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


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.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Feeding of the Multitudes

Matthew 14:14–21; 15:32–38

Following is a chart comparing and summarizing two similar miracles in the Book of Matthew.

Matthew 14:14-21
Matthew 15:32-38
How many people were present?
What did they need?
What were they able to offer in an effort to meet that need?
5 loaves
2 fish
7 loaves
A few fishes
What words or phrases describe the Savior’s feeling toward the multitudes in their time of need?
He was moved with compassion
He said “I have compassion on
the multitude”
What words or phrases describe what the Savior was able to provide for the multitudes?
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

In each story, the available food was insufficient to feed the multitude, yet with the help of the Lord the insufficiency was overcome. In Romans 3:23 it shows us that we are all imperfect. Because we are sinners it is impossible for us to dwell with God. Without Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and advocate we are lost. According to Ether 12:27, the Lord helps us overcome this insufficiency by first showing us our weaknesses to help us become humble. If we then humble ourselves before him He will help us overcome our weaknesses and even make them strengths unto us! With the atonement we are made whole and we can be admitted into the presence of our Lord. James E. Faust said, “After a lifetime of dealing in the affairs of men and women, I believe it is the ability to overcome personal ego and pride—both are enemies to the full enjoyment of the Spirit of God and walking humbly before him.”  -James E. Faust (April ’94 General Conference).

From my journal this week: I made an interesting connection today. I had baby Jedi last Saturday and the Relief Society in our ward had the compassionate service coordinator call me up to bring me some dinners. As I was reading both of these miracle stories I noticed that Jesus was overcome with compassion both times. I also connected that in both cases the multitudes were in need of food, much as I have been for the last week. Although the dictionary states nothing about food when you look up compassion, I find it interesting that all of the instances where compassion was needed in my life this week involved food. It turns out I have my own tiny multitude!

Friday, October 10, 2014


A parable is a story told that is full of doctrine and principles, but they are hidden in the story. Divine truth is presented by comparison with material things. The hearer can find the religious truth in proportion to their faith and intelligence.

Following are a few questions that can be answered by parables.

What describes the future growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
o   parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33)
o   In Matt. 13:33 leaven is compared to the inward growth and influence of the kingdom of heaven (church) upon the earth. (Bible dictionary)
o   Topical Guide – Leaven is the church.
o  Emma, one of my classmates, said the Mustard Seed was another parable that fit for this question.

Why does the Church send out so many missionaries?
o   parables of the tares Matthew 13: 24-30)
o   D&C 88: 94 And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it.
o   The church is sending out missionaries (wheat) to strengthen the other members against the tares of the world.
o   D&C 101:65 Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;
o   Emma said the Gospel Net was a good fit for this question as well. "I think that this can be answered with the parable of the gospel net. The missionaries have been sent out to gather many people from all different places and backgrounds and only some of them are going to receive the gospel and stay."

How do you explain the remarkable growth of the Church, considering that it is fairly new compared to most world religions and started small in the American frontier?
o   Parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32)
o   The birds that “lodge in the branches” (Matt. 13:31; Mark 4:32; Luke 13:19) frequent the plant for the sake of the seeds. (Bible Dictionary)
o   In the New Testament Manual it says “The fowls are the angels. Thus angels come down, combine together to gather their children, and gather them.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 159)
o   In the New Testament Manual it says “So the seed of truth is vital, living, and capable of such development as to furnish spiritual food and shelter to all who come seeking… The plant at maturity produces seed in abundance, and so from a single grain a whole field may be covered.” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 291).
Why are some members of the Church willing to sacrifice so much worldly wealth and recognition in order to maintain membership in the Church?
o   Parable of the treasure and the pearl of great price (Matt 13:44-46)
o   Treasure = Church (topical guide)
o   When the church was first established, Joseph Smith was searching for a “pearl of great price” or a religion that was correct, and when he found it, he devoted his whole self to it, even unto death. Because it is such a treasure to have in our lives what a blessing it is to be directed by living prophets and apostles. I can see how it would be hard to be a convert and the things you would have to give up. Being a member my whole life, it is hard to understand what it must be like for those people.

Why do some Church members choose to leave the Church?
o   Parable of the gospel net (Matthew 13:47-50)
o   Church = Net (topical guide)
o   The church brings in as many members as it can, but some are not strong enough to do what is necessary to remain in the church.

Considering the parables of the treasure and the pearl of great price (see Matthew 13:44-46), what sacrifices would you be willing to make to obtain the treasure of the gospel? What sacrifices have you or those you know already made for the gospel?
Like the man who sold everything to buy the pearl of great price, I would give everything for the gospel. Without the gospel I would be nothing, I would have nothing. I give everything back to God.

We have sacrificed the “fun” ways of the world. We have sacrificed “popularity”. Our ancestors sacrificed their homes and worldly possessions to travel across the planes to Zion, even family members were left along the way. Although we sacrifice much, it is very worth it, for the rewards in Heaven are greater than those on earth.

What does the net represent in the parable of the net cast into the sea? (See Matthew 13:47). What does it mean to be gathered into the net? What is represented by the action of gathering the good into vessels and casting the bad away? (See Matthew 13:48-50).

I believe the net is the Lord’s Church, and then His Kingdom. Being gathered into the net is joining the church. Not everyone who joins the Lord’s church will make it into the Highest Kingdom, we must really be disciples of Christ and follow his commandments to be welcomed there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Apostles of Jesus Christ

The Definition of an Apostle according to Acts 4:33, D&C 107: 23, and the Bible Dictionary:
The apostles are special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of His bodily resurrection from the dead.

Part of my assignment this week was to look up three of the twelve apostles in the Bible Dictionary. I found this fascinating and wanted to look them all up. I have written as sentence or two about each one that I found.

Some of my findings on the first twelve apostles from the Bible Dictionary:

Peter, also called Simon, was the chief Apostle of his day. Even though he had weaknesses he was able to overcome them because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, when he met Jesus he brought his brother Peter to meet Him.

James, the son of Zebedee was one of the inner circle of three chosen to be with our Lord on certain special occasions: at the raising of the daughter of Jairus, at the Transfiguration, and at Gethsemane.

John was also one of the inner circle of three who were with the Lord at the raising of Jairus’s daughter, at the Transfiguration, and in Gethsemane. John did not die but has been allowed to remain on the earth as a ministering servant until the time of the Lord’s Second Coming.

Matthew’s chief object was to show that Jesus is the Messiah of whom the prophets spoke.

I find it interesting that in the Bible Dictionary, all it says of Judas Iscariot is that he was one of the twelve, and the only one who was not a Galilean. It doesn’t mention anything about his betrayal.

All it says of Simon the Canaanite, is that he was one of the Twelve.

Philip was formerly of Bethsaida, he was mentioned along with Bartholomew.

All it says of Bartholomew is that he was one of the twelve.

All it says of the other James is that he was the son of Alphaeus.

All it says of Thomas is that he is mentioned in the lists of Apostles and was one of the twelve.

Lebbæus was not even in the Bible Dictionary!

How Jesus Prepared His Disciples:

The Lord, Jesus Christ, prepares His disciples for their work in Matthew 10:5-42. He lets them know that the favor of the people will not be with them. They will be persecuted and not well liked in a lot of places. He also prepares them to be peaceful in actions but strong in their messages. They were told that they are doing the will of the Father and that if they were acting for Him, He would direct their words. And then he told them that if they should lose their lives for His sake they should find life for real.

How Should We Respond to the Savior?

In Luke 5:1-11 we learn how the apostles responded to Jesus’ call. I love how Peter falls at the Saviors feet and claims that he is unworthy to be in His presence. My favorite part of all is that even after they received this amazing pay load of fish, they leave everything to follow the Savior and be His disciples.

We are so blessed in our lives. I live in a big home with a large family. I have lots of “things” and “stuff” that I've always wanted. I need to remember to put the Lord before my things, before my stuff, and before my own will. The Lord should come first in everything and I have got to be the example for my children to show them how to put Him first.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Proclaim the Gospel to the World

In John 1:29 John calls Jesus “the Lamb of God” and says that he will take way the sin of the world. Later in verse 36 he repeats, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

This is a chart listing individuals reviewing the individuals who came in contact with Jesus Christ, how they learned about Him, and what they did after they met Him. This is taken from John 1:35-51 and Matthew 4:17-25.

How they learned about Jesus Christ
What they did after they met Jesus Christ
Two Disciples of John the Baptist (Andrew was one)
John told them of Jesus. He told them that he was the Lamb of God.
After they heard Him speak they followed Him.
Simon Peter
His brother Andrew told him that they had found the Christ.

Jesus found him and said “Follow me.”
He followed and recruited others
Philip told him they had found the one the prophets did write about, Jesus of Nazareth.
He admitted that he was the Son of God, and he followed him.
Andrew and Peter
The Lord saw them fishing and told them to follow him.
They dropped their nets and followed him.
James and John
Jesus called unto them
They left their ship and their father and followed him.

Nathanael showed his belief in Jesus by telling him that he believed he was the Son of God, and he followed him.

The apostles that left their fishing boats immediately to follow Jesus showed that they believed serving the Lord was more important than serving themselves.

Andrew and Philip were great examples of sharing the light with others because not only did they drop what they were doing to follow Jesus, but they recruited others to follow Jesus as well.

In 1 Nephi 8:12 the principle is that after I partake of the blessings of the gospel I should share it with those I love because who doesn't want to share the most important things in life with those they love.
In Mosiah 28:3-4 the sons of Mosiah wanted to share the gospel with every creature after they learned the truth because they could not bear the idea that any human soul should perish. This is the same principle as stated in 1 Nephi 8:12.
In Doctrine and Covenants 88:81 it tells us that after we have been warned we need to warn others. Again, this is the same principle.

When I was younger I was much better at sharing the gospel with others. I proclaimed it boldly to everyone I knew, which was easy and fun for me, as I lived in a predominantly non-LDS community. I brought my friends to church and even brought missionaries to their homes, and in some cases my friends met with the missionaries in my own home. I have definitely fallen away from this, it must be because I am older and let the fear of rejection, or offending others take over. I need to focus more on sharing the gospel with others and follow in the path of my missionary ancestors. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this Church and to know the truth of the gospel. I share it with my family and need to branch out to others again.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rejoicing the Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-80)

Zacharias was a priest during the days of King Herod. His wife was Elisabeth. They were both righteous and did what God would have them do. They had no children and were both old when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias to tell him that Elisabeth would have a son. Zacharias was also told that many would rejoice at the birth of his son. (Luke 1:14)

Why would so many people rejoice at the birth of a baby? Was it because Zacharias and Elisabeth were beyond child baring years? I’m sure this was a reason for Zacharias and Elisabeth to rejoice, but the birth of this baby would actually help change the world, he would be a big part of history.

When John was born Elisabeth’s neighbors and family did rejoice with her because the Lord had showed her great mercy.  They did not even know that they were about to rejoice even more. When the time came to name the baby everyone wanted his name to be Zacharias after his father, when Elisabeth protested and said that his name was John they turned to Zacharias, who had been mute since the beginning of the pregnancy because of his disbelief he confirmed in writing that the baby’s name was to be John. As soon as he wrote this he was given back the ability to speak and the people were astonished, having witnessed a miracle! They knew that the Lord was with him. (vs 66)

People would rejoice John the Baptist’s birth because he would prepare the way for the Lord. He would only do what the Lord would ask, remaining faithful, losing himself in the service of the Lord. The Holy Ghost would be with him and he would turn the hearts and souls of many to the Lord. He would also baptize many, including our Savior. He even had two members of the twelve as disciples before they met Jesus. He did not respond with jealousy when others left him to follow Jesus, but rather new that this was his purpose. His mission was to prepare the way for the Lord and to baptize the Savior of the world, which he did.

  •  Vs 15. He would be great in the sight of the Lord
  • Vs 15. He would not drink wine or strong drink
  • Vs 15. He would be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from the womb. In vs 41 when Mary came to Elisabeth John leaped in her womb, because he knew the Lord was near. Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.
  • Vs 16. He would turn many children to the Lord.
  •  Vs 17. He would have the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.
  • Vs 17. He could turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just
  • Vs 17 and 76. He would prepare the people to meet their Lord
  • Vs 77. Give people knowledge of salvation by the remission of their sins
  • Vs 79. Guide his people to peace
  •  Bible Dictionary – He would baptize Jesus.
  •  Bible Dictionary – He would baptize others.
  •  Bible Dictionary – At least two members of the twelve were disciples of John before they met Jesus.
  • Bible Dictionary – His mission was to prepare the way for the Lord and to baptize the Savior of the world.