Tag Archives: Beliefs

Over and Over again

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Sometimes with life happening, I wonder if trials will ever stop.  If hard times will ever be done being hard.  If life will be good again.  Perhaps you have wondered these things as well… If…. What if this or what if that?

Recently, I got out of the hospital after being an inpatient for one and a half months for severe major depression.  Life is not easy to get through when all you really care about is sleeping or when all you really want to do is die.  But our Heavenly Father does love us.  God is there for us.  He is there to help us through our hardest moments in life.  He is there.

If…

Now to talk about the word if…

I have allowed this word to overtake me in my life sometimes… what if I wasn’t supposed to do what I just did?  If only I would have done this… If only I could be better…Satan is the author of the word if.  He uses it to plant seeds of doubt in each of our minds.  In fact He even used that word numerous times while tempting the Savior while the Savior was fasting for forty days and nights.  This is how the passage goes in the New Testament in Matthew chapter 4:

1 Then was Jesus aled up of the Spirit into the wilderness bto bectempted of the devil.

2 And when he had afastedbforty days and forty nights, che was afterward an hungred.

3 And when the atempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bbread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, aMan shall not blive bycbread alone, but by every dword that proceedeth out of theemouth of God.

aThen the devil taketh him up into the bholy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

aAnd saith unto him, bIf thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not atemptthe Lord thy God.

aAgain, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the bkingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

aAnd saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, aSatan: for it is written, Thou shalt bworship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Satan ultimately has no power over us.  We have more power than He does or ever will.  We can cast Him away with the power of light that is inside each of us.  That power of light comes from Christ.  Christ is the one who we can look to when we are struggling.  He is the one who can really help us, even when it seems like nobody can.

What is causing you heartache in your life right now?  What is causing you pain?  Do you believe Christ can heal you?  That He can lift you higher?  Do you feel His light inside you?

The Savior’s Arms

I loved this by Brent L Top:

“Alma reminded his people that Christ “sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them” (Alma 5:33; emphasis added). Think of what that invitation really means. Think of what His arms of mercy can do for you. When you are embraced in His arms of mercy, you will come to know the peace and joy of being clean—forgiven of your sins through His atoning mercy. You will see the world and all eternity with new eyes through the companionship of the Holy Ghost. You will feel more profoundly and love more deeply because He will, as the prophet Ezekiel declared, “take away the stony heart out of your flesh” and give you “a new heart” and “a new spirit” that will “cause you to walk in [His] statutes … and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26–27).

I had an experience that helped me glimpse what it means to be embraced in the arms of His mercy. I was so moved and motivated by my experience with President Uchtdorf that I determined to follow his example with my missionaries. We took every group of departing missionaries, on their last day in the mission, to the Nauvoo Illinois Temple for an endowment session. I greeted the missionaries as they entered the celestial room with a big hug and the words “I love you.” I expressed my deep appreciation for their service and that they were now able to return home with honor. I meant every word of it, but I must admit that it was easier to express those sentiments to some missionaries than to others.

One elder in particular had given me more than his share of grief. On more than one occasion, I told him I was going to send him home. He would always promise me that he would try harder, which he did for a while. But then the cycle would start over again—disobedience, admonishment, repentance, renewed determination, and then slacking off. I badly wanted him to complete his mission honorably, which he finally did.

As he entered the celestial room, I greeted him with the customary hug and the almost obligatory “I love you.” Tears streamed down his face. His whole body shook with weeping. When he could speak, he whispered to me over and over again, “Thank you for extending me mercy.” It was a tender moment and I too shed many tears. My love for him at that moment was unbounded.

Then it happened. I understood. Almost as if the veil had parted, I sensed a coming day when I would embrace the Savior, and with tears of gratitudeand love I would likewise declare, “Thank you for extending me mercy.”

How grateful I am for the Lord’s arms of mercy. I am grateful that He has rescued me, not only from physical death and sin but also from myself—my fears, my discouragement, my doubts, and my feelings of inadequacy. Truly, His arms of mercy are arms of safety and security. Mormon reminds us that had his people repented and faithfully followed the Savior, “they might have been clasped in the arms of Jesus” (Mormon 5:11).

Despite our accomplishments, talents, and desires for righteousness, we are weak—spiritually without arms. At times we feel what Ammon declared: “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God” (Alma 26:12). Ammon knew whose arms gave him the strength to perform mighty miracles and proclaim the gospel. To paraphrase his words, “Clasped in the arms of Jesus, I can do all things” (see Alma 26:12).

May we exercise greater faith in the arms of the Lord—His arms of power, His arms of love, and His arms of mercy. May we allow Him to cradle and carry and comfort us in those arms. In turn, our arms—our determination and our devotion—will be strengthened. I bear testimony of the living reality of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of His gospel. I have witnessed the enabling power of the Lord’s grace that empowers us to do and to be better. I have experienced that power. I have felt His arms around me. May we all be “clasped in the arms of Jesus.”

Who do you represent?

Who do you represent?  By your actions who do you represent?  The World or Christ?  Who do you want to represent?  You can reach your goals.  Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ will help you.

What makes you happy?

What are some things that make you happy?  What are some things you enjoy doing?  I love thinking of all of my many blessings.  I have so many.  Each of us have so many blessings in our lives.

Some of the things that make me happy are my family, faith, sunshine, sunsets, being spontaneous, friends, and exercising.  What are things that make you happy?  I know that the Lord wants us to be happy.  By following His plan, we can find true happiness.

Lay hold upon every good thing

Let us lay hold upon every good thing.  Let us read out of the good books, even those of the prophets.  I know that as we do this we will come closer to Christ and begin to learn of our divine identity.

Abraham and Us

"Regardless of our current state, there is hope for us." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

What does Abraham have to do with us?  What does the covenant Abraham made with God have to do with us now?  Wasn’t that long ago and is long past done?

These are some questions that people may have concerning Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant.

Covenant

Let us first define what a covenant is.  In True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference it defines covenant as:

A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people.  God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey those conditions.  When we choose not to keep covenants, we cannot receive the blessings, and in some instances we suffer a penalty as a consequence of our disobedience.”

The Bible Dictionary also sheds some light on covenants as it says:

“God in His good pleasure fixes the terms, which man accepts.”

Each of us is to accept and follow the terms which the Lord sets for the covenants we make with Him.  Abraham made one of these sacred agreements with the Lord

The Abrahamic Covenant

To help you understand this covenant that Abraham made with God, I will make a list of what Abraham promised to do and what the Lord promised to Abraham if he did those things.  

What Abraham Promised to do:

  1. Go to a land the Lord would show Him (Genesis 12:1)
  2. Remember the covenant the Lord made with Him (Joseph Smith Translation (JST) Genesis 13:14)
  3. Remember Enoch (JST Genesis 13:14)
  4. Believe in the Lord (JST Genesis 15:12)
  5. Keep the way of the Lord (Genesis 18:19)
  6. Walk before the Lord and be perfect in Christ (Genesis 17:1)
  7. Circumcise every man among him (Genesis 17:10)
  8. Call his wife Sarah instead of Sarai (Genesis 17:15)
  9. Call Sarah’s son Isaac (Genesis 17:19)
  10. Preach the Gospel of Christ (Abraham 2:9)

What the Lord Promised Abraham:

  1. Show Abraham a land to go to (Genesis 12:1)
  2. Make him a great nation and bless him (Genesis 12:2)
  3. Make his name great and protect him (Genesis 12:3)
  4. Give the land to Abraham and his seed (Genesis 13:15, Genesis 15:18)
  5. Multiply Abraham’s seed as the dust of the earth and the stars of the sky (Genesis 13:16, Genesis 15:5)
  6. Sarah promised to bear Isaac even in her old age (Genesis 18)
  7. Become a great and mighty nation and all of the nations of the earth blessed in him (Genesis 18:18)
  8. Father of many nations (Genesis 17:4)
  9. Children know among all nations (JST Genesis 17:4)
  10. Kings come out of his posterity (Genesis 17:6)
  11. Establish His covenant with Isaac (Genesis 17:19)
  12. Put upon us His name, lead him by the hand, His power over him, bless with the Priesthood, the power of God on earth (Abraham 1:18)
  13. bless above measure, be a blessing to his seed, bear ministry and priesthood to all nations (Abraham 2:9)
  14. All who receive the gospel counted as Abraham’s seed (Abraham 2:10)
  15. All the families of the earth blessed with the opportunity to have the blessings of the gospel (Abraham 2:11)

So in super simplified terms Abraham promised the Lord to be perfect in Christ and to walk before the Lord and God promised Abraham in return to multiply his seed, make him the father of many nations and to bless the each person on earth with the opportunity to be blessed with the fullness of His gospel.

So what does this have to do with us?

Abrahamic Covenant and Me

As we accept the gospel of Christ, we become the seed of Abraham and have a responsibility to live in the covenant as Abraham did.  We have a responsibility to carry on the covenant that Abraham made with the Lord.  In return the Lord blesses us without number.

What is required of me:

  1. Celestial Marriage (Bible Dictionary, Abraham, Covenant of)
  2. Responsibly carry the gospel of Christ to all peoples of the earth (Bible Dictionary)
  3. Walk uprightly before the Lord and be perfect (Old Testament Student Manual, 70)
  4. Remain true and faithful to bless our own family and others with the gospel (Doctrine and Covenants 84:38-39)
  5. Be prepared (Doctrine and Covenants 38:9)
  6. Do the works of Abraham (Doctrine and Covenants 132:32)
  7. Give praise to God (1 Nephi 15:15)
  8. Have the Lord to be my God (1 Nephi 17:40)
  9. Soften my heart (3 Nephi 20:28)

What the Lord promises me:

  1. Personal salvation and eternal increase (Bible Dictionary)
  2. Heirs through Christ to all the Father has (Doctrine and Covenants 84: 38-39)
  3. His kingdom mine and my enemies not be able to overcome me (Doctrine and Covenants 38:9)
  4. Seed as innumerable as the stars (Doctrine and Covenants 132:29-31)
  5. Called the covenant people of the Lord (1 Nephi 15:14)
  6. Know and come to knowledge of forefathers, the gospel of the redeemer, and the redeemer and His doctrine (1 Nephi 15:14)
  7. Know how to come unto Him and be saved (1 Nephi 15:14)
  8. Receive strength and nourishment from the true vine (1 Nephi 15:15)
  9. Love us (1 Nephi 17:40)
  10. Help us to be turned away from iniquities (3 Nephi 20:26)
  11. Made mighty above all (3 Nephi 20:27)

What wonderful blessings the Lord has in store for each of us.  Who would not want to be a covenant child of God?  Who would not want to do what is required of him/her to receive those marvelous blessings?  As children of Christ who have accepted His gospel and entered into the waters of baptisms, we are children of the covenant.  He does love us.

What Has God done for you?

Have you ever wondered what God has done for you?  If you have… Here is an explanation from one of His apostles on the earth today, Dallin H Oaks:

“At a stake conference many years ago, I met a woman who said she had been asked to come back to church after many years away but could not think of any reason why she should. To encourage her I said, “When you consider all of the things the Savior has done for us, don’t you have many reasons to come back to church to worship and serve Him?” I was astonished at her reply: “What’s He done for me?” For those who do not understand what our Savior has done for us, I will answer that question in His own words and with my own testimony.

Life of the World

The Bible records Jesus’s teaching: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Later, in the New World, He declared, “I am the light and the life of the world” (3 Nephi 11:11). He is the life of the world because He is our Creator and because, through His Resurrection, we are all assured that we will live again. And the life He gives us is not merely mortal life. He taught, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28; see also John 17:2).

Light of the World

Jesus also taught, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness” (John 8:12). He also declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He is the way and He is the light because His teachings light our path in mortal life and show us the way back to the Father….

The Atonement

The culmination of our Savior’s mortal ministry was His Resurrection and His Atonement for the sins of the world. John the Baptist prophesied this when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Later Jesus taught that “the Son of man came … to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). At the Last Supper, Jesus explained, according to the account in Matthew, that the wine He had blessed was “my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Appearing to the Nephites, the risen Lord invited them to come forward to feel the wound in His side and the prints of the nails in His hands and His feet. He did this, He explained, “that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14). And, the account continues, the multitude fell “down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him” (verse 17). For this, the whole world will ultimately worship Him.

Jesus taught further precious truths about His Atonement. The Book of Mormon, which elaborates the Savior’s teachings and gives the best explanation of His mission, reports this teaching:

“My Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross … , that I might draw all men unto me, …

“… that they may be judged according to their works.

“And … whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. …

“And no unclean thing can enter into [the Father’s] kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end” (3 Nephi 27:14–16, 19).

And so we understand that the Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us the opportunity to overcome the spiritual death that results from sin and, through making and keeping sacred covenants, to have the blessings of eternal life.

Challenge and Testimony

Jesus issued the challenge “What think ye of Christ?” (Matthew 22:42). The Apostle Paul challenged the Corinthians to “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). All of us should answer these challenges for ourselves. Where is our ultimate loyalty? Are we like the Christians in Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s memorable description who have moved their residence to Zion but still try to keep a second residence in Babylon?1

There is no middle ground. We are followers of Jesus Christ. Our citizenship is in His Church and His gospel, and we should not use a visa to visit Babylon or act like one of its citizens. We should honor His name, keep His commandments, and “seek not the things of this world but seek … first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, footnote a; from Joseph Smith Translation,Matthew 6:38).

Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten and Beloved Son of God. He is our Creator. He is the Light of the World. He is our Savior from sin and death. This is the most important knowledge on earth, and you can know this for yourself, as I know it for myself. The Holy Ghost, who testifies of the Father and the Son and leads us into truth, has revealed these truths to me, and He will reveal them to you. The way is desire and obedience. As to desire, Jesus taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). As to obedience, He taught, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). I testify of the truth of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”