Archive for the ‘Devotionals’ Category

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Enmity

Delton, Yohan

Yohan Delton, a faculty member in the Psychology Department at BYU-Idaho, gave the BYU-Idaho Devotional address May 24, 2016. He talked about enmity.

He told several stories to help illustrate the concept of enmity. The first story was from “Letters from my Windmill” by Alphonse Daudet. The story was about a village in southern France covered with windmills. People would take their wheat to those windmills until entrepreneurs from Paris built steam-powered mill-plants in the area.

One windmill operator known as Master Cornille, kept his windmill turning. By all appearances he was still grinding wheat. One day his granddaughter found out the windmill was empty. She told the town and they came to his rescue and kept him in business until he died.

“Enmity, you see, is a wedge that we sometimes place between people,” said Delton. “Enmity is strongest when we choose to hate. Enmity is the end of goodwill towards others… (the) villagers did not choose misplaced enmity; they, instead, chose to love.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio Delton said he chose to talk about enmity after seeing the terrorist attacks in Paris. “I think sometimes when we have ruffles with other people, or we perhaps dislike other people we nurture that hatred,” he said. “And when we do this we put so many great barriers including our hands and willingness to help others. So we start to blame others, we start to have favorite names for others and that just breaks relationships and it’s unhelpful in my view.”

You can listen to his full interview by clicking here. You can listen to the full devotional below.

Sheri Dew Invites BYU-Idaho Students to Ask God Questions

Dew, Sheri

Sheri Dew, the CEO of Deseret Book Company, spoke on the campus of BYU-Idaho during the weekly devotional Tuesday.

Dew spoke about idea of asking the Lord the right kind of questions and having a wrestle, or sorts, with him while learning the answers to those questions. “Questions are good if they are inspired questions, asked in faith, and asked of credible sources where the Spirit will direct and confirm the answer,” she said.

She told contrasting stories about two young women she knows who had questions of faith. One sought out help and was able to find greater faith and understanding in the gospel. The second did not reach out. “One girl’s questions propelled her to become a seeker of truth,” she said. “The other girl used her questions to justify her immorality.”

Dew explained the Lord wants us to ask questions, that is how we learn. “The Lord wants us to ask every probing question we can muster because not asking questions can be far more dangerous than asking them,” she said.

She gave examples from the scriptures of prophets who asked questions and received greater knowledge, like Nephi and Enos from the “Book of Mormon.” “Questions are not just good, they are vital, because the ensuing spiritual wrestle leads to answers, to knowledge, and to revelation. And it also leads to greater faith,” she said.

Dew cautioned that even when we have questions, we can still have a testimony of Jesus Christ and of his restored church. “Once you have received a spiritual witness of the truths that form a testimony, even your thorniest questions about our doctrine, history, positions on sensitive issues, or the aching desires of your hearts, are about personal growth,” she said. “They are opportunities for you to receive personal revelation and increase your faith.”

She said there are two questions to help you get started: ask the Lord to teach you what it feels like and sounds like when he is speaking to you through the Holy Ghost and to ask the Lord how he feels about you. “In time, He will tell you, and as He does, you’ll learn more about speaking His language,” she said.

During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Dew emphasized the importance of asking the right question and being in the right place to receive an answer. “I think any question is a good question if it’s asked, if it’s an inspired question, meaning, it’s a sincerely good question asked in humility and asked in faith,” she said. “And then posed, you got to ask the question in a place where there’s a good chance you’ll get the right answer, right? So social media may not pull through for you on that one. But the Holy Ghost will, and the scriptures will and the prophet will and there are different places we know to go. If you’re going to the right place with a humble heart, really wanting to know it’s true I think pretty much all questions are good.”

You can listen to the full interview here and to the devotional talk below.

Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church Talks to Students at BYU-Idaho

Causse Gerald

Bishop Gérald Caussé, the presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to the students and employees at BYU-Idaho about including a vision of God’s time into our lives.

He said as he and his wife Valérie prepare to celebrate 30 years of marriage, he’s been reflecting about the passing of time and having an eternal perspective about time. “Even these past 30 years of marriage are but an infinitely small portion of our eternal life together,” he said.

He invited the audience to include the vision of God’s time into their lives, “Do not allow yourself to be locked in the narrow vision of mortality,” he said. “Enlarge your perspective to include the eternities. As you do this, your life will be more meaningful and open up new horizons to you.”

He shared five principles to make this happen: learn from your past and move forward; don’t get discouraged – it is never too late; don’t wait – now is the time; accept God’s time; and tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.

“I encourage you not to allow yourselves to become locked in the narrow and short-term perspective of this world,” he said. “Take a step back and contemplate the eternity that is before you. Move forward without procrastinating and without getting discouraged. Trust in the Lord and His timetable for you. Call upon the power of His atoning sacrifice. In His infinite goodness, He has reserved marvelous blessings for each one of you that will be granted ‘in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.'”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho he talked about how you can have an eternal perspective.

“Life in today’s world is very demanding,” he said. “We are running all the time. I’m running every day. Too many things to do and time flies so fast, we want to accomplish many things. Sometime we need to just stop and look. The best way to do it is often to read the scriptures. To realize that this life and our daily activities is not the most important. It becomes important only when we give an eternal perspective.”

To listen to our interview with Bishop Caussé click here.

Listen to the devotional talk below.

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.