Sunday, September 25, 2011

No Greater Service

Service to others is one of the most important characteristics of a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is willing to bear other people’s burdens and to comfort those who need comfort (see Mosiah 18:8–9). Often Heavenly Father will meet the needs of others through you.

There are many ways to serve others. You can serve in your Church assignments and in your home, school, and community. Seek daily the guidance of the Holy Ghost to know whom to serve and how to help meet their needs. Often the most important service is expressed through simple, everyday acts of kindness.

Perhaps the greatest act of service we can render to others is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.  This video highlights the potential of one persons decision to share the gospel.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Made a Covenant With My Eyes... (Job 1:31)

Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices. It will allow you to enjoy yourself without losing the Spirit of the Lord.

While much entertainment is good, some of it can lead you away from righteous living. Offensive material is often found in web sites, concerts, movies, music, videocassettes, DVDs, books, magazines, pictures, and other media. Satan uses such entertainment to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal and exciting. It can mislead you into thinking that everyone is doing things that are wrong.

Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable.

Friday, September 23, 2011

That Which Cometh Out of the Mouth

How you speak says much about who you are. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Use language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others. Do not insult others or put them down, even in joking. Speak kindly and positively about others so you can fulfill the Lord’s commandment to love one another. When you use good language, you invite the Spirit to be with you.

Always use the names of God and Jesus Christ with reverence and respect. Misusing their names is a sin. Profane, vulgar, or crude language or gestures, as well as jokes about immoral actions, are offensive to the Lord and to others. Foul language harms your spirit and degrades you. Do not let others influence you to use it.

Choose friends who use good language. Help others around you use clean language by your example and by good-naturedly encouraging them to choose other words. Politely walk away or change the subject when others around you use bad language.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Far is Too Far?

When you obey God’s commandment to be sexually pure, you prepare yourself to make and keep sacred covenants in the temple. You prepare yourself to build a strong marriage and to bring children into the world as part of a loving family. You protect yourself from the emotional damage that always comes from sharing physical intimacies with someone outside of marriage.
Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. Satan may tempt you to rationalize that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable when two people are in love. That is not true. In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious because they defile the power God has given us to create life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Choose Wisely

Your Heavenly Father has given you agency, the ability to choose right from wrong and to act for yourself. You have been given the Holy Ghost to help you know good from evil. While you are here on earth, you are being proven to see if you will use your agency to show your love for God by keeping His commandments.

While you are free to choose for yourself, you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions. When you make a choice, you will receive the consequences of that choice. The consequences may not be immediate, but they will always follow, for good or bad. Wrong choices delay your progression and lead to heartache and misery. Right choices lead to happiness and eternal life. That is why it is so important for you to choose what is right throughout your life.

This video provides a good example.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Song of the Righteous

Music is an important and powerful part of life. It can be an influence for good that helps you draw closer to Heavenly Father. However, it can also be used for wicked purposes. Unworthy music may seem harmless, but it can have evil effects on your mind and spirit.

Choose carefully the music you listen to. Pay attention to how you feel when you are listening. Don’t listen to music that drives away the Spirit, encourages immorality, glorifies violence, uses foul or offensive language, or promotes Satanism or other evil practices.

Elder Bernard P. Brockbank, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, has said, “Young people, do you think Satan has music in his program? Do you think the Lord has music in his program? … Satan’s music has a way of destroying the godliness within a human soul, and there is some … music that is definitely not from the Lord. It will tear down your spiritual strength and your divine nature. … Remember Satan will try to lure you away with conniving and deceitful practices so that you hardly know you are walking down the road with him” 

See how one young woman's choices regarding music has affected her life and the lives of others.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Timeless Principle for All

For Strength of Youth has this to say about dress and appearance.
Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.
 Elder Jeffery R. Holland said on the topic, "...choose your clothing the way you would choose your friends...  in both cases choose that which improves you and would give you confidence standing in the presence of God."  We need to be ever vigilant in choosing what our clothing says about who we really are, for clothing that may be modest in what it covers may be entirely immodest in what it communicates.

Your choice to choose modesty in dress and appearance can bless not only you personally, but countless others as well.  Here is a good example.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Honesty is the best policy

We believe in being honest.  Those are the first five words of the thirteenth article of faith which should tell us how important this principle is to those striving to live the gospel.

The For Strength of Youth Pamphlet tells us, "Be honest with yourself, others, and the Lord. When you are honest in every way, you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to God and others. You will be blessed with peace of mind and self-respect. When you are honest, you will be trusted by the Lord and by those around you."

Further, President Brigham Young said, “If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives”.

Perhaps there is nothing says more about character than other people knowing that you can be true to your word.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Standards Week 2011

The blog posts for the next several days will be directed to the youth of the Thousand Oaks 4th Ward, but anyone is welcome to read and comment.

We face troubling times in the world, but also have tremendous opportunities.  If we are to achieve the potential that God intended for us we must base our lives on the high standards that He has set for us.  We will discuss briefly each day this week one of the standards in the For Strength of Youth pamphlet issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Determination to achieve

Tonight for Family Home Evening Kerry gave us the lesson that she gave yesterday in Young Women's on setting goals to achieve things that are important.  It reminded me of a poem that I memorized on my mission that I have posted below.  It may not be precisely as I have written below, but here is how I remember it.


If you want something bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it

If only desire of it
Makes you mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it

If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you'll sweat for it,
Fret for it, Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,

If you'll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,

If neither cold, poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,

If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You'll get it!