July 16, 2011

The End

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  -Ecclesiastes 3:1

This morning I finished packing my suitcases, just as I had a little over two years ago.  What has changed since then?  Some of the shirts are stained and some of the pants are torn, but is that all?  I don't think I can name all of the changes and differences that have occurred since then.  I also think that it would be impossible to sum up this great experience in a little blog post.  What I can say is that I have had a lot of little experiences that have made up my mission.  These experiences have shaped me into the person that I am today.

like stones in the river
we are tossed and turned
when the current moves so strong
but stones in living waters over time
are shaped until the edges are gone
polished and smooth, that's what we will be
if we put ourselves in god's hands
each day of our lives is a gift from the giver
to smooth all the edges
like stones in the river

I testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives for the better.  I know that living the principles taught by the Savior will help shape us into the great beings that we have the potential of becoming.  Living these principles will greatly improve the quality of our lives and help us find peace and joy in this life.  Being a missionary has helped me see this perspective even closer and I am ever so grateful for the many experiences I have had.  I am also thankful for the many people I have met and for their testimonies that have strengthened my own.

July 15, 2011

The Brother of Jared

The Brother of Jared was a great example of following the Lord.  Of course he had his struggles, but he worked through them just as we all must.

After leaving the Tower of Babel, the Brother of Jared and his family were led to the place Moriancumer, by the sea.  Four years passed and the Lord chastened him for three hours because he "remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord."  He repented and then was commanded to build eight barges so they could reach the promised land.  The Brother of Jared did what he was asked to do and then was asked to make holes in the tops and bottoms of all the barges.

"And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did so, according as the Lord had commanded."

He then enquired of the Lord how they would have light on their journey.  The Lord asked him to come up with a way and he got to work making 16 smooth and clear stones for the Lord to touch.  He went up to Mount Sherem where the Lord touched the stones with His finger.  The Lord then said:

"Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger."

The Brother of Jared had such a great faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that he was able to see the antemortal Messiah.  He could not be kept from within the veil and it was then shown unto him all of the inhabitants of the earth.

"And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth."

I believe that it was because of the Brother of Jared's willingness to serve and obey the Lord that he was able to see all of the things he did. If we are faithful with the things that we have been entrusted with we will be blessed with more opportunities.  The Lord then waits to see what we do with those things and blesses us some more.  Eventually, if we are faithful, we will receive all that the Father has and inherit a fullness of joy.  May we all continue and progress on our journey to become like our Heavenly Father.

"Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ... In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters."  Ether 2-3

July 7, 2011

Brother, I'm Committed

Two young brothers stood atop a small cliff that overlooked the pristine waters of a blue lake. This was a popular diving spot, and the brothers had often talked about making the jump—something they had seen others do.of committed to the gospel can lead to frustration, unhappiness, and guilt. This should not apply to us because we are a covenant people. We make covenants with the Lord when we are baptized and when we enter the house of the Lord. Men make covenants with the Lord when they are ordained to the priesthood. Nothing can be more important than keeping a commitment we have made with the Lord. Let us remember the reply of Rachel and Leah to Jacob in the Old Testament. It was simple and straightforward and showed their commitment: "Whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do" (Genesis 31:16).They attend their meetings. They do their home or visiting teaching.
Although they both wanted to make the jump, neither one wanted to be first. The height of the cliff wasn’t that great, but to the two young boys, it seemed the distance increased whenever they started to lean forward—and their courage was fading fast.
Finally, one brother put one foot at the edge of the cliff and moved decisively forward. At that moment his brother whispered, "Maybe we should wait until next summer."
The first brother’s momentum, however, was already pulling him forward. "Brother," he responded, "I’m committed!"
He splashed into the water and surfaced quickly with a victorious shout. The second brother followed instantly. Afterward, they both laughed about the first boy’s final words before plunging into the water: "Brother, I’m committed."
Commitment is a little like diving into the water. Either you are committed or you are not. Either you are moving forward or you are standing still. There’s no halfway. We all face moments of decision that change the rest of our lives. As members of the Church, we must ask ourselves, "Will I dive in or just stand at the edge? Will I step forward or merely test the temperature of the water with my toes?"
Some sins are committed because we do wrong; other sins are committed because we do nothing. Being only sort
Those who are only sort of committed may expect to only sort of receive the blessings of testimony, joy, and peace. The windows of heaven might only be sort of open to them. Wouldn’t it be foolish to think, "I’ll commit myself 50 percent now, but when Christ appears at the Second Coming, I’ll commit myself 100 percent"?
Commitment to our covenants with the Lord is a fruit of our conversion. Commitment to our Savior and His Church builds our character and strengthens our spirit so that when we meet Christ, He will embrace us and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).
There is a difference between intention and action. Those who only intend to commit may find excuses at every turn. Those who truly commit face their challenges squarely and say to themselves, "Yes, that would be a very good reason to delay, but I made covenants, and so I will do what I have committed to do." They search the scriptures and earnestly seek the guidance of their Father in Heaven. They accept and magnify their Church callings.
A German proverb says, "Promises are like the full moon. If they are not kept at once, they diminish day by day." As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have committed to walk in the path of discipleship. We have committed to follow the example of our Savior. Imagine how the world will be blessed and transformed for good when all members of the Lord’s Church live up to their true potential—converted in the depth of their souls and committed to building the kingdom of God.
In some way, each of us stands at a decision point overlooking the water. It is my prayer that we will have faith, move forward, face our fears and doubts with courage, and say to ourselves, "I’m committed!" ◼
Resource: http://media.ldscdn.org/pdf/lds-magazines/liahona-july-2011/2011-07-02-brother-im-committed-eng.pdf?download=true

July 2, 2011

The Freedom to...

As we celebrate the independence of our great country, stop and think about:
What Freedoms are you grateful for?

July 1, 2011

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

One of the most influential stories told by Jesus Christ is the parable of the good Samaritan.  The Savior spoke often in parables because each has a deeper meaning understood only by those who have “ears to hear” (Matthew 13:9). 
In the second century A.D., Irenaeus in France and Clement of Alexandria both saw the good Samaritan as symbolizing Christ Himself saving the fallen victim, wounded with sin. A few years later, Clement’s pupil Origen stated that this interpretation came down to him from earlier Christians, who had described the allegory as follows:
“The man who was going down is Adam. Jerusalem is paradise, and Jericho is the world. The robbers are hostile powers. The priest is the Law, the Levite is the prophets, and the Samaritan is Christ. The wounds are disobedience, the beast is the Lord’s body, the [inn], which accepts all who wish to enter, is the Church. … The manager of the [inn] is the head of the Church, to whom its care has been entrusted. And the fact that the Samaritan promises he will return represents the Savior’s second coming.” *

Symbols from the Parable of the Good Samaritan

          An Early Christian Interpretation
Good Samaritan
          Jesus Christ
          Man wounded with sin
          Law of Moses
          Christ’s body
Manager of the inn
          Head of the Church
There are many different ways that this parable can be interpreted.  The parable of the Good Samaritan can help us to understand the greatest two commandments, the plan of salvation, or a number of other principles.  We need to 'liken' all the scriptures 'for our profit and learning' so we can understand and apply them better.(1 Nephi 19:23) As we do these things we will come closer to God.
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