Thursday, January 19, 2012

Achieving Perfection the Lord's Way

"For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7) This is a true statement because our desires shape our actions, and our actions shape who we become. Therefore the greatest desire we can have is to emulate the life of Jesus Christ.

As Latter-day Saint Christians (Mormons) we take the Savior's charge to be perfect seriously (see Matt. 5:48 & 3 Nephi 12:48). However, we also acknowledge that on our own this commandment is impossible. Only through the Saviors help can we accomplish such a grand feat. However, being perfect is not an instantaneous occurrance; it is a process.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christ's Grace is Sufficient!

Many people have misconceptions about the Latter-day saints (mormons) understanding of grace. The root of this stems from the truth that "faith without works is dead" (see James 2:17,20). They often feel that we are trying to earn our way to heaven by our works, rather than relying upon Christ's grace.

I have found that I am not the only one that has encountered this before. Brad, another Christian Latter-day Saint, had the following conversation with one of his Christian friends that I have decided to share with you today because I feel it sheds light on this common misunderstanding...

Christian friend: "You Mormons are trying to earn your way to heaven."

Brad: "No, we are not earning our way to heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it. We are practicing for it."

Christian Friend: "Well, have you been saved by grace?"

Brad: "Yes. Absolutely, totally, completely, thankfully-- yes! Have you been changed by grace?"

He later commented that often, "[others] are so excited about being saved that maybe they are not thinking enough about what comes next. They are so happy the debt is paid that they may not have considered why the debt existed in the first place. Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's in a Name?

name: a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of thought is designated, called, or known.

Have you ever thought about your name? Where did it come from? In most cases it came from your parent(s).

Let's say your name is Joseph. Have you ever asked your parents why they gave you that name? Perhaps, they just liked the name but usually there is a deeper connection than that. Perhaps they hoped you would emulate someone else they already knew with that name?

Helaman, a Book of Mormon prophet, named his children for that very reason:

   "Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
   Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them." (Helaman 5:6-7)

However, the name that is brought up in the book of mormon more frequently than any other is Jesus Christ. I have found no other book that teaches so powerfully and so frequently of the Savior. It is a modern witness that Jesus is the Christ which is the most important name because:

    "...Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved; wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day; wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father." (D&C 18:23-25)

May we continually remember him and be grateful for his sacrifice so that we may return to our Father in Heaven is my hope at the close of this month of thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rescue missions (Final): World's Greatest Rescue

Can you think of a time where you were rescued in life? I know I can!

Although I was a very young boy at the time, I can still remember my father cautioning me to stay away from a pit of coals as I ran by in a hot pursuit of tag. I remember vividly the pain of, later, sliding right into home plate (also known as the previously noted pit of hot coals). My father leaped from his chair and pulled me out within a matter of seconds. The pain was excruciating and the damage was instantaneous. Yet to this day, I distinctly remember the feelings of inexpressible joy and love for my father, as he lifted me out.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Leaving others to Serve the Lord

Among the many difficult moments that a missionary experiences is heeding the Lord's call to serve new people in a new location. Recently the spirit of the Lord called me away to Laurel, MT. So in loving memory of the wonderful experiences that took place, I thought I would share a few of them with you.

One of the more memorable experiences of service was helping fix the sewage/ holding tank at our homeowners place! It was a tough job but with the help of everyone we got the job done relatively fast (roughly 45 minutes).

Fixing our homeowner's sewage system

I was praying hard that they
wouldn't drop me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rescue Missions (Part 2)

Some rescue missions are a successful and some are not. When and why do they fail??? I know of at least one reason, in which Elder Carter and I were involved.

It was a normal sabbath morning... or so we thought. We prepared for the day and went to church like always. When we got there Elder Carter and I noticed that there were quite a few members missing from the congregation, along with most of the bishopric. Half way through the meeting the only bishopric member on the stand, left the meeting and never came back.

Crazy, I know.

So we ended the meeting on our own; singing the closing hymn and having the benediction. After the meeting was over Elder Carter and I soon discovered the reason why there were so few members at church and why the Bishopric was no where to be found. The boy scouts and their leaders had never returned home the previous night from their 20 mile hike.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rescue Missions (Part 1)

The other day Elder Carter and I were knocking on people's doors in an effort to spread the message that God speaks once again through modern day prophets and apostles! Upon arriving at a certain house we heard a peculiar noise...

What was it? The answer... a kitten stuck in a tree!

Isn't it cute!
Due to the fact that it was a complete stranger's home and because I was afraid the poor thing was going to keep climbing higher, as they often do, I quickly raced up the 10-15 ft of branches to get it down; rather, than take a picture first. So instead I took a picture of a different kitten that lives at our home.

I can still hear the mew's of detest at this frantic kitten's plight. As I reached up and heroically grabbed the kitten, it immediately began to fight and protest. However, upon reaching the safety of solid ground the kitten began purring and rubbing back and forth against my leg. Delighted, I took roughly thirty seconds to embrace the new found devotion. Elder Carter and I walked up to the owner's door and knocked. Meanwhile, the kitten shadowed my every move and continued to rub against my leg.

When no one answered we decided to continue with our original plan of sharing the marvelous news that God has once again restored his true church on the earth today! Jokingly, I pointed to the kitten and commanded it to wait for its owner. To my great astonishment, it did precisely just that.

Like that kitten, we all find ourselves needing to be rescued in life. The Savior has provided the way for us to be saved from sin. Through his suffering we can wash away feelings of doubt, shame, or guilt that comes with sin and in its place find faith, joy, and confidence. Jesus Christ has provided a way for us to be rescued and brought back into the prescence of our loving father in heavern (God). When we experience this relief of being rescued from sin, we too feel those same feelings of devotion to the Lord as that small kitten. We will follow his commandments because we have full confidence that he only wants what is best for us!

He has also allowed us a wonderful support system through his church. We can receive an added measure of faith, peace, joy, etc. through the Lord's servents- his prophets and apostles. Furthermore, we can receive these feelings through our fellow church leaders and members who will continue to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. We can feel at home!