Add me as a friend on facebook, so you can message me to tell me what I need to work on, or blog about.

Invite others to "Grow [their] Faith"


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"He Denieth None"

Another guest writer: I asked my Zone Leader Elder McBride To share something that he felt inspired to write about. He is one of my favorite missionaries out here, and I will be sure to forward any comments to him.

As of late I have been doing a lot of pondering upon the Savior and His sacrifice for each of us.  I have stared at picture after picture of Jesus Christ and remained speechless at the thought of that act which was performed out of an unconditional and perfect love.  I have thought about why the Atonement is so important in my life and the difference it can make in the lives of those that surround me.  I wondered how it is that I might come to better understand God's love. 

I was reading in the bible, and came across this scripture in John 10:17-18, that says, "therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father."  This scripture hit me with a greater force than it had previous.  I started to think about how the Savior came willingly to do this for the Father, to show His trust and His love.  It started a reflection of my life and how willing I was to do things for the Lord, and I came to this result; Our willingness to do what God asks of us, is a measure of our love for Him. 

That pulled my mind to even greater reflection and remembrance; God willingly gave His Son, and watched him suffer all pains, stand rejection, and be mocked.  God withheld all power to save His Only Begotten Son of these troubles to give me the opportunity to return to his presence.  How convenient was it for the Father to watch his Son suffer?  How convenient was it for the Savior to suffer, bleed, and die for my mistakes, sins, and rebellion?  These questions came to my mind quickly as I thought of times I had placed things aside that God has commanded me to do, because they weren't always convenient.  I wondered how much love the Savior had to have for not only me, but for my family and friends and even those I don't know, to lay down his life so that we may return to our Father in Heaven. 



All of these things brought my focus back to the Atonement, back to why the Savior is so important in my life.  I am inadequate.  I do make mistakes.  I have placed other things before God in my life, and loved things other than Him first.  I am grateful for the willingness that Christ shows in forgiving me of these mistakes and if it were not for His love, and His Atonement, I would not be as happy as I am today, or as thankful for the things I am given, by His hand.  So, I am brought to this scripture from the Book of Mormon, "for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him..." (2 Nephi 26:33).  I am not denied by him, none will be, if they come unto him.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas

Birth heralded by angels, our Savior rose:

To become the first,
The first to fight death and win,
The first to live without sin.
The perfect Son,
The chosen One,
Chosen to lead, Chosen to find,
Chosen to bring those left behind,

Perfect faith for this Man,
Behold this the great 'I Am"
He brought comfort to widows,
Sight to the blind,
Strength to the lame,
And peace to the mind.

Our hearts are healed
As we touch his cloak,
He is the one,
The only source of Hope.

He lived for us, his beautiful life,
Though filled with sorrow, pain and strife,
He took our pain, our tears our sins
And bled them from his pores of skin.

He gave His precious miracle of life,
To save our souls, to save our lives
He was nailed to the cross,
Where He hung and He died
For us He lived, for us He died.


Advocate, Almighty, Alpha and Omega, Author of Life, Beginning and End, Bread of Life, Creator, Deliverer, Firstborn, Gate, God, Great Shepherd, High Priest, Holy and True, Immanuel, King Eternal, Lamb, Last Adam, Life, Light of the World, Lion, Mediator, Morning Star, Our Holiness, Our Protection, Our Peace, Precious, Rabbi, Rock, Savior, True, Teacher, The Way, The Word.

Remember Christ this holy season.
He is the one, the true reason.
For Joy, for Peace,
For Christmas Cheer,
So let us remember Him this year

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Carest thou not that we perish?"

"Carest thou not that we perish?" Mark 4:38 Who heard these words? The savior and redeemer of the world, the one who suffered, bled, and died for every one of us. He who cared enough "to go forth suffering pains, afflictions and temptations of every kind" (emphasis added) Alma 7:11, heard these words from those who were closest to Him, in His earthly life.
I have also heard these words0--not with such anchient grammar--but I too have suffered this harsh judgement of "You just don't care." from those I do truly care about.
I know just as most children, I have said to my parents, "You don't love me." Or "You're just doing this because you hate me." The list goes on and on!
What is my point in bringing this up? It's the teaching that Christ did after he heard these words from his beloved apostles. After he arose, and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea "Peace be still" He said simply, "How are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" Mark 4:40
Believe that your parents love you. Believe that Christ loves you! Have faith that everything he commands is for your good. "Be not faithless but believing!" John 20:27

Scripture links provided by http://lds.org/ also http://mormon.org/

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Matters Most?



Take some time out today and appreciate the gifts God has given you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Continue in Patience!



Keep Pushing, You're so close to getting that second marshmellow!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gifts to Christ

I sent out a facebook invitation to all of my facebook friends inviting them as I invite you to "Strengthen your faith, commit to yourself, what you are going to do to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I know you will find more peace and happiness as you strive to do this. And that is what Christ wants for all of us. That is his "work and his glory". That is what he died on the cross for. So let us this day make that step of faith. When you do something, or if you are planning to do something, post it under "[this blog]" Let us see how we can change our worlds, as we bring us and our friends closer to God, and closer to our Savior."

So my friends...The comments are now yours.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cold Weather: A time to find Joy!

*Chattering Teeth*
So the weather got unexpectedly cold pretty fast, and I was out walking the streets of Petaluma, when I asked myself, "What does cold weather have to do with the gospel?"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mother

It was my wonderful Mother's birthday yesterday and it got me thinking, ... How amazing are our mothers? How much do we take for granted the things that they do for us and give to us? My mother is incredible, 8 kids, she had to raise me, She has been through a lot. She is an incredible example to me of humility, and the way I need to live to draw closer to my heavenly parents. I know my Mother loves me, I have no doubt. And I know my mother loves My heavenly Father, and my Savior.
Thank you Mom, for ALL that you have done, do now, and will do! I love you so much!




Friday, November 26, 2010

What's the point?

Elder Hancock asked me to write a post for this blog. At first I wasn't really sure what I'd write... He asked me to write on something that has been on my mind recently. Instantly one thought popped in my mind. For me at least this is always on my mind. What is the point of this life? Usually I don't get so philosophical when I ask myself this. Usually in the moment it's more what's the point of this (whatever I happen to be doing)?


There was a time when I didn't believe there was a God. That this life was it. When I died that's the end of me. I was bothered by how pointless life was. I was spinning my wheels. I was doing something but not really going anywhere. I built relationships with people and gained friends but some friends took a different path in life and we lost contact. All we worked to build, slowly faded away to mere bittersweet memories.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Turned Around

                                





As I was reflecting on Luke 17, I had the desire to write a poem about the 10 lepers...



My God had blessed my happy life, He gave me a good home,
I lived outside a certain town, Where my children could roam.
I had everything I could ever ask, I truly felt blessed,
Until I fell sick one night, and I could not rest.

I woke the next morning, lesions covering my back
I prayed that it was not what it seemed
But sure enough with the physicians check,
I was condemned a leper, diseased, unclean.

I was sent to die with others cursed,
Outcast from town, outcast from life,
Outcast from what I had first.
And sent to live a life of strife.

My family was gone, my home taken away,
Every dream that I had, faded to gray.
The gray of my skin, the gray of the sky.
Everything gone taken away.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I didn't see!


So a couple of days ago, I rolled out of bed at the regular 6:30. And I bashed my nose into my bedpost. Why in the world would I do that? I sure didn't want to, I didn't preconcieve that I would do this when I woke up. I don't particularly like pain...or blood. So why did I do this?
It's interesting, as we ask ourselves why we suffer consequences. Sometimes we don't see what our current actions will lead us to do in the future, and how our environment affects what we choose to do. Sometimes

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rain on my soul!

Come from heaven, Cleanse this earth.
Dampen Fires, Clean the air.
Pour out unceasingly your blessed touch!
Give nourishment to those who thirst.
Heal the broken crags of new life.
Pour relief to the burdened ones.
Feed the mouths of those that cry out!
Save those that cannot save themselves!
Help them receive thee!

Father, Rain on my soul!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I got an E-mail...

Baptized: December 27th 2008
Located: Bogalusa, Louisiana
Age: 45 Years Old 
Marcus Riley's Road to Baptism
Marcus Testimony Before Baptism: Dear Elder Tagg I am in a very good mood today. I had a very wonderful talk, and interview with the Missionary President this Morning which is Sunday December 21 2008. I am so very happy that I want to go and shout it from the mountain top of glory and clavery cross where Jesus Christ die for my sins.  Now the time is nearing for me to go down in a waterly grave and come up with a brand new body free from my sins of the past,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

True Followers of Christ make sacrifices!

True followers of Christ make sacrifices.
Before Christ came, true followers of Christ, or at the time the Israelites, sacrificed herds, riches, animals, to come unto the Lord Jehovah. They showed God that they loved Him more than these menial possessions, that they cared more for his eternal love, than that which will pass with the earth.
When Christ came, the Law of Moses was fulfilled, and the Lamb of God became our cleansing sacrifice. But, what does that mean, are we simply done? We don't need to make any sacrifice ourselves, since we are cleansed by his blood. Right? ...Not exactly.

Did obeying the Law of Sacrifice, in the Law of Moses justify man? Was that it? In Hebrews Chapter 11 verse 17 it says, "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called..." Abraham was faithful in the Law. He lived according to the Law, and he was blessed in his old age to have a son. But, the Lord asked him to sacrifice... He commanded Abraham to give up his most prized blessing, his son. Abraham had faith in the Lord, and was willing to give it all up.

I have been given so much. I have a wonderful family, great friends, I have an apartment, a car, food, water, some really cool ties... I have it all! But if the Lord needed to take them away from me? Would I be willing? Would I sacrifice these things for my God?

Let us take a step down from Abraham, to our not-so-hypothetical laws or commandments. The Lord has asked us to make sacrifices. Are we willing to give these things up? Are we willing to give up pornography and premarital sex? How about our coffee,  tea, tobacco and alcohol? 10 percent of our income? Our Sundays? 15 minutes a day to read the scriptures? Fasting 2 meals a month? A Monday evening for the family? 2 minutes before bed for prayer?

If you say you can't give these things up yet, I have been where you are at. If you're perfect at the things I said above, good job! Keep pushing! There is a King in the Book of Mormon, he is not living the most righteous way. A missionary called of God, came and showed unto the king a better way to live, and this was that great king's prayer unto God "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day." Alma 22:18

Would you give away all your sins to know your Heavenly Father, even just a bit more? I challenge you to pick one thing that takes you away from the Spirit, (whether by omition or commission) and sacrifice it unto the Lord. "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve!" Joshua 24:15 

For additional study I reccommend Mosiah 2:19-26.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Birthday

Today is my Birthday! One of the happiest times of the year for kids, new presents, you are the focus, really good food...Just a really good day! I still love my birthday, but for a different reason. I think most of us  reflect on our past after significant events. Looking over my last year, I have grown IMMENSELY! I wish I had done a thorough interview of myself then VS myself now, that would have been pretty cool to see the growth in the way I answered. But, why am I pointing this out? Keep reading.

What is the purpose or reason for life? This is one of the most common questions I get asked. This question seems to bother so many people. I ask this question to people as well, not to torture them, but to get them thinking. There is one thing that science can never explain, and that is the purpose for everything, including science. Because God created us he had a plan for each and every one of us. In Jeremiah 1:5 The Lord speaks to Jeremiah, He says "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee." What a comforting thought! God knew Jeremiah, before he sent him to this earth; before he had his first birthday!

I know that God knows us too! Our omniscient Father, knew the challenges we would face, he knew the trials we would have. He prepared a way for us to be able to overcome these things, and find Joy!

In Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, Chapter 11, Paul recounts trials that some have gone through, and tells us why. "Others had a trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment, they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a testimony through faith...God has provided some better things for them through their sufferings for without sufferings, they could not be made perfect."

As we go through life, we will face trials. I don't like them. I don't know many who do. But, as I look through this last year of my life, I have had many trials, and through those trials, I was able to grow. The purpose of this life, as taught to us by an ancient American prophet, is recorded in The Book of Mormon, in the book of Alma Chapter 34 verse 32. Alma says "This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God." As we go through experiences, as we grow in our understanding and faith, our life becomes better. But, it won't if we are passively watching days go by. In my last year, I have grown so much, but as I have the time to reflect on my past, I see just how far I still need to go.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Favorite Hymn!

Come Come Ye Saints, Come unto God! What are you willing to do to come unto Him?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Change

For most of us, Change is hard.

We get comfortable. We are happy where we are at. We have "enough". This is exactly how I felt. Recently, I was transferred from Vacaville to Santa Rosa, and I had a huge change! I had been in Vacaville for 7 months, and I loved the people there. We were teaching many, and I loved each of them. Then, I found out I was being transferred.

For me and for the people I was teaching, this was difficult. We were comfortable. I even had one wonderful lady threaten to not come to church if I left. (We talked her down from that lofty threat, explaining that this change is necessary.)

In a lot of ways, 'mission life' mirrors 'normal life'. In normal every day life, we get comfortable where we're at. We go to church every week, have the same schedule, and we are happy with our family, and happy with our life. Sometimes we get so comfortable, that we don't change. We know it would be better for us, but we justify it in our own minds.

Already in Santa Rosa, we were able to meet a wonderful man, who accepted to be baptized on December 5th. Would I have gotten this incredible opportunity to invite someone to follow the example of Jesus Christ, if I hadn't been willing to change?

We grow when we are uncomfortable. One of my friends back home wrote a poem, about a flower. I can't recite it off the top of my head, I wish I could it's a gorgeous poem, but it says that the flower was put in a box, and there it died, because it could not grow.

Think about our lives, if we don't force ourselves outside the box how are we going to grow? So today, I'm going to give you a challenge. Go outside your box, bear your testimony to someone, and if that is inside your box, leave them with a challenge. Only you know where you have placed your limits, find them break them, and Grow your Faith!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Joseph Smith & the Book of Mormon - An Apostle's Testimony

For optimum Viewing and Sound, turn off the music player down at the bottom right! Thank you!


My testimony is definately not as powerful as the testimony of this Apostle of Jesus Christ, But I also give my name, as a witness of this book, and the divinity of it. I have prayed, I have read, I have studied, and I know that it truly is scripture. Put our Lord Jesus Christ's words to the test, and "Ask and ye shall recieve, Seek and ye shall find, Knock and it shall be opened unto you." Whether you believe in Christ, Believe in a higher power, or believe in yourself, I know that if you pray to our Heavenly Father and ask him in Christ's name, that you too can have a divine witness of the truth of this book.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why do we forget God?

I find it so amazing the things that cause us to lose faith in our creator, and why we lose such faith.--If you are one of those who has lost their faith, don't stop reading. This isn't going to throw punches at you. Just read with an open mind.--When we are children, we believe in the
miraculous. People can tell us anything, and we are drawn to the things
that sound exciting and fantastical. We believe the things our parents, our teachers, and others tell us. Our knowledge is basic.                                                                                     
As we grow older, we seem to grow wiser, putting away childish beliefs, and try to find truth. But, some seem to set aside God and his miracles, as a part of that childishness.

If you have met me, I am a doubter. I have the reasoning behind things, or I won't accept it. I need several references for me to even accept your point. There needs to be more evidence supporting you, than that which is supporting me. Plain and simple, that's how I like it.

So maybe, if you have given up on God, you might be asking, "Why then does this kid believe in God? He sounds intelligent (you can tell I wrote this), Why would he believe such a fairy tale?" Without the intelligent part, many people actually have asked me this. There is nothing harder to explain, than how you know God exists. But, luckily there are wise men who have given it a shot.

In the Epistle to the Hebrews Paul Talks about the evidenciary support God gives of his own existence. Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

"What? That proves nothing, you just tricked yourself into believing, with this stupid term Faith." Whoa! Hey now... There's no need to get upset, let me explain. I was born in to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  All my family for generations back are LDS, and we are termed "pioneer stock". So I have quite a tradition of Mormonism in my family. But, is that why I believe the way I do? Would I simply accept a way of life, because that is how my family has lived?

The simple answer is No.  I didn't.  I didn't hold true to what my family had taught me. I was prodigal, as the scriptures refer to those wayward sons. I left what my family taught, and I didn't have a testimony. Even after all those years of attending church, Sunday school, seminary, young men's, scouting, firesides and every other organization that the church offers. I attended them regularly. But, I didn't have a testimony. My testimony of the truth of this church, and the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ, and God the Father of our spirits, came when I started to live the way that all of these organizations were teaching.

I knew when I exercised faith. I started to live the standards, which was not easy. When I did so, Joy entered my heart. I felt of the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and I knew that what I have been taught was all true. Since then, I have strengthened my testimony in every area. It has not been easy. I think that's why it is called a Testimony, those are the things that we know, through the Tests we put it through.

So, what is my concluding remark that ties this all back to the title? Don't forget God. If something tragic happens in your life, it is not because there is no God. Start doing the things that the scriptures teach to do, and you will have peace enter your heart. You will learn of the great mercy God truly has for each and every one of us. I love my Heavenly Father, and I pray that you too will get that way. Pray to him, act on the things he tells you, and Grow your Faith.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pray for Peace, Pray for Strength.

Life is full of all sorts of challenges. Sometimes we face things that are as smooth as the glassy surface of an untouched lake, while others, toss us like the broken crags of a lifeless desert.
Recently my life has looked more like the desert from the outside. I had a loved one, who recently went through some trauma. Being hundreds of miles away, I felt helpless.  Like I was unable to do a thing to calm the storms in those I love's lives.
Work out here in the "field", also has it's ups and downs as well. During that time I also had many trials with the ones I have grown to love here, where I was here and able to help, but rejected in the ways I tried.
My instant reaction, is "Why?" "Why could I not have been there to help her?" "Why could I not be there to comfort my family?" "Why won't these people accept my help?" "Why do I try so hard if I am just going to fail?" "What purpose could God have in making my family and my investigators go through this?" "Why could he not just protect them?"
As I was thinking, that I had done everything I could have on my mission to have my family blessed, and have the Lords blessings poured upon my family, and as I was struggling to have a positive attitude towards my struggling work.  I was having a rough time, and as I teach many people every day.
I turned to God in prayer. And as I prayed to my Father, he poured his peace/love down upon me. I knew that he held my family in his protective arms and that there was no reason that I should continue to worry about them.  As well as peace, that as I continued to work diligently with my people, he will bless them.
As I went from one mindset to another, I was able to recieve the peace promised in the words of prophets, and from our Lord Himself. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." I am so grateful for the peaceful knowlege, that I have, that the Lord has everything in his hands. And that as we "Cheerfully do all things that lie in our power...then we [can] stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Matters Most


What is most important to you?
What have you done for them lately?
Show them your love! Share the gospel!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What do you do in your hardest times?

Who do you turn to, when everyone turns on you?
Where can you go, when you're going nowhere?
What is the point, if everything's pointless?
How can you find something, if you are lost yourself?
When do I just give up?

Desperation, that is one of the most tragic feelings all of us can succumb to. I know I have had questions like these, maybe not written as well, probably a couple "Umm"s, "Uhh"s and other useless "words" thrown in there. But I have felt useless, hopeless, worthless and alone. It is hard to pull yourself out of your own selfish stupor, when you feel that it is pointless. You don't want to put in the effort, and you don't think it will help.

How can we change the way we feel when we are down like this? What can we do to help us out, no matter what our circumstances are?

Let me locate a time in my life where I really felt hopelessness. Alright, Got one. It was actually only a couple of weeks before my mission. I personally, was very stressed, and right before you take a big step to progress in your relationship with our Heavenly Father, you experience harsh opposition. So this is a great example, because whether you are doing everything right in your life or not, this is applicable. Anyway, so I think it was about a month before I left.

I have had my call, for a couple of weeks, and I get in a big fight with my best friend. It was over something really stupid, It was definitely my fault, but I hurt her feelings, and I was mad, and frustrated. To add on top of that, family relationships were getting harder too, my fuse had lost what little length it had, and I was being set off by anything and everything. Finally one of my best friends, who was dating my sister, does something stupid, and that was it, I was done. (Mind you, I was overreacting in all of this, but when you're emotions are just crazy, so are you.) So I took off running (and I don't like to run), I wanted to get alone where I could just be, and not worry about anyone or anything. But, escaping people and getting out of situations, doesn't get completely rid of the chaos from inside your head. So finally in pure frustration, I knelt down, not caring about the cold hard rocks I was kneeling on, and pled for peace from my chaos...That changed things. In my heart I immediately felt peace. I can recall times before feeling that same feeling, but never such a direct answer to a prayer, and never such a contrast. From that moment on, I was able to make amends with those who I'd wronged, I was able to rebuild relationships with my loved ones, and I was able to find peace, and strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I am so grateful for the power of prayer. I am grateful Heavenly Father allowed me to continue to build up my chaos, until I came to him. It taught me an important lesson about prayer, that now I am able to share with others. But, you don't need to be on the brink of insanity to call upon our Heavenly Father, if I would have done so earlier, and asked for peace, I probably would have been in a better situation. So pray for peace in your life and in others, and this week, bear your testimony about prayer to a friend or a family member. If you do so I know you will be blessed, and the lives of the people you testify to will be blessed.

Man's greatest power, lies in the power of prayer. -Napoleon Hill-

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Screw Up



What can I do?
I've messed up bad?
How could I ever make things right?
I'm just a Screw Up.

Have you ever thought these thoughts? I know I have...several times. What is your answer to that? How do you help people in this situation? Please feel free to comment.

Paul writes an epistle to the church in Macedonia, and he causes a lot of these feelings in the bold words that he uses, but this is what he says 2 Corinthians 7:9 He says "I rejoice not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage in us nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."

Basically, if you are feeling these feelings, Paul is happy for you, because now you can change.  Now is where you can make the steps and stretch yourself. I know that when I have been the lowest, that is when God has reached down and picked me up and put me higher. But you have to choose, because the other choice, is the sorrow of the world. Sorrow because you looked stupid. Sorry because things didn't work out the way you planned. This sorrow works death. I have felt this heart wrenching sorrow as well. It takes you away from the things that make you happy, the things you love, and it puts a heavy weight on you. So when you find yourself in the fortunate position of sorrowful humility, choose to repent/change and grow the way our Heavenly Father wants us to.

I know that if you do that you will be able to find the peace, comfort, wholeness, and love that He desperately wants us to have. I love my Savior and I am grateful for his redeeming sacrifice.

For a great talk on repentance, Henry B. Eyring "Do Not Delay" .

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Peter's Storm

The night was stormy, we set off for the coasts of Capernaum. Our master had left us, and so we journeyed alone. Most of us strong seamen, were confident with the ropes and oars, and so we traveled across the Gallilean sea. The Night was clouded, the moon a faded sliver through the damp fog. The rain a slight drizzle splashed upon my face, like the waves upon our vessel. I filled my lungs with the heavy fog-like air. It's been too long since I have been out here. I start to drift into a carefree state, pulling the ropes and rigging the sails, I drift into the comfort of my former life, the sea.
"Stop!" "Something's not right." I jolt out of my dream-like state, fully aware of the sea, and its sudden change. "Drop the sails!" My rough seaman voice calls out. Another wave crashes against the side, I quickly grab the rough knotted wood of the mast, but others fall. I grab an oar, splash it into the water, and stroke repeatedly with all my might, Andrew my brother grabs one as well, and James and John, are right there with me. Together stroking we turn the ship so the bow takes the force of the waves and the wind. We call to the others to stabilize the other side. As we fight the elements for our very lives, we begin to call upon our God to save us. The Waves don't stop, they relentlessly attack our poor fishing vessel, (focused) on destroying us entirely.
Over the howl of the wind, and the crash of the waves, and the yelling, I hear a familiar voice speak peace to my mind.
Though my face was dripping with sea water, and the wind pushed my head down, I searched for where the voice had come from, and through the mists and torrents of rain we saw Him and heard His voice, He said "Be of good cheer. It is I, Be not afraid." Those powerful words hit my soul, and I looked out on the sea. I beheld our Lord and Master coming unto us. As my eyes searched his being, I desired to come unto him, I called to Him and said "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." He said "Come" as I made my way to the side of the vessel, my concerns about the boat and keeping it afloat had faded, and it seemed the crash of the waves, and the roar of the wind, had dulled to the back of my head.
As I pulled myself onto the side of the ship, ready to take the plunge, my eyes are centered on the Master. Rain still drenching every inch of me, and wind still threatening to knock me loose, I lower my legs from the comfort of the solid ship, down over the side, to the unsteady black waters. Having faith in my Master, and saying a silent prayer, I make the last preparations, and I drop. I am walking.
With a triumphant smile on my face, I refocused on His face, He also smiled, I began to confidently head toward him, pondering on the great miracle that I have seen. The beauty and majesty of the Savior, commanding even something like this untamed sea, to support the feet of him and his servants. I glance back at my brothers, and see their awed looks.
Behind them I see the black clouds, and I see them barraged by wind and torrents of waves and rain. I start to feel that wind on my face. My feet find the cold water start trickling over them. A wave crashes into me, and knocks me from my feet. Sprawled out on my knees and hands, I start panicking as the sea rushes over my limbs. Another wave hits me, as I am desperately trying to stand. Fear enters my heart, as the cold water pierces my being, and in desperation I call out "Lord, Save me!"
Immediately I feel the warm hand of the Savior, grab my outstretched hand, and lift me from the dark abyss swirling and crashing around me. Now I walk with Him, and the storm and the winds and the waves depart.

If thou shouldst be cast into the pit or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

Have faith! Do all that we can do, and then rely on the saving grace of our glorious Lord and Savior!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Miracles come in many forms.

The other day, another missionary and I, had the great opportunity, of being an answer to prayer. We were walking down a street I wasn't planning on going down, and there was this lady in her car. The windows were unrolled, and she was looking impatient and upset. I'm not exactly seeing this as a teaching opportunity. But, as we were crossing next to her car, she told us to stop. Not waiting to be told twice, we crouch down, and listen to her pour out her soul, she was expressing how she wanted to be a good Christian, and she was trying to help her sister and her brother move, but that she was not appreciated, and that they "wouldn't even let her use their phone." And some other things I couldn't understand through the tears.

Trying to comfort and console her, we were impressed to read a couple scriptures with her. Who better to calm the troubled soul the our Lord through the Holy Ghost. We read her out of Ether 12 verse 27, which talks about overcoming weakness, she said "That is what I am trying to do." She recognized that she has a problem with her temper, and that she usually gets upset over little things, and that made her even more upset that she got upset about getting upset....a vicious cycle.

We then read a scripture in Alma Chapter 7 starting in verse 11, where it talks about our Savior's attonement. He not only suffered for our sins, and our pains, but our infirmities, our weaknesses, those things he also suffered for, and that we too can be made strong as we live our lives striving to be the best we can be, and then relying on the grace of Jesus Christ to do the rest.

She was comforted after that, and she thanked us we exchanged information, and parted our ways. It amazed me that a simple thing like getting upset at a move, would be an opportunity to share the gospel. Those opportunities are everywhere. They are there to strengthen our fellow bretheren, and they are there to bring the lost sheep into the fold. Look for the sheep caught in the thicket. When we release them and pull out their thorns, they will follow us to the good shepherd. Remember that throughout your day today.
Let the love of God abound in your life.