Saturday, April 29, 2017

Gifts of the Spirit - The Countenance of Christ

I have been listening to the Infinite Atonement on my Deseret Bookshelf Plus app. I am on my second book with my 30 Day Trial and I am loving it (get your free 30 day trial here). Anyway, I loved this quote by Hugh Nibley as he was discussing the gifts of the Spirit. By the way, I love Hugh Nibley, he is such a knowledgeable disciple of Christ.

"The gifts are not in evidence today, except one gift, which you notice the people ask for—the gift of healing. They ask for that with honest intent and with sincere hearts, and we really do have that gift. Because we are desperate and nobody else can help us, we ask with sincere hearts of our Lord. As for these other gifts, how often do we ask for them? How earnestly do we seek for them? We could have them if we did ask, but we don’t. “Well, who denies them?” Anyone who doesn’t ask for them. They are available to all for the asking, but one must ask with an honest heart, sincerely." http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1114&index=6

Where are you at in your pursuit of the gifts of the Spirit? This is an important question to ask yourself. Remember the importuning of Alma:

Alma 5:13-14
13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
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? https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/5?lang=eng

How do we experience this mighty change of heart, and have the image of Christ in our countenances? The answer lies in the asking for and receiving the gifts of the Spirit, imparted unto us through the grace of Christ. These gifts which are embodied in Christ and which constitute his countenance, refine our natures, thus making us more and more like Him and His countenance. 

Moroni, the last book of Mormon prophet, closed the whole Book of Mormon with these words and promise:

Moroni 10:30-33
30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.


32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/10?lang=eng

Craig

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Train up a child in the way he should go


Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

What a comforting scripture. Sometimes raising children can be quite frustrating, challenging, and scary, especially in these times. As we draw closer to Christ and bring up our children to do the same, they will never depart from it. 

Check out these two posts on wayward children: 


Image by: Eric Henderson https://flic.kr/p/SUzR35

Craig


Monday, April 24, 2017

Hope in Christ

 

I went back and made 6 picture quotes for a talk I put together back in March of 2007. Here is the talk. 

Hope in Christ
An Anchor to the Soul, Sure and Steadfast

I was asked to help put together some of my thoughts on Hope in Christ because my wife's uncle was giving a talk. As I thought about hope in Christ I thought of many different ways that hope plays a role in our spiritual lives. So I will express some of my thoughts and findings on hope but there are many other aspects of hope in Christ.

 

4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. (Ether 12:4)

I feel that this scripture in and of itself explains hope in Christ in its truest form. There is so much in this scripture and so I would like to further analyze this scripture.

First, belief in God brings a hope of a better world.

I believe that all men have a desire within him to return to that being that gave him life. Satan is trying his hardest to prevent the human family from being acquainted with our Father in Heaven. 

 

Joseph Smith said,
"What is the object of our coming into existence then dying and falling away to be here no more? This is a subject we ought to study more than any other, which we ought to study day and night... If we have any claim on our heavenly father for any thing it is for knowledge on this important subject (Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph)."

We have a right to know for ourselves that God exists and that he is our Father. Once we know Him and are more acquainted with Him then we have a right to know why we are here, and where we are going after this life. As our relationship with our Father in Heaven and His only begotten son even Jesus Christ grows, then our hope for a better life grows greater and greater.

Second, Hope cometh of faith

David A Bednar teaches us in his talk, Seek Learning by Faith:
Faith in Christ is inextricably tied to and results in hope in Christ for our redemption and exaltation. And assurance and hope make it possible for us to walk to the edge of the light and take a few steps into the darkness—expecting and trusting the light to move and illuminate the way (see Boyd K. Packer, "The Candle of the Lord, " Ensign, Jan. 1983, 54). The combination of assurance and hope initiates action in the present.
Faith as the evidence of things not seen looks to the past and confirms our trust in God and our confidence in the truthfulness of things not seen. We stepped into the darkness with assurance and hope, and we received evidence and confirmation as the light in fact moved and provided the illumination we needed. The witness we obtained after the trial of our faith (see Ether 12:6) is evidence that enlarges and strengthens our assurance.

 

Assurance, action, and evidence influence each other in an ongoing process. This helix is like a coil, and as it spirals upward it expands and grows wider. These three elements of faith—assurance, action, and evidence—are not separate and discrete; rather, they are interrelated and continuous and cycle upward. And the faith that fuels this ongoing process develops and evolves and changes. As we again turn and face forward toward an uncertain future, assurance leads to action and produces evidence, which further increases assurance. Our confidence waxes stronger, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little… (Seek Learning by Faith, February 3, 2006)"

I love how Bednar explains hope and faith tied to action and evidence.

Moroni continues to instruct us on hope and faith in Ether 12:6:

 
Image by: Jarno Lindroos https://flic.kr/p/U3cArB

6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

This hope and faith requires action on our parts. I remember when I was in 8th grade and I wanted to make the 9th basketball team and so that summer I would go to YMCA practically from open to close and practice. I knew that just hoping would not get me on the team, but my hope of making the team caused me to take actions that would allow me the opportunity to make the team. I did make the team but I worked my tail off in the meantime. Hope and faith work the same way. We must be willing to take action and progress and then our hope and faith will be sufficient to be tried of the Lord and if we endure it well we will gain a witness even like unto Nephi:

15 But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love (2 Nephi 1:15).

Third, Hope maketh an anchor to our souls, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

I feel that this is the crowning effect of great hope. I love the use of the word, anchor. Dictionary.com defines it as, “any of various devices dropped by a chain, cable, or rope to the bottom of a body of water for preventing or restricting the motion of a vessel or other floating object, typically having broad, hooklike arms that bury themselves in the bottom to provide a firm hold.” Our hope can literally become an anchor that prevents us from moving one way or another.

Joseph Smith tells us about this hope that acts as an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast.

Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. (Teachings, pp. 149-151.)

Robert D. Hales in Conference Oct 2000 talks about true conversion which leads to such faith as has been mentioned.

"The scriptures confirm that the truly converted do more than just forsake the enticements of the world. They love God and their fellowmen. Their minds and hearts are centered on the Savior's atoning sacrifice. From the moment of their respective conversions, Enos, Alma the Younger, Paul, and others turned wholeheartedly to the task of bringing themselves and their fellowmen to God. Worldly power and possessions lost their former significance. The sons of Mosiah refused an earthly kingdom and risked their lives for the sake of others. These faithful sons were driven by the hope that they might be able to help save even one soul--thus winning for themselves and their brethren a place in God's eternal kingdom.

 
Image by Joseph Brickey 

Joseph Smith said, “Never cease striving till you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief, and nothing can prevent you from coming to God (Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph)."

If this is not enough, Spencer W Kimball said,

“Why will only a few reach exaltation in the celestial kingdom? Not because it was not available to them, not because they did not know of its availability, not because the testimony was not given to them, but because they would not put forth the effort to pattern their lives and make them like the Savior's life and establish them so well that there would be no deviation until the end.

There are … many members of the Church who are lax and careless and who continually procrastinate. They live the gospel casually but not devoutly. They have complied with some requirements but are not valiant. They do no major crime but merely fail to do the things required-things like paying tithing, living the Word of Wisdom, having family prayers, fasting, attending meetings, serving. …

… The Lord will not translate one's good hopes and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must do that for himself. …

Only the valiant will be exalted and receive the highest degree of glory, hence "many are called, but few are chosen."

We must do better, we must draw closer to our Savior, even Jesus Christ, and continue in the faith until we have obtained the faith and hope sufficient unto salvation. I testify that we can follow these teachings and if we do the blessings and powers of heaven will rest upon you and you will have greater hope in Christ than ever before. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Craig

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lucifer compared to a fisherman


Here is my weekly picture quote for Sunday School class.

"Like the fly fisherman who knows that trout are driven by hunger, Lucifer knows our “hunger,” or weaknesses, and tempts us with counterfeit lures which, if taken, can cause us to be yanked from the stream of life into his unmerciful influence." (O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One
M. Russell Ballard, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/o-that-cunning-plan-of-the-evil-one?lang=eng)

Mobile wallpaper



Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Critical Importance of the Book of Mormon in our lives!


"Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, yet lackest though one thing: sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me." - Luke 18:22

I have pondered this story many times. Contemplating how I would react if I was in the exact situation. I want to believe that I would sell all that I have and follow Jesus! It's hard to comprehend why this young man who sought after Jesus, who desired to follow him, and who already kept all the commandments, couldn't let go of his wealth to follow Christ. As I liken the scriptures to myself, I start to understand this young man, and to recognize that I too have weaknesses that restrict me from fully following Christ.  For this young man it was his wealth, for others it may be forgiveness, pride, judging others, impurity, anger, dishonesty, or addictions. It seems as weaknesses are prayerfully conquered, another appears.  I'm not sure we can ever get to a point where we no longer have to keep our eyes and hearts open to the Holy Ghost, so that we are ready to hear the call to change and follow. At times we may justify, that we don't have the Savior standing in front of us; that it would be different if we didn't have to fully rely on faith. I don't think this is true. I'm not sure it would make a difference. However, the Lord has given us ways to feel his communication as if he is standing in front of us. We have the Holy Ghost, personal revelation, and a living prophet. The scriptures say, that if a prophet speaks it is as if Christ himself has spoken. This helps answer the simple question... Do we follow what the prophet tells us? ....As if the Savior himself was standing before us?

Well, this last general conference, Thomas S. Monson, only spoke for a few minutes. In those few minutes he "implored" us to read the Book of Mormon. In fact, I have made a few notes and then looked up key words in the dictionary, so that I may better understand what the prophet is telling us to do!

(Here are my notes from Thomas S. Monson's talk)
"I speak of the POWER of the Book of Mormon, and the CRITICAL need we have to STUDY, PONDER,  and APPLY it's teachings in our lives.

"The importance of having a FIRM and SURE TESTIMONY of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated."

"I IMPLORE each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon EACH DAY."

IMPLORE



Let me start at the bottom, where the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, implores us to read the Book of Mormon daily. Implore means to beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something. There stood the prophet, the living mouth piece of Christ, who wasn't well, and only spoke for 7 minutes, stood up and earnestly begged us to read the Book of Mormon. As I went back and prayerfully studied his short talk, I could feel the desperation as he quietly IMPLORED us to read daily! I think we should put studying the Book of Mormon above all else. If you're not a member of the church, you can go to Mormon.org and request a Book of Mormon for free. I promise it will bring peace and joy to your life, and comfort to your home! Thomas S. Monson is not just a prophet for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; he is a prophet to the whole world. A mouth piece of Christ. A watcher on the tower. A leader in the confusion. A light in the darkness. Following him will bring us closer to Christ, to where we will be able to drop all and follow Christ!

POWER



Now back up to my first note... "The power of the Book of Mormon"...
When I looked up power, it is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.  Wow! When we read daily, we are giving the Book of Mormon the ability to influence our behavior and how we handle the events in our lives. Events could mean trials, tribulations, sickness, temptations, weaknesses, or emotions. The Book of Mormon will help us to feel the comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost in our lives, as it will put our hearts and minds closer to Christ and invite the spirit into our homes and our lives. It will literally empower us with spiritual power!!

CRITICAL
He goes on to say the Critical need to study, ponder and apply. Critical has several meanings that help us understand how important it is that we heed the call to read daily. First definition is relating to or denoting a point of transition from one state to another. This is just what we were talking about as we comparing ourselves to the young man asked to sell all he had. He wasn't in a spiritual state where he was able to let go of his wealth to follow Christ...but it is critical that we read the Book of Mormon as it can help us transition into a state of mind where we are able to let go of those things that hold us back. Second definition for critical is having a decisive or crucial importance in the success, failure, or existence of something. Bingo!! It is critical that we read the Book of Mormon daily for the success of our faith, the success of our eternity, and the success of our attitude. At least for me those three things are instantly increased with my scripture studies! Third and last definition of critical is (of a person), extremely ill and at risk of death...for this case we are all at "risk of spiritual death"!

STUDY
Now that we fully understand that we have not just been asked to read the Book of Mormon daily, but we have been "implored" to do so. We understand that we are in critical need of the power of the Book of Mormon in our lives. Now let's look at how to make the Book of Mormon a part of our daily lives. Thomas S Monson used the same vocabulary that we typically hear with reading the scriptures....Don't just read...STUDY, PONDER, AND APPLY!! Since we hear those words often when referring to scriptures we may take them lightly. Think about your kids studying for a Chemistry test...they stay up late, focus completely, and review notes, all in an attempt to retain everything they possibly can. The definition of study is the devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge...so as we "study", we need to do so with the intent of acquiring knowledge. Which we know from Laman and Lemuel vs. Nephi, that "if' we want to acquire knowledge of spiritual matters, we need to do so with the power of the Holy Ghost and accompanied with prayer. If we will do this, we will have an enlightenment of understanding of what we are reading and how it applies in our own personal lives. Second definition of study is a detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation. I love the different ways to study the Book of Mormon, as we read it daily, we will be able to approach our "study" in new directions each time, which will deepen our understanding. This understanding of "study" tells us to analyze or investigate the stories and lessons we learn from our forefathers, as we do, we will be able to understand what they are telling us that is pertinent in our lives. The last definition of "study" that I loved was to make an effort to achieve (a result).  Through our studying we will be able to recognize the qualities that we need to achieve our ultimate goal of being Christ like in all we do and say! This leaves us with the conclusion that to truly study the Book of Mormon we need to start with prayer and then put in the effort to retain, and understand as much as we can , so that we can use our knowledge in bringing ourselves, our families, and our neighbors to Christ!

PONDER
It is necessary to understand how to ponder the scriptures, because as we study them, we will need to think carefully about the topics we are studying, so that we will comprehend what the Lord is telling us so that we can make an accurate decision of how to apply our understanding in our daily lives. (And that's the definition of ponder :) )

APPLY
Now for the most important part of Study, Ponder, and Apply! How do we apply what we learn from our Book of Mormon study?  Definition one; give one's full attention to a task and work hard. I Love this definition. As we are guided by the Holy Ghost of an attribute, quality, or attitude that we need to develop, it is going to take our full attention to change our current habit.With our full attention we will need to work hard to accomplish the desired result! The next definition of apply is to put into operation or practical use. Perfect! As we acquire knowledge we need to act on what we learn and put it into action in our lives and homes.

FIRM AND SURE TESTIMONY



While doing all of this, we should be developing a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon.
A testimony is simply a formal statement; in this case it is a recounting of a religious matter. (Definition :) ) If something is firm it is solid, almost unyielding, and unlikely to change. Couple that with a sure testimony; confident in what one knows, having no doubt that it is right, true beyond doubt, and able to be trusted. So as you pray for the Holy Ghost to inspire and teach you in your daily reading, make sure you ask for a firm and sure testimony as well. For once that is developed, the winds of the adversary, and cunning words of the eloquent, won't be able to move your solid, confident understanding of the truthfulness of the sacred record, passed down for generations specifically for our day; THE BOOK OF MORMON!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter - He is risen - He lives


Today, on this Easter Sunday, let our hearts run over with gratitude to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of him, we can be forgiven and live again with our Father in Heaven. Death has no victory, and if we will but believe on Him and do as He did, we too will be raised unto life eternal. 

I would like to testify that I know He lives and that He has restored His Gospel through His prophet Joseph Smith. I testify of the Book of Mormon and that it truly testifies of Christ in very word and deed, and if we will but read and pray about this book, we too will be blessed to know of it's truthfulness and our hearts will be drawn out to our Savior, Jesus Christ in a more powerful way than ever before.

Happy Easter!!!

Craig

Friday, April 14, 2017

This is My Beloved Son


This is the weekly scrioture for my Sunday School class. 

Joseph Smith—History 1:17
When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng

We all need to learn from Joseph's experience and really take our questions to the Lord and receive divine teaching. We may not have a vision but if sincere, the Holy Ghost will rest upon us and we will be taught and feel uplifted by its presence. 

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy is the man with his quiver full of children


"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Psalms 127:3

Merriam-Webster defines heritage as: "property that descends to an heir" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heritage

Thus, our children are the property of God, and by virtue of our heirship, they have been entrusted to us by God. I know this is common knowledge, but isn't it neat to reflect on a most precious heirloom and how we care for it and preserve it. Let us care and preserve our children from the corruption of Satan and the world.

"The fruit of the womb is his reward." Something very important to note here, is that there are many kinds and types of rewards that God gives to his children. Children, happen to be one of those rewards that God gives to his children, and interestingly, on His timetable. It really comes down to our heart and the intentions of our heart. If we desire children, and are not blessed with children in this life or are not blessed with the size of family that we would love to have, let us "dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:6 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/12?lang=eng). 

Many rewards, are not and will not be given in this life, but we must qualify for them in this life. Until that blessed day, find peace in the statement of the prophet Joseph Smith, “All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it.”


127:4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
127:5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

We live in a day and age that children bearing is becoming less and less popular. Joseph Smith prophesied, "the time would come when none but the women of the Latter-day Saints would be willing to bear children" (Lillie Freeze, “Remarks at the Y. L. M. I. Conference of Box Elder Stake,” Young Woman’s Journal 2, no. 2 (November 1890): 81. http://ldsmag.com/article-1-12188/). 

This is where the next verse in Psalms comes into play, which happens to be the first verse of the next chapter. This whole chapter is so good and focuses on having children also. Go read it too. 


128:1 Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.

Do we fear man or God. A different question to ask ourselves is, what do we fear more than God? Is it a good night's rest, our comfortable life, nice clothes, bigger house, finishing college, and the list goes on and on. There will always be a plethora of "good" reasons not to have children, but it comes down to, are we fearing God or man. 

One more angle, looking at "fear" as total respect and awe for God. To fear God takes on a whole new meaning. What if you your greatest mentor, teacher, or role model, decided to give you their most prized possession, which value can't even be calculated. All you had to do was simply take care of it and protect it. We would all jump on such an opportunity. Well, guess what, the greatest of all, even God the Father, has given us his most prized possession and all we have to do is take care of it and protect it. 

I for one, am up to the task, are you?

Craig


Friday, April 7, 2017

Sabbath a Delight


We read in Mark 2:27 "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath."

Were we created for the sole purpose of reading the scriptures, or saying our prayers, or what about going to church? Of course not, we were created, so that we through Christ may be exalted and live the life that our Father in Heaven lives.

All these things were created for man, really they are tools used to help prepare him to return to the father. 

The Lord's Jewels
Let me introduce a concept real quick.

3 Nephi 24:17 reads: And they [speaking of the righteous] shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

I love how the Lord says he will make his jewels out of the righteous. One of the most precious types of jewels are diamonds. What is interesting about diamonds, is how they are formed. It is not an easy process and doesn't happen overnight.


I found this really good explaination: Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon that form under crushing pressures and intense heat. (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/earth/rock-minerals/diamonds/diamond-formation/)

Look at those three very discriptive and important pieces of the equation:
   1. Crystals of "pure" carbon.
   2. Crushing pressures
   3. Intense heat

To be counted among the Saviors jewels, we will be required to be formed in the same way, and it will not be easy. We will need to be purged of all wickedness and become pure in heart and be tried and sanctified through crushing pressures and intense heat. 

We are all familiar with the story of the rich young man in the New Testament who came to Jesus to find out how he could obtain salvation. 

Matthew 19:20-22 sums up the story.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

We are left to wonder what could have been if he had just submitted himself over to the process of becoming a jewel. But sadly, not everyone will be willing to go through the process of becoming a jewel to the Lord. Joseph Smith, quoted by President John Taylor said: 

You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and (said he) God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God. (In Bowery, June 18, 1883, JD24:197) TLDP:5

And the Lord gave us the same message in D&C 78:7. "If you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you." (D&C 78:7.)

Faith
One more concept before I return to tie everything into the sabboth day, and that is Faith.

I want to ensure that we are all on the same page when it comes to faith. We will turn to Joseph Smith and the Lectures on Faith to help us tackle this feat.

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.. 

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 And 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.

So, when we desire to obtain a particular outcome or result, it is our faith in that thing that causes us to take action to obtain that desired result or outcome. 

Sabbath a delight
Now go with me to Isaiah Chapter 58. As we go over this chapter be thinking of the sabbath as a tool to become a jewel unto Christ and how faith is required in this process. I will be referrencing the footnotes extensively, for they contain great knowledge and clarity.

1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
The Lord is giving his prophet authority to speak on this topic and we would do good to heed these words.

2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

Footnote 2a for "yet" says: "they do all the rituals, but lack something yet."

True faith is required, believing that the Lord will provide the promised blessings and help make the sabbath a delight unto us.

3 ¶Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

Footnote 3a takes us to Malicah 3:13-15

13 ¶Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?

15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

They lack faith. What would have happened if the brother of Jared just picked up some rocks and asked the Lord to make them glow? There would have been no effort and therefore there would have been no faith. 

We must have faith in the sabbath and show our faith by our thoughts, words, and actions on His holy day, and then will he cause our light to shine forth in darkness.

Next we are taken to Alma 34:28
28 And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need--I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.

If we want all of our promised blessings from the Sabaoth day, prayers, etc... We MUST take care of the poor, needy, naked, and sick. 

4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

Footnote 4b tells us: fasting without spiritual motivation only engenders discomfort and irritability

6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

The Sabbath day is the great liberator. It is a day to be freed from the yokes of the world.

7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?



8 ¶Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.

Let me list again these blessings: -thy light break forth as the morning, meaning we will radiate light and be servants of Christ.
-thy health shall spring forth speedily, who doesn't want good health, then make the sabbath a delight.
-thy righteousness shall go before thee
-the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Rearward, literally means protector. We are promised that the Lord will literally protect us, what more could you want.


9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
How many of us want to have our prayers answered and for the Lord to say, "Here I am." If we want our prayers and petitions answered, then make the sabbath a delight unto you.

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:


11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

The Lord shall guide thee continually, we will literally be guided personally by the Lord. 
-satisfy thy soul in drought, 
-make fat thy bones: 
-thou shalt be like a watered garden, 
-like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

In these last days, we will want for ourselves and our families to not want for food or water and we are promised deliverance from both if we will but make the sabbath a delight and keep it holy.

12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

13 ¶If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

If we want to be the Lord's jewels, we must surrender our desires and wills over unto God and as we do this, like the diamonds we will begin to transform and over time, our wills will be aligned with that of the our Father in Heaven and his Only Begotten son, Jesus Christ.

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The footnote for this verse takes us to Deuteronomy 32:13 (7-14)

7 ¶Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

9 For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:

12 So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;

14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.

As seen from these scriptures, when the Lord says: "I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father," that the heritage of Jacob is something special. The heritage of Jacob were "as the apple of his eye."

So to sum up the whole matter, first we must have great faith in the Sabboth and in the Lord that he is able and will bless us in proportion to our making the Sabbath a delight unto us. If we have this faith which will lead us to great action and thus our actions would literally bare testimony to the Lord of the degree and level of our faith. And as we do these things, then will we begin to qualify for the crushing pressures and intense heat that will come as we are purified, shaped and transformed into precious jewels of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Remember the promises of the Lord for those who do make the Sabbath a delight unto them:

Thy light break forth as the morning.
Thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; 
The glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.
You will recieve answers to your prayers.
The Lord shall guide thee continually.
He will satisfy thy soul in drought, 
He will make fat thy bones: 
Thou shalt be like a watered garden, 
Like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
He will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.

For me I know that I can do better at making the Sabbath a delight unto me. Let us decide today to make the necessary changes that we need to make, to have our actions testify of our faith in Him. I know that if we make these changes and improve each sabbath day over the last one, then we will begin to see these blessings bare fruit in our lives. We will also find that not only will the Sabbath become a delight unto us, but we will delight more and more in the Lord himself. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 


Craig

Monday, April 3, 2017

Don't look around -Look up


What a great talk Elder Yoon Hwan Choi gave in Conference. The phrase that jumped out to me was: "Don't look around, look up." 

The following day, a coworker asked me, if my kids get much out of conference? I shared a few things that we do to help our children get more out of conference, which includes a fair amount of bribery.

Later that day, my wife shared with me that for part of homeschool she asked my 9 yr old daughter to give the spiritual thought about something she heard from Conference. She said that she really liked the part of not looking down, but looking up. She said that it is important that we are not sad but are happy.

I thought that was really neat and apparently they got more out of Conference than I had originally thought. 

Also, that same morning we had a company kickoff meeting and one story that was shared was about some kids staring at crabs in a bucket. When a crab starts to climb out, the other crabs will grab the crab climbing out and put it down. I thought, how different would the story be if the kids staring at the bucket would reach down and lift up the crab that was climbing out. Two totally different outcomes. When we look up to God in every thought, word, or action, He has power to lift us out of any situation, trial, or hardship. Sometimes in the foreknowledge of God, He knows that we need the experience that we will gain from remaining in our trials, and so instead of deliverance we are given great strength and aid from on High so that we can endure it well. 

Let us all do less looking around and just look up to God and put our trust in Him. 


Craig

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Walk with me


I loved the phrase and concept "walk with me" he shared in Priesthood session. Below is his Facebook post talking about it.

"Brethren, I testify that when we walk the path of priesthood service, the Savior Jesus Christ goes with us, for it is His path, His way. His light goes before us, and His angels are round about us. As soon as we accept the Lord’s invitation, “Walk with me,” the nature of our priesthood service changes. It becomes all at once higher and nobler but also more achievable because we know that we are not alone.

"I felt this most powerfully when President Thomas S Monson laid his hands on my head nine years ago and blessed me as I began my service in my current calling. In that blessing, he recited these words of the Savior: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). I have relied upon that promise many times, and I have seen it fulfilled in many ways throughout my 72 years of priesthood service.

"I give you my solemn witness that Jesus is the Christ, our resurrected Lord. I bear you my testimony that the priesthood He has trusted us with is the power to speak and to act in His name. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father who answers our prayers and sends the Holy Ghost to strengthen us in every priesthood responsibility we are blessed to receive." #LDSconf

https://www.facebook.com/lds.henry.b.eyring/posts/1302701016444037:0

#lds #Gospel #spiritualcrusade #quote #quotes #quoteoftheday #mormon #christian #christ #jesus #mormonquotes

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Come hear a Prophets voice


First session was awesome! Be sure to catch the next session at 1:00 pm today and then tomorrow at 9:00 am and 1:00 pm MST. And don't forget Priesthood session tonight at 5:00 pm MST. Go to LDS.org to watch it from the comfort of your own home.