Category Archives: Daily Message

President Monson on Prayer

The power of prayer:

” Not a day has gone by that I have not communicated with my Father in Heaven through prayer. It is a relationship I cherish—one I would literally be lost without. If you do not now have such a relationship with your Father in Heaven, I urge you to work toward that goal. As you do so, you will be entitled to His inspiration and guidance in your life—necessities for each of us if we are to survive spiritually during our sojourn here on earth. Such inspiration and guidance are gifts He freely gives if we but seek them. What treasures they are! ”

President Monson, October 2011, “Stand in Holy Places”

The Big 4-0

So the sun rises on a new decade for me today.  The kids said I have 10 more years until I am “officially” old, but that doesn’t bother me. I think birthdays are a good time for reflection. It’s easy to get caught up in the inertia of life without slowing down to think about direction.

Over the past year I have grown increasingly grateful for the blessings of each day. I have been trying to make an effort to live more in the moment. I still have a long way to go, but it has influenced my life in many ways.

Focusing on moments with my wife and children, finding simple, special times with each of them regularly, has been a joy and a blessing. Again, there’s a lot more I can do, but I will definitely continue and try even harder to live more daily moments with them.

As my older kids age I am having fun exploring and participating in their interests and talents. I am trying to be a part of those talents and make it possible for them to share with others. I desperately wanted to do many things as a child but anxieties and fears held me back. I lived with constant doubts, negative voices in my head, and a fear of rejection that often paralyzed me. Many of the dreams I had became unreachable and unrealized because of those hurdles. Even worse I kept it all inside and tried to be a shadow.

Thankfully, because of time, age and maturity, I am in a different place.  Those anxieties are still with me, but I have found ways to push them aside. It has driven me to be an active part of my children’s lives, to encourage them, support them, and push them, sometimes too much, because I want them to live differently.

So as I look ahead at the next decade I am excited. My oldest children will be well within their twenties before I am “old”. They plan to serve missions and have big dreams, and I am eager to help them along those paths. I have been married nearly 16 years and I cherish that relationship with my wife. We still have a lot of growing to do and I am excited about forging and even stronger bond as we navigate the road ahead.

Most importantly, I am grateful to have lived 40 years and pray that I will have many more. I am thankful for each day and hope to continue to make the most of moments while letting time, patience, and faith take care of the rest. I have some big plans of my own this year and am in a great place now, so look out 40, it’s going to be a ride!

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Image credit: Me!

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Devotion

Today I was thinking about devotion,conversion, and commitment. In morning meetings before church the Bishop spoke about conversion and how it is a process that takes time, effort, energy, and trials of faith. There is a constant struggle between the distractions and temptations of the world and the Christ-centered life. It reminded me of Mark 8:34-35:

“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”

What does losing one’s life really mean? I found a great explanation in a quote by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf from the April 2015 General Conference:

“Those who wholeheartedly turn their lives over to our Savior and serve God and fellowman discover a richness and fullness to life that the selfish or egotistic will never experience. The unselfish give of themselves. These may be small gifts of charity that have a grand impact for good: a smile, a handshake, a hug, time spent in listening, a soft word of encouragement, or a gesture of caring. All these acts of kindness can change hearts and lives. When we take advantage of the unlimited opportunities to love and serve our fellowmen, including our spouse and family, our capacity to love God and to serve others will greatly increase.”

We truly do have unlimited opportunities to love and serve others, just as we have unlimited opportunities to focus solely on ourselves and our own desires. The Savior made it clear which one He expects of those who desire to love and follow Him.

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Becoming a Dad

Fifteen years ago today,  nine months and nine days after getting married,  I became a dad. 

After a long night, and thirteen anxiety filled hours of labor, I held a baby girl in my arms.  I had never been particularly drawn to babies,  but this one captured my heart and stole my attention from the first moment we met. 

I was fascinated by her.  I watched every move she made.  The soft rise and fall of her chest with each breath,  the jerky twitches of her feet,  and the way her little hands curled around my finger. I wanted to see every movement and hear every sound.

I remember asking the nurse to change her diaper because we had no idea what to do. We left the hospital unsure of our ability to care for the little thing. Thankfully she was resilient and amazing.

Today that little girl is fifteen. She’s eager to start driving, loves going to dances, spends hours every day writing stories, listening to music and helping with her younger siblings, even though she still can’t pour without spilling!

She brings joy and laughter to or home as she bravely forges forward into life. We have a special bond. Maybe it’s because we’re both firsts in or family, or just those moments we shared figuring out life, but she’s special to me.

So, happy birthday #1! I love you and hope you enjoy today and this coming year. Thank you for making me a dad.

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The Blessing of Scripture

I have shared this quote with my children before,  but it’s something I try to live by:

” Life moves all too fast. When you feel weak, discouraged, depressed, or afraid, open the Book of Mormon and read. Do not let too much time pass before reading a verse, a thought, or a chapter.” – Boyd K. Packer,  Ensign May 2005.

I like that idea of not letting too much time pass before reading something in the scriptures. I can’t say enough about the blessing of scripture in my own life.

Now that scriptures are available via smartphone apps they can be easily carried anywhere we go, but I still keep a special book in my car. My very first set of scriptures was given to me in 1983 by my grandparents immediately after I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ on Latter-day Saints. That book is aged and worn as I have spent countless hours in its pages. There have been times when it sat on the shelf unused, but I have many memories of reading from its pages and discovering truths for myself.

I hope that my children will develop that desire to not let too much time pass each day without reading something from the scriptures. Every little bit points us towards the straight path and reminds us of what really matters in life.

I know the scriptures contain truth and through them we can grow and become the person God intends us to be.

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Prayer

Today is National Day of Prayer, a day set aside by the US government to remind citizens to pray for the nation. (Here’s a history of the day). It’s great to have a day set aside to remind everyone to pray. Prayer should be in the public discourse more often. It is one the precious gifts we have been given.

I couldn’t begin to count the number of times my life has been directly blessed by prayer. So many times I’ve felt peace, reassurance, strength, hope, and forgiveness from prayer. No matter where I am – on my knees in my room, with family and friends, in a quiet corner, in my car, at my desk – prayer is always available to me. Sometimes it’s enough to just give thanks for the blessings I see and don’t see such as arriving safely to work and home after my long commute, the ability to bear difficulties with patience, or have hope that things will work out. Prayer is for all times, the good and the bad, because our Heavenly Father is always mindful of us.

I know that the Lord’s words in Matthew 21 are true:

22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

On this National Day of Prayer I am grateful for this nation, for the freedom to live the principles of my faith, and pray that these freedoms will always be preserved, that government leaders from all walks of life will approach their duties thoughtfully, prayerfully, and with consideration and inspiration from above. I pray that all people are blessed and can experience the sweet gift of prayer for themselves.

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Motivation

Sometimes we may lose sight of the motivations that should guide our living a Christ-like life. President Uchtdorf offered this reminder in the April general conference:

” there are better reasons for attending our meetings and living our lives as committed disciples of Jesus Christ.

I am here because I desire with all my heart to follow my Master, Jesus Christ. I yearn to do all that He asks of me in this great cause. I hunger to be edified by the Holy Spirit and hear the voice of God as He speaks through His ordained servants. I am here to become a better man, to be lifted by the inspiring examples of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and to learn how to more effectively minister to those in need.

In short, I am here because I love my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”

Love is the right motivation.  Obligation may help us develop habits but it can’t sustain them.  Sheer will power is also short lived. Only love has the sustaining power to keep us going through the good times and the bad.

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Walking in the light

One of the great blessings of life is the ability to choose. We can decide, each and every day, through our thoughts, words and deeds, to develop a stronger relationship and connection with God or move away from Him. I don’t usually think of this as a test, but it is. God knows us. He wants us to have His light to guide us through life but we have to invite that light in.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton, in his talk “Choose to Believe” said:

“Every day each of us faces a test. It is the test of our lifetimes: will we choose to believe in Him and allow the light of His gospel to grow within us, or will we refuse to believe and insist on traveling alone in the dark? The Savior provides His gospel as a light to guide those who choose to believe in and follow Him.”

I hope you will choose every day to walk by the Savior’s light, to accept Him, embrace Him, and love Him. He is the only sure path and will lead you right.

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The joy of trying again

I know what it means to try again. I’ve felt the peace of forgiveness many times in my life and I am always amazed at how quickly the Savior comes when I reach out to Him. Even though I have experienced forgiveness, and know that it is a powerful, real blessing, I appreciate the truth in this quote. Trying again is not agony, it is joy:

“In His mercy, God promises forgiveness when we repent and turn from wickedness—so much so that our sins will not even be mentioned to us. For us, because of the Atonement of Christ and our repentance, we can look at our past deeds and say, “’Twas I; but ’tis not I.” No matter how wicked, we can say, “That’s who I was. But that past wicked self is no longer who I am.

President Thomas S. Monson has taught, “One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final.” Even if we’ve been a conscious, deliberate sinner or have repeatedly faced failure and disappointment, the moment we decide to try again, the Atonement of Christ can help us.”

– Elder Dale G. Redlund, Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying, April 2015.

Don’t ever forget that the Savior stands ready to embrace and welcome all who come unto Him.

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It’s General Conference Time Again

This morning #3 said that he has been alive for twenty four general conferences. Towards the end of the first session, when Elder L. Tom Perry said he had been alive for 9 decades, his eyes widened. I could see him doing the calculations in his head – over 180 conferences!

My wife and I have filled General Conference weekend with several traditions that make the experience one the kids look forward to with anticipation. This is no small feat since the idea of 8 hours of church over Saturday and Sunday could easily seem daunting to adults and young children alike. But my wife is clever. She finds special activities and treats (a cinnamon roll recipe perfected over the years that she only makes conference weekend) that keep them interested. Add that to the feeling that resonates in our home from the special witnesses and testimonies of living prophets, and it’s become a time we cherish as a family.

Of course the little ones are running around, riding their bikes through the kitchen, dressing up as super heroes and begging for snacks, but that’s to be expected. The weekend is not without the typical family chaos, and everything doesn’t go silent when the music starts, but it’s special. As I looked around the room this afternoon I saw the kids with their papers and pens keeping their doodle journals as a way to record the messages that are meaningful to them. My oldest had her tablet out and was dutifully taking notes throughout the session. She also had a piece of paper for Seminary where she captured each speaker and something she learned from each session. Rather than noting everything this time, I changed my usual note habit and am only capturing the questions that come to mind. Things that I need to ponder so I can improve.

It’s a great way to spend two weekends a year and even more special considering tomorrow is Easter. What better way to spend Easter than listening to a prophet of God?