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.