Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Talk on Seeing Christmas Through New Eyes



I was asked to speak on Christmas Eve and below is my talk. http://ldstalks.blogspot.com/2017/12/talk-on-seeing-christmas-through-new.html

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” What is interesting, is that this scripture is found in the Book of Mormon, by Nephi, and the Bible by Isaiah. 2 Nephi 19:6 compare Isaiah 9:6 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/19?lang=eng


These words were written long before, even hundreds of years before, He was ever born into the world. They were written by Isaiah and then quoted by Nephi. The Lord loves to show forth his word and power in the mouth of at least two witnesses. Both of these great prophets not only knew by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost that He was to come, but because of their faithfulness and their determination to righteousness and their undying love of their Savior, they were shown all things. Not just a few scenes of history or prophecy here and there, but all things. Could you not have two greater witnesses than these? They truly saw His day and rejoiced in it and was glad. I think that they saw Christmas through new eyes. 

That is my topic today and it is based on Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk, “Seeing Christmas through New Eyes” and I am excited for this opportunity to speak to you today. I have a spiritual blog and one thing that I do every week is a ponderize post with supporting picture and quotes throughout the week to help people to better ponderize the scripture. The above scripture I read to you was my ponderize scripture for last week. And I will say that my love of that scripture has grown significantly. I feel that it has prepared me for this talk in a powerful way.

President Uchtdorf spoke about, "The Grinch, that memorable character from a classic children’s story by Dr. Seuss, had a heart that “was two sizes too small,” and he hated everything about Christmas. Through the course of the story, however, he undergoes a dramatic transformation when he learns that there is more to Christmas than decorations and gifts.

He continues: We know what the Christmas season ought to be—we know it should be a time of reflection on the birth of the Savior, a time of celebration and of generosity. But sometimes our focus is so much on the things that... overwhelm us that we can almost hear ourselves say in unison with the Grinch: “Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now! I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! … But HOW?”

I know that for us, Christmas can be a hectic time. Just on Friday at 3:04 my wife texted me that she still needed to get 60 presents. It is not easy or cheap buying presents for a family of 11, plus our extended family exchange gifts. I know that for me, it is easier not to get so stressed but let's be honest, my wife carries most of the load. If Christmas was up to me, it would be a disaster. She does such an amazing job.

Uchtdorf's said, While it’s true that we can find materialism and anxiety in Christmas, it is also true that if we have eyes to see, we can experience the powerful message of the birth of the Son of God and feel the hope and peace He brings to the world. We, like the Grinch, can see Christmas through new eyes.

He suggests three things for us "to study, ponder, and apply in this season of preparation."
Rejoice in the Birth of Our Savior, Ponder His Influence in Our Lives Today, and Look Steadfastly for His Coming

What an awesome way of thinking about Christmas. As I read this talk, I envisioned that if the Savior was here, he would not focus so much on His birth as He would on the purpose of His birth. I think of it similar to how the whole Christian world seems to have the cross as the symbol of their faith, which is a very important that of the Savior's mission, and yet His Resurrection is an even greater part of His mission, which is why us as Later-Day Saints do not use the cross as other religions do. Uchtdorf's message has a similar angle. The Savior's birth is powerful and amazing, and yet it only marks the beginning of His mission and we need to look more at the purpose of His birth. 

For His second point: Ponder His Influence in Our Lives Today, he said,  "Christmas is a time for remembering the Son of God and renewing our determination to take upon us His name. It is a time to reassess our lives and examine our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Let this be a time of remembrance, of gratitude, and a time of forgiveness. Let it be a time to ponder the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its meaning for each of us personally. Let it especially be a time of renewal and recommitment to live by the word of God and to obey His commandments. By doing this, we honor Him far more than we ever could with lights, gifts, or parties."



The third point was, Look Steadfastly for His Coming. Look at the scriptures and you will find that the coming of the Messiah in power and glory is what all the holy prophets have testified of, and the major reason that the Jews have rejected Him as the Messiah. Sadly, many generations have lived and died not knowing the truth and allowing their hearts to grow in love and respect for our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. As members of the Church we have the clearest understanding of the Savior than any other group, for we have the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should also set the supreme example as we look forward to His second coming when He WILL come in power and glory and fulfill all the prophecies ever written or spoken of Him. 

Uchtdorf said, "The early disciples of Jesus Christ yearned for the time when He would come again. For them, mortality was a time of preparation and growth, of sifting and refining, a time for trimming their lamps and preparing for the return of their beloved Savior."

He continues, "We live in the 11th hour before the coming of the day of our Lord. Let us therefore look forward to that blessed day when the King of kings descends with a shout, takes away death, dries up tears, and ushers in a new era of peace, joy, and learning.


I opened my talk with Nephi and Isaiah who saw with an eye of faith the birth, death, resurrection, and final triumphant in power and glory at His second coming. We too can look with an eye of faith and our hearts will be filled with love and gratitude for our Savior and King. We will then be bold as we play our part in preparing for His second return. We will have our hearts invigorated with a desire to open our mouths and share the glad tidings of good news and help to prepare all of God's children for that great day when the Lord of Lords and King of Kings returns in His power and glory. We will rejoice at that day with all those who we played a part in their preparations and we will be His disciples. 

With the hustle and bustle of Chritmas nearly over, it is the perfect time to refocus our thinking this Chritmas season. Uchtdorf said, "I pray that during this season and always, we will see the purity of the story of the Savior’s birth and feel sincere gratitude for His life, teachings, and saving sacrifice for us. May this gratitude cause us to renew our determination to follow Him. May it also lead us to draw closer to our family, our church, and our fellowmen. And may we look steadfastly forward to that blessed day when the resurrected Christ will walk the earth again as our Lord, our King, and our blessed Savior."

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Seeing Christmas through New Eyes 
https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/christmas-devotional/2010/12/seeing-christmas-through-new-eyes?lang=eng

Scripture Study Highlights




A week ago from Sunday, I asked many of my family members to have scripture study and then to send me a scripture from their study and I will make a video of them all. This is the result. I hope you enjoy it.

Cindy: Esther 4:14
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/esth/4?lang=eng


Debbie: 2 Nephi 25:26
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/25?lang=eng


Sherri: Isaiah 41:10
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/isa/41?lang=eng

Wilson (Dad): Be Still, My Soul
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide; https://www.lds.org/manual/hymns/be-still-my-soul?lang=eng


Craig: 1 Nephi 4:1
let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands? https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/4?lang=eng

Kim: 1 Corinthians 9:24
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/1-cor/9?lang=eng


Shauna: Mosiah 16:8
But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/16?lang=eng



Sarah (Mom): Joshua 1:9
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/josh/1?lang=eng

Background image by:  Anto Camacho https://flic.kr/p/EhJXRo

Julie: 2 Nephi 2:25
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/2?lang=eng

Jordan: Doctrine and Covenants 4:2
Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/4?lang=eng

Per a request, here is one with my logo as a watermark.



Sunday, December 17, 2017

One Major Reason the Lord has a Church



A major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of Saints that will sustain one another in the  ‘strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.’ Bonnie L. Oscarson Quoting D. Todd Christofferson


Let us remember this. Our church attendance is equally important to ourselves as it is for others. Our testimony might seriously be the strength that someone else needed. This is also a call or challenge to step up our game at church. We all can do better and help more. 


Background image by: Einir https://flic.kr/p/YALRZw

Saturday, December 16, 2017

We Become New Creatures



What an amazing picture by Yongsung Kim. I heard this said in my recent Regional Conference and liked it and waited for the right picture to come along. I think that this picture is a perfect fit. Let us follow Him with all our hearts and our whole souls.

2 Nephi 25:29
And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/25?lang=eng

Friday, December 15, 2017

Terrible as an army with banners



This is part of the Kirkland Temple dedicatory prayer, and it is so powerful. Enjoy!!

Doctrine and Covenants 109:71-77
71 Remember, O Lord, the presidents, even all the presidents of thy church, that thy right hand may exalt them, with all their families, and their immediate connections, that their names may be perpetuated and had in everlasting remembrance from generation to generation.
72 Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;
73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;
74 And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth;
75 That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord;
76 That our garments may be pure, that we may be clothed upon with robes of righteousness, with palms in our hands, and crowns of glory upon our heads, and reap eternal joy for all our sufferings.
77 O Lord God Almighty, hear us in these our petitions, and answer us from heaven, thy holy habitation, where thou sittest enthroned, with glory, honor, power, majesty, might, dominion, truth, justice, judgment, mercy, and an infinity of fulness, from everlasting to everlasting. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/109?lang=eng

Thursday, December 14, 2017

God Does Notice Us



"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." Bonnie L. Oscarson quoting Spencer W. Kimball. How true this is.  We need to show gratitude to all that come to our aid when we are in need. And also remember to lend a hand, and be the one that meets another's needs. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Knowledge Comes by Obeying



Reading A Voice of Warning / Or, an introduction to the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Voice Dream. What an amazing book. I loved this quote from it, "Thus, faith comes by hearing, and knowledge by obeying." The act of obeying is so powerful. Think of it in terms of working out. I could have all the faith in the world that if I worked out everyday my muscles would get stronger, and I could have that faith till doomsday with no results, untill I take action and obey and then my faith is no longer, because knowledge has replaced it through my obedience. Alma put it this way:

Alma 32:21, 27-36
21 And now as I said concerning faith--faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves--It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
34 And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Learn of Me



I was just messing around durning sacrament meeting and came up with this. I think it is pretty good looking. Mostly, it got me thinking about what it would be like to be taught personally at the feet of the Savior. I can't think of any better way to be taught. As I pondered that throughout the day, the thought came with great force, that we don't have to yearn for that time because we can be taught at His feet, now, if we will but just live the Gospel with all our hearts. 

Doctrine and Covenants 76:5-10
5 For thus saith the Lord--I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will--yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/76?lang=eng

Friday, December 8, 2017

No Disputations


Yesterday, I came across this scripture from my scripture study and it really jumped out to me.

3 Nephi 18:34
And I give you these commandments because of the disputations which have been among you. And blessed are ye if ye have no disputations among you. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/18?lang=eng

I love the truth contained in the the scriptures and specifically the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is so plain and straight forward and helps to eliminate disputations. I invite all to read it and to see for themselves. Click here to get a free copy sent to you. https://www.mormon.org/beliefs/book-of-mormon

Background image by: Christian Mu 
https://flic.kr/p/H9x7tH


Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Plan and the Proclamation - By Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Reading The Plan and the Proclamation - By Elder Dallin H. Oaks in Voice Dream http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-plan-and-the-proclamation?lang=eng

The Plan and the Proclamation - By Elder Dallin H. Oaks Highlights

3.2%: 
In a parable, Jesus described those who “[hear] the word” but become “unfruitful” when that word is “choke[d]” by “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” (Matthew 13:22). Later, Jesus corrected Peter for not savoring “the things that be of God, but those that be of men,” declaring, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:23, 26). In His final teachings in mortality, He told His Apostles, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, … the world hateth you” (John 15:19; see also John 17:14, 16).



12.2%: 
The Apostle James taught that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God[.] Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).


Background image by:  Hilton Chen https://flic.kr/p/H4h35H

24.7%: 
God created this earth according to His plan to provide His spirit children a place to experience mortality as a necessary step toward the glories He desires for all His children. While there are various kingdoms and glories, our Heavenly Father’s ultimate desire for His children is what President Monson called “eternal life in the kingdom of God,” which is exaltation in families. This is more than salvation. President Russell M. Nelson has reminded us, “In God’s eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter; [but] exaltation is a family matter.”


Background image by:  Carsten Frenzl https://flic.kr/p/ZRXRm9

31.6%: 
those who strive for exaltation must make personal choices in family life according to the Lord’s way whenever that differs from the world’s way.



37.5%: 
Latter-day Saints who understand God’s plan of salvation have a unique worldview that helps them see the reason for God’s commandments, the unchangeable nature of His required ordinances, and the fundamental role of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

46.5%: 
But whatever the cause of conflict with those who do not understand or believe God’s plan, those who do understand are always commanded to choose the Lord’s way instead of the world’s way.

55.1%: 
We have witnessed a rapid and increasing public acceptance of cohabitation without marriage and of same-sex marriage. The corresponding media advocacy, education, and even occupational requirements pose difficult challenges for Latter-day Saints. We must try to balance the competing demands of following the gospel law in our personal lives and teachings, even as we seek to show love for all. In doing so we sometimes face, but need not fear, what Isaiah called “the reproach of men.”



91.4%: 
Forty years ago, President Ezra Taft Benson taught that “every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself.” I believe our attitude toward and use of the family proclamation is one of those tests for this generation. I pray for all Latter-day Saints to stand firm in that test.

93.9%: 
I close with President Gordon B. Hinckley’s teachings uttered two years after the family proclamation was announced. He said: “I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world. If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel, we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way. We will be looked upon as a peculiar people who have found the key to a peculiar happiness.”


Monday, November 27, 2017

Why do we doubt?



The story of Peter walking on water, then fearing the waves and thunder, and finally the Savior catching him up out of the water, has always been precious to me. The saviors words, “wherefore didst thou doubt?“ is a call and plea to all to put our trust in the Lord and doubt not that he is able to and will protect us from all hazard outside of His will for us. Sometimes we to falter and waiver in the midst of so much evidence like Peter, saw the Savior on the water, the Savior told him to come unto Him on the water, and he started to walk on the water. Now that’s a lot of evidence to put your trust in the Lord, and yet he feared, doubted, and faltered in his faith.  

The interesting thing, is that it simply does not have to be like this. The Scriptures are laid before us and we have access to the greatest power on earth or in heaven, even the light of Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, which is a third member of the Godhead. Just a few quick scriptures:

John 1:9
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/1?lang=eng

Doctrine and Covenants 93:2
And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; 
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/93?lang=eng

It should be explicitly clear that the Light of Christ was given to all men born into the world, now let's get a glimpse into it's power.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:46-47
And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father. 
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/84?lang=eng

Doctrine and Covenants 88:12-13
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space--
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. 
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/88?lang=eng

Wow, with literally the power of God with us, “wherefore didst thou doubt?“ Let us move forward with great faith and put our trust in the Lord and be the means of doing much good in this generation. Doctrine and Covenants 6:8. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Scriptures Overcome Contention



This morning I was wondering up with fighting children. I felt like going out there and getting mad at everyone for fighting, but the spirit had a different plan. I found myself rallying the children together for scripture study instead. It was amazing, because I just said whoever wants to do scripture study, come on, and they all came. Ashlyn had found a few scriptures she wanted to make quotes out of and so I thought it would be fun to do some scripture study and then make a few quotes from them. The below quotes are the fruits of our labors, and I am pleased to say that as we studied there was very little contention and a very peaceful feeling prevailed. Today was a testament to how the study of scriptures can overcome contention and invite the Spirit into the home. 




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Choose to be grateful



What an amazing Thanksgiving! At times like this, I can't not be grateful for everything in my life. Even though today was amazing, it was not with our fair share of obstacles. With 9 children, even heaven can be bumpy. 😂 This quote was a good quote that I wish I had in my tool belt today, it would have come in handy. Let us be more grateful, positive and full of faith and decide today and everyday to:

Choose to be grateful 
No. 
Matter. 
What.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Background image by:  Pixfineart 
https://flic.kr/p/21JVGbb

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Spiritual Death



“Some young people are amusing themselves to death – spiritual death.“ Dallin H Oaks

This does not only apply for the youth, is adults are just as guilty of close to it. We all need to put down TV, games, Netflix, or whatever your favorite distraction is and start building the kingdom of God. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven - By Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Reading The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven - By Elder D. Todd Christofferson in Voice Dream 
http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-living-bread-which-came-down-from-heaven?lang=eng

The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven - By Elder D. Todd Christofferson Highlights

12.2%: 
“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”


15%: 
To eat His flesh and drink His blood is a striking way of expressing how completely we must bring the Savior into our life—into our very being—that we may be one. How does this happen?


16.6%: 
First, we understand that in sacrificing His flesh and blood, Jesus atoned for our sins and overcame death, both physical and spiritual. Clearly, then, we partake of His flesh and drink His blood when we receive from Him the power and blessings of His Atonement.


18.7%: 
The doctrine of Christ expresses what we must do to receive atoning grace. It is to believe and have faith in Christ, to repent and be baptized, and to receive the Holy Ghost, “and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.” This is the gate, our access to the Savior’s atoning grace and to the strait and narrow path leading to His kingdom.


33.6%: 
But figuratively eating His flesh and drinking His blood has a further meaning, and that is to internalize the qualities and character of Christ, putting off the natural man and becoming Saints “through the atonement of Christ the Lord.”

38.9%: 
As we remember and honor His atoning sacrifice, we should also contemplate His sinless life.



39.7%: 
This suggests the need for a mighty striving on our part. We cannot be content to remain as we are but must be moving constantly toward “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Like King Lamoni’s father in the Book of Mormon, we must be willing to give away all our sins and focus on what the Lord expects of us, individually and together.


61.5%: 
To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ means to pursue holiness. God commands, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

67.8%: 
If we yearn to dwell in Christ and have Him dwell in us, then holiness is what we seek, in both body and spirit. 



71%: 
President Thomas S. Monson has stated, “We are the product of all we read, all we view, all we hear and all we think.” We seek holiness as we take up our cross daily.



72.4%: 
Sister Carol F. McConkie has observed: “We recognize the multitude of tests, temptations, and tribulations that could pull us away from all that is virtuous and praiseworthy before God. But our mortal experiences offer us the opportunity to choose holiness. Most often it is the sacrifices we make to keep our covenants that sanctify us and make us holy.” And to “the sacrifices we make” I would add the service we give.


78.4%: 
President Marion G. Romney wisely explained: “Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.”



88.1%: 
Partaking of the Savior’s flesh and drinking His blood means to put out of our lives anything inconsistent with a Christlike character and to make His attributes our own. 



96.5%: 
As a simple but thoughtful hymn urges us:

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;

spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus, like him thou shalt be;

thy friends in thy conduct his likeness shall see.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Power of the Scriptures



This is my daughter, Cessilee, who is 8 years old and who got baptized yesterday. My daughter, Lacie, took this picture and I think it is just stunning, and I had to make a quote out of it. By the way, those are her brand new scriptures and she is super excited to read, ponder, and of course highlight them with her new highlighter pen. 😀

An unfortunate thing happened at her baptism, my mother was asked to give the talk on baptism, had some circumstances that caused her to be late and unable to do the talk. Several months earlier I had given a talk at my nephew's stake baptism, and posted it to my blog and so I agreed to fill in for her. Check out my talk on baptism here, http://spiritualcrusade.blogspot.com/2017/03/talk-on-baptism.html.

As the scriptures have been on my mind, I found this great quote to go with the photo of Cessilee. By Richard G. Scott, "Scriptures can calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope, and a restoration of confidence in one's ability to overcome the challenges of life."

Two recent things have really brought to my mind the power of scriptures. The first was a book that I have been reading called Mr. Mormon, where he used the scriptures and their role in his conversion and then to answer many questions he had through his life. His use of scriptures to show how science process the Gospel was really interesting. The second, was Cessilee's baptism, and the talk that I gave. There are some powerful scriptures on baptism that I shared in my talk. Contained within the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are such treasures of wisdom and knowledge that not even during a lifetime can all truths be learned or explored. As time goes on, the words will only grow in power and authority and the world should take heed how they treat those words because they will condemn them at the great and last day. For they clearly testify of Christ and his glorious life, mission, and Gospel. This is a plea to all who have read their words to read them again and again, and have them sink deep into their souls. And then, for those who have not yet enjoyed their words, to put off all your doubts and fears and resistance and start today to bask in the power that freely flows from their pages. 

Now, just a quick word to those who have once enjoyed the sweet fruit of the Gospel and have allowed themselves to turn away from the Gospel of Christ, I beg of you to open the scriptures with a new determination and desire to find truth, and God will open them unto you again. Remember, Uchtdorf's counsel, to "doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith."


Background image by: Aaron Rigsby https://flic.kr/p/213fDGR

In closing, I just want to bear my testimony that I know that the Gospel of Christ is true and that the scriptures and prayers are the methods whereby we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, to bear it's witness as a member of the Godhead of the truthfulness of the risen Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ and His Father who has sent Him. Christ lives and guides me each and every day through his spirit, and my joy is great in the knowledge of which He has given me through the scriptures and in my daily walk with Him. This is a plea to all, to come unto Christ, and enjoy this same and even greater joy that I feel. I love this Gospel and will serve God continually. Join me in this my spiritual crusade to more fully come unto Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Craig

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How great is the nothingness of men



I was reading this morning and came across these amazing verses of scripture. As you read them, really ponder these words and let them sink deep into your heart and soul. 

Helaman 12:3-8
3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
7 O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
8 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/hel/12?lang=eng

What do we want as a reward after this life? Do we want to enjoy eternal life or settle for anything less than that? We must decide today. We must not wait or procrastinate the day of our probation.

Helaman 13:38
But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/hel/13?lang=eng



What are we seeking for? How are we spending our time while in this life? We must be bold and fearless in our discipleship. We must not deviate from the path, we must also help others to join us on the path. As I write this my heart aches for those that read this and then make no real changes. We can't afford to just coast along any more. The more I learn about Christ and are taught by the spirit about Him and His mission, I feel to shout His name from the house tops and plead for all who hear or read my words to "take massive, determined action" (Tony Robins), and come unto Him. 



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Needs before Us - By Bonnie L. Oscarson

The Needs before Us - By Bonnie L. Oscarson Highlights

17.2%: 
We are often more concerned with how many followers and likes we have than with putting an arm around a friend and showing love, concern, and tangible interest.

20.3%: 
if we are not vigilant in how we use our personal devices, we too can begin to turn inward and forget that the essence of living the gospel is service.


28%: 
We are touched when we see the suffering and great needs of those halfway around the world, but we may fail to see there is a person who needs our friendship sitting right next to us in class.


33.2%: 
The impression was this: ‘What you have done is a very good thing. Now go home, walk across the street, and serve your neighbor!’”


35.7%: 
How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.


44.5%: 
President James E. Faust said: “Serving others can begin at almost any age. … It need not be on a grand scale, and it is noblest within the family.”

48.7%: 
Showing kindness and concern for your siblings and parents helps create an atmosphere of unity and invites the Spirit into the home. Changing the world begins with strengthening your own family.



57.6%: 
Elder D. Todd Christofferson has taught, “A major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of Saints that will sustain one another in the ‘strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.’” 

79%: 
While at times we are called upon to help after a major disaster, on a day-to-day basis we are encouraged to look for opportunities in our own areas to lift and help those in need.



87.2%: 
Remember that some of the greatest needs may be those right in front of you. 





Sunday, November 5, 2017

Beware who you listen to



Mosiah 2:32
But, O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye list to obey the evil spirit, which was spoken of by my father Mosiah. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/2?lang=eng

It is so easy to fall into contentions and this scripture helps us realize that there is no contention that does not put us into vulnerability with the evil one. Let us watch our words and continue to strive to be more Christlike.