Saturday, October 29, 2011

God Lives

There are many people who wonder...Does God really exist? Does He really have a hand in my life? I know for myself that He does. I know this because of heartfelt prayer, study, and searching and He has manifested the truth and validity of Himself to me time and time again.

The only way to truly know if He is there is to read of Him and pray to Him. I have done this and each time that I do my faith in Him grows. This is the ONLY way that we can build a strong enough foundation to have a lasting testimony of our God. Once we have showed and proved our faith in Him through following His commandments, He allows us to witness or experience something miraculous.

In my life, these miracles have been blessings from God reminding me that He IS there and He is all powerful. These experiences were and are designed to strengthen faith in Him. These experiences do not define faith, rather, they REfine it, making it stronger and more steadfast.

Such an experience occurred the other day to some of the great people that my companion and I go see. Let's say that their names are Zak and Sara. They were watching a comedian on Zak's Smartphone and some of the comedian's jokes began to be a little sacrilegious. They then got much worse. Zak and Sara got more and more uncomfortable the worse the jokes got. At the start of another terrible joke the comedian said, "Ya know what? I don't think that God exists." Just before he could deliver the punchline the phone shut off! It had been completely charged and there was nothing "wrong" with the phone at all. God doesn't exist? I beg to differ. He knows all things and His hand is in all things.

Zak and Sara already had faith in God and what He can do but through this experience He let them know of His limitless reach. "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" (Ether 12:6). Faith precedes the miracle. But when that miracle comes, you better pay attention!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Will Try to Fix You

I know that I can't solve everyone's problems. Throughout my life I have been the type of person who does all he can to help someone who is feeling down, in a fight, confused, depressed, lost, etc. Helping others helps me! BUT I have not always been successful. It is not up to me to "save everyone".

I have had many experiences where I try my best to help my own situation or to better the situation of someone else and then fall short. It's frustrating and disappointing and at times it has brought me down. Don't be like me and allow it to damage you.

"Fix You" by Coldplay is one of my favorite songs and it talks about trying to help those in need.

x&y album cover (which features "Fix You")
When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

We must do all that we can to try to help others. But that does not mean that we are expected to save everyone around us. Ronald Reagan said, "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." What a true statement. I know, from experience, that it can get depressing trying to save everyone. We cannot do it alone.

However, with the help of Jesus Christ all things are possible. "And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me" (Moroni 10:23). Do you think that it is expedient in Christ to help others get out of depression? Of course it is! But we must recognize that we need His help in order to help and save those in need (including ourselves!).

I know that as we do our absolute best to "try to fix" the problems of a friend, loved one, or even ourselves Jesus Christ will step in and take care of the rest. Once we have given it our all, He will fill in the gaps. The power of His grace covers all pain, suffering, and despair. He desperately wants to help. In order to access His strength all we need to do is do our part and "try". When we do we, and those who we share it with, are "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love" (2 Nephi 1:15). Here in this perfect and infinite gospel of Christ we become and stay happy. Here, Christ will "fix" us and those we love. Let Him.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Repair

I am a changed person because of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He has helped me so many times in my life that I cannot even comprehend it. His love for me blows my mind. He is infinitely patient, caring, merciful, and powerful. Yet...He cares about you and me. This life meant to be hard. It is through Christ that we can overcome any of it. He wants us to endure our trials, grab His outstretched hand, and follow Him.

When we are striving to do what is right we are never going to be able to stop growing and becoming more.  This life is meant for us to suffer challenges while accessing the help of Christ to learn. Then the process begins again. In the words of John Mayer, we are always going to be 'in repair'.

However, Satan wants us to feel like we aren't making any progress, like we are wasting our time, and that we are failures. Satan exerts his greatest efforts to tear us down when we are working our hardest to do what is right. He is afraid that we will succeed, become stronger, and join Jesus Christ in the fight for right.

When we are going through the process of repentance on the road to Forgiveness we experience change and growth. Christ is shaping us to be better. In many cases these changes for good might feel awkward, out-of-place, strange, and foreign. We feel these feelings because we are becoming more and are getting stronger! Satan will step in at this pivotal point in our process of "putting off the natural man" (Mosiah 3:19) and will try to twist things. He will do all that he can to make us believe that these good (though foreign at first) feelings of growth are feelings of guilt and shame thus leading us to believe that we are inadequate or unworthy of blessings. Do not let him do that! He is the father of all lies and will do all that he can to trick,  and "lull [us] away into carnal security" in attempts to "leadeth [us] away carefully down to hell" (2 Nephi 28:21).

As we trust in Christ and lean on Him we will receive the help that we need. Not all of our problems will be solved in an instant. We will grow little by little and will be strengthened each day as we hearken to the teachings of Christ. Do not fall prey to Satan's lies to give us feelings of inadequacy. Christ's love for you and me is endless. We may not be perfect but when we look to He who is perfect, we will receive strength.

We cannot allow ourselves to be like John Mayer in his amazing song, "In Repair". He says,
Stood on the corner for a while
To wait for the wind to blow down on me
Hoping it takes with it my old ways
And brings some brand new luck upon me
Oh it's taking so long I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh but if I take my heart's advice
I should assume it's still unsteady
I am in repair, I am in repair

Satan would love to have this kind of hold on all of us. Don't let it happen! Trust in God instead of feeling that we "could be ready" but are "still unsteady". We are always going to be "in repair" but don't make it an excuse and take a backseat to change and repentance. Embrace the love of Jesus Christ.

I absolutely love my Savior, Jesus Christ and I know that anything is possible with His divine help. Let Him repair you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Living Prophet

A prophet is a man chosen by God to as voice for God to tell the people what God's will is. Throughout the Old Testament there is a cycle, beginning with Adam, of God calling a prophet, the people prospering as they follow that prophet (such a period of time is referred to as a dispensation), and then the people rejecting the prophet and falling away from God (such a period of time is referred to as an apostasy). There are many dispensations throughout throughout the Old Testament led by prophets such as: Adam, Noah, Moses, Isaiah, Abraham, and Ezekiel. They all held what is called the Priesthood; which God has given to worthy men to act in His name. They all held a sacred responsibility to lead God's children to Him and to prepare the way for Christ to come to the earth.

After Christ's Crucifixion His Apostles continued the work of the ministry. However, they too were rejected and killed. The world then entered another cycle of apostasy and we were in this state until God called Joseph Smith Jr. to be His prophet in the early 1800s. (For more on this please look at my post Lockout.)

After Joseph Smith was killed, Brigham Young was called to be the president and prophet of the Lord's Church. After Brigham Young passed away, John Taylor succeeded him. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today.  The following is a picture of the modern-day prophets that God has chosen:

Latter-day Prophets
Every first weekend in the months of April and October we have the great opportunity to hear the words of a living prophet. His name is President Thomas S. Monson. It is amazing that we have a prophet on the earth today. He is God's servant called to guide and direct us in the craziness of today's society. Here are some of his words from this past General Conference in early October of 2011:

We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most: eternal life in the kingdom of God. The storms will still beat at our doors from time to time, for they are an inescapable part of our existence in mortality. We, however, will be far better equipped to deal with them, to learn from them, and to overcome them if we have the gospel at our core and the love of the Savior in our hearts. The prophet Isaiah declared, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isaiah 32:17).
What great words! Isn't it amazing to have a prophet alive on the earth today? HERE are many more of his words. I assure you that they are the words of God.

President Thomas S. Monson

I know that God loves us so much. He lives. He sends living prophets to lead living people in His living church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is comprised of apostles and prophets just like the church in Christ's time. HERE are their words from this past conference.

The First Presidency

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
It is a blessing beyond imagination that we have these prophets on the earth today. We are truly in the dispensation of the "fullness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).