For some strange reason that I can’t explain the lord saw fit to instruct brother ottis to call the person in the ward with the most stage fright and biggest non-public speaker. Like a lot of people when I get nervous I tend to speak very quickly so hopefully someone from the bishopric took some time to prepare a few words to use up the rest of my time. I apologizes now if I don’t look up from my paper for fear of forgetting what to say or passing out.
My name is josh bushman, my family and I have had the great privilege of moving here in January. I like many here serve in the military and we look forward to the next few months here. I grew up all my life in Salt Lake City Utah and come from a long line of church members growing up my own grandfather was called to serve as bishop in his ward and like most bishops he had his fill of shall we say interesting encounters. He told me a story of a little girl no older than 7. It was after church as he was making his way to the bishop’s office the hallways were crowded with the usual hustle of parents trying desperately to find their children so mom can start dinner and dad can turn on the game. As he was nearing his office this girl stopped him and handed him a familiar gray envelope he gladly accepted and squatted down to get to the little ones eye level gave her a big smile and a pat on the head. Knowing she was nearing the age of baptism thought it would be a good idea to tell her how Christ like she was becoming he told her simply “thank you it’s so nice of you to be paying your tithing” the little girl looking very serious said “this isn’t my tithing” confused my grandpa looked at her and asked “well if it’s not tithing what is this for?” The little girl wasted no time in telling him “my mom says that you’re the poorest bishop she has ever seen”. But like most grandparents it’s hard to tell which stories are true and which are just a good story.
I’ve been asked to talk about “blessings through living the gospel” from the beginning of our lives in the church we are taught the gospel principles in primary we start with learning the articles of faith for example the beginning of the 13th article starts with “we believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men” as we grow older we separate into scouts for the boys and young women’s for the girls. The young women’s values state that “we will stand as witnesses of god at all times and in all thing, and in all places… as we strive to live the young women’s values which are: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works and integrity”. In the boy scouts we are taught that” a scout is Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courtious, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent”
James chapter 2 14-26 reads. What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
We can learn to show faith by our works by answering 10 simple questions and answering with always, sometimes, or never.
1. Do I forgive quickly?
2. Do I gladly help my neighbors
3. Am I honest?
4. Do I stand up for the right even when my friends mock me?
5. Do I willingly accept church callings?
6. Do I give of my time to each family member?
7. Do I pray sincerely every day?
8. Am I kind to strangers, friends, and family members?
9. Do I refrain from judging other people as being either better or worse than me?
10. And most importantly do I avoid even the appearance of evil?
Don’t be worried if you were not able to answer all of the questions how you would have liked take this opportunity to choose one of these areas to improve one by one until you can get your own perfect score. Start small Elder Heber J grant said “that which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself has changed, but that our power to do is increased” the more we practice any gospel principle the easier it will be to live it.
Living the gospel begins with our thoughts ill explain this better by telling you the story of Larry and jerry.
Larry spent much of his time daydreaming. He loved to think about what it would be like to be rich. He planned what he would buy if he had lots of money, and imagined living in luxury. Jerry spent much of his time thinking, too. He liked to think about what was really important in life. He thought about people and what truly brought them happiness. He thought about the gospel and why heavenly father gave us the commandments. Later both Larry and jerry were given an opportunity to make a great deal of money very easily. To do it, however they would need to “stretch the truth” to convince others to invest money also. Who is more likely to give in to the temptation? In proverbs chapter 23:7 we read “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” the things we think about often end up controlling our actions st Luke chapter 6:45 reads “a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh”. We can help control and direct our thoughts by seeking the right surroundings, reading scripture and good books, praying and singing hymns.
All around us in our daily lives there are prime examples of how the gospel can bless our lives. As I prepared my talk on my computer I got into a conversation with my grandmother, her mom passed away last week right before her birthday and she told me how grateful she was knowing that as she lives the gospel she preparing to meet our heavenly father and also be united once more with her parents and other family members. She told me also that was my Mom that helped them learn to say a blessing on their food, when she was only 3 years old. She wouldn’t eat until they said a prayer. She told them her primary teacher told us we should always thank heavenly father for
Our food and blessings. My grandma was not raised with prayers being said at any time. So it was hard to change a lifetime of habits when they first started getting active. She added and I agree Thank Heaven for the great examples of our children.
I believe that a universal blessing we all must learn is the blessings that come when we pay our tithing. In Malachi chapter 3:10 we read “bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in mine house and prove me now herewith saith the lord of hosts if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it” when my wife and I first married we had the usual struggle with money. On our budget sheet there seemed to be no room for tithing. We felt that the lord would understand if we were not able to pay our tithing less we be cast into the streets. Still we struggled; it seemed that no matter how hard we tried we were never able to make ends meet. My wife being the great example to me that she is suggested that we pay our tithing and see what happens. It took time I suppose god needs to truly test us. If blessings came to quickly would we truly have learned the lessons needed? In time though to my surprise new jobs opened up and we were not only able to make ends meet but soon were able to rebuild our old savings. To this day we have never missed a tithing check. This is a lesson that we must all learn I’m sure many people share the same kind of story but it is one we are all grateful for.
For my next story I need 4 volunteers.
I’m going to tell you a story about a boy named David. David belonged to the church, and he said he believed it was true. He went to church every Sunday; but he thought that most of the time it was boring, he didn’t pay much attention. He thought it was more fun to talk and joke with his friends. (Hold up the sign “irreverence”) he liked family home evenings because his father told such great stories and his mother made such good treats. (Hold up sign “selfishness”) but even during the lessons he enjoyed teasing his sisters. (Hold up sign “unkindness”) during the week, David’s life was filled with problems. He played instead of doing his homework (hold sign “laziness”) and then copied his friends work (hold sign “dishonesty”) he didn’t obey his parents (hold sign “disobedience”) and wondered why they picked on him when he got into trouble. He had a terrible temper (hold sign “anger”) and figured that other people deserved to be treated unkindly because he didn’t have many friends. He forgot about his prayers most nights (hold sign “lack of prayer”) he didn’t think he had time. One day in primary, David heard his teacher say “the gospel brings us so much happiness” David thought “the gospel doesn’t bring me happiness”
Ask someone on the stand to the mic and ask “why douse David not find happiness in the gospel” dismiss the volunteers.
What could David’s parents do to help David live the gospel? Although they could teach him, and pray for him and try to remind him, only David can make the decision that he is going to make the gospel work in his life. He is the only one who can live for the blessings that heavenly father is waiting to give him.
Applying the gospel means living it every day and learning to do the things that heavenly father has commanded us to do. Living the commandments, however does not guarantee that we will never have other kinds of problems. Knowing who we are, why we are here on earth, and where we are going can help us endure and cope with these other problems. The lord will give us whatever support we need to live our lives successfully if only we will look to him and the gospel for aid to meet our own personal challenges.