Saturday, July 8, 2017

Peace and Contentment Through Spiritual Self Reliance

July 9, 2017   Oak City 2nd Ward Relief Society Lesson
“Teachings of the Prophet”: Gordon B. Hinckley Lesson # 13
“Peace and Contentment Through Spiritual Self-Reliance”


Video: “Master, the Tempest is Raging”

"North of Jerusalem about eighty miles or so lies a beautiful body of water known earlier in biblical times as the Sea of Chinneroth and the Lake of Gennesaret, but known best to us today as the Sea of Galilee. It is a freshwater inland lake a little over twelve miles long and seven miles wide. The River Jordan flows through it, from north to south, on its journey toward the Dead Sea.

"This was the lake Jesus knew as a child and as a young man, its western shores lying just twelve or fifteen miles from his boyhood home of Nazareth. It was to this lake and the neighboring Galilean hills that Jesus returned so often during those demanding years of his public ministry.

"On one journey to Galilee, the Savior taught the multitudes crowded near the water’s edge. With the people pressing ever closer, Jesus sought a better teaching circumstance by stepping into a boat and pushing out a few yards into the sea. There, a short distance from the eager crowd, he could be seen and heard by those straining for sight and words of the Master.

"Following his discourse, the Savior invited his disciples to join him, and they set out together for the other side of the lake. The Sea of Galilee is quite low, about 680 feet below sea level, and the heat becomes quite great. The hills surrounding the water rise up very sharply and to considerable height. The cold air rushing down from the hills meets the warm air rising from the lake in such a way that sudden and temporarily violent storms can occur on the surface of that inland sea. It was just such a storm as this that Jesus and his disciples found as they crossed the lake at evening time. This is the way Mark described it:

“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

“And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

“And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:36–41.)

"All of us have seen some sudden storms in our lives. A few of them, though temporary like these on the Sea of Galilee, can be violent and frightening and potentially destructive. As individuals, as families, as communities, as nations, even as a church, we have had sudden squalls arise which have made us ask one way or another, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” And one way or another we always hear in the stillness after the storm, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”

None of us would like to think we have no faith, but I suppose the Lord’s gentle rebuke here is largely deserved. This great Jehovah, in whom we say we trust and whose name we have taken upon us, is he who said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” (Gen. 1:6.) And he is also the one who said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.” (Gen. 1:9.) Furthermore, it was he who parted the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to pass through on dry ground. (See Ex. 14:21–22.) Certainly it should be no surprise that he could command a few elements acting up on the Sea of Galilee. And our faith should remind us that he can calm the troubled waters of our lives.” Excertp from: Howard W. Hunter’s talk:  “Master, the Tempest is Raging”

This lesson was given in October General Conference in 1984. While the world has changed a great deal since then, the truth of the principles President Hunter testified of have not.

President Hinckley, in our lesson today, shares these divine truths and principles that will help to anchor us in times of trial, so that we will not shift and sway with every rising storm be it weather, worldly views, controversy, declining morals, wolves in sheep’s clothing preaching their own skewed versions of truth, or whether it is earthquakes, or tempest, or fires. It may be our own small thorns in the flesh, or crises that threaten home and hearth. Whatever stormy sea we find ourselves upon, whatever the size and strength of our boat, our Savior can still the seas for us today, as in times past, if we follow the map he has given us. He is our captain, and the wind in our sails. He is our compass and He is our anchor.

An anchor is a device attached to a ship or boat by a cable and cast overboard to hold it in a particular place by means of a fluke that digs into the bottom.  It is also defined as a reliable or principal mainstay. What better analogy could our Savior, and his servant President Hinckley, have provided us with in the truths we will be discussing today.
In this lesson, President Hinckley talks about several specific ways we can become more self-reliant. 

He says: “We teach self-reliance as a principle of life, that we ought to provide for ourselves and take care of our own needs.” He knows that if we adhere to these truths and practice them in our lives, that when the tempest is raging, we can have, as the lesson’s title suggests, “peace and contentment”.

As a kind of object lesson, I am going to ask each of us to exercise some self-reliance in the way we experience this lesson today. President Hinckley’s lesson is divided into four main sections. I would like to divide each of you into four groups.

Group GREEN: Use Time Wisely Principle #2
Group BLUE: Manage Money Principle #4
Group YELLOW: Work: Take Responsibility Principle #5
Group RED: Become One/Serve Together #7

In each folder is the relevant section of today’s lesson, and also a few resources pages from the “My Foundation” self-reliance manual from the church’s new program.

Have each group review and discuss the materials both in the manual and in the section of President Hinckley’s lesson. Have them be prepared to share their principle, why it is important and ways we can practice these in our lives. Each group will have about 10 minutes, and can take 3-5 minutes to present their principle. Encourage them to begin with prayer and seek the Spirit in their assignment.



Summary:  I would like to bear my fervent testimony of the things we have discussed today.  

The scripture: “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear”  from D&C 38:30 has been a constant on my mind these last weeks as I’ve known I’d be giving this lesson. I’ve been amazed as I’ve noticed how many times I’ve felt fear and stress navigating my everyday life because I didn’t do the things to prepare for things as simple as getting ready for work in the morning, or having missing ingredients for a meal mid-preparation. I found myself feeling overwhelmed and scared about a family member’s choices until I remembered to sit in the quiet, say a fervent prayer and then pay close attention to my own spiritual self-preparation in order to help them.

I also remember the sheer terror I felt as a young student when I remembered an upcoming test that I had procrastinated study for, or when I felt totally unprepared for the onset of sudden illness, financial or work challenges.

If I’m honest, I was pretty scared about today’s lesson as it is pretty far outside my comfort zone, and the demands of family and work during the busy summer had teased me into procrastinating it’s preparation for too long.

I know that if we follow the counsel of our leaders, preparing ahead of time for whatever we might ask to endure, we can have peace and comfort in times of trial. I know that if we prepare, in whatever small ways we are capable of, the Lord will bless us. He will multiply our efforts and bless us in miraculous ways to do what He has asked us. I have to often remind myself that Nephi felt unprepared to hunt with out his bow, to obtain the brass plates, and  to build a boat. But he did as the Lord commanded, and was blessed in profound and unexpected ways. Heavenly Father doesn’t love Nephi more than He loves us. If we will do the things that Nephi did, that our prophet and leaders teach us to do, He will help us as well.

I know that to be true. I know our prophet is called of God to help us in our journey through mortality and back to our Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ, our Savior is our advocate, our strength, our captain and our anchor in every storm we face. I say these things it the name of Jesus Christ amen.

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