Sunday, February 22, 2009


I am convinced perhaps one of the quickest ways to true personal change in the gospel of Jesus Christ is to serve others. So often our problems, concerns, or sins are tied up in selfishness. I know speaking for myself, my addiction to pornography is a completely selfish sin. Turning to those images may be one of the most selfish acts there is.

The quickest and easiest way out of selfishness is to serve others. By it's very nature, service is about someone else. Suddenly, as we serve, we feel for others. Our life becomes about someone else, about their happiness more than our momentary pleasure.

Whatever gospel change you are trying to make right now, I encourage you to find someone to serve, and then serve them diligently. It will have more affect on your ability to change and turn to Christ than almost anything else.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I wonder sometimes if I don't comprehend the immediacy of the atonement. I realize the power of the atonement is available to me today, but I'm not sure I fully comprehend the power it can have right now, here today.

I go to recovery meetings and I hear great men speak about their recovery. They testify with the spirit of the power that has changed their lives. I believe them because the Holy Ghost testifies to my heart of the conversion these men have gone through. The thoughts in my mind go something like this:

"Boy, that's great. This guy has truly be converted, he has maintained sobriety from pornography for such a long period of time, what an great example to me. Maybe if I continue to work hard, and go many days without viewing, and do all the right things...maybe just maybe I can experience that conversion too"

These thoughts are correct as far as they go. But where I make a mistake is always thinking about conversion or redemption as a future event. Something if I strive and work for could happen to me in months or years. The striving and working and turning myself over to the Lord is important, and this truly does take time. But the redemptive power of the atonement is not just available to change me in 6 months, it is available immediately.

Alma 34:31
Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, IMMEDIATELY shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

Did you hear that? The redemption can take place in your life and my life immediately. Right now. Today. There is no greater message for someone like me, someone who needs to change. I can have that change, that redemption, that salvation immediately if I will repent with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

It may take years to heal completely from addiction for me. But the atonement and tender mercies of my Savior I can have in my life right now. That is truly a great blessing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


My mind is drawn yet again to humility. What does it take to develop the humility necessary to follow my Savior? What steps can I take to ensure I have that humility for myself and am not "compelled to be humble"? How do I know when I am avoiding pride and keeping humility in my life.

I truly believe without humility it is impossible for Jesus to change my heart. Humility is the essence of the statement "I will yield my heart to God". But what exactly does this humble yielding look like?

For me, I feel humility when I have a willingness to do anything the Lord would ask of me to make the change I am my case the healing of my addiction. Addiction in particular thrives in secrecy. When I feel pride, I am not willing to talk to others about my struggles, to openly admit that I have this problem and that I still struggle with it. When I am humble, I am able to respond to the promptings of the spirit to be open about my problems with the people I love.

This small test of humility is a good litmus test for me. Am I today, willing to admit my problem to those close to me, and admit my current struggles and temptations, or is it more important for me to appear righteous?

I have also found that taking myself out of my comfort zone by speaking to someone about my addiction, helps push me back into humility when I am not feeling particularly like yielding my heart that day.

I pray every night that I can be humble, yield my heart to the Lord, and do anything he asks of me. That is the answer to true gospel change. It is something I am still seeking and striving for.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

7 ways to Listen to the Spirit

Why is it that I just don't take time to listen more often? I find I get some of my greatest inspirations and powerful thoughts when I am actively seeking quiet time and focusing on listening. Seems like an easy task, but in my busy life I don't do it often enough. I would say listening is right there with my daily habits of prayer and scripture study in influencing my spiritual growth throughout the day.

From my experience, here are 10 ways to make time to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit.

1) Learn to breathe
I'll admit, over the years I thought breathing techniques were cheesy. However, recently I learned a simple technique which quiets my mind and body almost immediately. Called "Square Breathing" it is simply breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4, breathing out for a count of 4, and holding for a count of 4. Repeat a few times until you feel your mind slow down. This practice has helped me to find quiet time in almost any situation. Try it sometime, then just take the time to listen.

2) Pause after prayer
We here this one so often it is almost a cliche, but there is a reason it comes up over and works. I've found if I take time to focus on breathing immediately after finishing my prayer, I feel quiet and peaceful. Even just a few minutes on my knees after prayer can be a powerful experience.

3) Use your commute
A few years ago I decided to try to put the time in my car to good use. I've had success on and off over the years, but I've found that turning the radio off and just listening as I drive can be an excellent way to hear the spirit.

4) In the shower
Another cliche possibly, but some of my most powerful insights have come in the shower. It is a quiet and relaxing place, take advantage of the soothing power in the water and calmly listen.

5) Write things down
Often the spirit will give me a simple, strong impression. I will know immediately it is something I should pay attention too. Then I get on with my life and forget. Take the time to listen, then take the time to write your thoughts down. Looking back on some of my notes, I'm amazed at the wisdom the spirit has whispered to me.

6) Focus your listening
Rather than just finding quiet time, make an effort to ask a question and then listen for answers. I've found if I focus my mind on something specific, and ask my Heavenly Father a question, it helps my mind turn to the the spirit. I can receive instruction directed to my need.

7) Make listening a priority
No matter where or how, if we don't make the time to listen, we won't listen. Make it a priority in your life. Make a specific plan to spend time just listening to what the Lord would like to say. It can be a powerful influence in life.