Posts tagged ‘Matthew’

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.

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Who did sin?

Many wonder this common and mostly unanswered question at some point in their lives: “why do bad things happen to good people?” Trials and challenges and suffering are simply part of this life, we will all be faced with difficult, if not seemingly impossible, circumstances and understandably wonder “why me? What have I done to deserve this?” a similar question was asked of Christ. In John 9: 2-3 it reads:

2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, thisaman, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the aworks of God should be made bmanifest in him.

Once again, lets define manifest so we can better comprehend Christ’s answer. Manifest is to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; to show plainly to put beyond doubt or question. Synonyms include obvious, apparent, unmistakable. So are the struggles or times of hardship in our lives. They become opportunities of growth, to prove to ourselves and to God that we can and will turn to our Savior for strength to overcome and conquer stumbling blocks placed in our path. I know for myself, as well as others, that times of great struggles or suffering comes the greatest growth, understanding, and strength. Like President Harold B. Lee explains, ” sometimes when [we] are going through the most severetests, [we] will be nearer to God than [we] have any idea.”

Elder Richard G. Scott also explains how God loves us perfectly and “would not require [us] to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for our personal benefit,” (Learning through life’s trials).

Joseph Smith’s incarceration in Liberty Jail is a wonderful example of what can happen when we trust in God during times of opposition. Better explained in Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s talk, “Lessons Learned from Liberty Jail,” the Prophet Joseph’s experience teaches that “you can have sacred revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in any situation [even] in the most miserable experiences of your life.” Elder Holland continues, “everyone, including, and perhaps especially, the righteous, will be called upon to face trying times. When that happens we can sometimes fear that God has abandoned us, and we might be left, at least for a time, to wonder when our troubles will ever end. As individuals, as families, as communities, and as nations, probably everyone has had or will have an occasion to feel as Joseph Smith felt when he cried from the depth and discouragement of his confinement: “O God, where art thou? … How long shall thy hand be stayed … ? Yea, O Lord, how long shall [thy people] suffer … before … thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (D&C 121:1–3). When we want to cry out “O God where art thou,” we can take solace in the scripture D&C 121 :7-8

“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”

What peace I feel when I read these verses. God is truly with us. He is all around us. He promises, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). I testify that we can and will be supported in our trials and suffering if we turn to our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I knowthis because I have felt the enabling power of the atonement. Serving a mission is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I’m here and loving it because of my Savior’s mercy and because of the truthfulness of His promise found in Matthew 11: 28-30

28¶aCome unto me, all ye that blabour and are heavy laden, and I will give you crest.

29Take my ayoke upon you, and blearn of me; for I am cmeek anddlowly in eheart: and ye shall find frest unto your souls.

30For my yoke is aeasy, and my burden is light.

We will all fall. Just make sure you fall towards the Lord and not away from him. Elder Holland continues,”However heavy our load might be, it would be a lot heavier if the Savior had not gone that way before us and carried that burden with us and for us.” In moments of opposition or adversity, don’t wish it didn’t happen. This is your chance to shine! You can prove you are worthy of God’s blessings and that you will not also go away neither cast not away therefore your confidence. “Be still; and know that I am God” (D&C 101:16). When facedwith trials, trust and know that God is there, helping as you take the steps towards becoming a stronger servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for strength to endure it well so you can be exalted on high. How could we expect it to be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? “Hold on thy way.… Fear not … , for God shall be with you forever and ever” (D&C 122:9).

other sources and references:

“Learning Through Life’s Trials” by Larry Richman – http://lds.org/ensign/2010/03/learning-through-lifes-trials?lang=eng&query=learning+through+life’s+trials

“Lessons Learned from Liberty Jail” by Elder Jeffery R. Holland – http://lds.org/ensign/2009/09/lessons-from-liberty-jail?lang=eng&query=lessons+learned+liberty+jail