Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Live as Saints Should Live

Romans 13:11, Ezekiel 3:20, and Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 give us some insight on what we should be doing to work out our salvation.

We need to “wake out of sleep” or shake off our apathy and actively pursue our salvation. We need to repent of our sins and be ready to meet our Lord at all times. We need to keep the commandments and stay steadfast in the church to be exalted.

In Romans 12-13 Paul gave much counsel that leads to salvation. Each of the following verses list what Paul taught would help lead to salvation:

  • Romans 12:1 – Give our bodies to God. In other words stifle our passions and work in service for him.
  • Romans 12:2 – Renew our minds or be spiritually reborn.
  • Romans 12:9 – Love sincerely. Shun evil. Cling to good.
  • Romans 12:13 – Be hospitable.
  • Romans 12:16 – Be humble.
  • Romans 12:21 – Overcome evil with good.
  • Romans 13:1 – Be obedient to God.
  • Romans 13:3 – Follow good leaders. Be good leaders.
  • Romans 13:8 – Stay out of debt. Love everyone.
  • Romans 13:9 – Do not commit adultery. Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t covet. Love everyone including yourself.
  • Romans 14:1-13; 15:1-3 hold the answers to these questions:

What cautions did Paul give about judging?
·            Everyone is different; we all have the power to choose what we want for this life. We should not judge those who choose differently than us. It’s is the Lord’s right to judge us, we should reserve that right for Him.

People may have different opinions and practices, but what is most important to remember?
·            We are all given agency. We all have the power to choose. We should help our fellowman with good works, not try to tear them down.

What additional insight comes from reading Doctrine and Covenants 38:25-27?
·            We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We should treat everyone equally.


The term Paul commonly used to refer to the members of the church was “the Saints”.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Baptism

Recently my third son Mosiah was able to get baptized and was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was a beautiful day.

Romans chapter six gives us some insight on baptism.

Before baptism can occur we must destroy the body of sin (Romans 6:6)

Baptism is in similitude of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

A true baptism must happen by immersion because it symbolizes the burial and raising of Christ. 
When you are sprinkled you do not go completely under the water so the symbolism falls short.

We can maintain the “newness of life” by yielding ourselves unto God and bring instruments of righteousness unto God.

According to Mosiah 3:19, the natural man is what should ideally die at baptism.

We can know whose servants we are by who we obey. The actions that we create, the paths that we take are indications of who we serve. We can claim to be followers of Christ, but if our actions are not Christ-like the truth shines through. To be servants of the Lord we must seek to serve Him by serving our fellow man.


True freedom comes from a sinless life. Sin keeps us bound. Addiction binds us. Repentance and re-commitment to our Savior are what will set us free.


Friday, February 6, 2015

God Comforts us in Tribulation

Why were Paul and Timothy able to avoid despair despite being troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down?
The Lord comforts us in our tribulations. We are never alone, there is always at least one (Jesus Christ) who has felt our pains and knows how we are feeling. Knowing what they knew about Jesus helped them to keep a positive perspective as well. They were representatives of Christ and so he kept them buoyed up despite their persecutions. These men were willing to die for Jesus, so it seemed like all these hard trials were not as bad. They understood that our trials in this life are nothing compared to the wonderful eternities of what lies beyond this life.

2 Corinithians 4:17-18 can help during our own tribulations. It tells us what Paul and Timothy knew, that our afflictions are for but a moment when compared to the eternities. Having an eternal perspective and knowing that this life is for trials and tests can help us keep our wits about us, fight through pain, and be ready and willing to keep serving the Lord.

Paul and Joseph Smith went through very similar things in their lives. Both were persecuted by the people around them. They both suffered through physical ailments at the hands of others. Both knew though, that they were called of God to profess the gospel to the world and worked hard despite their challenges. Both men learned to “glory in tribulation” because they knew that the Lord would have a special place for them in the next life.

How does grace play a role in overcoming our tribulations?
Paul said that when we are weak we become strong. Jacob in Jacob 4:7 points out that the Lord shows us our weaknesses so that we know that it is by His grace that we are able to accomplish hard things. In Ether 12:27 it goes on to point out that through the grace of God, if we are humble, our weaknesses will become strong. Grace is the help or strength from the Lord. Without the grace of God we could get through nothing, we would not be resurrected, we would have reason to despair because there would be no hope.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 the Lord answers Paul’s prayer by telling him that His grace is sufficient enough. His strength can get Paul through his weakness.
In Mosiah 24:13-15 God helps the people through their afflictions. He says that He will deliver them from bondage, and while they are in bondage their burdens will feel light. Literally, the loads they carry on their back will feel light. He made them stronger so that they could bear their burdens with ease.
  I chose this assignment this week because I desperately needed these words. I have been struggling with something for a while and this assignment has helped me to realize, even more, that I just need to ask the Lord for help, submit myself to his will, and carry on. He will help me. He will even carry me when I need to be carried. If Paul, Joseph Smith, Alma and his brothers can work through incredible pain, I can be carried through my discomforts as well.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Sacrament

An important word that Luke and Nephi use to describe the sacrament is that Jesus’ body was “given” for us. Paul did not use this word. It is important to remember that the Lord gave of his own blood and flesh for us.
When not to partake of the sacrament:
Corinthians 11:27-29 - Do not partake of if you are unworthy
3 Nephi 18:28-29 - Do not let anyone partake of the sacrament if you know that they are not worthy.

     We talked about these things in my discussion group this week and we decided that the 3 Nephi           reference is mostly referring to the duty of Priesthood holders, especially Bishops.

If we partake unworthily we are guilty of the blood of the Lord. We will be damned if we do so.
It is important for me to remember that the Savior actually instituted the sacrament Himself. It was that important for Him to have us remember what He did for us. If I keep that in my mind it is easier for me to have a meaningful experience during sacrament meeting and throughout the week.

My thoughts: The sacramental prayer is one of the only prayers that needs to be recited as it is written. It is important that it be done right, or it has to be re-done.

From the prophets: Joseph Smith was told not to purchase alcohol form enemies so the church focused on producing its own wine until he received the Word of Wisdom which said that alcohol consumption is harmful to the body. In the late 19th century church leaders started to take the Word of Wisdom as a commandment and changed the wine to water. (Taken from Wikipedia).


Elder Dallin H. Oaks says, “Those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels.” My oldest son, Liam, will turn 12 this summer and he is so looking forward to holding the Priesthood so that he can pass the sacrament in our meetings. 
This is Liam with his little brother Mosiah and their Daddy (my awesome, amazing, wonderful Hubby.) Liam will be 12 in August.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Proper Authority

In Acts 19:1-12 and 20:7-12 Paul performed five priesthood ordinances. They were:
  •  Baptism
  • Giving the gift of the Holy Ghost
  • Healing
  •  Casting out evil spirits
  •  Raising the dead

In Acts 19:3-5 Paul finds out that the Corinthian saints have not been baptized under the right authority so he re-baptizes them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Side note, I was looking for a picture of Paul baptizing the Saints, but all I could find were pictures of him sprinkling them. I personally think that Paul would baptize by immersion, in the same way that John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ. So I posted a picture of Jesus’ baptism.)

Some people who are investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints wonder why they would need to be baptized to join our church when they have already been baptized. This question is answered in these verses. The answer is, they were not baptized under the correct authority. After the saints were baptized Paul laid his hands upon their heads and gave them the gift of the Holy Ghost.

In the LDS church members are baptized at the age of 8. They are baptized by immersion and are given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands afterwards.



On the first day of the week Paul met with the saints to break bread, or have the sacrament with them. This would be Sunday. In John 20:1 we find that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week which became the new Sabbath. Jesus also appeared to His disciples on this new Sabbath day.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Missionary Comparisons

This Map is called Paul’s first Journey and is from from the New Testament Institute Student Manual. It traces Paul’s first mission and includes places such as Antioch, Salamis, Paphos, Perga, and Lystra.  Paul (also known as Saul) and Barnabas journeyed over 1400 miles on this first mission.

Paul was a great missionary. From him we can learn some great things to help our missionaries in the field who may feel discouraged:


  • Paul was called by prophets to serve his mission, as are missionaries from the LDS church today. 
  • Careful prayer and fasting was used to select the missionaries and to choose where they would go, as well as following impressions from the Holy Ghost.
  • Missionaries are blessed and set apart by those in authority to help them on their way.
  • The Holy Ghost dwells with the missionaries as they serve the Lord.


Barnabas was Paul’s missionary companion. He sold all of his possessions and gave the proceeds to the Apostles . He basically vouched for Paul to the Apostles. He was called by the Apostles to help Paul serve a mission. He was known as a good man who was full of the Holy Ghost. He acted by faith.  Though he was not one of the Twelve Apostles, he was regarded as an Apostle.

In Acts 14: 8-18 Paul heals a cripple who has never been able to walk. The people of Lystra at this point are shocked and say “The gods are come down to us in the likenss of men.” They give the missionaries/apostles the names Jupiter and Mercurius (also known as Zeus and Hermes). They want to give sacrifices for them. Barnabas and Paul assure them that they are just men that are testifying for and of Christ. They stop the people from doing the sacrifices.


In the same chapter verses 19-22 we read that these men were treated completely different by certain Jews from Antioch and Iconiym. They stoned Paul and pulled him out of the city thinking that he was dead. The Apostles gathered around him and he rose up and went back into the city and then left the next day with Barnabas to continue their mission. Paul pointed out in verse 22 that “we must [go] through much tribulation [or adversity and tests to] enter the kingdom of God.

Both of these examples of what happened to these missionaries while they are doing the Lords work are examples of this principle (that we must go through tribulation to enter the kingdom of God). Obviously being stoned and cast out of the city is a trial, but also being treated as a god and having to stop people from being sacrilegious is a test as well.

Today missionaries serve throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and although they are not being treated as gods, or being stoned or travelling on foot 1400 miles, they are sacrificing a lot for their Father in Heaven. I believe that missionary work is of the Lord. I believe that the Lord sends the Holy Ghost to guide these young men and women (and sometimes older men and women as well) to go where they should go.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to Be The Best Leader


The Lord points out in John 13:1-17 that even though He was sent by God, and even though He was their leader and their Lord, He spent His life in service to them and others. He is our King, we worship Him and love Him, but the reason we do these things is not just that He was chosen by our Heavenly Father. It is because He chose to serve us instead of just sitting on His royal throne. He could have struck His accusers down with lightning and a flaming sword. Instead He humbly withstood beatings and cruelty. He died for us on the cross after bleeding from every pour in the garden of Gethsemane. His washing of his apostles feet was nothing compared to these things, but the Lord used it to point out that as a leader, He had been serving everyone His whole life.

Are we serving those we have been called to lead, or are we making them serve us?

In Luke 22:26-30 the apostles are trying to figure out which of them is greater than the rest. The Lord gently points out that being the greatest really isn't the point. The greatest leaders are those that serve the people they lead, not those that sat on their jeweled throne and appointed orders.  In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints our leaders are not paid. Our Bishops do not take home a pretty pay check for their service to their wards. Instead they give up hours of their lives to serve their ward members. They are on call for those who need extra assistance and often are called away from their own families to serve other families. This is ultimate leadership. We follow our church leaders because they are selfless.

Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson is the perfect example of a devoted leader. He is giving his life to the people of our church. He lovingly guides us and suggests ways that we can return to our Father in Heaven. He does not order us to do these things. He is not a dictator. He practices what he preaches. He is the example we should follow.

In Mark 10:43-45 I think it is saying that we are not chosen to be leaders (in the church) unless we are humble enough to serve in a position of power. Being a leader is not about lining up our followers and barking out orders; it’s about being humble and seeking to serve those who follow us. It’s a paradox. Serving others makes us greater in the eyes of the Lord, when He sees selfless service He will give us leadership positions. We don’t get this power by seeking for it, in fact, when we seek for this power we will lose it.

Leaders in the LDS church follow these principles. If they don’t they are not leaders for long. The people who hold the “big” callings, or those that are the biggest leader type positions, are those that serve the most and the hardest. Our Relief Society President sacrifices hours and hours to bless the sisters in our ward. She genuinely can say that she loves us all because she actually does. She devotes her life as the Relief Society President to finding the best way she can serve us individually and as a whole. She stays awake at night trying to think of how she can help the individual sisters in our ward as well as the whole group of sisters. She loses sleep over us! She weeps when we are lost, she prays for ways to bring us back. This is real leadership. LOVE those you are in charge of. Serve them, don’t expect them to serve you blindly. The things we are asked to do by our leaders are things that will benefit the ward as a whole, or individuals of the ward, and they are things that will make us better for following them.

So, what is a real leader? Someone who in their place of power seeks to serve instead of appoint. Lead through service. Be the example.

How can we become better leaders?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preparing for the Savior's Second Coming

Mark chapter 13 tells us of things that we should watch for to know when Jesus will come. Although none of us know the hour, we can gauge His closeness by the signs of the times. In Mark we find the words "take heed" and "watch" quite frequently.  Here are some of the things that we should watch for:

·         people trying to deceive you that Christ is already here
·         people trying to persecute you for following Christ
·         the signs of the times
·         False Christ’s
·         Wars and rumors of wars
·         Earthquakes
·         Famines
·         Gospel taken everywhere
·         Families turning on each other
·         False prophets

Some additional scriptures and insights they hold:

D&C 87:8 – We need to stand apart from Babylon, resisting temptation until the Lord comes.
JST-Matt 1:32 – Terrible things will happen before the Lord returns.
JST-Matt 1:37 – We need to build our testimonies and hold them as sacred so that we may be gathered up in the last days to dwell with our Savior and Father in Heaven.
JST-Matt 1:46-50 – Nobody knows when the Lord will return. He will come when unsuspected.
D&C 33:17 – We should be ready for the Lord when he comes. The time to prepare is now, not when he gets here.
D&C 45:56-57 – We will be saved in the last day if we are faithfully prepared.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Disciples of Jesus

We should be willing to sacrifice everything to follow the Lord.

Being a Disciple of Jesus
·         Sometimes we have to give up other things to follow the Lord… like housekeeping. (Sounds good to me!) Luke 10:38-42
·         Learn the proper role of prayer. Luke 11:1-4
·         Learn how to pray effectively. Luke 11:1
·         Ask for what we need. Luke 11:3
·         Ask forgiveness and forgive others. Luke 11:4
·         Trust in God that he will give when you ask. Luke 11:10
·         Seek first for the Kingdom of God. Luke 12:31
·         Watch and wait for the Lord. Luke 12:36
·         Be prepared for the Lord to come at all times. Luke 12:40
·         Follow the commandments to the best of your ability. Luke 13:24
·         Be humble and obedient. Luke 14: 16-24
·         Give up your life for the Lord Luke 14:33
·         Pray with real intent, asking for worthy things. Luke 11: 9-13

Luke 12:40

“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have been commanded to prepare for the time when the Lord will return, and also for the times leading up to His return. We have been told that we will all see hard times. Not only do we need to prepare spiritually, but we need to prepare physically as well. My family is working on building up our food storage to last through hard times. We also have a fairly good water supply, ways to transport water, and ways to purify water if needs be. I have a large water tank sitting outside my home that needs to come inside and get filled up. It is my goal to do that before the snow flies here. We have blankets and extra clothing and we have quite a bit of medical supplies as well. Another thing I need to do to make all of our preparations more affective is to organize everything so that it is together and easily accessible. It is also my job to prepare my children for hard times, both spiritually and physically.

According to Luke 14:33 we need to forsake everything we have to be true disciples of Christ.

When we find the treasure of the gospel we need to give up everything else to own it. Matthew 13:44-46

In Omni 1:26 it says that we should offer our whole souls to the Lord and continue in fasting and praying. We should endure to the end and the Lord will save us.


Mosiah 2:34 says that we should remember that we are eternally indebted to our Heavenly Father. We should give him all that we have and all that we are.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Miracles

In Matthew 17:14-21 there is a story of a child who is possessed by a devil. He was called a lunatic and often would hurt himself by falling into fire or water. The father of the child asked the apostles to heal him but they could not. Jesus was able to rebuke the devil and have it depart from the child.

Why couldn't the apostles heal the child? The Lord said that the apostles needed three things that they didn't have. What were the things that the apostles could have used to heal this child? 


1. Faith
2. Prayer
3. Fasting


In 3 Nephi 18:20 it says that if we ask the Father, in Jesus name, for things that are right, having faith that we will receive them, then they shall be given unto us.

In Doctrine and Covenants 42:48 it says that those who have faith in the Lord to be healed will be healed as long as they are not appointed to death.

President Thomas S. Monson said, “Prayer is the provider of spiritual strength; it is the passport to peace. Prayer is the means by which we approach our Father in Heaven, who loves us. Speak to Him in prayer and then listen for the answer. Miracles are wrought through prayer.”

In Doctrine and Covenants 50:29 it says that we need to be purified and cleansed from all sin before we ask. If we are and then ask then in the name of Jesus it will be done.