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Archive for the ‘President Thomas S. Monson’ Category

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

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Also quoted by:

President Thomas S. Monson, BYU Devotional Be a Light to the World, November 1, 2011

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– Tom Irvine

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Do neighbors await our love, our kindness, our help?

A few years ago I read a Reuters news service account of an Alaska Airlines nonstop flight from Anchorage to Seattle, carrying 150 passengers, which was diverted to a remote town on a mercy mission to rescue a badly injured boy. Two-year-old Elton Williams III had severed an artery in his arm when he fell on a piece of glass while playing near his home in Yakutat, 450 miles south of Anchorage. Medics at the scene asked the airline to evacuate the boy. As a result, the Anchorage-to-Seattle flight was diverted to Yakutat.

The medics said the boy was bleeding badly and probably would not live through the flight to Seattle, so the plane flew 200 miles to Juneau, the nearest city with a hospital. The flight then went on to Seattle, with the passengers arriving two hours late, most missing their connections. But none complained. In fact, they dug into their pocketbooks and took up a collection for the boy and his family.

Later, as the flight was about to land in Seattle, the passengers broke into a cheer when the pilot said he had received word by radio that Elton was going to be all right. Surely love of neighbor was in evidence.

President Thomas S. Monson, The Way of the Master, Ensign, April 1996

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Last Sunday I gave a talk in my church at the request of my bishop. The assigned topic was “The Five Elements of Missionary Preparation,” presumably for the benefit of young men and women.

I have been concerned, however, that many of our young people who earnestly want to serve missions cannot do so for medical and other reasons beyond their control. They often feel disheartened as a result. I thus wanted to reassure them that there are plenty of other ways for them to serve the Lord and their fellow man.

From there, it was an easy step to reach out to all those in the congregation who are suffering from health problems or other afflictions.

I am including a link to my written talk. The one I actually gave had some minor variations. And I gave the talk with a depth of emotion that the written words may be unable to convey.

Yes, I strayed from the assigned topic, but several of the members were moved to tears. We are a very perfection-driven people in my church. We need to pause and admit that we are imperfect people living in a fallen world. And acknowledge that salvation comes only through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Download Link/Tom_talk2013.pdf

– Tom Irvine

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God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!
Amen.

The words “Lest We Forget” are form the refrain of Rudyard Kipling’s “Recessional.” The phrase offers a warning about the perils of pride and the inevitable decline of imperial power.

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Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson have often quoted excerpts from this poem in their conference talks.

See also:  “God of Our Fathers, Known of Old,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 80

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Forgetting God has been a problem among His children since the world began. Think of the times of Moses, when God provided manna and in miraculous and visible ways led and protected His children. Still the prophet warned the people: “Take heed … lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen” (Deuteronomy 4:9).

– President Henry B. Eyring, October 2007 General Conference

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A friend raised the question whether Job was a real person. My understanding and belief is yes, he was real.

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Ezekiel refers to Job along with Noah and Daniel.

Ezekiel 14

[14] Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

[20] Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

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James draws upon the example of Job to comfort the suffering, proving the point that God is merciful. He commends the endurance of Job.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11)

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Doctrine & Covenants Section 121 gives a prayer and prophecies written by Joseph Smith the Prophet while he was a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, dated 20 March 1839. The Prophet and several companions had been months in prison. Their petitions and appeals directed to the executive officers and the judiciary had failed to bring them relief.

The Lord answers Joseph Smith’s prayer:

[7] My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

[8] And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

[9] Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

[10] Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.

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The Book of Job teaches many important lessons.

Job’s suffering explains why developing character is more important in God’s eyes than the trials and pain we experience.

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Centuries ago the man Job—so long blessed with every material gift, only to find himself sorely afflicted by all that can befall a human being—sat with his companions and uttered the timeless, ageless question,

If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14)

He later answered his question:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:25-26)

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If any of us feels our challenges are beyond our capacity to meet them, let us read of Job. By so doing, there comes the feeling, “If Job could endure and overcome, so will I.”

Job was a “perfect and upright” man who “feared God, and eschewed evil.” Pious in his conduct, prosperous in his fortune, Job was to face a test which could have destroyed anyone. Shorn of his possessions, scorned by his friends, afflicted by his suffering, shattered by the loss of his family, he was urged to “curse God, and die.” He resisted this temptation and declared from the depths of his noble soul, “Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” “I know that my redeemer liveth.”

Job became a model of unlimited patience. To this day we refer to those who are long-suffering as having the patience of Job. He provides an example for us to follow.

– President Thomas S. Monson, They Marked the Path to Follow, October 2007

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– Tom Irvine

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President Thomas S. Monson has used the following story in several of his talks. See for example: The Three Rs of Choice, October 2010.

Let us not find ourselves as indecisive as is Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You will remember that she comes to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path shall I follow?”

The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.”

Unlike Alice, we all know where we want to go, and it does matter which way we go, for by choosing our path, we choose our destination.

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This morning I took a walk around my neighborhood. My family and I live in an area with hills and pine trees.

I remembered that the Bible has hundreds of verses containing the verb walk. Here are just a few…

Adam and Eve heard the Lord in the Garden of Eden.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8.

The children of Israel crossed the Red Sea.

But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Exodus 14:29.

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Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God.

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In Matthew 5:41, Jesus instructs, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”

This teaching deals with the Roman practice of commandeering civilians to carry soldiers’ luggage for, in this case, one mile.

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Jesus healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda by commanding him “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” John 5:1-9.

Jesus walked across the Sea of Galilee to rescue his disciples who were in boat rocked by wind and waves. Matthew 14:22-33.

Jesus, as a Resurrected Being, walked with Cleopas and another disciple along the road to Emmaus. He taught the two disciples from the scriptures as they walked. The disciples did not recognize Jesus but nevertheless invited him to stay with them. The story continues…

Luke 24

[30] And it came to pass, as he (Jesus) sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
[31] And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
[32] And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

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The scriptures teach us that we should walk by faith, in obedience and in truth.

Luke 1

[6] And they (Zacharias and Elisabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

2 Corinthians 5

[7] For we walk by faith, not by sight:

2 John 1

[4] I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
[5] And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
[6] And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

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And let us walk with gratitude.

[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
[7] Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving

Colossians 2

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The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Psalm 37:23

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Let us learn and contemplate our duty. Let us be willing and worthy to serve. Let us in the performance of our duty follow in the footsteps of the Master. As you and I walk the pathway Jesus walked, we will discover He is more than the babe in Bethlehem, more than the carpenter’s son, more than the greatest teacher ever to live. We will come to know Him as the Son of God, our Savior and our Redeemer.

– President Thomas S. Monson, Willing and Worthy to Serve, April 2012

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Out of the darkness and the horror of Calvary came the voice of the Lamb, saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” And the dark was no longer dark, for He was with His Father. He had come from God, and to Him He had returned. So also those who walk with God in this earthly pilgrimage know from blessed experience that He will not abandon His children who trust in Him. In the night of death, His presence will be “better than [a] light and safer than a known way.”

– President Thomas S. Monson, May We So Live, August 2008

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May the Lord bless you as walk with him,

– Tom Irvine

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