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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.