The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. Qualifying for the Lord’s Spirit begins with a desire for that Spirit and implies a certain degree of worthiness. Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s Spirit with us. Making and keeping temple covenants also adds spiritual strength and power to a woman’s life. Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation. Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us. Those who earnestly seek help through prayer and scripture study often have a paper and pencil nearby to write questions and record impressions and ideas.
In the advertising business, a good idea can inspire a great commercial. But a good insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand commercials."
As we share our feelings and insights about the counsel found in the Visiting Teaching Messages, we will find ways to apply in our lives the words of latter-day prophets and Church leaders and prophets of old. The scriptures are constant and eternal. The same is true of teachings from our modern prophets, for as the Lord declared, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).
But when he took up debate in high school and learned that his grandfather had been a champion debater for Brigham Young University, our son began to identify with his grandfather. My father had kept a personal journal during much of his adult life, and one day I showed my son an entry describing a debate between BYU and Princeton. I left that volume of the journal with him, and he ended up reading all three volumes.
Some months later, our son worked his way through a particularly trying experience and came to me late at night to tell me what had happened. He said, “Dad, I never knew Grandpa Hafen, but I felt that he was there to help me.”
Not long afterward, as that son was anticipating receiving his mission call, we went to a weekend family reunion in southern Utah. On Sunday afternoon, our son borrowed his grandmother’s car and drove alone to the isolated little canyon where his grandfather had loved to ride his horse—the place, in fact, where he had passed away. At an appropriate spot, my son knelt to pray, asking for the Lord’s help to sort through his questions about his mission and his faith. Something very special then occurred, and at his missionary farewell, he described the deep assurance and new insights he had carried out of the canyon that day.
As I think about those precious personal moments, I have no doubt about the reality of a bond and a sense of belonging between the generations on both sides of the veil. Through these experiences, my son gained a sense of identity and purpose. His tie with the eternal world became more real, and the resulting sense of destiny and mission he felt sharpened his life’s focus and lifted his expectations.
My dear young friends, as Samuel was told, for those of you who do not yet know the Lord, to whom the word of the Lord has yet to be revealed, please open your spiritual ears and eyes. Tune your hearts and souls, as I had to do on my old crystal radio. Set your receiver to the exact spot in your soul where the spiritual signals are coming through. In so doing you will be able to perceive the simple, ordinary things of life in a marvelous new light. You will have remarkable spiritual insight.
To do this you will have to pray fervently, with a clean mind and a humble heart. You will need to earnestly try to keep all of the commandments. You will need to be in harmony with the leadership of the Church, from your bishop and stake president to the First Presidency.
If you can learn to hear the whispering of the Spirit and be guided by your spiritual leaders, you will avoid many of the pitfalls and heartaches of the world. You will have a comforting feeling of your great worth as a choice son or daughter of God. To this end I bless you.
Mine is the sure witness that God lives, and that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Of this I testify with all my soul
Within three seconds of beginning my talk, I could tell. I could tell who had learned the skill of being in the audience and who hadn't. And I'm worried that it might be permanent.
The good audiences were all the same. They leaned forward. They made eye contact. They mirrored my energy right back to me. When the talk (five minutes) was over they were filled with questions.
The audience members that hadn't learned the skill were all different. Some made no eye contact. Some found distractions to keep them busy. Some were focused on filling out the form that proved that they had been paying attention.
What I discovered: that the good audience members got most of my attention. The great audience members got even more... attention plus extra effort. And, despite my best efforts, the non-great audience members just sort of fell off the radar.
This isn't a post about me and my talk. It's about the audience members and the choices each make. It's a choice your employees and your customers make too.
It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that information is just delivered to you. That rock stars and violinists and speakers and preachers and teachers and tour guides get paid to perform and the product is the product. But it's not true. Great audiences get more.
Great audiences not only get more energy and more insight and more focused answers to their questions, they also get better jobs and find better relationships. Because the skills and the attitude are exactly the same.
I am too much of an optimist to believe that the lousy audience members in today's program are stuck that way for life. But I know that the longer they wait, the harder it is going to be to change.
The next time someone says, "any questions," ask one. Just ask.
The next time you see a play that is truly outstanding, lead the standing ovation at the end.
The next time you have an itch to send an email to a political blogger or post a comment or do a trackback, do it. Make it a habit.
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