Friday, April 12, 2013

Scripture Master Tip #2: Planning Is Everything

2.  Planning is everything.

It’s easier to find time to do anything if you make time for it ahead of time. Structure your day so that you have a regular and specific time set aside in which you know you can study the scriptures.  Schedule your other activities around that time so as to avoid a conflict that might interfere with, or prevent you from, studying your scriptures.
 "Given the hectic pace of our lives, good intentions and simply “hoping” to find the time for meaningful scripture study are not sufficient. My experience suggests that a specific and scheduled time set aside each day and, as much as possible, a particular place for study greatly increase the effectiveness of our searching in and study of the scriptures."  (David A. Bednar, "Because We Have Them before Our Eyes,"  New Era, Apr. 2006).
 “The only way you can be sure that a busy schedule doesn’t crowd out scripture study is to establish a regular time to study the scriptures” (President Henry B. Eyring, "A Discussion on Scripture Study," Ensign, July 2005, 24).
 If you find that you have too much on your plate to be able to devote sufficient time to meaningful and diligent study of the scriptures each day then you should consider eliminating or curtailing some activities from your life in order to make room for what really matters.
“How can we do this in our homes? Some of you have heard me tell how overwhelmed my husband, Mel, and I felt as the parents of four young children. As we faced the challenges of parenting and keeping up with the demands of life, we were desperate for help. We prayed and pleaded to know what to do. The answer that came was clear: “It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening.”

We were trying to do these things, but they were not always the priority and, amidst the chaos, were sometimes neglected. We changed our focus and tried not to worry about the less-important things. Our focus became to talk, rejoice, preach, and testify of Christ by striving to daily pray and study the scriptures and have weekly family home evening.”  (Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Conference Report, April 2014).
Refocusing your priorities can help you to feel less overwhelmed when you are reminded of the importance of scripture study and prayer.  Making scripture study a priority in your life will also help you to face trials and challenges with less frustration and anxiety because you will have the Lord's wisdom and guidance to draw upon.
“A friend recently cautioned, “When you ask the [members] to read the scriptures and pray more, it stresses them out. They already feel like they have too much to do.”

Brothers and sisters, because I know from my own experiences, and those of my husband, I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. Then, if [sin] or other challenges do strike our families, we can petition the Lord for help and expect great guidance from the Spirit, knowing that we have done what our Father has asked us to do.” (Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Conference Report, April 2014).
The Lord's help and guidance is crucial to maintaining a balanced and happy life, and so Satan will try to place distractions and obstacles in your way, in order to prevent you from taking the time to have a meaningful and spiritual study session. As Elder Richard G. Scott said:
“Satan doesn’t have to tempt us to do bad things. He can accomplish much of his objective by distracting us with many acceptable things, thus keeping us from accomplishing the essential ones. We need to frustrate that distraction by identifying what is critically important in our lives. We must give the cream of our effort to accomplish those things. Where there is limited time or resources, this pattern may require that some good activities must be set aside.”  (Richard G. Scott, “To Learn and to Teach More Effectively,” Brigham Young University 2007-2008 Speeches, 21 August 2007).
One of those critical and essential things in our lives is scripture study.
"I believe that few other activities will bring us greater spiritual benefit than the daily, consistent study of the scriptures.  In section 26 of the Doctrine and Covenants—a revelation given “to strengthen, encourage, and instruct” the Prophet Joseph Smith and others—the Lord counseled, “Behold, I say unto you that you shall let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures"  (Michael John U. Teh, "The Power of the Word,"  Ensign, March 2013, 52).
Missionaries plan every waking moment of their lives, and they adhere to a disciplined study schedule, and they are better off for following it.  If you will follow their example, your whole life will be better, not least because you are studying your scriptures daily.  Developing your planning skills will help you to become more consistent in your study habits, which will go a long way toward making your study time more enjoyable.  When scripture study becomes more than a harried afterthought that we squeeze in between job, television, children, and sleep it can become a true joy and a solace to you, a balm by which unseen hurts might be healed and the stresses of the day are made to fall away or diminish.  It just takes some effort on your part to make time to study before you can fully realize these blessings. 

“Make scripture reading a part of your regular routine, and the blessings will follow. There is in the scriptures a voice of warning, but there is also great nourishment.”  (Boyd K. Packer, “The Key to Spiritual Protection,” Ensign, November, 2013, 27).

Go on to the next tip:  Scripture Master Tip #3:  You Can Choose What (and How) to Study

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