The two greatest commandments are all-encompassing. In order to keep them, we have to do it little by little as we strive to obey all of the commandments. When Vickie and I were first married, we were fortunate to have developed the desire to be pro-active in keeping God's commandments. Applying the practice and principles of having family prayer, studying the scriptures, attending Church, keeping the Sabbath day holy, paying tithing, attending the temple and fulfilling callings are all an extension of love and commitment to our Heavenly Father and keeping our covenants with Him. When distractions come along, it's easier to deal with those distractions by remembering the adage, "Put the Lord first." For example, in our lives, the following applies:
- Tithing is the first check written on payday.- Family prayer is not optional.
- Temple attendance is regular.
In addition, fulfilling and magnifying callings are a source of true joy when focusing on those whom you serve and when you appreciate in whose name you serve. Magnifying callings typifies obedience to the commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Matt. 22:39.)
There is a great deal of chaos in our home when it comes to schedules. The distractions at times are broad. When we are obedient in the face of frantic schedules, we feel the Lord's blessings and realize personal growth. To have the children choose to keep the Sabbath day holy rather than playing in athletic tournaments is a strong indicator that the efforts are paying off.
The satisfaction of serving others first and our personal interests last is an indicator of how we love our fellowman. It's a matter of priority and conversion level. Obedience breeds joy, joy breeds heavenly gratitude and gratitude then breeds further obedience. - Ken Lambertsen, Aurora, Colo.
What we did:
Thoughts to Him
For my planner, I have laminated a picture of Jesus Christ and placed it behind my page finder. Each time I open my planner I see this beautiful loving person, and it turns my thoughts to Him.
I plan to do things for other people, not to wait until there is a need. Each morning as I awake, I tune my thoughts to Jesus and tell Him how much I love Him and how I love the Holy Ghost and my Heavenly Father. I do this before I talk to Grant, my eternal companion, or get out of bed to say my prayers. I do the same as I go to sleep at night.
The children have a picture of Jesus Christ on the front of all their school books. We involved them in our plans to serve others. - Sheryl Stone, Hamilton, New Zealand
Personal, family worship
Jesus said that these two great commandments are all the law. We feel personal and family worship are very important. In James 3:17-18: "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
We have personal and family prayer and then scripture time every morning. This we feel invites the Holy Ghost to be with us. We believe that serving our children with love helps them be more loving and caring to others. Love in the family brings respect, courtesy, kind acts and deeds, gentleness and even peace. We teach our children the gospel because these are our Heavenly Father's children.
In addition, my husband and I have regular prayers together. Our relationships to Heavenly Father and each other are so important in teaching children to love their future wives and husbands and their own children some day. - Susan McGary, Andover, Minn.
The scriptures tell us how we can obey these commandments. The first scripture that comes to mind is Mosiah 2:17: "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
If we take this literally, it means to serve anyone. When I was younger and my children were young, a lot of my service went to my family. Now that I'm a grandmother, my service can be extended more to my community, to others in my ward, to anyone who needs help. One way I applied this when I was a Relief Society president was after I would wake up in the morning I would ask my Heavenly Father if there were anyone He needed me to give service to. Many times, if I listened to the Spirit, there was someone I could call, take a meal to or just be there to listen to.
If we just ask and then try to do our best, we'll find that's all our Heavenly Father asks of us. And as in Mosiah, when we're serving others, we're showing our love for God. - Gene Jensen, Gresham, Wis.
The following helps:
- Learn of Christ's teachings through the scriptures on a daily basis.
- Put into practice His teachings by living a Christ-centered life.
- Be of good cheer to everyone and try to do a good deed every day.
- Seek out opportunities to serve others. - Russell Ames, Bath, Maine
As a bishop, I spoke to our ward recently. I spoke of how we show the Savior we love Him by living His commandments. To expand upon that, I think it's very important as individuals in this world to keep our word. If I tell you I'll be at your house at 6 o' clock, I should be there at 6 o' clock. Doesn't it seem that much more important that we should keep our covenants with our Heavenly Father? One of my concerns is that many of us make promises at our baptism and at the temple. We promise to do those things and yet we don't. I find that very alarming. We know how upset we are when someone breaks a promise to us. How Heavenly Father must be disappointed when we break our promises to Him. I know how disappointed I sometimes feel when my children don't keep their promises. Thank goodness for the grace of God.
This is how we honor the Lord - simply by honoring our covenants and keeping the commandments. Sometimes we are not focused on the real important things in this world - and these are our covenants. We need to re-focus ourselves on the truly important things.
And keeping our covenants carries over into all we do in our everyday relationships with our fellowman, our wives, husbands and our children. Our responsibility is to live as Christlike as we can. - Dennis Franco, Oakley, Calif.
Share greatest gift
Sharing the greatest gift that God has given - His gospel - shows that we love Him enough to do what He wants us to do and also shows that we love His children and want them to be as happy as we are who have the gospel. - Julianne Petersen, Salt Lake City, Utah
How to checklist:
1 Put the Lord first; focus your thoughts and lives on Him.
2 Keep covenants; obedience shows your love for God.
3 Reach out to others; find ways to serve; be Christlike.
4 Spread the gospel; share what makes you so happy.
WRITE TO US:
Jan 13 "How to help yourself or a loved one break the cycle of compulsive behavior."
Jan. 20 "How to help young people want to dress modestly and with dignity."
Jan. 27 "How to be more effective in your occupation."
Feb. 3 "How to remain in love with your spouse despite the realities of life."
Feb. 10 "How to help young men honor the priesthood."
Feb. 17 "How to help children overcome shyness."
Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: [email protected] Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.