Archive for the ‘Devotionals’ Category

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Overcoming the Natural Man

Hendricks Reed

Reed Hendricks, a counselor in the BYU-Idaho Counseling Center, talked about overcoming the natural man during a devotional talk May 3, 2016.

Hendricks commented on how easy it is to see our flaws, all of the natural man aspects in our lives instead of our divine selves. He said it gives him hope to realize great prophets like Peter and Paul from the Bible and Nephi from the Book of Mormon all felt their humanness too. “Somehow, it gives me hope to know that even the best of the best also feel a sense of their own humanness,” he said. “This wrestling match we have with the natural man is not like playing a delightful game of Candy Crush, but rather is hand to hand combat that will stretch us to our limits.”

He has been a counselor for 33 years and said his profession has learned a lot about how to help people change their behaviors. He said to ultimately change, we must change our nature. “Psychology does not have the answer to that. God does! Changing the nature of man is His specialty.”

He said it’s only through Jesus Christ we can make lasting change in our lives. “No matter what we are trying to change or master in our lives, there is only one way, and He is that ‘way, the truth, the life.’ We are utterly dependent upon God, without whom we are ‘less than the dust of the earth.’ We access His help to overcome the natural man through increased acts of faith and obedience,” he said.

Hendricks also told the story of his father’s journey to overcoming addictions to be in the temple when Hendricks went to the temple for the first time before his mission. “God can do miracles beyond our comprehension including the creation of life and universes that cannot be numbered,” he said. “But there may be no miracle that can compare to that of the changed nature of one of His stray children.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Hendricks explained why he chose the topic of overcoming the natural man. “Well I just think that’s a central struggle that every member of the church, every child of God faces,” he said. “I certainly see it in my profession as a therapist here at the BYU-Idaho Counseling Center and I just felt like it would be a reasonably central and relevant topic for all of us to talk about. And frankly I certainly have been helped and blessed by revisiting those same topics in regard to improvements in my own life.”

Listen to his full devotional below. Click here to listen to his interview.

Eric Conrad Devotional – April 26, 2016

Conrad Eric

Eric Conrad, BYU-Idaho’s University Services Managing Director, gave a BYU-Idaho devotional about asking the Lord what he wants you to learn from your trials. He spoke on April 26, 2016.

In his talk he shared three experiences with the audience. The first was his wife Diane’s struggle with multiple sclerosis, which led to her eventual death. He said, even though he had prepared for her death for 22 years, he was in terrible pain following her passing. “My misery was out of control, it is indescribable,” he said. “I tried praying, asking God for some relief to the pain I was feeling, but to no avail. We had the funeral and I continued for four more days in a fog of pain and suffering.”

He said a week after his wife’s death, his 17-year-old daughter Emily told him Diane was happy and didn’t want him to be in pain. “So it was, Emily was right, as my boat sat there floating with no direction, she put wind in my sails,” he said. “Emily filled my sails and allowed me to get my boat moving again. My heart was broken, my spirit contrite, I was ready to ask, ‘Dear Heavenly Father, what am I to learn?'”

He also shared experiences about getting into a precarious situation while sailing with his grandfather and when he started dating again at the age of 43.

He asked the audience what they could incorporate from his examples today. He answered by saying they should “Expect the unexpected, find joy in every day; put wind in your sails and others through positive thoughts and actions; prepare yourself mentally, spiritually and physically for whatever may come your way; and always ask yourself, ‘Dear Heavenly Father, what am I to learn?”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Conrad explained why he decided to share these experiences, “what I’m trying to convey in devotional, hopefully, is as trials come about, don’t blame anyone, just accept the trial and then ask Heavenly Father, ‘What can I learn from this to become a better person?'”

Click here to listen to his interview and you can listen to his devotional below.

Gilberts Give Opening Devotional for Spring 2016 Semester at BYU-Idaho

President & Sister Gilbert

President & Sister Gilbert

On April 19, 2016, Christine Gilbert and BYU-Idaho President Clark G. Gilbert gave the opening devotional for the Spring 2016 semester.

Sister Gilbert talked about clearing a path with love. She told a story about clearing snow off the steps of her Boston home for her seminary students. As she cleared the path, she thought about their struggles. One day she was impressed to take them treats at their high school. “As I delivered my treats that day, I realized that I didn’t have to worry about lessons or games or special breakfasts to help my seminary students. What they needed most from me was to simply feel loved as I sent them out the door each day for school,” she said.

She said clearing a path may not always be easy or come naturally, “Clearing a path through the cold winters of life will be increasingly difficult in the last days unless we look to the Savior for help,” she said.

“As we put the Savior first in our lives, He will help us to know how we can clear the path with love.”

President Gilbert talked about standing as disciples in the last days. He shared a story about a time in high school when he was invited to play the “Dating Game” at a pep rally when he was a senior. He said it started as a fun game, but he realized the questions he was getting were designed to make fun of his choices as a member of the LDS Church.

He decided to play along and ended up singing “I Am a Child of God.” “I thought I was quite clever until they asked me to sing it,” he said. “So, I may be the only teenager to ever sing a primary hymn in front of his entire high school class.”

He said there will be a continued widening of the gap between the world and members of the church. “We should not be afraid or be discouraged,” he said.” “Rather, we should take heart to know that prophets long ago foresaw this day and have prepared us to stand apart from the crowd.”

He gave five characteristics to help students defy the crowd and stand for good: follow the prophet; strengthen the family; act and not be acted upon; show kindness and love; and apply the atonement. “These are perilous times, and the gap between the world and the Church will only increase,” he said. “And yet, we can stand with confidence as disciples in the last days.”

Listen to their devotional addresses below. Click here to hear their interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Christ-Centered Leadership

Taylor, Joe

Published March 29, 2016

Joe Taylor, the Chief Information Officer for BYU-Idaho, gave a devotional address about Christ-centered leadership.

He outlined six attributes of a Christ-centered leader and used the story of a family hike to King’s Peak, Utah’s highest point in the Uintah Mountains, to highlight how he learned those attributes.

Taylor said their first day of their three-day hike included challenges, but through his leadership and inspiration they were able to overcome them and make it to their first camping spot. “I admit that a little pride set in as I mused at what a great leader I was,” he said. “After all, during that day I had been presented with challenges of discouragement, exhaustion, fear, and even physical problems. In each case I had used my leadership toolkit to overcome the problems, and now, here we were.”

He said the next day proved much different, “Well, there’s a funny thing about pride, as soon as we begin to be puffed up in our own superiority and accomplishment, God has a knack for teaching us a lesson. The next day He took full advantage of that opportunity and taught me a lesson I will never forget.”

Those lessons, he said, included learning Christ-centered attributes like obedience, patience, humility, wisdom, courage and love.

The second day started positive, but the hikers quickly fell behind their schedule. Taylor saw a shortcut, but obediently listened to a prompting not to take it. He patiently, though with some anxiety, rested with his family as the hike got harder. He humbly realized only some of his family would make it to the top of King’s Peak, but did not listen to his 14-year-old son during a family council about whether they should split up and let some of the family reach the top. His son said they should stick together, “I was the experienced backpacker, he was just a child. In my confidence, I discounted his council,” he said.

They did split up. His wife and two daughters ascended the peak, but on their way down, Taylor could see them taking the wrong path as the sun was going down. This is where he questioned the wisdom of leaving their flashlights at camp and the decision to split up.

After a prayer, he decided to send his group on their way and to sprint back to find his wife and daughters. When he was within sight of them, he noticed the group he left was struggling up the pass to their camp. “At that very poignant moment, all disappointment at not making the peak, and any other petty worry left me,” he said. “I was completely helpless. The feelings of confidence and pride that I had enjoyed the night before were completely vacant.”

After another prayer he went back to his exhausted group and helped them get to camp. Then he grabbed flashlights to find his wife and daughters. He found them hiking in the dark and they returned to the camp. “The worldly pride of boasting that my family reached the peak had been stripped away and replaced by a contentment that I cannot describe. Oh how I rejoiced as we sat there in love with one another and feeling the joy of the Lord,” he said.

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio Taylor commented on why he chose to talk about this hike during his devotional, “This hike, this backpacking trip was really an eye opener for me about what it takes, what’s important, what a good leader is,” he said. “And clearly it’s a combination of some of the things you learn in the world but magnified, or augmented by Christ-centered attributes. And that’s some of the lessons I learned on this hike and that’s what I want to talk about.”

To listen to his interview, click here.

Listen to his devotional talk below.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Strong Dating, Marriage Relationships

Martin, Kyle

Kyle Martin, BYU-Idaho’s Registrar, talked about foundational characteristics of strong, healthy dating and marriage relationships during a BYU-Idaho Devotional March 22, 2016.

Martin said important characteristics for these relationships include respect, trust, selflessness, repentance, forgiveness, commitments and communication. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of building your marriage relationship on these foundational characteristics,” he said. “This is the gospel plan; our Heavenly Father wants a man and a woman who are compatible and seek to make and keep sacred covenants to build a wholesome, worthy relationship on these foundational characteristics.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, he expounded on these principals. “A true, real marriage, is based upon those foundational characteristics of a marriage,” he said. “That that’s the solid foundation if we’ll take the time and effort to learn what those are, to evaluate where we are at with those in our relationships and then work to strengthen those, that’s when we will achieve the bliss in mature love that President Packer talked about in his April 2015 Conference Talk.

He also outlined four emotional commitment levels: friendship, non-exclusive dating, exclusive dating or courtship and marriage. He said each one has appropriate expressions of physical affection, “For example,” he said, “the emotional commitment level of Friendship might include a handshake, high-five, knuckles or a “pat” hug.”

He said regular dating could include holding hands, opening the door for your date and a brief hug while courting might include walking arm-in-arm, putting your arm around your date and brief kisses. Marriage, he said, would include sexual intimacy.

Listen to BYU-Idaho Radio’s interview with Martin by clicking here.

Click below for his devotional talk.

Elder Ringwood Teaches the Power of the Book of Mormon in BYU-Idaho Devotional

Ringwood, Michael T

Elder Michael T. Ringwood, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to BYU-Idaho about the power of the Book of Mormon.

He illustrated how important it is to have and use the Book of Mormon by teaching about the two trips back to Jerusalem Nephi and his brothers made in 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. The first trip they went to retrieve the Brass Plates. It wasn’t until this was finished that they went back to find wives. “As I thought about the fact that there were two trips and the order in which they came, I felt a message that said it is important to establish a pattern of righteousness, valuing and using the scriptures, before entering into the most important relationship in time and in eternity,” he said. “There was wisdom in obtaining the plates first. Two trips were necessary to emphasize this pattern.”

He taught how important it was for Nephi and his brethren to get the Brass Plates. He quoted from a talk Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave at Brigham Young University in 1989 called “The Will of the Father.” Elder Holland emphasized why Nephi recorded his taking the life of Laban to get the Brass Plates and why that story is early in the Book of Mormon, “But there it is, squarely in the beginning of the book—page 8—where even the most casual reader will see it and must deal with it. It is not intended that either Nephi or we be spared the struggle of this account.”

After sharing Elder Holland’s words Elder Ringwood testified about the Book of Mormon, “the Book of Mormon was worth the sacrifices that were made to write it, preserve it, and bring it forth in our day because it is the word of God. It will lead us to do good. We can and must know it is true and pass the book and our testimonies of it to future generations.”

He told a story about those future generations. He said as he left his mission he committed to his mission president several things, including daily scripture study. As he kept that promise, it blessed the life of his family. The realization came when his son gave a talk in church before leaving on a mission, “He reported that each morning he would come upstairs to read the Book of Mormon with the family prior to going to school he always knew he would find his father at his desk reading the scriptures. I am indebted to a wise mission president for helping me have a generational impact on my son.”

He invited all to start reading daily from the scriptures, particularly from the Book of Mormon, or to continue to study from the scriptures.

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Elder Ringwood shared some additional insight he wasn’t able to fit into his devotional talk. He shared the insight he gained as he studied when Jesus Christ visited the Nephites in the Book of Mormon and asked to see their scriptures, “He actually reviewed them and as he went through that process he noticed something that wasn’t included in the book. It happened to be a fulfillment of prophecy by Samuel the Lamanite that wasn’t included,” he said. “So they went back and added it. This just teaches us how important this is for us that the Savior took time to review it and made changes so we have the book we have today.”

You can listen to the full devotional talk below or to BYU-Idaho Radio’s interview with him here.

BYU-Idaho Devotional – March 8, 2015

Pulsipher, David

In a BYU-Idaho devotional address, Brother David Pulsipher, a History, Geography and Political Science Department faculty member at BYU-Idaho, talked about loving your enemies.

He shared a story from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Oaks told the story in the October 1992 General Conference. More than 45 years ago Elder Oaks was teaching law at the University of Chicago. One night he was with his wife after dropping off a sister at her apartment after a church meeting. When they returned to their car, a young man with a gun demanded their money.

Elder Oaks went through different scenarios in his head of what he could do. He nearly grabbed the gun, but ended up putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder and talked to him like a father. The boy ended up running away.

Pulsipher used the story to show somebody following the Savior’s counsel in Matthew 5:44 or 3 Nephi 12:44 to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.”

He said the world teaches us that only violence can stop violence. “But the experience of Elder Oaks and the words of Christ prove that the world’s logic is flawed,” he said. “Counter-attacking isn’t the only way to resist violence. It isn’t even the most effective. Love can stand up to and overcome violence.”

He also taught how fire and violence are similar. They both need certain elements to sustain themselves. Fire needs a fuel source, oxygen and sufficient heat. Violence needs a rationale, geographic and emotional distance and a predictable response. But just like water can smother a fire, love can smother violence. “By neither fighting back nor fleeing nor surrendering, love stands strong in the face of aggression, eliciting awe in attackers,” he said. “In that moment of wonder – starved of fuel and sensing emotional connection – the fires of violence quietly yet quickly die out.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, he shared a principle he didn’t get to share during his devotional talk. He said while we must love our enemies, we do not need to trust them. “Some people misunderstand the call to love as a call just to allow people to abuse or misuse us in some way. I think the Savior wants us to stand up for that abuse and misuse of a relationship. Love is something we should be able to offer all people including our enemies unconditionally. But trust is something we have to earn.”

You can listen to the full devotional address below.

Elaine Wagner Devotional – March 1, 2016

Wagner, Elaine

Elaine Wagner, a BYU-Idaho faculty member in the Mathematics Department, spoke at the weekly devotional about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

She shared a story about teaching a primary class with her daughter about Jesus healing the 10 lepers in Luke chapter 17. She taught the children what it was like to be a leper – they had to be bandaged, live away from their families and only receive help from each other. She helped them understand Jesus was the only one who could heal them physically. She said by the end of the lesson, she felt she had done a good job. “I came home from church tired but proud that the lesson had gone so well with the children,” she said. “I felt like I had set a good example of teaching primary for my daughter. I settled down for my well-deserved Sunday nap.”

That nap turned into a lesson for herself. She dreamed about giving the lesson again, but this time as the children left the classroom, she felt sad and felt the Savior was rebuking her because she missed an important part of the lesson. She said she saw herself “diseased, bruised, and hurting but I looked normal on the outside. No one that looked at me could see the wounds that I carried.”

She realized she had failed to teach about the Atonement. “Like the lepers there is no hope for us, there is no medicine or procedure to cure us, even with all the fabulous modern methods that we have now, there is no hope for us to be with our families again except through the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” she said.

She also taught that as we bind ourselves to Christ through the Atonement, we have a deep faith in him that motivates us to act and to become like him. “Armed with faith we speak kindly to our grouchy roommate,” she said. “We accept callings even though we are uncertain about our abilities, like nursery leader, gospel doctrine teacher, or bishop. We come to church even though it is easier to stay home with the cranky toddler.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Sister Wagner talked about making choices in faith, “So you act in faith, you move forward and if you’ve gone down a path that you shouldn’t go down the Lord will quickly tell you to turn around and make a different decision and he will lead you to those places that he wants you to be,” she said.

Elder Randall K. Bennett and Sister Shelley Bennett Devotional – February 23, 2016

Elder & Sister Bennett's picture they submitted when Elder Bennett was called as mission president of the Samara Russia Mission. Courtesy LDS Church News

Elder & Sister Bennett’s picture they submitted when Elder Bennett was called as mission president of the Samara Russia Mission. Courtesy LDS Church News

Elder Randall K. Bennett, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Shelley talked to the campus of BYU-Idaho about our true identity as children of God and how to establish priorities to keep an eternal perspective on our true desires.

They shared personal experiences during their talk, including how Elder Bennett had to propose four times before Sister Bennett accepted, “As I read my scriptures and that talk, pondered, prayed, and fasted, I felt a sweet calm about accepting his proposal,” she said. “I still had fears as our futures were very uncertain. I wasn’t finished with university, and he had no education. He also had no job, no car, no home, and no money, and my mother thought he had no future! But faith ultimately overcame fear, and several days after his fourth proposal, I said yes.”

She had turned him down so many times because she was determined to serve a mission for the Church before getting married. He shared an General Conference talk about young women not feeling guilty about not serving a mission if they get married in the temple. He promised her they would serve missions together some day, “He has, by the way, kept that promise!” she said.

They also shared a story about when they decided to sell Sister Bennett’s engagement ring. They were not long engaged but wanted to follow prophetic council to start acquiring a supply of food for emergencies. Separately they each felt prompted to sell the ring. “What? How was I supposed to ask Shelley to do that?” he said. “I had just convinced her to accept the ring.”

She felt the same prompting and when they spoke about it with each other, they were both surprised and relieved. “Now, my dear sisters, you don’t need to leave here and sell your rings! Buying or wearing a ring isn’t wrong,” Sister Bennett said. “For us, however, because the Spirit had directed us to follow the prophet by selling my engagement ring, our choice was between keeping a ring or following the prophet. Making this decision helped us establish two patterns in our home from the very beginning: following the prophets and following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”

Elder Bennett shared his testimony about the leaders of the Church, “I promise you that living Apostles of the Lord, Jesus Christ are on the earth today. I promise that they are doing exactly what the Savior is directing them to do. I promise you that you can trust the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, no matter what the world, the internet or social media say.”

He shared a similar message with BYU-Idaho Radio during an interview with the couple before the devotional, “The world will not and does not agree with the prophets of God,” he said. “That’s where there is safety, peace, calm, joy. No matter what the world says.” Listen to that interview here and to the devotional address below.

Brittany Ship Devotional – February 16, 2016

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By Nina Janne

On Tuesday February 16, 2016, Brittany Shipp, an employment specialist in the Human Resources Department at BYU-Idaho, gave a devotional address at the BYU-Idaho Center.

Before the devotional BYU-Idaho Radio had a chance to sit down and talk with Shipp about her devotional. We asked her about her experience preparing for her devotional talk. “The feelings I’ve had – so differently just as I’ve been working on this and what’s really needed – they’ve been very tender and very significant for me,” Shipp said. “And so I think, ‘Man, if we go to Devotional with the open mind to actually learn and to receive whatever it is that the Lord prompted them to talk about. We will receive something from it. And it’s not just a little thing, but the Lord is there. So I think that’s, I just think they’re really amazing and it’s amazing that I get to be a part of that.”

Her devotional address is titled “Choose Ye This Day.” She said this title is a short, yet powerful statement of the importance of choosing righteously. “In so many ways we get nervous about making decisions especially the ones that seem big,” Shipp said. “The choices we make do have an impact on our lives but it’s important to remember that Heavenly Father is not going to leave us alone. When we do make a choice He respects that. He is going to uphold us in our efforts but if it really isn’t the right decision we will receive an answer.”

During her devotional address she shared one choice that impacted her life and how she made the decision. She shared the process of choosing to marry her husband Ben. She said she went to the temple with the determination to receive an answer on whether she should marry him. “I did not receive a strong confirmation nor did I receive a stupor of thought or feeling of constraint,” she said.  “My hunger pains eventually got the best of me, and I left feeling a gentle peace. It was not until sometime later during my nightly prayers that the answer came to me, ‘Brittany, you know enough.’ With that, I knew the Lord was allowing me to make a choice of my own free will. I made my choice, and I am grateful for it.”

During the interview she told me that throughout her devotional she stresses as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we need to keep our standards high. “Even though we are different. People like consistency. They like knowing that you are going to uphold your values and they will respect you for that. Some may not want to be around you but I think that most people are still looking for that consistency.”