In 1 Nephi 1:1, Nephi shares that he was “born of goodly parents.” This phrase has always been of interest to me and caused me to ask, “what does it mean to be a goodly parent?”
Nephi’s father Lehi gives us what could be called “The Goodly Parent Formula,” (TGPF).
Lehi fully lived the formula.
First, Lehi continually studied the scriptures, lived worthily so he could receive personal revelation and be taught from on high, and recorded what he learned so he could teach it to his family and his people.
Second, Lehi became an agent who acts by applying the things he learned in his own life. In doing so he experienced great joy and happiness.
Third, once filled with the joy of gospel living, Lehi taught his family the words of the prophets and invited them to follow them that they might receive the same joy. He set the example for his children through his own obedience to the prophets and by going forth to teach their prophetic words to His people.
Finally, by teaching the gospel to his family and others, Lehi showed the way for them to keep the gospel alive and active in their lives.
We to can follow the TGPF. We can become goodly parents by learning the gospel, living the gospel, and teaching the gospel and thereby showing the way to keep the gospel alive and active in our lives. As we do so, our lives will be filled with joy and we will become instruments in God’s hands to help our family, and many others within our sphere of influence, to have the same experience.
And that my friends, will be truly…
Randall McNeely is husband, father of five, and a committed disciple of Jesus Christ.
In his recent general conference address, President Henry B. Eyring indicated that one of the best ways for members of the church to receive the Holy Ghost is through service. The question this raises, at least for me, is “what is it about service that invites the Holy Ghost into our lives?”
As I contemplated that question, the words to a proverb came to my mind:
Cast your bread upon the waters, it comes back to you again.
When we serve others, we cast our bread upon the waters by giving of our time, talents, and abilities to bless someone else’s life. As we sacrifice with unselfish enthusiasm, we emulate the Savior Jesus Christ of whom it is written, “He went about doing good,” (See Acts 10:38).
Then, as a natural consequence of such emulation, our bread comes back to us again through the Holy Ghost who fills our hearts with peace, love, a sense of accomplishment, gratitude for the opportunity to serve, a desire to serve more, and the many other resplendent feelings that come when we forget ourselves and go to work.
I’ve learned through multiple personal experiences that this is true, particularly through small and simple acts. For example, making the bed in the morning, cleaning the bathroom, putting my dirty clothes in the hamper, playing with the kids and reading to them, tucking the kids in at night, leaving notes for my wife and children, giving hugs, kisses, and words of praise when called for, and dozens of other things. As I’ve done these things, along with keeping the commandments and my covenants, I’ve always received the Holy Ghost.
We can all do the same…if we will.
And that is truly…
Randal McNeely is a husband, father of five, and committed disciple of Jesus Christ.
In his Sunday afternoon address in the recent General Conference, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf entitled his talk – Behold the Man!
Who is the Man of whom Elder Uchtdorf spoke? It is our Savior Jesus Christ.
Just over two thousand years ago, Jesus suffered beyond human comprehension in Gethsemane as He fulfilled the Father’s will in all things. He took upon Him all of our sins and transgressions that we might not suffer if we will but repent and follow His outlined plan. He willingly bled at every poor, trembling under the weight He was called to bear, enduring excruciating pain to both His body and spirit, because of His great love for us and His eternal desire to open up the way for use to return home to our Heavenly Father.
It is up to us to come to know the Savior personally—to “Behold the Man!” Indeed, our eternal lives depend on it, for at Jesus taught, “…this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (See John 17:3).
What can we do then, to behold the Man? Elder Uchtdorf gives this stirring counsel:
“[To] truly behold the Man, we learn of Him and seek to align our lives with Him. We repent and strive to refine our natures and daily grow a little closer to Him. We trust Him. We show our love for Him by keeping His commandments and by living up to our sacred covenants.
I know for myself this is true. And that, for me, is amazingly
Randall McNeely is a husband, father of five, and committed disciple of Jesus Christ
Day 10 - Personal Revelation
In his Sunday morning General Conference address, President Russell M. Nelson plead for each of us to “increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.” He then gave this powerful invitation
Let this Easter Sunday be a defining moment in your life. Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.
Why is President Nelson so concerned about increasing our revelation receiving capacity? He provided the answer.
I am optimistic about the future…but I am…not naïve about the days ahead. We live in a world that is complex and increasingly contentious. The constant availability of social media and a 24-hour news cycle bombard us with relentless messages. If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.
How can we increase our capacity to receive revelation? President Nelson again provided the answer.
Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.
The steps are simple:
And that is truly...
Are you looking for stability in your life? Do you long for peace of mind and calmness of soul? Come unto Him - the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ. He it is who knows everything you've ever gone through and what you are going through. He is it who has suffered pain and anguish beyond our comprehension and suffered everything that we can ever suffer that He might know how to succor us in our times of need. He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lord, the Messiah, the great Immanuel - God's almighty Son. By Him, of Him, and through Him, the worlds were and are created. His work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Do you desire lasting happiness? Come unto Him. Are you concerned for our country? Come unto Him. Serve Him. Keep His commandments, and freedom will prevail.
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.
He has promised that if we will but serve Him and keep His commandments, we will always prosper in the land. We can have the calm assurance that comes through obedience and move forward with faith and confidence and without fear.
How grateful I am for Him who is mighty to save. His atoning sacrifice makes it possible for all of God's children, if they will but repent and come unto Him, to have joy and happiness in this life and eternal joy in the life to come. God be praised for His gracious kindness and tender mercies extended toward us through Christ. He truly is the-
Truly He is...
Day 8 - Anxiously Engaged
A couple of years ago we had a storm that dropped nearly a foot of snow over night, and it wasn't the light powdery stuff. Oh no. It was the heavy, wet, perfect for making snowmen, snow forts, and snowballs kind of snow. Of course that's a blast if you're a little kid, but it the bane of the shoveler's existence.
I try to be a good neighbor, so, because we have elderly neighbor on either side of us who can't really do their own shoveling, I committed to them to keeping their driveways and walks cleared. I would be less than honest if I said I was excited at the prospect of shoveling a foot of wet heavy snow off my driveway and walks, let alone doing my neighbors. However, that storm turned out to be a tremendous blessing.
I went out to shovel my own driveway and walks, along with my older teenagers. As we shoveled, we saw a neighbor come out to start shoveling their walks and driveway. Since there were four of us working, we got done sooner so we went over and helped our neighbor. We then recruited him to help us with our elderly neighbors houses. By that time a different neighbor had come out and started working on their walks so we went to help them. Everything snowballed from there. We ended up shoveling the walks and driveways for nearly the entire neighborhood, with about 20 people dividing and conquering, including four missionaries. We all got anxiously engaged in a good cause, and brought to pass much good in much less time than it would have taken for people to do their own shoveling individually. What's more, neighbors who had been living near each other for years and had never met, actually got out and got to know each other a little bit as they worked side by side.
That experience was great for our neighborhood and marvelous for my children as the got to experience first hand the powerful good that can come when a group of people work together for a good cause.
And that was truly...
What a blessing it has been the past two days to have the marvelous opportunity to come and listen to a prophet's voice - indeed the voices of 15 prophets, along with other inspired church leaders. How blessed we are to live on the earth at this time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and a living prophet can stand again and authoritatively say, "thus saith the Lord." Truly is is a marvel to think that through these holy men we can hear the voice of God as if He were speaking directly to us, for as He revealed to Joseph Smith, "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same," (See D&C 1:38).
I was particularly touched with the address by President Nelson as he spoke to us about the need to seek greater personal revelation. Through his talk he demonstrated two things. One, he, as our prophet, loves us deeply and wants us to be prepared to receive all the blessings our Heavenly Father desires to bless us with, including the physical and spiritual protection we are all going to need to survive these last days. Two, our Heavenly Father loves us deeply and is eager for us to put ourselves in a position where he can pour out revelation upon revelation to bless and strengthen us in our lives. He desires to lead us in the course of abundance and deliver us from evil. He is ever ready to help us bear up under our burdens and cary on in the face of adversity. The prophet gave voice to the Lords desires for our eternal welfare.
How I love general conference and the spiritual buffet it provides, offering up a smorgasbord of spiritual delights to feast upon which can help us grow in our abilities to recognize and follow the Holy Ghost and lead others to do the same. As we search the talks, ponder their meanings, pray for understanding as to how to apply them in our lives, create a plan, and then go forth and do, we will find enhanced ability and become a blessing to everyone with whom in contact.
And that will be truly...
Day 6 - He Lives
He lives! On this Easter day, the most powerful sentence on earth consists of those two words--He lives! I can't begin to express in my own words the feelings of my heart. The words to one of my favorite Hymns - I Know That My Redeemer Lives say what I feel and know far better than I ever could.
1. I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.
2. He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
3. He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.
4. He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
LDS HYMNS - Hymn #136
Text: Samuel Medley, 1738–1799. Included in the first LDS hymnbook, 1835.
Music: Lewis D. Edwards, 1858–1921
And that my dear friends is...
Day 5 - Courage to Be Kind
We live in a day and a time when it is so easy to be a bully, to be discourteous, disrespectful, and rude, particularly in social media. So many in society push the need to be real, and authentic, which far to often means saying what ever comes to mind, no matter how harsh it may be. The reality is, that the idea of being "authentic" is nothing new. Disparagement of others and bullying has been around since the beginning of time. It is a tactic that Satan, and those who subject themselves to him, have always used. It is so easy to practice, and so cowardly.
An article written by a friend of mine, Patty Sampson, entitled Make Kindness Cool Again included the following experience of one of her friends and her friend's son:
A friend of mine is a fellow autism mom. She recently shared a story about going to a youth activity at her church to pick up her son. He entered the gym to meet her, and was yelled at by several of the other kids that he was not welcome and he had to ‘get out’. He was verbally abused right in front of her. It was a terrible experience. (Make Kindness Cool Again - https://www.LDSblogs.com)
What a sad situation. How tragic, that those youth all of whom should have known better, should forget the Savior's injunction to love God and love our neighbor as our selves (See Matthew 22:37-39).
Perhaps even more tragic was the fact that, as Patty also indicated in the article, "there were kids who weren’t happy he was being yelled at. But they wanted friends, and thought they had to be mean to get them." Those youth lacked the courage to be kind.
Unlike those youth, we can choose to have the courage to be kind. We can choose to speak out and speak up in situations where it may not be the easiest thing to do, or the most popular. We can choose to do so because it is the right thing to do - remembering the words from our wonderful hymn to "do what is right, let the consequence follow," (See Do What is Right).
Our Savior had the courage to be kind and showed us the more excellent way. He showed us the powerful effect that love can have as shown through both our words and our deeds. Truly "we love Him", as John wrote, "because he first loved us," (See 1 John 4:18). In all His interactions he showed love and respect, even in His rebukes, which the guilty took, and still take, to be hard because they were direct and convicted their consciences. He spoke as He spoke to them out of love for their souls.
Can we not learn from the Saviors example? The answer is a resounding yes. I've found the following helpful in my own life:
And that will be truly...
The 2018 Winter Olympics recently ended. Amazing acts of tremendous athleticism were watched and read about. I've always enjoyed either watching events or reading about them when I was unable to watch. I've been both impressed and inspired as I've learned about the tremendous efforts it takes for athletes to reach the Olympics and reach the ultimate pinnacle of standing on the platform where a gold medal is presented. These athletes exemplify what can happen with high goals, a solid plan, and unwavering determination, which is what it takes to become physical Olympic champions.
As impressive as the accomplishments of these athletes are, I am much more impressed as I read in the Book of Mormon about men and women that I consider spiritual Olympians, Champions for Christ (SOCFC). One of my favorite SOCFCs is the prophet Nephi. What a man. What is it about him that is so impressive to me? There a a multitude of things. Here are just a few:
While very few people while ever become physical Olympians, and even fewer will become the Olympic champions invited to come to top platform of medal stand and receive a gold medal, everyone of God's children will have, either in this life or the next, to the opportunity to become spiritual Olympians, to become true Champions of Jesus Christ. It's up to us to take advantage of the opportunity when it comes. "Our decisions," as President Monson taught, "determine our destiny."
Like Nephi, as we know what our ultimate spiritual goal is - "immortality and eternal life," (See Moses 1:39). We've been given a plan, and we can move forward with faith, with the same eternal commitment to Christ displayed by Nephi. We can be coms SOCFCs. It is my personal testimony that this is true and that as we do so, come what may, our lives will be...