Saturday, October 22, 2011

Baptism: The Gateway to happiness

Have you ever wondered how it is that we can find true and lasting Happiness in this life? It's been the question that has eluded some of mankind's greatest thinkers for millenia, but Jesus Christ in his gospel tells us how true happiness can be experienced. He says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).

Through his Sacrifice, Jesus offers relief from guilt, pain, and all the unfairness we experience in life, and in the scriptures he tells us about how to access the fullness of his sacrifice for us. To experience the freedom that comes from a remission of sins, He says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Baptism is the key to unlocking happiness in this life.

So what is Baptism? Good question! Baptism is a covenant or promise with God. We promise to keep his commandments, and he promises to give us a new start, but this time with His Spirit more fully with us. Everything in our past is washed clean by Christ's sacrifice, and we get a clean slate.

How then should we be baptized? Well, in the scriptures it tells us the way Christ was Baptized: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water (Matthew 3:16).

We follow Christ's example by being baptized by immersion; the same way Christ was baptized. Paul informs us that the reason for immersion is to symbolize Christ's death, burial, and resurrection: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). It symbolizes our new life in Christ; our spiritual re-birth.

Another key component of Christ's baptism was who did the baptizing. He was baptized of John the Baptist because he had the authority to baptize; this is important to make covenants valid. That authority to baptize is on the earth today, and has been restored through Joseph Smith.

Why Should I be Baptized? Baptism is the gate whereby we enter into God's fold, and become his disciples: "Wherefore, do the things which...your Lord and your Redeemer should do; that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son" (2 Nephi 31:17-18).

What joy comes through baptism! We can be cleansed from sin, and enter the path to eternal life. If you're searching for happiness the Savior says, "Come follow Me." His is the path to happiness. Follow his example, be baptized, and you too can feel the joys of eternal life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are you in good hands?

In a world with ever wittier insurance company marketing campaigns, All State as always had such a solid slogan: "Are You in good hands?" You just cant help but feel safe and secure with Allstate with Dennis Haysbert saying it in his Morgan Freeman-esque voice.

But what a good question to ask; are we in good hands not only in respect to our car insurance provider, but in all aspects of life? Who do we look to for support when we find ourselves in another one of life's accidents? Where can we go to get the best coverage policy?

Unlike the car insurance world with multiple competing companies, there are only a couple of options for life coverage, and Nephi, a Book of Mormon Prophet, tells us about the option with the best policy. He says,

"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh...therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee."

So the Lord promises us if we trust in him, he'll give to us liberally or generously. Whenever our ride through life takes a bumpy turn or if we have a head-on collision with adversity, we have a lasting promise from God that if we do our best to try and follow him, He'll be right there with us.

God's got pretty good coverage, but what about the competitor? What about the world? How does their coverage compare? As it turns out it's not much of a policy at all. If your claim costs them any sort of inconvenience they're slow to answer. You're too much of a liability for them. So, I'm with Nephi when he says, "I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh."

To God, you're never too much of a liability. He's there for you and all you have to do is trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). So ask yourself that question: "Are You in Good hands?" Or better: Are you In God's Hands? Because he's the only one with them outstretched.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Have a Tropicana Morning

It's Monday morning, the alarm goes off, and you have a grueling day at the office ahead of you. You creep out of bed as slowly as you can to somehow prolong the inevitability of another day with your nose pressed firmly to the grindstone. Until, that is, you open the fridge and see a big ole' carton of Tropicana (Trop 50 for those watching their figures). You reach into the cupboard, grab a glass, and relax for a moment as the crisp, cold OJ washes away any anxiety you had. That my friends is the experience of having a Tropicana morning. I try to have one every day. Something about having a good cold glass of orange juice invigorates my mind and body, and really gets me prepared to tackle the day with an optimistic and positive attitude.

But having a tall glass of OJ isn't the only thing that helps perk me up in the morning; In fact, no morning is truly a Tropicana morning for me if I neglect to open God's word and feel his Spirit. There's something about daily, and more specifically morning scripture study that helps me maintain and optimistic and positive attitude throughout the day.

As much as I love Orange Juice and it's wonderful effects for me in my morning routine, eventually it wears off. My body processes and absorbs the Vitamin C and other nutrients it provides, but the Spirit that I feel, and edification I receive in God's word gives me lasting spiritual nutrition that won't fade in a manner of minutes.

So crack open God's word as you sit down to enjoy that refreshing glass of OJ. Have a real Tropicana Morning. Your morning will be better, your day will be better, and you'll only be closer to God as a result.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Faith and Volcanoes- a lesson from a 5th grade science project

Think back for a moment to a simpler time when Saturday morning cartoons were the highlight of the week, and everyone traded lunches out of their power rangers lunch boxes. Do you remember that day when your science teacher asked you to come up with a cool project to do? I remember when I was just a little guy, I picked the ever-famous baking soda volcano project.

As I reflected back upon the fun I had mixing vinegar with baking soda, I remembered what the prophet Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, taught us about faith in Alma chapter 32.

In this chapter Alma teaches us that if we "awake and arouse [our] faculties, even to an experiment upon [his] words, and exercise a particle of faith...even if [we] can no more than adesire to believe, let this desire work in [us], even until... [we] can give place for a portion of [his] words" (Alma 32:27).

Like Alma, I like to think of faith as an experiment where we can see the impact of God's word in our own lives, and build that faith on a foundation of experience. So if we experiment upon the words of the prophets in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and "do his will, [we] shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether [we]speak of [ourselves]" (John 7:17).  By developing our faith like this we, we build confidence in the promises the Lord makes to us in his scriptures, and look for opportunities to put him to the test. It's what I like to call the spiritual scientific method.

 So if you're ever wondering just how people say they know something that seems unquantifiable, just remember that Faith isn't a perfect knowledge of things, but a hope for things that aren't seen, but true. However, just because they aren't seen doesn't mean they can't be experienced! When I say I know something is true such as the reality of God, or his Son Jesus Christ, it once started out as a hypothesis (faith) that as tested grew to a sure knowledge. So mix a little spiritual baking soda and vinegar, and I can promise you your volcano will overflow with spiritual knowledge.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Armor of God- Is Satan getting through to you?

My all time favorite comic series is by far The Far Side by Gary Larson because of how well he depicts what he's trying to convey, and I think he was onto something when he cartooned the above comic. 

As I was thinking the other day about some of the ways the Devil tries to break us down, I though about this comic, and how true this idea is: that we can be happy and have joy independent of our circumstances no matter how terrible they may seem.

So, How can we be happy even when we're faced with the fiery darts of Satan? How do we keep from letting the weighty circumstances of life pull our joy from us? 

“Wherefore take unto you the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day. …

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” (Eph. 6:11–18.)

 The Lord has given us a way to protect ourselves, and we can put on the spiritual protection we need through prayer and applying the principles taught in the scriptures, so you too can look like that happy guy above!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Life is like a guitar...Are you out of tune?

We all know that the guitar is like the sickest instrument, and acoustic guitar is my personal favorite. The other day we were seeing one of the families that we are teaching, and the son is way into guitar. I asked him if I could play a little so he went into his room, grabbed one, and I started fiddling around. He hadn't played in a couple of weeks on that particular guitar, so it was pretty badly out of tune.

Later on after we started talking about how Christ's church has been restored, we talked about how God has always called prophets to teach his people, but he was having a tough time understanding why prophets are so important; and then it hit me: We're the guitar, and the Lord sends us prophets to make sure our life-strings are in tune.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ was designed by our Heavenly Father to bring harmony and happiness into a chaotic and grief-stricken world, and prophets were historically called to be the bearers of such great news; and today God has called a prophet to help us tune ourselves amidst the unique challenges we face in the world of today!

So if you feel like your a little out of tune and your not as happy as you want to be, come listen to a prophet's voice and turn your melancholy melody into a spectacular symphony of joy.

Here's how to do it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How Strong Is Your Patronus?

So I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this loves Harry Potter, and one night as I was eating dinner with one of my favorite families here in Whitefish, Mt and we were talking about Harry Potter this came to me.

In the third book/movie, the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is introduced to an intense new enemy, Dementors. After his initial meeting with them Harry wanted to be able to defend himself against their insidious attacks. He turned to Professor Lupin who then taught him the famous Patronus charm.

However casting a patronus charm is pretty tricky. You first have to think of an extremely happy memory or idea, and then say the incantation: "Expecto Patronum". Because of this, negative emotions or influences can compromise a wizard or witch's ability to cast a Patronus; such as the difficulty Harry had casting their Patronus when under the negative influence of Salazar Slytherin's Locket, one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes

So the Patronus charm  "is a kind of positive force, and for the wizard who can conjure one, it works something like a shield, with the Dementor feeding on it, rather than him" (Harry Potter Wiki). Another use for the Patronus charm was developed by none other than Albus Dumbledore, who invented a way of using the Patronus to deliver messages.

So what about our Patronus? What kind of protection do we have from the dementors of life? What can protect us from the forces of Satan who like the dementors "seeks to make all miserable like unto himself" (2 Nephi 2:27)? God has given us a powerful source of protection and communication, and that is prayer.

 He councils us: "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." Prayer allows us to focus on the redeeming power of Christ that then shields us form the forces of Satan trying to break us down.

So next time you encounter a dementor along your path, Pray! You'll quickly find how much strength you have when you tap into the power God will give you to overcome temptation and adversity.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

God's Commandments...Are you playing hooky?

So have you ever wondered why the Mormons have so many rules? Or have you ever wondered why God has given us so many commandments? Well once again a timeless spongebob episode has the answer.

 In the episode "Hooky" SpongeBob learns of a "carnival" that has come to town and Patrick insists that he go with him. When they arrive SpongeBob remembers the warning of Mr. Krabs had given him to stay away from the dangerous hooks.

Placed by the fishermen above, the hooks with alluring baits seem fun and inviting offering harmless fun to those that want to take a ride. "I sense no danger here," says Patrick, "You just jump off before you get too high. " All of Mr. Krabs warnings were just rules meant to restrict their fun. It wasn't so bad. Patrick was doing it and he was safe. Why couldn't Mr Krabs just lighten up a bit and let them have some fun.

Today there are so many hooks in our water trying to catch us with their alluring baits and illusory pleasures. And those who are caught by those awful hooks are reeled away from the freedom and safety they had on the sea floor. God's commandments help us recognize and avoid Satan's hooks that try to ensnare us. When you know what can hurt you, you can easily avoid the pain. that's why God asks us to keep his commandments. He loves us enough to warn us of the terrible dangers in the waters of life, and how to swim safely through Satan's hooks.

Well unfortunately for Patrick at the end of the episode he couldn't let go of the hook in time and wound up vacuum sealed in a tuna can. So don't be a Patrick. Listen to God's commandments. Playing "hooky" may be fun at first, but you'll soon find yourself trapped in a vacuum sealed can of tuna

Monday, May 23, 2011

Soul Meets Body- Death Cab and the Gospel

"Cause in my head there’s a greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
So they may have a chance of finding a place
where they’re far more suited than here."
     -Death Cab for Cutie, "Soul Meets Body"

So I don't know about y'all but I absolutely love Death Cab. If anyone hasn't listened to them I highly suggest looking into "Plans" one of their better albums. But I didn't write this blog to promote their music-although it's great! I wanted to talk about some insights I had after pondering one of their more popularly known songs.

Well If you're like me, then alot of times you struggle with your thoughts. Sometimes it really annoying, especially when you're trying really hard in the middle of a temptation to keep your mind where it's supposed to be.

I know that thoughts lead to desires, which motivate actions that develop character, so if we can maintain positive and wholesome thoughts then naturally we become optimistic and more Christlike people.

Boyd K. Packer a modern day apostle explained that our minds are like a stage where our thoughts are constantly being acted out. They key to maintaining good, wholesome thoughts is to use discretion as to who we allow to play on our stage.

So for the thoughts we don't want playing on our stage, imagine yourself at a bus station. Picture the bus driving up, and waving goodbye as the unwanted thoughts board the bus to a far away place- a place where they're "far more suited" than in our minds. What powerful imagery his conjures up- to envision the departure of the unwanted and the arrival of the good and the wholesome! So take Death Cabs advice. Send the negative thoughts away. Put them on that bus and wave goodbye. The ticket is one way, and it will allow that stage to feature much better acts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Well this past week, i was driving down the road like I do every week we have the car in whitefish, and all of the sudden I see those infamous lights.

I pulled over and the officer walked up to me asking the usual: "So do you know why I pulled you over?"  I certainly hadn't been speeding so i told him that I had no idea.

As it turned out, I neglected to stop at a stop sign for which I received a ticket. Ah, it was terrible, but he had the right to issue me a ticket because he's the cop. It did, however, make me feel a little better when an ex-cop who worked for the same police department- as he was driving us home the next day- got pulled over in the same spot for the same reason.

Which got me thinking about authority...What would have happened if the situation had gone a little differently; what if I still unknowingly ran the stop sign, but instead of seeing those awful police light I heard children's music blaring and the ice cream man coming up on me fast.

I'd probably pull over not understanding what was going, and maybe to take advantage of an opportunity for ice cream! But if he had gotten out of he car and tried to write me he ticket, I most certainly would have laughed. He can't do something like that; he doesn't have the right authority.

So it is with the gospel of Christ. Christ gave his apostles authority (Luke 9:1) to govern the church and to baptize. How important it is then to have this authority! How much more exciting then is it to know that that authority was lost after the death of the apostles was restored through Joseph Smith.

What a wonderful thing it is to know that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored as well as the authority to act in Christ's name for the salvation of God's children. And you can know too! The evidence for the restoration of that authority is the Book of Mormon. If you read it, think about what it teaches, and pray about, you too will know it's true

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spongebob and the Gospel

The other day a bunch of us missionaries were all talking about cartoons that we used to watch before we came out on our missions. A couple of classics came up, Doug, Rocko's Modern Life, and then someone brought up Spongebob. We all started talking about which episodes were our favorites, and one of he missionaries talked about the episode where Squidward has his first Krabby Patty. As I was thinking about it, i realized that in this "Green Eggs and ham" story there was alot of similarities between Squidwards experience and the experiences of soe of the people I've been able to meet in Montana.

So in this episode, Spongebob learns that Squidward has never experienced the joy of eating a delicious krabby Patty. Squidward is a stubborn and bull headed as he normally is, drawing on assumptions rather than actual experience to form his opinion of the krabby patty. Spongebob tries to explain to him that he's missing out on a wonderful experience by not even trying the krabby patty to see if it's good.

So, reluctantly Squidward takes a bite. Nervous, afraid that he could have been wrong in his previous assumptions, but also recognizing that he did need to try the krabby patty experiment before he could know for himself whether it was good, he took a bite.

After taking the small bite Squidward's reaction was undeniable. Spongebob noticed right away the transformation in Squidward despite Squidward's attempts to hide it. Even more reluctantly than trying the krabby patty Squidward admitted that he enjoyed what he tasted. But the effects were too much for him to contain.

He couldn't get enough. He loved the experience so much that it began to permeate every thought; he became obsessed with eating more and more crabby patties until he eventually exploded.

While the teachings of Christ won't make us explode when we open ourselves to the beauty of His message, it will stir in us a desire to learn more, to have more fully in our lives his presence, but oftentimes people are afraid to take that small bite. They may think that either because they have already made up their minds like Squidward they do not need to try because they already "know," or they may be afraid of actually enjoying the thing that they're trying.

There is a chapter in the Book of Mormon: Alma chapter 32, which states:

"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words...
  Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed... behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

So don't be a Squidward; try it out! See if you like the taste. See if it grows within you, and see if it is good. 

Don't be afraid the results. The only thing that'll happen is that you'll know for yourself. 

Click on "krabby patty" to try for yourself the experiment, and learn whether or not its good. I know I've tried it, and just like Squidward i can't get enough; that's why out to share it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Reality of the Resurrection

This past week I've been doing a lot of contemplating on he nature of the Savior's suffering, death, and resurrection in light of some tragic news that I received at the end of last week. My cousin Jay, who was serving in he military, died.

And there's that awful word: Death. The end of our family; the end of all hope; the end of everything. or, so It would be without Christ. 

Chapter 15 in 1 Corinthians gave me tremendous comfort, and I'd like to share what comforted me with any that need that same comfort.

"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present"  (1 Corinthians 15 3-6).

 [But] now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God...
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death
For he hath put all things under his feet." ( 1 Cortinthians 19-27).

Adam may have brought death into the world when he partook of the fruit, but even death has been conquered by the Savior, and we have witnesses to his resurrection all throughout the scriptures. Christ's death- the reason for it- was so that we could all live again. He conquered death so that we too might conquer death. I know I'll see my cousin in the future, and that hope comes through my Savior Jesus Christ. 

He is the "Resurrection and the Life," and because of him, we too will live again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This is the Christ Musical Fireside

This past Easter weekend the missionaries up here in the Kalispell zone put together a musical fireside about the life and resurrection of the Savior.

Click here to download the audio of the fireside.

Make sure you click the "download file" not the large blue button.

The spirit of that fireside truly was unique; I'd encourage everyone to give it a listen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Finding Christ in the Old Testament: Noah

So, leaving off with Adam, we move through the Old Testament until we get to one of the most famous prophets, Noah. When we arrive at a description of Noah in Genesis chapter six, we find that he was "a just man and perfect in his generation" ( Genesis 6:9). however, the people who lived at the time of Noah were far from having "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" These people were extremely wicked and Noah was called to preach repentance to them. He warned them of the flood, but instead of heeding his prophetic words of deliverance, they mocked him. After being instructed to build an ark, only he and his family boarded the vessel of safety. He did "all that the Lord commanded him" to do, but only a very few believed on his words.

As the story goes, animals came and boarded the Ark, and a week later the floods came; 40 days and 40 nights it rained, and only Noah and his family survived. After the 40 days and nights had ended and the waters receded, he started anew, and he and his sons were commanded to "replenish the earth" (Genesis 9:1)

So, what does this have to do with Christ? In what ways did the life of Noah mirror that of the Saviors?

Well from the beginning of his description he was "perfect in his generation" just as the Savior was perfect. he preached to people who largely rejected him, yet still he kept all of God's commandments. He built a ark, or a means of saving humanity from death, but only he and his family were saved; the ark then is a symbol of Christ's death for us and when we accept him as our Savior through baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost we take upon ourselves his name, thereby entering into his family, so to speak. So just as those that followed Noah were saved by death, so too are they that follow Christ saved from death. He is our Savior,and we can learn so much about him by reading of him in the scriptures.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finding Christ in the Old Testament: The life of Adam

When you open up the pages of the Bible, the first person we run into is of course the first person who ever lived, Adam! in the account of creation in he book of Genesis, we read:

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and fowls of the air...So, god crated man in his own image, in the image of God created he him" (Genesis 1:26-27).

So even here with the introduction of Adam we see an immediate similarity with Christ. They were both in the image of their Father.

As the story continues we read of Adam and Eve's experience in the garden of Eden and the fall that was subsequently put into effect through their actions there. Because they partook of the fruit, they became subject to death, making it possible for us to be born having that innocence wiped away from their eyes.

So like Christ, Adam took upon himself death that we might all live (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). They partook of "bitter fruit" in their respective gardens- the garden of Eden and Gethsemane-which made it possible for God's plan for the salvation of his children to move forward.

Also he is the first parent or Father of the human race, just as Christ is our Father in terms of our creation and salvation.

So Adam and Christ both:

     1. Were created in the Father's image
     2. Chose to leave God's presence to fulfill his plan of redemption
     3. Partook of bitterness in a garden
     4. Took upon himself death so that we may live
     5. Set up to be at the head, or the father of mankind

So really Adam's story is partly Christ's story, as is all the Old Testament characters.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Finding Christ in the Old Testament

If you're like me, you've never spent much time in the Old Testament. If at all, the volume only seemed to contain a nice collection of somewhat interesting stories that happened a really long time ago to people in an ancient and distant land. When reading the scriptures, I almost never even cracked the pages of the Old Testament, until I learned about the message just beneath its surface.

Shortly after the death of Christ, his apostles were traveling down the famous road to Emmaus. Dejected after witnessing the gruesome death of their Lord, the apostles felt abandoned and without hope. How could Christ die before he was to redeem Israel? They were confused and troubled. Everything they had put their faith in turned out quite differently than they thought.

Then the voice of Christ pierced their doubt, and he illuminated their understanding. "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?" (Luke 24: 14-21). To their response the Savior spoke, "O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24: 25-27).

So, if the apostles had understood the meaning of the scriptures they wouldn't have been surprised by the events of his life, suffering, and death. The scriptures were all a foreshadowing of Christ, they just didn't see how.

Also, in the Book of Mormon, one of the prophets Nephi states, "Behold my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him" (2 Nephi 11:4).

So if everything God has given to man are types of Christ, and the scriptures primary concern is to help us understand the life, character, and mission of our Savior, when we read in the scriptures, we should ask ourselves, "How does this typify, or help me understand better who my Savior is?"

When we ask this question the scriptures come alive with deepened meaning, which is why over the course of the next few weeks, I am going to point out a few of the "types of Christ" i have been able to understand since having my perspective enlarged. It wont be fully comprehensive, but hopefully some of the insights shared here will allow you in your own personal drive to better understand the Savior, to make even more discoveries of your own.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Beauty of the Restoration

181 years ago today, the Church of Jesus Christ in it's fulness was restored to the Earth. This feature-length movie depicts the life of Joseph Smith, a man who helped this great work along.
There are alot of questions surrounding the life and work of Joseph Smith; Taken largely from a biography written about him along with other historical documents as primary references this video presents a moving and spirit-filled account of this man's prophetic call.
A contemporary of his declared, "In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fullness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth." He truly did a marvelous work, and made it possible for us to fully understand Christ's wonderful gospel.  
There are such wonderful blessings that have come about because God has again called a prophet in our day, and all we have to do is read the book of Mormon, pray to know of its truth, and god promises that He wont lead us astray.  
I know Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, and that the fullness the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"For if they have faith in me...the will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Everyone struggles with weaknesses, and recently I've been struggling with some of my own. These shortcomings often times tempt me to slip into a defeated mindset, and give myself up to despair. I'm doing what I can; I want to do and be better; but I still fall short- often in the same ways time and time again.

So, I turned to a well known verse in the Book of Mormon which 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 the humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

The Lord knows of our weaknesses and if we turn to Christ, he will make up for our shortcomings; this video is a powerful example of Christ's ability to take us in our weaknesses, and strengthen us to be able to overcome them:

Our weaknesses can be "swallowed up in Christ" if we turn to him as our source of strength. Put your faith in him; put him to the test; and see just what kind of miracles he can work in your life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God...What's taking so long?

This past week I've been thinking alot about answers to prayers, and how sometimes it feels like it takes forever for God to speak back.

The Savior said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," but when will it be opened up, when will it be given to me?

Shortly after the sermon on the mount, the Savior miraculously fed the 5000, and afterwards went off by himself into the Mountains to pray. The account of what happens next is found in Mark 6:46-51:

46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

 Something interesting here is that he stood afar off from the ship, as the disciples were in the midst of the terrible storm. The wind was "contrary to them" and the were "toiling in rowing." They were doing their best to whether the storm they were in, and as they struggled Christ watched without yet intervening.

As it continues, "about he fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them."
The Jewish day was broken down into a twelve hours starting from about 6 a.m. and continuing to 6 p.m., whereas the night was broken down into a period of 4 three hour "watches" After the Savior departed into the mountains to pray, it was shortly after the first watch had begun. it wasn't until roughly 3 a.m. that he finally went and delivered his disciples from their storm.  

Why the wait? I'm sure the disciples were praying that the storm would be calmed, and that they wold be able to whether it, but it wasn't until tha fourth watch that they were rescued. 

I think the answer is found in a passage of modern day scripture which reads, "For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in the gift he is given, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift." 

If we know that God can only give good gifts, that if we ask him for bread he won't give us a stone, why doesn't he just immediately give them to us? it is because we have to be wiling to accept them. We have to have a place in our hearts for the gift that God knows we need. Because the disciples toiled in the wind that blew against them, they had a place for that gift.

So next time you wonder why it's taking so long to get an answer, remember: You may only be in the second or third watch, and God may be allowing you to develop a place in your heart for that answer. He wants us to rejoice in that which he gives us, so continue to pray, hope, and look for that gift so that when it comes, both you and the Lord can rejoice together.