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Clean Up Time

July 3rd, 2008  |  Published in Uncategorized

Welcome to Above Yourself, a blog about self-improvement and faith. If you're new here, you may want to subscribe in a reader or subscribe by email. Many of the topics here are related to my faith in Jesus Christ and Mormonism, but all are welcome to share their own beliefs. Thanks for visiting!

At work I do a fair amount of computer programming. I don’t have the chance to look at my computer code every day, so after I let my code sit for a while, it can look quite messy when I come back to it - sometimes I realize that I’ve left out proper comments to explain the functionality to future users of the code (myself included) and sometimes I just leave things a mess. Rather than leave things a mess, I decided today to take some extra time to clean up a few things with the code. Once I did that, I noticed that I had a mess of icons on my desktop that I never used - they were just there because I hadn’t organized them to begin with. After I cleaned those up, I uncluttered my desk.

It’s a great feeling to have a clean workspace. The extra clutter in our lives draws our attention away from the things we like to focus on, and in the case of my computer code cleaning it up now can save me a lot of time in the future. The moral of the story? Cleaning things up now can make it much easier to get some real work done because it helps to reduce our distractions. It’s better to clean things up now than let them attract larger problems.

And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;

But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

The Book of Mormon: Alma 13:27-28

Promises in the Scriptures

November 16th, 2007  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you read in the scriptures, you can see that God has many promises for us. Not all of them are specific, and we can certainly receive more promises, but he has promised us certain things when we obey His commandments. There are so many of these promises given in the scriptures that sometimes it’s hard to keep track. Elder Spencer J. Condie gave a talk this last General Conference that lists many of them for us:

The Lord’s countless exceeding great and precious promises include forgiveness of our sins when we “confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43; see also D&C 1:32). Opening the windows of heaven is a promise claimed by those who pay a faithful tithe (see Malachi 3:10), and finding “great treasures of knowledge” accrues to those who observe the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89:19).

Becoming unspotted from the world is a promise to those who keep the Sabbath holy (see D&C 59:9; Exodus 31:13). Divine guidance and inspiration are promised to those who “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 32:3) and who “liken all scriptures” unto themselves (1 Nephi 19:23).

The Lord also promised that “whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:20). We are promised that the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion when we “let virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly” (see D&C 121:45–46). We can claim the spiritually liberating promise of fasting, which will “loose the bands of wickedness,” undo our “heavy burdens,” and “break every yoke” (Isaiah 58:6).

Those who are sealed in holy temples and who faithfully keep their covenants will receive God’s glory, which “shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever” (D&C 132:19).

- Elder Spencer J. Condie, Oct 2007 General Conference

I don’t remember ever seeing a list of promises like that before, and it’s stunning when presented like this, even though this isn’t a comprehensive listing of all the blessings we might receive. These blessings are somewhat straightforward, but sometimes we expect to receive them without any effort of our own. We should remember that we receive blessings from God when we follow His commandments:

In these latter days, the Lord revealed that “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:21). The Lord makes generous promises, and He certifies that He will not vary from these promises, for, said He, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10).
- Elder Spencer J. Condie, Oct 2007 General Conference