Thank You

Do you ever just have those days when everything is good. Not that everything goes right or that the world is a perfect place but you have a positive few of everything that is going on in the world? That is how I woke up this morning. I woke up rejoicing in my God, in my world, and the miracles that each of us experiences on a daily basis. For example, a few weeks ago I was playing tag with my younger brother, 9, and my younger sister, 11, on a playground. It was pretty fun except for telling me how woefully out of shape I am. Well we’re running up stairs and sliding things and all manner of goodness when I tried sliding down something similar to this piece of quipment. Sliding down it was painful and I knew immediately that it was going to bruise pretty badly. Guess what? I was right for once. It bruised and it bruised badly. People would see it and say “man it looks like somebody beat you, what happened?” So it was painful at first but I was fine the next day, it was a little tender.

Two weeks later, I’m happy to report that the horrible disgusting bruise is almost completely healed. Now for one who bruises easily and the bruises last forever, I’m thrilled that it’s healing so quickly! I woke up this morning, just astonished at how well it looks and how it’s getting to be so much better. Which lead me to rejoice in my Heavenly Father who was wise enough to make our bodies with the ability and the capacity to heal themselves especially when we do stupid things. I am so grateful that all things denote that there is a God, He is real and HE LOVES US! I am so grateful for this. Whenever I’ve had a moment of reflection today, this thought has crossed my mind and believe you me, it has been one of the best days in a while.

I am so grateful that although this life is not perfect, we can find joy and peace in the good things that God has given us. I’m grateful for His love. I’m grateful for His Son, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself so that we might overcome all of the trials and the sicknesses that we may have. I know that our bodies are far from perfection and we suffer as a result. When we hurt, they don’t always heal the way we want them to but I certainly am grateful that Jesus Christ made it possible that we all may have a perfect body some day. I’m grateful for the hope that comes as a result of having the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and I am especially grateful for a God that loves us enough to give us more than one witness that Christ came for everybody on this Earth. Thank you Heavenly Father!!!

Getting to The End

So you know that feeling once you’ve finished a really good movie and you see the short little phrase, the end? You feel a little bit sad, but you’re glad that everything turned out the way that you wanted it to. Then you think about it for a time, how the story developed, things that you liked and things that you didn’t. Then you think, all good things must come to an end. Well I’m approaching the end of my service as a full time representative for the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s had the most amazing high points, and its had some extreme lows and now that I’m getting to the end, I keep reviewing how. How did I get to this point. How am I different as a result of it. How will my life change because of it. How did I make it. All of these questions that I have.

Since reviewing it though, I’ve been able to recognize many of the things that I’ve learned and they will forever change my life. I want to share this with you.

1. Finding out who I like to be and why. I’ve found that although I enjoy being sarcastic and kind of a pain. I’ve found that I don’t like that person I become when I am. I like enjoying the world around me and laughing until my stomach hurts. I realize that I like enjoying what is going on and enjoying the good qualities of the people around me. Is it easy for me to be this person? Not at all. Do I like it still? Of course.

2. Learning to be like the Savior and getting over my fear to open my mouth and invite others to come closer to Christ. You know those two things that are taboo to talk about, politics and religion? I definitely had to overcome that fear of meeting people for the first time and talking about Christ.  These spiritual experiences that I’ve had and the truths I hold dear, they’re hard to share and watch people reject.

3. I had no idea if I would be able to handle the pain, the rejecting, and the trials that come from representing Jesus Christ. Like Elder Holland says “I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap expereince. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.” then he continues on and says this, it’s slightly more encouraging than the first one. “When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lieved. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is though Him-the Wa,y the Truth, and the Life.” So I comforted myself with the words of the apostles in my times of trial and hardship.

4. Learning from those around me! There are so many wonderfully strong and talented people on this planet and if we just took the time to get to know one another and learn what others have gone through and how they’ve done it with great faith and strength and trust in the Lord-it astounds me!

5. Having the supreme privilege of seeing God’s children, us, seeing us the way that Heavenly Father sees us. He loves us so much and He wants us to experience joy. Part of that is making mistakes and then having the courage to overcome them, to make changes, and to grow. Heavenly Father is so good and kind and merciful! It’s hart to take that step to trust Him and it’s a daily step but once you’ve made it once, it becomes easier and easier to trust.

These are only a few of the many things that I’ve learned and that I want to share. There is so much that I’ve experienced and learned from and have come to know and I’m so grateful to know that Heavenly Father loves me. That Jesus Christ is my Savior.  I’m grateful that God calls men to be His prophets and that we are blessed to have one on the earth today and I guarantee that if everybody would follow the prophet, the world would be a much more beautiful place. I know the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ because that’s the instrument I used to come to know my Savior. And I say these things in His sacred name, Amen.

Lessons Learned from a Pheasant II

Ok so everything in life has a purpose right? So thinking back on that pheasant, it is one beautiful creature! I love all of the many colors and designs that are on there and it amazes me how pretty it is. Well I also know that that is not it’s only function. Now I don’t know what the purpose of that bird is but it certainly made my day a little bit better. Well I’ve been thinking about how each individual person brings different things to the table. Which, in turn, makes the world a more diverse place and extremely beautiful.

Each of us has different talents and skills and because of that, to make the world go round the way it does, we need to be different and unique and Heavenly Father loves us each the same. We are all given spiritual gifts that help the world become a better place. In the book of Moroni in the Book of Mormon, Moroni echoes the words of prophets in the past when describing a few of the spiritual gifts that are on the Earth, in the past and today. Each of us is given a gift that will help lighten and brighten the world around us and make us better. I know I’ve met plenty of people in my life that have made not only my life better but the world a better place to be in.

It’s amazing to me how each of us has a sphere of influence. Though we may not be able to make a grand difference to the world at learge when we first want to, each of us makes a difference to the people that we surround ourselves with. Each of us can listen and help those who may be hurting. Each of us can help the world become a better place. Horace Mann once said “To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is godlike.”  We really can truly make a difference in each person’s life that we touch. We’re meant to. No man is an island and Heavenly Father wants each of us to reach out and help another one of His children. I know He wants us to remember who we are and how we can do good, we can make a difference and we can make the world a better place!

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!