Hello all and Happy Easter! What a beautiful, wonderful day it has been to reflect upon and remember the events that took place nearly two thousand years ago on this day -- events that forever changed the course of human existence and defied the previously insurmountable challenges of sin and death. This past week I have enjoyed watching the Prince of Peace videos the Church released for Easter this year and reading the accompanying scriptures that go with them. The verse correlated with the faith video particularly struck me. Mark 5:36 says, “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe”. What a powerful, moving verse with such a simple yet stirring message. The Savior’s words “Be not afraid, only believe” can be applied to any facet of life. These should be the words that constitute our form of living every day. Life is full of uncertainty, doubt, and even fear at times. The power of believing in something unseen but undoubtedly, irrefutably true -- the power of faith and hope -- dispels these awful feelings and provides the courage necessary to live day by day. Believing in Christ changes one’s perspectives, attitudes, and choices. Heartache turns into hope, water into wine, the ordinary into the extraordinary, and despair into determination. I love my Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. Because of Him we can become better. Because of Him we can see those whom we love again after this life. Because of Him our imperfections, both physical and spiritual, can be made whole and perfect. I know that He conquered death and sin willingly so that we might not have to pay the price if we will turn to Him and believe on His name. It is not meant to be easy, but small daily decisions such as scripture study, prayer, and service strengthen our faith. What once was a belief becomes undeniable knowledge and reassurance. I wish you all a wonderful start to your week and remember that with Christ at your side, all things are possible.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Kindness is an incredibly important, desirable attribute to develop. It heals wounds and binds broken lives, builds trust and strengthens friendships. Unfortunately, kindness is often overlooked, forgotten, and dismissed as something of little importance or value. It can be mistaken as weakness or allowing others to take advantage of us. This is simply not true. This week I was reminded of the power of kindness and the effect it has upon other people. While reading in Alma 20 about Lamoni and Ammon’s encounter with the Lamanite king (Lamoni’s father), I was impressed by the king’s reaction to Ammon’s desire that Lamoni be permitted to retain his kingdom and that his brothers be set free from prison. Verses 26-27 say, “And when he [the king] saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Because this is all that thou hast desired, that I would release thy brethren, and suffer that my son Lamoni should retain his kingdom, behold, I will grant unto you that my son may retain his kingdom from this time and forever; and I will govern him no more -- And I will also grant unto thee that thy brethren may be cast out of prison, and thou and thy brethren may come unto me, in my kingdom; for I shall greatly desire to see thee. For the king was astonished at the words which he had spoken, and also at the words which had been spoken by his son Lamoni, therefore he was desirous to learn them.” The kindness and love shown by Ammon to both the king and Lamoni softened the Lamanite king’s heart to hearing more and learning about the gospel. It opened his eyes to a new way of life and changed his perspective about an entire group of people- the Nephites. This story is a reminder to all of us that kindness speaks just as loudly as words. It is important that we treat everyone we come in contact with kindly and respectfully. We never know what effect a kind word or deed will have on a person and how it may change their life. I know that as we strive to be kind like the Savior, more of our brothers and sisters will brought to the truth.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
It is that wonderful time of year again -- General Conference. This is a time of reflection, questions, pondering, receiving answers, praying, and sustaining our Church leaders -- men who are called of God and have the divine authority to receive revelation for the entire world and speak on behalf of the Lord. It is a comfort to know that God reveals His gospel in every dispensation. One example of this that I love is found in Alma 19 when King Lamoni’s wife calls upon Ammon for his help and council. The queen was faced with a serious problem but turned in faith to a leader. Verse 4 says, “And she said unto him: The servants of my husband have made it known unto me that thou art a prophet of a holy God, and that thou hast power to do many mighty works in his name”. Later, in verse 9, she says, “I have had no witness save thy word, and the word of our servants; nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said”. The queen’s faith is absolutely incredible in this story. Without personally knowing Ammon, a prophet, or having been exposed to the gospel before, she trusted in what he prophesied and chose to believe. Because of this faith, Ammon’s words came to pass. There will be times when the Lord’s servants give us counsel during General Conference that we may not understand but if we trust in them, things will work out for our good and we will be blessed. These are men called by God to warn and watch out for us. There words will always be fulfilled but it is up to us to heed their messages and act in faith.