Saturday, December 31, 2016

Not Resting in the Service of our Lord

A few nights ago, I was reading scriptures to my children before bed and came upon this scripture which is precious to me.

Ether 12:2-3
2 And Ether was a prophet of the Lord; wherefore Ether came forth in the days of Coriantumr, and began to prophesy unto the people, for he could not be restrained because of the Spirit of the Lord which was in him.
3 For he did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance lest they should be destroyed, saying unto them that by faith all things are fulfilled-- https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/12?lang=eng

Ether "could not be restrained." Absolutely amazing! Ether reminds me of Alma the younger.

Alma 43:1
1 And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/43?lang=eng

Alma did not look at all the many many years of dedicated service to God and his country that he had given. He didn't feel that he had earned or deserved a rest or that he had done his share and now it was time for others to do their part. No, this great man wouldn't allow himself to be complacent in the slightest, and he did not rest in the service of His God, and we must not rest either.

What absolute conviction these two great men had. We are not specifically told the motivation behind Alma's desire not to rest, but I would suggest that it was similar to Ether's motivation. They were both great prophets and knew personally the value of saving even just one soul and the reward or rather joy and glory given to those who were instruments in the Lord's hands in bringing them unto and into the arms of their Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. This is evident because in Ether we are told that, "he could not be restrained because of the Spirit of the Lord which was in him." The Spirit of the Lord himself was not just with him, but rather "in him." There is great significance in the phrase "in him."

Doctrine and Covenants 50:43
43 And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/50?lang=eng

Matthew 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

This is such a great time to be alive where things that have been prophesied since Adam are taking place before or eyes. Of all times, these times are ones where we can not rest in the slightest. Let's roll up our sleeves and get busy in the work of salvation.

Craig

Run After Our Salvation

Christopher McDougall, author of “Born to Run,” made this observation:

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”

As I read this, my mind immediately applied this to our spirituality. The question popped into my mind, "Are we running after our salvation and exaltation?" Satan and his followers, both seen and unseen, sure are running after us and if we are not faster than they are, we will become their prey. I know that I have stopped for breath, and after reading this quote I am back running, trying to make up for lost ground.

Let us not just run to save or own lives, let us vow today that we will run in the service of our God, being clothed with His Spirit and power, and not let even one soul within our reach and influence fall behind. We can and must do this. Imagine the embrace in heaven with those of whom we came to the rescue, snatching them from the very jaws of the great lion himself. Eternal tears of gratitude and love will be shed, and we will have glory added upon our heads.

LET'S RUN!!!

Craig

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Immerse yourselves in the scriptures

Immerse yourselves in the scriptures

Ezra Taft Benson said, "I add my voice to these wise and inspired brethren and say to you that one of the most important things you can do as priesthood leaders is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles that are found therein. There are few other efforts that will bring greater dividends to your calling. There are few ways to gain greater inspiration as you serve." ["The Power of the Word," Ensign (May 1986), pp. 79-82]

The Scriptures, and specifically the Book Mormon, truly contain, not just the answers and solutions for our lives, but an actual power that flows from its pages, that we desperately need in our daily lives. I have personally felt this power in my life as I have feasted from it's pages. Let us all recommit and rededicate ourselves to a greater immersion and feasting on the good word of God found in the scriptures.

Craig

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Gratitude for Jesus Christ


Written by: Craig Conover Published  on: November 14, 2010
Talk Source: http://ldstalks.blogspot.com/2010/11/gratitude-for-jesus-christ.html

I am truly honored to be able to speak to you today and on such a great topic.
First of all, I would like to warn you that I use a lot of scriptures in my talks because of how valuable they are. If you recall that there are several entire chapters in the Book of Mormon that Nephi and others recorded word for word. Every word in the scriptures was selected by the power of God and delivers great power unto all that listen with the Spirit. So if you want to follow along, go ahead and grab your scriptures.

I would like to start by telling you how the spirit was manifest in my life through this talk. A while back I started a new tradition, in my family, an even though I am the only one that participates for the most part, I still call it a tradition. It is called the monthly talk tradition. For years I wanted to compose talks and have them ready whenever I was called on, so about 6 months ago I decided to do it and to share it with my family. So I try to put together a talk a month and send to my family. It has been real fun and I have learned so much. After I sent off the last one, I started to think about what topic I wanted next months talk to be on. This was about a week ago, and the thought came to me that I had not talked about my Savior yet, and that it was time for me to do that. I then began to focus my mind on my Savior, and I will tell you that as I allowed my thoughts to focus only upon him I received great strength and felt so close to him. There is a power that He can bring into our lives. Alma the younger describes in part this power  to his son Helaman in Alma 36:17-20: After recalling how an angel appeared to him commanding him to stop destroying the Lords church, and he had fallen that he could not speak or use his limbs and was taken before his father. 

17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

I too have felt this power in my life. On Monday the counselor in the Bishopric left a message for me to call him back. I thought that he might ask me to speak, and I thought it being Thanksgiving weekend he would probably give me a topic on Gratitude. All night I started to think about how neat it would be, if that was the topic, because I would show my gratitude for my Savior. The following day he called me and gave me the topic of gratitude for Jesus Christ. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. So today I will be able to talk to you for a brief minute about my best friend and my God. I thought about how I would structure such a topic because my heart is filled with love and gratitude for him and I was not sure how to have you feel what I felt. So I pray that the spirit will be with me as I attempt to express my gratitude for Him. There are two aspects that I would like to touch on, and that is why we should be thankful for him, and then how we can show our gratitude to him.

Why we should be thankful for him, this does not need to be explained, but I would like the opportunity for you to feel what I feel. To begin is very difficult because he is the corner stone or the central belief in all that we believe in, there is no start or end to his influence.

3 Nephi 9:18
I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

D&C 19:1
I AM Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.

But let me begin by explaining who he was. As a child he started the same as all of us did, and had to become perfect step by step. Elders I apologize you heard this quote last week. James E. Talmage shows us this, in Jesus the Christ.

"In such simplicity is the normal, natural development of the Boy Jesus made clear. He came among men to experience all the natural conditions of mortality; He was born as truly a dependent, helpless babe as is any other child; His infancy was in all common features as the infancy of others; His boyhood was actual boyhood, His development was as necessary and as real as that of all children. Over His mind had fallen the veil of forgetfulness common to all who are born to earth, by which the remembrance of primeval existence is shut off. The Child grew, and with growth there came to Him expansion of mind, development of faculties, and progression in power and understanding. His advancement was from one grace to another, not from gracelessness to grace; from good to greater good, not from evil to good, from favor with God to greater favor, not from estrangement because of sin to reconciliation through repentance and propitiation.

Our knowledge of Jewish life in that age justifies the inference that the Boy was well taught in the law and the scriptures, for such was the rule. He garnered knowledge by study, and gained wisdom by prayer, thought, and effort. Beyond question He was trained to labor, for idleness was abhorred then as it is now; and every Jewish boy, whether carpenter's son, peasant's child, or rabbi's heir, was required to learn and follow a practical and productive vocation. Jesus was all that a boy should be, for His development was unretarded by the dragging weight of sin; He loved and obeyed the truth and therefore was free."


Also, in D&C 93:12-14

12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.

He was born into a royal blood lineage, and that of King David. In Jesus the Christ there is a quote from Canon Girdlestone, “If the crown of David had been assigned to his successor in the days of Herod it would have been placed on the head of Joseph. And who would have been the legal successor to Joseph? Jesus of Nazareth would have been then the King of the Jews, and the title on the cross spoke the truth. God had raised Him up to the house of David.”

He came, not to rule as a King, but to save the souls of those who believe in his name. Jesus in his own words, Matthew 20:26-28, shows us that, whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;


27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Why should such a being as Jesus Christ come? King Benjamin show us why.

Mosiah 3:5-13
5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
6 And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
10 And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.
11 For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.
12 But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.
13 And the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them.

I never tire from hearing those words, they awake within me a great abiding love for my Savior. Early I talked about the power that comes in and through Jesus Christ. There is a great quote from Ezra Taft Bensen in a 1986 conference report, 

“There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called "the words of life” and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).”

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, showing to the world that the Christ is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Therefore the power of the Book of Mormon of which has been spoken, is the very power of God unto the convincing of all that read from its pages of Jesus and of his works, love, and atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. This power is given unto us through our faith in Him. I am always amazed at the account of the brother of Jared, who because of his faith saw God and much, much more.

Ether 3:20
20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him.
Continuing in 25 he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.

Mormon uses the Bother of Jared to explain faith:
Either 12:7, 20-21
7 For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.
20 And behold, we have seen in this record that one of these was the brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith.
21 And after the brother of Jared had beheld the finger of the Lord, because of the promise which the brother of Jared had obtained by faith, the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil.

Either 4:4 Mormon says

4 4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

So by faith we can come to understand what great things the Savior of the world did for all of us, and it is by faith that your gratitude and joy for Him may consume you even like that of Ammon and the Anti Nephi Lehi's. And they truly were ministered to and it is written in Alma 23:6 And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them-yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.

They had the power of Christ in their very lives, and we too must obtain this power and allow our minds to lay hold on our Savior.

I would like now to talk about, how we can show our gratitude to him. I thought about this quite a bit and several things kept coming to my mind.


John 21:14-17
14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

It is not enough for us to individually know that Jesus is the Christ, it is evident by the words of Jesus to Peter that we must bring others unto him. I think that it is important to note that this happened after Christ had been raised from the dead, and of all the teachings he could have given, he chose to teach them this great doctrine.

And unto the disciples in the America's he taught them a similar doctrine.
He asked the 12: What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?

3 Nephi 28:2
2 And they all spake, save it were three, saying: We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.

He said, “Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me” and explained what would become of them, and then turned to the 3 and asked them: What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?


3 Nephi 28:5-10
5 And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired.
6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.
7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.
9 … and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.
10 And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

After this they were caught up in heaven and were minister unto, and when they continued their ministry on the earth they went through all the land and all were converted unto the Lord and united unto the church of Christ.

There is nothing greater than to bring souls unto salvation. I heard this quote in a church lesson, if I remember correctly, and although I can not find the source and possibly it is not an official quote by Spencer W Kimball, but it is one of the greatest view points on missionary work. With that understanding, here it is:

“If only you could see the vision as I have, I wish I had your bodies to do the mission work, I would run to every house to teach the gospel and when I could no longer run then I would walk, and when I could no longer walk, I would crawl on my knees, and after my knees were so bloody that I could not use them, I would use my arms to drag myself, and once every muscle in my body was gone I would begin to yell! Oh that you could see the vision that I have."

How powerful is that. And for what purpose? To bring the knowledge of the Savior, into as many lives as would believe.

I would like to express to you my gratitude for him at this time. I can look at my life and see that my testimony is founded on Jesus Christ though the Book of Mormon. I have loved the Book of Mormon as long as I can remember. My first Book of Mormon I had through High School and I think that I marked every line red. I lost it and then a year or two later, my brother told me that it was at the seminary building and that his friends would comment, how they couldn't read it because it was all marked up. I didn't stop there though, my wife had a nice quad and since I didn't have mine she said I could use hers. I asked her if I could mark them and she said I could, she thought she knew what that meant. A year or so later she picked up “my” scriptures and to her surprise, her pages were red, green, and purple, she wasn’t very happy I might add. I can truly say that it is because of the Book of Mormon and the testimony and words of those great men that I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In those sacred pages are teachings and stories that are chosen by the Savior himself through the Holy Spirit for us to have. It is written several times, that it is impossible to write an hundredth part of the proceedings of this people or hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people. Of all the proceedings, revelations and manifestations of the Spirit to the nephites, Lamenites, and Jaredites, Mormon was inspired to abridge only that which would be plain and precious to convincing of the all men that Jesus is the very Christ and the only name whereby salvation can come unto the children of men. I have prayed many times that I could feel what the prophets were trying to convey, to feel of their spirit, because of the awkwardness of writing. Mormon explains this to some degree for us in Ether 12:23-27

23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;
24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.
25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.
26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I have noticed that as I would pray for greater understanding, He truly has made weak things become strong unto me and that I could comprehend at a greater level what they were saying; they are becoming more alive to me than ever before. I am also starting to understand more than ever what Alma teaches us in ch 30:

40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.
41 But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true.
44 …The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

All knowledge and wisdom is light and He is the light of the world. As the Lord teaches Mormon in 

Ether 4:12
12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me-that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

To me the testimony of Joseph Smith in D&C 76:22-24 sums what I feel.

22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives
23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father-
24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

He has been my light through out my life. I had an experience a few years back that has given my testimony great strength. I was sitting in sacrament meeting, and had began something new, I would take an instance in the life of the Savior and would envision myself there and try to take myself there, and try to walk along side the apostles and be close to the Savior. At this time my mind was taken to the time when Jesus administered the sacrament to his apostles, before he was to be betrayed and crucified. All of the apostles were there and they were busy making ready the Passover for Jesus. I was among them, but the Savior was not there yet, I found myself looking all over the room for him. The door was hidden and a small maybe 5 foot long hall way led to the room. I remember looking down the hallway when suddenly I saw him enter the room down the hallway, my heart soared and what joy filled my heart I was taken back by what power radiated from his being as he approached us.

I am forever grateful for the Book of Mormon and those prophets that spent their time under candle light or whatever means of light they had to record those things that teach us of one Jesus Christ who should come and did come and will come again. That I may know of him and through faith he can become my best and truest friend, my master, and my Savior. Of Him and this great work I leave my testimony that it is all true, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Spend the day with Him whose witness I am

Spend the day with Him whose witness I am

This is a real neat story. As you read it, think about how you can enhance your relationship with the Savior.

“One morning during this recuperative period, Elder Kimball’s bed was discovered empty. Thinking that he had taken a morning stroll and would be back in time for breakfast, his attendants went about their duties. But when he hadn’t returned by 10:00 a.m., they began to worry. A search began.


“He was finally discovered several miles away under a pine tree. His Bible lay next to him, opened to the last chapter of St. John. His eyes were closed, and when the search party came up to him he remained as still as when they first caught sight of him.


“Their frightened voices aroused him, however, and when he lifted his head they could see traces of tears on his cheeks. To their questions, he answered, ‘[Five] years ago today I was called to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I just wanted to spend the day with Him whose witness I am.’”   See Teachings of Presidents of the Church, 23.
Source: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/01/spencer-w-kimball-man-of-action?lang=eng#footnote13-27901_000_012

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Gifts of the Spirit: we must seek them and seek God's face through them

Gifts of the Spirit: we must seek them and seek God's face through them

This quote by President George Q. Cannon is absolutely amazing.

“How many of you are seeking for these gifts that God has promised to bestow? How many of you, when you bow before your Heavenly Father in your family circle or in your secret places, contend for these gifts to be bestowed upon you? How many of you ask the Father in the name of Jesus to manifest Himself to you through these powers and these gifts? Or do you go along day by day like a door turning on its hinges, without having any feeling upon the subject, without exercising any faith whatever, content to be baptized and be members of the Church and to rest there, thinking that your salvation is secure because you have done this?

I say unto you, in the name of the Lord, as one of His servants, that you have need to repent of this. You have need to repent of your hardness of heart, of your indifference and of your carelessness. There is not that diligence, there is not that faith, there is not that seeking for the power of God that there should be among a people who have received the precious promises we have.”

— George Q. Cannon, “Receiving Gifts of the Spirit,” Matthew B. Brown, pg. 25.

What do we want out of life, or what is the aim of our life? In Matthew 6:21 we are taught, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/6?lang=eng

Treasure is those things that matter most to us in life. Our greatest treasure should be to see God and His Christ and know them for ourselves. All other things fall below this greatest of treasures. Let us seek after these spiritual gifts and teach our children how to seek after them as well. And when we obtain them let us use them for building up the kingdom of God on earth and bringing souls unto Him; then will we obtain the greatest of all treasures and look upon the face of Christ and He will even manifest the Father unto us also. I will end with the words of Joseph Smith, "when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God." The Two Comforters, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (SLC: Deseret Book Co., 1938), 149-151.

Craig

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Eternal Perspective

What brings you peace and comfort in your life? Is it an easy question to answer, or does it take a lot of thought?

For me the answer is clear and undeniable! My knowledge of God's great plan of happiness for each of us gives me an eternal perspective that brings peace, comfort and joy to my life.

I know where I came from. I lived with God before I came to earth. I felt His love for me personally and wanted to be more like my Heavenly Father that I loved so much.

I know that God sent me to earth to accomplish that very thing; to gain knowledge and  experiences that will help me be more like Him. And while this time I have on earth may seem hard at times or monotonous and tiring, I am grateful to know why I'm here. In the grand scheme of things, this is a short time to be here before returning home to my God.

To be truly tested I must live by faith. If I remembered living with God and knew every little thing He wanted me to do, I would not be able to exercise my faith. I want to be like Alma, and all those who followed him, who were exceedingly blessed for their faith.

"Blessed art thou, Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi." (Book of Mormon; Mosiah 26:15)

Alma didn't see God. He wasn't raised all his life learning what the Lord wanted him to do. He didn't follow the popular crowd. He simply heard ONE man teach repentance and the gospel of Jesus Christ, felt in his heart that it was true, and determined, then and there, to do God's will. That is living by faith! That is what this life is about, and what brings peace and joy.

~ Cindy

How to share the beautiful message of the Lord Jesus Christ

How to share the beautiful message of the Lord Jesus Christ

Heavenly Father Has a Special Plan - Ensign May 2000 - ensign Highlights
https://www.lds.org/ensign/2000/05/heavenly-father-has-a-special-plan?lang=eng

Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi Of the Seventy

40.7%:
First, cultivate an awareness; bring others to a knowledge. President Gordon B. Hinckley teaches us: "Let there be cultivated an awareness in every member's heart of his [or her] own potential for bringing others to a knowledge of the truth. … Let him pray with great earnestness about it. Let each member pray."

51.3%:
Second, a good example is our best tool. President Hinckley taught us, "The most effective tract we will carry will be the goodness of our own lives." As we live the gospel, we will be like a lighthouse on a hilltop, "the light" and "the salt of the earth."

We can partake of "the love of God," "the tree of life," and drink from "the fountain of living waters" daily by communing with our Holy Father, immersing ourselves in the scriptures, and meditation. Then the Lord will bless us to be more sensitive to speak to those souls which He has prepared for us.

58.4%:
Third, act at a time when you feel the Spirit. Elder M. Russell Ballard taught us: "The key to success in bringing souls unto Christ is to act at a time when you feel the Spirit and you sense that your friend does also. … Through our faith, our trust in the Lord, and our good works, we can bring many souls unto the Lord."

As we seek and pray in faith, the Lord will guide us, and His elect will soon embrace "the glad tidings of great joy," to partake of the eternal and "infinite atonement" of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Craig

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

God the Father - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism Highlights

God the Father - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism

"As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret" (TPJS, p. 345). Thus, the Father became the Father at some time before "the beginning" as humans know it, by experiencing a mortality similar to that experienced on earth." http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/God_the_Father

If you think about it, as parents we get so much enjoyment and fulfillment out of watching our children grow and mature through all stages of life and then eventually they too become parents of their own as well. I could not even fathom all my kids growing up and never getting married or having kids.  What if all children everywhere had that same fate? Life would lose its magic. That is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it's not about becoming some all powerful god, but rather becoming eternal parents just like our Heavenly Parents. That is the real meaning of God, "suffice it to say that of all the titles God has chosen for Himself, Father is the one He favors most." Jeffrey R. Holland, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1998/10/personal-purity?lang=eng&_r=1

Craig

Monday, December 19, 2016

Talk on the Holy Ghost

Holy Ghost

Tyler I would like to thank you for extending to me this honor of speaking on the Holy Ghost, and I pray that the Spirit will be with me as I speak and with you as you listen that we may all be edified.

The crowning chapter of the Book of Mormon, is 3 Nephi 11 when the Savior of the world appeared to the Nephites in the flesh. An interesting fact, baptism is mentioned 19 times and Holy Ghost 8 times between 3 Nephi 11:21 and 12:2 [only 22 verses].

Let's go on a journey back in time, to right before the Savior appeared to the Nephites.

  • Think about it... The great destruction is over and the 3 days of darkness has just lifted. 
  • Where are you at? 
  • What do you smell? 
  • What do you see?
  • What do you feel?

You stand up and walk over to a great multitude that had gathered together, round about the temple, and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and are showing one another the great and marvelous change which had taken place... They are also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.

3 And... while you were all conversing one with another, you heard a voice, as if it came out of heaven. You don't understood the voice. It's not a harsh voice, or a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce you to the center, insomuch that it did cause you to quake; yea, it did pierce you to the very soul, and did cause your heart to burn.
  • This is the Holy Ghost bearing record that what you are hearing is true.
4 And... again you hear the voice, and understood it not. 5 And again the third time you hear the voice, and did open your ears to hear it; and your eyes were towards the sound thereof. You understand the voice which you hear; and it says unto you: 7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him. 
  • Imagine, you just heard the voice of Elohim even God the Eternal Father.
You see a Man descending out of heaven; and clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in your midst; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another. He then stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying: 

10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. 11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

So the 1st thing Jesus did was to show that He was the son of God, even Jesus Christ whom all the prophets had prophesied would come. He did this verbally but He also desired for each and everyone of them to know for themselves. He said, "Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world." 
  •      Can you imagine actually being there and feeling his hands, feet, and side for yourself. It would be amazing!

The 2nd thing Jesus did, was to give the priesthood unto Nephi and others, so that they could baptize the people after He had again ascended into Heaven. Of all the things He could have done or taught, he chose to establish and teach baptism.

The next thing Jesus did was to teach his doctrine, which again includes baptism.

 32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. 
 
 33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. 
 
 34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. 
 
 35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
 
That is a simple doctrine. The Father commandeth...
  • all men, everywhere, to repent
  • believe in me 
  • whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Verse 35 contains a powerful key. "whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost." If we believe or in other words, have faith in Christ, the Father will confirm our faith in the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I find it very interesting how the Lord teaches us the existence of something, by the existence of something else. We are taught that because we exist thus God exists. Another favorite of mine is 2 Nephi 33:10

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.

Same concept with the Holy Ghost. When we feel the Holy Ghost, we know that it comes from God because of our faith in His son, even Jesus Christ. So, because the Holy Ghost is real, and we know it is real because we feel it and it is discernible, then without any doubt Christ and God are real. Looking at it another way, the Holy Ghost is the undeniable and authentic signature or seal of God and His Christ. By the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, we then have the presence of or approval of God and Christ in our lives.

Therein lies the doctrine of Christ. We must repent, so we can be baptized, and after we are baptized with proper authority, we are then baptized with or are given the gift of the Holy Ghost which testifies of God and Christ. With that one gift, we can be led to all truth. The Holy Ghost will be our Liahona or guide. Through the approval of the Holy Ghost, we know of a certainty that we have the approval of God and his Christ, in that thing.

1 Corinthians 12:3 "no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." 

This poses a question, if we can only know that Jesus is the Lord by the Holy Ghost, how is that true if you receive the Holy Ghost after baptism? 

The Lord in His goodness made it possible for the Holy Ghost to appear or manifest itself to any seeker of truth. This is known as the power of the Holy Ghost. 

Tyler, you were brought back to this point in your life because of the power of the Holy Ghost, and it has led you to the waters of baptism. Now it will be your privilege to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which can remain with you at all times.

This means that the Holy Ghost can be your constant companion to help you to become more like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To be clear, the Holy Ghost can come upon any man, woman, or child regardless of their religious background, nationality, race, or personal worthiness but he cannot be their constant companion. That is why the gift of the Holy Ghost is so important. 

Genesis 5:22 it says, "Enoch walked with God." 

We too have that opportunity. As shown earlier, if we so live that we can feel the Holy Ghost with us in all we think, say, and do, then we literally will have the seal of God in all our thought, words, and deeds. We would become one with God, and if we are one with God, then He will be in us, and is this not walking with God? 

Tyler, you will soon have hands placed on your head and hear the words "receive the Holy Ghost."

The word receive is the key word. If I were to hold up $100 bill as a gift for you, what would you have to do to receive the gift?

That's right, you would have to take action, you would have to come and take the $100 bill from me. Would it be possible not to take the necessary action to receive the gift? Of course. 

Your Father in Heaven will give you the gift of the Holy Ghost, but you must take action to "receive" it. The action that you and I must take is to live worthy of that gift.

Alma poses these questions, "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?"

How will we know of God's image is in our countenances? As mentioned earlier, when we feel the Holy Ghost in our thoughts, words, and actions, we will know that God countenance is upon us. 

With the gift of the Holy Ghost we can become more fruitful servants of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and eventually become like Him. Parley P Pratt, a great missionary of the early church, summed up its transforming power:

The gift of the Holy Ghost...quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates, and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form, and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being."

I bear testimony that the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion and lead us to all righteousness as we do our part to live worthy of such a great gift. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Craig

Thinking of others instead of ourselves


    When I was a teenager I read a book series called Children of the Promise by Dean Hughs. In one of the books I read something that stuck out to me and has never left me. I memorized it and quote it often, especially when I'm having a hard time.
                          "You know the answer, it has always been the same, FORGET YOURSELF.  The more you look inside the worst things get. Concentrate on your suffering brothers and sisters. Do all you can to help them and you wont have time to think about yourself. Do this and God will heal you. It may not happen over night but it will happen. That is a promise I can make you as a servant of the Lord." 
    I have had many experiences where I have put this to the test. Trust me, it works every time. When you stop thinking about all the things wrong in your life and focus on the needs of others it opens a window for the Lord to heal you.
    I am currently pregnant with my fifth child and this first trimester has been extremely hard on me. One day I called my husband crying. I told him that I felt like a waisted piece of space. I told him that I wasn't doing any good in the world. My sweet husband, knowing me and knowing that I needed to get outside of myself encouraged me to start praying for other people.  It was like magic. That little bit of advice took my blues away within that very same day. As I began praying for other people I was filled with gratitude for my own life and my seemingly insignificant problems. I started with one person in mind to pray for but my list quickly began to grow. People's names would pop in my head even at odd moments in the day. Then the next step of healing happened. I decided to call some of these people whose names came to my mind. (When I was in my "blues" the thought of calling anyone would stress me out so this was a big deal.) As I called them my love for them grew and my problems disappeared. Not in a literal sense, I am still pregnant, but my perspective changed. I felt like I was doing something good in the world and that creates joy and a sense of worth.
    Growing up, right before I would leave the house for school, my mom would often say, "look in the mirror one last time. You look great! Now forget yourself and think about others." So no matter who your are, or how old you are, or where you live in the word, just remember... YOU LOOK GREAT!!! NOW FORGET YOURSELF AND TIHNK ABOUT OTHERS!!

DEBBIE


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Do you love me? Jeffrey R. Holland

Do you love me? Jeffrey R. Holland

"In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it." Jeffrey R. Holland https://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/11/the-first-great-commandment?lang=eng


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Overwhelming desire to return back to our Heavenly Father

Overwhelming desire to return back to our Heavenly Father

Ponder the Path of Thy Feet, By President Thomas S. Monson
"I am certain we left our Father with an overwhelming desire to return to Him, that we might gain the exaltation He planned for us and which we ourselves so much wanted. Although we are left to find and follow that path which will lead us back to our Father in Heaven, He did not send us here without direction and guidance. Rather, He has given us the tools we need, and He will assist us as we seek His help and strive to do all in our power to endure to the end and gain eternal life." https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/ponder-the-path-of-thy-feet?lang=eng

My family loves to travel, we used to do a lot more than we do now, but it's always fun to get the family on a nice trip. But no matter how much we enjoyed the trip, the drive home is always accompanied with a longing for home again. That simple example, although instructive, doesn't even give justice to how our spirits feel. Our spirits have, an unspeakable longing, or as President Monson put it, "overwhelming desire to return" back to our heavenly father.

What do you say, should we return home to our Heavenly Father again? Let us go forward, with a greater determination to embrace the teachings and doctrines of Jesus Christ, and act in accordance to those teachings until we have qualified ourselves to return home to our Father in Heaven.

Craig

Fear is dispelled through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Fear is dispelled through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Therefore They Hushed Their Fears - By Elder David A. Bednar https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/therefore-they-hushed-their-fears?lang=eng

What a great Conference talk. In case you don't have time to read it all, here are a few highlights, that stuck out to me. Enjoy!!

10.4%:
My purpose is to describe how fear is dispelled through a correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


13.4%:
"Where art thou? And [Adam answered], I heard thy voice … , and I was afraid" (Genesis 3:9–10). Notably, one of the first effects of the Fall was for Adam and Eve to experience fear. This potent emotion is an important element of our mortal existence.


21.3%:
Correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord empower us to hush our fears because Jesus Christ is the only source of enduring peace.

28.7%:
Truly, one of the great blessings of devoted discipleship is "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).


34%:
But can we hush the fears that so easily and frequently beset us in our contemporary world? The answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. Three basic principles are central to receiving this blessing in our lives: (1) look to Christ, (2) build upon the foundation of Christ, and (3) press forward with faith in Christ.


37.4%:
"Yea, see that ye look to God and live" (Alma 37:47). We should look to and have our focus firmly fixed upon the Savior at all times and in all places.


41.6%:
Peter then walked on the water to Jesus.

"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid," began to sink, and cried out, "Lord, save me.

"And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:30–31).


46.1%:
We can be blessed to conquer our fears and strengthen our faith as we follow the Lord's instruction: "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not" (D&C 6:36).


47.7%:
Helaman admonished his sons, Nephi and Lehi: "Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm 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).


52.1%:
Ordinances and covenants are the building blocks we use to construct our lives upon the foundation of Christ and His Atonement.

54%:
faithfully remember and honor those sacred commitments, and do our best to live in accordance with the obligations we have accepted. And that bond is the source of spiritual strength and stability in a

57.4%:
Nephi declared: "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20).

59.9%:
The disciplined endurance described in this verse is the result of spiritual understanding and vision, persistence, patience, and God's grace.

68%:
godly fear is a source of peace, assurance, and confidence.


69.1%:
The righteous fear I am attempting to describe encompasses a deep feeling of reverence, respect, and awe for the Lord Jesus Christ (see Psalm 33:8; 96:4), obedience to His commandments (see Deuteronomy 5:29; 8:6; 10:12; 13:4; Psalm 112:1), and anticipation of the Final Judgment and justice at His hand. Thus, godly fear grows out of a correct understanding of the divine nature and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, a willingness to submit our will to His will, and a knowledge that every man and woman will be accountable for his or her own sins in the Day of Judgment (see D&C 101:78; Articles of Faith 1:2).

73.9%:
As the scriptures certify, godly fear "is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7), "the instruction of wisdom" (Proverbs 15:33), a "strong confidence" (Proverbs 14:26), and "a fountain of life" (Proverbs 14:27).


75.6%:
Please note that godly fear is linked inextricably to an understanding of the Final Judgment and our individual accountability for our desires, thoughts, words, and acts (see Mosiah 4:30).

78.3%:
Rather, it is the prospect in His presence of facing things as they really are about ourselves and having "a perfect knowledge" (2 Nephi 9:14; see also Alma 11:43) of all our rationalizations, pretenses, and self-deceptions. Ultimately, we will be left without excuse.


88.9%:
godly fear dispels mortal fears.

94.4%:
Godly fear is loving and trusting in Him. As we fear God more completely, we love Him more perfectly. And "perfect love casteth out all fear" (Moroni 8:16). I promise the bright light of godly fear will chase away the dark shadows of mortal fears (see D&C 50:25) as we look to the Savior, build upon Him as our foundation, and press forward on His covenant path with consecrated commitment.




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Fan the flame of their spiritual core

Fan the flame of their spiritual core

"We hold in our arms the rising generation. They come to this earth with important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. We cannot be casual in how we prepare them. Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith.” —Neil L. Andersen 

Our children are truly amazing. I am constantly in awe at how well my children understand and receive spiritual knowledge and how pure their hearts are. I look back at when I was a kid and they are light years ahead of where I was when I was their age. Truly, their "spiritual core [is] already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith."  Now, let us as parents, step up to the plate and be the spiritual giants that these amazing children really need, in order for them to become even greater spiritual giants themselves. 

Craig

Friday, December 16, 2016

Revelation requires serious mental effort

Revelation requires serious mental effort

Julie Beck
"It was prophesied that in the latter days the Lord would pour out His Spirit upon His handmaids. This will happen as we allow ourselves to be still enough and quiet enough to listen to the voice of the Spirit. Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught us that receiving revelation for our calling and in our personal lives “requires serious mental effort on our part. … Revelation is not a matter of pushing buttons, but of pushing ourselves, often aided by fasting, scripture study, and personal pondering.
“Most of all, revelation requires us to have a sufficient degree of personal righteousness, so that on occasion revelation may come to the righteous, unsolicited.”
- Julie B. Beck
https://www.lds.org/…/fulfilling-the-purpose-of-relief-soci…
Another time she taught, "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. … It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks. …
"When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.” (April 2010 conference)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings

I don't know about you, but I would not want a heart surgeon to operate on me, that has not been thoroughly tested through experience with that particular procedure. And as a matter fact, I would want that surgeon to be well experienced in all procedures dealing with the heart, in case something else were to go wrong during the procedure. This same concept applies to practically all areas of life as well. We wouldn't want to take marital advice from someone who had been divorced five times, or financial advice from someone that couldn't get their own finances under control.

Similarly, the heart surgeon that never learns to master the procedures, will never be able to enjoy the fruits of that labor. The individual who never learns the art of a happy marriage, will never be able to enjoy the fruits of a happy marriage, etc...

This applies to things of a spiritual nature as well. Isaiah 28:10 teaches:

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/isa/28?lang=eng

The key is progression. If we take one step forward or upward on a ladder and then take one step backward or downward, then no progress has occurred, and we will never reach the top. We must build upon our progress, thus taking more steps upward then downward. For example, the faith that Moses possessed, when the Lord used him to part the Red Sea, was the culminating product of many forward and upward steps on the ladder of faith. Those steps were of all kinds and to just list a few; steps of trials, steps of hardship, steps of sickness, steps of mighty prayer, steps of the loss of loved ones, steps of great fasting, etc... Moses became a great faith "surgeon" because he mastered all the "procedures" of faith, one by one. Oh how sweet is his fruit.

Now, we can enjoy the words of President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe:

All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. If we obtain the glory that Abraham obtained, we must do so by the same means that he did. If we are ever prepared to enjoy the society of Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or of their faithful children, and of the faithful Prophets and Apostles, we must pass through the same experience, and gain the knowledge, intelligence, and endowments that will prepare us to enter into the celestial kingdom of our Father and God. (Sermon in Provo, Utah, Aug. 26, 1860, JD8:150) DBY:345

Craig

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nephi like unto David who slew Goliath and Ammon

I have always loved Nephi for his great faith, and this verse is a great example of that faith. To quickly set the stage, all of the families bows broke and the family is desperately in need of food.

1 Nephi 16:23
...I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food? 

31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families. 


Nephi made a bow and "an arrow," which means that he only made one arrow. He also took a sling and stones but to only make one arrow is impressive. He must have had perfect confidence (faith) in the Lord to bless his abilities to where he would only need one arrow and that it could find its mark the first time, or at least not get lost or broken for a second attempt.

He reminds me of David who too exercised great faith and also hit his mark the first time and slew the great giant Goliath with a sling and a stone. What was this boys motivation to take on Goliath? It was pure faith in God, that He would protect His people, if they would just exercise faith in Him. Amazing!!

Both of them remind me of Ammon who went up against the Lamanite robbers who would regularly scatter the kings flocks. What was interesting with Ammon is that he saw this as an opportunity to win the hearts of the servants who were fearful of being slain by the king for loosing his sheep, and show forth the power of God in preserving the kings flocks.

Alma 17:29
29 Now they wept because of the fear of being slain. Now when Ammon saw this his heart was swollen within him with joy; for, said he, I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring these flocks unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words.

Fear and faith truly cannot coexist together. Either we fear the circumstance or we have faith in God to turn the circumstance into our gain whether for training, growth, or refinement.

33 ...Ammon said unto his brethren: Encircle the flocks round about that they flee not; and I go and contend with these men who do scatter our flocks.

34 Therefore, they did as Ammon commanded them, and he went forth and stood to contend with those who stood by the waters of Sebus; and they were in number not a few. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/17?lang=eng

We learn that not a few was literal because he ended up slaying 6 with his sling (remember David) and then killed the leader by the sword and slew off the arms of as many as raised their arms against Ammon. All in the name of missionary work, in preserving the lives of the servants which in turn saved his live as well. Imagine going up against a whole gang, personally I would rather go up against one giant then a whole gang of trained robbers. And all of this that he might be an instrument in the Lords hands.

In all three of these stories we are taught that the lesson and demonstration of pure faith in God is worth the pain and struggles we go through. All parties were greatly edified by the demonstrations of faith and will never be the same again. We are also taught that when we put the Lord and others lives first, we end up saving our own life in the process. Does that sound familiar...

Matthew 16:25
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/16?lang=eng

So remember to face our trials with pure faith in Christ and serve Him and others and then we will find the solutions we have prayed for and sought after in our own lives. Allow these three stories to edify and uplift our faith and desires of service and we will literally see miracles happen all around us.


Craig