Archive for the ‘Devotionals’ Category

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About the Light of Christ

Belka, David

Published August 23, 2016

David Belka, an art faculty member at BYU-Idaho, used his knowledge of light in art to illustrate the importance of the light of Christ in our lives during a BYU-Idaho Devotional on August 23, 2016.

Belka talked about the importance of light and dark in art, photos, stories and movies then related it to our spiritual lives, “In the gospel, we are taught that all of God’s children come to earth with the light of Christ,” he said. “We are taught that the light of Christ is like our conscience and prepares us to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. But I would submit that the light of Christ is much more significant than most of us realize.”

He taught that the light of Christ is also the influence of Jesus Christ in our lives. “The light of Christ is the influence that allows all people to do good works in the world, regardless of whether or not one has received the gift of the Holy Ghost,” he said.

He outlined the mission of BYU-Idaho, which includes learning. He said students should learn more than just the subject matter in their chosen major, “I think that we have an opportunity to learn something in any situation we are in,” he said.

He also said as we gain more knowledge, or light, we can share that with others. He challenged the students to seek out things that will contribute to their learning and to their light and to resist influences that do not contribute to their light, “I would invite you to consider the imagery and information you consume and learn to interpret what you see. And then I would invite you to participate in those things that you know will add to your light and to the light of others and avoid those things that will extinguish that light,” he said.

During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, he talked about the symbolism of light and darkness in our society, “I think for me, going into a place that’s light, versus a place that’s dark is a lot more inviting, a lot more comfortable. You want to be there. I think that the gospel and the teachings within the gospel offer that light. As you know, Christ said he is the light of the world. If we look to him, that’s how we get through a lot of things. If we trust in him we’re able to get through a lot of challenges and dark times in our life.”

To listen to his full interview click here.

You can listen to the devotional address below.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Reverence

Stephenson, Vaughn

Published August 11, 2016

At the BYU-Idaho Devotional on August 9, 2016, Vaughn Stephenson spoke about what it means to be reverent. Stephenson is a BYU-Idaho faculty member in the Humanities and Philosophy Department.

Stephenson talked about the first thing he ever learned about reverence as a child, that it was to be quiet. However, he has since learned it is much more. He taught it doesn’t have to be quiet, like when a temple is dedicated and those present participate in the Hosanna Shout. He said it is also a feeling of respect, “I think with very little effort we can realize that respect is a key, central component to reverence. A reverent person is a respectful person.”

He also talked about those who show reverence, have a sense of wonder or awe. “I’m not saying we shouldn’t be quiet in church,” he said. “If anything we should be more attentive. I am saying that we need to ponder and understand more about all around us so that we can more fully experience the profound respect mingled with awe that is at the heart of a reverent life.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio Stephenson expounded on this sense of awe, “A definition I found that President Kimball used, that reverence is profound respect mingled with awe,” he said. “And I think that’s, well that’s what I think really got me reflecting was this concept of awe. Do we really find wonder and amazement in things, or is everything just so common place that we really don’t give it it’s due?”

Listen to the full interview by clicking here.

Listen to the full devotional address below.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Counsels Students to Embrace Life’s Changes

Dunlop, Robin

Published August 2, 2016

By Brandon Isle

The BYU-Idaho Devotional speaker on August 2, 2016, talked about learning to embrace the changes in our life plans that inevitably come.

Robin Dunlop, a student financial aid officer at BYU-Idaho, gave several personal examples of when her life plans completely changed, including a divorce from her husband and moving from Arkansas to Rexburg, Idaho.

“I knew it was the right move because the Lord had confirmed it to me many times before, during and after the move,” she said. “But even with that confirmation, my attention was often focused on how hard life was during that time and how hard it was to move forward.”

She said she felt paralyzed in her life because she didn’t know the plan she wanted for herself. She realized God did have a plan, but she wanted to pick her own and wanted it to happen right away. But then she realized something, “The Lord was not going to let me fail,” she said. “He was going to take everything in my life, good and bad, and use it for good if I would let him.”

She shared examples from the scriptures when prophets embraced major life changes. Nephi left Jerusalem with his family, the people of Ammon buried their weapons of war and followed the gospel with all their hearts. Many even gave their lives when angry Lamanites invaded and killed them for their beliefs. Dunlop said just like the Lord was there for the people of Ammon, no matter what we’re going through, he will be there for us. “The Lord loves us because we are His,” she said. “And He will always love us no matter what we have done or what we haven’t done. He hears you and is there to comfort you if you will let Him. He is there to heal you if you want to be healed. He can make you whole.”

She gave this advice, “If your life plan has changed without your permission, embrace it because the Lord will take everything in your life and turn it for your good and he will send angels to your rescue.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, she also had this advice to share, “The more we fight the changes to our lives I think the more bitter or more frustrated we become, rather than being able to understand that no matter what has happened in the past – whether it’s our experiences, our choices, choices of others – whatever happens the Lord will always take that and make something good in the future if we just can trust that he is in charge.”

You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.

Listen to the full devotional talk below.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Doing Hard Things

Orchard, Linda

Published July 26, 2016

By Brandon Isle

“Our eternal progression, our capacity to grow and to learn to ‘become sons and daughters of God,’ is deeply coupled with our capacity to do hard things,” said Linda Orchard, who spoke during the BYU-Idaho Devotional on July 26, 2016.

Orchard shared a pioneer trek experience she had when she and her husband were in charge of their ward’s trek at Martin’s Cove in Wyoming a few years ago. Their ward had 120 youth and they wanted them to do a few “hard things” while there. Those things included starting their first hike at 7 p.m. They walked for a couple of hours and had a devotional. Then as the sun was disappearing, they were given glow sticks to go even farther. “We expected there would be some grumbling and complaining, but it never surfaced,” she said. ”The youth seemed to understand the difficulty and sacredness of sacrifice. It was an amazing site to see a line of yellow lights silently making their way along in the still, cool Wyoming night.”

Her daughter Rachel was among the youth at the Trek. At one point during the trek there is an experience called the Women’s Pull where no men are allowed to help the women and young women pull hand carts up a steep hill. Orchard’s daughter was physically ready to help in this pull. However, she was assigned to act as though she were sick and be carried in one of the handcarts. “When she read her assignment, with tears welling up in her eyes, she looked towards her dad (who also had tears welling up in his eyes). He had chosen her specifically for this assignment,” she said. “Rachel mouthed, shaking her head, ‘No Dad, don’t make me do this, don’t make me do this.”

Rachel did take the assignment, which was “harder for her than if she would have had to pull the carts by herself,” said Orchard.

During her talk, she also shared some of the “hard things” her students are going through. Things like coming to BYU-Idaho from another country and holding three jobs while going to school or giving up a soccer career to honor the wishes of a parent who passed away. “What I realized is that we all have hard things in our lives,” she said.

She said the hard things we go through now will prepare us for hard things in the future. During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Orchard said these trials are important, “Well, I think the trials are what make us who we are,” she said. “I think that as we go through the trials, we learn how to rely on our Heavenly Father and also when the next hard trial comes, I think that it’s our experience that makes us so that we can survive the next thing.”

You can listen to her full devotional below and click here for her interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Testimonies, Repentance

Crawford, Bill

Published July 12, 2016

By Brandon Isle

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Bill Crawford, a faculty member in the Business Management Department at BYU-Idaho, gave a devotional address about finding and building a testimony.

Crawford related a story about his time as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He said he flew a nearly 36 hour mission from Missouri to Iraq and back. He said the flight home was one of endurance, similar to our lives, which are “contests of endurance and perseverance.”

He said we must each navigate a life with trials and opposition, “We must learn great endurance if we are to fulfill God’s purposes in our lives,” he said.

Crawford talked about struggling to know if he had a testimony of gospel before he went on his mission to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He said he struggled with it for years until he realized something, “Over time I began to realize that it’s ok to believe the Gospel; that ‘a testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost (Doctrine & Covenants 46:13-14),'” he said. “That spiritual knowledge is different from physical knowledge, and that both are equally valid. You can trust your spiritual knowledge. It is every bit as valid as other kinds of knowledge we acquire.”

He cautioned that it’s okay to have questions, but you shouldn’t let those questions deter you from living the gospel. He said your answers may not come at once, so be patient. “When you struggle to gain knowledge for yourself, you will retain it better and longer,” he said. “Why should gaining spiritual knowledge be any different? As you persevere in the effort to gain or strengthen your personal testimony, your spiritual knowledge of the truth will grow.”

He also talked about the gift of repentance and counseled students to find the courage to repent, no matter what they’ve done, “Your teachers, bishops and parents rejoice in the soul that repents,” he said. “We know it’s hard to do. We’ve had to do it ourselves. When you allow others to help you repent, they will love you even more.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Crawford also talked about going through trials in our lives and finding a way to have joy, “For me, it’s giving myself permission to be happy even though I’m going through a hard time,” he said.

Listen to his interview here or to the full devotional address below.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Outlines Characteristics of Discipleship

Williams, Kyle

Published July 5, 2016

By Brandon Isle

The BYU-Idaho Devotional speaker for Tuesday, July 5, 2016, shared a message to help students understand what it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and to remain worthy of the Spirit.

Kyle Williams is the Facilities Management Operations Director at BYU-Idaho. In his devotional talk he said members of the Church, or disciples of Christ, should be high-output, low maintenance. To illustrate the idea he contrasted incandescent light bulbs to LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are low-output, high-maintenance because they easily break, last only about 1,200 hours and have a high energy cost. LEDs, however, are high-output, low maintenance because they are durable, last about 50,000 hours and have a low energy cost.

“Today’s disciples should be similar to LED light bulbs in the sense that the Lord needs high-output, low-maintenance members of the Church that can run on a low consistent amount of input over an extended amount time,” Williams said.

Using this analogy, he called members of the Church Light Emitting Disciples, “We need the greatest generation of Light Emitting Disciples,” he said. “We need them prepared to leave this Disciple Preparation Center on a path of Discipleship prepared to report to a family ward where a bishop can see their desire, willingness and worthiness. We need them prepared to receive callings and serve diligently in the kingdom of God on the earth.”

He said characteristics of Light Emitting Disciples include: 1. always be worthy; 2. never turn down an opportunity to serve; 3. learn how to work; 4. be diligent. “These disciple characteristics will help you be strongly connected to a reliable power source, emitting the Light of the Savior,” he said.

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio he explained why his list started with always being worthy, “The key to our discipleship, the key to kind of anything in the Church is remaining worthy, the worthiness side. If you’re not worthy, you can’t call upon the powers of heaven. It’s incorporated around discipleship but also how we can remain worthy because that worthiness allows us to do certain things within the Church. It allows us to bless people, not only through service, but by the power of the priesthood. And to bless the lives of others you need to be worthy and listening to the spirit.”

You can listen to that interview by clicking here.

Listen to the full devotional below.

Angela Watkins Talks About Looking Up in Faith During BYU-Idaho Devotional

Watkins, Angela

Published June 28, 2016

During the BYU-Idaho Devotional on June 28, 2016, Angela Watkins, a faculty member in the Health, Recreation, and Human Performance Department at BYU-Idaho, talked about principles of looking back, looking around and looking up in faith.

She took her topic from a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson where he says, “sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up.” She said he was partly wrong in the poem, “I know our Heavenly Father wants us to look up to Him and our Savior, Jesus Christ, in faith,” she said. “But I also believe Heavenly Father wants us to look back other than in times of sorrow, and to look around more than in times of worry.”

She gave examples of times we look back, like in the Book of Mormon when Lehi sent his sons back to Jerusalem to get the Plates of Brass or when we read the scriptures or learn family history lessons, “The experiences of your loved ones can provide the encouragement you need to weather storms of temptations, trials, and sorrow,” she said.

Sister Watkins also related a story of going on a pioneer trek with her stake last year. She said as she and the other women and girls participated in the women’s pull on a very hot day. “The men were not allowed to touch the handcarts or help the women in anyway as we labored up the 20 percent grade,” she said. “It was hard! What got me up that hill was looking back. I do not mean looking back at the sisters and handcarts behind me, but looking back and thinking about my pioneer ancestors.”

While talking about looking around she shared a story about zip lining in Cabo San Lucas. She was with her 10-year-old son and they got stuck in the middle of a long line. She said they were upside down and backwards. She tried to get them to the other end, but her strength gave out. “My son and I hung there, hundreds of feet off the ground, scared, and knowing that if something went wrong with the cable or the carabiner, we would plummet to certain death,” she said. “Although it seemed like an eternity, in reality, within a couple of minutes, our guide hooked himself to the cable and came to rescue us. He wrapped his legs around me and Wynter and quickly pulled us to safety.”

She also talked about the importance of looking to God with faith when we are struggling in life. “Looking up takes strength. Having faith takes discipline, practice, and endurance. Increasing our spiritual capacity takes as much training as increasing our physical capacity,” she said. “It is easy to say you have faith when life is smooth. It is much different to actually possess the spiritual strength, which enables hope and trust in our Savior’s grace, when you are facing a trial and questioning how you will ever endure it.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, she said she considered talking about another aspect of faith. She said she has many female students who are torn between the prospects of a career and motherhood. Sister Watkins worked before having her first child, but became a stay-at-home mother for 15 years before returning to work. “I counsel them, get all the education you can, get all the experience that you can, and then between you and the Lord you make the decision,” she said.

You can listen to the full interview with Sister Watkins here.

Listen to her devotional address below.

Darryl Foutz, Devotional Speaker

Published June 21, 2016

by Dale Spaulding

REXBURG, Idaho – The chair for the Accounting Department on campus speaks at devotional, speaks with student reporter for exclusive interview.



As this week’s devotional comes and goes, the words shared by Brother Darryl Foutz still ring true. He spoke at the campus-wide devotional Tuesday, June 21.

He said he wanted to speak to those who were going through hard trials, and wanted to help them feel hope for the future.

He also said he wanted to include more examples for his points, including the Prophet Joseph Smith, who faced much adversity with the early Latter-day Saints.

To hear more about what Brother Foutz couldn’t share at devotional, click here for a one-on-one interview. 

The full devotional address is below.


Elder Von G. Keetch, Seventy, Speaks at Devotional

Published JKeetchune 14th, 2016

by Dale Spaulding


REXBURG, Idaho – A general authority seventy for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about being an example of the believers at the BYU-Idaho devotional.

As a former lawyer, Elder Von G. Keetch is accustomed to disagreements. He’s noticed that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, among other groups, sometimes have disagreements with individuals or groups of different opinions and beliefs.

It’s that contentious behavior Elder Keetch addressed during his devotional talk on June 14. He began by offering a story of a military unit on a dangerous mission.

“As they found themselves surrounded and began to suffer withering fire, the members of this small army unit looked up to find their commander standing upon a rock, exhorting them. Looking at his men, the commander yelled: ‘Men, we’ve got them right where we want them. Just fire in any direction!'”

Elder Keetch connected this back to the idea that, in our day, we can feel like this military commander, spraying bullets, spiritually speaking, at anyone that appears threatening.

He then used a video of two young women, at odds with each other over their opposing views, to illustrate getting into and out of sticky situations. He offered a few observations to help alleviate tension and connect with someone who feels threatened by us, or who might be threatening to us.

He spoke first about having spiritually prepared for our encounters with such people. Speaking of the two girls from the video, Elder Keetch said the first girl, Samantha, “has the most success when she engages Miki [the second girl] one-on-one.” He also offered that Samantha sought to “respect [Miki] as a person and to understand her views.”

Elder Keetch pointed out, while the girls didn’t agree, the ideas of bigotry and hatred were gone from their conversation and attitudes. He quoted Elder Dallin H. Oaks next;

“Our tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs does not cause us to abandon our commitment to the truths we understand and the covenants we have made. . . . We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them. This inspired caution reminds us that for persons who believe in absolute truth, tolerance for behavior is like a two-sided coin. Tolerance or respect is on one side of the coin, but truth is always on the other.”

Elder Keetch testified of the ability we have to stay true to what we know is right, while also respecting the views of others.

During an interview with Elder Keetch before his devotional, he said it’s crucial to avoid contention in our interactions with each other, especially our family members.

“We, as followers of Jesus Christ, have to avoid that at all costs. At some points, during the conversation we may have to take a step back,” he said. “Sometimes we will feel, as we talk to other people, un-Christlike feelings of anger of frustration, and sometimes we’ll have to take a big step back so that we really react to a situation like Christ would react. And I’m convinced, the more we can do that, the more we can act like He would act, doing those two things – firmly defending the doctrine of our Heavenly Father and of the doctrine of Jesus Christ and never making excuses for it, but at the same time, in a respectful, understanding, loving way – the more we can do that, the more we can unite and click with those – whether it be in our family, our quorums, in relief society where ever it is – so we can have a better understanding of what each other thinks, and respect that as we do so.”

To hear the interview with Elder Keetch about his address, click here.

Listen to the devotional address below.

Gwenaelle Couliard Speaks About Overcoming the Natural Man During BYU-Idaho’s Devotional

Couliard, Gwenaelle

Gwenaelle Couliard, a counselor in the Counseling Center at BYU-Idaho, spoke to the students at BYU-Idaho in the weekly devotional about overcoming the natural man.

She told a story about impatiently waiting at a traffic light on her way to work, being upset about how long it was taking, until she realized the delay: a blind man crossing the street. “”

Couliard said in her line of work students sometimes get upset at themselves when they’re less virtuous than they hoped they could be. “This attitude is comparable to pouring pickle juice on a finger paper cut, or fanning blazing flames,” she said. “The natural man cannot be put off with more of its own foibles. Only light overcomes darkness. Be kind with yourself, seek to understand, without judging, what the trouble is. Repent if you need to, and then, strive to do better.”

She said to put off the natural man we have to recognize how we give into the natural man in our lives. “When you look inside yourself, do so with curiosity, humility, and an open mind; invite the Lord to accompany you in your reflection. Then, watch how darkness dissipates as the light of your humble gaze shines upon it.”

As we invite the Lord, ask him for gifts of the spirit to become better and overcome our natural man tendencies. “As we earnestly work on putting off the natural man the Lord’s way which is to enlist his divine assistance, something extraordinary and wonderful happens: We begin to know first-hand that He lives, and that He knows, understands, and loves us individually,” she said. “What a precious gift that is!”

During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio about her talk, Couliard said you have to have help from the Lord to overcome the natural man. “Sometimes it takes power beyond our own to be able to walk away from the temptation or see that we are on the downward spiral of false beliefs being manifested in the mind,” she said. “That amazing, enabling power of the Savior is what helps people really make progress really fast.”

Listen to her devotional below or click here for her full interview.