How You Can Reach Me

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Questions with Simple Answers

Watch this video first, please:

Why do we have family concerns?

Why do bad things happen?

Why are we asked to “walk by faith, rather than by sight?” (2 Corinithians 5:7)

Why isn’t faith always verifiable by science?

Because it is part of His plan. Because “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Why must we do hard things?

Why is keeping a pattern of prayer and scripture study so hard, when we know the promised blessings?

Why must we ask the Lord for help, when He knows of our needs?

Because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Why is it worth it?

“because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.” (Alma 32:42-43)

There are many questions that I have about my faith, and about the Gospel. Why some lessons are so much more painful than others.

I don’t know. But I know enough. And if it’s true, what else matters?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Best of Friends

I think that I have the best friends in the world. Whether I’m struggling or succeeding, I have someone to commiserate or celebrate with.

What is a friend? I think a friend is someone who loves you enough to be honest with you, to look out for you, and to be there whether it’s feast or famine.

The Savior called us His “friends.” President Monson and Hinckley call us their friends. Do we not have a responsibility to be friendly to all?

Joseph M. Scriven penned a hymn to sum up the love and friendship that we have in Jesus:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear

May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
I’m going to change the words of Elder Wirthlin, from love to friendship in this quote:

“True [friendship] lasts forever. It is eternally patient and forgiving. It believes, hopes, and endures all things. That is the [feeling] our [Savior] bears for us. We all yearn to experience love like this. Even when we make mistakes, we hope others will love us in spite of our shortcomings—even if we don’t deserve it. Oh, it is wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father loves us—even with all our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will.”
Let’s not give up. Let us show the love that each of us wants to be shown.

And one favor, for me. Cory DeVaney is in Iraq right now. He is constantly on the brink of life and death. Will you join me in prayers for Cory this week? I feel like he needs them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just Do It

Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-28 offers some powerful insight into the power that our Father in Heaven has given to each of us, to stand as a witness for Him.

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is acompelled in all things, the same is a bslothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27 Verily I say, men should be aanxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are aagents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their breward.

I think that the phrase “for the power is in them” is an important one to remember, when considering our callings, and service in general. While we must acknowledge all that the Lord does, and enables us to do, He has made us “agents unto ourselves,” that we can choose to bring forth much righteousness. He has given us every gift that we possess, so that we can bless the lives of others.
This phrase reminds me of a story that my mission president’s wife, told me. When she was a child, and on into her teenage years, she played the piano with enthusiasm. But when she entered high school, she stopped practicing as much, and keeping up with the rigorous schedule her teacher gave to her. Years later, she performed in a sacrament meeting, and a member of the congregation told her that she could be a concert pianist. Laughing this off, she told her former professor what the ward member had said. In reply, her teacher said, “you were the best student I ever had, and could have been a concert pianist. You had the ability, but you were too lazy.” My friend said that these words still haunt her. True are the words of John Greenleaf Whittier, “of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, it might have been.”
I think that the power within us entails the spiritual gifts our Father has given us, combined with the righteous use of our own agency, to bless the lives of His children. So let’s do it!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Basic Doctrine, as Outlined by the Scriptures

D&C Section 20 has been called the “Constitution” of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While it does not spell out each doctrinal position and each hierarchical position at length, it does touch on many of the doctrines and responsibilities of Church members, along with how the Church was organized and established.
Many outside of the Church have accused Church members of not being Christians, and not believing in many basic doctrines. Section 20 provides a helpful reference for those who are not informed of the basic tenants of the LDS faith. I find this list interesting. It’s in no way comprehensive.

Verse 1: The rise of the Church of Christ:
This is the Church of Christ. We are Christian, because we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Verse 2-3: Which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ…And to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ
Joseph Smith Jr., as the first prophet and President of the Church, was called and ordained, under Apostolic authority. The very keys that the Savior commissioned to Peter, James, and John have been restored. They were also given to Oliver Cowdery, using the pattern the Master established, “by two or three witness” shall all things be established.

Verse 4: And this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory, both now and forever.
The grace of Jesus Christ is what saves us, and it is by that grace (love) that the Church was established. Baptism and temple work are important components of our part, but they alone do not guarantee the Celestial Kingdom. We are saved, justified, sanctified, and exalted by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Verse 8: And gave [Joseph Smith] power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God. It wasn’t hit genius, a stolen manuscript, a dream, a vision caused by seizure, or any of the other suggestions put forward.

Verse 11: Proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true
We believe the Bible. Anyone who declares otherwise is misinformed.

Verse 17: we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.. And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them…And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship.
I think that speaks for itself.
Verse 21-27, 29: Wherefore, the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him. He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them. He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day; And ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father; That as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved— Not only those who believed after he came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came, who believed in the words of the holy prophets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, who truly testified of him in all things, should have eternal life, As well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son;
We’re Christians. We don’t believe in a “different” Jesus. We believe in the Savior of the World, who paid for our sins and inadequacies with His blood, and broke the bands of death, that the “sting of death is swallowed up in victory.”
Baptism is essential.
So is enduring to the end.

Verse 28: Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end.
Jeffrey R. Holland: “Our first and foremost article of faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”2 We believe these three divine persons constituting a single Godhead are united in purpose, in manner, in testimony, in mission. We believe Them to be filled with the same godly sense of mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness, and redemption. I think it is accurate to say we believe They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance.”

Verse 33: let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation;
Verse 35: And we know that these things are true and according to the revelations of John, neither adding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book, the holy scriptures, or the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, the voice of God, or the ministering of angels.
I feel like these also speak for themselves.

I’m grateful that the Lord has given us clearly defined doctrines, so that we need not be defined by others, but be defined by articles and commandments that the Lord has set.