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September 19, 2023 A Ministering Message; Learn to Love God and Your Neighbor

As I sit to write this on this beautiful Sabbath day. My prayers are with each of you. I pray that you have peace in your heart. I pray that your health is good. I pray that you feel the love of your Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that you have joy and happiness and that you feel you have that wonderful connection with the Holy Spirit to give guidance through these times we are living.

The Covid 19 virus is wreaking havoc as it raises its ugly head again. Creating fear and uneasiness and lots of mistrust in our government and even our medical system. None seem capable of telling the truth so that we who have been given agency can decide for ourselves what we do to protect ourselves from this virus or others that will be released upon us.

There is a major humanitarian social and political crisis at our southern border. The same crisis in an even greater calamity is happening in Ukraine and so many other places around the world. Even here in our country, there have been major floods, and fires in Hawaii. Loss of life and property. No jobs to return to and pleadings for help.

Crime is rising especially violent crime in our major cities. Our government seems to be out of control on spending money we don't have. In trying to take more and more of our liberties away from us. Socialism is being shoved down our throats, from almost every level of government. Our public school system and our universities are teaching that Socialism is the cure-all. They are teaching that this country is and has always been racist. Yet, it's the first country to get rid of slavery. Are we perfect no, but we have a constitution that was inspired by the Lord, to imperfect men. Several sacrificed their lives to establish this country and its constitution. Enough preaching.

Things seem glim and bleak. Yet, we have much greater trials yet to traverse before the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Is there hope in all this darkness that keeps getting darker and darker?

Where Can I Turn For Peace


I invite you to listen to about 10 minutes of a talk Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave at the 2021 Education Week at BYU

Five Messages That All of God’s Children Need to Hear

Below is the full talk, I would encourage each of you to find about 30 minutes and review it. Also below is the printed text of the portion we watched above.

His full talk

Learn to Love God and Your Neighbor

When a Pharisee asked Jesus which was the greatest of the commandments, the Savior established once and for all what our priorities as individuals and as a Church should be:

1. Love God.

2. Love your neighbor.

That is the center of the gospel. It should be the center of our every effort as a Church and as disciples of Jesus Christ.

When we wonder where we should put our focus as parents, siblings, Church leaders, ministering brothers and sisters, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is already decided:

1. Love God.

2. Love your neighbor.

I suppose that when we descended from the realms of heavenly glory to this earth, we did so with a sense of anticipation and perhaps a little apprehension. After all, we would not remember our premortal life. We would be on our own. How would we find our way back to our beloved Heavenly Father? That was our overarching desire—to seek God, find Him, love Him, and ­follow Him.

We knew that there would be many unexpected challenges. Perhaps we even anticipated that the odds might be stacked against us. But we trusted our Father, and we were eager to prove our loyalty to Him.

Even so, it is easy to get caught up in other things. Even good things can distract us from our primary purpose. And I am not referring only to worldly distractions. Let’s face it: the canvas of the gospel is so broad and rich that we could spend a lifetime studying it and scarcely scratch the surface. We all have topics or principles that interest us more than others. Naturally, those are the things we gravitate toward, speak about, and emphasize in our Church service.

Are those principles important? Certainly. But we would do well to consider whether they are the most important.

The ancient Pharisees compiled hundreds of rules and commandments from sacred writings. They made a great effort to catalog them, comply with them, and enforce others to live by them with precision. They believed that exact obedience to the smallest of these procedures would lead people to God.

Where did they go wrong?

They lost sight of the center. They lost sight of what was of most worth for their eternal purpose. They saw the multitude of rules as ends in themselves instead of as the means to an end.

Are we susceptible to the same mistake today? If we were to brainstorm, I am sure we could compile a list of latter-day expectations that would rival those amassed anciently. It is not to say that these rules and gospel topics are not important or valuable. No. They have a purpose. They are part of the whole. They can lead us to the center, but they are not the center. They are branches of the tree, but they are not the tree. And if they ever become separated from the tree, they will have no life. They will not bring forth fruit that will remain.28 They will wither and die.

When we meet the Savior at the judgment bar, we will account for how we lived the two great commandments.

· Did we truly seek God?

· Did we love Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength?

· Did we love our families, friends, and neighbors? How did we manifest that love?

We could make this a two-point diagnostic exam to evaluate ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ and servants in His kingdom:

How can we be better parents?

1. Love God.

2. Love our neighbor.

How can we be happier?

1. Love God.

2. Love our neighbor.

How can we better magnify our callings in the Church?

1. Love God.

2. Love our neighbor.

Yes, we cherish all the principles of the gospel. We “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.”32 And yet we must always remember that “all the law and the prophets” point to the two great commandments.

This is the bull’s-eye of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the foundation of who we are as His followers.

That is a message we all need to hear.

Learn to Love God and your neighbor. A very simple concept. How do we love God? In John 14:15 we read. "If ye love me keep my commandments" and in Jacob 6:5 we read "Repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you"

I will let the Spirit teach you and you ponder on what you have just seen/heard or read.

Come Unto Christ

How about loving your neighbor? Are you able to visit with your neighbors around you? Do you feel that they don't live up to your standards or you theirs? Maybe "he" has long hair, tattoos, smoke, or vape. You hear foul language. You hear and witness fighting and arguing. Never smiles or waves. Is this you your neighbor or both of you.?

Are you trying to minister to them with love and kindness? Not expecting things to change for a long period of time. How about the ministering families you have been assigned to? Do you show the Savior's love to them? do you call them, write notes or letters, make visits send text messages. Do you see them at a ball game, at church at the store, and make an effort to visit with them even just to say hi how are things? Do you feel an impression to give them a hug when appropriate?

Are we learning to love our neighbors? Will we as neighbors look out for each other's person and possessions? Will be a un recruited neighborhood watch? Will we share our gardens, baked goods, and BBQ so many ways to serve each other. Or will we hibernate in our homes, backyards, or stay away and never see or talk to them?

What are you going to do?

I hope and pray that as you have read this blog, your heart and mind have been touched by the Spirit. I pray that you have gained more insight into your own efforts that will help you to move forward with the Lord's counsel. To love Him and your neighbor. Including yourself.

We love each of you and witness to you that the Lord is in control even though it might seem like he is just watching. HE is actively involved in directing his work to prepare a people and the earth itself for his 2nd coming. Stay close to HIM. It is our only true safety net.

Steve and Debbie Larsen

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