Saturday, May 27, 2017

It's Not You, It's Him

That awkward moment when you have to ask the guy in your ward who was trying to date you a year ago to set up an interview with the Bishop for a Living Ordinance recommend so you can marry a different guy in the ward. #Mormonprobs

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Connect to Jesus Christ

Romans 1:9 states "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." According to this scripture, if one simply proof texted it -- meaning they took it out of context and focused one that one single verse on which to base doctrine--one could say that all we had to do to be saved would be to declare that Jesus is the Christ and that He was resurrected. As important as that is, it is certainly not enough to save us.
 In Greek, the word "confess" would more accurately be defined as "covenant" or "connect. So although it's important to confess that Jesus is the Christ and believe on Him and His Atonement, salvation comes from connecting ourselves to Him. When we live our lives in harmony with His life and teachings, we become more like Him and therefore will be worthy to receive salvation.We must do more than confess; our lives should be a greater example of our conversion to the Lord than our words.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Good Works

Romans 2:13 states, "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified". In class on Thursday we discussed faith and works and why they're important. Brother Griffin stated that works won't save us, but they will bring us closer to Christ which will then make us more like Christ. Becoming more like Christ and coming unto Him are what save us, meaning that faith and works are necessary, but it's because of their outcome. This changes the way I see good works to letting them change me and make me better. We can all let our works change who we are, not just what we do.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Shoes of a Soldier

As we studied the crucifixion of Christ this week, I thought of something interesting from John 23:34. After Christ has been bruised, beaten, ripped apart, and mocked by the Roman soldiers, He implores His Father on their behalf. While they are in the act of parting Christ's raiment and casting lots, Jesus prays, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." As soon as I read that, suddenly I stood in a soldier's shoes as I came to the pearly gates of heaven and looked into the eyes of the very man whose identity I had marred beyond recognition to be judged of Him. To know what I had done and to finally fully understand what I had done, then to remember vaguely hearing Him use one of His final breaths to pray on my behalf would be too painful to bear. Yet I know that if I were that soldier, as I was bowing at His feet begging for forgiveness, my kind, tender, loving Savior would lift me up and bestow an undeserving amount mercy upon me. We are not much different than the soldiers. Let us be more aware of what we are doing, the affect we may have on others, and the affect we may have on ourselves. Come unto Christ, be saved, be forgiven; repent and forgive as your Redeemer so mercifully forgives you.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Come Unto Christ through His Atonement

Christ performed the Atonement so that we might be saved if we come unto Him. Lately, however, it's been said that we need to come unto the Atonement--the Atonement will heal us. It's true that because of the Atonement we are able to be saved, but it is not the Atonement that we must come unto. In Matthew 11:28-30, Christ exhorts, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." In verse 29 Christ clearly teaches that we must learn of Him and find rest in Him by taking His yoke upon us. That's the true beauty of the Atonement. I'm so grateful to Christ for sacrificing and performing the Atonement, for in doing so He has come unto me by suffering all that I have suffered. All that's left now is for me to come unto Him, which can only be done through the use of His Atonement.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Faith of a Samaritan

I've always enjoyed the story in the Bible when Christ comes to the Samaritan woman because I viewed it as Christ loving all people and not having prejudices, which is all true. This week, however, I learned another lesson from the woman herself and her incredible faith.
When Christ first comes to the well in John 4, he requests that the woman draws water for him to drink. This is a Jew not only speaking to a Samaritan, but having the audacity to ask a favor from one. She initially refers to him as "a Jew", emphasizing the strangeness of the situation. As she talks with him and as he teaches her, however, the way she sees him changes and she calls him Sir, then prophet, and then Messias and Christ.
As she comes to know Christ, her faith grows and she can feel the Spirit confirming that what He says it true and that He is the Christ.
This woman, who was raised to despise Jews and accept their hatred toward her as well, had a heart prepared to accept the Christ when He came.
As we discussed these ideas, I thought of how I could better prepare myself. I asked myself if I would recognize the Christ, if I was close enough to the Spirit and it would speak to me and I would know right away. I don't know when I'll see Him again, but I hope that when I do I'll know with whom I'm speaking.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Parables of Christ

This week in my religion class we focused on the parables that Christ taught during His earthly ministry. We dove into the parables of the lost sheep, coin, and son. We dug deeper into the parable of the good Samaritan, and we came to better understand the various parables of the talents. I learned much from all of these parables, many things that I had never before considered or understood. But what I loved most from discussing these was the meaning and purpose of parables in general.
We are taught that we are judged according to our understanding. We interpret the parables in the way we need at the moment we study them. This also applied to the Pharisees, whom Jesus loved also, despite their hatred and persecution. He was giving the Pharisees a chance by allowing them to learn according to the level of understanding that they could handle.
This is just another example of the immense love Christ has for all people. No one is bad enough that He hasn't suffered for them or that he won't give them a chance at redemption. He is the most merciful and loving.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Filthy Becometh Delicious Above All

In the miracle at the wedding in Cana in John 2:1-11, Christ turns dirty water used to wash off the dust on the hands of the guests into the most delicious wine of the evening.The physical part of this miracle is truly amazing, but the Spiritual aspect is absolutely beautiful. In this story, we are the barrels of filthy water and Christ is the miracle worker who is able to make us so much more. Through the Atonement, we are not just made clean. We could settle at using the Atonement just to make us clean and pure, which is wonderful and beautiful. But Christ offers so much more than that, most of the time we just don't understand that. His Atonement offers us the chance to not only be made pure, but to become something beyond what the world tells us we are limited to be. Through the Atonement we have the opportunity to be as Christ and Heavenly Father are; to be the best wine at the party.
We can seek to understand the Atonement greater and learn how to use it to the fullest, that we might stretch ourselves and strive to be even better than man ever thought we could.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Barrier Between us and God's Love

God's love for His children is evident through all that He does for us in both the scriptures and modern day. The greatest manifestation of that love was God sending His Only Begotten Son to live and be an example unto us and to suffer pain and die for our sins that we might live again. But why is it that most of us have felt a distance and separation from that love? Some people have thought it's because they're not good enough; others have thought it's because God isn't kind enough. We see in Romans 8:35, and 38-39 that such things are not the case. It says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"
So why do we still suffer the pain of feeling forgotten by God? If nothing can stand between us and the love of Christ, why do so many fell abandoned? IN reading this scripture I realized that we are the only thing that can separate us from feeling the love of Christ. 
We often hold ourselves back from accepting that love because we don't think we deserve it. But His love in infinite and will always be there waiting for us to open our hearts to it. As we share love, we accept love.
Don't allow anything to stifle the love that God wants to pour upon us, for it is the very thing that allows us to do anything.

Monday, February 13, 2017

To Whom He Forgave Most Loved Most

"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
"And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
"Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged." (John 7: 41-43)
This account left me to wonder, "Is there not a better way to love Christ deeper without having to perform a worse sin and undergo greater repentance?" I didn't like the idea that we would have to commit greater sins in order to truly love Christ even deeper. I began thinking about how I personally could come closer to Christ in different ways.
The reason greater sin and greater debt allow you to love more is because the Atonement is being used more. It brings you closer to Christ because He has done even more to save you and and you become more indebted to him, yet he frees you of all that debt. The gratitude for salvation feeds the love you have for Him who saves you.
Coming to that conclusion of why a person being forgiven of a greater debt loves more led me to understand that it's the use of the Atonement that deepens that love, not the sin committed and forgiven. Using the Atonement brings us closer to Christ; it opens our hearts to Christ and allows us to trust Him completely, relying wholly on Him to save us. We get to know Him and feel His love for us and we begin reciprocate that love as our hearts are softened and given to Christ.
We should learn to use the Atonement everyday, whether it be through seeking forgiveness for sin, gaining strength to do the things we can't do on our own, serving others, or just striving to be more like Christ. We can all love Him more, just by using the greatest gift He gave us more often and more fully.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Do What You Know, Try What You Don't

Most of us have been inspired by the story found in Moses 5:5-8 when Adam is asked by an angel why he is performing a sacrifice and he responds, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me." It teaches us exact obedience to commands that we don't fully understand. I always took that lesson as a lesson in what some might call "blind obedience"; simply obeying because we love and trust the Lord even if we don't know why we do it. This week, however, I learned how to apply the teachings of this scripture to myself in a more meaningful way. 
It's not only about "blind obedience" it's about doing what you know and letting that drive you to try what you don't know. Adam knew what he was doing and how to do it, having learned how to make animal sacrifices from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. But he didn't know the why, which for many people prevents us from actually doing something. But he took what he knew, the how and the what of sacrifice, and decided to try it, even if he didn't have all the answers. 
So it is with us. We rarely know all three aspects of a commandment: What, How, Why. That's where faith is meant to make up the difference. If we knew everything why would we need faith? What 
 would the point of coming to this earth be if God gave us everything right away? We are made better when we are given the opportunity to show our faith and commitment to our loving Father in Heaven that we trust Him enough to give Him a chance, to let Him play an essential role in our lives. Let us all show more commitment to our God Who does so much for us and try a little more to be a little more faithful and obedient. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Love Thy Neighbor

Most of us are very familiar with the commandment found in Mark 12:30-31 (also found in other books of scripture) that states, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
"And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, There is none other commandment greater than these." We've come to understand better what it means to love God and His children and how to show and greater develop that love. But I wonder how truly we actually understand what that means. In my house we have a huge window that faces the street and I get to people watch while doing my homework. This past week I watched as people passed each other on the street and didn't even acknowledge the existence of the other human being and I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed; disappointed in myself, because I know I do it all the time, and in how that is the social norm in our society and world today.We tend to shut out the world around us when going from place to place, which is okay sometimes. We need that time to be by ourselves and think and figure things out as we walk. Too often, however, it's just to get to where we're going a little "faster" by not having to bother with the exhaustion of personal interaction.
There were two men specifically that caught my eye as they passed each other. They weren't just avoiding eye contact or ignoring one another, there was simply no recognition of the fact there there was another living human. I couldn't help but think, "but we were all together in heaven! That's your brother! How can you just ignore him like that?!"
What I'm trying to say in all of this is that we all knew each other and we're all here on the earth now trying to make sense of it all, trying to become better and overcome the hardships of life. I think the least we can do to show and feel a little more of that familiar love we had once felt for each other before this life is acknowledge each other. Make eye contact and smile. We'll all feel a little better. Love God and His children with a little more heart and soul, a little more thought, and a little more strength.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mary the Mother of Christ

Mary is universally known as the mother of Jesus Christ who is our Lord and Savior. She has been revered, respected, and at times even worshiped for having performed the amazing task of bearing and raising the Redeemer of the World. She was courageous in accepting this calling but also humble. In St Luke 1:38 Mary responds to the angel Gabriel, saying, "...Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to they word..."  When I read this my mind thought of when Christ suffered in Gethsemane and pleaded with God that He might not drink from the bitter cup but then said, "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (St John 22:42). This scripture about Mary's humility and submission to the Lord's will helped me to understand her better. She knew fully well that few people would believe her and if Joseph had called off the marriage, no one would have had her. Her humility and faith that the Lord would take care of her is incredible. She was willing to sacrifice her life and all her comforts to perform this incredible act. Might we follow the examples of Christ and his wonderful mother in having enough faith in our Heavenly Father to trust His will and submit ourselves to living worthy of performing in behalf of the Lord.