  Even not knowing all the details, but recognizing that he has been through some significant struggles, I felt deeply the words he was teaching about being patient through hard times. As I listened to it again today, I was touched again by his sweet testimony of the Savior and his meek attitude toward enduring.  A great example to be followed.

Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done  by Elder Robert D. Hales

“I have often pondered, Why is it that the Son of God and His holy prophets and all the faithful Saints have trials and tribulations, even when they are trying to do Heavenly Father’s will? Why is it so hard, especially for them? . . .  These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, “all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … [our] good.” “

What messages from this talk were meaningful to you? What did you learn? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion here each week.

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Life is hard, so I’m thankful.

Life on earth is what it is.  It’s not easy.  Some days we feel awash with struggles that seem overwhelming.  I sometimes do, and then I feel ridiculous because my trials are so small in comparison to some of the crosses that others carry with grace.  And while the contrast makes me feel petty, the reality remains that we each face things that are difficult for us.  It is part of God’s plan.

Life hurts.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Seems like a strange juxtaposition, but I feel so grateful that God’s plan gives meaning, direction, and support through the bumps of mortality.  I love knowing that whether my challenges are large or small, they are challenges that are part of God’s plan for me, and He will hold me in His hand and help me become who I can be.

Don’t be alarmed; I’m not passing through any dark or secret trials. As I’ve tried to focus on gratitude this week in preparation for Thanksgiving, I’ve felt blessed beyond measure.  However, I’ve recently seen some heavy burdens in the lives of people I know and love.  I wish I could fix things for them, but I can’t.  Jesus can.  And if He helps me when I have a silly bad day, He’ll help you when life takes turns that feel more than bad.  That’s exactly what He’s there for.

I watched both of these videos this week, and they have helped shape this particular measure of gratitude I’ve been feeling.  I hope you enjoy them and that they take you a step or two further in thanks.

VIDEO 1: Elder Nelson testifies that there is hope in trials.

VIDEO 2: The prophet Joseph Smith declares that our challenges polish us in glorious ways and bring us to the Savior.

[I couldn’t figure out how to embed it, but go here to see it.  It’s so good.]

I’m thankful that Jesus Christ lives and that His love and His gospel help us navigate our way through the ups and downs of life. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

GCBC Week 12: “More Than Conquerors through Him That Loved Us” by Elder Paul V. Johnson

We have a special request for GCBC this week from one of our participants, Michelle:  Would you consider Paul V. Johnson’s talk for this next week? I have been asked to speak in Sacrament on the the 26th…would love others insights as I prepare. 

So, let’s hear your best thoughts, GCBC folks…  I know you’ve got some great ones.

“More Than Conquerors through Him That Loved Us” by Elder Paul V. Johnson

What stood out to you as you read?  How can we apply his message?  Share your some conversation in the comment thread below.  If you’re new to GCBC, check out the club here.

GCBC Week 20: All Things Work Together for Good

General Conference Book Club, Week 20:

“All Things Work Together for Good” by Elder James B. Martino of the Seventy

When we are in the midst of challenges, it is difficult to see the purpose in our struggles.  We sometimes fear that the trial is bigger than our ability to bear it.  Even Joseph Smith, in a dark time during his imprisonment, cried out to the Lord, “O God, where art thou?” (D&C 121:1), to which he received this reassurance:  “… Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”

In this conference talk, Elder Martino testifies:

“Our trials come in many forms, but each will allow us to become more like the Savior as we learn to recognize the good that comes from each experience. As we understand this doctrine, we gain greater assurance of our Father’s love. We may never know in this life why we face what we do, but we can feel confident that we can grow from the experience.”

What insights do you gain about facing trials as you study this talk?

Go here to find the media versions of the talk (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club,  click here to learn more about it.

GCBC Week 15: Turn to the Lord

General Conference Book Club Week 15:

In the Sunday morning session of General Conference, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom taught a message called  “Turn to the Lord.”

“In the most difficult circumstances of life, there is often only one source of peace. The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, extends His grace with the invitation “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He further promises, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).”

He gives some great advice about how to deal with conflict, disappointment and heartache without becoming bitter or losing faith in the Lord.  What do you like about this talk?

Go here to find the media versions of the talk (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club,  click here to learn more about it.

GCBC Week 4: The Rock of Our Redeemer

What I love about Elder Andersen’s talk is the juxtaposition of broken hearts and strong spirits.  He declares:

I testify that those who keep His commandments will grow in faith and hope. They will be given strength to overcome all of life’s trials.

It is easy to fall victim to the line of thought that when our current trials or concerns are over, we will be in a better position to do what we should do. In this talk, we are reassured that “hope, with its attendant blessings of peace and joy, does not depend upon circumstance.” It is possible to find strength and power even in, maybe especially in, the hard spots of life.

How has your testimony of the Savior rescued you from dark times?  What stands out to you from this talk?

Go here to find the media versions of the talk (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club,  click here to learn more about it.

General Conference Book Club Week 23: Elder Clayton and Elder Renlund

THREE weeks left until General Conference!!  Only two more GCBC weeks to go, and then we’ll start all over again.  Woo hoo!

(Is anybody up for that?)

We have five talks left to read, so we’ll look at two of them this week so that we can finish up on time.

Both of these talks address trials:  the first focuses on the why of burdens and suffering, and the second discusses how to endure well.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke at the Saturday morning session of conference.  His message was That Your Burdens May Be Light.”

“Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection.”

No matter the burdens we face in life as a consequence of natural conditions, the misconduct of others, or our own mistakes and shortcomings, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth as part of His eternal plan for our growth and progress. Our unique individual experiences can help us prepare to return to Him.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy spoke during the Sunday afternoon session of conference, and he taught how preserving our faith and maintaining our obedience is the best way to endure our challenges well.  He also cautions us against complacency.  His talk was Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change.

“Enduring to the end can be challenging because the tendency of the natural man is to reject the spiritually changed heart and allow it to harden.”

“To endure to the end, we need to be eager to please God and worship Him with fervor.”

So, enjoy these talks.  Just share some of your thoughts and insights as you read and study them.  I always love to hear what stands out to you and how it is meaningful in the circumstances of your lives.

You can go here to find the links to watch, or listen to these talks.  And here you will find more information about the GCBC if you’re curious how it works.