Thursday, March 26, 2015

How do I repent?

I remember when I was a teen I started to feel such a weight from sin. It was a heavy burden to carry, but although I'd learned about the steps of repentance as a child I had never really put them into practice.  Repentance is a personal and private thing, and as such I realized that I'd never witnessed an example of it, and that made it hard for me to go about using it in my life.  

As the burden of sin accumulated and weighed me down to depression I knew I must implement it in my life to feel free and clean again!  I studied the book "The Miracle  of Forgiveness" and got the courage to pray for forgiveness myself.  I remember my first prayer of repentance to God so well because for the first time I could feel Gods love comforting me almost as if it were a physical presence.  I poured out my soul and cried on my knees for what felt like an hour and felt my burdens lifted when I finished.

After that experience, repentance became a part of my every day life and prayers to God and it feels much less dramatic than the first time but every bit as freeing and lifting of my soul.  My relationship with God has become so much more personal close and real since implementing repentance in my life.

I know there must be others who have, for any number of reasons, not experienced this miracle in their lives.  I challenge you to set aside some private time to confess your sins to God in prayer either tonight or before this week is through.  Ask for his forgiveness with true sorrow for your sin and intent to change your ways.  After this, (or sometimes before) you should seek restitution, or in other words "right the wrong."  If you've lied, then confess. Stolen, then return. Been cruel, then be kind. If your having a hard time knowing where to start or how to right the wrong seek confidential and nonjudgmental advice from your local LDS Bishop. No problem or question is to big or too small. He is there to help you understand how to use Gods gift! How to implement the atonement and feel free and clean.  I'm so greatful for Jesus sacrifice for you and for me.  I know God loves you!! I know that he will forgive you.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What is Repentance, and How Can It Help Me?

Jesus Christ suffered the penalty for our sins so that we can repent. Repentance is a change of heart and mind that brings us closer to God. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love for God and sincere desire to obey His commandments. 

Why is it even necessary to repent and how can it help me?

We all sin, no matter how hard we try.  Jesus is the only being who has not sinned.  Yet we are commanded to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect, to return to the kingdom of God.  Sin also carry's a heavy emotional burden on each of us.  So how can anyone, since we are all imperfect return to God and feel free of sins heavy burden?  Through repentance.  God is a both a merciful and a just God.  We must be punished for our own sins according to justice, but to be merciful he sent his Son Jesus Christ to suffer for us in our place.  We can only be forgiven through repentance.  This is why it is so important! "He suffered and died for our sins, but without repentance all of his anguish and pain on our account are futile." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p 145)  

This video below does an amazing job of explaining what the atonement is for.  It portrays of the analogy Elder Boyd K Packer used in his April 1977 conference address of a young man who fails to pay his debt (representing sin) and is saved from the grasp of justice (the punishment of God) through the mediations of a friend (Jesus Christ).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What Does It Mean To Have Faith In Jesus Christ

In order for our faith to lead to salvation, it must be centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. To have faith in Jesus Christ means to trust Him and obey His commandments. Faith is much more than passive belief. We express our faith through action—by the way we live.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Perfectionism and Faith

I have struggled with the need to be perfect in my religion since I was a little child. I thought I had to be perfect in keeping God's commandments so I could go to the Celestial Kingdom (Heaven) and be worthy of His love. But, when I knelt to pray every night I was filled with an embarrassing and demoralizing recollection of all the ways I had messed up and fell short of my lofty goal. Perfectionism had damaged my relationship with Heavenly Father and my self image. 

It was during my Senior year of high school that I finally realized I had a problem. I hadn't recognized perfectionism's extent in my life before. Now that I was aware of it, I was at an even greater loss for how to change. Stumbling across this passage one day in my Seminary class was a little answer to my prayers.

If you want context on how this passage fits in with Paul's epistle, read Philippians 3:7-10; it really helps! I would copy and paste it but I don't want to freak you out with the length of my spiel. 
In those verses above, Paul's basically saying that every earthly thing he has gained in his life really doesn't mean anything to him. Because, in the grand scheme of things, it's not important so long as he has Christ and His resurrection.
But here's the AWESOME passage:
Philippians 3: 12-15
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
I learned back then what I continue to remind myself of now: this is the attitude I'm supposed to have in the Gospel. I do not have to act and am not responsible to act as through I have already obtained perfection. I have not obtained the resurrection of the just, as Paul said in verse 11. That is the only time and way I will ever be perfect. But, I "follow after", that I can become like Christ.
This is what we are supposed to do: we are meant to "forget...those things which are behind, and reach... forth unto those things which are ahead." This is EXACTLY what we are meant to do when we make mistakes. We aren't supposed to beat ourselves up about and dwell on them. When we do that, we only continue to live in the past and we can't progress. We're stuck.
Instead, we "press toward the mark for the prize" - the wonderful opportunity to become like Christ.
"Be thus minded..." and then, if we have that attitude in the gospel, "God shall reveal even this unto you". He will reveal His mysteries to us.
How blessed I am to have a God who does not care about perfection! He has already provided the perfect life for my salvation through His Son. He has given me the perfect opportunity to learn and grow; this life is a safe environment to experiment, fall, and then use His hand to pick myself up again. That is how my mortal experiment is meant to be viewed. It is the chance to press forward unto Christ and fail many times because His passion (aka atonement) has made me safe.
When we are blessed with this outlook, life becomes so much easier. We better understand why we are asked to be obedient as a disciple: it is not to prove or justify our salvation, but only to seize the wonderful chance to become more like Him. It changes our prayers from a dreaded time of guilt and inadequacy to a moment of peace, trust and joy in repentance with my Father. It makes all the difference in our relationship with Him.
I promise that our Heavenly Father will one day make us perfect through the power of the passion/atonement of Christ. I take great hope in that promise. But the resurrection has not happened yet. Instead, I am filled with joy when I realize that my job now, as Brad Wilcox once said, "We are not earning heaven, we are learning heaven."

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...