Saturday, May 30, 2009

Christofferson on Covenants

Last conference Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a powerful talk on covenants. I just read over it, and wow! It really helped me quite a bit. I've been struggling a bit lately with doing my very best-- I feel like I've become a bit complacent. But this talk gave me quite the lift:

We need strong Christians who can persevere against hardship, who can sustain hope through tragedy, who can lift others by their example and their compassion, and who can consistently overcome temptations. We need strong Christians who can make important things happen by their faith and who can defend the truth of Jesus Christ against moral relativism and militant atheism.

In the covenant path we find a steady supply of gifts and help. "Charity never faileth" (1 Corinthians 13:8; Moroni 7:46), love begets love, compassion begets compassion, virtue begets virtue, commitment begets loyalty, and service begets joy. We are part of a covenant people, a community of Saints who encourage, sustain, and minister to one another. As Nephi explained, "And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them" (1 Nephi 17:3).

Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth his hand to you, saying, "Here am I."

I need to go to the temple MUCH more. I need to hold ever more tightly to my covenants, nothing wavering (especially when times get tough). Then and only then will I qualify for the Lord's aid and the presence of the Holy Ghost. Then and only then will I be happy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Scripture of the Week: "Great are the Words of Isaiah."

As I've gone along in my Book of Mormon study this time around, I've made it to the portion of 2 Nephi in which Nephi quotes a large chunk of Isaiah chapters. This has always been a tough part of the scriptures to get through (let alone learn from), but this time around I approached it with a different goal. Instead of trying to get through it, I've tried to understand it. It's not an easy task, and I'm sure it takes much more than one go around. But as I've read it (side-by-side with a commentary from a favorite teacher of mine) I've been blessed to be able to see a little bit of the big picture of Isaiah's message.

There aren't too many authors that come so highly recommended by the Savior Himself. He told the Nephites: ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah. For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles. And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake. (3 Nephi 23:1-3)

That's quite the endorsement. Must be pretty important!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Leaving a Legacy

My Grandpa, Eugene Reeser Ludwig, passed away last week. It didn't really come as a huge surprise, as he'd been ill for quite some time. But I came to discover over the following few days that I missed him a lot.
Grandpa was a great man. He joined the Church sometime in the late 60's (I think), having been introduced to it by his father, who was always searching for the true Gospel of Christ. I remember Grandpa never passed up the opportunity to share his testimony. We would be sitting at his house, just chatting, and somehow (quite fittingly) the topic always tied in with the truthfulness of the Gospel. Granpda would say things like, "You can do what you want, try to live how you want, but the truth is the Gospel is true, whether you like it or not," or, "The fact is the Church is true, no matter what." That always stood out to me--he had unwavering faith, always teaching me that Christ is the rock, the sure foundation, even (or especially) when all the world is sinking.
My grandpa was hilarious. He loved to laugh and have fun; in my mind I can still hear him burst into his explosive (and contagious) laugh! This man could make you smile.
The funeral was a fantastic experience. We had some great talks, heard some great great things about my grandpa. About halfway through, my cousin Laura got up and read different memories of grandpa the family had written. After the first couple, I just started bawling. I didn't get to submit one, but I'd like to now:
It was Christmas Eve, when I was like ten or so. My family was at Grandpa and Grandma's house, and it was getting late. Grandma said to Grandpa, "We have to get to bed, Gene. We've gotta get up at seven to go watch the grandkids open gifts." Grandpa just exploded! "SEVEN in the MORNING? For WHAT?! To drive all over town watching kids open presents? Well, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!" We all cracked up, and he did too. But I think he still had to get up early....
This is what I miss-- spending memorable times with my grandpa, hearing how much he loved us and how much he loved the Lord. I found myself wishing I had spent more time with him, especially as I got older. I found myself wondering if he really knew that I loved him. I'm sure he rightly assumed so, but I asked myself if I had ever done anything or said anything to him that really showed him how grateful I was for him. Did he know that I loved him?
I love you, Grandpa. Sorry if it comes a little late. Just wanted to let you know.

Here's a copy of the obituary:

Eugene (Gene) Ludwig 1926 ~ 2009 Eugene (Gene) Reeser Ludwig passed away Wednesday morning, May 6, 2009 after a long battle with Parkinson's diease and cancer at the age of 82.
He was born to Alma Viola Reeser and Roy Bowers Ludwig on September 1, 1926 in Yellowhouse, PA. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served as a gun loader aboard the USS Vicksburg at Iwo Jima. In 1951 he joined the Air Force and served one year in Korea. Gene spent most of his life in the northeast, primarily in Pennsylvania and Massachusettes. He married Elizabeth Hoffman in 1966, was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the following year. Their marriage was later solomnized in the Salt Lake Temple.
As his family grew and migrated west, he followed them to Utah to be closer to grandchildren. He enjoyed watching them grow, marry and have children of their own. He could often be seen at sporting events, concerts and recitals supporting and loving his family, which was his greatest joy. Gene also enjoyed a good laugh. In his last few years, he could often be found at the Payson Senior Center playing pool or cards and telling stories, which provided needed relief and joy.
He was an active member of the church and served in many callings. Gene loved the gospel and shared it with everyone and anyone who would listen. He often reflected on his service as a Seventy and the many opportunities he had to testify of the Savior and of the restored Gospel. In 1996, Gene and Betty were called and served faithfully as a senior couple in the Nebraska, Omaha Mission. He loved to teach and until recently served as the instructor in his senior family home evening group.
Gene was preceded in death by his daughter, Beth Ann, his son Mark and his grandaughter, Becca. He is survived by his wife Betty of Payson, sisters Betty Jane Moser of Carlisle, Pa and Ella McLaughlin of York, Pa and children Karl (Diana) of Stevens, PA, Marie (Dean) Miller of Payson, Raye (Gary) Yarn of Pleasant Grove, Faye (Shane) Cunningham of Medford, OR, Charles of Cedar Hills, Fred (Patty) of Maize, KS and Bruce (Louann) of Myerstown, PA and along with 31 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Gene was loved by his family and friends and will be greatly missed. May God bless and keep you until we meet again.