Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Way to Happiness

The gospel of Jesus Christ has changed my life. It has brought me true happiness that I would have found no other way. For those who truly embrace the gospel and have faith to become true disciples of Jesus Christ, there are better days ahead. There are blessings that will be poured out upon them. They will find joy that they have never felt before. I know this is true, because I have felt it in my life. I love how Elder Holland describes it. Even if we get discouraged and it seems like things will never work out, if we follow the example of Jesus Christ, there are good things to come.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Second Witness

Many people today wonder why we need the Book of Mormon when we already have the Bible. But the Book of Mormon in a second witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." (2 Corinthians 13:1) The Book of Mormon is an ancient record written by prophets on the American continent. It goes from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. There were prophets both in Israel and in the Americas that testified of Jesus Christ. We believe the Bible is the word of God and The Book of Mormon only supports the Bible. It helps us know how to interpret the Bible and expounds on doctrine that the Bible only mentions briefly. And most of all, it shows God's love for all of His children.

"Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
"Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
 "And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever". (2 Nephi 29:7-9)
I know that we are all children of God. And reading the Book of Mormon has helped me draw closer to Christ and feel His love for me more than anything other book. I know there is power in the Book of Mormon because it is the word of God. It can change lives. I know it has for me. And I'm grateful that God loves us enough to give us another testament of Jesus Christ to help us strengthen our relationship with Him and understand His plan for us.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sincere Prayer

Praying is an act of faith. And at times, it can be difficult to pray. We can become stubborn, or prideful, or convince ourselves that God isn't really listening and we won't recieve an answer to our prayer. But those feelings do not come from God.
"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul." (2 Nephi 32:8-9)
As children of a loving Father in Heaven, He wants to hear from us.  Sometimes we don't know what to pray for. But all we have to do is tell God what is in our hearts. We can ask for things that we are in need of, tell Him how we're feeling, thank Him for blessings He's given us, and pray for others. Sometimes it's important that we ask Him for guidance in making important decisions, or ask for help to line our will with His. But what's most important is that we are praying. When we call on Him, it shows that we have faith that He is there and that He is aware of us. Prayer is a commandment given to each of us. By following this commandment, we can recieve many blessings.

President Spencer W. Kimball said, "Why should we pray? Because we are the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, on whom we depend for everything we enjoy. We all are under heavy obligation to our Lord. None of us has reached perfection. None of us should get so busy in our lives that we cannot contemplate with prayer. Prayer is the passport to spiritual power. Prayer is such a privilege—not only to speak to our Father in Heaven, but also to receive love and inspiration from him. At the end of our prayers, we need to do some intense listening—even for several minutes. We have prayed for counsel and help. Now we must “be still, and know that [he is] God.” (Ps. 46:10.) "
I know that our Heavenly Father loves each of us so much, and He does hear and answer our prayers. I have seen many miracles throughout my life because I was willing to turn to Him in earnest prayer. He is there and He's waiting to hear from us.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finding Hope

Life is not always easy. We all go through trials in our lives. But we don't have to get through them alone. When Christ suffered for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, He experienced everything we would ever have to go through., "pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind." (Alma 7:11-12) He can help us through our struggles, because He's been there before. It's always been comforting to me to know that there is someone who truly does understand. We can cast our burdens upon Him, and He will make them light. (Psalms 55:22) That doesn't mean that all of our troubles will just go away, but we will be given peace and strength to get through them. He will comfort us, just as He did with the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon when they relied on Him. (Mosiah 24:11-16) They were good people who were put in bondage. But they continued to pray and excercise their faith. The Lord didn't take their problems away all at once, but eased their burdens. They "submitted cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" and that's when they were set free. If we trust in the Lord and believe He is there for us, we can overcome any obsticle in our path. There is hope in this life, and that hope comes from Christ.

Sanctified Through Christ

As humans, we all make mistakes at times. And it can be hard to change our lives. But Jesus Christ is our Savior. And through Him we can become sancitifed, or in other words, made holy and free from sin. The only way this is possible is if we excercise faith in Christ and believe in the power of His Atonement.
George S. Tate said:

"The Savior’s atonement places before us the possibility of peace—which in its fullest sense is ultimate wholeness and perfection. Such peace does not depend on external circumstance but grows as we become one with Christ. If we inherit eternal life, we will have “received his image in [our] countenances” (Alma 5:14), we will “be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (Moro. 7:48), and we will mirror back to him the joy and peace of his countenance: “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Num. 6:26.) The peace of Christ is a summation of all beatitude. In my own experience, even a momentary, fleeting refraction of it has left me with an unspeakable sense of being filled, and at the same time with an inconsolable longing to regain his presence."
Through the Atonement, we can have a mighty change of heart and become true disciples of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that Christ was willing to suffer for me, so that I could be forgiven and return to live with my Father in Heaven.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Divine Potential

Have you ever pushed yourself farther than you thought you could go? And then recognized the difference it's made in your life? As children of God, we all have divine potential within us, potential to become like Him.We are heirs to His kingdom. (Romans 8:16-17) Sometimes it's hard to see that potential. We become blinded by our own insecurities, stubborness, doubt and fear. But as our Heavenly Father, God can see us for who we really are and what we can become. And He wants us to find that whithin ourselves. However, recognizing our potential doesn't come easily; it takes work. And we can only do it with faith. I'll share a small example. As my mission is coming to an end, I've reflected a lot on how I've reached this point in my life. Growing up, I was pretty shy and quiet. I didn't really enjoy meeting new people or talking to strangers. But I had a testimony of the gospel and I had a desire to share it with others. As I was getting older, I knew that God wanted me to serve a mission. It was a strong feeling that I had, and I couldn't deny it. I struggled with it at times. I remember thinking, "I'm too shy. I can't walk up to random people and start a conversation. I don't know enough about the gospel." But I knew it was the Lord's plan for me and I trusted in Him. So I took a leap of faith and started filling out my mission papers. Four months later, I was on a plane to western New York. Although I knew the Lord would help me, things didn't come easily. It was a gradual process. I still struggled. I had a hard time getting myself to talk to people on the streets. And when I would talk to people about the gospel, I struggled for the words to say. I still asked myself, "Can I really do this?" But I kept praying and moving forward. With the Lord's help, I have slowly begun to find that potential within myself. I'm still far from perfect and I know I still have a lot of room to grow. But I have learned so much about the gospel and I've found that hidden confidence within me. The Lord has used me as an instrument in His hands to help others find the truth. And I'm grateful that He pushed me so much further than I ever would have gone on my own, so I could catch a glimpse of my divine potential.

I know there are so many of you out there with inspiring stories. So if any of you would like to share your experiences, times when you've had faith to stretch yourself and find your potential, please post them here.