Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 9 (14 day/week study for conversion) TFOT Handout

Day 9 - Making Righteous Choices
·         Do I strive to make my weaknesses become strengths? Do I think about the Savior when I have a choice to make? Will my decisions cause the Savior to suffer?
·         Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Ezra Taft Benson, “In His Steps,” Ensign, Sep 1988, 2
In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—this is a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been so well organized. Now is the great day of the devil’s power. But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number of priesthood holders on the earth.
Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good enlist new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions showing the cause we support. The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will win. But what remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this battle—and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last days and fulfill our foreordained missions?
23-year-old Julia and 20-year-old Emily arrived in Iowa and they joined the Willey handcart company. Early winter snowstorms caused everyone to suffer from hunger and exposure. On Rocky Ridge in Wyoming, many starved or froze to death. Those who survived were comforted in their suffering by their testimonies of Jesus Christ. But I believe what saved Julia and Emily, in addition to their testimonies, was their love for each other as sisters.
During one particularly difficult time for me, I prayed for understanding and had a dream about Julia and Emily. Their example of sisterhood lifted and encouraged me. Whether what I saw in my dream really happened exactly as I imagined does not matter to me. What does matter is the lesson I learned. I came to see clearly the parallel between it and my own struggle.
In my dream, I could see Julia and Emily stranded in the snow on the windy summit of Rocky Ridge with the rest of the Willey handcart company. They had no heavy clothing to keep them warm. Julia was sitting in the snow, shaking. She could not carry on. Emily, who was freezing as well, knew that if she did not help Julia stand up, Julia would die. As Emily wrapped her arms around her sister to help her up, Julia began to cry—but no tears came, only soft whimpering sounds. Together they walked slowly to their handcart. Thirteen died that terrible night. Julia and Emily survived.
We all have trials, but like Julia and Emily we needn’t perish on the windswept summit alone. Though we may feel abandoned, we are not. The Savior is near, and our brothers and sisters in the gospel are near as well. Perhaps we can even do as Emily did and lift another, even though we ourselves are suffering. When we do this, our brothers and sisters become as important as ourselves. We become sanctified—made clean and holy through our service. We become more like our Savior. 

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