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.

A God of Miracles

What miracles have happened in your life today?  God is aware of us. He loves us. One of the greatest miracles made possible thr...