Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Prayer and Gratitude



"I offer a plea that each of us will seek to live closer to the Lord and to commune with Him more frequently and with increased faith. 

"Fathers and mothers, pray over your children. Pray that they may be shielded from the evils of the world. Pray that they may grow in faith and knowledge. Pray that they may be directed toward lives that will be profitable and good. Husbands, pray for your wives. Express unto the Lord your gratitude for them and plead with Him in their behalf. Wives, pray for your husbands. Many of them walk a very difficult road with countless problems and great perplexities. Plead with the Almighty that they may be guided, blessed, protected, inspired in their righteous endeavors. . . . 

"Pray for wisdom and understanding as you walk the difficult paths of your lives. If you are determined to do foolish and imprudent things, I think the Lord will not prevent you. But if you seek His wisdom and follow the counsel of the impressions that come to you, I am confident that you will be blessed." 

Topics: Faith, family, peace, prayer, gratitude

(Gordon B. Hinckley, "Benediction," Ensign, May 2003, 99-100)

Source: http://ldsquotes.blogspot.com/2007/03/young-single-adult-gems-prayer-and.html

Craig

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekly Challenge: Pioneer Heritage


I think it is time to have some fun. Each week I will have a new challenge to participate in. This week it is Pioneer Heritage.

Just post a comment below with your favorite quote, thought, or story.

If you would like to post a picture quote (meme), just click the link below and upload the meme to my Dropbox and I will add it for you. Still make a comment so I know to look for your meme.

https://www.dropbox.com/request/ZdZ3KLcEYLAjcbNK8FNR

On Sunday, I will compile all the comments together and update the post to include everyone's comments.

Enjoy the challenge!!

Craig

----------------
Here is my contribution, it is the #1 quote on my blog, LDSQuotes.blogspot.com:


"It is not enough to study or reenact the accomplishments of our pioneers. We need to identify the great, eternal principles they applied to achieve all they achieved for our benefit and then apply those principles to the challenges of our day. In that way we honor their pioneering efforts, and we also reaffirm our heritage and strengthen its capacity to bless our own posterity and those millions of our Heavenly Father's children who have yet to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all pioneers in doing so." Dallin H. Oaks


Submitted by Debbie: The Truth of God Shall Go Forth

Elder M. Russell Ballard


https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/the-truth-of-god-shall-go-forth?lang=eng


This is not to suggest that our challenges today are more severe than the challenges faced by those who have gone before us. They are just different. The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life.



Submitted by Shauna: 




Friday, January 27, 2017

Perfect change of heart



All have sinned and yet the story of Alma the younger is a most compelling testament, that through Christ we can, not only be forgiven but become a most powerful instrument in the Lord's hands. 

The question is, how does this happen and what must we do to have this change in our lives? Let's turn back to the account of Alma the younger to search out the answers to this question. We will start in Mosiah 27.

Alma went around, with the sons of king Mosiah, "lead[ing] astray the people of the Lord," trying to destroy the church. Eventually, an angel of the Lord appeared unto them. Alma fell and was as if he were dead for the space of "two days and two nights." He arose and declared:

24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. 

The last three words is the ultimate key to this great change, also known as a mighty change of heart. Alma helps us understand it better.

25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
28 Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.

In being born of the Spirit, we become Christ's sons and daughters and are now "new creatures." This is significant, because although still in the flesh they are not of the flesh. The Savior teaches us in John 17:14, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." 

What does that mean for us today. If we were to be born of the Spirit, we would have repented of all of our sins and been forgiven of them as well. We would refrain from the wicked ways of the world and not partake of their sins. But above all, we would desire with all of our hearts to bring souls unto Christ and have them feel the redeeming power of the atonement for themselves. 

Alma stayed true and as this new creatures born of the Spirit was of great service unto God. We are all familiar with this great Scripture about Captain Moroni:

Alma 48:17-18
17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto aMoroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

Now, let's read the next verse:

18 Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God.

Amazing! I for one would love to have my name associated with such great men. Let's get to it and start living in, but not of the world, so that we too may have our hearts changed like Alma and bind Satan and be fruitful in bringing souls unto Christ.

Craig

Personal Responsibility


"We are all responsible to God for the manner we improve the light and wisdom given by our Lord to enable us to save ourselves." Joseph Smith

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Speaking with the Tongue of Angels



Nephi teaches us, "...then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 31:13)

This has always been a topic of great interest to me. I just read this article, https://mormonhub.com/blog/faith/how-do-you-receive-the-tongue-of-angels/ which is good but there is so much more to it. After the article, I read the comments and was very impressed with the first comment. Don summarized my feelings on the subject so very well. 

Comment by Don Sadlier
"A person will not be able to speak with the tongue of angels until they receive the Baptism of Fire. Nephi gave that as a prerequisite:

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism-yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 31:13)
The problem is that most do not receive the Baptism of Fire thus will not be able to experience it. When one has received the Baptism of Fire they have offecially found the Straight Gate and entered on to the narrow path:

“17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.” (2 Nephi 31:17-18)

"It is Jesus Christ that told us there will only be a few members that find it:

“For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.” (D&C 132:22)

"Because of the infrequency that members receive the Baptism of Fire it is a largely misunderstood and unknown event. The event itself takes place just as as recorded in the Bible as happened to Jesus: the Holy Ghost slowly descends through a person beginning at the head, down through the body, and on down to the bottom of feet and to the end of the toes. It is a very glorious, intense sensation. The closest word in our vocabulary in describing it is as a fire within that does not scorch or injure the person. And, just as John witnessed, a message is received from God to the affect of ‘well done; now endure to the end and you shall have Eternal Life’.

"The Baptism of Fire only comes after we have adequately truly repented. But true repentance is another doctrine that is largely misunderstood and that’s why few ever get to the Baptism of Fire. True repentance doesn’t mean refraining from injuring or offending others, or merely refraining from breaking the commandments. It means to turn the heart to God. If we are merely refraining but not changing the heart then we are not repenting no matter what we verbalize.

"What are we to repent of? That’s also misunderstood. Most of assume that we repent of our breaking the commandments. That’s hitting the target but not the bullseye. What we are commanded to repent of is anything we have done that offended the Holy Spirit! When we violated a commandment we have offended the Holy Spirit and, if we had the Spirit, the Spirit withdrew. The withdrawing of the Spirit is our ‘heads up’ that we have offended God and need to repent. If our true desire is to have the Spirit with us all the time then we WILL feel sorrow over having offended the Spirit and will make the necessary changes to never offend the Spirit again.

"Most of us have been to the temple and received a spiritual boost. We feel the Spurit and love the feeling! But after we get home does that same Spirit remain with us at the same intensity? How about the next day, is the Spirit still with us as strong? If not then what is the course of action? For most it is taught to get back to the temple! But the correct answer is to repent! The true repentance will yield that same Spirit in the home and with us personally, 24/7. The lack of earnest desire to get the Spirit back and to maintain the presence of the Spirit is a statement to Heavenly Father that we are not that interested in being with Him because Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are One – we can’t be indifferent toward one without being indifferent toward all of Them.

"As we truly repent we will have the Spirit with us more and more. Our heart and devotion will be toward always having the Spirit with us just as is found in the temple. We will find ourselves living our life so as to never offend the Spirit which yields greater peace and joy. Along the way we will have more experiences of being consumed with the Spirit (the fire within) but don’t confuse that with the Baptism of Fire. All you need to do is ask yourself which part of your body first felt the manifestation of the Spirit and there will likely be no identifiable spot or it will be the heart. With the Baptism of Fire one will unmistakably feel the intensity begin at the head then descend down through the body ‘as a dove’ (notice how they don’t drop like a rock when coming down but rather descend more slowly). One will only receive the Baptism of Fire after they have made a dedicated effort to have the Spirit with them 24/7 and have succeeded. Then a person has finally received the Holy Ghost as ordained to at the time of their confirmation into the church. THEN a person will be able to speak with the tongue of angels.

"What does it mean to speak with the tongue of angels? It happens when one is under the influence of the Spirit and speaks as prompted by the Spirit. What is said is carried to the hearts of EVERYONE with power and authority. Remember Joseph in jail and rebuking the guards? He spoke with the tongue of angels and that’s why it went directly to their hearts and they quivered before him. Remember when Nephi commanded his brothers to help build the ship? That was with the tongue of angels and it was driven right to their hearts whether they wanted to belueve it or not – and they quivered.

"Normally a person has to have the Spirit with them and listening by the Spirit to receive messages spoken by the Spirit (D&C 50:19-22). But when one speaks with the tongue of angels it is driven right to their heart by the Spirit even if they are not trying to receive by the Spirit."

Also read these two really good articles on this subject.



Craig

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bear Ye One Another's Burdens!!!

I have been reading the New Testament and then writing in my journal how it applies to my life! It is by far my favorite New Testament study I have done thus far! I have kept a scripture journal before, but this is different. I take one chapter at a time, I pray to understand how I can apply it to my life...and then I read it...again and again, until I feel I have been taught by the spirit of how to apply that chapter to my life. Then I record it! I plan to share a few of my feelings with you.

Galatians Chapter 6

verse
 1: Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
2: Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

It stood out strong to me, that when talking about bearing one another burdens, Christ tells us to help those with faults, which I interpret those in sin! (Aren't we all in sin?)  I guess when I think of carrying one another's burdens, I think of grief, illness, sadness, and financial. Yet, the first burden in this scripture is spiritual! We need...no we must ...build one another up spiritually! This makes perfect sense, everything is organized first spiritually and then temporally...#1 example is YOU and ME!

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love;

"He hath chosen us....before the foundation of the world". We were tutored, loved, and taught by our Heavenly Father spiritually before ever having our temporal body and coming to this world. As we look at others who are engulfed in sin, let us not shun them, but love them. Let's put our arms around them and help them find that path that leads to Christ!

Putting these two together; Bearing one another's burdens fulfills the law of Christ, which is LOVE!! :)

It's difficult to love others when we are filled with criticism!
When we are filled with criticism we are in danger of hurting our own personal spirituality, even more then we are in danger of hurting someone else. However, if we don't live in a manner where the spirit of the Lord can dwell, then we won't be ready to lift those who need their burdens carried, and need help getting to the path that leads to Christ. For we must have the light of Christ in us, in order to love and lift others. We can only serve one master, and if it's not Christ then it is Satan, whom loves contention and will lead us to contempt!

This all comes with an added bonus, Christ tells us that the way to love Him, is to love others. He also tells us that we are important, and if we wonder off, he will notice. He knows all his sheep! He will come and find us...if we will but look for Him. In this world, the Lord relys on his servants to find those lost sheep! There's no tally sheet in heaven, it's not a contest, it's literally brotherly/sisterly love one for another. However, the Lord does say, that one lost sheep is worth us spending our life to save! How cool is that? Let's go find all our brothers and sisters, and gather them to the fold! And all the while, we will be showing love to our Savior who gave His all for us!

(Here is a great post on wayward children)

Sherri

Wayward Children: Hold on to them with your faith


In the quote below, the phrase I loved was "hold on to them with your faith." I wrote a post called, "Overcome by Faith," where we learn that those who inherit eternal life are those who through their faith in Christ have overcome the world because their faith stirred them to action and thus they qualified to live the life that Christ lives and are awarded grace in proportion to their works. What is exciting is that we to through our faith (sufficient faith as just mentioned) we can secure our wayward children to us. Also reference my post titled, "Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation." 

Orson F. Whitney:
"You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don't give them up. Don't cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find his sheep. They were his before they were yours-long before he entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as he loves them. They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance. Only the fulness of knowledge brings the fulness of accountability. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.
"The Prophet Joseph Smith declared-and he never taught more comforting doctrine-that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant sevice in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or in the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tred a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God"
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110)

Craig

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Motherhood: No more compelling responsibility


Today's quote, is a shout out to all you amazing mothers out there. I was listening to the song, Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice, this morning as I was driving to drop off my girls at school, and this verse really made me super thankful to and for my wonderful wife, Kiera.

"Just ask him how he made it
He'll tell you faith and sweat
And the heart of a faithful woman,
Who never let him forget" 

She is always stretching me and helping me to grow and become a better man. There's nothing I enjoy more than watching her teach and rear our children. How blessed I am to have a faithful, nurturing, and amazing wife and mother in our home. 

Gordon B Hinkley:
It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/10/stand-strong-against-the-wiles-of-the-world?lang=eng&clang=pes&country=nz

Having Children in Faith


Craig

Monday, January 23, 2017

Understanding the things of God

Joseph Smith (1805-44) President

The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity--thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], p. 267)

It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it.

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel--you must beging with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.

To those who … can assist in this great work, we say, let them come to this place; by so doing they will not only assist in the rolling on of the Kingdom, but be in a situation where they can have the advantages of instruction from the Presidency and other authorities of the Church, and rise higher and higher in the scale of intelligence until they can ‘comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], pp. 267-268)

Craig

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Strengthen the Hands of Your Fellow Beings


"You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul. You teachers, the testimony that you bear, the spirit with which you teach and with which you lead, is one of the most important assets that you can have, as you help to strengthen those who need so much, wherein you have so much to give."( Harold B. Lee, "Stand Ye in Holy Places," Ensign, July 1973, 12) Source: http://ldsquotes.blogspot.com/2006/10/gems-teachings-stand-ye-in-holy-places.html

Having the right spirit is vital. The Lord taught:

Matthew 6:21-24
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/6?lang=eng

Brigham Young further taught about this spirit and it dictates our actions or rather should dictate our actions. Enjoy.

If you feel evil, keep it to yourselves until you overcome that evil principle. This is what I call resisting the devil, and he flees from me…When you are influenced by the Spirit of holiness and purity, let your light shine; but if you are tried and tempted and buffeted by Satan, keep your thoughts to yourselves- keep your mouths closed; for speaking produces fruit, either of a good or evil character…You frequently hear brethren and sisters say that they feel so tried and tempted, and have so many cares, and are so buffeted, that they must give vent to their feelings; and they yield to the temptation, and deal out their unpleasant sensations to their families and neighbors. Make up your minds thoroughly, once and for all, that if we have trials, the Lord has suffered them to be brought upon us, and he will give us grace to bear them…But if we have light or intelligence- that which will do good, we will impart it…Let that be the determination of individual, for spirit begets spirit-likeness; feelings beget their likeness…If then we give vent to all our bad feelings and disagreeable sensations, how quickly we beget the same in others, and load each other down with our troubles, and become sunk in darkness and despair!... In all your social communication…let all the dark, discontented, murmuring, unhappy, miserable feelings- all the evil fruit of the mind, fall from the tree in silence and unnoticed; and so let it perish, without taking it up to present to your neighbors. But when you have joy and happiness, light and intelligence, truth and virtue, offer that fruit abundantly to your neighbors, and it will do them good, and so strengthen the hands of your fellow beings.

Journal of Discourses, 5:351-352


By popular request, here are iPhone or mobile phone versions that are easy to save as your lock screen or wallpaper.



Craig

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The work required at our hands is great and mighty

Journal of Discourses - Wilford Woodruff. (50 thousand million, that's a lot!) I think, many times, that we, as Elders of Israel and as Latter-day Saints, come far short of realizing our position before the Lord. The work required at our hands is great and mighty; it is the work of Almighty God. We are held responsible for presenting the Gospel of Christ to all the nations of the earth, to warn the Gentiles, to prepare for the return of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and for carrying the Gospel to the whole tribes of Israel. We are held responsible for all this, and for building Temples to the Most High, wherein we can enter and attend to ordinances for the salvation of our dead. There are fifty thousand million spirits shut up in the spirit world who never saw the face of a Prophet, Apostle or inspired man in their lives. No man having the authority of God ever declared the words of life and salvation unto them, and without authority their ministrations are useless, for this is what the Priesthood is for. The God of heaven has ordained this from eternity to eternity. These persons in the spirit world died in the flesh without the law, without the Gospel, and they are shut up in prison. Joseph Smith is preaching to them, and so are thousands of the Elders of Israel who have died and gone to the other side of the veil. (Journal of Discourses, 18:114) https://www.gospeldoctrine.com/content/section-138


I don't know about you, but this gets me super excited, let's roll up or sleeves and get to work!!

Craig

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Superficial Membership

There is a great article I found that has tons of quotes about superficial membership in the Church. Below is just one of many to enjoy.

Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

From Men and Women of Christ: If we enlist and take the Savior's yoke upon us we "shall find rest unto [our] souls" (Matthew 11:29). If we are only part-time soldiers, though, partially yoked, we experience quite the opposite: frustration, irritation, and the absence of His full grace and spiritual rest. In that case weaknesses persist and satisfactions are intermittent. . . Actually the partially yoked experience little spiritual satisfaction, because they are burdened by carrying the awful weight of the natural man -- without any of the joys that come from progressing toward becoming "the man of Christ." They have scarcely "[begun] to be enlightened" (Alma 32:34). The meek and fully yoked, on the other hand, find God's reassuring grace and see their weakness yielding to strength (see Ether 12:27).

Strange as it seems, a few of the partially yoked, undeservedly wearing the colors of the kingdom, are just close enough to the prescribed path and process to be able to observe in others some of the visible costs of discipleship. Sobered by that observation, they want victory without battle and expect campaign ribbons merely for watching; but there is no witness until after the trial of their faith (see Ether 12:6).

These same Church members know just enough about the doctrines to converse superficially on them, but their scant knowledge about the deep doctrines is inadequate for deep discipleship (see 1 Corinthians 2:10). Thus uninformed about the deep doctrines, they make no deep change in their lives. They lack the faith to "give place" (Alma 32:27) consistently for real discipleship. Such members move out a few hundred yards from the entrance to the straight and narrow path and repose on the first little rise, thinking, "Well, this is all there is to it"; and they end up living far below their possibilities. While not as distant as those King Benjamin described "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?" (Mosiah 5:13) -- these people are not drawing closer either. (Men and Women of Christ [1991], pp. 2-3)

Source: http://emp.byui.edu/WightmanG/Bom_121/Class_Articles/Sprfcl_Mmbrship.htm

Craig

Unanswered Prayers!!!

I know there are routine answers to why prayers are sometimes unanswered, but what really happens when a pray goes unanswered!? Especially, when it's your deepest  and greatest desire? Pray harder? Pray more frequently? Fast? Be patient? Get a priesthood blessing? Ask those that love you to pray with you? Ask them to fast with you? Take it to the temple?

The scriptures tell us that if we pray with real intent, nothing wavering, that the heavens will be opened and our prayers answered. Ask and ye shall receive! So why would some prayers go unanswered?

This is probably one of the toughest questions for all ages and situations. I am confident to say that everyone has a situation in their life, where a pray wasn't answered immediately? or at all!?

Well, I am no different! And though this is probably one of the most discussed topics, I would still like to share my story! It doesn't have an ending yet, but it is full of tender mercies and loving hugs from our Heavenly Father.

For 20 years I have been praying for the religious division that separates my husband and I to be rectified! I of course, have pleaded with every ounce of my body for the Lord to please soften Marks heart so that he can know what I know! So that he can have a testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That we could be sealed as a family for eternity!! I can't think of any reason why the Lord's will would be any different than for a family to be able to worship Him with one heart and one mind. This should be an easy prayer and an easy answer! That is not how my situation has worked! I have prayed endlessly, family members pray daily for us, and our children have prayed as well. I have had many priesthood blessings that have left me with a feeling of peace and calmness, which I interpreted as "soon"! I have fasted, family has fasted, and my kids have fasted. We have been entered into the temple prayer rolls all over the states. I have committed to live fully the gospel, to do all in my power to follow and obey with exactness the teachings and guidance of the gospel and it's leaders. (Of course, I am far from perfect, and have tapped into the beautiful atonement on a daily basis) I have bore my testimony every fast Sunday, that I was present, for the last 15 years. I have studied my scriptures, and held family home evening on a regular basis! With all of this, we are still a family of different denominations!

And yet, I don't feel alone! I don't feel like the Lord hasn't answered my prayers. I am completely filled with his love! Is it tough? Sure! Do I continue to plead, fast, and study? Of course! My prayers have changed. They are directed more towards What can I do? Soften MY heart, so that I am able to lead my family and be an example for the Lord. I pray to know what He needs me to do in the situation we are in now! How can I be His hands to others. It has been a blessing to watch as we have had numerous opportunities for missionary work because of our split denominations.

I am a firm believer that the Lord needs each of us. He sees and knows the final picture. We have to do more then just know His words, we must BELIEVE HIM! We must be able to trust that he knows what is best for us, and that he knows where we need to be. There is no safer place that we can put our whole heart, mind, might and strength... then with the Lord. We will win every time! Even if the path was different than what we mapped out in our own minds!

As for unanswered prayers. I don't have them. I have a few that are different then my heart desires, but I have seen the most miraculous opportunities present themselves through my situation, because I have asked to know His will. And with that I have found peace and purpose! I can't say that I have had a vision of what lies ahead, I have not! But I trust that it is perfect!

Also, I find extreme comfort in the small insignificant prayers that are answered daily. I know that if the Lord cares enough to help me find my keys...then he 100% cares enough to help me have an eternal family!  Each and every answered pray is like a hug from Heaven, and a whisper, "I am here, I hear you, and I love you!! I always quickly offer a thank you prayer, and I can't help but smile, for I know that my Heavenly Father is listening to me!

The bigger question is ... AM I LISTENING TO HIM!?

Sherri

Monday, January 16, 2017

Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord


Does God really fight our battles today or is it just something that God did in the olden days? 

Take a moment to really think about that..... Do we have faith, I mean real actual tangible faith, that God IS CAPABLE of fighting our battles and that He WILL FIGHT THEM?

Moroni recorded some words of his father Mormon, who answered his own question when he asked if miracles have ceased, he said:

Moroni 7:37 ...Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
Let us have "faith and doubt not" Matthew 21:21. During my scripture study I came across these verses:

2 Chronicles 20:15, 17, 29
15 ...Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.

29 And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.  https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/2-chr/20?lang=eng

As I read the words, "stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord," it reminded me of another time in scripture where Moses used these same words before parting the Red Sea.

Exodus 14:13-14
13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Here are two powerful examples of the Lord fighting the battles for His children. If we need more than these, search the scriptures and you will find hundreds of examples. It all comes back though, to the question, Do we have faith, real actual tangible faith, that God IS CAPABLE of fighting our battles and that He WILL FIGHT THEM? Let's raise the bar of our faith, and be even better disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For I am of the belief that we will need as great faith as any disciple that lived before us to faithfully endure the trials that we will be called to pass through, in these last days. 

Craig

Lay Hold Upon Every Good Thing

Moroni describes the process whereby we may lay hold upon every good thing:

25. Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.

26. And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. --Moroni 7: 25-26

These verses are just amazing. We need to develop this faith and literally draw down the powers of heaven to bless us and our families. Imagine what we can become with this type of faith.

"Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ" these words have taken on new meaning to me since I have been learning more about listening to and obeying the promptings of the Spirit to our minds through our thoughts. As we hear and obey the whisperings of the Spirit we begin to exercise faith and as we learn to be more and more diligent, and in obeying, we lay hold upon even greater and greater faith. How simple the Lord has made our journey back to him if we will but listen and obey.

Craig

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Receive the Gift and the Giver



“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift” (D&C 88:33)

Do we value the gift of the atonement that Christ gave us, through repenting of our sins? If we don't value that gift how can we value the giver, even Jesus Christ. And if we don't value Christ, how can we value the giver, even The Father.

In a great talk about the atonement Gerald N. Lund related this parable: "Remembrance. Finally there is remembrance, which is perhaps the most important of them all. Some years ago, after I taught a class on the Atonement, one of the members, who was a practicing physician, handed me an article. He said, “I think in light of what you taught us tonight, you will find this interesting.” To my surprise, the article was from a medical journal called Private Practice and had nothing to do with religion, let alone Christ. In fact, it was an article about a mountain climbing school in Colorado that catered to doctors and other professional people. I was puzzled as I read through it, wondering why he had given it to me.

Then I came to something he had marked near the end of the article, and then I understood. It was another parable, of sorts, though it was not written with that intent. The author of the article was interviewing the man who ran the climbing school, whose name was Czenkusch. They were talking about one of the key techniques in rock climbing, knowing as “belaying.” To put it simply, belaying is the process by which one climber secures another climber so that he or she can safely ascend the rock face. This is done by having the lead climber loop a rope around his or her own body, then keeping the rope taut as the climber ascends so if there is a slip, the person on belay does not fall.

Understanding that much, here then is the paragraph that the doctor had marked for me:

Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worse moments in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped, upside down, 10 feet from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms. “Don saved my life,” says Czenkusch. “How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for Christmas? No, you remember him. You always remember him.” [9]
What a marvelous analogy! The Savior, by the power of His own life and infinite sacrifice, is able to arrest our fall and save us from death. How do we thank Him for that? A new climbing rope is not any more needed by God than a fat field mouse. But we can vow that we shall never forget the gift. And in fact, this principle is so important that God asks to put ourselves under covenant each and every week that we will always remember Him."

Reading What the Atoning Sacrifice Meant for Jesus | Religious Studies Center in Voice Dream https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/my-redeemer-lives/what-atoning-sacrifice-meant-jesus-0

I thought that I should go ahead and be done and just post this, but the Spirit prompted, "not yet." So, I continued cleaning the house. My favorite thing is to listen to my Voice Dream Reader app while I clean, drive, or to just enjoy my free time. I literally have hundreds of spiritual books and articles loaded in my reader. A little while later, I paused my reader and checked Facebook and there was a video by Elder Holland, posted by United Latter-day Saints, that grabbed my attention. Like a baby I cried and cried add I watched it. Our Savior has done for us what we can not do for ourselves, and if we would just obediently follow Him, He will raise us up unto Eternal life. In closing, enjoy this video.

Parenting

                                                             PARENTING

            Life as a parent is full of ups and downs. We have all the beautiful moments of hugs, kisses, smiles and holding little hands, littered with moments of quarreling, kicking and screaming. It has the ability to discourage even the best of men and woman. Each evening we resolve with our Father in Heaven to be better the next day: to get angry less, to have more patience, to be more understanding and to enjoy the small moments better. And yet time and time again we wake up all night with the crying babies and by morning are so tired and emotionally shot that our best intentions easily go out the window. Only for another night on our knees pleading for forgiveness and resolving again to be better the next day.  
            We often ask ourselves if our efforts are worth it? Is the scripture study with the children not listening really doing any good? Is prayer really worth it when we have to practically plead and threaten just to get them to fold their arms and be quiet? Is anyone getting anything out of sacrament meeting when the chaos makes the speaker sound like a distant noise that is no longer discernable? What are they getting out of Family-Home-Evening when it is often just a fight that ends with a prayer? These questions often plague our minds as we struggle through this experience of parenthood.
            The answer to these questions is a resounding Yes! Yes, all of our efforts are worth it!  Yes, we are good parents even if our day-to-day efforts don't seem to yield a large reward! Yes, small and simple things really do bring about great things! While the journey may be tough we cannot give up or slacken our pace as we strive to teach our children about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is truly the greatest gift we can give them. 
So now the question is, Why? Why is it is important to teach our children about Jesus Christ? One of my favorite scriptures is:
"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." 
When I first became a parent I became obsessed with the idea that if I did everything right my kids would never sin. I wanted to create a bubble around them to keep them safe. One day while reading this scripture found in 2 Nephi 25:26 a realization hit me. They are going to sin.  They are going to fall short and make mistakes. The question is, did I teach them enough about their Savior and Redeemer that they know to turn to Him? Do they know that He can save them? Do they know that He loves them unconditionally? Do they know that through Him they can overcome any challenge and trial that comes their way?  The truth is they can only know these things if we teach it to them. So why do we hold Family Home Evening, go to church, read our scriptures and pray with our children when it is so hard and they don't seem to care? As this scripture states, we talk and preach of Christ and do all these other things so that in that moment of storm and temptation they know to whom they can turn for a remission of their sins. Ultimately we want them to know Him personally and understand His redeeming power.  
            Being a parent can be tough but it is also beautiful and rewarding. We have such a small window of an opportunity to teach our children the truths of eternity. Let us resolve not to get discouraged in the mundane moments. Let us remember that our efforts are always worth it.  As President Hinckley said, let us "try a little harder to be a little better."

~ Debbie 

Friday, January 13, 2017

It’s unfair! It’s all unfair!

Robert L. Millet

“Stated bluntly, all of us are guilty of sin. All of us are in need of pardoning mercy. All of us fall short of the divine standard. . . .

“Inasmuch as each of us is a recipient of unending and unmerited grace, how can we, in the spirit of Christian charity—or in the attitude of sane discourse—speak of the Lord’s pardoning mercy toward wayward children as unfair? Of course it’s unfair! It’s all unfair! That a pure and innocent man should suffer and agonize over others’ transgressions is not fair. That he who had never taken a backward step should tread the winepress alone, ‘even the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God’ (D&C 76:107; 88:106) and thereby descend below all things (see D&C 88:6), is not fair. That the lowly Nazarene should be subjected to the ignominy and unspeakable torture of crucifixion is patently not fair. But the plan of the Father is not a plan of fairness, at least as we judge fairness from our limited perspective; it is a plan of mercy.” (When a Child Wanders, pp. 129-131)

Craig

Image Source: Adam Abrams, Gethsemane, © 2008 Adam Abrams.https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/my-redeemer-lives/what-atoning-sacrifice-meant-jesus-0

Thursday, January 12, 2017

We should make room for Christ.


"On that night in Bethlehem there was no room for him in the inn, and this was not the only time during the thirty-three years of his sojourn in mortality that there was no room for him. Herod sent soldiers to Bethlehem to slay the children. There was no room for Jesus in the domain of Herod, so his parents took him to Egypt. During his ministry, there were many who made no room for his teachings—no room for the gospel he taught. There was no room for his miracles, for his blessings, no room for the divine truths he spoke, no room for his love or faith. He said to them, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20).

Even in our day, although two thousand years have passed, there are many who say the same thing that was said on that night in Bethlehem. "There is no room, no room" (see Luke 2:7). We make room for the gifts, but sometimes no room is made for the giver. We have room for the commercialism of Christmas and even pleasure-seeking on the Sabbath day, but there are times when there is not room for worship. Our thoughts are filled with other things—there is no room."

Reading Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter Chapter 24: Following the Example of Jesus Christ in Voice Dream https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-howard-w-hunter/chapter-24-following-the-example-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng

Take a moment, to seriously ponder, if you make room for Christ in your heart, in your thoughts, and in your actions, or is this an area, if you're honest, that you can and must do better in?

Alma 5:14-15, 26
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

Let us not let even a single day go by, that we are not striving with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength to make room for Christ and to have his image in our countenances.

Craig

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Adam to Noah Chart

As you can see, in this chart that I put together, Lamech, Noah's father, knew and was taught personally by Adam, and not just Adam but all the great prophets that lived before him as well. This is important because they were taught by Adam who knew God and Jesus and conversed with them face to face. They knew without any doubt about the Garden of Eden and the fall. Can you imagine being taught at the feet of Adam and Eve about what they personally saw and experienced in the Garden of Eden, pretty amazing.

Joseph Smith said, "From the foregoing it is easily to be seen, not only how the knowledge of God came into the world, but upon what principle it was preserved; that from the time it was first communicated, it was retained in the minds of righteous men, who taught not only their own posterity but the world; so that there was no need of a new revelation to man, after Adam's creation to Noah, to give them the first idea or notion of the existence of a God; and not only of a God, but the true and living God." Lectures on Faith, Lecture 2

Click the link below to download the PDF version of the chart.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AhWZhBCJARpmg4NFg3lMRH3y89fgCA

Craig

The GIFT Of the Holy Ghost

I was recently asked by my soon to be 8 year old niece to talk at her baptism on the gift of the Holy Ghost! I was thrilled for this subject, because I have spent the last couple years focusing on utilizing this gift! It's actually hard to comprehend the importance and AWEsomeness of this gift. We have the opportunity to have the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead. It's almost one of those gifts that you get and it's so precious and valuable that you put it on your top shelf in your closet, so that little hand won't break it. It's almost too valuable to even use, what if we don't know how to use it? What if we misunderstand it? What if we lose it? or Maybe we think that if we put it on the shelf...and protect it, we can run into our closet in time of need and pull it down from the top shelf....and use it!?

As I contemplated the overwhelming awe of the promise of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, I realized that I was one who definitely had my gift on the closet shelf! Yes! I treasured it! Yes! I was thankful for it! But the problem was, I hadn't fully learned how to use it! It's difficult to master anything when we only try to tap into it's abilities during tough times. The truth is we need to take the Gift of the Holy Ghost and keep it with us always....practicing listening to the whispering of the still small voice, so that during or times of need, we are well accustomed to the sweet helpful, quiet voice. That is the only way to master, and maximize on the most precious treasure of the Holy Ghost!

I often refer to motherhood, and how we all know our kids! It's always amazing how I can be sitting with a group of ladies at a play group at the park, with lots of kids. Yet, when my kids lets out a scream, or cry, I instantly know that it's my kid. I don't have to be looking in the direction of the cry, I just recognize the distinction of my kid over the cry of the other kids. Why is this? It's because I have developed a close relationship with them, by spending every day and night close by their side. I attend to their daily cries. I recognize their needs almost before they tell me. That is how the Holy Ghost works. As we keep the Holy Ghost with us, and practice responding to every prompting, regardless if it's from our own minds or from the Holy Ghost, we will learn to discern between the two.

So when asked to talk, I pondered all of this stuff that I had been thinking about for years. I was wondering how could I relate this to an 8 year old little girl. With the help of the Holy Ghost, I was able to come up with the analogy of time. Time is relevant to everyone, who lives on the earth now, who has ever lived on the earth, and who ever will live on the earth. Everyone is effected by time at one time in their life, and most likely they are effected often. That is the same as the Holy Ghost, it is available to everyone on the earth, who has lived, and who will live. Every one, if they will listen , will feel the guidance of the Holy Ghost. He will testify of truth, warn of danger, and respond to prayers. But what if you could have your very own solar powered watch? How awesome would it be to be able to have time available to you all day and night, every day and every night? This solar powered watch never runs out of batteries, it literally works no matter what...unless it isn't in the light. It needs the sunlight to work. Just like the Holy Ghost, once you are baptized and confirmed with the Gift of the Holy Ghost, you are able to have the Holy Ghost with you all day everyday, as long as you stay in uplifting, light filled environment.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The righteous flee to the wilderness for their lives


Mosiah 18:31:34 
31 And these things were done in the borders of the land, that they might not come to the knowledge of the king.
32 But behold, it came to pass that the king, having discovered a movement among the people, sent his servants to watch them. Therefore on the day that they were assembling themselves together to hear the word of the Lord they were discovered unto the king.
33 And now the king said that Alma was stirring up the people to rebellion against him; therefore he sent his army to destroy them.
34 And it came to pass that Alma and the people of the Lord were apprised of the coming of the king’s army; therefore they took their tents and their families and departed into the wilderness.

This is the pattern that the Lord uses all throughout the Scriptures, to preserve His people. I feel strongly that we too, or many of us, will have to flee to places of refuge to protect ourselves and our families in the coming days. May each and everyone of us be ready to act upon the promptings and commandments of the Lord. May we also have the courage to lovingly worn our family members and friends to be ready as well.

Craig 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Obtain a Greater Resurrection/Exaltation


I was enjoying the Lectures on Faith again this morning and something really interesting jumped out at me that I hadn't caught previously. It is a scripture that Joseph Smith quotes:

Hebrews 11:32 and the following verses: "And what shall I say more? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword; out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens, women received their dead raised to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." Lecture 1. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22."

Did you catch it... "and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." Wow!! It seems that we feel that if we are good and honorable members of the Church or our society, that we are almost entitled to the good life and that we either escape the bad or that our life should be void of hardships and trials. This concept shakes that thinking up quite a bit. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with striving for happiness and joy in our lives, but this thinking puts a depth of perspective into what we desire and what we are or will pass through. This concept is more than just happily enduring through what happens to us, because it expands our thinking to a new level of not just enduring, but rather a proactive role in how can I obtain and even greater resurrection/exaltation. 

Nephi teaches, "And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given." 2 Nephi 2:26 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/2?lang=eng

It seems to me, and according to this concept we are discussing, that we should "act for ourselves" rather than "to be acted upon," even when it comes to our trials and our hardships and our circumstances.

As I was pondering this morning, a quote from Joseph Smith came to mind:

While suffering greatly during his imprisonment in Liberty Jail during the winter of 1838–39, Joseph Smith wrote to members of the Church: “Beloved brethren, we say unto you, that inasmuch as God hath said that He would have a tried people, that He would purge them as gold [see Malachi 3:3], now we think that this time He has chosen His own crucible, wherein we have been tried; and we think if we get through with any degree of safety, and shall have kept the faith, that it will be a sign to this generation, altogether sufficient to leave them without excuse; and we think also, it will be a trial of our faith equal to that of Abraham, and that the ancients will not have whereof to boast over us in the day of judgment, as being called to pass through heavier afflictions; that we may hold an even weight in the balance with them.”

“Trials will only give us the knowledge necessary to understand the minds of the ancients. For my part, I think I never could have felt as I now do, if I had not suffered the wrongs that I have suffered. All things shall work together for good to them that love God [see Romans 8:28].” https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-19?lang=eng

I have always found this part very interesting,"that the ancients will not have whereof to boast over us in the day of judgment, as being called to pass through heavier afflictions; that we may hold an even weight in the balance with them.” It is a similar attitude as, "and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." Both are proactive and "act for ourselves" in working out our salvation. Let us, put to rest all questions along the lines of, "why me?" and rather ask ourselves, "how can I act for myself in this trial and obtain a greater resurrection or exaltation?" And then of course, go to work!!

Craig


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Faith from Lectures on Faith

If you have not read the Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith, I challenge you to read them today. They are If you have not read the Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith, I challenge you to read them today. They are so powerful. LDS scripturalist and apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote regarding the lectures, "They were not themselves classed as revelations, but in them is to be found some of the best lesson material ever prepared on the Godhead; on the character, perfections, and attributes of God; on faith, miracles, and sacrifice. They can be studied with great profit by all gospel scholars" (MD, p. 439).

Links to read it is provided at the bottom of this post.

I posted the below on my family Gospel Study Group on June 2nd 2015. Enjoy!

From the first lecture in the Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith said: "Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things: by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeably to the will of God. Without it, there is no power, and without power there could be no creation, nor existence!"

I just love this quote. I woke up in the middle of the night because our little Brinley is such a light sleeper and I was taking care of her. After I got her to sleep again, I put my headphones on and started to listen to my playlist I have made in Voice Dream Reader. I was just overcome, I have always loved the Lectures on Faith but since I have added them to my sleeping playlist my love has just exploded. I would recommend reading again the first lecture in the Lectures on Faith. They are so powerful and they will truly help to transform your study efforts in a most amazing way. Here are just a few quotations to excite your minds to go read, study, ponder and pray about this principle:

9 From this we learn, that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen; and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.

10 If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.

11 ...Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you? In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions, of every kind, dependent on your faith?

12 An as faith is the moving cause of all action in temporal concerns, so it is in spiritual...

13 ...But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power, also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven, or on earth.

17 Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And that if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man.

19 Moroni, while abridging and compiling the record of his fathers, has given us the following account of faith as the principle of power: He says, in Ether 12:13, that it was the faith of Alma and Amulek which caused the walls of the prison to be wrent, as recorded in Alma 14:23-29; it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi which caused a change to be wrought upon the hearts of the Lamanites, when they were immersed with the Holy Spirit, and with fire, as seen in Helaman 5:37-50; and that it was by faith that the mountain Zerin was removed, when the brother of Jared spake in the name of the Lord. See also Ether 12:30.

To download either the PDF or text version, I have uploaded them to my Dropbox for you to download, just click either version below.

PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0ohir20nyeyhf2r/lectures%20on%20faith%20good%20formatting.pdf?dl=0

Text: https://www.dropbox.com/s/06qtd27ncwznsiq/lectures%20on%20faith%20text.txt?dl=0

Otherwise, visit one of the links below to read online.

http://lecturesonfaith.com

http://mormonbeliefs.com/1835-original-doctrine-and-covenants/

Craig

Understanding the Light of Christ

The Light of Christ is so much more than we even realize. We refer to it as our conscience, and although that is in part true, I feel that by doing so we diminish its true identity and purpose. It is exactly what it implies, it is the actual Light that emanates from Christ and by possessing more and more of this Light is how we progress in grace and glory. A while back I found this compilation of quotes that I thought would be helpful in better understanding this amazing gift from God.

Source: http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Light_of_Christ

See this page in the original 1992 publication.
Author: Dunford, C. Kent
The Light of Christ refers to the spiritual power that emanates from God to fill the immensity of space and enlightens every man, woman, and child. Other terms sometimes used to denote this same phenomenon are Holy Spirit, "Spirit of the Lord," and "Spirit of Truth," but it is different from the Holy Ghost. The scriptures are not always precise in the use of such terminology, and several attempts have been made to describe the various aspects of this important manifestation of God's goodness and being.

Jesus Christ is the light and life of the world (John 8:12; 3 Ne. 15:9). This light is described in the Doctrine and Covenants as "the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space-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 (D&C 88:11-13). B. H. Roberts, a seventy, interpreted this to mean that the Light of Christ is a creative power, a governing power, a life-giving power, and an "intelligence-inspiring power" (Roberts, 2:7-8).

This light manifests itself in different ways and degrees. In its "less refined existence," wrote Parley P. Pratt, it is visible as sunlight. It is also the refined "intellectual light of our inward and spiritual organs, by which we reason, discern, judge, compare, comprehend, and remember the subjects within our reach." It is revealed as instinct in animals, reason in man, and vision in the prophets (p. 25).

John A. Widtsoe gave this general description of the emanation of God's power: "God is a personal being of body-a body limited in extent. He cannot, therefore, at a given moment be personally everywhere…. By his power, will and word, [he] is everywhere present…. The Holy Spirit permeates all the things of the universe, material and spiritual" (Widtsoe, pp. 68-69).

Since God possesses a fulness of this power and man only a small portion, it becomes a goal of Latter-day Saints to receive more of this light, which for the faithful grows "brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (D&C 50:24). Initially, this "Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world" (D&C 84:46; see also John 1:9; Moro. 7:16). It equips all people with a basic discernment of good and evil, which Latter-day Saints often equate with conscience. By listening to the promptings of the Spirit one is led via faith and baptism to a higher spiritual blessing called the gift of the Holy Ghost, "a greater and higher Endowment of the same Spirit which enlightens every man that comes into the world" (C. W. Penrose, JD 23:350). Continued progression will eventually lead to a fulness of the Spirit, or glorification in the Celestial Kingdom.


Bibliography
Pratt, Parley P. Key to the Science of Theology. Salt Lake City, 1979.
Roberts, B. H. Seventy's Course in Theology, 5 vols. Salt Lake City, 1907-1912; Vol. 3 on the doctrine of deity and Vol. 5 on divine immanence.
Smith, Joseph Fielding. DS, Vol. 1, pp. 49-54.
Widtsoe, John A. A Rational Theology. Salt Lake City, 1915.
C. KENT DUNFORD

Craig

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Time to Serve

"Along your pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save."

(Thomas S. Monson, "How Firm a Foundation," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 68)

Short and sweet. Now let's get to it, and start serving our below travelers.

Craig

Jesus Christ: Perfect Standard for Man

This morning I woke up earlier than I wanted to. But, it gave me time to ponder about what topic I should post on today. I have concluded to post on service. I went back to bed to rest for a little longer, and Kiera told me that it was our month to clean the church. Pretty interesting, The Lord was testing me right off the bat, to see if I would go and serve him. Let me report that I am on my way now. :)

I will post later today on service, but I thought I would start off posting about our Savior, who is the perfect example of service and all things to that men should be.

"If we desire to learn the ideal life to lead among our fellowmen, we can find a perfect example in the life of Jesus. Whatsoever our noble desires, our lofty aspirations, our ideals in any phase of life, we can look to Christ and find perfection. So, in seeking a standard for moral manhood, we need only to go to the Man of Nazareth and in Him find embodied all virtues that go to make the perfect man."
- Pres. David O. McKay https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-david-o-mckay/chapter-1?lang=eng

Craig

Friday, January 6, 2017

Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation

This subject of wayward children is a big one. I found a good compilation of quotes that really helped piece it together for me. There are two important components to consider, 1. The specific level of righteousness of the parents is critical and 2. The children must repent of their sins, either in this life or the next, and they will enjoy salvation, just not exaltation. So, let's look at a few quotes.

Brigham Young:
"Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power on earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang."
(in Journal of Discourses, 11:215)

Keep in mind the word "bind," because it explains the specific level of righteousness that the parents must rise to, but we will come back to it later.

Spencer W. Kimball
"In the impressive parable of the Prodigal Son the Lord taught us a remarkable lesson. This squanderer lived but for today. He spent his life in riotous living. He disregarded the commandments of God. His inheritance was expendable, and he spent it. He was never to enjoy it again, as it was irretrievably gone. No quantity of tears or regrets or remorse could bring it back. Even though his father forgave him and dined him and clothed him and kissed him, he could not give back to the profligate son that which had been dissipated. But the other brother, who had been faithful, loyal, righteous and constant, retained his inheritance, and the father reassured him: 'All that I have is thine.' (Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 307-308)

The Prodigal Son's inheritance "was irretrievably gone." What does that mean in plain terms? This next quote will clarify this for us.

President James E. Faust
“Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation is much more. It must be fully earned. The question as to who will be exalted must be left to the Lord in His mercy.” (Conference Report, April 2003,
p. 68)

So, they will enjoy salvation, but not exaltation. Remember that exaltation is the highest level of the celestial kingdom and in whom become gods. Which means our wayward children will have a wonderful life with us, their parents, but they will not populate worlds of their own.

This is consoling that they are not lost, but it brings up the question how does one earn exaltation in the first place, in order to have that promise that our children will be ours in salvation? In this next quote, we will find out that it is much more than just holding a temple recommend. Remember the word "bind" that I told you to keep in mind, let's look at that now and it means to bind or children to us.

William Clayton Diary
"When speaking of the passage "I will send Elijah the prophet &c" [Joseph] said it should read and he shall turn the hearts of the children to the covenant made with their fathers. Also where it says and they shall seal the servants of God in their foreheads &c it means to seal the blessing on their heads meaning the everlasting covenant thereby making their calling & election sure. When a seal is put upon the father and mother it secures their posterity so that they cannot be lost but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father." (emphasis added)
(both in Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 241-42)

There it is, in simple and plain language, we as parents must make our callings and elections sure, both individually and as a couple. Then and only then will we "bind" or "seal" or children to us with a seal that cannot be broken, except or children have sinned away all their blessings.

As parents let us "gird up our loins" and be diligent and put in the required faith and works to qualify us and make our callings and elections sure, so that all our children will be ours through time and all eternity. This is my sincere prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Craig

Source: http://emp.byui.edu/WightmanG/Bom_121/Class_Articles/Sealing_Power.htm