Posts tagged ‘Savior’

Dwindling?

Well it’s been some time since I’ve posted anything. Life has been busy and full of changes. I’m now home from my mission and working for a great company in South Jordan UT. Without the missionary schedule, I’ve struggled to keep up on my scripture reading. Now that I have an hour lunch each day, I take advantage of that time by reading my Book of Mormon while at work. At first you might think perfect place for distraction right? I thought so too but figured anything is better than nothing. I am pleasantly surprised with how well my study has gone thus far!

In Helaman chapter 4, I read of how the Nephites are defeated in battle because of their wickedness. Iniquity cases the church to dwindle, meaning (as defined on dictionary.com) it became smaller and smaller, to shrink or waste away, to fall away as in quality. Why is it that people can go from a solid testimony of the gospel and church of Jesus Christ to almost being against it? The testimony they had dwindles slowly until it becomes nonexistent. Reading about the Nephites defeat and the church’s dwindling, I understood why and how this happens. In verse 23 it tells of the results of a dwindling church and iniquitous people…”they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation.” Disbelief. When we stop doing the do’s or do any of the don’ts, our testimony of the church dwindles. It’s a vicious cycle, spiraling downward, because with a dwindling testimony, our desire to live the gospel dies and soon follows the remaining fragments of our testimony.

If we want to stay strong in the gospel, we need to avoid sin. Of course we can’t and won’t be perfect but we can utilize the Atonement of our Savior to overcome our weaknesses. Repentance isn’t enough. We need to being doing those small and simple things each day to keep our testimonies from dwindling. Repetition is essential in remembering. If we aren’t consistently reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, and attending church, we begin to forget. We forget the things we knew to be true and the importance they hold in our lives. It’s the continuity of the living the gospel that strengthens and sustains our testimony of Christ’s true church. I’m thankful for my testimony of the daily do’s of the gospel. By doing so, I can remain true to the faith and to my Savior!

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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.

Living With Cancer

The words replayed again and again in my mind as we left the hospital. My eyes glanced from person to person, coming and going, as I wondered what news they had each been given and the new trials that lay ahead of them. For one, “Living with cancer,” printed on the front of a pamphlet said it all. Earlier that sunny morning, my companion and I received a call to visit a certain sister in the hospital. We were not given any details of why she was there. Our only tasks was to bring a Book of Mormon and other LDS reading materials for the resident of room number 4473. A short visit, a quick but earnest prayer and we were on our way back home.

According to Pub Med Health Website, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cells are the building blocks of living things. Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn’t need them. Cancer appears to occur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. It can also occur when cells forget how to die. The website goes on to explain the possible causes, symptoms, signs, tests, treatment, expectations, complications, etc. The title of the pamphlet in the hands of her son explain the seriousness of the news. Cancer requires changing ones lifestyle to endure the battle ahead.

Living with cancer…it is possible to continue with life. Changes are required but one is not without hope as they face their new condition. Becoming more and more common among mankind, cancers affect is practically everywhere, bleeding into homes, families, altering emotional and physical conditions. Cancer leaves lasting scars upon each life it touches. Rarely is anyone untouched by cancer in some aspect, directly or indirectly. Many face the probability of dealing with cancer, but we are all living with a lethal type of spiritual cancer. Sin, mistakes, weaknesses. No person is without them. Spiritual cancer has symptoms, causes, expectations and complications  as well; however, treatment is more powerful, lasting, and guaranteed. Christ suffered for all of our smallest mistakes to our most serious sins. It is because of His sacrifice and suffering that we can conquer spiritual cancer. He is our Savior, Redeemer, and chemotherapy. We don’t need the pamphlet, “Living with Spiritual Cancer.”

With application of Christ’s atonement, we can be in remission the rest of our days if we are willing to make certain lifelong changes. How grateful I am because of the hope my Savior gives me to be free of the deadly spiritual cancer I’ve struggled with in my life. I know that with sincere repentance, we all can be forgiven of our pasts, no matter how severe the cancerous cells or how late it is caught. With God, there is no such thing as past the point of no return. His arms are forever stretched outward, waiting patiently for us to humble ourselves before him and take his scarred hands. Don’t try to live with spiritual cancer. Let Christ be your constant chemotherapy!

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