Archive for June, 2011

Knock on Wood

Walking down a quiet street, Sister Weir and I were discussing thankfully how a certain event hadn’t taken place…yet. “KNOCK ON WOOD,” Sister Weir chimed. We continued our trek on 1st Ave SE in silence for maybe ten seconds. I looked at her with raised brows and inquired, “aren’t you gonna knock on some wood? You’ve cursed us if you don’t. It doesn’t accomplish anything by just saying it.” She finished that thought with a profound statement, “like people who accept Christ into their hearts as their Savior but don’t do anything about it?”

Admitting that Jesus is the Christ isn’t enough. Our actions have to equal our profession. Elder James E. Talmage in his book, Articles of Faith, gives a great explanation of the problem with mere confession. Referring to James 2:19, Talmage says, “You do well to so profess and so believe; but, remember others do likewise; even the devils believe…so firmly that they tremble at the thought of the fate which that belief makes sure. Those confessions of the devils, that Christ was the Son of God, were founded on knowledge; yet their knowledge of the great truth did not change their evil natures.”

Talmage continues by comparing the devils confession with Peter’s similar confession, ” Peter’s faith had already shown its vital power; it had caused him to forsake much that had been dear, to follow his Lord through persecution and suffering, and to put away the worldliness with all its fascinations…His knowledge of God as the Father, and of the Son as the Redeemer, was perhaps no greater than that of the unclean spirits; but while to them that knowledge was but an added cause of condemnation, to him it was a means of salvation” (abridged from Articles of Faith, 5:97-99).

It comes down to a familiar phrase found in the next verse of James, “…faith without works is dead.” By our fruits, God will know us. He will know of our true conviction to Him, our true desire to follow Him. This life is all about what we can become! We show our faith by living the gospel. Faith is the first step because if we have true faith, it will lead us to some kind of action: repentance. We are to follow Christ and do the things which we have “seen” Him do. By doing so, we become more like Him “…that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (Moroni 7:48 & 1 John 3:2). Or as President Henry B. Eyring states, “And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.” Rather than merely declaring “knock on wood,” lets actually knock some wood so that our banners will be clear!

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Living Life Backwards

Independence from others is applauded and praised by the world. The goal of our teenage years is to learn how to and become independent from our parents. Graduating high school leads to moving away from home and into separate apartments, getting a job and attending college or university. It almost seems the more free you are from relying on others the better. But the Lord would not and does not agree with that idea.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.

Our Saviors cry is found in Matthew 11:28-30 when He tells us to let him carry our burden. Don’t try to carry it yourself. We can’t do this alone and we’re not expected to. “Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not” (D&C 36:6). What a change of perspective that is! To rely on the Lord. Let him worry for you! There is an example of when God chastises His followers for not depending on Him more. D&C 30:1 “…you have feared man and have not relied on me for strength as you ought.”

I find this counsel comforting. God doesn’t want me to go through life on my own. He knew all the things I would face and He knew what I need, a Savior who could carry me when I lose the strength to more forward. We are instructed by the Lord to live life backwards and instead of being independent of Him, we’re suppose to cleave unto Him.

Fruit: Good or Bad?


In the gospel of Matthew, Christ gives us a rule of thumb for determining the intents of others. Chapter 7 verse 20 reads, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” His analogy is a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit, neither can a bad tree bring forth good fruit. Its against nature. Applicable to our lives involving those around us, this guideline from Christ is for us to follow as a guaranteed way to know what is true and what isn’t. Or who is true and who isn’t. Reading through Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage, I realized that time and time again Christ brought forth good fruit, performing miracles yet many refused to believe He was the Messiah.

How can one be so blind as to not know that Jesus was the Christ? I’ve always wondered why the Pharisees and scribes didn’t believe Him. Made of stone, their hearts must have been, to look the long awaited Messiah in the face and not recognize Him for who He truly was. Jesus did not come as they had expected, and instead of accepting their wrong perception, they fought against Him, unwilling to let go of their pride and popular positions. Being so focused on strict obedience of the laws and commandments, many forgot the reason for the law. The professional understanding of the scriptures inhibited the possibility of misconception. So caught up in laws and restrictions, the Pharisees condemned Christ for healing on the Sabbath. Completely missing the point of the gospel, they condemned the one who came to fulfill the law and satisfy the demands of justice. The good fruit of Christ was incorrectly judged as that of evil.


We must be able to accept truth. If we are not careful, our ears might not be opened to hear and our eyes may not be able to see what really lies before us. Humility allows us to be teachable, mold-able and reachable. Faith is not developed by having all the answers and if WE had all the answers, God would cease to be God. Trust in His plan and His laws. We are counseled to judge not that ye be not judged but also encouraged to make righteous judgements to secure an approved path to follow. As a missionary, I’ve used this promised of “by their fruits ye shall know them” when explaining the sacred role of Joseph Smith as a prophet. The fruit brought forth by Brother Joseph is the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. By this book, one can know of his divine calling as Prophet of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember that even Christ’s good works were thought of as evil by those who were unable to see Him as their Savior because of the hardness of their hearts. Let us not be blind to the righteous fruit of Joseph Smith. He was called of God to restore His church on the earth and it was through the power of God that he translated the Book of Mormon. By this fruit YOU can know whether or not Joseph Smith was called of God.

To Free Me

How powerful music can be in our lives! I have always related well to lyrics of songs and have even used them to express how I feel. This song by Mindy Gledhill says it beautifully when she asks, “Why would the King of heaven and earth bow down to free me?” As I watch videos of my Savior’s final earthly days, of the torture He endured, the weight He carried, I always find myself wondering, what have I done to deserve such an act of love? Why would He do that for me, as insignificant and human as I am?  Understanding the love of the Lord is beyond comprehension but we are reminded often of His love when we read the scriptures that tell of His infinite task, of His willingness on our behalf. Isaiah 53:3-5 is a very humbling scripture reference:

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

That Christ would suffer the very private and personal emotions I have experienced so far in my life puzzles me. But I do not doubt that He did and that He loves me. Gratitude for such an act of mercy becomes my solution in how I live my life because of His sacrifice. Jesus is the Christ! He is my Redeemer! Why would the King of heaven and earth bow down to free me? I do not know but I’m eternally grateful He did. I too ‘will answer to that voice that ever calls from those Garden Walls.’

The lights within Jerusalem are gone.

But there is one who will not sleep at all.

He will call upon the powers of heaven, deep within a gardens walls.

A voice breaks through the silence in the night.

Branches shake to hear a grown man cry.

Oh he cries and feels the sting of death inside but he wont ask why.

Through the years and cross the deep blue sea, comes this mystery.

Why would the King of Heaven and Earth bow down to free me?

Footsteps in the sand are drawing nigh.

Raging voices echo in the sky.

Angry eyes cant see that the man they sent to die, offers life.

Through the years and cross the deep blue see, comes this mystery.

Why would the King of Heaven and Earth bow down to free me?

Two thousand years and cross the deep blue see, wondrous mystery.

The King of all creation came to free me.

The lights within the city now are gone.

But there is one that cannot sleep at all.

I will answer to the voice that ever calls from those Garden Walls.