Editor's note: "This week from the pulpit" highlights recent messages by General Authorities, General Officers and leaders of the Church.
How often do you quiet distractions, close your eyes, and just think? Purposeful reflection, whether on spiritual matters or otherwise, is necessary to living a meaningful life. This week, several Church leaders spoke up about the need to seek reflective moments. President M. Russell Ballard wrote on Facebook, “You cannot connect with heaven in a mass of clutter. You have to find those quiet moments in your life when you can contemplate the things of the Spirit.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf also asked on Facebook, “Can we hear the gentle call of our beloved Savior, who invites us to come and follow Him? Do we hear His voice? Or is life too rushed?”
And in a 2019 devotional by Elder Dale G. Renlund which was recently shared by BYU Magazine, the Apostle encouraged members to “make sure your receptors for God’s love are fully functional.”
Everyone needs the comforting influence of God and heaven in their life. Gratefully, God’s love is never ending and His timing for inspiration is perfect. May studying the words of Church leaders this week encourage you to slow down and find the time to simply think.
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Elder Dale G. Renlund—Do We Block Our Spiritual Receptors?
A fascinating devotional given by Elder Dale G. Renlund in December 2019 was included in BYU Magazine’s summer 2020 issue. The magazine recently highlighted the devotional on their website.
Elder Renlund draws on his training as a doctor to teach a powerful lesson about our ability to feel God’s love. He explains,
Your physical health depends on hormones and their receptors. Hormones, such as thyroid hormones, insulin, and many others, are substances produced in glands and then transported in the bloodstream to specific cells, and they stimulate those cells by interacting with specific receptors. Illness can occur when either the gland does not produce enough hormone or the receptor is dysfunctional.
There is an important spiritual parallel between how our body functions and our ability to feel God’s love in our lives. Elder Renlund explains that because God’s love will never be deficient, if we experience a lack of divine presence in our lives, the problem is with our receptors to sense the Spirit.
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So what causes dysfunctional receptors? Elder Renlund listed sin, complacency toward the commandments, and physical and mental illness as possible contributors. Acknowledging that mental health often requires professional attention, Elder Renlund provided a three-part prescription for treating blocked spiritual receptors:
- Scripture study
- Partaking of the sacrament
Read the rest of the devotional, which includes a story of a time in Elder Renlund’s life when he felt his spiritual receptors were blocked, at BYU Magazine.
Primary General Presidency Encourages Families to Engage Children in the Work of Salvation
We often speak of preparing children for their future missions in life, but what about the good they can do right now? The Primary General Presidency wrote an article for Church Newsencouraging parents and leaders to find ways for children to serve.
“Our children are covenant members of the gospel of Jesus Christ and need to be included in His great work,” the Presidency wrote. “We don’t always need to produce big, complex experiences for our children. But being intentional will help us find simple ways to create shared experiences within the tasks of our everyday life.”
For example, a young mother picked one day a week where she would find service to do with her children, the article wrote. When the assigned day arrived one week, the mother was busy with an upcoming event and hadn’t been able to plan a service activity. But as she was driving her children home after running errands, she noticed an older couple cleaning up their yard. She pulled the car over and the kids piled out to help in the yard. Of the experience, the mother said, “If you put service on the calendar, the opportunity always shows up.”
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The Presidency ended their message by reminding families that they can look to Christ as the perfect example of service.
“Christ is the Good Shepherd, ever showing us the way to care for His sheep. He nourished, gathered, comforted, and gently led His flock, caring for each one individually (Isaiah 40:11). We can do the same.”
Read the rest of the article here.