Monday, June 28, 2010

Family Home Evening Lesson #63: I CAN FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST'S EXAMPLE

1. Opening Prayer

2. Sing "Come, Follow Me" Hymns pg. 116

3. Read Luke 18:22  Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

4. Read and discuss the following from Joseph B. Wirthlin in the May, 2002 Ensign:

They were fishermen before they heard the call. Casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee, Peter and Andrew stopped as Jesus of Nazareth approached, looked into their eyes, and spoke the simple words, “Follow me.” Matthew writes that the two fishermen “straightway left their nets, and followed him.”

Then the Son of Man approached two other fishermen who were in a ship with their father, mending their nets. Jesus called to them, “and [James and John] immediately left the ship and their father, and followed [the Lord].” 1

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like to have lived in the days of the Savior? If you had been there, would you have heeded His call “Follow me”?

Perhaps a more realistic question might be, “If the Savior were to call you today, would you be just as willing to leave your nets and follow Him?” I am confident that many would.

As the clatter and clamor of life bustle about us, we hear shouting to “come here” and to “go there.” In the midst of the noise and seductive voices that compete for our time and interest, a solitary figure stands on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, calling quietly to us, “Follow me.”

We can easily get our lives out of balance. I remember a few years that were particularly challenging for me. Our family had grown to seven children. I had served as a counselor in the bishopric and was then given the sacred call as bishop of our ward. I was striving to manage our business that required long hours each day. I pay tribute to my wonderful wife, who always made it possible for me to serve the Lord.

There was simply too much to do in the time available. Instead of sacrificing things of significance, I decided I’d get up earlier, take care of my business, then spend the time required to be a good father and husband and a faithful member of the Church. It wasn’t easy. There were mornings when the alarm clock went off that I cracked open an eyelid and glared at it, daring it to keep ringing.

Nevertheless, the Lord was merciful and helped me to find the energy and time to do all I had committed to do. Although it was difficult, I have never regretted making the choice to heed the Savior’s call and follow Him.

Think of the debt we owe to Him . . . because of the Savior, we will live forever. No amount of money can purchase this exalted state. Eternal life is a gift from a loving Heavenly Father, offered freely and liberally to all who heed the call of the Man of Galilee.

How do we follow the Savior? By exercising faith. By believing in Him. By believing in our Heavenly Father. By believing that God speaks to man on earth today.

We follow the Savior by repenting of our sins—by experiencing sorrow because of them and forsaking them.

We follow the Savior by entering the waters of baptism and receiving a remission of our sins, by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and allowing that influence to inspire, instruct, guide, and comfort us.

How do we follow the Savior? By obeying Him. He and our Heavenly Father have given us commandments—not to punish or torment us, but to help us come to a fulness of joy, both in this life and for the eternities to come, worlds without end.

In contrast, when we cling to our sins, our pleasures, and sometimes even our perceived obligations; resist the influence of the Holy Ghost; and put aside the words of the prophets; we then stand at the shore of our own Galilee, nets tightly entangling us. We find ourselves unable to leave them behind and follow the living Christ.

But the Shepherd calls to each of us today. Will we recognize the voice of the Son of God? Will we follow Him?

5. Closing Prayer

Additional Resources: I Can Follow Jesus Christ's Example (Friend, July 2010)
What Does Jesus Christ Want Me to Do? (Friend, Sept. 1997)
Jesus is My Example (FHE Resource Book, Lesson 12)
Calling of the Fishermen (Gospel Art Picture Kit)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Home Evening Lesson #62: DANIEL IN THE LION'S DEN

1. Opening Prayer

2. Sing "Press Forward Saints" Hymns pg. 81

3. Read Daniel 6:10  Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

4. Read and discuss "Daniel in the Lion's Den" from The Gospel Art Picture Kit:

King Darius of Babylon chose 120 princes to rule his kingdom. He also chose three presidents over these princes. Daniel, a righteous man, was the first of the three presidents “because an excellent spirit was in him” (Daniel 6:3).

The other presidents and princes were jealous of Daniel. They tried to find a reason to complain to the king about him, but they could not. (See Daniel 6:4.)

Finally, the other rulers decided on a plan to get Daniel in trouble. They knew that Daniel prayed every day. So they asked King Darius to sign a decree that for the next 30 days no one could ask a favor of any God or man, except of the king. Anyone who disobeyed the decree would be thrown into a den of lions. King Darius signed the decree. (See Daniel 6:5–9.)

Though Daniel heard about the decree, he continued to pray three times a day in his home, as he had done before (see Daniel 6:10). The jealous rulers saw Daniel praying (see Daniel 6:11). They went to King Darius and reminded him, “Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing is true” (Daniel 6:12). They then informed the king that Daniel had been praying to his God (see Daniel 6:13).

The king loved Daniel and did not want him to be killed. He tried to find a way to save Daniel, but he could not change the decree. (See Daniel 6:14–15.) So Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. The sorrowful king told Daniel, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee” (Daniel 6:16). A large rock was placed over the opening to the lions’ den (see Daniel 6:17).

King Darius spent the night fasting. He could not sleep. Early in the morning he hurried to the den of lions. (See Daniel 6:18–19.) The anguished king cried out, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” (Daniel 6:20).

From within the den came Daniel’s voice: “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me” (Daniel 6:22).

The king was joyful. He commanded that Daniel be taken out of the den. Because of Daniel’s faith, God had protected him. (See Daniel 6:23.)

The men who had accused Daniel were thrown into the den and were killed by the lions (see Daniel 6:24). King Darius signed another decree that everyone in his kingdom should fear and tremble before Daniel’s God (see Daniel 6:25–27).

5. Closing Prayer

Additional Resources: Daniel and the Lions (Friend, Feb. 1983)
True to the Faith (Ensign, May 2006)