Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Gift of Christ

Our Savior Jesus Christ truly is an amazing gift to each of us. Through His birth, life, death, and resurrection we are given the ability to change. How grateful I am for that gift, that chance to rid myself of imperfections and sins and to press forward striving to leave them behind forever. In my own imperfect way I try to understand and utilize the Savior's gift to me by building my faith in Him and striving to repent of my sins so that I can be more like He is. I know that I am imperfect and that it takes all my strength to make a feeble attempt to live as He lived and to love as He loved. How sad is it then when others won't even let Christ influence their lives or when you find those who only pretend that they follow the Savior.

A Season of Giving

This time of the year is an excellent time for gifts and for giving, so I am going to create an analogy that might help us to use Christ's gift to us more fully. Imagine for a moment that when Christmas rolls around that you find a present under your tree, it is clearly marked for you and is wrapped beautifully. What do you do with it? Do you open it? Do you use it? Or do you let it sit and gather dust under the tree? Those are a few of the options that we have when it comes to Christ's gift to us. We all have received the gift of the Atonement of Christ, we have it somewhere and we all have the chance to use it. I want to discuss three general groups and how they use and benefit from the gift of Christ's sacrifice.

1. You will see many good people that have used it over and over again, the wrapping and ribbons are long forgotten as the gift Christ gave to them became a part of everyday life. These will have tough hands and sturdy backs from doing the work of the Lord as they strive to share the gift that He gave them with all around them. These would be the wise men that Christ says hear His sayings and doeth them (Matthew 7:24-25). May we all strive to use the the gift of Christ in the way that these do, sharing it with others and seeing the blessings multiplied in our own lives.

2. You will see others who opened the gift just enough to see what was inside and decided that they didn't really have much use for it. Those people my wonder why they don't seem to have all that they seek in life, or why their hopes and dreams are not fulfilled as they would like, maybe they don't understand that a gift sitting on a shelf or only pulled out in times of great need is a gift hardly accepted. These could be likened to the foolish men of whom Christ said would hear His sayings, but do them not (Matthew 7:26-27).

3. The third group are those who read the tag and see that the gift is from Christ and don't even bother opening it, instead they go about telling and showing everyone that they come in contact with that Jesus loves them more then anyone else, or that they are special because they received a gift from Him. They are so busy worrying about whether everyone knows that Christ cared enough to send them a gift that they never open it and actually use it. These would be likened unto the hypocrites that do things in public that "they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward" (Matthew 6:2). Those who flaunt the gift of Christ's Atonement without actually using it are those who will find themselves discontented with life even when all else seems to be going their way. 

Which one am I? 

Which group do we fit into? Are we those who use and share the gift that Christ has given us? Are we the ones who pull it out in times of great need as a final resort? Or are we those who always try to show off and be in the public eye as one blessed of God, when in reality we have ignored the gift He gave being too preoccupied with the wrappings and ribbons and beauty of its appearance. I think that we all go through phases of each group, but I know that as I have tried to put Christ first and to not worry about what those around me think, I have found peace to my soul. There will always be those times when we know we aren't at the best that we can be, but as we press forward, we can eventually bring ourselves into the position to always be using and sharing the gift that Christ gave to us. I know that He lives, I know that He loves us and wants us to use the gift that He gave, I know that using His gift brings peace and joy. How grateful I am for Him this Christmas Season. In His name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Nativity

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Do Mormons Believe?

Have you ever had a pair of young men show up at your door from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Have you ever stopped to listen? Here is what they want to tell you:


God is your loving Heavenly Father, you are literally His child and he loves you. He has said 

"For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

God wants you to come back to live with Him after this life so that you can become more and more like your Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ. 


The gospel of Jesus Christ will bless your family in many ways. A home centered around the Savior will be a home where the Holy Ghost can come and create a refuge safe from the cares and concerns of the world. God has always taught His people about his gospel through prophets. The words of many ancient prophets have survived to our day and are recorded in books called scriptures. 

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."


Prophets are given authority from God, they ordain others to that authority, or Priesthood, under the direction of God and by the laying on of hands. Christ gave this Priesthood authority to His Apostles so that they could do His work.

"And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils"

After Christ's crucifixion and the martyr and death of all of His Apostles, the authority that they held slowly dwindled and was taken from the Earth because men had stopped doing things the way that Christ had commanded and thereby could not have or exercise His power or authority. The world went into a time of darkness, and after a few hundred years of disagreements between men about doctrines the Christ had taught, scholars gathered and decided what was what. Once that happened, the churches of the day began to quiet any questions that were asked, they openly and sometimes violently brought down anyone with an opposing view, thus stopping people from asking questions without fear of retaliation. This time was foretold by the prophet Amos in the Old Testament.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."
(Amos 8:11-12)


During this time period we see many eras of reformation, churches sprung up faster and faster as emigration moved to North America searching for religious freedom. Thus with the world beginning to truly seek after the Lord again, we saw the fulfillment of the words in Acts 3:19-21, which state that Christ would remain in Heaven until the "times of refreshing" and "times of restitution of all things". A young boy wondering what church he should join, followed the advice in James 1:5, asked God, and found an amazing answer. In his words, this is what occurred. "

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me... When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (See Joseph Smith - History 14-20)

The time for the "restitution of all things" was at hand. Over the years to follow, the Lord brought back to the earth all the promised blessings and authorities prophesied for the last days through His prophet. Through Heavenly Messengers this new prophet was led to an ancient record of scripture written by prophets in the Americas during the time of Christ who He visited after His resurrection. This record, translated by the gift and power of God, is now known as The Book of Mormon.


It is the invitation of all those young men and women who may soon be knocking on your door for you to simply read from The Book of Mormon for yourself and to ask God if it is true. That is the only sure way to find out for yourself if anything is true. Follow the admonition to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). You can know from God whether or not Christ's Church has been restored to the Earth again, you can know that His authority resides in that Church, and that God speaks to His prophet again today as He has all throughout history. I testify that Christ's authority and church are on the earth again and that it has been a blessing in my life as I know it can be for you! I know that Christ lives, and that He wants us to be happy and with Him again after we pass through this life. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We are Never Alone.

When we are discouraged it is easy to feel like God has abandoned us, I have come to know however that we are never out of His mind, heart, or view. Our Heavenly Father loves us dearly. The entire reason we are on the earth is so that we can become like Him. In 1839, the prophet Joseph Smith was, due to persecution of the Saints and false accusations, imprisoned in Liberty Jail in Missouri. This was a time of great despair for him. In his words:

"O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-3)

While the Lord may have seemed distant, in His wisdom, He had a greater plan in mind. He knows that it is only in facing opposition and bitterness in life that we come to know the peace and sweet that He has to offer. The Lord's response is both comforting and full of Love, but you can tell that the Lord knows best.

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes"

I have a testimony that even when our trials seem overwhelming, scary, or impossible to overcome, the Lord is with us and ready always to help us to "triumph over all [our] foes".  Whatever our struggles are, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, the Lord is ready waiting to lift us and carry us to His side so that we can be with Him for eternity after this live is over and done. Even when you have troubles, remember that the Lord has not forsaken you! I know that He lives. I know that He is real. I know that He has helped me and carried me in the past and that He will continue to do so in the future. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sometimes the Lord gives us mountains to climb,
but He will be there with us.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Having Compassion

Christ is often said to have felt compassion. Compassion and love are two of Christ's greatest qualities. In this video of His sermon on the mount, He focuses on how we can be more compassionate to those around us in keeping His higher law.

He teaches us to focus our lives on things that are of a better world than the one in which we all live. I know that as Christ has compassion, we must also have compassion, or love, to be His followers.

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

We must be as Christ commands and build our foundation upon Him and His gospel so that we will not fall when the wind and the rains of life come. I know that as we love His children as He would and remember that everyone we see is our brother or our sister we will be able to show them the love and compassion that He would. Will you have compassion on those around you? I promise you that if you will, you will find the love of God poured into your life. He not only commands us to love, but He will share with us His love so that we can love others as He does. 

Have a blessed day! Thank you for reading!

Friday, October 11, 2013

"who went about doing good"

The Example to Follow: The Savior

The Savior was one "who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him" (Acts 10:38). Christ was our perfect example in all things, but today I'd like to focus in on how He went about doing good. 

This video is an amazing example of showing our faith by the works that we do. It is in these things that we draw near to our Savior. As we serve as He would we are blessed to feel His love for those we are serving. 

"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

The people in this video all exercised great faith, while many went on to let their faith bring them to wonderfully good works. How blessed are we when our works echo our faith. These people truly did what Christ would have done if He had been there.

I know that miracles happen, I know that Christ lives and that He is in the details of our lives. I know He loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

His Church Restored

There are a lot of important questions and concerns that we all have in this life. I myself have many questions, but I know that there is a wonderful source of answers. Good news everybody, The Heavens are open and revelation does happen. I have a firm testimony of that. I know that God speaks to His servants and each of His children in times of need and in times of want.

After Christ was crucified and the Apostles killed, the spread of unclear and false doctrines spread slowly but surely throughout the Church that Christ had established. With the Apostles gone and the Priesthood Authority that Christ had given them no longer on the earth, the world was stuck in a time of spiritual famine.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."

We see that after the passing of the Apostles the "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5) which Christ established descended into that time prophesied. As the world moved on and those trying to follow Christ were persecuted and eventually assimilated with the basic population, the confusion that comes without revelation at the head of the church was answered by a council of men who decided what was and what wasn't true. While these men were undoubtedly intelligent and well meaning, they lacked the first and basic step to receiving inspiration. Asking Questions. And by so doing stopped the population at large from asking questions of Heaven. Once the questions stopped, so did the answers. 

The Lord hears and answers questions. This I know. In 1820 there was a young boy who had questions. He wanted to know what church he should join but kept getting different answers from those surrounding him. He decided to turn to his Bible to find the answers he sought, when he found   

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

He knelt in a grove of trees near his home and prayed to know what church he should join. When he leaned essentially what I just told you above. God and his Son, came to the young boy and called him to be the instrument through which They would restore Christ's church to the Earth. It would be "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20). I know that since that time, we have had an authorized servant of the Lord leading the Church by inspiration and revelation from God. I know that the Lord lives and that His church is again on the Earth. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Here is the story of the Restoration.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Listen to a Living Prophet's Voice!

Can you imagine what it would be like to have been living in the time of Christ? What would it have been like to sit at the feet of the ancient Apostles of the Lamb? I know that Christ's church has been restored to the earth and that He has prophets here again who speak and help us to know what the world needs to do to keep our families safe. The Living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson holds all the keys of the kingdom that Christ gave to Peter.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

This is President Monson

Thomas S. Monson will be speaking, along with the living 12 Apostles today and tomorrow. (October 5-6, 2013) and you can hear what they have to say about the world we live in by visiting this link -> Watch General Conference.

Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Commitments to the Lord

In life we are asked to make all kinds of commitments. Whether we are committing to donate, time, money, help, or anything else. If we just think about it we aren't going to go anywhere. That is why it is so important to commit to do the right things instead of just having wishful thinking. As the saying that goes: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". I've been able to see that over and over as I've been striving to serve the Lord. The devil doesn't always try to get us to do bad things, he'll settle for stopping us from doing the right things.

The Lord has commanded us to pray (3 Nephi 18:19), but as the devil is always in opposition to God, "...the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray" (2 Nephi 32:8). The  way he draws us away from our Heavenly Father is not, at first, by large and drastic means. It is merely to stop communication to God. Once we lose communication with God though we are losing our ground spiritually and are slowing edging toward the devil's territory. All because we weren't committed to daily personal communication to our Father in Heaven.

I've seen so many goals get set, by myself and by others that just seem to fall by the wayside. I've come to realize that the reason goals, especially spiritual ones don't seem to be achieved is because of lack of commitment. We had great intentions, but we were able to be swayed from our course by the influences of the adversary.

Goals are great, but if we truly want to be able to be like our Savior it takes commitment and not merely good intentions. I'm found that once we are able to sit back and truly commit ourselves to doing the will of the Lord instead of our own will, that is when we are able to be strengthened and empowered by Him. Often we sit and wait for the miracle before we will exercise our faith, but miracles come after faith. That is how it works. I know that once we commit to the Lord to do something and we truly are committed, He will open up the way so that we can hold to our commitment.

I know Christ lives. I know that He has power to help us overcome any obstacles that we face if we will truly turn to Him and act in faith. Once we commit to Him and can keep commitments, then we are becoming prepared to make and keep covenants with Him. Covenants are the way of promising the Lord and receiving a promise in return. Commit to the Lord to pray daily and to open the scriptures and you will find strength to commit to much harder things! I know this to be true. In the name of Christ our Savior. Amen.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Watching for Rain

I grew up in the city of Farmington, Utah. I lived most of my life in a desert where we don't get rain very often and whenever we did, it was something to be excited about. Since then, I've traveled to live in Florida to spend two years of my life teaching others about Christ and how His gospel and Priesthood authority were restored to the Earth through a living prophet in the 1820's and 1830's (Learn about The Restoration here). While here I've realized that rain is not such a special thing to people who get soaked with it almost everyday. I've since learned that you have to be prepared for the rain in a moments notice because there are days you literally only have seconds to get ready because you can see a wall of rain getting closer and closer. I've learned that early and preemptive preparations are the key to staying dry and comfortable no matter the weather. So it is with our life.

The Storms of Life

Life is good at taking all of us by surprise. I know it hits me upside the head all the time. So we have to find a way to be ready for whatever life my throw at us. When Christ was on the Earth He was able to say to the raging sea "Peace, be still" and the storm ceased (Mark 4:39). I don't know about you, but I have never been able to tell a storm to quiet down and have it listen to my opinion. Christ is the one who created this world and He is the one who has power over it. As we turn to Christ and His teachings and put Him first. Then we shall have all the protection that we need.

"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;"

The key to having protection from the storms of life and the sins and temptations that the devil continually is trying to throw at us to slow us down is humility. When we are truly humble we are willing to submit to anything that the Lord feels is necessary for us to learn to become like Him. He shows us our weaknesses so that we can know that it is only through Christ that we are able to do anything good in this life.

"Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things."

So remember that next time the storms of life approach and it seems that you only have seconds to get ready, if you've been striving to follow your Savior, things will work out for your good. I know that as we follow His directions life goes on and we can have peace in us no matter the storms of our surroundings. We can be comforted in knowing that the Lord is watching over us and is never far away. I know He loves you. I know He loves me. Let us all love one another and draw nearer to our Savior. In His name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

"For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom."


Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Power of God.

My Testimony:

I know that God has power. I know that when we look to Him and follow His Son we are strengthened to do things beyond our normal capacities. He has pulled me through hard times, and carried me to the peaks of my good times. All the while His power supporting me in my righteous desires and actions. Christ has said:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." 

I know that God will show unto me my weaknesses at a pace and at a time that I can be taught to overcome them. He wants for me to become more like His son so that I will be ready when my time comes to return to Him. 

My Story

 When I was a young boy, my left hand became covered with warts. Somewhere around 30 or them. That left my little hand ugly, painful, and embarrassing. Thanks to the restoration of God's power to the earth, The Priesthood, I was given a blessing by the laying on of hands by my Grandfather. While his hands were upon my head he pronounced that I would be healed and within a miraculously short period of time my hand was clean again. It makes me think of the time when Christ was approached by a leper who said "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" (Mark 1:40).

"And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean."

My faith as a child was enough to produce miracles. My faith now is my driving force to keep me spreading the Lord's word among His children. It is what provides me with strength and gives me the desire to carry on and endure in the Lord's service. 

We all have burdens, and whether small or great they can be lifted off of our shoulders as we come to Christ. 
"For [His] yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light" 

Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Love: Part Two

The Truth About His Love

Our Father in Heaven is always waiting and wanting to show us just how much He loves us. He does so in many ways. Whether it be the tender mercies we receive at His hand day by day, or the miracles he sends as we have faith in our Savior. Even when times may seem hard and the world may be after us, we can always have hope in the Lord. "...But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance" (1 Nephi 1:20).

Our Savior's Example:

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" 

"If ye love me, keep my commandments"

As always, Jesus Christ has provided a perfect example of love. He laid down his life, He forgives us of sins, He cheers us on as we strive to keep His commandments. People sometimes ask why in the world He would do what he did for us. The answer really is simple. HE LOVES US! We never need to despair and think that God doesn't want to be our friend anymore. Sometimes he allows us to wade through affliction and struggle with things, but how else could we ever learn? This is one of my favorite descriptions of what Christ does for each of us. 
"11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
He understands us. He felt what we feel. His love and his mercy are all encompassing.  "It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines" (It Is Never Too Late, Jeffrey R. Holland).
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I am a witness to this kind of love. He loves each of us. I am so grateful for the love and forgiveness He has extended to me. I love Him. He loves you. His love is real and this is His truth, that He will always love you. He wishes for you to follow Him. He will always lead you to do what is right if you will but listen. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What is Love?

Love: Part One

Love is Forgiving,

Love is Divine,

Love is Redeeming,

Love is The Vine.

God is Love.

We Have a Father who Loves us.

The greatest love we feel comes from no earthly source. We are all loved by the most powerful being in the Universe. How amazing is that? Because of our Heavenly Father we live, breathe, love, and enjoy our existence here on earth. "It is significant that of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that are given to Deity, He has asked us to address Him as Father" (Father, Consider Your Ways). God is our Father. He loves us more than we can comprehend. As we go through this life away from Him we are given glimpses and insights into how much He really does love us by the attention He pays to our personal needs. 

Prayer in a Rainstorm:

When I was a little boy living in Northern Utah, we had one day a large thunderstorm roll through. Living in a desert, as Utah is, storms are not too common. So all the rain was an exciting and at the time, scary adventure. In many Utah homes you have what are called window wells, which are holes dug down into the ground so that you can have natural light in your basements. Usually these window wells are lined with corrugated metal or plastic and if they don't have a proper drainage system they can get filled with water during big storms. This happened to be the predicament in which one of our neighbors had found themselves. Water had started leaking into their basement and so my dad went out to help them. I remember standing on the landing in our garage looking out at the driving rain and being worried about my dad out in the rain. He really wasn't in any danger, but my young mind was worried. With my earthly father out in the storm and me needing comfort, I turned to my Father in Heaven. With the faith of a child a prayer was said and down from the heavens came the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, a gift from my Father to reassure and calm my worried heart. I remember the warmth and peace that only come from on High. I remember feeling that all was going to be okay and that I didn't have to be worried about a thing.

I was a little child worried about something rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but my Heavenly Father, the one who holds all the cosmos in balance reached out to tell me that everything would be okay. Ever since then I have looked and found, sometimes in hindsight, the evidence of His love in my life. I know that He lives and loves us. How grateful I am for that. I know that as we seek the Lord, He will show himself unto us in our daily lives. I am grateful for the opportunity to know Him. I testify that He is always there waiting for us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Serving others. Serving God.

Have you ever had the thought to do something nice for someone? Have you ever followed through on that thought? What did you do? How did you feel? These are a few of the questions I'd like to discuss. Service. It is one of the most basic elements in the gospel. All of what Jesus Christ did was service. He provided a way for us to repent and, through "relying wholly on the merits of Him who is mighty to save", obtain Eternal Life (2 Nephi 31:19).  I have come to know that it is by serving our Savior that happiness comes into our lives and that it is by living His way that draws us unto Him.

An Example: Jesus Christ

Throughout Christ's mortal ministry on the Earth He performed many acts of service. Today we call most of those things miracles, but service they were. Healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and raising the dead are all wonderful and miraculous examples of our Savior's service for those he was around. We have the mandate from his prophets to "mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:9). Why is that important? Because that is what He would do if he were in your place.

Something to Learn

"...I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17). From this scripture we see that whenever we take the time and serve someone in some way, it is as if we were doing that service to our Savior. He has said: "...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40). He also warns us that if we ignore our duty to serve others, we are ignoring our duty to serve Him.

Personal Thoughts:

Throughout my life I've had many opportunities to share of my talents and abilities, some of those chances I took, others I let pass by, but every time I have thought of others over my own wants or needs I wind up better for it. This past week the opportunity to serve has been ever present. I know that the reason that I feel so good after serving is because the Spirit of the Lord is witnessing to me that what I am doing is right and what the Savior would have me do. He would have me help my neighbor, as he taught in the parable of The Good Samaritan (See Luke 10:30-37). I know that serving others is helping our Father in Heaven to accomplish the work he wishes to do among His children here on earth. I know that as I serve I feel a closeness to my Savior. Please give of yourselves so that God can fill you with his love! I know this to be the restored church of Jesus Christ. It is through His gospel I gain my happiest moments. I love my Savior, I look forward to serving Him in my new area in Jacksonville, this is His work. Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Repentance: A Process, Not An Event

Repentance: An Introduction

All throughout the books that we call scriptures there are accounts of people, cities, and nations being called unto repentance. We can see the difference between the way the Lord responded to those who repented and those who didn't. But in today's world we find that many people don't truly understand what it means to repent. What exactly is repenting and how do we move on? Is it simply asking for forgiveness of our past mistakes or is it something more than that?

First off: Why repent? 

Why should we repent? Why isn't our best effort on it's own enough? I know that no matter how hard I try to be the best person I can be that I have weaknesses and I simply cannot perfect myself of my own accord. So what is the point of life if we are all doomed to be imperfect? Christ once again has the answer to this question of the soul. In The Book of Mormon Christ appears to the people in the Americas and teaches them, and while there, He poses a question to the people. He simply asks "...what manner of men ought ye to be?" (3 Nephi 27:27). Directly after posing the question, without waiting for a response he gives His answer: "Verily I say unto you, even as I am." That is a tall request. His goal for us is to become like He is, perfect and like His Father. 

That is the main basis of why we repent. We wish to be like our Savior and he as commanded us to be perfect. He loves us and because He loves us we are able to have love for Him (1 John 4:19). He proclaimed "If ye love me, keep my commandments"(John 14:15). How can we show our love for Him if we aren't willing to follow the counsel from his hand to become perfect like Him? The scriptures show us all the things we should do and when we put them together we can find the way to do all things. 

Second: What is Repentance and How is it accomplished?

Now that we know why we need to repent, next comes the all important questions of 'How?' and 'Why?'. Is repenting simply asking for forgiveness or is it something more than that? I have come to know through my study and life experience that repentance is much much more than simply saying 'Forgive me'. The Lord has said "if a man repenteth of his sins - behold, he shall confess them and forsake them" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:43). We cannot truly say that we have repented if there is no change in behavior or a shift from our old ways. Repentance is always coupled with a change of heart, we can know that we are achieving true repentance when "we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2). When repentance happens we are putting aside our will and doing as Christ did and saying "not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). When our lives are in line with what the lord wants us to do we will be happy. The Lord wants us to be strong and to be able to, through his support move forward with our lives as we try to be like Him. A favorite verse, of many, in the Book of Mormon is in Ether 12:27. It reads:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

What a comfort to me is the promise that as I do my best I can find the strength in the Lord to repent and overcome trials in my life. I know that I have had weaknesses strengthened and temptations overcome through His grace. It is my prayer that we can all rely on the Lord as we try to follow His counsel to be perfect as He is. I love the Lord and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Him. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Our Life: The Prodigal Son

Our Life: The Prodigal Son

I have been thinking a little bit lately about the story of the Prodigal Son. He in short takes all that his father has to give him and runs off and without any thought for the future or any regard for the teachings of his past "lives it up" as far as the world is concerned. But to what end? He uses it all until it is gone and learns the hard way that life isn't all about material goods. He is starving and alone while feeding swine for a living, when he decides to return to his father and family. When he is getting near to his childhood home his father sees him coming and runs to greet him! Oh the joy the father expresses at the return of his son. He gathers those around and celebrates his son's return. "For this my son was dead, and is alive again;" (Verse 24).

How many times do we do this exact same thing. We get a little freedom and go crazy with it and wind up in a place worse than we could have ever expected or guessed. I know that life is full of ups and downs and that we all have to face trials and tribulations, but let us be sure to return to our Father whenever we find ourselves away from His presence. Let us repent and repair and repay our debts to Him and our fellow men.  I know that as we come back to our Father in Heaven through his Son, Jesus Christ, that they are excited and happy to see us return (Luke 15:7). While it is best to avoid the sins and the troubles of this world, we all fall short in some area or another. I know that as we utilize the Savior's Atonement and draw near unto Him, that He will draw nearer to us (See James 4:8). I know that as I put my life in order through the trials and challenges of everyday that I will be sustained, lifted, and supported in my righteous desires and actions. I love my Savior and know that He cares about me. I wish for all to come unto Him and to know Him better than they do now. Myself included in that. I know that He lives. I know what I have is the truth. I know it.

The Prodigal Son: This is an amazing video. Enjoy!

The Savior will bless you as you return to Him. The road may be rough at times, but it will be well worth it in the end. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Faith: A Word of Action

Faith: A Word of Action

          If faith is steps that we take in the dark, and those steps take us toward "the light of the world" (John 9: 5) who is Christ. I would imagine that our next step would be to try and become more like Him who we profess to follow. As a rule, faith in our Lord and Savior should lead us to become closer to Him in word and deed. To take those steps of faith toward Jesus Christ, we first need to know something about Him and what his teachings and principles can bring into our lives. That is where today's post will begin:

Opening Our Hearts To The Gospel

          There is a story in The Book of Mormon of a man named Enos that illustrates this principle wonderfully. Allow me to elaborate, Enos was a man who grew up learning from his father about the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he had never quite taken it all to heart. I imagine he was in the same situation that many find themselves in as they can rattle off all of the textbook answers to gospel related questions, when you can get away with the answer "pray about it" the majority of the time. But where is the trust in that? Where is the faith, the love, or the desire to follow our Savior? It hasn't reached our hearts, at least not yet. For this is how Enos found himself, a man who knew what he should do and who I imagine did most of it, but for some reason or another never invested his heart. All of that was about to change for Enos, as it has for me, and as it has for all those who have put their trust in the Savior enough to follow Him. Enos was out on the hunt, but while searching for game, he also was searching his thoughts and his heart. He says of his experience: "the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart." (Enos 1:3). He had finally found room within to let the gospel of Jesus Christ sink in and take meaning into his soul. "And my soul hungered" Enos said, and he immediately took action and he knelt down to pray unto the Lord (Enos 1:4). 

Hungering After Righteousness 

          In Christ's Sermon on the Mount, as well as in his discourse to the Nephites, a people living on the American continent during the time Christ was on the earth and whom he visited after his resurrection. He states to those who he taught that "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness" (See Matthew 5: 6 & 3 Nephi 12: 6). Enos was blessed, not only because of his desire to accept the gospel, but because he actually did something about it. His soul was hungry for the truth, so he sought it out and prayed, and that is when the blessings came. Now to make a quirky analogy that I hope will solidify my point, I want to compare this situation to a man sitting in a kitchen with full cupboards, working appliances, and all the cook books that he could ever need, but he is slowly starving to death. "Why?" you may ask. Because he won't get up and use all the tools he has been given. How many of us are in the same situation spiritually? Do we sit and wait for someone to come and force feed us the things of the gospel? To we allow the ingredients, our faith, desires, and good intentions, to rot in the cupboards or our heart until they are useless? Do we sometimes turn to the Lord and expect Him to give us anything we haven't done our part to receive? We can turn on the oven, but unless we put something in it, nothing will cook. How many times do we send empty prayers to our Father in Heaven expecting Him to fill them and give them meaning? How often do we try to throw a few random good intentions and actions into our lives and expect them to help if we don't follow the recipe for happiness found in the scriptures? How do I know that if I follow a recipe and put it in the oven that it will turn into a chocolate cake? I'll never know unless I try  it out. I use my faith that what I'm doing will provide the desired result and I act accordingly. Faith in this sense is a verb. Faith isn't merely something we have, it is something that we must live by everyday. "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because you see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12: 6).

Receiving The Blessings

          "I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins" (Enos 1:2) It is my testimony that to receive blessings from on high, we need to do our part to receive them. We have been given our ability to choose right from wrong and until we choose what is right, we cannot be blessed for righteousness. I know that I am imperfect and have much room to grow, but I, as Enos of old have opened my heart and begun moving down the path or righteousness. I know that God can show me the way to go if I only put my faith in Him. He has provided me with all the supplies, equipment, and knowledge to follow his path for me. I know that it is up to me to use the tools that He has given me as I try to follow his Son.  I know these things to be true and there is nothing that can change my mind. I love the Lord and will follow Him! These things I leave with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Faith: Steps in the Dark

Faith: Steps in the Dark

     As I begin to add my jumbled thoughts to the world of blogging, I am taking a step into a new place. I've never done much writing other than on assigned topics so this is a fairly new experience for me. I'm not sure exactly what to do, but that won't stop me from doing it! 

First, A Question:

     Have you ever woken in the night to the dense, thick darkness of the early morning hours? For me this happens all the time. I know it will be too bright if I turn on the light so I set off across the house hoping not to step on anything with my bare feet. When you are off on your middle-of-the-night walks around the house for whatever reason, what leads you? How do you find your way? Do you run your fingertips along the smooth wall searching for an open door? When I wander at night in my home in Utah, I know the layout and can navigate with little or no error, but what does this have to do with faith?

Next, A Transition:

     Whenever my physical eyes can't see, I know that I can wait for them to adjust, turn on the light, or just break out a trusty flashlight to guide me on my way, but what do we do when we find ourselves blinded and in the darkness with our spiritual eyes? I find myself sometimes at a loss of where to go and what to do in my spiritual walk. It is in times like these that I try to remember a lesson taught in The Book of Mormon. A man, called of God, named Lehi had a vision in which he found himself in a "dark and dreary wilderness" (See 1 Nephi 8 1-12). He like so many of us was at the mercy of the elements of this world. Doubt, fear, and vice, anxiety and uneasiness are always to be found when we are in the dark and dreary times of our lives. 

Step 3, Hope:

     We all have experienced or are experiencing moments, hours, or days of this dark and depressing experience of being spiritually blind. How did we find our way free? What is, or more appropriately, who is our escape from this burden of darkness? The prophet, Lehi, knew the answer to that question. In his vision he says that he had traveled for "many hours in darkness" struggling to find his way before he turned to the Lord in prayer. How long do I wander in the darkness of my life before I allow God to open my eyes and he did for Lehi? How long do you? The Lord is always there to answer our prayers, some answers come fast while others move at a slower pace. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, leads and directs us in the way the He knows will help us to learn and grow the most. Maybe Lehi needed to travel in his "dark and dreary waste" before he could truly appreciate the fruit of the Tree of Life which was "desirable to make one happy".

     I know that even in my darkest, most depressing times I have been able to call upon the Lord for support. I have been able to be lifted out of my lows and been brought to stand upon higher ground. I echo Lehi's son, Nephi when I say that I have trusted in my God and he has brought me forth from my afflictions! (2 Nephi 4: 16-35) Christ is the source of all happiness, of all peace. Do we often forget that though the world may seem exciting we will find all that we truly desire as we draw near unto our Savior Jesus Christ. 

     May we all, myself included, remember that when we find ourselves in darkness and in the depths of sadness, that there is always a road, a path, a helping hand that can lead us, show us, or help us back into the light of His love. It is my pleasure to echo His words as I invite others to do as He commanded. "Come, follow me" (Luke 18: 22), is what He said and we must leave all things behind which are not as He would have them be. These things I know to be true and I say them in His sacred name, Jesus Christ. Amen.