Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cracking Under Pressure? Then Fortify your Foundation

It's a simple known fact. The world is crazy! Now don't get me wrong. I'm not pushing any end of the world or society is in danger prophecies. The point of my message today is that if you just stop and look around you'll see how crazy, busy, hectic, dysfunctional, and overwhelming (or other related words) life can be.

We are in the midst of social, political, religious, cyber, physical, emotional, and spiritual wars on a daily basis. I don't know about you, but some days but I can't help but feel lost. The arguments and contentions and differing opinions can be a pretty rough storm to pass through. Just when you feel that you've figured everything out life smacks you in the face and tells you you're wrong.

The sad thing is that smack to the face can make you lose your balance on life and causes you to crack. The harmony of life is lost and you're left searching for something to bring you back. As someone that's been on that search I want to share what that something is that will bring you the peace you need. Its definitely not me and its not the guy down the street that gives you peace. The simple answer is its reconciliation with God...

Yep, its bringing yourself back in harmony with Heavenly Father. Once you do that He will fix things and show you what you can do. He will give you comfort when life is rough, He will give you direction when you're lost, and when you're affected so badly that you crack under the pressure He will show you what to do to make your foundation stronger.

This is a scripture from an ancient prophet telling his sons exactly what it is that they build their foundation on:

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon thearock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." Helaman 5:12

Its all centered on Christ. Do those things needed to build your foundation pray, read the scriptures, attend church, go to the temple, seek the guidance of the Spirit. As you do these things you'll be made strong to handle the most heavy burdens. I leave this message with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Always Ready to Serve

Recently--not completely sure why--my mind was turned to a talk given close to two years ago given by President Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. His talk entitled Pride and the Priesthood was mainly focused on the effects of pride and how it can damage our lives and the lives of those around us. He taught how we can avoid pride and look towards the Savior as our perfect example of love and humility, so that we may overcome the pride we may have.
As I sought to understand and apply what he taught I learned that God gives us the opportunity and blessing of being an instrument in His hands to bless His children. I learned just what kind of person He expects us to be so that may serve Him. President Uchtdorf defines the attribute of humility and teaches with a simple "pen" analogy of just it means be Always Ready to Serve.

"Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman.
Humility directs our attention and love toward others and to Heavenly Father’s purposes. Pride does the opposite. Pride draws its energy and strength from the deep wells of selfishness. The moment we stop obsessing with ourselves and lose ourselves in service, our pride diminishes and begins to die.

"My dear brethren, there are so many people in need whom we could be thinking about instead of ourselves. And please don’t ever forget your own family, your own wife. There are so many ways we could be serving. We have no time to become absorbed in ourselves.

"I once owned a pen that I loved to use during my career as an airline captain. By simply turning the shaft, I could choose one of four colors. The pen did not complain when I wanted to use red ink instead of blue. It did not say to me, 'I would rather not write after 10:00 p.m., in heavy fog, or at high altitudes.' The pen did not say, 'Use me only for important documents, not for the daily mundane tasks.' With greatest reliability it performed every task I needed, no matter how important or insignificant. It was always ready to serve.

"In a similar way we are tools in the hands of God. When our heart is in the right place, we do not complain that our assigned task is unworthy of our abilities. We gladly serve wherever we are asked. When we do this, the Lord can use us in ways beyond our understanding to accomplish His work."

 I know as we strive to live these principles taught that our lives will be blessed, our families will be blessed, and those we have the wonderful opportunity to serve will be blessed. Don't just take my word for it though, try it for yourselves. As we strive together to follow the example of Jesus Christ and serve God's children with all faith, hope, and humility we will see the blessings come and lives will be changed. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

What I've Learned: My Love for The Book of Mormon

Throughout my mission and my life I've had many powerful spiritual experiences in which I was the only one to feel the spirit and receive a divine lesson from God. This may have happened to you as well and it has a name. It is more commonly known throughout the church as personal revelation.
Personal revelation is an experience meant for that single person receiving it. It is typically for guidance in making a decision or teaching to understand what God would have us do or how we need to look at things. However, the Spirit can also impress on our minds a greater appreciation for our blessings. That being said I felt it appropriate to share this experience of receiving a greater witness and testimony of The Book of Mormon.

Earlier in the week as I was out and about knocking on doors hoping to share our message of the Restoration of the Gospel I looked down at the Book of Mormon I held in my hand. There I was standing in the middle of this empty street, and all of a sudden this completely unexpected feeling came over me. As I looked down at that book I held firmly in my hand the world stopped for just a moment and I was filled with complete gratitude for all my blessings. I wanted to share with everyone this book that had brought so much peace and happiness and understanding into my life. I realized after that just how much I love the Book of Mormon!

Here's what the Prophet Joseph Smith said about the Book of Mormon in its Introduction page. "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."

Precepts are the commandments and teachings given in the Book of Mormon. Living those precepts are how we learn and grow. What I've learned has changed my life!

This is a short list of some of the things I've learned or in other words.

What the Book of Mormon has taught me...

  • Christ's Atonement overcomes everything we are faced with (Alma 7:11-13).
  • Willful sacrifice brings us closer to Christ (basically all of 1 Nephi).
  • The Spirit can change my heart to only desire to do good (Mosiah 5:1-2)
  • When I only seek to do The Lord's will He will give me power to accomplish all things (Helaman 10:4-5).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Do Your Own Laundry

Yesterday, we had a meeting with the other missionaries in my district. One of the sisters was giving a discussion and shared this scripture from the Book of Mormon:
 "I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?
  I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins." (Alma 5:19-21)

I thought that was interesting what Alma had said, "there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white". I guess that makes doing your laundry even more important! Notice though how clean Alma tells us we have to make our garments. He says, "until they are cleansed from all stain." Seems like we're going to need to put some extra effort into our laundry...

Luckily, Alma also tells us what kind of laundry detergent we need to use to get out those tough stains. "Through the blood of him (Jesus Christ)...who should come to redeem his people from their sins."

So, there you have it! The only true way to do your spiritual laundry. There's only one condition though...I'm not washing your clothes...your mom won't be doing...and God's already given you the stain remover. I think this is a job only you can do.

Besides, it should make anyone a little uncomfortable if someone was going through their laundry. I know it would weird me out.

Let's do a quick review in simple terms of what you should hopefully learn and apply from this post...

Repentence isn't complete with just accepting the fact that Christ made it possible to be forgiven of our sins. We have to use Christ's Atonement to wash away our sins.
A fine example of applying some of Christ's
stain remover and scrubbing it out.

Also, using just clean water, or your works and goodness, won't remove our stains. Again, Christ's Atoning sacrifice which provides us His grace and mercy must be used. a slogan of truth!
I hope this was an enlightening and simple blog post for those striving to understand their personal relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Feel free to comment and share with your friends.

A few great blogs to read on learning more about Christ's Atonement:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feelings Through Scripture

Earlier this morning I was studying in The Book of Mormon in the Book of Mosiah and I had a sudden realization of the power of scripture. What our own reactions, thoughts, and feelings can be when reading these stories. Here are a set of verses sharing an account of King Mosiah reading the story of Zeniff and his people as well as Alma and his people.

Mosiah chapter 25:
 And now king Mosiah caused that all the people should be gathered together.

 And now all the people of Nephi were assembled together, and also all the people of Zarahemla, and they were gathered together in two bodies.

 And it came to pass that Mosiah did read, and caused to be read, the records of Zeniff to his people; yea, he read the records of the people of Zeniff, from the time they aleft the land of Zarahemla until they breturned again.

 And he also read the account of Alma and his brethren, and all their afflictions, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until the time they returned again.

 And now, when Mosiah had made an end of reading the records, his people who tarried in the land were struck with wonder and amazement.

 For they knew not what to think; for when they beheld those that had been delivered aout of bondage they were filled with exceedingly great joy.

 And again, when they thought of their brethren who had been aslain by the Lamanites they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow.

10 And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of abondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.

After reading these scriptures I realized just how we should feel from learning about these people. I realized that just moments before I was reading those same stories and I didn't have that sense of feeling. I couldn't help but wonder what made me lose that. It wasn't because I didn't appreciate the scriptures or what I was reading, but it was because I didn't make what I was reading connect with my own life. I seemed to have forgotten that these people really did live, that these things really did happen, and the whole reason I knew this was because of the witness of the Holy Spirit.

It wasn't until after I let the Holy Ghost remind me of truth and make these people my own spiritual brothers and sisters that I began to feel the joy, the sorrow, and the gratitude God wanted me to feel from reading the scriptures.

I invite any that read this to search, study, ponder, and pray over the scriptures (The Bible, The Book of Mormon, etc.). It is not only a source of knowledge, but something that can change our souls to what God, our Heavenly Father, wants us to be.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Temple: No Greater Sacrifice

This video shares a powerful message from President Thomas S. Monson on the great sacrifices made to go to the temple. When families are so important to The Lord that he dedicates his temples to sealing families for time and all eternity you know that any sacrifice made for that purpose is worth the cost.

To learn more about families being sealed together follow this link:

To watch this and other church related videos you can go to this site:

To watch the video and other messages from the church you can go to this site:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Story of The Three Trees

This is a story I heard at a stake conference several weeks ago. I felt the story needed to be shared. I know I felt a greater appreciation for Christ and the struggles we go through so our prayers can be answered...

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty." Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull." Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter" ... and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest. At the second tree a woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship. When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree so I'll take this one", and he cut it down."

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

Author Unkown