Monday, March 31, 2014

How to Succeed in Life

Throughout my vast nineteen of years of life, I have learned some things.  Not a lot, but a few.  And I'm definitely still learning.  But let me tell you what I do know.  I know that the power of the Atonement is very real.  And it is there for each one of us, available at all times and under any circumstance.  Hebrews 8:10,12.

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people... For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."

We have the chance to be the people of God!  We have the chance to use the Atonement to become like our Heavenly Father!  Isn't that just wonderful?  If we can put God first, we can be forgiven of our wrongs and become like Him.  We can always wipe our slate clean and return to the fold of God.
There is one more scripture that I really love.  As we try to be like the Savior, our faith and love for Him will grow.  Read James 2:19

"Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."

While Satan and his followers also know who the Savior is, they fear the power that allows Him to be our Redeemer.  We would do well to believe in Him and His Atonement.  The key to real success is following the Savior and trusting in Him.  As we try to be more like Him, things will continue to fall into place.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Be of Good Courage

Have you ever been trying to make a decision, and haven't had the slightest idea about what the right thing is to do?  If you haven't, keep living.  But for those of us who have, I love this short and sweet little verse.  2 Timothy 1:7

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

I want to rely on the Lord when I'm making my decisions.  But a big part of that is actually being able to recognize the Lord's answer.  I'm learning that Heavenly Father won't make you fearful.  He doesn't want you to be scared.  His Spirit will bring you hope and light.
One thing that helps me is that I have to remember that my Savior knows what I'm going through.  I know this one is a little long, but read it.  I promise, it's good.  Hebrews 2:9-11

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."

I love the phrases that I have put in italics.  Jesus Christ chose to put Himself below all else for us.  I especially love the last line.  I hope that Christ considers me as someone worth associating with.  I want to have that kind of relationship with my Savior.
We have no reason to be afraid.  We will always have our Savior's love.  I hope I can one day be like Him.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Where You Stand

In Ephesians 6, Paul gives us the armor of God lesson.  I have heard this lesson in Sunday School many a time, but it was one of those things where I never actually went past the surface level.  Yes, dressing up a class member in tin foil battle gear can be great, but I think there was supposed to be more to it than that.
I guess we could start with why this analogy was given.  Ephesians 6:11-12

"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

While most of us won't be accosted by swordsmen in our day to day lives, we are constantly being attacked by Satan.  The adversary will always be trying to fight against us and pull us down.
Now, we certainly don't want that, do we?  So here's what you're gonna do.  Verse 13:

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

We shouldn't cower in the corner, hoping that the devil doesn't find us.  We must take a stand.
I would love to review each of the parts of the armor individually, but that would take a year and a half on here, and I don't quite have that much time to spare.  But I encourage you to look it up and learn for yourself.
Heavenly Father will not leave us defenseless.  He has given us the tools and power we need to succeed in this life.  But we must take the action to put on the armor and put it to good use.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Raindrops were Falling on Their Heads

I have been on a boat once.  At Lake Powell.  It was awesome.  But at busier times on the lake, the water would be really choppy and not fun to ride on.  I can't imagine what it's like trying to survive a storm on a boat like Paul did.
In Acts 27, Paul is on his way to Rome.  He has been taken prisoner and they're traveling by boat.  It's early winter, and Paul predicts that there will be a terrible storm.  The owner of the ship is likely an experienced sailor, and he says that there's no chance of a storm, and even if there were, he probably thinks he could handle it.  Plus, Paul was a prisoner, so they probably weren't too excited to listen to his opinion.  So they set sail anyways. 
Cue Acts 27:15

"And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive."

The wind was so strong that the sailors could hardly control the boat.  Paul was right, and it would almost cost them their lives.   Verse 18-19:

"And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship.  And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship."

The storm is so fierce, the sailors start throwing supplies overboard for survival.  Not just the extra stuff, but the tackling as well!  There have been some storms in my life, and I'm sure you've had some as well.  During those times, the only way we can really survive is to throw out the extra cargo.  Get back to the basics of the gospel and our Savior.  Focus on those to keep you steady. 
We should also follow the counsel that our church leaders give us.  If we are choosing the right and leaning on the Savior, even during the hard times, we will not be forgotten.  We will be preserved and live to see another sunny day. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

No Matter What

It would seem that I have fallen in love.  With the New Testament, that is.  It's amazing to me just how much you can find the Savior in the scriptures.
I didn't know this, but Romans is considered the most doctrinal of Paul's epistles.  It's got some great stuff!  I like the first six verses of chapter 5, but I especially like Romans 5:3.

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience."

I don't know about you, but I'm not always the best at being patient in my tribulations.  But it says here in Romans that patience will lead to experience, experience will lead to hope, and hope will lead to not being ashamed.  One day, when I return home to my Father in Heaven, I would love it if I could stand in front of Him, unashamed of the way I lived my life.  I want him to be well pleased with me.
I also love chapter 5:11.

"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."

Fun fact about this verse.  This is the only time in the New Testament that the word "Atonement" is used.  The more that we embrace Jesus Christ as our Savior, the better off we will be.  I have noticed that the more I embrace the gospel, the happier I feel.  I feel more joy when I am  doing what is right, and I don't think that is a coincidence.
Finally, these verses are incredible.  Romans 8:37-39.

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

God loves us.  I believe that is part of the reason why he gives un tribulation.  He wants us to grow and be strong.  He wants us to appreciate the joyful times in our lives.  But He will never stop loving us.  No matter what.