Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Faith is Pointed toward the Future

Happy New Year! As we look forward to a new year, we hope you find happiness and joy and that you have learned from your journey through the last year. 

"As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those days may have been. The past is to be learned from not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."
~Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
  Brigham Young University Devotional
  January 13, 2009


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas!

We would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you find joy in celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and find peace in the coming year.

"Giving, not getting brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the "Spirit of Christmas," we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the "Spirit of Christ."

~Thomas S. Monson
   "The best Christmas Ever," Liahona, Dec. 2008



Friday, December 19, 2014

A faith centered in the living Christ


“We welcome another Christmas, a time for rejoicing, the season for celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind. At this joyous time there is reaffirmed in the hearts of men and women everywhere the glorious hope of peace and good will of which the angels sang at the Savior’s birth.
The wondrous birth of Jesus Christ, His sinless life, His voluntary death as a consecrated sacrifice for the sins of mankind, His glorious resurrection with its promise of life eternal for us all, should claim our reverent attention at all times, but especially this holy season.

Our faith is centered in the living Christ, whom we seek to serve. Our prayers of gratitude ascend to God, our Eternal Father, for the great work of redemption wrought by His Son, Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah who shall come again.

We believe, and proclaim to the world, that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12.) We know he is God’s almighty Son and invite all men and women, young and old, to come unto Christ and be perfected in him.

At this holy season of Christmas, we express our love for all people everywhere and reaffirm that if we will but follow the divine principles taught by the Savior of mankind, we may partake of the peace that He came to bring.” –First Presidency Christmas Message December 1983
I love this Christmas season with all my heart. I love how the people unites in faith to do good in the world. I have been thinking lately—since I have a sister on a mission and she has been encouraging me to do better—on how I can have a more meaningful Christmas. To have a Christ-centered season this year, I want to make Christmas a more enjoyable season to those around me.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions that invites Christ in your lives?  What are some service opportunities you have found during this season? By sharing these experiences in the comments below, you will help others, like myself, realize more service opportunities that can better our lives and the lives of those around us.
Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Keeping the Spirit of Christ

When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning.

"There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.

"Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.

"Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence. Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be. Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave is victory. We will live again because He came. Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life"
                                                                    -President Thomas S. Monson
                                                                     2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional

The Christmas season is a time to reflect and act upon the blessings and opportunities we have because of the birth, life, Atonement, and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As our Heavenly Father "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16), we express our love toward one another and toward God and his precious Son by giving of ourselves.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas: A Time to Serve, A Time to Love


Christmas is a wonderful time when we can reflect upon how we could have done better at serving others during the preceding year. To prepare for New Year's resolutions, these thoughts can lead us to wonder how we might do better throughout the following year to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our hearts. This process of turning outward in service instead of inward is part of what can keep Christmas a happy time, and this transformation we undergo is enhanced as we contemplate the birth and life of Him for whom this holiday was named. As we remember the significance of His birth and His loving acts, may we strive to emulate His love by our own acts of kindness.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christ and the Spirit of Giving



"Think of the simple yet dignified way our Heavenly Father chose to honor the birth of His Son. On that holy night, angels appeared not to the rich but to shepherds. The Christ child was born not in a mansion but in a manger. He was wrapped not in silk but in swaddling clothes.
The simplicity of that first Christmas foreshadowed the life of the Savior. Though He had created the earth, walked in realms of majesty and glory, and stood at the right hand of the Father, He came to earth as a helpless child. His life was a model of modest nobility, and He walked among the poor, the sick, the downcast, and the heavy laden.

Though He was a king, He cared neither for the honors nor the riches of men. His life, His words, and His daily activities were monuments of simple yet profound dignity.

Jesus the Christ, who knew perfectly how to give, set for us the pattern for giving. To those whose hearts are heavy with loneliness and sorrow, He brings compassion and comfort. To those whose bodies and minds are afflicted with illness and suffering, He brings love and healing. To those whose souls are burdened with sin, He offers hope, forgiveness, and redemption.

If the Savior were among us today, we would find Him where He always was—ministering to the meek, the downcast, the humble, the distressed, and the poor in spirit. During this Christmas season and always, may we give to Him by loving as He loves. May we remember the humble dignity of His birth, gifts, and life. And may we, through simple acts of kindness, charity, and compassion, fill the world with the light of His love and healing power."

-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
                                                                                   


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas - Share the Gift!

"Christmas is a time of reflection on what we can become because of God's sacred gift. As we discover the gift, we learn of the immeasurable love of God and our absolute need for a Savior. As we embrace the gift, we strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to become more like Him. As we share the gift, we follow in the Master's footsteps, who invited all to hear His message."
                                                                              -Elder Russell M. Nelson
                                                                            of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Becoming Self-Reliant

In 1847 the Latter-Day Saints began to gather in the Salt Lake, Utah Valley after having been persecuted and forced from their homes and communities multiple times. They migrated to a faraway and isolated desert. They wanted to flourish and establish a permanent home for themselves. This meant that the Saints needed to learn skills that would allow them to take care of all their needs. While many specific duties of temporal self-reliance are different today, the principles behind these duties remain constant: Latter-Day Saints are counseled to do all they can to provide the temporal necessities of life for themselves and their families.

Becoming self-reliant:

*Learn to love work, and avoid idleness

*Acquire a spirit of self-sacrifice

*Accept personal responsibility for spiritual strength

*Accept personal responsibility for health, education, employment, finances, food, and
  other life-sustaining necessities

*Pray for faith and courage to meet challenges that come

*Strengthen others who need assistance


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Can I become Spiritually Self Reliant?

Spiritual self-reliance is essential to our eternal well-being. When we are spiritually self-reliant our testimonies do not depend on the testimonies of others. We seek our own spiritual experiences through praying daily, studying the scriptures, and exercising faith in Jesus Christ. We turn to our Heavenly Father for His help to resolve our own difficult problems. We are also able to strengthen others in their times of spiritual need.

What have you done to become more spiritually self-reliant? How have you been blessed by being spiritually self-reliant?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Live My Life as My Own

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are taught to be self-reliant. This includes making decisions for ourselves. I have heard often that no child is the same. Each child comes to the world needing, wanting and giving different things. However, we find ourselves listening to others tell miraculous tricks that work on improving their life at work, at home, and in their social lives and, as readers, we believe that those tricks would work on us as well. 

I believe in listening to those who are experienced to learn from them. But I also know that we are born with different talents and that the things I learn from others are to be applied in my life after modifying it to fit me personally. For example, I have a talented friend who wakes up every morning before six to run to her gym to exercise. I know who I am, and I know that if I wake up that early, no one would want to be around me. I also know that I don't have a strong motivation to exercise. So I took her wisdom and started waking up half an hour earlier than normal to exercise in my living room while I listen to instructors on the internet. This is much more suitable for my personal needs but I still improved my health by listening to my friend. 

This also applies to our bigger choices in life. We have parents, teachers, peers, and other leaders telling us to make the same choices they did in life. I believe that those who loves us tell us to make their same choices because they care and it has worked fore them so they think it will work for us. And I don't think they tell us what to do because they think they are better than us. I also believe that self-improvement books are written by someone's personal experience and that is why there are so many different types of self-improvement books to choose from. While listening to other's advice is always a smart choice, the choices you make should be the one that is best for you at the time. So how do we make our own choices in a world that is accustomed to following other's opinions? How do we break the bad habits of our previous generations or improve on the good ones? 

In Alma chapter 37 verse 37, it reads, "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good [...]." 

This scriptures helps me understand that if I want to be better, I need to counsel with the Lord in all that I do. This includes the small and almost insignificant routine that you've developed in your life whether from personal habits or from habits you learned in the home. For instance, my family had various schedules so we would go to bed whenever we finished our work, homework, house chores and even watching TV or playing games. My parents would go to bed at different times as well as all my siblings. So when I married my husband and he told me that his parents went to bed at the same time, I prayed to figure out what I wanted in my future home. And I broke the habit of sleeping whenever to gain a healthier relationship with my husband--even if that meant I had to forgo my personal indulgences of Netflix shows. 


In Doctrine and Covenants section 9 verses 7-9, it states, "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

 8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

 9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me."

These versus summarize how we can be self-reliant in our choices. If we want to make the best choices in our life, we need to study our options, gain an understanding of those options through parents, friends, and other people or through books and the internet, and then we need to pray to our Heavenly Father if the choice you want to make is the best one. We can't assume that God will stop us from making the wrong choices if we haven't done our part in researching all of our options. And we can't blame God for the wrong choices we have made if we didn't research carefully and ask Him with a sincere heart before making those choices. 

I know that it can be challenging to go against the cultural norm even if you know that your choice is the better one. I know that if we take the time to contemplate our life and how we can change it for the better, God will help you find what you are searching for. I know that we can improve our personal life, family, work life, and our society by learning how to make our own decisions. We can only do this by gaining more knowledge and seeking for God's will in all that we do. 

What are some experiences you have had when you have made your own decisions based on the gospel of Jesus Christ? 


Friday, November 7, 2014

Becoming Provident Providers


In a challenging world, it may be difficult to live within our means. But if we follow the counsel we are given, we will be blessed and happy.

Have you seen blessings in your life when you have made a decision to live within your means?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Work and Self-Reliance

Work is honorable. Developing the capacity to work will help us contribute to the world in which we live. It will bring us an increased sense of self-worth. It will bless us and our families, both now and in the future. 

We should set high goals for ourselves, and be willing to work hard to achieve them. Develop self-discipline, and be dependable. We should strive to do our best in our employment, schoolwork and other worthwhile pursuits. Our Father in Heaven has given us gifts and talents and knows what we are capable of achieving. If we seek His help and guidance as we work to achieve our goals, He will bless us.

Have you seen blessings from working hard to achieve your goals? How has our Father in Heaven helped you?










Sunday, October 19, 2014

Prophets and Apostles Teach Christ-like Attributes


One way that we can learn how to develop Christ like attributes is to listen to and obey our modern day prophets and apostles. Every time I watch General Conference, I am again struck so powerfully with the knowledge that these are men who are truly called of God. It can be easy sometimes to take our leaders for granted because we are used to having them, but we need to remember how blessed we are to have guidance in these last days. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said:
“Because Heavenly Father loves His children, He has not left them to walk through this mortal life without direction and guidance.”

We live in a world where we sometimes may feel that we are being pushed and pulled in multiple directions, but as we listen to our prophets and apostles we can have peace in knowing that we are being led in the right direction. Some people think that church leaders are just telling us their own opinions but we need to remember that this is the church of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and our prophets and apostles are speaking for the Lord. We are told in D&C 1:38:
“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”
 As we listen to our prophets and apostles and heed their words, we can learn what we can work on to help us to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. I feel so blessed in knowing that we have modern day prophets and apostles that can help give us direction in an increasingly chaotic world and are also such a good example of living Christ-like attributes.

In what ways has listening to the prophets, apostles, and other church leaders helped you to become more Christ-like?  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Thing About Gratitude

As of today, there has been 15 days in the month of October this year. Here is a list of trials I faced in the last 15 days:

  • Laptop breaks
  • Refrigerator stops working
  • Dryer stops working
  • Laptop isn't being covered under warranty
  • Miscommunication leads to laptop not being delivered
  • Dentist fees that should be covered weren't
All of these things are minor setbacks and frustrations toward a smooth day-to-day function. However, if we add these on to a major trial, such as a family member being admitted into hospice and given only a few weeks to live, these minor setbacks can become very trying. 

After being on the phone for 30 minutes with an automated customer service and getting no where, I ended up in tears of frustration. Although I had every excuse to be rude to the actual person who finally picked up the phone after a failed attempt with the automated services, they weren't the person to blame. They are only doing what they have been trained to do and it is unfair to expect something more from them--especially when they could probably do nothing more than what they have already tried and most importantly, they have no idea what other hardships I'm dealing with. 

However, I could expect more from the Lord. I could have a no-hold, no "I'm sorry, I can't do anything else" phrase, and no automated machine to speak with God. I can be reassured that I am heard, understood and taken care of through Christ. Because of God, I can see amazing neighbors who allowed us to use their fridge space so we didn't have to throw away a whole carton of eggs, we saw how well we were being taken care of by our landlords, we were able to see beautiful sunsets, receive free gift cards and have fees waived. But most importantly, we were able to see our families united in faith--aiding us each with peace, comfort and love from each other and from God. 

I still have much to learn about showing gratitude and becoming more consistent and perfect in this trait; however, I have confidence that if I take the time to try, I can find gratitude towards Christ. 

In Psalms 100, we read: 

1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

I pray for you. The more hardships I face in this life, the more I understand that you do too. I may not understand what you are facing or begin to fathom how that is affecting you, but  I do understand that you are going through something--and that something is very hard. I also know that God can understand what you are going through and how it is affecting you, because He has been there. He has gone through everything you face already and He has made it. He suffered and came out victorious for you. Give up your burdens and trust in Him to heal and comfort you. Trust in Him so that you may find peace in this life and be embraced in His unconditional love for you. I can't promise that He will take away these burdens. But I can promise you that you can find happiness, joy, peace and comfort here on Earth and forever in the Eternities if you give yourself to Him with all your might, mind and strength. May God be with you. And may you always have enough: enough to make it through one more day, enough to fold the laundry one more time, enough to kiss your spouse and love them one more day, enough to praise God one more time. 


*Please share a time in the comments below on how God has given you strength to overcome a hardship you have faced. Through your experience, I know it will bless someone who is facing those challenges you have already faced by giving them hope, faith and understanding. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Prince of Peace


Most of us have fantasies, at least from time-to-time, of becoming great, of making history in some way. This, however, was no concern of Jesus Christ. His only desire, to serve God and man, was completely devoid of magnifying popularity and fame. Instead, it was entirely rooted in love. Lifting the feeble knees, and the heads that hung low, is what He was all about. He did not do it to feel important, nor did He do it for the praise. He was full of humility, and a sincere desire to do His Father's will. So strong was His love, that even His worst enemies, were subjects of both His prayers, and of His complete and instant forgiveness. Truly, this Man was noble above all, even the literal Son of God. He suffered grief, and pain, beyond comprehension, deliberately, patiently, and with a merciful acknowledgement that if He did not, we ourselves would instead be doomed to suffer, for an infinity of years. His mission, was to go far beyond even the impossible feat of living a perfect life. It was also to bare each of our burdens of guilt, and of sickness, and of pain. This great, and atoning sacrifice, was our saving grace. All He expects in return, is that we do our best to repent, to follow His example, and to help others to do the same.


In what ways, can we more effectively do these three things?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Becoming More Christlike




What are some of the attributes of Jesus Christ?
 Which of these attributes would you like to develop? 




Saturday, October 4, 2014

How do we develop Christlike Attributes

The scriptures describe Christlike  attributes as gifts from God. They come as we use our agency righteously. We can ask Heavenly Father to bless us with these attributes; we cannot develop them without His help. With a desire to please God, we should recognize our weaknesses and be willing and anxious to improve.

Christlike attributes include:
Faith in Jesus Christ. When we have faith in Christ, we believe in Him as the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh. We accept Him as our Savior and Redeemer and follow His teachings.

Hope. Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to us. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. Hope helps us conquer discouragement.

Charity and Love.  Charity is "the pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47). It includes God's eternal love for all His children. We are to seek to develop that kind of love. When we are filled with charity, we obey God's commandments and do all we can to serve others.

Virtue.  Virtue originates in our innermost thoughts and desires. Since we believe that the Holy Ghost does not dwell in unclean tabernacles, virtue is prerequisite to receiving the Spirit's guidance. What we choose to think and do when we are alone and we believe no one is watching is a strong measure of our virtue.When we are virtuous, we focus on righteous, uplifting thoughts and put unworthy thoughts out of our minds.

Knowledge. The Lord commanded, "Seek learning, even by study and also by faith" (D&C 88:118).  We should seek knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge. We should study the scriptures every day, and also study the words of the living prophets. Through study and prayer, we can seek help for our specific questions, challenges, and opportunities.

Patience. Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry,  frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God's will and accept His timing. When we are patient, we hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully.

Humility. Humility is willingness to submit to the will of the Lord and give the Lord the honor for what is accomplished. It includes gratitude for His blessings and acknowledgment of our constant need for His divine help. Humility is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of spiritual strength.

Diligence.  Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord's work. The Lord expects us to work diligently- persistently and with great effort and care. When we are diligent, we find joy and satisfaction in our work.

Obedience.  Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith. We may sometimes be required to do things we do not completely understand. As we obey, we increase our faith, knowledge,  wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom. We should strive to be obedient to the Lord.

What Christlike attributes would you like to develop? We have the opportunity to study Christlike attributes and, with the help of our Father in Heaven, we can develop those attributes and become more like Christ. I am so grateful for the chance to learn how to become more like Christ.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

God's Commandments: Restrictive or Liberating?


Let's face it. Very few of us, if any, like to be told what to do. We simply want our freedom. We're naturally inclined to go our own way, do our own thing, be our own masters. For this very reason, it takes effort to live in a governmental society because we are constantly told what we can and can't do. Then, when we add religion to our lives, the list of do's and don't's grows and before we know it, almost every decision we make is out of obedience to either a secular law or a spiritual commandment. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its strict set of rules and guidelines. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation” [Lectures on Faith (1985), 69]. The words "life and salvation” denote liberty, which is a principle regarded just as highly in the church as the "sacrifice of all things", or total obedience. Surprising, freedom and obedience do not contradict each other. Rather, obedience is a stepping stone to freedom. For example, obedience to God prevents regret, and regret is by no means freedom. It also prevents addiction, which is another form of bondage. Disobedience to God, is obedience to the devil, who conspires to destroy our liberty, that we may wear the shackles of addiction and remorse, leaving us no more free than a prisoner confined to a cell. In the words of the Old Testament prophet Joshua, "choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:10). I know that if we do our best to obey the words of Christ and His apostles and prophets, then our lives will be full of freedom and happiness. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Study the Scriptures

The scriptures are written records of God's dealings with His children as recorded by prophets under the influence of the Holy Ghost. We show our faith by studying, believing, and obeying God's revealed word. We should diligently search the scriptures to understand the truth. We feast upon them because they open the door to revelation and show us what we need to do and become. We search the scriptures to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from God and comes through studying and living His word and His gospel. The approved scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called the standard works, are the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. We strive to study these sacred books daily.

My faith grows as I study the scriptures. At times, it can be difficult to find the time on a busy day. But I know when I find that time and study the scriptures, I feel closer to my Father in Heaven and Jesus and I learn to recognize the blessing in my life.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Our Life's Purpose

In an earlier article, we talked about the Plan of Salvation. I will list what is contained in the Plan of Salvation for a brief recap:

First, we were in the premortal world where we, the sons and daughters of God, were an intelligence. We learned and chose to follow God's plan to obtain a body on Earth and to return to God through the choices we make from the free agency God gave us.

Second, we passed through a veil and were born on Earth. By passing through the veil, we forgot what we had learned in the premortal world and we are tested on Earth to choose once again if we will follow God's plan. We can accomplish this through the light of Christ God gave to each of His children, the Holy Ghost's confirmation of right and wrong, and faith.

Third, we die and pass through another veil into the spirit world. Here we continue to learn about God's gospel but without our physical bodies. We wait until the resurrection day and the judgment day within the spirit world.

After we are judged according to our works, we will be placed within one of the 3 glories: Celestial (being the highest degree of glory), Terrestrial (Second degree), and Telestial (The third and lowest degree).

To have the blessings given to God (or in other words, to become like God), we need to make it into the Celestial Kingdom.

We chose before we came down to earth, as spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, to gain a physical body on earth and to return to God. In other words, our life's purpose is to become like our Heavenly Father--a perfect and Celestial being.

In order to become like God, we need to know WHO God is. We can understand who our loving Heavenly Father is by reading the scriptures and praying to Him daily. We draw closer to God when we learn more about Him, but we cannot be in the presence of God when we are sinners. So by learning about God, we find God's attributes and laws. And then, we must apply these attributes and laws into our lives so we can become like God.

Some of God's attributes are found in 2 Peter 1:5-7. In verse 8 of those scriptures, it states "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

So by obtaining God's attributes, we can know how to become like Him and begin striving to be like Him.

In the scriptures and from the words of His prophets, we learn commandments. An earlier article this month talked about how Gratitude was a commandment. When we are doing what the Lord commanded us to do, we find joy and happiness. When we are grateful, we find joy and happiness. God Himself is a being of joy and happiness. I know God has gratitude.

If we think of any of God's commandments, I have faith that He abides by all of them. Therefore, by learning all of God's commandments, we can know who God is and how He behaves. By keeping His commandments, we are becoming like Him.

So if our life's purpose is to become like God, then our life should fervently incorporate ALL of God's commandments and diligently obtain ALL of God's attributes.

What have you done to become more like God? What are some successful ways of following commandments that are hard to keep right now?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pray Often

God commands us to pray to Him. You can pray at any time and in any setting. The Lord has taught us to kneel and pray in the morning and in the evening, as individuals and with our families. Our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. Through daily prayer we receive divine guidance and blessings. We should always pray sincerely. We should also pray with "real intent," which means we are committed to act on the answer that we receive.

As we pray with faith, sincerity, and real intent, we will see God's influence in our lives. He will guide us in our daily lives and help us make good decisions. He will bless us with feelings of comfort and peace. He will warn us of danger and strengthen us to resist temptation. He will forgive our sins. We will feel closer to Him.

How has prayer helped you in your life and in your family's lives?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Grateful in Any Circumstances"

"As disciples of Christ, we are commanded to 'thank the Lord (our) God in all things', to 'sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving', and to 'Let (our) heart be full of thanks unto God.' "


We live in a time where we always want more and more, and I confess I am guilty of that and get frustrated when bad things happen. Recent events have occurred that have forced my husband and me out of our home. Instead of responding negatively like I normally would with a problem like this, I decided to try to be grateful. I discovered that my whole perspective changed when I began to do that. I looked past the problem and realized I had so much to be thankful for despite these difficult times. I realized I was blessed and an overwhelming peace and happiness filled me. Like all things, this too shall pass, but I will never forget what happened when I changed my attitude and began to look for the good in my life. I believe my husband and I have learned an important lesson that I hope we will apply time and time again. 


"Every one's situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious. 

We can be Grateful!"
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf








For the full talk check out: 



















Why are we commanded to keep the Sabbath day holy?

The Lord has given the Sabbath day for our benefit and has commanded us to keep it holy. Observing the Sabbath shows our commitment to honor and worship God and keep our promises to Him. It will bring us closer to the Lord and to our family. It will give us an eternal perspective and spiritual strength. The Sabbath also allows us to rest from our physical labors and worship the Lord.

 How do you follow the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Secure Anchor

I am so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who gives us commandments to live by. When we follow the commandments, we anchor ourselves to our Father in Heaven and He in turn is our safety and salvation.



How have you been blessed by following the commandments?


Monday, September 1, 2014

COMMANDMENTS

Commandments are the laws and requirements that a loving Heavenly Father gives His children to bless them, protect them, and guide them back to Him. When we keep the commandments, we show our love for Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. As we obey the commandments and continually repent, we become more like the Savior and we are blessed with happiness, peace, testimony, and the companionship of the Holy Ghost.


What blessings do you receive by keeping the commandments?











Friday, August 29, 2014

Protect the Family

This month, we talked a great deal on family. What a great thing to discuss—especially in a world where the belief of and strive for traditional family unit is dwindling.

Family and marriage is a very important matter to me. I know I can rely on my family who raised me to love me unconditionally. I know that the family I was married into loves and supports me and my husband. I know my ward family (ward family is a term members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints use to refer to the members who live within the same parameters that are created by our church leaders) cares about my temporal and spiritual needs and does their best in lifting me up. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and I know that my elder brother, Jesus Christ, lived a perfect life and atoned for my sins so that I can repent and live with them again. I know my husband loves, supports and cares for me during the happy and sad times, fun and hard times, and the best and worst times. Family is my strength, my support, my confidence and my love. Although these are great reasons why family is important to me, I wish to explain why family is important to everyone on this earth.

“The fulness of eternal salvation is a family affair,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The gospel plan originated in the council of an eternal family, it is implemented through our earthly families, and has its destiny in our eternal families.”

“Birth into a family was the way God chose to send His spirit children to earth. Marriage and family relationships are the central means He has prepared to achieve His purposes.”

"The family is the primary support structure in God’s plan to help us resist evil, overcome weakness, and work out our salvation. For this reason we should do all we can to strengthen the family in these days of confusion and opposition."

“Because of the importance of the family to the eternal plan of happiness,” said Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Satan makes a major effort to destroy the sanctity of the family, demean the importance of the role of men and women, encourage moral uncleanliness and violations of the sacred law of chastity, and to discourage parents from placing the bearing and rearing of children as one of their highest priorities.”

According to God’s plan, we cannot obtain the highest degree of happiness in Heaven without our family. God gave us our agency (our right to decide for ourselves from right and wrong) so that through our own will, we can choose to become like Him one day. He has given us the sacred duty to bring His children to earth and to teach them about Him and how to make it back. To God, family comes before your degree, work, extra-curricular, passions, and skill-honing.

I am not perfect. I have put my school, work, and Netflix (a passion of mine) before my family before. I will probably make a mistake and do it again. But God is merciful and he works with me little by little. In order for me to be a better family member, I have taken action by attending an institute class on “building an eternal marriage” and I have started my Personal Progress (a program directed to the young women of the church but can be completed by any age woman) again in hopes to becoming a better person who values family over worldly possessions.

What have you done to strengthen your family? Did it work? If not, why?

What are some of your steps in building an eternal family?


What are some ideas you can do today to help someone in your family draw closer to God? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

We believe in Children


"We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

At a family reunion someone asked my husband and me if we wanted to have children one day. We answered with a yes. That same person in shock said, "why?" He looked around at the multiple nieces and nephews running around, the chaos that was so obvious to him and shook his head in disgust. He could not fathom this desire to raise children. We need to change the worldly view on having and raising children. I have seen children bless the lives of their parents, and have seen countless times the love parents have for their children and how they begin to understand the love God has for us through their children. What purpose do we have here on earth without that echoing commandment first given to Adam and Eve. Multiply and replenish the world. At that family reunion I saw many 4 generations there, with such joy and love in their lives it made me certain this is what I wanted for myself.

"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling…it is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for."







https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/children?lang=eng

Friday, August 22, 2014

Family Scripture Study

The Lord has commanded members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to regularly attend church, as doing so leads to a joyful life, full of fellowship and learning. In addition, we're taught that we have the opportunity and duty to obtain an even larger quantity of spiritual knowledge in the home. This places a great responsibility upon families, and more especially upon parents. Consequently, a parent might ask, "how do I find the time to provide my children with so much learning?" The answer is consistency.
Houses are not built in a day, but rather brick by brick. Likewise, strong families are a result of consistent effort over time. In the April 2013 General Conference, Apostle Richard G. Scott said, "I’m sure you can identify the fundamental principles that center your home on the Savior. The prophetic counsel to have daily personal and family prayer, daily personal and family scripture study, and weekly family home evening are the essential, weight-bearing beams in the construction of a Christ-centered home." He later goes on to say, "Remember: little things lead to big things. Seemingly insignificant indiscretions or neglect can lead to big problems. More importantly, simple, consistent, good habits lead to a life full of bountiful blessings."
The Lord's instruction for parents to be primary facilitators in their children's quest for truth can best be achieved by small and consistent steps. The frequency for family scripture study should be daily, but the Lord has not set a specific time frame as to how long. My wife and I have found that for us personally, 15 minutes of couple scripture study each day is sufficient toward strengthening our marriage and we are excited to share this tradition with our future children.


What blessings can, or have, come to your family as a result of studying the scriptures together?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eternal Families



One of the most important things about the family is that it is not a temporal unit but an eternal one. This is one of the reasons that the LDS church sees the family unit differently than the world sometimes sees it. We believe that not only can families truly be together forever through sealing ordinances but also that it is only through eternal family relationships that we can reach our highest potential. Robert D. Hales explains: “While our individual salvation is based on our individual obedience, it is equally important that we understand that we are each an important and integral part of a family and the highest blessings can be received only within an eternal family.” This is why the family relationship is the most vital to protect and is also why the family is under constant attack by the adversary. Because Satan desires that we be miserable like he is, Satan does not want us to be with our families forever or to achieve our ultimate goal of becoming like Heavenly Father and inheriting all that He has. As the Family: A Proclamation to the World states: “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” The importance of family cannot be overstated and while not everyone has an ideal family situation or the relationships right now that they would desire, we can remember that we come from an eternal family and our Heavenly Father loves us immensely and will always be there for us as we strive to build and strengthen our families.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Family Home Evening

Family Home Evening or FHE is time set aside for our families.  We spend time with our families in order to develop a closer relationship with them.  It is also a time to learn about our Heavenly Father and about the gospel.
It is often hard to prioritize Family Home Evening over homework, "the game", dates, or other good and productive activities.  Sometimes it may be impossible to gather everyone together and spend an hour or two together a week.  Thomas S. Monson, our Prophet, said this,"We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program.  It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere.  The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest."

For me, homework is what keeps me from setting time aside to have a Family Home Evening.  I can always justify and tell myself that I don't have time to do FHE because I wouldn't finish my homework if I do that.  But I know that things will workout if I just do what he asks. 1 Nephi 3:7  This short message from President Monson has inspired me to make it a priority to have a Family Home Evening with just me and my wife every week.  Whether it's going for a walk, or sharing a lesson from the scriptures, making an effort to spend time with our families will be a blessing to us all.

With the following link you can read about others favorite Family Home Evening memories including one about a Dad who is away in the Air force and still makes time through video chat to have a Family Home Evening Every week.  lds.org Family Home Evening

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Family: The most important part of your life!!

It is of utmost importance to strengthen our families right now, at this time when we all know Satan is trying his best to destroy “the fundamental unit of society”. So if Satan is trying his best, then nothing less than our best will suffice to overcome all he throws in our path to sway us. We must be constantly and consistently striving to strengthen the family. When Christ was among the Nephites He counseled them to “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.”

In my home, above all of mine and my siblings baby pictures, is a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Behold your little ones. Love them, teach them, respect them, pray with them and for them.” Parents are responsible for raising their children correctly, for teaching them gospel truths and doctrine, and giving them a firm foundation, otherwise “the sin be upon the heads of the parents.” We will be held accountable before God for the way we have taught our children. Alma said to his son, “Command thy children to do good” and Mosiah told his people, “teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another.” Elder Ballard said, “What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity.”

I'm not a parent so I would hardly be an expert or authority on parenting, but I do know this: God is our Father, and the Father of millions at that. He is a perfect parent. If you were to ask anyone for help with raising and loving your children, in whatever circumstance, He is the Expert to ask. He knows your heart, and He knows the hearts of your children, because they are His children too, and always have been.

Elder Hales said “If the example we have received from our parents was not good, it is our responsibility to break the cycle... Each person can learn a better way and in so doing bless the lives of family members now and teach correct traditions for the generations that follow. I testify that this is true because I am a living witness and proof his words. I have experienced firsthand the blessings that come to “the generations that follow”, and I am forever indebted to those not far before me who chose to be those cycle breakers. They bring with them stories of charity, forgiveness, and strength that astound me, and have shaped my testimony. Next to God, your family is the most important part of your life, whether it's the one you're in or the one you make.

God expects much of us because of our decision to be part of a family. So if your family relationships are suffering, fix them. I testify that they are never too broken for Christ to save. If you've been unkind in the past, be kind from now on, and pray for the charity Christ exhibited so perfectly. If you haven't made your family the top priority in your life, make it your top priority from this day on. I promise you that if your family will follow Christ, you will never have to choose between your family, and the gospel. But even if your family doesn't follow Christ now, you can choose to yourself.

                                                                               -This article was written by Sarah, a youth in the Ward

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Family - Our Sacred Responsibility

On September 23, 1995, in a general Relief Society Meeting, President Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” This proclamation has become the Church’s definitive statement on the family. It states, “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In those sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.”

I am thankful for the wisdom and guidance of the leaders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know this proclamation was truly inspired and was a revelation given to our Church leaders by God. My family is the most important thing to me and I have a testimony that the words in this proclamation are true. How grateful I am to have this proclamation to help me be the best spouse and parent I can be. Life can be confusing and hard at times, but we are given direction and we are taught in the ways of our loving Father in Heaven.


*If you would like to read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in its entirety, please visit         www.lds.org

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What does it mean to take upon ourselves the name of Christ?

When I think about this question I think about missionaries and how their tags have their names and the Savior's name. My sister, Laura who went on a mission two years ago, once told me that on her mission a lot of people told her how horrible it was to take off your missionary tag when you get home, because you feel like you have been stripped of your title as a representative of Christ. Once Laura came home and took off her tag, she felt horrible and worried that no one would know that she is a missionary. But then she realized that she can show others that she is a representative of Christ by her actions, the way she dresses, and the way she talks. Her experience reminds me of story that Elder Holland told in the April 2014 General Conference:
"For example, a sister missionary recently wrote to me: “My companion and I saw a man sitting on a bench in the town square eating his lunch. As we drew near, he looked up and saw our missionary name tags. With a terrible look in his eye, he jumped up and raised his hand to hit me. I ducked just in time, only to have him spit his food all over me and start swearing the most horrible things at us. We walked away saying nothing. I tried to wipe the food off of my face, only to feel a clump of mashed potato hit me in the back of the head. Sometimes it is hard being a missionary because right then I wanted to go back, grab that little man, and say, ‘EXCUSE ME!’ But I didn’t.”

Being a representative of Christ means that you are living the way you feel about this gospel and not doing things that would make people think anything else. My young women leader once told a story about when she was at college. She was invited to a party and when she walked in a man said, "Drinks are in here, music is in there." She knew exactly what kind of drinks he was talking about, and thought to herself that if she went inside she could just avoid that certain room. But then she remembered back to an experience she had in Beehives, where they all stood up and made an oath to abstain from drugs and alcohol. So she decided to leave because even if she avoided the drinks, she didn't want people to think that she didn't have high standards, or that she wasn't a representative of Jesus Christ because she was at that party.

"DARE to be a Mormon. DARE to stand alone. 
DARE to have a purpose firm. DARE to make it known."

                                       -This article was written by Kaylee Adamson, a youth in the Ward

Thursday, July 24, 2014

We can become like Christ through sacred saving ordinances

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we perform ordinances. An ordinance is a sacred act performed by the authority of the priesthood. Some of the ordinances are essential to our exaltation, they are called saving ordinances. They include baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and temple marriage. When we receive these special ordinances we enter into solemn covenants with the Lord. A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and an individual or group of people. God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey those conditions. All saving ordinances are accompanied by covenants. When we remember to honor the covenants we have made with the Lord, we will be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and becoming like Christ will be part of our nature. 


                                  

Friday, July 18, 2014

As now we take the sacrament

The Sacrament to me is something very sacred and special. It is when we eat the blessed bread and water and by doing so we remember Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us and our sins are forgiven and we it's like we are getting a clean slate for the week. We are renewing our baptismal covenants, the promises we made to Heavenly Father when when we got baptized. 
"..By partaking of the Sacrament we renew all covenants entered into with the Lord and pledge ourselves to take upon us the name of his Son, to always remember him and keep his commandments”
-Elder Delbert L. Stapley
Before we did the Sacrament, men used to make sacrifices to God under the law of Moses. Men would choose from their flock the eldest male lamb of a pure white color and prepare it for sacrifice upon an alter.That changed when Jesus Christ was born, he symbolized the pure white lamb who is to be sacrificed to save us. In the last supper he explains to the disciples what they must now do and what his sacrifice will mean. 
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:26–28).
 That is why we have the Sacrament. We remember our brother Jesus Christ and what he did, of his sacrifice so that we might all have the chance to live again. To Return home. 
“I am a witness that there is a spirit attending the administration of the sacrament that warms the soul from head to foot; you feel the wounds of the spirit being healed, and the load is lifted. Comfort and happiness come to the soul that is worthy and truly desirous of partaking of this spiritual food”
-Elder Melvin J. Ballard


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Baptism

I'd like to explain a little bit about baptism.  God set forth a commandment that we all must be baptized in order to gain eternal life.  Through baptism we will receive forgiveness for our sins.  Because of Christ's atonement everyone can repent, be baptized, and be healed from any guilt, sorrow or shame we hold onto.

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." - John 3:5

One must be baptized by someone holding the priesthood.  The priesthood is a power and an authority to act in Gods name.  This is the same power that John the Baptist held.

This scripture explains that we must be baptized to enter Gods kingdom, but it also mentions that we must be born of the spirit.  For a baptism to be complete one must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  This is done by priesthood holders laying hands on the head of the one who was baptized and giving a special blessing.  When someone receives the Gift of the Holy Ghost through a blessing given by one holding the priesthood, the Holy Ghost will now reside with them.  Rather than feeling the Spirit or the Holy Ghost only when praying or reading the scriptures, those who are Baptized will now always have the Holy Ghost with them.

The Holy Ghost has comforted me in difficult times.  It has confirmed to me that this is Gods church.  The best way I can describe the Holy Ghost is an overwhelming feeling of peaceful love.  

I know that through Christ's atonement we can be made clean.  I know that if you come to know that Christ is your savior, repent and are baptized you will be cleansed of guilt and you will have more joy and happiness in your life.  

Baptism click on this link for a good simple explanation of baptism.  Feel free to explore the scriptures and talks given below the description.



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to Draw Closer to God

"A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people. God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey these conditions." - https://www.lds.org/topics/covenant?lang=eng

In this video, Elder Nelson (one of the 12 apostles serving in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) talks about covenants.


In Matthew 7: 7-8, it reads: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

When I was 17 years old, I was dating a young man. For the first time, I dated a spiritual and uplifting priesthood holder. However, our leaders has counseled and commanded us to not date seriously until we are adults and have marriage as our priority. I remember I started reading my scriptures more regularly and saying my prayers. I thought I was doing all that I needed to as a disciple of Jesus Christ and I confidently asked my Heavenly Father to show me how to draw closer unto Him. When I went to youth conference ( a program for the youth that allows us to develop skills that will draw us closer to God) I had a strong impression from the Holy Ghost that told me that I needed to end my relationship. I was devastated at the time. I really liked the guy and I thought he was good for me. But after thinking things through, I realized that even though this boy may be a really good guy, I was still breaking a covenant I had made. I had sustained my church leaders and by doing so, I have covenanted to follow their righteous examples and teachings. This included the dating guidelines which I wasn't following.

In Matthew, the Lord promises that if we take the time and effort to study the scriptures (seek) and to pray (ask), the Lord will open a way for us to learn. My story is a prime example. I had read my scriptures, prayed and received an answer to my prayers on how I can draw closer to my God. The answer was difficult for me, but I have been significantly blessed through my action of following God's answer.

God had taught me that day that in order for me to draw closer unto Him and progress in life, I had to be a covenant keeper. I am grateful for His love and guidance in my life. I know that as long as I strive to do my best and keep the commandments I can be worthy to utilize my Savior's atoning sacrifice and be clean to be in the presence of my Heavenly Father. I can obtain Eternal Life by applying this principle--to be a covenant keeper.

What is sexual purity? Why be Chaste?

Obedience to the law of chastity will increase our happiness in mortality and make possible our progress in eternity. A Talk by David A. ...