Tag Archives: repentance

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Savior, Redeemer of My Soul

This song reflects how I often feel.

I have been ‘healthy’ from depression for at least six months now, and I am truly grateful for my Savior. I have not cut myself for six months and hope that I will never go back to that again, but I will always have the reminder of what I have gone through from the scars on my arms.

I hope that you can find peace and solace from this song as I often do, no matter what you are facing.

What things have you overcome in your life? What helped you through?

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Satan’s Lies

150px-Mormon_Jesus_Christ_and_Satan

Punishing Ourselves

I think many of us, myself included, in our lives like to or tend to punish ourselves.   We make a mistake and then we feel we must be punished for it, that we must punish ourselves for that mistake.

Recently, I have done this as I had made a mistake in my life (returning to old habits), so I proceeded to punish myself.  I did this even knowing that it would be what Satan would want me to do.  I couldn’t allow myself to be wrapped up in the arms and the love of the Savior.

The Savior’s atonement covers this for us.  We do not need to beat ourselves up for doing something wrong, we just need to turn to the Savior.  He will lift our burdens.  He will make what was wrong right.  He is the Savior of the world.  He is the Savior of you.

Since I have beat myself up for making a mistake, I have turned to the Savior to repent of my original mistake and for beating myself up afterwards.  His love feels so good.  It is like a warmth and peace that overcomes you.  You can have this in your life as well.  He loves you.  Stop beating yourself up, and turn to Him.

Remember, God always allows U-turns.

A Mighty Change

He is waiting for you to come unto Him

I am sure many of you have heard the phrase ‘a mighty change of heart’ as it relates to true repentance and conversion to the Lord.

A Couple Scriptures

There are a couple of scriptures that I want to share.  They are found in Alma 5.  These are the words of Alma, the High Priest, given to the people in the land and surrounding villages.   He says first in verses 12-14:

“And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart.  Behold I say unto you that this is all true.

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.

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?”

Do you put your trust in the true and living God?  Or do you put your trust in the arm of flesh?  In your own capabilities?  Do you believe that He can make up for your inefficiencies?   He can and He will make you more than you are as you lean on Him and put your faith and trust in Him.

Alma does not stop there.  He speaks also to those people who have experienced this mighty change in their lives when he says in verse 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?”

What has caused that strong feeling or change that you once had dwindle?  What are you doing to get that back?  Are you even trying?

Words from a servant of the Lord

In this past general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Keith B. McMullin of the presiding bishopric said this:

One “can live so as to enjoy the cleansing, sanctifying, and illuminating power of the Holy Ghost.

The importance of this is found in these words from Alma: “Now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, … to preach unto … the rising generation … that they must repent and beborn again.13 When one is born again, his heart is changed. He has no appetite for things evil or unclean. He feels a deep and abiding love for God. He wants to be good, to serve others, and to keep the commandments.14

President Joseph F. Smith described his experience with this mighty change: “The feeling that came upon me was that of pure peace, of love and of light. I felt in my soul that if I had sinned … it had been forgiven me; that I was indeed cleansed from sin; my heart was touched and I felt that I would not injure the smallest insect beneath my feet. I felt as though I wanted to do good everywhere to everybody and to everything. I felt a newness of life, a newness of desire to do that which was right. There was not one particle of desire for evil left in my soul. I was but a little boy, it is true, … but this was the influence that came upon me, and I know that it was from God, and was and ever has been a living witness to me of my acceptance of the Lord.”15

So we call upon you …to diligently strive to be “born again.”16 Pray for this mighty change in your life. Study the scriptures. Desire more than all else to know God and to become like His holy Son. Enjoy your youth but “put away childish things”:17

Shun profane and foolish chatter.

Flee all evil.

Avoid contention.

Repent where needed.18

I hope that each of us can ‘desire more than all else to know God and to become like His holy Son.’  I know that as we put our trust in Him, He will help us back into the right ways and that He will help us to become more like Him and to have His image engraven on our countenances.

Change and Repentance

He loves you.

For my post today I would like to focus mostly on a talk given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson entitled, “The Divine Gift of Repentance.”

Before I go into that though, I want to express my feelings of my Savior, Jesus Christ.   I know that it is only through Him that we can change and become like Him and return to our Father in Heaven.  I know that it is through Him that we ultimately gain our happiness.  I know that when we are burdened with guilt, grief, or pain, He is the one who can and will lift us up out of misery to everlasting joy.

Elder Christofferson explains five points of repentance as he speaks:

“Repentance is an expansive subject, but today I would like to mention just five aspects of this fundamental gospel principle that I hope will be helpful.

First, the invitation to repent is an expression of love. When the Savior “began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17), it was a message of love, inviting all who would to qualify to join Him “and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life [itself] in the world to come” (Moses 6:59). If we do not invite others to change or if we do not demand repentance of ourselves, we fail in a fundamental duty we owe to one another and to ourselves. A permissive parent, an indulgent friend, a fearful Church leader are in reality more concerned about themselves than the welfare and happiness of those they could help. Yes, the call to repentance is at times regarded as intolerant or offensive and may even be resented, but guided by the Spirit, it is in reality an act of genuine caring (see D&C 121:43–44).

Second, repentance means striving to change. It would mock the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts (see 2 Nephi 25:23). Perhaps as much as praying for mercy, we should pray for time and opportunity to work and strive and overcome. Surely the Lord smiles upon one who desires to come to judgment worthily, who resolutely labors day by day to replace weakness with strength. Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving. Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul, for indeed “virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; [and] mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own” (D&C 88:40).

With repentance we can steadily improve in our capacity to live the celestial law, for we recognize that “he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory” (D&C 88:22).

Third, repentance means not only abandoning sin but also committing to obedience. The Bible Dictionary states, “Repentance comes to mean a turning of the heart and will to God, [as well as] a renunciation of sin to which we are naturally inclined.”1 One of several examples of this teaching from the Book of Mormon is found in the words of Alma to one of his sons:

“Therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities;

“That ye turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength” (Alma 39:12–13; see also Mosiah 7:333 Nephi 20:26Mormon 9:6).

For our turning to the Lord to be complete, it must include nothing less than a covenant of obedience to Him. We often speak of this covenant as the baptismal covenant since it is witnessed by being baptized in water (see Mosiah 18:10). The Savior’s own baptism, providing the example, confirmed His covenant of obedience to the Father. “But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments” (2 Nephi 31:7). Without this covenant, repentance remains incomplete and the remission of sins unattained.2 In the memorable expression of Professor Noel Reynolds, “The choice to repent is a choice to burn bridges in every direction [having determined] to follow forever only one way, the one path that leads to eternal life.”3

Fourth, repentance requires a seriousness of purpose and a willingness to persevere, even through pain. Attempts to create a list of specific steps of repentance may be helpful to some, but it may also lead to a mechanical, check-off-the-boxes approach with no real feeling or change. True repentance is not superficial. The Lord gives two overarching requirements: “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43).

Confessing and forsaking are powerful concepts. They are much more than a casual “I admit it; I’m sorry.” Confession is a deep, sometimes agonizing acknowledgment of error and offense to God and man. Sorrow and regret and bitter tears often accompany one’s confession, especially when his or her actions have been the cause of pain to someone or, worse, have led another into sin. It is this deep distress, this view of things as they really are, that leads one, as Alma, to cry out, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death” (Alma 36:18).

With faith in the merciful Redeemer and His power, potential despair turns to hope. One’s very heart and desires change, and the once-appealing sin becomes increasingly abhorrent. A resolve to abandon and forsake the sin and to repair, as fully as one possibly can, the damage he or she has caused now forms in that new heart. This resolve soon matures into a covenant of obedience to God. With that covenant in place, the Holy Ghost, the messenger of divine grace, will bring relief and forgiveness. One is moved to declare again with Alma, “And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I [do] behold; yea, my soul [is] filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!” (Alma 36:20).

Any pain entailed in repentance will always be far less than the suffering required to satisfy justice for unresolved transgression. The Savior spoke little about what He endured to satisfy the demands of justice and atone for our sins, but He did make this revealing statement:

“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup” (D&C 19:16–18).

Fifth, whatever the cost of repentance, it is swallowed up in the joy of forgiveness. In a general conference address entitled “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” President Boyd K. Packer provided this analogy:

“In April of 1847, Brigham Young led the first company of pioneers out of Winter Quarters. At that same time, 1,600 miles [2,575 km] to the west the pathetic survivors of the Donner Party straggled down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley.

“They had spent the ferocious winter trapped in the snowdrifts below the summit. That any survived the days and weeks and months of starvation and indescribable suffering is almost beyond belief.

“Among them was fifteen-year-old John Breen. On the night of April 24 he walked into Johnson’s Ranch. Years later John wrote:

“‘It was long after dark when we got to Johnson’s Ranch, so the first time I saw it was early in the morning. The weather was fine, the ground was covered with green grass, the birds were singing from the tops of the trees, and the journey was over. I could scarcely believe that I was alive.

“‘The scene that I saw that morning seems to be photographed on my mind. Most of the incidents are gone from memory, but I can always see the camp near Johnson’s Ranch.’”

Said President Packer: “At first I was very puzzled by his statement that ‘most of the incidents are gone from memory.’ How could long months of incredible suffering and sorrow ever be gone from his mind? How could that brutal dark winter be replaced with one brilliant morning?

“On further reflection I decided it was not puzzling at all. I have seen something similar happen to people I have known. I have seen some who have spent a long winter of guilt and spiritual starvation emerge into the morning of forgiveness. When morning came, they learned this:

“‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ [D&C 58:42].”4

I gratefully acknowledge and testify that the incomprehensible suffering, death, and Resurrection of our Lord “bringeth to pass the condition of repentance” (Helaman 14:18). The divine gift of repentance is the key to happiness here and hereafter. In the Savior’s words and in deep humility and love, I invite all to “repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). I know that in accepting this invitation, you will find joy both now and forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Continuing through Challenges

Many times in life we are given difficult circumstances to deal with.  We often do not expect the hard things that we are faced up against.  We find ourselves dealing with problems or situations that we never thought we would have to deal with.

How we react to these things says much about who we are.  Do we turn to curse God and hold grudges and fill ourselves with bitterness or do we turn to the scriptures and fall to our knees pleading for help?

I understand that it is a very natural thing for humans to experience anger, bitterness, or hatred.  I also know that when we decide to let go of these feelings that are characteristic of Satan, not of Christ, we become happier.  We feel lighter and more able to live our lives.

It is through the Savior’s atonement that we are able to truly let go of these feelings.  He transforms us into better people.  He is our redeemer.  He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  He is ever ready to help us.

The Miracle of Forgiveness Story

I would like to relate a story that I read in The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball.  It is a story of the son of one of the men killed during the shooting at Kilburn Canyon.  His name is Glenn Kempton.  He says:

“It happened on the tenth of February, 1918, high in the fastnesses of the Galiuro Mountains in southern Arizona.  It was a cold, grey dawn, sky overcast, snow gently falling, when Father was shot down from behind.  Two other law officers also lost their lives in the withering blast that emitted forth from the little log-cabin fortress in which the draft evaders had taken refuge.

After a cautious ten or fifteen minutes waiting, they came outside to view the remains of their grisly work.  Having satisfied themselves that they had killed the entire party, they bore their father, who had received a mortal wound, into a nearby tunnel, covered him with an old blanket, sent word to a nearby rancher to look after him, saddled their horses and headed south.  Destination–Old Mexico!

There followed one of the greatest man-hunts in the southwest history.  The draft evaders were finally run down and caught near the Mexican border.  They were tried and found guilty of murder, for which they received sentences of life imprisonment.

As a young boy in my early teens, there grew in my heart a bitterness and a hatred toward the confessed slayer of my Father, for Tom Powers had admitted killing my Dad.

The years swept by, I grew up, but still that heavy feeling stayed inside me.  high school ended, and then I received a call to go to the Eastern States Mission.  There my knowledge and testimony of the gospel grew rapidly, as all of my time was spent studying and preaching it.  One day while reading the New Testament, I came to Matthew, fifth chapter, verses 43 to 45, wherein Jesus said:

‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…’

Here it was, the words of the Savior saying we should forgive.  This applied to me.  I read those verses again and again and it still meant forgiveness.  not very long after this, I found in the 64th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verses 9 and 10, more of the Savior’s words:

‘Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.  I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.’

And then there were these timely words of President John Taylor:

‘Forgiveness is in advance of Justice where repentance is concerned.’

I didn’t know whether or not Tom Powers had repented but I did know that I had an appointment to make after I returned home, and I resolved before I left the mission field to do just that.

After returning home, I met and married a fine Latter-day Saint girl, and the Lord blessed our home with five lovely children.  The years were passing rapidly and the Lord had been good to us, yet guilt arose within me every time I thought of the appointment I had not kept.

A few years ago, just shortly before Christmas, a season when the love of Christ abounds and the spirit of giving and forgiving gets inside of us, my wife and I were in Phoenix on a short trip.  Having concluded our business in the middle of the second afternoon, we started home.  As we rode along, I expressed the desire to detour and return home via Florence, for that is where the state prison is located.  My wife readily assented.

It was after visiting hours when we arrived but I went on inside and asked for the warden.  I was directed to his office.

After I had introduced myself and expressed a desire to meet and talk with Tom Powers, a puzzled expression came over the warden’s face, but after only a slight hesitation, he said, ‘I’m sure that can be arranged.’  Whereupon he dispatched a guard down into the compound who soon returned with Tom.  We were introduced, and led into the parole room where we had a long talk.  We went back to that cold, gray February morning thirty years before, re-enacting that whole terrible tragedy.  We talked for perhaps an hour and a half.  Finally, I said, ‘Tom, you made a mistake for which you owe a debt to society for which I feel you must continue to pay, just the same as I must continue to pay the price for having been reared without a father.’

Then I stood and extended my hand.  He stood and took it.  I continued, ‘With all my heart, I forgive you for this awful thing that has come into our lives.’

He bowed his head and I left him there.  I don’t know how he felt then, and I don’t know how he feels now, but my witness to you is that it is a glorious thing when bitterness and hatred go out of your heart and forgiveness comes in.

I thanked the warden for his kindness, and as I walked out the door and down that long flight of steps I knew that forgiveness was better than revenge, for I had experienced it.

As we drove toward home in the gathering twilight, a sweet and peaceful calm came over me.  Out of pure gratitude I placed my arm around my wife, who understood, for I know that we had now found a broader, richer and more abundant life.

 

Reflecting on the year

This is your day and you can change for the better.

Today is my Birthday

So, today is my birthday.  It seems that when we have birthdays, they are the perfect time to reflect on the past year.  As I reflect on this past year of my life I am overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude for the way the Lord has sustained and protected me.

I was hit with many challenges this year, including being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.  As I was struggling with depression, I was admitted to mental hospitals four to five times and got put on numerous different medications.

But, I am extremely grateful for these experiences in my life.  The Lord truly helped me through my challenges and helped me to find light and hope.

Studying

As I was studying today I came across these verses in the Doctrine and Covenants.  I love them.  They are found in Doctrine and Covenants 1:31-32:

“For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;

Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.”

How beautiful is that!  The Lord provides a way back to Him!  He loves us so much.  I am extremely grateful for the love and guidance of the Lord in my life.  I know that it is though keeping the commandments that we can have continual peace in our lives, even among hard challenges.

A New Year

I am grateful also to move forward with a new year.  Honestly, each day can be the start of a new year.  We do not have to wait until our birthdays or until January 1 to change our lives for the better.  We can do it now.  The Lord will help us and he will also help us to know what needs to be changed in our lives.

Some things that I have found helpful this past year during my times of struggle, I will continue to do.  These things include such things as praying to my Father in Heaven morning and night, studying His word each day, recording His tender mercies that I see in my life daily, and striving to choose that which is virtuous, lovely, and of good report.

When I think of the Lord’s love I think of a quote I heard that goes:

“Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to Him, simply because He loves us.”

Think of that!  He loves you.  He loves you perfectly and infinitely.  He let you come down to earth to experience mortality so that you can return to Him.  His plan for you is truly a plan of happiness!

 

To remain strong and true.

We can move forward with faith, trusting on the Savior.

What we must do

Many times in my life I have made mistakes and messed up my life.  Then, I need to return to living a righteous life again.  I repent of the mistakes I have made and move forward.  That is what we must do:  move forward.

When we continually look back at all of the wrong things we have done and beat ourselves up for it, we let Satan win.  We allow Satan to have control and then we often mess up again.  But we can remain strong and true as we place our trust in and on the Savior, Jesus Christ.  As we have faith in Him we can remain strong and true.

We are able to move past the pain and hurt that comes with sin and continue the process of repentance by turning always to the Savior.

The Scripture.

I have recently re-read a scripture that I find great comfort in.  It is in the Book of Mormon in Alma 5:60.  It states:

“And now I say unto you that the Good Shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto His voice He will bring you into His fold and ye are His sheep; and He commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.”

How many of us allow the ravenous wolf among us?  How many of us allow temptations into our lives?  How many of us allow ourselves to get bitten and give into sin?  But we can hearken to His voice and return to Him!

I love how the scripture gives no place for doubt what side we are on and who we are are.  We are His sheep.  And as such, we have promised to hearken or listen to and follow His voice.  He will bring us home to Heaven.  He will bring and guide us to true happiness.  He shows the way.

Mistakes

While we may mess up and make mistakes in our lives, there is always a way back.  And that way back is found in the Savior, Jesus Christ, in His atonement and sacrifice for each one of us.

Staying True

I have found in my life that it is easier to stay true to what is right as I continue to do the small things and think of the Lord.  As I read my scriptures daily, pray morning and night, attend church and partake of the sacrament, and attend the temple, I have a firmer foundation on the Lord and I have a stronger faith and desire to do what is right.  I know that as we build our foundation on the Savior we cannot fall as it explains in Helaman 5:12:

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which yea re built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

We must cease fighting against God.