There are so many people that have taught me while on this earthly probation. Many have contributed to this book through shared experiences. "Who should I dedicate this book to?"
I thought about dedicating a chapter to each of those most dear to me: my wife, my four children, my grandchildren, my parents, or my closest friend at this time in my life, Phil.
My mother asked me to dedicate it to her. She is certainly worthy of the blessings to be found in Chapter 4. Mom, that one is especially for you. My children, I will let you pick your own chapter. You see, dad is always fair!
Upon reflection, I ask myself;
"Who would I want at this time in my life to benefit most from its teachings? Who would I want to share the depth of feelings and emotions I felt while in the tender moments of inspiration? Who would I want to understand the spirit as I was allowed to understand? Who would I want to feel the love I felt, as heaven touched my heart?"
That gift, I wish to give is to my youngest son, who is more special than he will ever realize! He will always hold a sacred place in my heart.
Josh, this book is for you! I love you son! May it be a blessing in your life as we walk the "Road to Exaltation" together.
"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and giveth light unto all that are in the house... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
This text is my attempt to share the light that I have been given on this subject. "Oil In Your Lamps," if not just read, but studied, pondered, and applied, will change lives.
For over 20 years I spent my professional career dealing with money. The surrounding power and influence of money on the souls of men has fascinated me. Truly money can be used for great good, or great evil. I have pondered the relationship between its influence, and what is taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Money and the gospel are so much a part of our daily lives. This book was written to help us all put into perspective what is really important in this life. My hope is that the reader of this book will find it to be a great source of enlightenment and self discovery. May it help you to accomplish your purpose here on earth.
Guidelines For The Reader
Books have many purposes. My desire in writing this book is that you the reader will see beyond the written script, and perhaps have glimpses beyond the veil. Unlike a novel that pursues intrigue, mystery, or adventure, this book offers something different, enlightenment. It is a book about you and me as we travel the "Road to Exaltation." It is written for deep thinkers who want to understand this life that we have been given. I hope through considering it's content, you will rediscover yourself and your divine potential. I hope you will find personal revelation and knowledge delivered by the Holy Spirit.
"Oil In Your Lamps" is meant to be pondered one chapter at a time. To optimize your experience, here are some suggestions as to how to study this book:
- Clear your mind, say a prayer, and invite the Spirit before reading.
- Before reading the chapter, answer each question on the "A Moment To Ponder" page.
- Pull out a pen and highlighter, and then mark the ideas & thoughts that touch your heart.
- Click on blue highlighted references to go directly to scriptures owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Copyright privileges prevent me from including them in my text. They are most informative and enlightening to the reader. Bible scriptures are not copyrighted and therefore unnecessary to highlight.
- Relate the ideas shared to your personal life.
- Stop and inquire of the Lord to add a confirmation to a truth or thought that is shared.
- Cross reference familiar scriptures to you, and add them to the margin.
- After reading a chapter, go back and re-answer the "A Moment To Ponder" page.
- Set personal goals as inspired, that will change your life.
- Bear an inner testimony to yourself of the things you know to be true.
A Letter To The Reader
Dear Friend & Reader,
There are times in a man's life when he is called to do something extraordinary. He is then lifted to a level above and beyond his normal capacities. This is as true for me as it is true for you!
For example; I was a missionary in Peru. My companion and I prayerfully decided to hold a ward party in honor of the members who displayed special support for the missionary effort. The program would be similar to a "celebrity roast." A cartoon caricature was drawn of each member who made special efforts to support the missionary movement in the ward. To illustrate, a drawing of the bishop was prepared, selected, describing him as the "pilot of the ward" leading us through danger to a safe place. To build up to the climactic moment, with music in the background, the comical profile was read. "He is strong, obedient, ever alert, inspired with dreams and visions!" Suddenly, a ten foot by ten foot caricature was projected on the wall of the cultural hall. There he was! Our pilot! The Bishop! Sleeping on the stand during a meeting. Such was the "tongue in cheek" humor of that night. It was hilarious, fun, and would always be remembered as we laughed and loved together.
So what is the point? I had never had any formal training in art form. I had never drawn a caricature. For that one project, for that one night, I was given a gift to draw about fifteen caricatures that were "spot on" depictions of the particular members highlighted. I believe because I was a missionary on the errand of the Lord, that my faculties were lifted to a level beyond my abilities. This gift was temporary as I could never draw caricatures of that quality again. The purpose was revealed; the members lives were touched. They increased their support to the missionaries. My companion, who struggled most of his mission, left a month later feeling that that night of celebration was near one of the best experiences that he had had in two years.
Like my temporary gift in art, this book was an inspiration over and above my normal faculties. It started out as a flower bud, later to unfold into a wonderful blossom of many unexpected colors. At first the objective was to show a relationship of money to the gospel. It ended being so much more!
This unintended project, beyond my imagination, started over four years ago. Having retired from the financial services industry, I was looking for something meaningful to do. I took respite from my career and was blessed to start serving in the temple for a year. I kept having the thought, "You need to write a book." I ignored the idea. I began to write bits and pieces on various topics. The temple has a way of enlightening one's mind and thoughts. I abandoned the prompting. A year later after temple service, the thought came again; "You should write a book."
I decided to write about what I knew: money and the gospel. I wrote a story. It was good! I once again ignored the prompting, and stopped writing. I found reasons and excuses not to follow that voice inside. I convinced myself. "No one would read it. It would be too costly. The hundreds of hours would be a waste of time and effort. It would be too hard to do."
A year later, I was focused on learning how to live by the Spirit and listening to that still small voice. I had set this small personal goal to listen and do whatever the Lord prompted me to do without questions or doubts. In my own humble way, I went to Him in prayer asking specifically what He wanted me to do with my life at that time. An unexpected instruction came.
"Write the book!" I think my response was: "Okay, okay, okay. I'll write the book!" I had long put away and forgot the counsel of two years past. You can tell by my response that I had given up. I concluded that if the Lord wanted me to write the book, I better do it. To what end or purpose is just beginning to unfold to me.
I can tell you my dear friend and reader, there were moments hours before dawn that I was awakened to parables, analogies, and stories from nowhere but heaven. There were moments when I heard the prompting: "This chapter is done." There were times when I was told a subject needed to be added, and I had not a single idea of what to write. Weeks of writer's block would occur, and then in the middle of the night the words would flow and inspiration rush in. Yes, much was an accumulation of life's experience and being taught from beyond the veil, but I would have never dreamed of the final product.
I am untrained in journalism or literature. I have never been a writer. I am a thinker, a lover of truth. This book was prompted.
I rejoice in pure knowledge, wisdom, the whisperings of the spirit, and revealed mysteries. I feel so blessed to share this volume with you. I hope you feel the emotions I felt in this unexpected effort. God bless you with the answers you may seek. I know the Spirit will give you some of the answers that you need at this time in your life.
R. Lyle Johnson