Posts tagged ‘faith’

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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the life you’ve been waiting for

Encouraged at a young age to make goals, have dreams of what you’d like to accomplish and who you’d like to become in the future, “what do you want to be when you grow up” is a typical question heard during our school years. Something that we fail to do is involve our Heavenly Father in our goal setting and decision making. He is the one who knows what will be best for us in the end. I’ve had many chances to develop a wonderful trust with my Father in Heaven. Ever since high school, I’ve had a plan set for my life. Several changes came about before ending up on my mission but looking back on those U-turns, round-a-bouts, and merging lanes, I can see how the Lord was right there guiding to what I really wanted.

Very accustomed to the feeling of watching my plans fall apart, Iwould then put my trust in my God. I knew of His love, of His desire for my happiness, and of His merciful hand that would guide me in a time of need. I have found this quote by Marilyn Monroe to be very true. “When God takes something from your grasp; He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better.” Every time one plan didn’t work out, I was directed to another that was far better and one that I never would have gotten to had I continued with my original plan. I’m a firm believer that “sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” (author unknown).


At times, we’re desperately clutching the outline of our lives, what we think will be best for us. We’re so insistent on holding to the very thing He is trying to take from us. Heavenly Father is simply striving to give us what He KNOWS will be best. Perfectly spoken by Sister Elaine S. Dalton, former president of the General Young Women organization: “You must be willing to give up the life you have planned in order to receive the life you are waiting for!” ULTIMATE TRUST, FAITH, HOPE in God’s plan for your life. He knows where you really want to be, and He perfectly knows how to get you there with the greatest benefit to you.

I’m waiting for my life when I have been married in the temple, have grown children who are strong in the gospel, have remained firm in the faith myself, have passed on to receive the eternal life with my forever family. I trust that He will help me get the life that I’m waiting for. I know that all suffering and struggling to this point is worth it, if I end up with what I’ve been waiting for. I trust Heavenly Father and His plan for me; therefore I hope for better things to come.

Nothing more constant than change

“There is nothing so unchanging, so inevitable as change itself. The things we see, touch, and feel are always changing. Relationships between friends, husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister are all dynamic, changing relationships. There is a constant that allows us to use change for our own good, and that constant is the revealed eternal truths of our Heavenly Father.” Marvin J. Ashton

How true that is! Think back over the last 5 years of your life and all of the changes that have occured. As I do so, I see myself in the second half of my junior year in high school. Now I currently live in Billings, MT as I continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Had I viewed a glimpse of my life now to 17 year old Sister Nielson, I doubt I would have found it possible to believe. Over those last 5 years, I have experienced many trials, challenges and struggles along with times of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment. Of course we grow and learn from the adventure of life, whether positive or negative.

Years ago, change and the unknown terrified me. Being a missionary for the LDS church is all about changes and unknown places, people and tasks. How am I handling this life of instability you might ask? My Savior, Jesus Christ is the key!

I know with all the assurity of my heart that my Savior will not fail me! Elder Holland puts it well when he encourages us all: “We have to live in such a way that we cannot do it alone anymore- where we will resort to the Lord- where we will cry ‘Without thy help, I will fall. Help me fly.’ Faith, hope, trust. Words that are associated with Jesus Christ and my relation to him. I know He will aid me in as I change, progress, grow, learn for He is constant and He is stable. If we allow, He will make us far more effective and able than we ever thought possible. We can peacefully face the uncertainty of the future when we cultivate our relationship and faith in our Lord and Savior. “Our future is as bright as our faith” (Pres. Thomas S. Monson).

Ways to develop that faith and trust:
1. Hearing the word of God (attending church weekly).
2. Reading the word of God (daily if only a verse from the Bible or Book of Mormon).
3. Obedience to God’s commandments (if you don’t know all His commandments, find them out).

I am a witness that with Christ all things are possible! Even dealing with the unknown and changes in life. “[We] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us].” Philip 4:13