Why Do We Turn To God?

We are taught that God is all powerful, all wise, and omniscient.  That last one is very important and we will get to that in a moment.  Why do we turn to God in times of trials and struggles?  We know that He can help us with any problem we have but we also know that when and how He helps us does not always fit into our timeline or expectations.   When we receive help, many times it is predicated on some action or actions on our part or something we need to change in ourselves to get the help we desire.

Although it’s true that He can get us through any situation or circumstance, He does require something from us.  This is not because He can’t do it alone but because He wants to see if we are willing to work with Him and do all that we can do first.  You see, He doesn’t deal in hand-outs but He does deal in giving a helping hand in the form of blessings.

Well, why, you might ask, do we have to prove that we have done all that we can before we expect Him to step in?   Because then, He knows that you really do need His help; there’s no more that you can do on your own.  But why do we depend on Him and trust Him to give us the help that we need?  Why do we trust that whatever help we get from Him is the right thing and we can follow through on it?

Remember that word, omniscient?  What does it mean? Well, according to what I’ve read, it is a derivative of the words ‘omnis’ which means all and  ‘sciens’ which means knowledge or knowing.  So then, omniscient means all knowledge or all knowing.  That is exactly why we should turn to God in all things.  He knows everything there is to know; He doesn’t need to learn any more because there is nothing for Him to learn.  He is the total source of all knowledge.  That’s not to say that we shouldn’t go to others for advice or counseling.  He has given others enough of His knowledge that they can intervene but when human knowledge is not enough, then we need to turn to Him.

He has provided us with ways to get to know Him and partake of His great wisdom and knowledge through the scriptures, through prophets and apostles, through our service to others, and through personal prayer that sometimes may bring us personal revelation to guide and direct our paths.

Because God loves us and wants us to be happy, He gives us many opportunities to turn our hearts to Him so He can impart some of His knowledge and wisdom and help us grow into caring, compassionate and loving individuals.  If God can do that and He can, why can’t we follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ with a happy and accepting heart and a willingness to share the truths that we learn from them through the scriptures and the words of all the holy prophets who hold the keys of the mysteries of God.  They have had great things revealed to them and they share those truths that they’ve been given with us.  We can, then, gain knowledge and understanding of God’s plan of salvation and hopefully have a desire to follow that plan through faith in His ability to see us through anything and everything that the world can throw at us.  Whatever our circumstances, He is there waiting for us to just take His hand and He will lead us to our Savior who is mighty to save.

We must remember that God will not impart all of His knowledge to us.  There are some things that we would not be able to comprehend or know how to use.  He gives us only what we can handle.  One day we will know all the mysteries of God if we are faithful to the end and abide by His word.  Most of us are in our infancy when it comes to understanding all that God has to give us.  One day our knowledge and understanding will be greater than we could ever imagine and it will be glorious.

I pray that all of us, as children of our Heavenly Father, will always turn to God for help, guidance, strength and hope in all our circumstances and that we will have faith to act upon the knowledge and wisdom He imparts through the scriptures, the words of all the holy prophets and promptings from the Holy Ghost.  Let His wisdom and knowledge flow through each of us and become a part of us and the lives we live.

So, now, we understand why we can and should trust and depend on God in all things for there is no greater knowledge and wisdom that can be given to man than that of our wise and omniscient Father in heaven.

Are You Spiritually Charged?

Imagine you are on the receiving end of your phone charger; meaning the part that’s plugged into the wall to receive renewed energy so it can function.  Your phone doesn’t function when it loses it’s energy and needs to be plugged into it’s power source to be renewed.

However, your energy source when you are plugged in is completely different from that of your phone charger.  Oh, it can still give you a full charge to energize you and help you function, but this is your spiritual power source that we’re talking about and your power source is eternal.  In other words, every time you plug yourself into your spiritual power source, the renewal is awesome and it helps you reach into the eternities through your daily connection to your power source.

So, what is that power source?  Of course, you know that your spiritual power source is not from an electrical outlet, but it comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ in all it’s simplicity and our commitment to God is to obey His commandments and live our lives in such a way that we pattern our lives after His son Jesus Christ.

As I stated, there is nothing complicated about the gospel of Jesus Christ; it’s all pretty straight forward.  God tells us through the prophets that living the gospel as Jesus did in His obedience to His Father’s commandments, loving Him with all our hearts, loving our neighbors as ourselves as Jesus did and doing it with great love and compassion for God’s children as Jesus did qualifies us for eternal life and eternal salvation.

The problem comes when we start to decide that breaking one or two of the commandments once in a while doesn’t hurt anything or that living a Christ-like life is just for Sundays while the rest of the week we forget our commitment and perhaps make some not so Christ-like decisions or choices.

That’s when we lose our connection to our eternal power.  We can check our spiritual power level simply by asking ourselves, “Would Jesus do this if He were here?”  If our answer to that is anything but a definite ‘yes’, then we have lost our connection and we need to get plugged back into it quickly.  We don’t want to give Satan and his minions any chances to pull us so far away from our eternal power source, that we can never return to feel our spiritual energy renewed from the best power source ever.

Yes, we will make mistakes; we’re only human and humans make mistakes all the time.  It’s not wrong to make a mistake; but we need to make sure we learn something from our mistakes that will help us to make better choices and decisions in the future.

God did not put us here to be perfect because that is impossible in this life, but He did put us here to learn and grow spiritually, as well as physically.  He knows each of us, our hopes, our dreams, our thoughts, our abilities and talents; He knows us like no one else ever could.  After all, He did create us so how could He not know us from the inside out?

It was in God’s love for all of us that He gave His only begotten son Jesus Christ to take upon Himself all of our sins and iniquities, hurts, pains, and sorrows, and overcoming death with His resurrection so that one day we would all be resurrected just like Him.  Then we will be judged according to our faith and works.

So, we need to do all we can while in this life to follow the Savior; to come unto Him and learn how to be more like Him.  It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and patience.  Sometimes we expect too much from Him and ourselves right away but remember, we learn precept by precept, here a little, there a little.  We start with baby steps and keep working at it daily so that each day we are a little bit closer to becoming more like Him. He is not looking for perfection from us any more than our Heavenly Father but He is looking for a sincere commitment to follow Him.

Making a commitment and covenanting to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, honoring His name and always remembering Him is the key to having our spiritual power source available to us at all times.   How is your spiritual connection working for you?  Are you staying spiritually charged through the Savior and His atonement?  I pray that you are but if you need some recharging, you know where you can find it.

Where Is Your Peace?

Where do you find your peace in this world of chaos, war, disease, hatred and corruption?

Peace is in nature as it reveals the master art of creation in all its beauty and splendor.  Every piece with its own intricate makeup to bring each one forth in its own due time.  That time is set by the Lord’s hand and he has instructed each of his creations when it is their time and they remember it because it came from their creator.

Peace is in music composed by renowned composers who so masterfully put the notes together forming melodies and words that can soothe the soul.  God gave them that talent so they could make music that could touch and soften hearts and music that could help to melt away the pain of loss, of heartache, of sorrow, and grief.  God gave them the talent to do lift the spirits of His children.

Peace is in the masterful hands of the painter who with delicate and deliberate strokes of the brush or whatever medium he may use to create such beauty as would soothe the eyes and awaken the senses as we, at times, imagine ourselves as part of that painting or perhaps something in the painting reminds us of days gone by that were quieter, kinder and sweeter and we wish we could return to them.

I can find peace in all of these for the moment, but I know where I find my lasting peace; I find it with Christ.  He is with me no matter where I am,  how bad my circumstances may be, or how my heart might be breaking in pieces.  In the midst of conflict, in the midst of sorrow, in the midst of affliction, in all things, Christ can bring peace to my soul through the power of His atonement and this peace that He offers me does not end unless I allow it to end.  His peace is a greater peace; it is a peace that can bring immediate relief in my afflictions.  When I pray in His name, His peace envelopes me and I feel wrapped in the arms of His love.  I have but to ask and it’s there and it stays as long as my heart is in tune with His and with the Holy Spirit.

I invite all who may read this to reach out to the Savior with a thankful heart for what He has done for you and ask to receive His peace, especially in these times of uncertainty.  If you are sincere, you will feel it wrap around your heart like a warm fuzzy blanket.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ.

Music In Adversity

I’ve listened to people in Italy where there are so many in confinement because of the Corona virus and today, people in Spain who have taken a bad situation and turned it into something good and uplifting.

What was it that made things seem positive in the midst of such a situation?  Something that has lifted and inspired man from the early days of mankind; music.  I have heard that music heals the soul and I truly believe that music, somehow, can reach into the hearts and souls of people to bring them through even the worst of times.  Even in war time, it was music that got people through the horrors of death and threats from the enemy.

What a wonderful gift God gave man with music.  Not only is music making these days of self-confinement to deter the spread of the Corona virus doable and giving joy to those listening, but it shows the determination and resiliency of people to make the best of a bad situation.  I applaud those who are finding ways with music, singing, and even laughter to combat the distancing of people they know and love.

I would like to share a time in my life where music had a soothing effect on me during a difficult time I was going through.  In 2003 I started having what the doctors call Essential Tremors.  They came on suddenly while I was at work.  They began affecting my work and I lost my job.  Because they came so suddenly and they affected my ability to function, I had to give up driving as well.  Over the years since then, they have come less frequently but when they do, it takes a while for me to be able to function normally again.

Anyway, there was a period of time  when I had a friend of mine from church who became my roommate and we stayed roommates for eight years.  During one of my episodes with the tremors, my roommate wanted to do something to help but she knew she had to just let the tremors run their course.  One day when I was having some pretty bad ones and was not able to respond but she knew I could hear everything that was going on, my dear roommate got out the hymn book and started singing softly the beautiful hymns.  She noticed that as she continued to sing, my body began to relax a little at a time until the tremors stopped and I fell asleep.   So, music does have very positive effects.

Perhaps this is a chance for all of us to think about what is really important in life.  Maybe it’s a time for us to set our priorities straight and appreciate the good things in life.  Maybe, just maybe, God is giving us a chance to realize what is truly important in our lives.

While we are quarantined just about everywhere, let us take the time that we have and re-evaluate our priorities and figure out a better way to make our lives less stressful and  what we need to do, individually, to make our lives and those around us more peaceful and happier.  If it takes music, poetry, art, exercise, or getting back to talking instead of texting to our family and friends, let’s do it.  Let’s make the world a better place.  Let’s show the world what we are made of and conquer our fears, frustrations, anger, complacency; whatever is holding us back from being happy.

This may not cure the Corona virus but it sure can cure some of the things that we have allowed to be a part of our lives and that stir up negative feelings.  We can do better; we are survivors and survivors fight for the better.

Of course we cannot overcome everything negative in our lives, at least not overnight, but we have a chance to begin to turn things around.  It can start with something as simple as sharing music, a smile and maybe even a little applause as I saw from the people in Spain at the conclusion of the music that, apparently, everyone was enjoying.

If a little music can lift hearts during times such as these, just think what we could do just by changing ourselves to be better than before this happened.  Maybe I’m just a dreamer, but I think that if we put our minds to it, we could literally change the world around us for the better, one life at a time.

I live in a small community and when I moved in, of course, I knew no one.  I’ve been here a little over a year and now I know almost everyone; some better than others but everyone who does know me, knows that I like to give and receive hugs.  Now they look forward to my hugs and will even ask for one sometimes.  What’s wonderful about the hugs is that I often hear them say “I love you” and, of course, the feeling is mutual and I let them know.

Many of these people have not known hugs or, at least not very often in their lives.  Now, a hug makes them feel special and that’s what hugs do so I have no problem sharing them.  It’s a little difficult during this time not being able to hug everyone like I’m used to but I still make sure they know I love them.

This may not resonate with some people and that’s okay but I just thought it was worth sharing.  So if you’re feeling down and depressed or lonely because of the quarantine, turn on some music, share it with your neighbors from your porch or balcony like the people in Italy and Spain.  Lift other’s spirits and you will lift your own.

Sisters

Sisters come in different colors and sizes with different talents and and abilities,different likes and dislikes and different temperaments with different goals in mind and usually walk in different paths in life.

The things that set sisters apart, however, can be the very things that can draw them closer together.  That is because often those differences shine on each other and in some way may bring about the best in each sister.  Often, they become a link in their chain of life and if the sisters use them and build on them with love and tenderness, the links grow stronger and stronger.

The bond between sisters is a unique one.  Once it is welded together, there is no breaking it.  There can be arguments, disagreements and, at times, even anger, but once that bond is made and its had time to become stronger. through time there is no breaking it.

Warning!!!! Be careful.  there may be someone or a group of someones who may be jealous of that bond because they don’t have that in their lives.  They may devise ways to try to weaken that bond and put a chink in that link, but sisters can overcome that with constant prayer and an out pour of love that may inspire and strengthen their bond or link.

Sisters can strengthen each other and help each other get over the rough places in their lives as they stand side by side (figuratively) even when distance and time may separate them at times.  When those hearts are knit together with undeniable love and trust, there is nothing that can break those binding ties.

When there is no separation, sometimes it can be difficult to keep things flowing calmly if one of the sisters begins to distrust the other because she has some perceived notions that her sister is doing something she sees as overstepping her bounds.  Now, if that bond is strong and secure between them, this can be solved simply by confronting that sister and expressing her concern in a tactful manner and the two making a resolve to be more open in the future.

Sister relationships, like any relationship  requires, not only love and trust, but being able to face each other with concerns that may have absolutely no basis except maybe they heard somebody say something they perceived to be something it was not.  It could be something the other sister or other person said that was taken the wrong way or an action that was perceived in the wrong way.  Facing that person with what we may perceive in a loving way, can stop a kink from coming into that trusting link and causing a problem.  When those kinks occur and they are not straightened out, they can become permanent and the damage done may not be reversible.

Whether our sisters are blood related or not, we must be careful to keep any bond that is made strong and able to overcome any issues whether of trust, compatibility or anything else, it must be dealt with before things get out of hand and both sisters are feeling sad and hurt.

I have one blood sister and I love her to heaven and back.  I also have many other sisters from many walks of life, many colors, many backgrounds, many beliefs and many lifestyles but one thing I always try to establish with them is first that I love them with all my heart and second that we can trust each other with anything and everything.  My bonds with my sisters are real and I cherish and honor them.

If you are reading this and you have a sister or sisters, I hope you can build a bond if you haven’t already and make it a real bond of love and trust.  Those are the things that give strength to those bonds and what keeps them strong.

You may have to earn their trust if that hasn’t been part of your relationship, but it’s a vital part of any relationship, including sisters and love is essential.  If there is no love, there is no relationship.  The two go hand in hand.  When those two ingredients are present, there is room for patience, understanding, compassion, strengthening, honoring, and building.  These are the ties that bind.

Love your sisters; cherish them now.  You may never get another chance.

A Season For All Living Things

As a fact of nature’s law, all living things have a season.  There is a season for birth, growth and death.  It is how God created all things that live in and on the earth.  As you might remember, it was called in The Lion King movie, the circle of life.

There are those, of course, who deny any existence of God or His creation but cannot give a confident reason for our existence or any other living thing upon the earth, including the earth itself.

Now, this is not going to be a debate or assertion about the creation of the world but rather a look at the grand work of the Almighty God.  Whether those reading this believe in Him or not has no bearing here.  I just want to state a fact that I feel comfortable in talking about because it is what I believe and how I see the world I live in.

Let’s start with something that I just love being around; trees.  Yes, I love trees.  For some reason, looking out of my windows and seeing trees just makes me feel good. When I lived in Virginia I had two trees just outside my window.  One of those trees was a really slow bloomer but I would talk to it and encourage it to keep going and it would catch up to the other trees.

I know, you’re thinking the woman is a nut case.  Think what you will, but I could see that tree trying to bud and bloom and I think, maybe it needed a little more carbon dioxide from me to help it along.  You see, I think all living things work together and sometimes we help each other in ways that may not be evident to others.

Throughout God’s creation, every living thing has a life cycle of its own; some short and some long but each has its own purpose and contributes something to life in general.

We may look at some living things and wonder what purpose does that one have? Sometimes our reason for existence is not something that the eye can behold or that the mind can understand but God knows the purpose for every living thing he has created. We don’t have to know their purpose; only that they are part of God’s creation.  We will not know all the whys and wherefores in this life and that is all part of God’s plan.  You see, God doesn’t reveal everything to us; only what He feels we need to know at the present time.  He knows that if we had everything spread out in front of us at one time, we would become confused and wouldn’t understand His ultimate goal for us, which is to return and be with Him.  We are still somewhat in our infant stage of spiritual understanding of eternal things.  It is enough that we understand the circle of life. 

We, as well as every other living creature, have a time to be born; that is, a time to be brought into this world in absolute innocence.  It is a time of joy when a new life comes into the world.  At least, for those who look at a new life as something precious to be loved and nurtured until they can be on their own.  Even those lives that will become huge and almost cumbersome creatures produce the cutest offspring and they welcome their new lives into the world as the treasures they are meant to be.

There are times, that for whatever reason, a mother will reject and not nurture her newborn.  This is true with humans and animals, as well.  The reasons are often hard to understand but because life is precious, there needs to be those who will step in and take those precious lives into their hearts and give them the love and nurturing they still need.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen and tiny lives are lost because of the lack of love and nurturing that they need.  Gratefully, those who survive and are nurtured have an opportunity to go into their second season of life.  This is the season where those lives have a chance to grow, become stronger, self-sufficient and able to take care of their needs.  For some in the animal world this process happens in a fairly short time while others take longer.

Herein, is the second season.  Human life is a long process of learning, developing character, physical and mental strength for learning new things, developing spiritual strength and awareness of who they are and of their place in the world.  The result is that the new lives have developed a sense of independence that allows them to grow into able adults.   This independence comes through the love and nurturing they received while yet, young and in need of guidance.  There are times, however, that the lack of nurturing and training, gives some lives a stronger will to survive and become better to accomplish, sometimes, great things.

 

The human life is all about experiences and learning; neither of which ever really end until we reach that third season of life.   For some, it is a life short-lived; for others, it can span many, many years filled with a volume of experiences and learning.  Sometimes, those who live long, share them in ways that help mold new young lives into ones who seek new experiences and learning to pass down to the next generation.  All of this is the part of life growth.  We must grow as individuals, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as well and we must prepare ourselves to be the examples for other new lives to follow and continue to grow.

Then, we come to the death part of life that some people look at as being the final stage of life.  In reality, it is only a stepping stone into a new and better life.  During life’s journey, some people have been close to God and Jesus Christ and have tried to live a good life and do positive things with their lives.  Still, they may have many challenges to overcome in this life.  Others have denied even the existence of God and Jesus Christ, some have mocked them and have hardened their hearts against them that there is no room in their hearts for them.  God loves His children and it pains Him to see some of His children deny Him and His son, Jesus Christ.

However, God, being a just God and a loving Father has prepared a place for all of His children; even those who deny Him.  He knows that we don’t all obey His commandments as we should, some are more faithful than others and some display no faith, at all.  Depending on whether we are with keeping commandments and being faithful to Him and Jesus Christ, determines where we will spend eternity.

We all know that eternity is a long time, without end. So where will we spend eternity?  In John 14:2, Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” God has prepared very well for all of His children and we will all either enter into one of those mansions if we’ve lived a good life or if we were evil and did not follow the commandments and did nothing but harm people along our way; never helping another who was lost, alone or in need and never repented, we will suffer the consequences.  For those who lived with evil and never tried to turn away from it but embraced it, theirs will be an eternity in outer darkness where their souls will be racked with guilt and there will be no deliverance. It will feel like being in a lake of fire and brimstone and there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  The rest will be welcomed into one of the mansions He has prepared.  He has mansions for every level of obedience to His commandments and service to those in need.  He has thought of everything and everyone will be rewarded according to what they have done with their lives while here on earth.

He would like to see all of His children return to Him but He knows there will always be those who will turn away from Him and refuse the wonderful plan He has laid out for them.  It makes Him sad and I’m sure He has shed many a tear because of those lost children.  Those who stick with Him, trust Him, believe in Him and follow in the footsteps of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ are surrounded by His divine and eternal love and are blessed.   I can’t think of a more loving and caring Father than that.  He leaves no one out of His plan.

God doesn’t give us the answer to all of our problems in this life and sometimes we have to endure many things in this life that seem unfair, but if we endure them well and remain faithful and obedient to God’s commandments, no matter what, we will be rewarded in ways we can’t imagine.  It’s hard to realize that sometimes when we are buffeted by pressures and challenges that come to us but remember, God has a plan for each of us that goes beyond this earth life and continues when we pass beyond the veil between life and death.

When we pass through that veil, we pass into a different and beautiful life.  Guess what?   We keep on learning, growing and serving in ways we never would have imagined and remember those ‘unanswered prayers’?  They will finally be answered and we will know such joy that it will consume us and we will praise God forever.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m hoping for a celestial mansion with my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and hopefully, my family and I’m pretty sure there will be a Heavenly Mother there, too.  Why else would He establish marriage between a man and a woman if He, too, didn’t have a wife.   Remember, this is what I believe; you don’t have to.

 

 

 

Building A Spiritual Fortress

In pioneer times, as well as, in biblical times fortresses were built to protect the people from attacks by their enemies.  Have you ever given thought to the necessity of building a spiritual fortress around yourself and your family to protect you and them from the constantly advancing enticements of the adversary (Satan)?

I taught a lesson about this very subject this past Sunday at church and I thought that the message of that lesson was worth repeating here on my blog.  I am going to highlight here, the things that I think need to be mentioned.

Just as others in past times needed physical fortresses to protect them, we need spiritual fortresses to protect our souls.  Do you think that those fortresses, alone, were enough to protect the people from their enemies?  Although they certainly were a great deterrent to their enemies, there was something even stronger that kept their enemies at bay.

What I am referring to is the fortresses that those inside the physical fortresses had already built within themselves; spiritual fortresses.

How did they build those spiritual fortresses?  What did they need in order to build them and make them strong enough to withstand their enemies?  There are several requirements needed to build spiritual fortresses.

The first requirement is to be obedient to all of God’s commandments.  That is, obeying God’s commandments without questioning His purpose but trusting in His wisdom.

The second thing that is required is to trust in the Lord.  An example I used in my Sunday lesson, I will use here.  When Joshua was preparing to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to the promised land, the Lord spoke to him and told him, “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”  Joshua, then counseled his people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”  When tomorrow came and the Israelites were beginning to go into the waters of the Jordon River to cross it,  the Lord parted the waters so they could go over on dry ground.  Why did He wait until they were in the water before He parted them?  He, like with Abraham, was testing their obedience to His commandments.  When He saw that they would obey, no matter what, He worked His miraculous power for them.

The third thing we need is to stand for truth.  When we are faced with opposition to our values and the truths we learn in the scriptures, do we stand for the truth regardless of the opposing views or conflicts?  Do we stand firmly on our religious and moral beliefs? Would we stand for truth even in the face of death?  Many have suffered and died for their beliefs in Christ and His gospel.  Would we if we had to?  We probably won’t face that situation, but given the persecution Christians are facing all over the world and the fact that we are in the last days, we should be prepared.

Next is something that may not be familiar to some but in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we make and renew covenants made between us and God.  We consider these covenants as sacred which is why we renew them every Sabbath Day when we partake of the sacrament in remembrance of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for us.

Lastly, we need integrity, discernment and discipline.  Integrity is honesty and sincerity in all that we do. Along with integrity, we need to develop in ourselves, discernment and discipline.   Discernment is being able to see or recognize something clearly and discipline is simply self-control. So why do we need to develop these things in our lives?  I think the words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter: 5:8 sums it up pretty well.  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

How do we develop and use these things in our lives?  With steadfast faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, reading and studying the scriptures daily, praying individually and with our families, making and honoring covenants, obeying all of God’s commandments; not just ones that are convenient or “easy”, drawing upon the strength and power of Christ’s atonement and listening to that still, small voice (the Holy Ghost) speaking to our hearts, we can develop these move forward with faith, not fear, being fortified against the subtle enticements of the adversary.

This lesson was taken from a talk by a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I have felt a great need for this particular lesson to be shared with as many people as will take the time to read it and ponder its message.

 

How The Scriptures Bless Our Lives

Scriptures give accounting from the day the world began.

They were the first great gift from God

to enlighten the hearts of man.

Carnal minds are captive to the adversary’s whims.

The scriptures teach that we can be free

from the stains of our earthly sins.

Rebirth through Christ’s redemption for the hurting soul’s relief

with sincere and full repentance

gives us healing for our grief.

Inspiring and uplifting, God’s word is pure and true.

They testify of Jesus Christ

and His sweet love for me and you

Prayerful study every day will draw us close to Him

and fill our hearts with hope and joy

as His sweet spirit enters in.

Timeless are the lessons and testimonies borne;

bringing blessings in abundance

to the hearts of those forlorn.

Unending are the truths we find within the pages bound

to feed the soul and warm the heart.

Oh, what great messages are found!

Relying on the scriptures is very necessary

while we move God’s sacred work along

and defy the adversary.

Eternal blessings come and heaven smiles upon us

when we, daily, feast upon His word

and humbly, put in Him our trust

So precious is God’s word that feeds our hungry souls

that angels open heaven’s door

with His sweet blessings to unfold.

Each verse begins with a letter from the word scriptures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disciples, Pray For The Hardened Hearts To Be Softened And Receive Christ.

As I continue to read and study about the Savior’s atonement and the vile and hateful things that were said and done unto my Lord, my heart breaks because of them.  These were His people and yet they denied Him, ridiculed Him, mocked Him, spat upon Him, smote Him and would rather a murderer be released than He who was purer than all the pure in heart.  He never spoke a word that was not true and never reviled against those who reviled against Him.

Here I am today in 2019 and He is still being reviled against and His followers are being persecuted throughout the world.  He is still being spat upon, though not literally, but the words and actions of some are no less scornful.  It is like He is being crucified all over again, though, He is not suffering as He did in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.  Yet, the pain of being rejected again and the vile nature of man in these latter days, must tear into His heart for He sees the great hold that Satan has upon men’s hearts these days.

Though, I pray that men’s hearts might be changed and they might repent and be born of Christ, I fear that man may have strayed too far away from truth and light.  However, I will continue to pray that man may recognize the hold and power Satan has over them and that they might have a great change of heart.  I will not give up hope that man is not totally lost in the grasp of Satan.

Hearts that were hardened against Christ in the days even before He came into the world and afterward were softened. They came to a knowledge of their wicked ways and repented.  I pray that those in these latter days whose hearts are hardened and deny Christ, will one day be enlightened and desire to follow in Christ’s footsteps, believing and obeying His commandments with all their might, mind and strength.  All things are possible with faith in Christ.  It can happen; all it takes is faith as big as a mustard seed.  If it is planted, nourished and helped to grow, it will blossom and a heart that once was hardened will be softened and turned to the light of Christ.

It is up to those of us who follow His teachings according to the laws and commandments in the holy scriptures to stand up for Christ at all times, in all things, in all places and deny Him not.  We must let our voices ring with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and share the good news that He lives and His love abides in the hearts of those who love Him.

We, the faithful followers of Christ, can change the world, one heart at a time. It is not too late, yet.  Let us be like the five wise virgins who kept their lamps trimmed and filled with oil so they wouldn’t miss the bridegroom when he came.  Let us keep our lamps filled with oil (the gospel of Jesus Christ) that we may have His infinite light shining on us to direct our paths and help us find those who have lost their way.

It took an earthquake for the Centurion, after Christ died on the cross, to realize that they had crucified the Son of God.  What will it take to wake up the dead in Christ to everlasting life in Christ?

May our prayers stretch toward the heavens and to G-d’s ears that we may be strengthened with knowledge and understanding enough to touch those whose hearts have been hardened and influenced by Satan, the author of all lies.  May we be strengthened in our efforts as disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we may be able to lead the hardened and impenitent hearts back to Christ.

Am I A Worthy Disciple?

As I was contemplating the Savior’s atonement, I couldn’t help but think about the suffering that He endured for my sake and all mankind.  I have also been contemplating  my worthiness as one of His disciples.

I don’t think it would be possible for anyone to accurately describe what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane where He suffered the most grievous and painful suffering that no mortal man could have survived, even for a brief moment.

It is difficult to even begin to imagine what it was like for Jesus when He took upon Himself all of the pains, anguish, afflictions and sorrows of every human being who has ever lived, is living or will live upon this earth.

As mortal beings, we suffer in various degrees from sickness, injuries, loss of loved ones, depression, addictions, violence, hatred, deception, corruption, and that’s only some of the things we, as mortals, suffer in this life.  Take all that plus and times it by every single soul past, present and future and put it upon the shoulders of the purest, kindest, most gentle, loving and humble person ever to walk the earth and that cannot even begin to describe the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.

When I think about how great His suffering was that it caused his body to bleed great drops of blood from every pore, I realize how very insignificant I am in this great world that He, under the direction of the Father, created; including each and every one of us.  I often wonder, if I am really worthy of such suffering and such a great sacrifice as He made.

That was not the end of His suffering.  He was taken by soldiers; bound and led away after his disciple, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him with a kiss.  He was led to be mocked and judged by an angry mob who would shout that He be crucified for doing no harm to anyone; only for refusing to deny who He was, the Son of God.  Crucifixion was just about the cruelest punishment for prisoners and they decided Christ was worthy of that punishment.

Now, after having suffered such horrible pains of body, mind and spirit, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was now beaten with faggots that tore His flesh and then was crowned with plaited thorns that dug into his head.  This was all to lead up to Him being led to Golgotha which means ‘the skull’ where He was to be crucified.  He was even made to carry his cross.

His suffering would continue when they nailed Him to the cross; two very large nails in His hands and two placed in His wrists as a sure way to hold Him on the cross.  As He did when he was accused and sentenced to die on the cross, He was silent.  Through it all, He said not a word.  They offered him nothing to drink but vinegar.  As His pure blood stained the ground beneath Him, He broke His silence and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

One of the two who were crucified with Him, said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus answered him, saying,  “Verily, I say unto thee, Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

Soon after, the sun was darkened and the earth was covered in darkness and He cried out, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”  His suffering was finally at its end. In three days, He would be resurrected, having fulfilled the will of His Father in heaven.

I often wonder if I am worthy of such a great sacrifice.  Am I showing Him through the way I’m living my life that I’m grateful for His atonement?  Am I emulating the attributes of the Savior in my daily life?  Am I a living testament that He lives and that I have been reborn through His atonement?  Do I live in obedience to His commandments and bend my will to the Father?

Never has there been such complete obedience to a father in all the history of this earth.  He knew that He would have to suffer terrible pain of body, mind and spirit in order to redeem man from the fall.  He knew what He would have to suffer; He didn’t know just how great it would be until He was in the Garden of Gethsemane where He took upon Himself the sins, afflictions and sorrows of all mankind.  Even though He prayed to His Father that the cup might be taken from Him because the suffering was so great, He said, “not my will, but thine be done.”

Why did Jesus willingly suffer for us?  If He had not experienced our sufferings and felt the pains we would feel, how would He know how to succor or help us?  His atonement did not free us from mortal pain and anguish, but it did provide a way for us to receive help and strength from Him to see us through our times of suffering.

In our suffering, we learn  humility and we become strong so that we can help others who may need our help.  It really makes sense; Jesus doesn’t want us to suffer and neither does Heavenly Father but Jesus suffered so He could know how to help us when we do and we need to  experience pain and suffering so we know how to help others going through the same or similar trials.

How many times when we have been going through really hard times have we complained and sometimes blamed G-d for our suffering?  What would have happened if Christ, instead of accepting the will of His Heavenly Father, complained and blamed Him for what He had to endure?  Of course, we know that Christ would never have done that; why do we do it?  We owe Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ a huge debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

There has not lived a purer, more humble and obedient son than Jesus, the Christ.  He was pure in every sense of the word and never claimed greatness for himself; only His Father. If one so pure could sacrifice His life for my sake, how can I not give Him all honor and glory?  How can I not sing praises to His holy name?  How can I not serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength?  How can I not do all that I can to be like Him?  How can I not share my love and adoration for Him and all He has done for me?  How can I not testify of His divine and eternal atoning sacrifice and resurrection? How can I not regularly partake of the Sacrament in remembrance of Him?  How can I not give thanks to my Father above for His willingness to sacrifice His only begotten Son for my sake?  How can I not be a willing disciple for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Unfortunately, like many others, I fall short and don’t always do what He expects of me or all that I’ve promised I would do.  Gratefully, because of His atonement, we can try again.  He never gives up on us and we should never give up on Him.  We need to be true disciples of Jesus Christ and that means to honor Him by living His commandments and testifying to the world through our words and actions that He is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.