Saturday, September 17, 2011

Get Interested! It's for your own Benefit!

Over the past 17 months there has been one phrase I have heard often, as a missionary, that has always bugged me a little more than others. That phrase being, "No thanks, I'm not interested right now." When I first got out in the mission field I would leave the situation thinking, "How could you not be interested, it's Jesus Christ we're talking about!" But as I reflected on the statement I thought back on my life and how for years I "wasn't interested" in the Gospel, I wasn't worried about praying, I wasn't down on myself all the times I missed church. Life seemed fine, why should I give interest to something, when I am satisfied with where I am?

The phrase still troubles me today as I think of all the people who will not take the time to listen to the message of the Restored Gospel simply because they feel that life is adequate for their needs as it is. I think back to my life and all the years I wasn't interested, the main, and pretty much only, reason I wasn't interested was because I didn't know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ was. I didn't know all the peace, happiness, insight, direction, comfort, encouragement, and many of the other blessings associated with the message that flowed into my life. I had no clue that it would help define my character and put to use all the traits I had developed from youth up.

It is sad to think that so many people will only find interest in the Gospel when life is at its lowest point, when they are at the last of their list on the search for happiness. And moreover, it is sad that most people will follow the Gospel but as soon as life gets more manageable they will forsake the Christ that has lifted them through their trials and has blessed them with all that they have. I think of how our Heavenly Father must feel as he reaches out to his children to offer a path that will lead them through any trial and eventually back to dwell in His heavenly kingdom.

The challenge that I would give to all who "aren't interested at this time" is to give the message of the restoration a chance and do the things that so many people rely on to bring them peace and serenity in life, little things such as praying, scripture study and attending church. I would guaruntee that if you put forth the effort and put the Gospel to the test and see if it doens't enhance your life, if it doesn't bring greater meaning, if it doesn't paint a clearer picture of life. The Gospel is not just meant to help the lowly in heart or the poor in spirit, it is here to help us all, no matter what background or situation we come from, are currently in or planning to get to. This message is something that is meant for everyone and has the ability to benefit us in any aspect of our lives. I can bear a solid testimony of this truthful message in Chist's name.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Battle of Good Vs. Evil: Tips to Win!

 I like comic books, not to the extent that I actually read them. Because honestly I rarely read any books besides the gospel. But just so everyone knows it's way better that way because someone else creates the characters and the super powers, their stregnths and weaknesses and their enemies, and I get to make up their story. So in the end it cuts out a lot of the work for me, which is always a benefit in my book.

But in my life of comic book people the battle between good and evil is always very different. One aspect I want to cover is the fact that bad guys always want the attention and good guys rarely take any glory personally. Mainly I'm going to focus on this because I can apply it to the gospel, and most of the people I know wouldn't pay attention if I didn't tie in something worldly.

First off we will look at the villains side of life. They usually come from some weird background where they weren't loved as a kid or they didn't like their boss or something "totally dramatic". They in turn decide that the world owes them something go crazy and decide to build octopus arms on themselves or make a mask that turns them psycho or whatever else they can come up with to help them take their revenge! They end up causing all this even more drama with everyone and taking lives or whatever it might be.

Villains are like the temptations of Satan. No one even likes them but for some reason they won't go away. They are loud and attention hogging. We've all come across one or another maybe a computer pop up shouting at us to click for some fast entertainment (or whatever), or a movie preview telling us "Watch me I'm crude, I can get you to laugh come watch me!", or maybe it's a little more subtle but just as destructive like, "Take this job you'll make tons of money! Money leads to happiness! Don't worry about the sacrifice you'll give up with not having time with your family!" All of these temptations are apparent, loud, attention grabbing, hard to ignore. Frankly, they are everywhere. But yet we are supposed to ignore them, brush them off, stay on the strait and narrow path to eternal life.

Now to the hero, hero's start out being hurt or affected in some way by some bad guy's action and they devote their life to helping those who are afflicted by the trials of evil. They for the most part are pretty humble and silent about their identity and task, for instance they will live in this cave in a side of a mountain when they are ridiculously rich, or they live in this ghetto apartment in New York City (no thanks). They usually only come out when they are needed, when the so to say "cry for help" is made. Most of their technology and skills have to be one step ahead of their villains so that they can effectively carry out their duty.

Hero's are like the spirit, the Holy Ghost. In all the scriptures the instances of the Holy Ghost reaching out to man it is through subtle, humble, quiet ways. Almost never (I say that cause it might be in there somewhere but I can't think of an instance) is it described as shouting at an individual, unless its accompanied by a divine visitation or something like that (which I'm still waiting for my personal one). It touches our inner most feelings, something that if we aren't in tune with, the loud temptations can easily drown out.

So what are we supposed to do to come out triumphant when the battle seems so outweighed? Well let me mention a couple things, first off remember, no one really likes Satan and his temptations, so don't be afraid to step up when you feel something is bad. Secondly, Umm I dunno maybe try to make your life more spiritual so its easier to recognize those signs given to us. Stay one step ahead of the game, that's what Batman does and he's successful. Thirdly don't be intimidated, what would've happened if some hero came up against a bad guy and got scared? "Well that's easy Elder Trujillo", you say "The vilian would end up getting away with murder, quite literally, and who knows when his havoc would've stopped!" That's what I was thinking too! So don't hesitate! If you are hesitating to make the changes in your life whatever it may be to quit an addiction, to learn about the gospel or whatever! Take Nike's advice and "Just Do It"!

I promise you if you heed to the teachings of Jesus Christ and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, getting rid of all evil, bad and even the "not so good" stuff, your life WILL be blessed. I know this because of two reasons. One, because I did it and am continuing to do it and I love it, it makes me happy, it keeps me safe! Secondly, because Jesus Christ asked us

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Faith; Its Easy... Like Building a Puzzle

I was recently reading a 2011 April General Conference talk, by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, titled "Waiting on the Road to Damascus". The talks subject is centered on not waiting for a miraculous experience to clear up any questions or doubts we may have in regards to our faith. Many may know that as a missionary I rely heavily on analogies to portray the workings of the Gospel. I'd like to spend some time focusing on the powerful analogy that President Uchtdorf presents in his talk, comparing our steps of faith to the construction of a puzzle.

When starting a puzzle you most always start with the border or edge pieces, its almost essential to the overall accomplishment. You could compare this first step, the starting of our faith with a scripture in Alma 32:27, "But behold if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words (the words of Christ), and excersise a particle of faith, yea even if ye can no more that desire to believe (starting our puzzle), let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that you can give place for a portion of my words (our border is completed)."
While working on our puzzle we know that some pieces come right after the other, and some often stump us (If your like me it's way often) at where or what piece goes where. Our Testimony (a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost) of the Gospel can like wise at times come easily or can take time and effort. I dunno about you but when attempting a puzzle an overall result (picture on the box) is too often required to guide me through this task. Likewise after we may have started our journey ,by desiring faith and experimenting on the words of Christ, it comes to a point where we need to take the steps necessary for baptism by immersion, by the Priesthood of God, to continue adding pieces of faith to our masterpiece. When we are baptized we receive the Holy Ghost (our picture of the puzzle) to help lead us to further finding and placing our spiritual experiences to the growth of our knowledge of the Savior.

This is essential, the Holy Ghost knows perfectly the workings of God and Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 28:10-11). With his constant companionship we can endure life's trials, doubts, and temptations and can be lead to our overall joy of completing our puzzle.

I would like to end with a portion of the talk I have been inspired by,"The truth is, those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know Him. They will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle- one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself; it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. Each piece helps us to see the big picture a little more clearly. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together, we recognize the grand beauty of it all. Then, looking back on our experience, we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us- not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed.
This can be our experience if we move forward with faith and do not wait too long on the Road to Damascus."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Silver Surfer Perspective One

My favorite comic book hero (recently) has been the Silver Surfer. I think what makes me so drawn to this character is his heroic change of heart and turn around. I like to think of it compared to those, sometimes difficult and drastic, changes to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the comic/movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Silver Surfer makes a pact with Galctus, to help prepare other planets for destruction, in hopes to save his own planet from that very fate. he is given powers and a childhood dreamed mode of transportation (his surfboard) to help with the task. His job is to prepare the planets for easier "digestion"(so to say) for Galctus. In turn you can imagine how many civilizations and planets destruction the Silver Surfer is greatly responsible for. Soon it is time for the Silver Surfer to prepare earth for its destruction.

When the Silver Surfer comes to earth to open the door of doom, he is met by the heroic team called the Fantastic Four comprising of The Human Torch, The Thing, The Invisible Woman, and Mr. Fantastic. After the capture and rescue of the Silver Surfer the team gains favor in the sight of the Silver Surfer. In hopes to save the near extinction of life as they know it the Silver Surfer puts all he has, his life included, on the line in the final battle with Galactus.

With the Silver Surfer's triumphant turn around and victory over evil his mighty change of heart brings him to a life of good.
I can only imagine the hope the Silver Surfer had (if this were real) as he gave up evil in an epic battle (really you should watch it!) for good. If the Silver Surfer didn't act on his "good intentions" the destiny of the world would have been all together very tragic.
Most of us may be partial to a line from a Fall Out Boy song which says, "the road outside my house is paved with good intentions". I think that line can be accompanied with a quote from Elder Steven E. Snow's Conference address titled "Hope", "Our hopes can lead to dreams which can inspire us and lead us to action... Hope alone does not cause us to succeed. Many honorable hopes have gone unfulfilled, shipwrecked on the reefs of good intentions and laziness." Let us better our eternal fate by acting on the hope to live the gospel standards and do what is right.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Understanding A Mormon: W of W

Everyone seems to have difficulty understanding why Mormons (Latter Day Saints) do what they do. My purpose today is to talk about a topic that many people are like, "What? You guys ask too much."
I wanted to start of talking about cars... cause that's pretty much all I think about... except while I'm on a mission (in case my Mission President is reading ;). But I want to talk about a situation. Imagine you need to go somewhere not near where you live. Lets say you need to go to an interview for a job or a movie role that you are very well qualified for the position and you are sure you'll ace it. If you can make this trip you will be able to grow and experience new things. But you're broke and you ain't got no way of getting there.
Luckily a friend who loves you very much knows how much you can benefit from this trip so he goes out and buys you a nice new reliable car to get you through the trip. so this car is pretty cool, it smells all new, the paint is all shiny, B-E-A-Utiful!

Now, of course you are very grateful for the opportunities this car presents, and you know your friend is very particular about his cars and keeping them in pristine condition. Now hopefully you'd be respectful and grateful enough to not smoke in the car! Or spill a Pepsi in the car and put off the cleaning (hopefully, you'd be more respectful to not spill Pepsi in the first place! ;) Hopefully you would take care of it to honor and show appreciation to your friend.
On February, 27 1833 the Lord reinstated a code of health, so to say, "Showing forth the will or God" known to us as the Word of Wisdom. In the New Testament of the Bible in 1 Corinthians 3:16 we learn, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Comparing our bodies as a temple give us and idea of how much God values them. We are taught that we had to get a body to progress in this life, learn what pain, happiness, sorrow, guilt and all that fun stuff is. Without our God given bodies we wouldn't have been able to make this trip. Thus stopping our progression.
As a follower of Jesus Christ when the Word of Wisdom was given, we were instructed to refrain from putting certain substances in our body namely, tobacco, coffee, tea, alcohol and illegal drugs. If you understand anything of how Heavenly Father feels , giving us our "car"(body) to make this much needed trip, we would follow gladly his desires to help keep it clean and in top condition.
I can only imagine at the second coming when God and Christ  are "preparing" our "bodies", "cars", "temples", however you want to look at it, for the Resurrection and they cry at some of the things they have to clean or repair because of the amount of appreciation we showed for this wonderful opportunity.
So pick out your favorite car, for me I'd like to think of myself as a Mercedes Mclaren SLR
 Yeah I can see that, for my brother it would probably be a Saleen S7...

Except with a moustache of course.
Now that you have your car picked out recognize what God has given you to make this trip and show gratitude through how you treat it! That is just a little analogy of why Mormons do one of the things they do. I know that this is true because I live it and feel of its blessings. Thank You for attending Mormonism 101 with Professor Trujillo.
I got in trouble by my sister for not putting her on. I also one uped her choice of car!

Ford Raptor for a BOMB sister!!! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kindness ACT 1

I was recently moved by a talk that I read from General Conference by Henry B Eyring called "Opportunities to Do Good". The talk's main subject was being helpful and who and how it helps. I have always thought that each situation we are put in our lives whether it be having children, working, suffering, or anything else is to help us somehow understand our Heavenly Father. One of the best ways we can come to know our Father in Heaven and his love is to serve those around us. When we serve we become His hands in helping and better come to and understanding of the love He feels towards us. As I reflected on this talk I started to think of the service in my life. 

One of my favorite stories of service took place when I was a wee lad, of like 14, (way back in the day). My parents had just divorced and my father had left our family with very little furniture, it was to the point where my mom was sleeping on a futon (not fun). Not long after the initial situation, we received a knock on the door one night. When we answered we realized it was a group of the relief society ladies in our ward who kinda barged in (politely... because they're ladies) carrying furniture that they had gathered together after they had heard of our situation. That day was a remarkable day for my family and I as we felt the love of God through those ladies.

The months that followed were just as much of an adjustment as the beginning. Those faithful daughters of God continued to pull our family in and spoil us with an abundance of love. I remember I wanted to do something extra nice for my mom for her birthday. I decided I was going to paint her room and her furniture to match, to show my appreciation for all the extra effort that was needed on her part due to the circumstances. Tricky part was I wanted it to be a semi-suprise. Like I said I was young, so I don't even remember how it got set up (early Alzheimers), but the same people came to help me buy paint and  keep me from completely ruining my mother's room. They also organized a birthday party at one of their houses, which was a bonus. It turned out to be a very good birthday for my mother when she needed it the most (I remember that part).

Simple acts of kindness have the ability to impact people's lives far beyond we will ever know. Their acts of kindness have influenced me until this day, and have made me watchful for the needs of others. My call to everyone is to find a way to reach out, make sure you are in the situation to help those in need when they need it the most. Heavenly Father sent us to earth to dwell as a family, as brothers and sisters, it is our responsibility to seek out those whose heads hang helplessly low. Let us find the love of Christ as we serve those around us.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

He Suffered For Me

Jesus Christ suffered the pains, afflictions and sins so that he could come to our aid and we could return to live with God again if we so chose to follow Him.<-True that.

That's a lot of sin! That's a lot of pain! That's a lot of love!<-True that.

Focusing on me (because that's what I do best), Christ suffered in the Garden so that He could help my mom put up with my stubbornness. Christ suffered in the Garden so that my mom could put up with my laziness. Christ suffered in the Garden to help my mom laugh at those times I would crash both her and my car (not at the same time... I'm not that talented). Christ suffered in the Garden so that He could help my mom have strength to stay up with me all those nights I procrastinated homework, not to bring up all the times I just needed someone to talk to.  Christ suffered in the Garden to help my mom find love for me even when I would spout off mean things to her. Christ suffered in the Garden because he knew all the patience my mom was going to need raising me. 

Christ suffered in the Garden so that my sister could make it through my mean big brother phase, all the mean things I would call her, not thinking of how much I could potentially damage her. Christ suffered in the Garden so that my sister would have the heart to forgive me and find love for me, so that we could be best of friends. Christ suffered in the Garden so that after all those years of constantly fighting with my brother,after the broken lights, broken humidifier, broken TV,  and so on he would somehow find good in me and become one of my biggest idols. Christ suffered in the Garden so that my friends would still find love for me after all the pain I put them through, most of the time because I was selfish (I can be pretty good at that). Christ suffered in the Garden to help my teachers, co-workers, employers, family, friends, enemies... all put up with me.

Christ suffered in the Garden to make up for everything I lack. Christ suffered in the Garden to help me through the loss of friends, loved ones and so on. Christ suffered in the Garden so that I can get back to my Heavenly Father. Christ suffered in the Garden so that I can wash myself of my sins and move on. Christ suffered in the Garden because I don't have what it takes to do it myself. Christ suffered in the Garden because He loved me and was worried about my salvation. So in the end Christ suffered in the Garden for me.

I'm glad that I have some knowledge of my Savior. I'm glad I can share this message with everyone. I hope everyone comes to realize just a portion of what Christ has done for them. Christ suffered in the Garden and died on the cross for us, let's LIVE our appreciation.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Paycheck Of Humility

Many people in today's world view humility as a sign of weakness, timidity and fear. As I started to ponder on that statement I couldn't help but think about the Savior's life. Jesus Christ led the most courageous life, not any one of us would ever have the strength and will power to do what He did. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of humility, while showing the most courage, strength and enduring will power. His life was so successful and everlasting because He knew where His strength lied, He knew who knew best, He relied on His Father's will and everything He had been blessed with to fulfill His calling.

Reflecting on my life and the times I was more humble and the times where I was more prideful than humble, I asked myself how it paid off. As I've pondered on this battle of pride and humility, I have recognized one of my greatest blessings from humility.

In my life I have realized that when I am prideful I find myself aggravated. I find myself comparing myself to others. I find myself full of contention. When I am prideful I find myself saying, "Well why did they get that job position, I am better than them, I've worked harder then them, I'm more qualified than them." These thoughts too often escalate to a negative attitude and a person who not too many people desire to be around.

When I am prideful I find myself focusing on negative thoughts and I have come to realize that at those times I am so full of hate that I stop applying as much effort and talents to the situation I am currently in. Why try, no one recognizes anyway. At times I even find myself trying to belittle them and put forth all my effort in showing I'm better than them, which in end, I end up belittling myself. but at least I've proved my point. Right?

On the other hand, again in my life, when I am the more humble I find myself patiently waiting and having faith that when Heavenly Father feels necessary to put me where he sees best, that it will benefit me the most. I find myself exhorting my greater efforts to the position I am currently in, instead of using effort toward envious feelings. I am less stressed, more happy and am better able to fulfill my duties. I also can focus on learning from those above me and applying beneficial techniques. Then when the time comes, when I am needed, I am thankful, I feel qualified and I rely, once again, on the Lord to magnify my talents and abilities. Also, people who I am in stewardship over are more attentive and respect me more because I am focused on serving them and magnifying my specific duties.

I am positive there are many other ways humility pays off. Test it out and see how it improves your life to be humble compared to prideful. I know that just like the Savior our life will be of more impact and it will in turn lead us to greater happiness.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Simple Testimony for a Remarkable Sacrifice

Reflecting on Easter, and all that it means, I was trying to think of something I could do that would pay gratitude to our Savior and be somewhat personal. After thinking on the topic I decided that a simple personal testimony of Jesus Christ and all that I am grateful for in my life might suffice for what I wish to accomplish. I hope that through this you may feel of my personal witness that I know that Jesus Christ lives and is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.
I haven't had a Heavenly visitation of angels or of Christ himself, I haven't traveled and walked the roads the Savior walked during His earthly ministry, I haven't seen the amazing visions that the prophets and apostles have seen, but I don't feel I need any of that to know the man who lived, suffered, and died for me. I don't need to see the risen Christ in order for me to believe that through him I have the opportunity and privilege to be forgiven of my sins. I don't feel I need to meet him because I have felt his divine love for me, I have felt hope and peace when I had so much of my past weighing me down, I have felt the burden of sin along with the sweet feeling of being made clean in the eyes of my maker. I feel that I have felt the Savior's touch when I have repented of my trespasses with my fellow man and my God. I am Grateful for all that Christ did and continues to do for me, for someone who didn't live during his ministry, someone who will never do for Him what he desires to do for me, someone who doesn't have the slightest clue, in comparison, of all that He did for all mankind, even those that did and would continue to mock and scorn Him.
I love all that Easter represents, the fact that because of Christ's Resurrection I have the great blessing of rising and living beyond this life, along with the blessing and opportunity to dwell with my Father in Heaven after this life. I wish to spend my life showing my gratitude toward all that went into the Plan of Salvation and the sacrifices that were made that I may experience happiness and eternal life.
I am also grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who never loses hope in all his children here on earth. I am grateful for the Restoration of Christ's Church on the earth, I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and all the revealed truth that sacred set of scriptures brought with it. I know that we indeed are benefited abundantly from the prophet and apostles that have been called and chosen as worthy representatives and mouthpieces for God in this dispensation. I know that the message that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints carries and wishes to share is true and can bless the lives of all that wish to know so. This is just a small portion of my Testimony of the Savior. I hope that all will increase their testimony this Easter time, and give an added measure of devotion to sharing what they know and believe about Christ. I bear my witness in Christ's name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When All Is Lost?

After the recent crisis in Japan with the earthquake and tsunami it seems to have everyone looking at the news with similar thoughts of how sad the tragedy was and how massive and quick it came, also how much it is still affecting us today with food threats from nuclear waste and so forth. One thing that I know was being noticed was how calm the people in japan were being and how organized and polite the stores were to customers and the same with the people waiting for food and shelter. This type of devastation brings up conversations of the other disasters "waiting" to happen and the question of if that type of disaster took place in America how the people would react.
While thinking about this, I thought about what kind of things get us through the trying times in our lives. Some might listen to music as a way of coping with trials while others may spend their time working on cars, hunting, eating, going for drives, exercising of some sort, shopping, or many other activities. These activities are ways that we deal with stress, anger, heartache, depression, and other ways we may feel when life takes us for a turn. But what happens when life takes us for a nose dive? What happens if all our material items aren't available at our fingertips, when food is short, when we have no home, when family and friends are taken, what do we do when all that we know is taken from us? How do we make it through that type of trial?
I suppose that we could ask the survivors what they do or did to keep their hearts high in such despair. I suppose that we may never have to find out what it takes to get through such a trial, but the question always arises, "Would I be prepared?"
Something that comes to mind when tragedy like this happens is that, the one thing no one will be able to take from us is our Faith and relationship with God. Faith is one thing that fire, tornado, famine, earthquake, or any earthly disaster can take from us. Thus, if we focus our attention on building our Faith (don't worry its easy, prayer, scripture study, church, simple stuff like that), the more possibility we will have in making it through any trial in life whether it be a week where your car is in the shop (and you don't have a spare), or a tsunami that wipes out everything that you have.
My hope is that we would take more time and effort in building our testimony in our Savior Jesus Christ, and ultimately learn to trust and rely on him and the power of the atonement to get us through trials we face in our lives.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reaching Our Quintessential Potential

One of the things that I struggled with throughout my teenage years, or my "young adult-hood" (I guess that's what some would call it... probably arguable by others) was figuring out who I was. This quest went way deeper with questions of what my strengths/weaknesses are, what kind of activities or hobbies I liked/was good at and what I wanted with my life overall. It still is a question that I have, I guess everyone always has those questions, maybe that's what life is for. Anyway, before my mission and being reactivated in the church I still didn't know. Well, maybe I thought I knew but then when the missionaries came over and I started to rededicate myself to the gospel it seemed like everything I "knew" was being questioned.
So I started to follow down this new but somewhat familiar path, which in turn ended up with me being on a mission. I wanted to come on a mission so that I could tell people that life is better with the knowledge/faith I have of Jesus Christ through the restored Gospel and its teachings. In my attempts to do this I find a great deal of people who are in the similar shoes as I was in, trying to find themselves in attempts to try different life styles. I remember when I was in middle and high school I was always trying to find out what "genre" of people I molded with the best. One year it was preppy people then maybe the next it was more of your trouble maker kids, my clothing style always changed along with music, language, attitude, desire, thoughts, and mostly the way I acted. It has led me to think about how much my life would be different if I would have continued to follow the Savior throughout my childhood.
I feel that my life now has direction with who I want to be and where I want to take my life. I find myself realizing strengths and weaknesses and knowing my limits on life. Its not like it just hit me one day but looking back at the last 2 years of my life has been a remarkable experience. I'm not saying that people wouldn't be able to find who they are if they didn't have the gospel, they probably won't reach the happiest point they can obtain in this life, I know I wouldn't have known as much and wouldn't have been as comfortable with who I am otherwise.
As I was reflecting recently I was thinking about how much different my life is now compared to then. I tried to think of what attributed to the peace and comfort that I have in my life. I'm still the same sarcastic person that people usually end up misunderstanding my humor but my life somehow seems to fit and make sense. As I was reflecting I thought about Christ and His life. From before the beginning of the world Christ has always tried to glorify and serve God. Our salvation depends on Christ and what he did from the beginning up to what he continues to do now, but I find it interesting that Christ all throughout his life just wanted to do His Father's will. He would never take credit for himself and just wanted people to obey God and live life in a way that leads them back to Him. Through this, Christ truly reached his full potential on earth, He was purely sinless and one of the most well know people still today, not to mention the most important person... thousands of years later.
Lawrence E. Corbridge expressess my desired point clearly when he said, "The United States Army says 'Be all that you can be.' But neither the Army nor you know all that you can be. The Lord says: 'Let me make of you all that you can be.' As measured by men's standards Army Rangers are impressive, but when compared with what the Lord can make of you, compared to the realization of your divine potential they truly are nothing. The realization of your amazing, astounding, and true potential happens only in the hands of the Lord." I know that it's only through the power of our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ that we can become all we can be, and I pray that we may follow in our Savior's footsteps to attain that full satisfaction in this life as well as in the life to come.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Learning to Obey

It seems that as the world changes, people become more and more opinionated about the Gospel. One of the subjects I've heard of the most is the topic of the commandments. Many people argue that in order to know if something is bad they have to experience it first hand, thus defeating the purpose of the specific instruction God has given us pertaining to ways of living. While I agree with the fact that you learn a great deal from your past mistakes and the ways you deal with trials on your own, there is still a great importance and safety in obeying the commandments and I would add you can learn just as much if not more from obeying than disobeying, and might I add, its from a much safer distance.
When we choose to disobey a commandment we often think that we will be stronger from learning why it's "bad" first hand. However, often times we fail to realize some of the dangers this can lead us to. One of the high risks we run by not obeying a commandment is falling into the trap of addictions, jail time, loss of trust from family and friends and much more. Sometimes we fall so far into the temptation of saying, "Not living that commandment won't affect me that much." Then before we realize it we are too far from thinking that we can change our lives, we think we are in a place where we can't repent from our sins, sometimes we fall to a point where we lose hope of changing and just think our destiny is to continue to fall. We never know how much the result of disobedience will affect us in the end.
Obedience to the commandments can lead us to watch and learn from the mistakes of others around us. Also, one of the greatest benefits of obeying the commandments God has set forth, is that if there is any blessing, whether it be spiritual or temporal, your obedience opens the channel to receive those blessings. It also allows us the assurance that we are doing what our Heavenly Father has asked us to do. If we are obedient we are blessed.
God knows the results of not obeying all the commandments he has given us. Some may seem small and not so important and others obvious and easy to follow. However, that should not lead us to judge and decide to follow some commandments versus others, the commandments given are in affect for all of us.
When I think of God the easiest way for me to come close to imagining him is of having the characteristics of our parents, plus the ones that they lack. I know when I was younger my mom would "choose her battles" with me and decide what rules she wanted to enforce with added importance and what things she was going to let me learn on my own. I often feel that God has this similar characteristic, I'm sure there are plenty of other things in the world that he would not like to see us doing but he has chosen certain "battles" he was standing firm in. This, to me, shows an added emphasis on the commandments that God has chosen to ask us to follow and also the emphasis on the danger we will fall into when not heeding to his words.
One opinion given is that the commandments tie us down and don't let us live to our fullest ability or learn all that we can from this life. Others would disagree and say that the commandments help us live and learn all that we can from this life. The best way I've heard it said was in the analogy of a kite, if you looked at the world from the kites perspective you would think it would be accusing the string attached of holding it down and not letting it fly to its fullest potential. It would almost be saying, "Let go so I can fly high! You're limiting my ability, I know if you let go I can go higher!" But we know from our "expert kite flying skills", that if you were to let go of the string the kite would spin out of control and soon crash to the ground. That is somewhat similar to the commandments, we think that they are limiting our choices in life but when we live them and then decide to take them away we see that life is better suited with some string holding us up. Because commandments are divine instruction from God, and he wants us only to succeed, if we obey them he has promised us the blessing of reaching past our potential than if we had tried to live by our own rules.
When it comes down to the bottom line we don't know how much our life will be affected from disobedience but we do know that if we follow what we are told we have an added assurance that God is watching over us and is proud with the choices we are making, allowing him to bless us to our fullest. Donald L. Hallstrom has said, "I have always found that when we do the little things correctly, the Lord gives us the strength to accomplish big things... You might not always understand the reasons for some rules or commandments, but if you will follow them even in the little things you will have more strength to do big things... And you will have the great blessing of knowing that you are on the Lord's side and that He is on yours". I know that there is importance in following the commandments and I wish that someday we could follow with the exactness and gain all the support and blessings in store for us.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to enhance lives. This only takes affect in our lives when we develop Faith in Jesus Christ, Repent of our past sins, are baptized by immersion from someone holding the Priesthood authority of God and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. It is only through continuing to apply all these steps that we receive all the blessings that God has for us in this life and in the life to come. Entering into the path, however does not mean that we will become filthy rich, popular, funny, smart, or that we will be exempt from all the trials and cares that come with our mortal existence.
So in what ways does the Gospel bless our Lives? So many times in life when we think of God blessing us we think of only the temporal side (things that we can see). Living the Gospel helps you focus on what matters in life, returning to live with God and his son Jesus Christ. We are blessed with the knowledge that life is something more than the face value we give it. We no longer think of how much trials bring us down but how we have the power to overcome them and be strengthened through being faithful in time of near despair. When we live the Gospel's standards we are blessed with the ability to see ourselves as God sees us, full of potential and talents, able to accomplish much. We are blessed with the knowledge that we can find strength through our Faith and Hope in the atonement of Jesus Christ and all that he went through to come to our aid when we need it the most.
I like most people spent many years caught up in the things of the world that I thought made me happy and helped me get through the trying times of life. It wasn't until I saw those ideas of living falling down and catching up to me that I realized that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only sure foundation in which to build my life upon. I was glad to have been raised in an environment that had introduced me to the Rrestored Gospel at a young age. Though I rebelled I was glad to see God beckoning me back to his fold.
My idea of life changed dramatically as I took the steps to follow the savior of the world and put away my sins. My idea of life echoes the understanding of M. Russell Ballard in Our Search for Happiness,"A quality life is one that positively influences others and makes the world around it a better place in which to live. A quality life is one that is constantly growing, expanding its horizons and enlarging its borders. A quality life is one that is filled with love and loyalty, patience and perseverance, kindness and compassion. A quality life is one that is based on eternal potential and not confined to this life only. A quality life is a life well-lived."
I know that it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that I can return to live with God and obtain true joy in this life. I'm grateful for my knowledge of the Restored Gospel and I, like Christ, would beckon all of you to search out the message of the Restoration and see for yourself if it doesn't improve your quality of life. In the name of Jesus Christ, I bear my knowledge and testimony of this.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The First Few Moments

I have been thinking lately about how much the first few moments of anything play a significant role in ones life. As an example; when I first started working I got employed at a place where the staff was very family oriented and clean. I was following what I saw everyone else doing because I hadn't established my own way of doing certain tasks. The employees rarely sat around they were very encouraging and keeping the establishment clean was top priority. When I moved to another state I found myself working for the same company but the atmosphere was different. Because I had already had those examples set in my life I still continued the similar routine, I would try to rarely sit around, and I insisted on cleaning things properly before I left for the day.
As time passed the employees would comment and question my ways of working. Making remarks hinting for me to take it easy and sit instead of constantly working, or telling me that I dont have to worry about certain things being so clean, that noone else did it or noticed my work anyway. I would attempt to try the new ways of my atmosphere but it never felt right and I would fall back into my old ways. It seemed that the first place I worked at had set me somewhat in my ways of a employee. This carried on to when I got my own establishment I would try to set the same atmosphere in play. 
I think this idea applies to many parts of our lives, from who we hang out with in our first days of school to how we are raised in our homes. I think especially this plays a role in the time period from birth up until the proper age of baptism being 8 years old. Many people have commented saying that there is no way an 8 year old can clearly understand the concept and promise of baptism. I fully agree, I'm 21and still ponder at the full importance of baptism. However I do feel confident that if the parents apply the teachings of the gospel in their home that their kids will learn and adopt those teachings. So the role isn't so much on the children to understand but on their parents that God has trusted them with to teach them to "walk in the light of the Lord". If they do this the kids will be prepared to make that step and keep the promise they enter into at Baptism.
I know that through living the teaching and example of Christ we can all return to live with our Heavenly Father once more, and I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ.