As a new year begins, many Latter-day Saints are contemplating what worthy goals to strive for not only for this year but for many years to come.
But with so many worthy goals to strive for, it can sometimes be overwhelming to pick just a few to work on at a time.
Recently, members of the First Presidency and some apostles posted inspirational messages on Facebook that members can look to as they focus on how they can strengthen their testimonies in manageable ways in the coming months.
Members of the First Presidency:
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
As this new year begins, I look forward with optimism and excitement to what the future will bring. Certainly there will be challenges, but there is always hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Harriet and I pray for all of you who are facing difficulties. We pray that in 2017 you will find joy and peace by living gospel principles. We pray that you will feel inspired to be a better disciple of Christ by loving God and fellowmen.
May I suggest that you trust God and refocus your efforts on the divine plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us.
You will remember the account in the book of Matthew, when a group of religious scholars attempted to draw the Savior into a controversy and asked Him to weigh in on an issue upon which few could agree.
“Master,” they asked Him, “which is the great commandment in the law?”
The Savior’s answer is as applicable today as it was 2,000 years ago:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
This year, I would encourage you to focus on the two great commandments. If our primary focus, thoughts, and efforts are centered on increasing our love for Almighty God and extending our hearts and actions to others, all other good things will fall into place.
President Henry B. Eyring
Even the Savior of the world, when he was on the cross, felt his Father far from him. You will have moments, perhaps long moments, of feelings of separation. But you know the way to draw closer to God. King Benjamin taught us the way:
“I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.
“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:12–13.)
Now, you will still be startled to realize how familiar the face of our Heavenly Father is. But when you see him, you will know his voice, because you will have prayed, listened, obeyed, and come to share the thoughts and intents of his heart. You will have drawn nearer to him.
I pray that we will.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Thoughtful planning and preparation are key to a rewarding future, but we do not live in the future—we live in the present.
It is day by day that we work out our plans for the future; it is day by day that we achieve our goals. It is one day at a time that we raise and nurture our families. It is one day at a time that we overcome imperfections. We endure in faith to the end one day at a time. It is the accumulation of many days well lived that adds up to a full life and a saintly person. So, we must strive to live well day by day.
Included in the Lord’s Prayer is the petition “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). I believe that we would all readily acknowledge that we have needs each day that we want our Heavenly Father’s help in dealing with. Jesus is teaching us that we should look to God each day for the bread—the help and sustenance—we require in that particular day. The Lord’s invitation to seek our daily bread at our Heavenly Father’s hand speaks of a loving God, aware of even the small, daily needs of His children and anxious to assist them, one by one.
Elder Quentin L. Cook
At the dawn of the new year, I wish to share a message with the young adults.
You are a magnificent generation. The scriptures are clear that in the last days there will be “wickedness and abominations.” However, the Saints, small in number and scattered upon all the face of the earth, will be “armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” The Lord promised that He will “preserve the righteous” and we “need not fear.”
You need not be afraid, despite the dangers and challenges you will face. You will be blessed and protected when you seek righteous, worthwhile goals.
Plan and work with grit and determination, avoid inappropriate use of social media and the internet, and rely and focus on faith, repentance, saving ordinances, and the Savior’s atoning sacrifice as you endure to the end. Focusing on the temple will help you achieve these goals.
To paraphrase Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” You can avoid the distractions of life and enjoy and achieve all that the Savior has promised us.