Sunday, October 27, 2013

In Someone Else's Shoes

Most likely, you've heard the phrase that you have to walk a mile in someone's shoes before you really know them.  Well, I've found that it really enhances my scripture study if I try to do that.  The story comes more to life when you think of each character as a real person, with thoughts, feelings, wants.
For example, let's talk about when Jesus feeds the 5,000.  Jesus told the disciples to feed the people.  Andrew then said "There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?" (John 6:9).
Now imagine you are that little boy.  You have these few loaves of bread and two little fish.  Maybe you need to sell them to make money for your family, maybe you earned them today for your pay and that is all your family has to eat.  Whatever the case, it was all this little boy had.  And the Savior asked him to give it up.  That probably took quite a bit of faith from that lad.  The boy gives the food to the Savior, and once everyone has been fed, there are twelve baskets leftover.  I like to think that the boy got to take some of that home, ending up with more than he started with.
This story is so powerful because if we give all that we have to the Savior, fully trusting in Him, He can leave us better off than before.  He can give us so much more than we could obtain all by ourselves.  I just love the Atonement!
Here's another one for you.  Peter comes to Jesus, possibly frustrated about something.  He asks, "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  til seven times?" (Matt. 18:21).  Jesus replies that we should forgive seventy times seven times.  Does that mean we should a little notebook in our back pocket to keep track of each time we're offended?  No, probably not.  Then the Savior goes on to give the parable of the man who owed a 10,000 talent debt.  Fun fact: that's equivalent to about 150,000 years of labor, so in other words, it was a debt that could never be paid.  It came time for the man to pay up, but of course he didn't have the money.  But the lord forgave the man his debt.
Later, this man went and found his fellow servant who owed him 100 pence (about 100 days labor) and demanded payment.  When the fellow servant couldn't pay up, the man had him thrown in prison.  When the lord found out, he asked, "Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?" (Matt. 18:33).
Jesus has agreed to take your sins upon Himself.  He owns your sins and debts.  But this is also true for other people as well.  Because Jesus owns other people's sins and mistakes, we must forgive people when they trespass against us.  Let go of the issue, and let the Savior step in to resolve it.
The Atonement is such a beautiful thing, not only in what it's capable of, but in the fact that it applies to everyone!  The Savior is there for YOU!!  He knows you and me, loves you and me, and He wants the both of us to trust in Him.  He wants nothing but the best for you.  And all you have to do is agree to follow Him.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup

I don't know about you, but I love those "feel good" sorts of stories.  I like having my dear little heart warmed, like the way that soup gets your insides all toasty and comfortable.  I always thought the story of the Good Samaritan was this way, just a nice, happy story to show us that there are good people in the world.  While that is still true, the meaning is so much deeper than that. 
This parable comes about when a lawyer, otherwise known as a scribe, asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life.  In return, Jesus asks what the scriptures say, and the man says that we must love God with all our heart, might, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Jesus says that the man should go and do this, but the man then asks who his neighbor is.  The story of the Good Samaritan is Christ's response.  
The story begins, "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho..." (Luke 10:30) with the word "man" also being in italics in the scriptures.  As it would turn out, anytime a word is in italics in the scriptures, that means it wasn't in the original Greek manuscript.  So we can totally substitute ourselves into this story.  I like making the scriptures personal to me, because it's much more meaningful when I do and I'm able to answer the "So what?" question.  
While this man was going on his merry way, he fell among thieves.  Now, I must ask, what do thieves do?  They take the good things that we have, and only leave bad things behind.  To make this personal to us, we can substitute devils for thieves.  Satan will only leave you hurt and with bad things where the good things used to be.  
A couple people passed by this man, a Jew, on the side of the road.  But then a Samaritan came.  I didn't know this, but a Samaritan is someone who is part Jew and part something else.  The Jews considered them an unclean people, so they didn't like them very much.  The Samaritan stops and helps the man, binding up his wounds and taking him to an inn to rest.  
Symbolism time!  A Samaritan is part Jew, part something else, right?  Well, if you think about it, the Savior also happens to be part Jew, part something else!  I don't know about you, but I don't believe in coincidences.  As we go along our path in life, sometimes we will get beat up and torn down.  But the Savior will always stop to help us, nursing us back to full spiritual health.  He just asks that we "Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:37).  
This is definitely something I need to work on, because I know how it feels when other people stop and help me.  Just last week, I was walking home and I was feeling a little defeated.  The week had been long, this next week will be even longer, and just several other big things were weighing in on my mind.  As I was walking into my complex, a guy was sitting on the sidewalk tying his shoes, about to go on a run.  I'd never seen him before.  He asked how I was doing, and I said I was alright.  He then asked if I'd had a tough day, and I nodded.  He told me not to worry, and that things would get better for me.  He knew everything was going to be alright.  I don't know who that boy was, and I haven't seen him since.  But he was my good Samaritan that day.  It didn't take him a lot of time or effort, but he helped me get on the road to recovery.  This was such a simple, real deal, everyday life example for me.  I hope I remember to pass on the good favor, not just from him, but from my Savior.  Let's get out there and do some good.  
By the way, if you just happen to have 5:45, I highly suggest that you watch this video I just found.  It's a good one :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Finding Peace

I'm sure there's been a time in your life where you felt like there's no possible way you can get everything done or that nothing seems to be going your way.  If that's the case, this post is for you! If not, don't worry, just live a little longer.
As a college student, I feel that way more often than not sometimes.  I'm trying to balance all the things I need to do, plus those I want to do, as well as those I should do, and there's hopefully an occasional bit of sleep thrown in there somewhere.  I really hope I'm not the only one who's dealing with this situation.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I know that I always have the Savior there to help me out.  In Matthew 11: 28-30, it says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Now, I'm going to be perfectly honest for a moment.  I didn't totally know what a yoke was at first.  For those who were in my same predicament, it's a piece of wood that's used to hook up two animals, usually oxen, to some sort of cart so they can pull it.  It looks like this:

In this scripture passage, Christ is already hooked up and ready to pull.  He so desperately wants to help us with our burdens, but we have to let Him.  We have to join Him as we press on.  Now, I don't know about you, but having my soul find rest sure does sound nice every once in a while, so let Him into your life.  I promise, it will be well worth it.