Pondering is what you do after you have carefully read the scriptures

As you ponder—not just read but ponder and meditate—on scriptural passages, the power of the Holy Ghost will distill truths in your mind and heart as a secure foundation in this uncertain time in which we live.
Richard G. Scott, “He Lives! All Glory to His Name!,” Ensign, May 2010

Our humility and our faith that invite spiritual gifts are increased by our reading, studying, and pondering the scriptures. We have all heard those words. Yet we may read a few lines or pages of scripture every day and hope that will be enough.

But reading, studying, and pondering are not the same. We read words and we may get ideas. We study and we may discover patterns and connections in scripture. But when we ponder, we invite revelation by the Spirit. Pondering, to me, is the thinking and the praying I do after reading and studying in the scriptures carefully.
Henry B. Eyring, “Serve with the Spirit,” Ensign, November 2010

The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.
Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. 3:295.

Finding our way by exercising faith

Henry B. Eyring Just as you are marked as a target by the enemy of righteousness, you have been protected and watched over by your Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They know you. They know all of the forces and individuals around you. They know what is ahead of you. And so They know which of the choices you make, which of the desires you decide to satisfy, and which of the circumstances around you will make the most difference in keeping you walking in the light. I testify that by the Spirit of Christ and by the Holy Ghost, you may walk confidently in whatever difficulties will come. Because you are so valuable, some of your trials may be severe. You need never be discouraged or afraid. The way through difficulties has always been prepared for you, and you will find it if you exercise faith.

“Walk in the Light”, President Henry B. Eyring, March 29, 2008.

Here are a similar quotes from President Eyring:

There is a God. He is our Father. He really knows us. He knows the future. I don’t know how He knows it in such detail, but He knows the future. He knows every challenge ahead of you. He knows every opportunity ahead of you. He knows your power and wants to lift you to every opportunity and to be able to go through every trial that may be ahead of you, and to go through, smiling. You will hear President Hinckley say, “I’m an optimist.” That is not just in his personality, that’s a fruit of having the Holy Ghost as a companion.

Henry B. Eyring, “Raise the Bar,” Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional, January 25, 2005

Whoever we are, however difficult our circumstances, we can know that what our Father commands we do to qualify for the blessings of eternal life will not be beyond us. . . .

“We may have to pray with faith to know what we are to do and we must pray with a determination to obey, but we can know what to do and be sure that the way has been prepared for us by the Lord.
“The Family,” CES fireside for Young Adults, Nov. 5, 1995.

. . . .in troubled times the Lord has always prepared a safe way ahead.

Boyd K. Packer, “The Test,” October 2008 General Conference

Priesthood eyes

No priesthood holder who wants to succeed will be careless about where his eyes may go. Choosing to look at images which incite lust will cause the Spirit to withdraw. You have been warned by Elder Clayton as well as you may ever be warned about the dangers of the Internet and the media in putting pornographic images before us. But immodesty is now so common that everyday life requires discipline—a conscious choice not to linger watching whatever might create in us feelings which would repel the Spirit.

The same care is required in what we say. We cannot hope to speak for the Lord unless we are careful with our speech. Vulgarity and profanity offend the Spirit. Just as immodesty seems to be more common, so does vulgar and profane language. It used to be that only in certain places and with certain groups would we hear the name of the Lord taken in vain or hear vulgar words and crude humor. Now it seems to be everywhere and, for many, socially acceptable, where
once it was not.

….God helps the faithful priesthood holder who decides to see and say no evil, even in a wicked world. It will not be easy. It never is. But you can have the promise fulfilled for you as I know that it can be for me: “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45).

Henry B. Eyring, “God Helps the Faithful Priesthood Holder,” October 2007 General Conference

Are you most careful to control what

enters your mind
through your eyes
and ears

to ensure that it is wholesome and elevating?

Richard G. Scott, “Honor the Priesthood and Use It Well,” October General Conference, 2008

Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, remember the scriptural injunction “Be ye clean who bear the vessels of the Lord.” ( 3 Ne. 20:41; D&C 38:42; see also Isa. 52:11.) Remember the story of Joseph in Egypt, who hearkened not to the wife of Potiphar and maintained his purity and virtue. (See Gen. 39:6–20.)

Consider carefully the words of the prophet Alma to his errant son, Corianton, “Forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes.” ( Alma 39:9.)

“The lusts of your eyes.” In our day, what does that expression mean?

Movies, television programs, and video recordings that are both suggestive and lewd.

Magazines and books that are obscene and pornographic.

We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don’t listen to music that is degrading.

Ezra Taft Benson, “To the ‘Youth of the Noble Birthright’,” Ensign, May 1986

Learning to see the hand of God in our lives

I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened….

Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children? I will do that. And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him. I testify that He loves us and blesses us, more than most of us have yet recognized. I know that is true, and it brings me joy to remember Him.

Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,” LDS General Conference, October 2007.

It is wise to fear that our own skills are inadequate

It is wise to fear that our own skills are inadequate to meet the charge we have to nourish the faith of others. Our own abilities, however great, will not be enough. But that realistic view of our limitations creates a humility that can lead to dependence on the Spirit and thus to power.

Henry B. Eyring, “Feeding His Lambs,” Ensign, Feb 2008, 4–9

Five characteristics of great learners

Henry B. Eyring spoke to BYU students in 1997 and gave them a wonderful charge:

“You are under mandate to pursue – not just while you are here, but throughout your lives – educational excellence.”

He told them they must do so “while avoiding pride, the great spiritual destroyer,” and further counseled, “[N]ot only can you pursue educational excellence and humility at the same time to avoid spiritual danger but that the way to humility is also the doorway to educational excellence. The best antidote I know for pride also can produce in us the characteristics that lead to excellence in learning.”

Elder Eyring continued “There is something we can choose to do in our daily life that will provide a constant protection against pride. It is simply to remember who God is and what it means to be his child.”

Those memories, if we choose to invite them, can produce a powerful blend of courage and meekness. No problem is too hard for us with his help. No price is too great to pay for what he offers us. And still in our greatest successes we feel as little children. And in our greatest sacriÞces we still feel in his debt, wanting to give more. That is a humility which is energizing, not enervating. We can choose that shield as a protection against pride. And when we make that choice, to remember him, we are at the same time choosing to do what can lead us to acquire the characteristics of great learners.

And what are the characteristics of great learners? They:

    welcome correction
    keep commitments
    work hard
    help others learn
    expect resistance and overcome it

In his concluding remarks, Elder Eyring taught:

“You and I will face difficulty in our studies and in our lives, and we expect it because of what we know about who God is and that we are his children, what his hopes are for us, and how much he loves us. He will give us no test without preparing the way for us to pass it….Today you could seek correction. You could keep a commitment. You could work hard. You could help someone else. You could plow through adversity. And as we do those things day after day, by and by we will find that we have learned whatever God would teach us for this life and for the next, with him.”

Henry B. Eyring, “A Child of God,” BYU Devotional, 21 October, 1997

p.s. – Then BYU President Dallin H. Oaks gave similar counsel in 1979:

“The ingredients of success at BYU are: first, be worthy, second, seek learning; third, work hard; and fourth, help others.”

BYU President Dallin H. Oaks, Formula for Success at BYU, Devotional, Sept. 11, 1979

Stretching through service

…tonight I wish to encourage priesthood holders who at times feel overwhelmed with their responsibilities. That is a challenge I have spoken of before. I return to it because it returns so often in the lives of those I love and serve.
Most of you have discovered that your priesthood duties will stretch you to the point that you wonder if you can stretch that far.
…the more faithful service you give, the more the Lord asks of you….He increases our power to carry the heavier load.
The tough part of that reality, however, is that for Him to give you that increased power you must go in service and faith to your outer limits.
It is like building muscle strength. You must break down your muscles to build them up. You push muscles to the point of exhaustion. Then they repair themselves, and they develop greater strength. Increased spiritual strength is a gift from God which He can give when we push in His service to our limits. Through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our natures can be changed. Then our power to carry burdens can be increased more than enough to compensate for the increased service we will be asked to give.
That helps me understand when I see someone else who makes priesthood service look easy. I know that they have either passed hard tests or that the tests lie ahead. So rather than envying them, I stand ready to help when the going gets harder for them, because it surely will.

“O Ye That Embark,” by President Henry B. Eyring, October 2008 General Conference

Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.

Richard G. Scott, “Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 16

Choose the right while the storms rage

The great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home.

Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 37 (emphasis added)