Posts tagged ‘God’

Watermelon, fresh off the vine!

One of my favorite summer pastimes is eating sweet, juicy watermelon. My grandpa grows them in his garden every year and as a treat, snack or meal, we’d enjoy a huge wheel of watermelon! It’s the perfect solution for a hot, sunny day or for any day in my opinion. You can never go wrong with watermelon. Being a watermelon fanatic, I really liked an analogy I once heard. The Book of Mormon was compared to a watermelon. I know right? kind of random but let me explain.

I hand you a heavy, beautifully green watermelon. It’s whole. Untouched. Yours for the taking. It offers such pleasure and satisfaction. I tell you of the juicy, red contents. The way it crisps, filling your mouth with the most delicious liquid (my mouth may or may not be watering while I type this…). My description entices you beyond all measure; however, the only way you can confirm my word is to crack it open! See for yourself.

So it is with the Book of Mormon. As missionaries, we continually tell of the truthfulness of this book and how much it can change lives for the better. Like the watermelon, the Book of Mormon is yours for the taking, offering pleasure and satisfaction but on a deeper level. Throught this book, you can have lasting happiness a long with true joy, peace, guidance, direction, and strength. It sounds great right? But you’ll never know for sure of this claim unless… you crack it open! We strongly encourage people to do so along with having a real intent and desire to learn for themselves of the message it holds. We invite others to ask God if it’s NOT true and that they will receive their answer through the Holy Ghost. IT’S A PROMISE! I know the promise is real because I have read for myself of the Book of Mormon. I have asked God if it’s true and my answer was a resounding YES! As great as watermelon tastes, the Book of Mormon is even better, on a spiritual level! As President Boyd K. Packer once put it, “The Book of Mormon has the nourishing power to heal the starving spirit.” So go ahead and find out for yourself. All you have to do is… crack it open.

Tell Him and Love Him…

Driving to Missoula for dristrict meeting each week provides over 60 minutes of story time! One told the struggles of a loved one and how we can’t make choices for others; all we can do is tell them we love them and love them. At first, I thought she had repeated herself but then realized the slight but significant difference. It reminds me of a statement I heard much earlier than this event. “God wants commitment, not just conversation.”

One can say they love God and Christ all they want, but until they prove that love through their actions, the profession is void. Christ demanded action from us when He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Can we say we truly love Him, when we choose recreational activities over church attendance? We might be able to say it and feel it without SHOWING it; however, does He really know of our love? A phrase often heard when pointing out one’s lack of commitment through action is  “God knows my heart.” Yeah He does, but do you know His? Think of someone you know loves you…how do you know they love you? Is it because they would profess it from the mountain tops? Or is it because of how they treat you, listen to you, talk to you, and the things they do for you?

An example comes to mind. Two children of the same mother. One tells his mom of his love for her, then goes to play. The other child expresses his love to his mother and spends his time doing the chores she required of him. No doubt they both love their mother and are eager to express it. Actions that are in agreement with the words, add so much more meaning behind the simple words I LOVE YOU. May we prove our love for God through our daily efforts to live the lives He would have us live!

Cease to be God

Reading in Alma one morning proved to be thought provoking. The 42 chapter tells of Alma’s admonition to his son Corianton. Both serving as missionaries, Corianton has struggled to preach the gospel which in turn affects Alma’s ability to gain followers. One of Corianton’s issues is found starting in verse 1:

“And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.”

Not an unusual concern to have. Each person at some point will quesition the justice of God found in the scriptures. I think we question it more when it concerns our salvation, our suffering, the one vice we find difficult to let go. Sometimes we ask, “Will He really keep me out of heaven for gossipping or because I chose to express myself with piercings and tattoos?” To answer yes seems unreasonable and extreme. But Alma continues to explain that because we are human, we are fallen. We will all make mistakes and have weaknesses that do keep us from returning to our Heavenly Father. There are laws that must be kept and when they are not kept, a price must be paid. God is just. He cannot change universal laws, no matter how small they seem. But He can provide a way for us to escape that punishment, which allows Him to apply mercy. This is the role of our Savior’s atonement.

In verse 14-15, we read: “And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.”

Without laws, God would cease to be God. The Savior overcame the conflicting issue of justice verses mercy. It may appear cruel that punishment follows small broken commandments but justice must prevail. As we live on this earth, we decide what degree of glory we’ll receive by how obedient we are to the commandments of God. I know that no habit or wordly pleasure is worth risking our eternal happiness. When in doubt, do without! Heavenly Father blesses the faithful but it’s always in equal proportion to their obedience. He will not give you what you do not deserve, and you do not deserve that which you did not live for. Doctrine & Covenants 88:22 states that, “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” Christ surrendered completely to Heavenly Father’s will and He is our example. His call has been and forever will be, “Come follow me.”

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