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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


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.