The Mormon Channel

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do Or Do Not

Star Wars..... I LOVE it!!!  In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back the Rebel Alliance's base on the wintery ice planet of Hoth is being attacked by the evil Galactic Empire and is eventually overthrown by Darth Vader and the Imperial Forces.  Luke Skywalker manages to escape imprisionment and is told in a vision from his former mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to seek out Master Jedi Yoda on the swampy planet of Dagobah.  When Luke's X-Wing crash lands in the middle of a swamp, a funny looking short green creature with pointy ears comes and finds this young aspiring Jedi

It turns out that this funny looking creature is the great Yoda himself!  While going through some vigorous trainings, Luke's X-Wing sinks into the swamp.  While Luke fears that he's not strong enough to use to force to get it out, Yoda gives this timeless counsel to his new apprentice.

"Do or do not.  There is no try."  How does that apply to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Christ taught us in Matthew 7:21 that:

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

The Apostle John taught us that "...this is love, that we walk after his commandments (2 John 1:6)."  Christ pleaded with us that "If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15)."  We show our love to Christ by acting upon that which he has taught us.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of action, not trying to act. 

So what commandments must we keep and do in order to follow Christ?  We need to read the scriptures, keep the sabbath day holy, love our neighbors, pay our tithing, keep the law of chastity, pray often, and many other things which Christ and His prophets have taught us both anciently and modernly.  When we are baptized, one of the promises we make to God is to "keep [Christ's] commandments which he hath given [us]... (Moroni 4:3)".

I'm grateful for God's promises to us as we do the things which he has commanded us.  I know that keeping the commandments works, and that they are given to us for our benefit.  So.....
Just do it!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

George Mikan and Strengths

George Mikan is regarded by many in the basketball world as the first big man to ever dominate the game dominated by big men.  He led the NBA's first dynasty, the Mineapolis Lakers, to five championships and was voted as the best basketball player in the first half of the 20th Century in 1950, only 4 years into his playing career.  He was a monster on the court, but a friendly gentle giant off of it.

However, basketball wasn't always easy for this beast of an athlete.  Basketball was not George's forte when he graduated high school as a lanky, awkward, short-sighted kid.  Despite these weaknesses, he was determined to play basketball.  While he was attending DePaul University he worked on a unique workout routine with his coach involving skipping rope, shadowboxing, modern and ballet dancing, and 250 hookshots everyday with both hands.  In a short amount of time he transformed himself from a wirely weakling to the best basketball player in the world.

In Ether 12:27, we read:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

As we use the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives, we can turn our weaknesses into our strengths.  As we humble ourselves, turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer, have faith in Christ and allow Him to work with us, He will support us and give us strength.  Never be ashamed of your weaknesses, because God gives them to us as part of His eternal plans for us to learn and grow.  I have a weakness for talking with people, but being a missionary I've worked hard at it.  I know that the Savior has helped me (and continues to help me) build up the courage to talk to ramdom strangers about His Gospel.  It's actually WAY exciting to see God work with us and watch weaknesses become strengths!  All we have to do is come to Christ.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tools in our lives

A couple of weeks ago Elder Owen and I had a BLAST helping build a deck for an old lady!  Here's a look at the beginnings of the initial framework of the deck.   
It took a lot of planning and a variety of different tools to work on this thing.  You can see Ron up there with the measuring tape.
Here we are with a circular saw and saw horses cutting 2x6's.  These are going to eventually be the deck floor.
Elder Owen using the sledge hammer to break apart the old stairs so we can build the deck around it.
Ron and I are using a pencil and a level to make a straight line across the base of the door.
Power tools are used to keep the floor down solid.  And here:
We have the finished product!  Well, the floor at least with stairs and a handrail leading up to it!  We're still getting the roof up and a wheelchair ramp installed, but it is now usable!

It took a variety of tools for us to complete this goal, and similarly, God gives us SO many tools in our lives to help us come closer to him.  In Alma 34:32, we learn the purpose (or end goal) of this life we live and what it is that we need to do:

"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."

We are on this Earth to be prepared to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.  We need to "perform our labors" while living this life, meaning we need to do our part in keeping the commandments, following Christ while "work[ing] out [our] own salvation" (Philippians 2:12).  Thankfully, God has given us SO many different tools to help us return to him.  I'll mention just a few, but go ahead and make a personal list of other tools which He has given to you personally.




Friends                                                                                                                                       Prayer                                                                                                                              My Dad
 My brother Jordan                                           Scriptures
There are countless more ways that I've seen my Father in Heaven express His love to us by giving us tools that will help us return to Him.  The most important tool to remember though, is the only way we can even hope to return to His presence: Christ.

"I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness." (Alma 38:9)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The principle of......

Every single day, the world revolves around this principle.  Billions of people throughout the globe go out and exercise this principle in far more instances than we can begin to count.  Businesses would fail, the economy would tumble, and nations would explode in further chaos if this principle were to be disregarded in any sort of degree.

I want to talk about the principle of faith.  First of all, what is faith?  And how are we to exercise our faith for our benefit?

The Apostle Paul wrote that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)."

The Prophet Alma the Younger said that "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true (Alma 32:21)."

Faith does not mean that you know something exactly (for example, I don't have faith that 1+1 will equal 2; I know it), but it is to act upon your hope of true principles.  For example...

1. I exercised faith when I woke up this morning and got out of bed in the hope that this day would be worth living.

2. I exercised faith when I got out the macaroni and cheese and bacon and cooked it for breakfast in the hope that to eat so would be more beneficial to my taste buds than if I had not.

3. I exercised faith when I started the car hoping that turning the key would bring about a desired result.

Faith is more than a belief: it is an action taken place when there is confidence in someone or something.  The first principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faith.  In order for us to even begin to follow Christ, we not only need to believe in Christ as our Savior, we need to believe Christ when He said "Follow thou me" (2 Nephi 31:10).

In the following video, pay attention to how this young father exercises his faith, and how that faith led him to act.

If he did not have faith that he would receive help, he would not have gone out to seek it, but would have waited for help to come to him.  Likewise, as we exercise faith for a better day, Christ will support us in all our efforts (see Mathew 11:28-30).  Good things will come if we put our faith in our Father in Heaven.

"Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him... (Alma 44:4)"