Messages of inspiration from President Thomas S. Monson

Foundation of faith

If we do not have a deep foundation of faith and a solid testimony of truth, we may have difficulty withstanding the harsh storms and icy winds of adversity which inevitably come to each of us.

Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order for us to be tested, we must face challenges and difficulties. These can break us, and the surface of our souls may crack and crumble — that is, if our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth are not deeply imbedded within us.

We can rely on the faith and testimony of others only so long. Eventually we must have our own strong and deeply placed foundations, or we will be unable to withstand the storms of life, which will come. Such storms come in a variety of forms. We may be faced with the sorrow and heartbreak of a wayward child who chooses to turn from the pathway leading to eternal truth and rather travel the slippery slopes of error and disillusionment. Sickness may strike us or a loved one, bringing suffering and sometimes death. Accidents may leave their cruel marks of remembrance or may snuff out life. …

How can we build a foundation strong enough to withstand such vicissitudes of life? How can we maintain the faith and testimony which will be required, that we might experience the joy promised to the faithful? Constant, steady effort is necessary. Most of us have experienced inspiration so strong that it brings tears to our eyes and a determination to ever remain faithful. I have heard the statement, "If I could keep these feelings with me always, I would never have trouble doing what I should." Such feelings, however, can be fleeting. The inspiration we feel … may diminish and fade as … we face the routines of work, of school, of managing our homes and families. Such can easily take our minds from the holy to the mundane, from that which uplifts to that which, if we allow it, will chip away at our testimonies, our strong foundations.

Of course we do not live in a world where we experience nothing but the spiritual, but we can fortify our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth, so that we will not falter, we will not fail.

— "How Firm a Foundation," October 2006 general conference, Ensign, November 2006, pp. 62, 67

"A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder — never likely to reach home port. To us
"A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder — never likely to reach home port. To us comes the signal: Chart your course, set your sail, position your rudder, and proceed." | Photo by Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

Sailing the seas of life

Each of us is a miracle of engineering. Our creation, however, was not limited by human genius. Man can devise the most complex machines, but he cannot give them life or bestow upon them the powers of reason and judgment. Why? Because these are divine gifts, bestowed solely at God's discretion. Our Creator has provided us with a circulatory system to keep all channels constantly clean and serviceable, a digestive system to preserve strength and vigor, and a nervous system to keep all parts in constant communication and coordination. God gave man life, and with it, the power to think, to reason, to decide and to love.

Like the vital rudder of a ship, we have been provided a way to determine the direction we travel. The lighthouse of the Lord beckons to all as we sail the seas of life. Our home port is the celestial kingdom of God. Our purpose is to steer an undeviating course in that direction. A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder — never likely to reach home port. To us comes the signal: Chart your course, set your sail, position your rudder, and proceed.

As with the ship, so it is with man. The thrust of the turbines, the power of the propellers are useless without that sense of direction, that harnessing of the energy, that directing of the power provided by the rudder, hidden from view, relatively small in size, but absolutely essential in function.

Our Father provided the sun, the moon, the stars — heavenly galaxies to guide mariners who sail the lanes of the sea. To all who walk the pathways of life, He cautions: Beware the detours, the pitfalls, the traps. Cunningly positioned are those clever pied pipers of sin beckoning here or there. Do not be deceived. Pause to pray. Listen to that still, small voice which speaks to the depths of our souls the Master's gentle invitation: "Come, follow me" (Luke 18:22). We turn from destruction, from death. We find happiness and life everlasting.

— "Sailing Safely the Seas of Life," April 1982 general conference, Ensign, May 1982, p. 60

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