All Things Testify of Him

Springtime is one of my absolute favoritest times of the year!  The world that has been so covered and dormant for so long begins to emerge and with it the beautiful colors of nature.  The grass with its vibrant green, the sun with its much needed light backed by the most beautiful sky of blue, and the flower’s added variety of shape and color begin to blossom and bloom.  The earth’s rebirth coinciding with the celebration of our most beloved Savior’s resurrection is an absolute perfect typifying metaphor.   Because of Christ you and I too can experience that same rebirth and new life.  The glorious message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is just this.  Christ has overcome the world and through Him, we can too. 

It is in the spring that I am reminded about the testimony that the Earth itself offers of God our Father and his Son, the Creator of the Earth.  Alma, one of my heros in the Book of Mormon, is asked to produce signs that some might believe in the Christ.  “But Alma said unto him:  Thou has had signs enough; will ye tempt your God?  Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets?  The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God;  yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do wintess that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Alma 30:44

I know that God lives!  There is an order and a plan to our lives and to this existence.  We are children of the Most High and because He loves us He gave his only begotten Son that you and I might not perish because of death or because of sin, but have everlasting life! (John 3:16)  I love my Savior!  I testify that Christ did come to this earth.  He walked and talked among men.  He healed the sick and raised the dead.  He fell on His face in a garden called Gethsemane where He suffered incomprehensibly for you and for me.  He was arrested and shouldered a heavy cross that He might be lifted up and experience mortal death.  Though the thought of the sight of His cruel death tears at every part of my heart, I can most joyfully proclaim that Christ rose from the grave!  He lives and because He does, we also can overcome sin and death.  We too, like the Earth, can emerge from the gloomy cold of heartache, despair, sin, or death and experience that rebirth of joy and light!  I invite each of you to look around you at the very world upon which you stand. I promise that if you open your heart and look for Him, you will find that you too can “[see] God moving in his majesty and power” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:41-47).  This has been true in my life and has brought me a peace and joy that surpasses my words to express it!  The words of one of my favorite hymns says it beautifully:

 “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the Universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,

How great thou art!  How great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,

How great thou art!  How great thou art!”  (LDS Hymn #86)

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Letters From Home

This past week I recieved a letter in the mail from my little sister.  As I opened it up and read the words she had written, a smile quickly spread across my face and I could not help but laugh out loud as she told of an experience of late that she had had.  Oh, how I love and miss my dear family.  I have been away from my family now for 9 whole months!  In the beginning, this whole mission thing was just a new experience, like going away to college, and through the hard times, I did not have much trouble remembering that my family loved me and were cheering me on in my endeavors; however, as more and more has gone by, I have found it more and more difficult to remember that home and the unconditional love that surrounded me there.  I know in my heart that they are real and, quite frankly, I even have pictures of them, but, sadly, sometimes it seems like a dream.  Letters have become my key to remembering, both who I am and my worth as a member of my family (friends included).      

When I read the letters that each of them send, I feel like I am right there laughing with them about the experience they are sharing.  My heart is filled with that love that I know I always felt being with them, and for a moment I am there, with them.  I have come to realize through this experience that life on Earth is a very similar experience.  Here we are so far away from our Father in Heaven with a mortal memory that remembers very little about what that heavenly home was like.  Over time, we tend to forget that we have a divine nature with truly profound potential.  Can you imagine the family that must have surrounded us there and the sincere love that we must have felt cheering each other on began as we each began our journey here on earth?  In the world sometimes, we find ourselves thinking that nobody cares what we do or what we think.  You may even ask yourself “What is the point?”  It is then that I find myself scrambling for that letter from home.

The scriptures are like those “letters from home.”  Each time I read the Book of Mormon, the love that I know that my Father has for me floods my whole being.  As I open the Bible and read of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that feeling of love and family that must have existed there in heaven comes rushing back.  Through reading of His life, I have come to know once again my loving and kind, consoling and just, unchanging and perfect Father in Heaven.  I know that He lives.  He is real, and He has given us the scriptures that we might remember His voice and His character, and through the scriptures, He helps us remember the home we had there.   As I read, I am reminded of how well He knows me; just like when I open a small package from my family and find each of my favorite treats.  God is well aware of what does and what will make you truly happy.  I know with all my heart that He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart (Doctrine and Covenants 6:16).  He is your Father and has sent you those letters or scriptures to help YOU rememeber who you are.  That comfort and love cannot come if you  leave them in the mailbox or on the shelf unopened, but if you will open and read them, those letters can become, as they have for me, your key to remembering.

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My Sheep Know My Voice

I often try to imagine what it would be like to live in the time of Jesus Christ as he walked along the roads of Galilee.  What a glorious experience it would have been to witness the miracles and be taught from His very mouth those precious words of salvation.  Can you imagine the love that might have filled your heart and the gratitude for His selfless kindness that would have permeated your every thought?  I like to think I would have known Him and recognized Him as the promised One, following and listening to His every word, but it seems that so many did not.  How could they have rejected such miracles, such love, and such hope?  Though many had claimed to have read the words of the prophets prophesying of His coming, when He stood in their midst and said come follow me, they “went back and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). 

A testimony of Jesus as the Christ does not come from seeing with our physical eyes his miraculous movement of matter just like it did not convince so many of old.  But our testimony of Christ will come as we learn to recognize and give heed to His voice.  We are so lucky today to have the prophet’s words both ancient and modern to help us to come to know our Savior and come to know the sound of His voice.  Through the scriptures we can read the words and testimonies of ancient prophets.  Mormon, a prophet who’s record is found in the Book of Mormon says “we talk of Christ , we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).  All that is written by these prophets are to point us to and help us come to know our Master, Jesus Christ.  I know that the Bible is the word of God and that as we read it we can come to know Christ.  I also know that the Book of Mormon teaches of this same Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of the world.  As we read from both we can come to recognize His voice and be filled with His Spirit.

We must also come to know his voice now by reading from the scriptures and listening to the modern prophets that when that great day comes in which the Son of God will appear, we shall be amoung His fold.  For Christ has said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)  God has called and appointed prophets on the earth today that continue to witness of the “reality of His matchless life and the divinity of His infinite Atonement” ( “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” 2000).  This weekend we have the opportunity to listen to these men who are called of God to witness of His Son.  I invite you to listen to their words, hearken to their counsel, and as you do so I promise that little by little you will come to know the Shepherd.  Till you too can join with the prophets of old and those who stand as His witnesses today in saying “I know that my Redeemer lives!!” (Job 19:25)

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The Power to Heal

In the scriptures, there are so many individuals with whom we can relate to and apply their experiences in our lives to help us learn about how we can come closer to our Savior.  One of my favorite characters is a woman spoken of in the New Testament, not named by name, who was healed by faith when she pressed forward and touched the hem of Christ’s garment.  This story has really come alive to me as I have related to this woman many times throughout my life and especially now on my mission.  In the past nine months I have had the blessed privelage to see in others lives the miracle of healing that occurs when an individual develops faith in Jesus Christ, comes to Him, and allows Him to heal their wounds.

In Mark 5, this woman’s experience with Christ is beautifully written.  Not too much is said about her as far as the details of her life, but we do know that she has been suffering from an “issue of blood” for about twelve years.  In that time, she had seen many physicians and thus, I imagine it must have been a horrible, painful condition or disease.  The individuals that she sought help from were educated in their fields, men of great reputation perhaps having a history of curing and helping many others who suffered from mortal afflictions.  And yet after having “suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had…[she] was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.”  I am not sure what I would do were I her.  During this time, even on top of the pain that such a condition may have brought about, I can only imagine the ridicule she must have experienced and the feelings of unacceptance and lonliness that befell her over those twelve long years.  Being looked on and labeled as unclean and diseased.  In this condition, she hears tale of a Healer who is coming to pass through her town.  From the reputation that preceeds him and possibly the testimony of those who have been witness to his miraculous touch, this woman develops a seed of faith.  She has not seen him; however, she feels that “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”  Thus, she comes forth from her dwelling place with hope in her heart, and then she sees the crowd, thronging multitudes of people.  But that does not hold her back.  She pushes through the crowd with her weakened body trying her best to block out all that is telling her you are not worthy, you are not good enough, or even possibly you are beyond being healed, a lost cause.  She did not stop.  Believing and seeking, she pressed foward to touch but the hem of Christ’s garment.  “And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”  Then, as the Savior aknowledges her and speaks to offers those comforting words “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” 

I am always amazed when it speaks of her suffering with this “issue of blood” or disease of some sort that she suffered with for twelve years!  After that long, I am afraid I would not have had even the ambition to go where a thronging crowd would be and push my way through it that I might have a chance (would it really happen?) to be healed.  Especially after she had already tried remedies of various physicians.  But had she not acted and pressed foward and sought out this Jesus of Nazareth, the greatest healer of all, that plague may have been the curse of years to come.  I believe she had to prove herself and her desire to come to Christ.  She could have all the faith in the world and sat on her chair at home, wishing she had the strength or making excuses like if he comes to my house and heals me, then I will believe in him.  But she did not!  She proved her faith and did not let the world stand in her way of seeking out Christ.  We must prove the same thing.  We may be suffering in our own trials and pain, and like this woman’s, they may even last for years.  We can choose to sit at home and sulk in our harships or we can press on through the multitudes of voices and people and struggles that seem to be blocking our way and we can live in Christ! 

She had done all she knew that was in her power to be healed and yet could find no relief.  Sometimes we are asked to endure for an amount of time pain and trial that comes here in mortality, but when given the opporunity to see Christ and go to Him, she put forth the effort and was made whole.  By coming unto Christ with faith, we can find that we too can be made “perfectly whole.” (Matt 14:36)  He did not withhold his virute and healing power from those who sought Him.  He did not send away the sick, but instead beckoned to each one of them in His loving way “come unto me” (Matt 11:28).  Do you have wounds that need to be healed?  Do you have fears that keep you from going forward?  Do you ever feel alone or forsaken?  Is there a person in your life that you are struggling to forgive?  Please, let Him heal you.  I know that it is through Jesus Christ that the deepest heartaches can be consoled, the hateful grudge can be let go, addictive sin can be forsaken, and your every wound can be entirely and completely healed.  As we help one another and increase our faith in Jesus Christ, we will find the strenth to push through every obstacle, our own thronging multitudes, to touch our Savior and be made whole.

There are many who are waiting to “[hear] of Him.”

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This Journey Called Life.

"...and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out...and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." (John 10:3-4)

We all enter this word in various environments sporting our own unique characteristics, talents, and tendencies.   From day one we have begun our journey called life.  My journey began in a small town in central Utah.   It was there that I made mud pies, rode rollerblades till me feet wanted to fall off, rolled Easter eggs down sand hills, and slept under the open star-filled skies.  The relationships with my family have shaped and molded me,  my parents being my number one role models.  I have four sisters that are my support and always there when I need them, and I have also spent my fair share of time playing football, shooting guns, padded sumo wrestling, shooting hoops on basketball court, video game sports, and doing anything and everything to have the chance to spend time with my brothers.  My family is my life, and yet this morning I found myself jogging in a cool brisk New York morning.  Why, might you ask, would I leave my bubble of love, peace, and family for 18 whole months of a life in freezing cold western New York?  Good question.

I embarked on this mission journey and left my precious family and friends that I might help others.  Help them find the peace and hope that only faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ can bring.  Help them learn how to communicate in prayer with their loving and kind Father in Heaven.  Help heal a broken heart or bind a searing wound.  Little did I know that that in doing so, I would be healed, filled with peace and hope, and taught truly how to love.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to walk each day in the footsteps of my Savior and learn line upon line who He is and what it is to hear the sound of His voice.   He is real!  And He is the only way, to that true and eternal joy.

I know that God lives.  That He is aware of your every sorrow, every joy, every thought, and every need.  He wants so much for you come home to Him.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to show us each the way to do just that.  I invite you to learn of Him and walk in His footsteps.  Seek to do His will.  Trust Him.  Then, one day, you will suddenly discover that you are well on your way to coming to know the Shepherd.

I hope throughout this blog we will be able to come to know Him together.

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