Tuesday, July 19, 2016

2016-07-25 President's Message

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Thank you for being such faithful servants of the Lord. Thank you for your faith in God. Thank you for leaving behind your school, family, job and friends to serve the Lord. Thank you for even leaving behind your Thoughts of school, family, job and friends so that you can focus your minds, hearts and souls on serving others. When you forget yourself and give EVERYTHING (including your thoughts) to serve others, you receive two blessings: 1) Your love, and your ability to love, grow dramatically; 2) Your relationship with God becomes much closer and real--this is because you and Heavenly Father are working together for the same purpose--to bring His children back to Him.

This week I read again the classic talk by Elder Robert D. Hales given in April 1990 when he was serving as Presiding Bishop of the Church. It is entitled "Return With Honor"...

"As a young man, I had an opportunity to serve in the U.S. Air Force as a jet-fighter pilot. Each unit in our squadron had a motto that would inspire its efforts. Our unit motto--displayed on the side of our aircraft--was "Return With Honor." This motto was a constant reminder to us of our determination to return to our home base with honor only after having expended all of our efforts to successfully complete every aspect of our mission.

This same motto, "Return with Honor," can be applied to each of us in our eternal progression...

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a man of great faith, said, "Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. The greater the measure of obedience to God's laws the greater will be the endowment of faith." In other words, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel is essential to obtain faith in the Lord Jesus Christ...

The Lord says: "Keep my commandments continually...And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come." (DC 25:15) The Lord tells us plainly: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

I have stressed the importance of obedience. However, as important as obedience is, sometimes people are deceived and choose to be selectively obedient...

A missionary may recognize that he must be obedient, yet selectively do only part of what he is commanded to do. The Lord tells us in 2 Nephi the following:

"Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God--he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God." 2 Nephi 28:7-8


Many young men [and women] enter the mission field having made great sacrifices. They may have had to postpone athletic, artistic, scholarship and career plans. There may be great financial sacrifice on the part of the family. They may have even left a young lady [or young man] whom they loved dearly...but, no matter how much an individual or family may sacrifice for a mission or anything else, unless missionaries choose obedience, consecrating all of their time, talents, and resources in the service of the Lord while they are in the mission field, they cannot fully receive all the great blessings the Lord has in store for them."

(End of quote from Elder Hales)

Elders and Sisters, please examine your life. Pray to Heavenly Father to know if you are falling into the trap that Nephi and Elder Hales describe: Have you have sacrificed so much to come and serve Lord but you are still rationalizing your behavior? Are you being selective (choosing) which commandments and rules you will obey and those you will not?

If you want to feel complete peace; if you want to feel the power of God in your life; if you want to have power in your teaching...then make the decision that you are 100% in. Don't fall for the deception that it is OK to sin a little, break the rules a little, be almost 100% honest, work almost your hardest or give almost your best.

What is the difference between giving 95% and giving 100%? The difference is 500%!

President Marion G. Romney explained this principle the best:

"A person could not give a crust (a single piece of bread) to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return."

Elders and Sisters, I love you very much. When I decided as a young man to give everything to the Lord my life changed. I was not then, and am not now, anywhere close to perfect. But I feel the love of the Lord. I feel the guidance and power of His spirit in my life. I know that, if I will continue to be obedient, humble and diligent, I will be able to bring many people back to Heavenly Father, including my family and myself. I will return with honor. Please make the decision today to be 100% obedient to God and to Return with Honor.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler