Saturday, April 14, 2012

March To The Miracle: Part 3

Well the tournament is over and Kentucky comes out victorious; a team full of young, athletic talent. However, more importantly, besides their abilities, championship teams win because of one thing... Teamwork. Having great talent is very benefiting, but then there's the famous line, "There's no 'I' in 'TEAM'." As Kentucky neared the end of the tournament, it kept getting tougher and tougher for them to win. In order for them to win, each player needed to be on  the same page with each other. As a result they became a better team that was focused on the same goal and they each knew their role in accomplishing it. It was very important for each player to know what their role was so that their goal could be reached. Now I will continue from where I last left off. One of the greatest gifts we can receive from our Heavenly Father here on earth is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Just as each player did their best to execute to reach their goal, the Holy Ghost will help us execute the things we do in our lives to be in accordance to the teachings of the Savior. What an amazing thing the Holy Ghost does for us, He helps us to do what's right, what our Heavenly Father wants us to do! We receive a promise of this from our Savior Jesus Christ in John chapter 14 verse 26:

"But 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."

If we faithfully do what the Savior teaches, we will be guided by the Holy Ghost to do what is right. Back to Kentucky, as the players continually work hard to complete their goal, they will eventually get tired. They d
on't have perfect health and won't be able to last a full 40 minutes without taking a rest. Same with people in general, we're human, and we're always going to make mistakes. And this is what brings us to the last word that was in quotes. I know it was a while ago the last time it was mentioned, but here it is again: "miracle". The miracle, or in other words a gift, the greatest gift given from our Heavenly Father, is eternal life. A prophet from the Book of Mormon explains how we can receive eternal life in 2 Nephi chapter 31 verse 20:

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a 
steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

Those 4 words are the important part. When we do that, then we shall have eternal life. What are those things we need to do in "enduring to the end"? 

"...and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ..."

Which is what was mentioned in the past couple blogs I wrote: Having faith unto repentance, being baptized by immersion (after baptism partaking of the sacrament weekly), receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As I said before, we are all humans and we will make mistakes. By applying these principles daily by: having faith that Christ can heal us from our mistakes, then to repent of those mistakes daily, then, after being baptized, partaking of the sacrament weekly to renew the covenants made at baptism, than as we do that the Holy Ghost will be with us, then to continue doing these things and building on your knowledge of the gospel through diligent studying of the scriptures, prayer, and following all the commandments. Sounds pretty easy doesn't it? With God's help anything is possible!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March To The Miracle: Part 2

So how has March Madness been treating you so far? Any luck on picking the right teams and getting the rare, perfect bracket? I don't know about you, but I've never had a perfect bracket.. So do you remember the last blog I wrote and said to stay tuned? Well here's the continuation. Do you remember the second word that was in quotes that I was going to talk about next? If not, here it is. The word is "march". Let's first find out what "march" means. In relation to a marching band, they have one purpose and they work in unity to accomplish their goal. So we've already established that when we get mad about the Gospel of Jesus Christ we have to exercise our faith in Him unto repentance. How do we exercise our faith unto repentance? Baptism, which brings us to the word "march". We begin our march by washing our sins away through baptism by immersion. Just like those teams in the tournament, they have one purpose (to win the championship) and they have to be on the same page every second of every game, working together to reach that goal. When beginning our march, through baptism, we need to be on the same page with the teachings of our Savior and bring our lives in closer harmony with them. In John 3:5 we learn of the importance of being baptized:

"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."

In Matthew 3:13-17 it explains why Jesus Christ was baptized, keep in mind He was perfect, and how He was baptized:

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be
 baptized of him.

"But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
"And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
"And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

In 2 Nephi 31:9-10 it teaches us that we must follow Jesus Christ and His example He has shown us:

"And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the
 gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.

"And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?"

The scriptures teach us about why baptism is so important and the example Jesus Christ set for everyone to follow. He wants us to follow Him because he loves us so much and wants us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. After we are baptized, one of the greatest blessings we can receive while we are here on earth from Heavenly Father is...

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March To The Miracle: Part 1

How psyched are you for March Madness? I don't know about you but that is my favorite time of the year. Printing out multiple brackets and guessing different scenarios, or going onto and having a family challenge. We love trying to guess who will win the national championship. It's exciting to watch the teams play and to give it all they've got to be the best team in the country. When the underdogs play the highly-favored teams, you want them to win, just so there's unexpected excitement. Just like what happened last year when Kemba Walker led a mediocre UConn team, during the season, to an undefeated tournament record with winning the national championship; Butler returning to the finals for a second year in a row; VCU making it to the Final Four by upsetting some of the best teams in the country. It's amazing to see what happens in March because you will never know what can happen. What kind of mindset do those teams have when going into the tournament? They get "mad" about playing the game and "march" towards the "miracle" of winning the national championship.

You're probably wondering why I have those three words in quotes aren't you? Before we get to that lets start by comparing March Madness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teams in the tournament as yourself, keep that thought in your mind. Okay now let's get to the first word that's in quotes.. MAD: What does it mean for the basketball teams to get mad about playing in the tournament? It means getting themselves prepared, focused, and hyped up to play. What does it mean to get mad about the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Let's go to the scriptures to find this answer out. In Alma 34:17 of the Book of Mormon it reads:

"Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;"

  • Then in Moroni 8:25:

    "And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;"

    Finally Alma 9:27: 

    "And behold, [Jesus Christ] cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name."

    These are the first steps that are needed that will get us prepared, focused, and hyped up to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an amazing blessing to have faith in our Savior Jesus Christ that he can take away our sins through repentance and baptism by immersion for a remission of our sins. Which is what the next word in quotes is about, but you'll have to wait for my next blog.. So stay tuned!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pray to Prepare for the Day

Have you ever seen the New Zealand All Blacks play before? If you haven't I would highly recommend it because they always have a special treat for you to see. You know what that special treat is? The haka, and you can see for yourself right here:

The haka is a war dance used by the people of New Zealand to intimidate their opponents. The All Blacks do the haka before they start each and every game to do exactly that. They are preparing for the game by not only intimidating their opponent, but to also get themselves hyped up and ready to perform their best.

If the All Blacks use the haka for their preparation to play, what can we do as individuals to prepare ourselves for the day? The most important thing we can do is to pray. By praying to our Heavenly Father we can prepare ourselves to face the forces of evil. The Lord has given us a promise if we do so: "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." (D&C 10:5) Praying is like the haka. We can intimidate Satan and his servants before we go throughout our day by saying a prayer; that we can stay away from any temptations, and anything that will lead us down the path of spiritual destruction. Heavenly Father wants to help each and every one of us. He will give us the strength to overcome any temptations Satan puts in our path. We need to do our part by seeking Him out, and the only way to do that is through prayer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Be Like Jesus Christ

On Mother's Day I was able to talk to my mom and we got to talking about the recent General Conference. She said she wasn't able to watch two of the sessions. I said that it was an awesome conference and she felt that she needed to read the talks in the Ensign. But one of the talks she did listen to was entitled, "What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?" by Lynn G. Robbins Of the Seventy. His talk was about developing Christlike attributes. My mom liked how he talked about in order for us 'to be' like Jesus Christ, we need 'to do' the things that He did. Lynn G. Robbins gave a great example of this in relation to himself:

"Many of us create to do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish. But people rarely have to be lists. Why? To do’s are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can’t earn checkmarks with to be’s. I can take my wife out for a lovely evening this Friday, which is a to do. But being a good husband is not an event; it needs to be part of my nature—my character, or who I am."

After my mom brought up this talk I told her my thoughts about it also. I related it to basketball, my most favorite sport. Two summers ago I went to Provo, Utah to go to the BYU basketball camp. My older brother lives there and I stayed with him for a month. Prior to the camp my brother took me to the gym everyday to workout. He told me something that has stuck with me since. He told me that every drill I do I need to do it over and over and over again, so it becomes a part of me. When game time comes and the time comes for me to do that move that I have been practicing, it will happen naturally and I won't have to think about it before doing it. I then related that to the Gospel. We need 'to do' things that Jesus Christ taught us and practice it over and over again so it becomes a part of us. When we do this it will become natural for us to do those things. It will be a part of us. We will 'live' that way. We will 'be' what our Heavenly Father wants us to be.

May we all strive to develop Christlike attributes and to make them become a part of us.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Patience... A Great Blessing

What do we do when we want something, but don't get it when we want it? We get frustrated, angry, and impatient, right? That's where patience comes in. We all know that famous quote, "patience is a virtue." Everyone should develop this characteristic, or become better at it because it will benefit ourselves now, and throughout our lives. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk in the April 2010 General Conference on patience, entitled "Continue in Patience". He gave an example in which he says:

"In the 1960s, a professor at Stanford University began a modest experiment testing the willpower of four-year-old children. He placed them before a large marshmallow and then told them they could eat it right away or, if they waited for 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallows.

"He then left the children alone and watched what happened behind a two-way mirror. Some of the children ate the marshmallow immediately; some could wait only a few minutes before giving in to temptation. Only 30 percent were able to wait.

"It was a mildly interesting experiment, and the professor moved on to other areas of research, for, in his own words, 'there are only so many things you can do with kids trying not to eat marshmallows.' But as time went on, he kept track of the children and began to notice an interesting correlation: the children who could not wait struggled later in life and had more behavioral problems, while those who waited tended to be more positive and better motivated, have higher grades and incomes, and have healthier relationships."

What a great example he gives to those who are patient. This can apply to all ages. When we want something and are willing to put the desire for it on hold, we will benefit from the sacrifice and will have success in many aspects of our lives.

However, there is more to just waiting for what we want. We have to put forth the effort, to work for our  desires instead of just expecting it to just show up in our hands. In that same talk, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a splendid definition of patience: "Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can--working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!"

May we all strive to do all we we can to develop this characteristic. It will only improve our lives!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Share the Gospel with Everyone

I absolutely love this story! The example that Junior set for members of the LDS church is great. He was the only boy coming to church, and he didn't want to be alone. Junior loves the Gospel and has great joy because of it. He wanted his friend to feel that same joy, so he opened his mouth and invited his friend. His friend enjoyed it so much that he invited his friend. The invitation then branced out and eventually, Junior was joined by 25 other boys. Now these boys are all together and watch out for each other. They want to make sure each and every one of them comes to church and does the right things because they love each other. They feel that no one should be left behind, that everyone should know how they feel towards the LDS church. They aren't afraid to invite others because they know that this church is true. May we as members of this church learn from their example and share our testimony to all our friends and invite them to come to church. Let us not be afraid to share with others what we believe and know to be true.

"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." (D&C 68:6)