Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ye Cannot Say, When Ye Are Brought To That Awful Crisis...

Alma 34:33 
"And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed"

As my mission comes to an end this same scripture applies. I know that I have done what I can for my God and I have done my best to serve him faithfully. In our missions in life we cannot wait to the end to change or decide to serve God, but we must do it now. No matter what point in our lives we are at we should decide today to serve God and not wait until the end is near. I know that God is real. He is our Father, and Jesus Christ is literally His son. He was sent to this word for us. He lived and died so that we may know the way to return to our God. But we must do it now. There is no better time. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, but, today is! If we trust in God and we repent, God will forgive us of our sins. And when that day comes we will be called by His name and we will be numbered among the Saints of God. 

I have come to know now more then ever before that God loves His children! And all that He wants us to do is to follow the example of His son, Jesus Christ. And that any man or woman will get nearer to God by reading His book, The Book of Mormon, and living by its teachings then by any other book! It is a gate that we must enter through if we are to get to our Father in heaven, and abide in His kingdom forever.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Charity, The Perfect Love

For the past few days my mind has been wrapped around the Savior, His life, and mission. But most important to me at this time is His unconditional and endless love. In the life and ministry of the Savior he went about and did many great things. I would even venture to say everything he did was great! He always had compassion for those whom he had been around. Charity, The Pure Love of Christ, was always manifested to all.

I love the stories in The New Testament of Christ and His love.
In Matthew 20:30-34 when the two blind men cried out to the Christ saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David." As they exercised their faith they asked him to "open there eyes" and as they did  "So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him." (Matthew 20:30-34) This shows us that His love for us can and will heal us physically if we have faith in Him.

In Mark 9:17-27 there is a father who's son is possessed by an evil spirit. This spirit had many times tried to "kill" this young boy. "...It hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him." And the father asks, "if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." So Jesus "rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him" And the young boy was healed. The love of Jesus Christ reached so far as to cleanse this boy spiritually because of the faith of him, and his father. And what is really cool is that he commanded that it "enter no more into him," which shows the permanency of his healing. 

In Luke 5:17-25 is one of my favorite stories of Christ healing people. There is a man taken by Palsy and his friends were trying to bring him the Christ to be healed but where Jesus was, was so full of people that they could not get this man to Christ. But because of there faith they know that if they could get him to the Savior that he would heal him. So they went to the roof and opened it and lowered him down to the Savior. And in verse 20 it says, "And when [Jesus] saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee" Some who were present when Christ said he spoke "blaspheme" and Jesus said to them "that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them..." From this miracle we learn that the Lord loves us so much that he not only healed but he proved to the unbelievers that He has power to forgive sin.

From these three stories, if you pay close attention, the love of Jesus Christ is never withheld in any circumstance. If they were sick, or afflicted, possessed, or even the most vilest of sinners. His love is given freely and if we have faith in Him, He will heal us from all things, both spiritually and physically. It is wonderful to realize that someone who is perfect in every way, shape and form could love us, who are very imperfect! It is a perfect and unconditional love and compassion for us. And as we have faith in Him. And give him thanks and glory for all the blessings he gives us. We will feel His love, power, and influence in our lives!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Crossroads

Today I was reading Elder Martins Blog about Choices, And I started thinking about the crossroads we come to sometimes in our lives. And I though off a poem that I really love.

At the Crossroads
He stood at the crossroads all alone, 
The sunlight in his face; 
He had no thought for an evil course, 
He was set for a manly race. 
But the road stretched east and the 
road stretched west, 
And he did not know which road 
was the best; 
So he took the wrong road and it lead 
him down, 
And he lost the race and the 
victor's crown. 
He was caught at last in an 
angry snare 
Because no one stood at the 
crossroads there 
To show him the better road. 
Another day at the self-same place 
A boy with high hopes stood; 
He, too, was set for a manly race 
He was seeking the things that 
were good. 
And one was there who the roads 
did know, 
And that one showed him the 
way to go; 
So he turned away from the road 
leading down, 
And he won the race and the 
victor's crown; 
He walks today on the highways fair 
Because one stood at the 
crossroads there 
To show him a better road. 
- Sadie Tiller Crawley 

In life we all, at some point, will stand at the crossroads of our lives. Only left to wonder, what way will get us "the victor's crown?" 

Who knows which road is best? 
All who have "entered in by the gate" know what road is best. The Lord has called us all who have received the right road to stand at the Crossroads. That is the call of a Prophet of God! And Why? Because each and every one of us have had someone to show us the way. For most it may have been your parents. For others it may have been that special Missionary. And we are the only ones who know "The Better Way." There are people that only you could stand at there crossroads. Why, because God planned it that way.  And that person that may be set for the "manly race" could be your best friend, your mother, your son.  And if you aren't there no one will be. And they will be caught in satin's snare and lost because we, who have the truth, don't share it.

Stand at the Crossroads, Its worth it in the END!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Keeping The Sabbath Day Holy

So this past week we had a wonderful time at church. Sacrament meeting was quite good. Both Elder Martin and I spoke and then the Stake President spoke. And it was just a great experience all together. The past few months I have been reflecting upon the things I have learned so far on my mission and I was thinking about how my view of Church has changed. Before my mission I, like most kids, just went because my parents told me to and just sorta "went through the motions" and I never understood the why. As I have studied and had the opportunity to to teach people about church my whole view has changed and it has taken a new meaning in my life. 

What is the Purpose of Church?
In Moroni 6:6 it says, "And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus" There are many great bonuses of going to church. But above all is to take the sacrament. This holy and sacred ordinance symbolizes the body and blood of Christ. And it is the only thing that we do in church that we can't do anywhere else. Often times here in the South we have people say, "well in the bible it says, were two or more are gathered in my name there I'll be also. So I don't need to go to church" 

During Christ's ministry in the Americas he taught the people about this ordinance. "...he commanded that they should give unto the multitude. And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you." (3 Nephi 18:4-6)

But Why? This is what changed my view. When we are baptized we except Christ as our Savior. And we have our sins washed away and we "become new creatures," being cleansed of our sin. But our life as sinners doesn't end at baptism. We each make mistakes each and every day and will never be perfect in this life, but God says "no unclean thing can enter into his rest" So right there we would be disqualified for salvation if we can't remain clean, but we can. And this is how, each week when we partake of the sacrament and we can in a sense be baptized again. We renew our covenant that we made at baptism. The sacrament prayer on the bread is

"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Moroni 4:3) The part about having the spirit is what cleanses us. We learn that the Holy Ghost is the sanctifier, meaning it purifies us and as we receive the spirit we can become clean! Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone once said that "the sacrament is the most holy and sacred ordinance we do in the church" And the reason is it ties us to the Atonement of Christ, and links us to his mercy and allows us to one day live with God our Father, and Jesus Christ and be clean and perfect even as he is perfect.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Power Of A Testimony

So this past week Elder Martin and myself were out trying to visit this lady that use to be taught by missionaries. After many attempts we finally found her sitting outside. It was pretty awesome because she was rather rude to us at the beginning, she wouldn't shake my hand and was very unhappy to see us,
but we were very polite and just talked to her and found out she got offended by something a missionary had said to her. We simply bore testimony about the Savior and the importance of our message and it was incredible. She went from rude, to happy, to talk about Christ and wanted to continue learning. By the end of about 15 min of talking to her we asked if we could come back and teach her again, her reply was not what was expected from the first impression. She said, "Umm, well lets see. Today is Tuesday so how about Wednesday night?" Wow I didn't expect that. So we asked her to read from The Book of Mormon before tomorrow and she did and it was a wonderful experience.
But what was it that changed her heart? It couldn't be because were two really really really ridiculously good looking young men, could it? Nah, The only thing, power, or influence on earth that has the ability to change our hearts is THE SPIRIT. "...the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming" (Alma 16:16

What is a testimony? And how did this change her heart? It is a witness of what one knows to be true. For example one may say after receiving a personal experience pertaining to repentance, "I know that Christ forgives sin." It is a firm declaration of something that is true and right. This simple declaration of what is true invited the Holy Ghost. The reason for this is that the Spirit testifies or confirms things that are true. If things are true, the Spirit comes and hearts are changed. And not only others but our own as well. Sharing what we know with others not only helps them but strengthens our testimonies in the process.

If we don't have a testimony, how can we obtain one? We must first study it out in our minds what we want to know. Example, if we want to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet we must first know who he is and what it means to be a prophet. Or, if we want to know if Christ is our Savior we must first learn what that means and what makes it possible for him to save us. Then We must go to God, the author of all truth, "He who knoweth all things" and ask him in prayer if it is true and right. Then we must patiently wait for him to tell us. And we will know by the power of the Holy Ghost. "And by the power of the Holy Ghost [you] my know the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:5)

I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that God lives. Christ is our Lord and Savior. And that His church as been restored to the earth by a modern day prophet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The End of the Old Testament

The very last few verses of scripture in the Old Testament are rather interesting to me because it contains a prophecy of an event to proceed the coming of Christ but as well its a hidden message. In Malachi 4 verses 5-6 it reads,
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

What does he mean by "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children"?
I think a good scripture worth referencing is in Matthew 16:19 "And I will give unto thee [peter] 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." 
The turning of hearts is contained in the power and authority Christ speaks of to "bind on earth and bind in heaven." It is when a marriage or sacred ordinance of God is preformed it is sanctioned by God because it was done by His authority in His name.

In today's marriage vows anyone who has been married in a civil marriage has heard these closing words, "till death do you part" The meaning of this is that you are married until death separates you. And that's it. You are no longer married to that person. How sad this is, to love someone so much that you dedicate your life to them and in an instant they are gone, lost forever to us. But thankfully not lost to God. This however is not the design and plan of God. He does not want to see this happen to us. He want's us to be happy and have an eternal family. This is why he has fulfilled this prophecy.

On April 3rd, 1836 Joseph Smith the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery were praying in the Kirtland, Ohio temple when the following occurred, "...Another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—" (Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-15)

It is true, I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ that God has sent his servants to restore the Priesthood onto the earth so that family's can be sealed forever, for "time and all eternity" and death shall not part us from our loved ones. I know that my family will be eternal as long as we do our best to keep the commandments of God, He has promised it to be so.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Whats So Special About The First Sat & Sun of April And October?

In Amos 3:7 It says that "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" His secrets are things that pertain to our salvation and our spiritual and often times even temperal salvation. God as told prophets that we will not work without one of them on the earth.
Example, he sent Noah to warn of the flood. He sent Moses to give the Ten Commandments. He sent Christ who is the very Son of God, but also still a prophet to teach his people.
In Matthew 16:17-18 it says"...flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.... and upon this rock I will build my church;"
The rock of which Christ speaks is the Rock of Revelation. God build his church upon constent comunication to his servents and his people.
April 2nd and 3rd, come listens to a prophets voice. President Thomas S. Monson