Friday, December 13, 2013

CHRISTmas

Well with the Christmas season right around the corner, it is a very joyful time of year!  But it is also a very stressful time and can even be a trying time to some.  Family coming, work, etc.  This I believe is a time Satan tries very very hard to make life difficult.  He hates seeing us so happy and celebrating Christs birth, so he throws everything he can at us to take away from the spirit of the season.  He puts emphasis on getting the right gifts and the best gifts.  If you dont do that then obviously you aren't a good person.  He wants you to get angry and frustrated as deadlines loom, finals come, people show up.  He does everything he can to take our minds off the Christmas season and its true importance!  So what should we care about, how do we beat Satan at his own game?

During the Christmas season it is very easy to get caught up in the hussle and bussle of shopping and parties etc.  But lets look at why these things are even around? Why do we give gifts?  Why are there Christmas parties?  Why is it Christmas and not X-mas?  Why do we draw family near at this time and have family meals and traditions?  It is not because we are trying to beat the Jones down the street and show everyone we care more.  It is not an excuse to be lazy and waste time.  It is not about decorations and merchandise, it is about our Savior Jesus Christ!  He gave this world the greatest gift of all, a chance to return back to our Heavenly Father.  He taught that by serving others we are serving him.  He wasn't concerned with worldly objects and having the nicest clothes or place to live.  I believe we give gifts on Christmas more as a service and similitude than a way to show off.  We are near our families not to prove we can put on the best Christmas but to be with those one who we cherish and love.  I encourage all this Christmas season to remember why we have Christmas and look for why we do the things we do.  Know that Satan wants to take away from this spirit of love and joy but it is up to us to remember the real purpose of Christmas.  I saw this painting a few months ago and it really taught me the true meaning of Christmas.  I think there is a lot to learn from it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Faith

Faith is an interesting word in my opinion.  I will be honest I never really knew what it meant when someone asked if I had any faith.  I would always say that I had plenty.  I never knew though what I had plenty of in all honesty, I just knew I had plenty of it.  Then I get out on my mission and I realize two things.  1)  I don't know what faith is.  and 2) I definitely don't have plenty of it!   So I have taken some time recently to find out what Faith is and how do I get more of it. 

I guess first off you need to know that faith is not something you have so much as it is something you DO!  The analogy I like to use to describe doing faith is comparing it to hope.  If I hope the sun will rise tomorrow then I wont do anything to plan for it.  I will just sit and 'hope' it comes.  I won't make plans because it might not.  If it comes I will deal with it then.  If I have faith tomorrow will come I will plan for tomorrow.  I will actively pursue tomorrows events today, because I have faith it will come.  Instead of just sitting and hoping I'm exercising my faith in tomorrow coming by making tomorrow happen before it gets here.  To relate that to Faith in Christ, if we hope that Christ atoned for our sins we would sit and wait till we died to find out.  We would want to hope Christ was there for us but we wouldn't turn to him cause we would be unsure.  When we have faith in Christ we use his atonement by asking for his forgiveness, we may not have a 'perfect knowledge' that he atoned for our sins but because we have faith in him we exercise it  by actively applying the atonement into our lives.  By doing this small act of faith we are following the council given in Alma 32.

 33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
 34 And now, behold, is your aknowledge bperfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your cfaith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your dmind doth begin to expand.
 35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is alight; and whatsoever is light, is bgood, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
 36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

When we have tried the experiment and planted the seed we are using our faith as a verb.  We are trusting in out Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and as the seed grows into a plant and tree so will our faith grow larger and stronger as we continue to act upon it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gods Plan for us

I am not good at explaining myself so I have turned to this video to help me teach what I want to say.  Copy and paste this to your url and learn for yourself what Gods plan for us is!
http://www.mormonchannel.org/our-heavenly-fathers-plan?v=1834798900001


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Any Excuse?

There is a Fable by Aesop that I've been thinking of a lot lately I will relate it to you in a a somewhat shortened and I will change a few words to better explain my purpose.  "There was a coyote once drinking from a mountain spring.  A few feet down stream there came a little lamb to drink out of the same string.  The coyote wanting an excuse to eat the lamb say, "Little lamb, why do you muddy up the water I am drinking?"  The lamb replies "That is impossible!  I am down stream from you so surely it is not I that muddy up your water."  The Coyote thinks for a moment then says "It was You who called me those names last year!"  The lamb again calmly replies "Surely it was not I, for I am only 6 months old."  The wolf replies, "Well it must have been you father!"  And with that, arf arf arf arf.  The coyote ate the lamb.  Before the lamb dies it yells, "Any excuse will serve a tyrant!""

Now after reading that you may be thinking, what does that have to do with anything?  Well I will tell you, why I have been thinking of it.  How often in life do we look for the loopholes and the excuses to do things?  I know I am definitely one of those people who always try to justify something.  But going back to my Rules and Principles post, is that what we are supposed to be doing?  Are we like the coyote looking for a reason to eat the lamb.  Are we the person who spends more time trying to find the loophole and justify ourselves?  That is for you to decide and strive to do better.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Keep the Sabbath Holy

The injunction from God to “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8) has been in force throughout human history. There is power in keeping the Sabbath day holy. I testify that God lives, that we are his children, that he loves us, and that he gives us commandments so he can bless us as we keep them and thereby have joy. As we keep the Sabbath day holy he will bless us, and we will achieve a quiet power for good as individuals, as families, and as nations, that we cannot obtain in any other way.
Let me give two examples:
The small island kingdom of Tonga lies immediately next to the international dateline, so it is the first country in the world to greet the Sabbath day. It is a small country and, in the counting of the world, a poor country. But years ago a wise Tongan king decreed that the Sabbath would be kept holy in Tonga forever.
Modern civilization has come in many ways to Tonga. If one goes to the capital of Nuku’alofa on a weekday, he finds the usual heavy traffic of trucks and cars and the bustle of thousands of shoppers making their regular purchases from well-stocked stores and markets. One sees people line up to view the latest movies and to rent videos. One can watch modern buses whisk tourists off to catch their jet planes, or observe the speed and clarity of a satellite call to the United States. The streets are crowded and business is good. You might wonder, “What is so different about this town from hundreds of others like it throughout the world?”
But when Sunday dawns on the kingdom of Tonga, a transformation takes place. If one goes downtown, he sees deserted streets—no taxis or buses or crowds of people. All the stores, all the markets, all the movie theaters, all the offices are closed. No planes fly, no ships come in or out, no commerce takes place. No games are played. The people go to church. Tonga is remembering to keep the Sabbath day holy.
It is significant that the first country in the world to greet the holy Sabbath keeps the Sabbath holy.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Repentence, Why we need it

Today i wanted to share the importance and the steps of repentance as given in Preach My Gospel.  Repentance is one of the biggest principles we teach as missionaries.  The reason that it is such a big deal for us is we all sin.  We all make mistakes, and we all need our Saviors help.  With out the Atonement and the gift of repentance we would not be able to return to live with our father in heaven.  When we ask people to repent and when i repent myself there are certain steps you must follow to truly repent.  Not everything can be taken care of by just saying a prayer and asking for forgiveness, this is a necessary step but not the whole formula.  So what is the first step of repentance?
1) Recognition, this can actually in my opinion be one of the hardest steps of repentance.  We need to recognize we have sinned, or wronged someone.  This takes an act of humility and honesty to yourself.  This is a very important first step because until you recognize you have sinned you cant make things right.

2) STOP, stop what it is you are doing and strive to never do it again!  This isnt to say if you do do it again then you cant be forgiven but notice it says strive to never do it again, if your heart is in the right place and you are doing your best heavenly Father will do everything he can to help you out.

3)Confess, Depending on what the sin is, a sin where you have hurt someone or yourself you need to confess your sins.  For those small sins confession may only mean confessing to our Heavenly Father that you have sinned, for those more serious sins we made need to confess to Priesthood leaders.  If you have hurt or offended someone the confessing can also be part of the restitution process and you confess to that person to help make things right.

4) Make Restitution,  this one is a difficult one to put into words.  This is something you must decide what needs to be done.  If you have damaged something or hurt someone you have to make restitution to that person.  But if it is a sin that only affects you, how do you make restitution?  I  am going to leave that question open to your own answers.

5)Acknowledge the Savior,  It is only through him we can have repentance of our sins.  he took on our sins for us!  These steps are not easy steps, but was it easy for Christ in Gethsemane?  No!  He took on the pains of our sins and afflictions and satisfied justice.  If it wasn't easy for him to suffer for our sins why would it be easy for us to seek repentance?  Compared to the suffering the Savior went through these steps are very simple, but they require humility and sorrow and your self striving to do what is right.

Repentance does not always mean making big changes. Often it simply requires an increased commitment to live according to God’s will. True repentance does not always happen quickly; be patient with yourself as you strive to do what is right and correct mistakes you make. As you repent, you will experience a change of heart. You will no longer desire to sin. You will come to know that you are a child of God and that you need not continue making the same mistakes over and over. Your desire to follow God will grow stronger and deeper.
 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rules VS Principles

Recently we were taught about the difference between rules and principles.  What I learned about the two I thought was very neat and an eye opener for myself.  So I want to share what I learned with you because it has benefited me in my life.



RULES:  What is a rule?  Well in the dictionary there are many different meanings for the word rule.  But the one Im going to is it says rule .  That does not sound like a good thing to me.  A rule is a very direct and easy to understand concept.  The law says don't speed.  That is a rule, and one that is easily understood.  It means don't speed.  It is defined, and if we do break it there is a consequence.  In this case you can get fined.  Rules are controlling, when we follow rules we are controlled and are given do's and don'ts, they chain us down.



PRINCIPLES: What is a principle? Principle: a fundamental, or primary law from which others are derived.   A principal is a very open ended concept, it requires exercising our agency and deciding for ourselves what it means.  to relate it to my first analogy.  The principle behind not speeding is to keep us safe.  So what if that was the law when driving?  stay safe.  That is the principle of the law and in theory if we were all smart and made wise decisions, "O be wise, what more can I say." Jacob 6:12, Then that is all we would need is this one simple principle which tells us to be safe.  If we follow principles we are free to make our own decisions and we wouldn't need rules to tell us all the do's and don'ts we would be satisfied to just stay safe!

We are human however, and we are prone to make mistakes.  We are given the principles, but we often don't understand them.  So we have to be given rules.  These rules however are not here to bind us down, but to help us understand the principle.  Our Heavenly  Father gives us a principle, Come to earth, be righteous and return to live with me, with a body.  That should be enough to tell us everything we need to know.  Is what I'm doing helping me to return to my father in Heaven or not?  Sadly we don't always make the right decisions, so our Heavenly Father gives us rules to follow so we can return to live with him.  I'd like to encourage everyone to try to understand the principle behind rules.   When you understand the principle you are made free, and you are using your own agency to make righteous decisions.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What is the Atonement?

"As used in the scriptures, to atone is to suffer the penalty for sins, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all mankind. Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Know that God Knows whats best for you.

I just wanted to take a moment and share this.  Sometimes it feels as though we have to make our own decisions as best we can.  But that is not true, and to responce to that feeling I am going to use this little story by Elder Kent D. Watson of the Seventy,
"Our Heavenly Father knows each of us and will always be there for us. He was with us in the beginning. He knows us as we were then. He knows us as we are now. And He knows what we can become. (See D&C 93:23–24.)
When President Thomas S. Monson graduated from college, he received job offers from major multinational companies. In deciding where to go, he made his decision a matter of prayer. He has taught: “There are factors within you and within me, even basic principles with which we have been imbued from our creation, which seem to call out and demand of us our best. Those particular years and those cravings and those bits of inspiration seem to be telling you and me, ‘Seek the best in life. Look for opportunities where you can be of greatest service.’”4
Shortly after graduation, he had the opportunity to become a commissioned officer in the United States Naval Reserve, which meant he would need to be released from serving as a counselor in a bishopric. He prayed again and conferred with his former stake president, Elder Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Lee counseled him not to accept the commission as a naval officer. President Monson obeyed, declined the commission, and requested to be discharged. Not long afterward, he was called at age 22 to be the bishop of his ward.
President Monson has taught that our decisions determine our destiny. He said: “I would not be standing before you, had I not followed the counsel of a prophet, had I not prayed about a decision, had I not come to an appreciation of the important truth: The wisdom of God oft times appears as foolishness to men. But the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.”5
Our Heavenly Father knows us. He is there for us. If we seek Him, we will find Him. If we ask, He will answer. When we do our part, He is sure to do His part in pointing the way and answering the question, “Whither shall we go?”"

When we ask ourselves that question where should we go?  If we study out the answers in our own mind and try to find the best possible solution and the present that to our heavenly father he will let you know if the decision you have made is the right decision.  He wants us to succeed and he knows what we need to do to reach our full potential.  Trust in him.

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I am currently a missionary in the Phoenix Arizona Mission.

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