The Mormon Channel

Friday, March 25, 2011

The sacrifice and dedication of work...

As a missionary, we leave our homes for two years in order to bring homes together in Christ for eternity.  Tyler Haws has worked hard at becoming an athlete, and is now working hard to share the Gospel with the people in the Phillipines.  Watch this video and see the sacrifices put into his basketball career and the sacrifices he's made to leave his family.  The sacrifices made here are the same sacrifices tens of thousands of young men and young women make every year in dedicated service to God.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Food for the soul...... MUSIC!

I LOVE music!  As a little kid I remember my mother asking me if I wanted to join the Ragazzi Boys Choir, and I was just so enthralled by the beauty of their sound that I jumped on board right away.   Something touched me that day when I heard them sing, and that something still touches me to this day whenever I listen to good, wholesome music.

Learning how to sing and eventually teaching myself the basics to piano took a lot of blood,sweat, and tears (literally!), but I've come to a great appreciation for the way it communicates to our souls.  Music is the universal language.  There is something about music that adds an extra dimension to our thoughts, ideas and emotions that our words alone aren't able to carry.  Because of this amazing phenomenom, the Lord has stated in latter-day revelation (D&C 25:12):

12For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

Good music is prayer to God's ears!  Whenever I sing or play a tune on the piano, I truly am communicating to the Divine!  Some of the greatest sermons ever preached are done through song.  Think of how music has influenced you.  I've come closer to my Savior through music, and because of that I joy in being able to bear my testimony through song. 
Watch this video of one of my favorite musicians, Alex Boye.

I love my Savior and the tools he gives us to draw closer to Him.  Reading the scriptures, feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost, going to church, prayer, wholesome music, all of these are all ways we are able to strengthen our relationship with God and His only begotten Son.  I love them both, and I need them each and everyday of my life, and how grateful I am that they desire me to come nearer to them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Learning To Teach By The Spirit...

I had a life changing experience yesterday.

As missionaries, we work each and everyday to improve our ability to teach by the Spirit.  In all truth and actuality, we are not the ones that carry the truth of our message; it's the Spirit which does the teaching.  Though we're young and weak in the eyes of the world, the Lord has a way of working with the weak things of the world and making them strong.  A modern day prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, gave the following counsel:

"The Spirit is the most important single element in this work.  With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can work miracles for the Lord in the mission field.  Without the Spirit, you will never succeed, regardless of your talent and ability" (Ezra Taft Benson, seminar for new mission presidents, 25 June 1986).

This is what we were working on yesterday; our ability to teach by the Spirit.  In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith (D&C 11:21), the Lord said:

21Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

All of our focus as official representatives of Jesus Christ needs to be on the Holy Ghost and our friends whom we are teaching.  As we practiced our ability to teach the Gospel, the Holy Ghost taught me what it is that I need to do to allow Him the opportunity to teach.  I need to use the scriptures when teaching.  I need to pray for the Spirit to be present.  I need to share my testimony of the truths we are teaching.  I need to share my own personal experiences.  However, the most important truth the Spirit taught me is to share my love for the Lord and for those whom I am blessed to share these truths with.

I love my Savior.  He is the reason I have joy.  It is only through Him that I can find fulfillment in this life and the life to come.  As King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon once said (Mosiah 2:21-22):

21I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
22And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

Though I am imperfect and unworthy to represent my Savior, He has given me life.  He has given me freedom.  He has given me hope and direction.  He is my all, my everything, and though I can never repay Him for the Sacrifice He's given to me, I will give Him my heart and will, for that is all he requires of me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is the 3rd member of the Godhead.  Its purpose is to testify of truth and to prepare us for eternal life with our Father in Heaven.  The Book of Mormon prophet Moroni teaches us one amazing characteristic of the Holy Ghost.  Moroni 10:5 states:

5And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

The Holy Ghost can teach us the truth of ALL things!  If there is any truth out there to be found, it's through the Holy Ghost that we can obtain that knowledge.  So... how can we know for ourselves that the Holy Ghost is teaching us truth?  Christ taught us in John 14:26 that the Holy Ghost is known as the Comforter.

26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

That's one way in which the Holy Ghost communicates to us: it brings us comfort.

The Apostle Paul taught us about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.  Now I don't know about y'all, but I'm a city slicker and I don't know ANYthing about trees!  The only way I'm going to know if it's an apple tree is if it has apples on it.  The only way I'll know if it's an orange tree is if it has oranges.  The same principle applies to these spiritual fruits:

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

A modern-day apostle, President Boyd K. Packer, taught:

The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither “loud” nor “harsh.” It is “not a voice of thunder, neither … voice of a great tumultuous noise.” But rather, “a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,” and it can “pierce even to the very soul” and “cause [the heart] to burn.” (3 Ne. 11:3; Hel. 5:30; D&C 85:6–7.) Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a “still small voice.” (1 Kgs. 19:12.)

The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. (No wonder that the Word of Wisdom was revealed to us, for how could the drunkard or the addict feel such a voice?)

Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, “Speak [Lord], for thy servant heareth.” (1 Sam. 3:10.)

So now comes the question:  How do I begin to seek out spiritual truth?  Christ gives us the answer in Mathew 7:7-8.

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

We ask through prayer.  We seek by searching the scriptures.  We knock by going out there and attending Sacrament Meeting.  As we begin the process of receiving revelation of truth from the Holy Ghost, we will notice a defference in our lives.  The Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, describes the following in Alma 32:28:

28Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

I know the Holy Ghost speaks to our hearts and our minds.  It sends feelings to our souls that fill and comfort us.  It's through the Holy Ghost and putting my trust in God and not in the arms of flesh that I've come to know my Savior Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel.  I know that if you pray with faith in Jesus Christ and really truly desire to seek out truth, God will answer you through the Holy Ghost.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Putting your trust in God.

Today I studied on the importance of trusting in God.  Too often I feel myself relying on my own wisdom, my own knowledge, and my own thinking and forget what marvels my Father in Heaven can accomplish if I but trust in Him.  There is a scripture in the book of Mosiah 7:19 in the Book of Mormon that illustrates to me how I need not worry if I put my whole trust in God.

19Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them.

Look at the miracles God has been able to accomplish!  What can't God do?  Is anything impossible to Him?

Another scripture in the Book of Mormon in Alma 36:3 teaches us that God will support us in our trials if we put our trust in Him.

3And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust‍ in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.

I love the wording Alma uses to point out to his son, Helaman, about the characteristics of God's promises.  As we put our trust in God, we "shall" be supported in our trials, troubles, and afflictions.  These blessings are guaranteed to us as we do our part in obtaining them.

Which leads us to this question: How do we show God that we trust in Him?  This question is answered in Mosiah 7:33.

33But if ye will turn‍ to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence‍ of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

We have to "turn to the Lord", meaning to humble ourselves and acknowledge His divine power, and "serve him with all diligence of mind", meaning to willfully keep His commandments.

I know that as we put our trust in the Lord, and "lean not unto [our] own understanding", that we qualify ourselves for the blessings of Heaven.  I know that God lives, and because I've been able to put my trust in Him and His only begotten Son, He's blessed my life with more joy and abundance than I can begin to describe.