April 30, 2011

Can We See God?

Today I was reading in John 14 when something at the end of verse 21 caught my attention.
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."  I read this and asked myself the question, "Can we see God?"  I remembered several scriptures about some prophets that had seen Him and decided there must be some requirements.  Here are some of the scriptures that I looked up:
I have seen God face to face, Gen. 32:30
Moses … was afraid to look upon God, Ex. 3:6
Lord will come down in the sight of all the people, Ex. 19:11
nobles of the children of Israel … saw God, Ex. 24:11
Lord spake unto Moses face to face, Ex. 33:11
I will love him, and will manifest myself to him, John 14:21 
I see … the Son of man standing on the right hand, Acts 7:56 
etc.   (for the complete list: God, Privilege of Seeing)
One that stuck out to me was in Matthew 5:8  which says, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."  I had read this scripture many times, but never really thought about what it meant.  Jesus is giving the Sermon on the Mount and tells us that we can see God if we are pure in heart.  So what does 'pure in heart' mean?
D&C 67:10 says "that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual."  This tells me that we need to not be jealous, fearful, or prideful if we are to have the opportunity to see God the Father.  I looked up some other references and found James 4:8 which says to "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts..."  So as long as we are drawing unto God, and cleansing our hands, we are purifying our hearts.  This reminded me of another scripture in Revelation 3:20 which says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."  
In conclusion, I believe that we need to draw closer to God.  As we do this by avoiding the carnal mind and humbling ourselves, we can be 'pure in heart'  This includes virtuous thoughts, words, and actions.  As we do these things, we are promised in the scriptures that we will see God.

April 27, 2011

Be Prepared

Almost weekly it seems, we learn of a new disaster occurring somewhere in the world. But disasters can also happen privately within the walls of our homes. Calamities such as the loss of a job, an overwhelming debt, a serious injury, a home mortgage we can no longer afford to pay, and so forth. We believe in being as prepared as possible for such challenges. For example, we are advised to have an adequate supply of food, drinking water and financial reserves.  
source: mormon.org

In addition to being prepared physically, we should also be prepared spiritually.  There have been a number of natural disasters lately and a lot of people have been thinking about how they can be prepared.  "What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends."

"The great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home."  (October 2005 General Conference)
                                        -Henry B. Eyering

How can I be prepared?
  1. Develop Faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Grow closer to Heavenly Father through prayer

April 26, 2011

"This is the Christ" Musical Fireside

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Musical Fireside

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April 20, 2011

Rejoiced through Trials

It was in 1829 that James and Drusilla Hendricks were first tempted to move from their home in Tennessee to the new state of Missouri.  "It surely was the garden of Eden,"  they were told, and nearly all of James' family went there.  But Drusilla persuaded her husband to stay in Tennessee, and over the next few years they began to make a good living on the family homestead.

Then came the Mormon missionaries, and in March 1835, James and Drusilla were baptized.  Suddenly friends and neighbors turned against them, their property was vandalized and every effort was made to persuade them to leave the Church.  Once again they looked toward Missouri, now designated by the Lord as the land of Zion, and in the spring of 1836 they left, with their four children, to join the saints there.
The Hendricks family settled in Clay County just in time to be driven out with the rest of the saints, this time to Caldwell County.  Undaunted, they bought six acres of land, began to work it and, said Drusilla, "I never lived happier in my life... I had quit taking snuff, tea and coffee, and I became healthy and strong.  Where before I could not walk half a mile, now I could walk three miles and not tire, for we kept the Word of Wisdom.  I can bear my testimony to the world.
But the tragedies of the Missouri persecutions engulfed them again.  In October 1838, James was shot in the neck in the Battle of Crooked River.  When someone asked which side he was on, he could only give the watchword, "God and Liberty."  During the terrible winter that followed, Drusilla constantly nursed and cared for her husband, and in March they joined the unhappy caravan of saints who were once again on the road to new homes-- this time in Illinois.
James remained an invalid throughout his life, and Drusilla, at age 67, wrote a short but inspiring life story.  She may have been thinking of her Missouri persecutions when she gave her testimony: "The gospel is true.  I have rejoiced in it through all my trials, for the Spirit of the Lord has buoyed me up or I should have failed.James B. Allen

April 15, 2011

The Bible and the Book of Mormon

“And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, ... and they teach all men that they should do good.”
-2 Nephi 33:10

The Book of Mormon and the Bible Support Each Other

Like two eyewitnesses strengthen an argument in court, the Book of Mormon and the Bible both testify of Christ.
Some people think that because we read the Book of Mormon, we don't read the Bible. That's just not true. It's like saying that we don't eat oranges because we eat apples. Both are good fruit! The Book of Mormon is not a replacement for the Bible. In fact, because the Book of Mormon and the Bible both contain the gospel of Jesus Christ as it was revealed to different civilizations, studying them together can clarify some concepts that are difficult to understand. The Book of Mormon tells us to read the Bible and affirms that its message is true (Mormon 7:8-10). And in the Bible, Jesus told His apostles,  
“Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them
also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). Christ visited these “other sheep” in the Americas after He was resurrected, teaching the same message to the Nephites that He taught to the people of Israel. The Book of Mormon makes it clear that Jesus Christ's message and His atonement are not for one group of people at one time. They are for everyone, everywhere, from the beginning of the earth to the end. Having the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ reminds us that He is mindful of every one of us.


April 13, 2011

Ye are the salt of the earth

 In Matthew 5:13 it reads "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."  Salt was a very valuable mineral in those days and was regarded as a precious commodity.   D&C 103:9-10 says that "For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;  And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."
We need to be the saviors of men and not lose our savor.  This means that we need to "have peace one with another"(Mark 9:50) and be who we say we are(salt without savor is like not telling the truth).  If we do these two things then we will have savor.  In a conference a while back we were asked what some of the qualities of salt are.  We said things like, it adds taste, it preserves, and it is an essential mineral  We were also told that salt will conduct electricity if poured in water. 
This led into the next couple of verses perfectly.  Matthew 5:14-16 says "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."  The best way to share our testimony is to be an example of what we believe.

As long as we have our savor, we will become the saviors of men if we let our example shine forth.

April 6, 2011

Faith and Love

The other day I was thinking about faith & love and how similar they are.  Both love and faith don't necessarily look like anything, but you can definitely see them around us.  I like to explain faith by comparing it to wind.  You can't really see it, but you can see the effects of it and feel it.  This is true with faith and love; we can see the effects of it, and also feel it. 
Both faith and love are action words; we can't just say we have faith or love if we don't do anything about it.  We build and show our faith and love by words and actions.  James, the brother of the Lord(Gal. 1:19), writes about how we can't have faith without actions:
James 2:26 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
He goes on to say that the same is true of the body and spirit.  If the body doesn't have a spirit, then it is dead.  This tells us that we need to exercise our faith and love daily in order to sustain and build them.
Faith and love are basic necessities in our lives.  Without them we have no foundation.  Our love and faith should be centered in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  Once we have a firm foundation in Christ we are able to go through life with confidence and hope.  Our lives have more joy and purpose and less despair and shallowness.  It is my prayer that we all continue to increase in our love and faith by showing them through words and actions.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and I write these things in the His name, Amen.  

James 2:14-26
Faith is a hope in things which are not seen, which are true. 
Love is a deep devotion and affection for something or someone.

April 2, 2011

Pleasure versus Happiness

Today for lunch we went to Dairy Queen.  At the time, it sounded like a great idea, but looking back I'm not so sure that this was such a good idea.  Eating the food was enjoyable, but the after effects don't seem to be worth it.  The world we live in today is full of advertisers luring us into what we think will bring us happiness.  Pleasure is the state or feeling of being pleased or gratified while happiness is the more permanent state of being filled with joy.

"Mere pleasure is at best but fleeting; happiness is abiding, for in the recollection thereof is joy renewed."

"The present is an age of pleasure-seeking, and men are losing their sanity in the mad rush for sensations that do but excite and disappoint. In this day of counterfeits, adulterations, and base imitations, the devil is busier than he has ever been in the course of human history, in the manufacture of pleasures, both old and new; and these he offers for sale in most attractive fashion, falsely labeled, Happiness. In this soul-destroying craft he is without a peer; he has had centuries of experience and practice, and by his skill he controls the market. He has learned the tricks of the trade, and knows well how to catch the eye and arouse the desire of his customers. He puts up the stuff in bright-colored packages, tied with tinsel string and tassel; and crowds flock to his bargain counters, hustling and crushing one another in their frenzy to buy.
"Follow one of the purchasers as he goes off gloatingly with his gaudy packet, and watch him as he opens it. What finds he inside the gilded wrapping? He has expected fragrant happiness, but uncovers only an inferior brand of pleasure, the stench of which is nauseating.
"Happiness includes all that is really desirable and of true worth in pleasure, and much besides. Happiness is genuine gold, pleasure but guilded brass, which corrodes in the hand, and is soon converted into poisonous verdigris. Happiness is as the genuine diamond, which, rough or polished, shines with its own inimitable luster; pleasure is as the paste imitation that glows only when artificially embellished. Happiness is as the ruby, red as the heart's blood, hard and enduring; pleasure, as stained glass, soft, brittle, and of but transitory beauty.
"Happiness is true food, wholesome, nutritious and sweet; it builds up the body and generates energy for action, physical, mental and spiritual; pleasure is but a deceiving stimulant which, like spirituous drink, makes one think he is strong when in reality enfeebled; makes him fancy he is well when in fact stricken with deadly malady.
"Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entails no remorse; pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition, and suffering; and, if indulged to the extreme, it brings degradation and destruction.
"True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of unholy pleasure may leave a barbed sting, which, like a thorn in the flesh, is an ever-present source of anguish.
"Happiness is not akin with levity, nor is it one with light- minded mirth. It springs from the deeper fountains of the soul, and is not infrequently accompanied by tears. Have you never been so happy that you have had to weep? I have." -- Article by the author, Improvement Era, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 172-73.

Next time I'll choose Subway!

Jesus the Christ: By James E. Talmage
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