Need a little faith

Did you know that you can see the hand of God in your life daily? I know lately I’ve needed a bit of a pick me up, a reminder for why the work is so good but at times so hard and I’ve also been reading in the November 2010 issue of the Ensign for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-or the General Conference issue of the Ensign and it is fabulous. Not only can you read and hear the words of apostles and a prophet again on the Earth. It’s scripture because God continues to speak to us on a daily basis.

The talk that most comforted my heart and touched my life yesterday is called “The Transforming Power of Faith and Character” by Elder Richard G Scott. It’s phrases things so perfectly as to why working on our faith daily strengthens and prepares us for the time that our faith is tried during struggles and the like. It is amazing and I would highly recommend it for anybody that may need a pick me up!

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When life gets to be tough…

…the tough get on their knees. How many times have you stayed up at night just feeling overwhelmed? How many times have you felt like you can’t handle what you are going through anymore. I know it happens to me all the time where I just don’t think I can handle what is going on in my life anymore and so I turn to people that I trust to help me know how to handle it or lighten my load. Often this is a trusted friend, my sister, or my parents but Sheri Dew once said “Christ is not our last chance, He is our only chance.” And so in order for us to overcome our trials and our pains and our sicknesses or anything that is negative in this life, we have to turn to the Saviour. We need to turn to Jesus Christ. In the Book of Mormon, a prophet named Alma is speaking to a group of people and telling them about the life of the Christ and his mission in this life and it says

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of ever kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flech, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11-12)

So Christ took upon himself not only our sins, not only our joys but also all of the pain that we will experience in this life. He did it so that we could be happy, so that we could let go of the burden that we carry-the burden of guilt because of our sin. We can let it go!

Now sometimes life is hard not because of our sins but because of the effects of other people and although it would be wonderful to escape the pains of that, sometimes the purpose of going through those trials is to make us stronger, it’s to better us, and strengthen our faith that Jesus is the Christ and that we can turn to Him at any time. That is the only way that we can be healed is through that faith, through that power that we can overcome, if we turn to the true source of all power.

We have been promised that we will not be tempted above that which we can bear, this is stated not only in the Holy Bible but also in the Book of Mormon. The same prophet, Alma is again speaking to people and he says this “But that ye would humble yourlselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering. Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.” (Alma 13:28-29)

God will not leave us comfortless. As long as we turn to Him, as long as we follow the steps of the Savior, we can find true happiness..

Silver Platters

                                                       

What does it mean to be happy? What does it feel like? How can you share happiness? These are questions that I’ve asked other people and that I’ve asked myself and there are times that I’m not quite sure how to define it or how to find it. In the scriptures it says that the only way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Heavenly Father wants to hand us happiness on a silver platter but we have to reach out and accept it. He loves us and He wants us to choose Him, to come to Him. That was and is the constant invitation of our Saviour, “Come follow me.” I love how it’s phrased in Matthew 11:28-30 ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

There you go, you have it right there, right before your very eyes and all we have to do is follow Him for He will lead us to Heavenly Father. He is going to show us how to get to God. He’s the only way that we can get there and He will light our path as we are searching for what He wants us to do. That is why God has given us so many tools on this Earth in our own personal toolbelt. God wants us to be happy and He knows that this life isn’t easy, that we are all going to face trials and that things are going to be hard but He’s given us the tools to overcome each of our trials, each of our tribulations, all of our pain; we can overcome through the atonement of Jesus Christ. How blessed are we. We should first learn what all of the tools are in our toolbelt and then use them in our lives!

                                                                            

Beyond Limits

Everybody has there own relationship with God and I’ve been thinking a lot about my own. As a missionary I’ve been greatly privileged to hear descriptions about others relationship with God and sometimes I’m not going to lie, I get a little bit jealous. So as I’ve been dwelling on my own relationship with God and how it needs to improve, I’ve been thinking about why my relationship with God isn’t as good as I would like it to be and I’ve figured out why. I have been limiting my own relationship with God. He wants to be my Father and He wants for me to rely on Him more heavily but I haven’t been relying on Him. It goes back to that trust in Heavenly Father and I talked about last time. It’s a relationship that is still in development but one thing that has occurred to me is how I need to invite the Holy Ghost more into my life.

In order for us to have a better relationship with God we have to open ourselves and our hearts to Him. We need to be listening to the still small voice of the Spirit and when we do that, wonderful things will happen. If we are listening for that still small voice that’s been discussed, we can be directed by God. Unfortunately if we’re not listening for that direction from God then we close ourselves off from having a better relationship with Him. It’s like having an open highway of communication and then placing a brick wall on our side of the highway because we’re not going in the direction that He would have us go. Because we are then restricting our communication with God, we are then limiting our own personal growth as well.

I think it’s pretty arrogant of us to limit the power of God in our lives and also in the world around us by saying that He will  no longer speak to us today. Yes we can have a relationship with Him but that He wouldn’t again call a prophet on the Earth. Where does it ever say that God doesn’t care for us enough today to speak to us and why wouldn’t He use the same means as He has in the past, by calling a prophet again on the Earth. That is how He has always worked in the past and it only makes sense that because God is the same yesterday, today and forever that He would once again call a prophet on the Earth has he has done.  He cares for us as much today as He has in the past and we only limit our relationship with Him by not listening or using the gifts and the means that we have already been given.  I’m just grateful that we can go beyond the limits, break the brick wall, and have that very personal and real relationship with God.

                                                                                                                    

Once we know God, then what?

We trust God of course! What does it mean to trust God? I guess the real question would be, what does it mean to trust another person? In the Webster’s New World Dictionary is defines trust as “1a) firm belief in the honestly, reliability, etc, of another, faith.” It also states that to trust means ‘to be confident in.’

So in order for us to trust God, we must have faith in Him, that He is, that He cares, that He listens and that we can trust His word or the scriptures. We have to trust and believe that God will fulfill His promises that He’s made to us, that He loves us enough to send His son like it says in John 3:16 not to condemn the world but to save the world. God isn’t going to force anybody to believe in Him and to trust Him though, it’s a choice that we have to make and that we choose to make by our every day actions. God really does want us to be happy and the only way that we can truly do that is by following the example of His son. That’s why Christ came to the earth, to live and to be our perfect example but also to die so that we may overcome our pain, our guilt, our shame, and find peace, rest, and joy. What a marvelous plan.

I know that to trust God and to have faith in Him, we must respect Him and what He has done. They call this Godly fear. We can fear God, respect and reverence Him, but not be afraid of Him. The other kind of fear is the fear that overcomes our faith and keeps us from coming closer to our Heavenly Father. Sinning destroys our confidence that God loves us and teaches us to be afraid of Him. Hence when Adam sinned, the first response he had was to fear. He was afraid of seeing God because he knew he was in trouble. It’s amazing to me how Heavenly Father is repeatedly telling us to fear not. When angels come to visit men, the first words they say are generally “fear not” Don’t be afraid of heavenly things but move closer to them. How powerful is that.

What do you think it means to trust God?

To Know the Only True and Living God

                                                                                          

I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about God as our Heavenly Father.  If He truly is our Father as it states in the scriptures than we can know that for ourselves and this is something that I feel so blessed to know. He loves us and He cares for each of us individually.  I love knowing that we can have a personal relationship with Him. That we can know Him and that He already knows us.  It’s phrased so beautifully in Acts 17:27-29

“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of our own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device”

I love this scripture because it points out that we are God’s children, that we have His qualities, and as we seek after Him, we will find Him.

Seeking after God is like playing hide and go seek with a small child. You hide so that you can easily be found through slight effort from the child. They are ecstatic that they found you and you’re delighted because they’re so happy. That is how God feels about us. If we are truly seeking after Him, we’ll find Him.

God’s purpose is to help us find happiness and we can only do that as we strive to be like our Father. To know God, is to learn about Him and to develop that personal relationship with Him. We don’t have a perfect record of His example but He has given us the gift of His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. As it says in John 5:19 Christ states himself that “…The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”

As we follow the example of the Savior, we are following God because Christ perfectly follows his Father. Christ often spent time alone to be with his Father in prayer and we can do the same.  If we want to talk to God, we have been given the opportunity and the ability to pray and as we pray, God is listening. If we want to hear the words of the Father, we read what He has already given to us through the mouth of His prophets-the scriptures. As we read what God has already done for His children, we will be much more apt to see the hand of God in our own lives. What a blessing and a joy!