Saturday, February 1, 2014

Love Life, Live it Well!

Good evening! While I should be getting ready for bed right now, I simply cannot go to sleep until I post some lovely words from Elder Russell M. Nelson. *But before I get to those words, I must explain why I found them in the first place.

You see, I'm teaching a lesson in my ward's Mia Maid class tomorrow, "How can I find comfort when someone I care about dies?" This wasn't the lesson I thought I would be teaching, but I really wanted to teach it—because, sadly, I have a lot of experience in this area. Yet I thought I was scheduled for a different lesson, so you can imagine my smiling face when I read our ward's Young Women calendar (that is handed out once a month) and found out I was indeed teaching the very lesson I wanted to teach! Yay!

By the by, this situation has never happened to me before. Usually, whatever Sunday lessons I have scheduled online stay put. (The Mia Maid Class Presidency makes the decisions as to what lessons they want taught, and I put them in the order of their preference.) And usually, I don't really care what lesson I teach—I love them all! But this particular lesson was special to me...especially at this time of year...

Coincidence? I think not. Now I have another fun example of divine intervention to add to my spiritual arsenal. :)

Anyway, the lesson I've prepared is wonderful because of the resources available within my church—which are completely centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Most of the lesson focuses on how we can find peace and comfort when our loved ones die and we are left behind. Believe me, it's so important to find that comfort—as I've had personal experience in finding that comfort for nearly 12 years now. But I found the words in the final section of Elder Nelson's talk (under the heading, Time to Prepare)—about what we should do before we die—to be very inspiring. Thus, I must share them here. (I'm so enthusiastic about them!)

Also, I feel that too many of us put blinders on when it comes to death. I don't think any of us really want to face the facts that one day we will be separated from our precious bodies and our loved ones. I remember reading somewhere that more than 90% of Americans believe in Heaven. Even for those who don't believe in Heaven, all of us must face the reality that one day we will depart from this earth. Thus, I wish everyone would read Elder Nelson's words and deeply take them to heart! :)

Without further ado, here are Elder Russel M. Nelson's inspiring words from his 1992 General Conference talk, "Doors of Death." (Emphasis added by me!)
"Meanwhile, we who tarry here have a few precious moments remaining “to prepare to meet God.” (Alma 34:32.) Unfinished business is our worst business. Perpetual procrastination must yield to perceptive preparation. Today we have a little more time to bless others—time to be kinder, more compassionate, quicker to thank and slower to scold, more generous in sharing, more gracious in caring. 
"Then when our turn comes to pass through the doors of death, we can say as did Paul: “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:6–7.)
"We need not look upon death as an enemy. With full understanding and preparation, faith supplants fear. Hope displaces despair. The Lord said, “Fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.” (D&C 101:36.) He bestowed this gift: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.) 
"As a special witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that He lives! I also testify that the veil of death is very thin. I know by experiences too sacred to relate that those who have gone before are not strangers to leaders of this Church. To us and to you, our loved ones may be just as close as the next room—separated only by the doors of death. 
"With that assurance, brothers and sisters, love life! Cherish each moment as a blessing from God. (See Mosiah 2:21.) Live it well—even to your loftiest potential. Then the anticipation of death shall not hold you hostage. With the help of the Lord, your deeds and desires will qualify you to receive everlasting joy, glory, immortality, and eternal lives. For this I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
I fully and happily "second" everything Elder Nelson said. But I have a special feeling come over me when I read his words, "I know by experiences too sacred to relate..." For I, too, know, absolutely, by experiences too sacred to relate, that our loved ones are very nearby. The veil between this earthly life and the spirit world is very thin. Thus, I have faith and confidence that if I love my life and live it well, I will be blessed here and when I walk through that "door of death" to the other side.

To go along with my lesson, this past Tuesday I created this handout (below) for "my" Mia Maids to keep. I believe this beautiful scripture (1 Corinthians 15:22) was written with the divine purpose of giving everyone hope! :)


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