Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

     I recently had a neat experience. My friend and I were out sharing our message with a family we met that evening. We all had a great time together. As our time there came to a close we said a prayer when we left their home. The weather was getting pretty rough and rain was begining to fall. We were close to three miles from our home and we were on foot that night. So we made our way into the dark hoping we would make it home safely. As the wind and rain increased I looked at my companion and said, "Elder, how well do you run?" He explained that he ran cross couontry in high school. so with that response we cinched up our backpacks and began our race against nature. We and all the surrounding countys that night were in a severe tornado warning and the skys were so dark that it was impossable to see where we were going. I remember thinking to myself, "it sure would be easier to make it home if it wasnt so dark." we needed light to keep us from getting lost on those back country roads. Fortunatly, because of the weather, frequent flashes of lightning were illuminating the sky. The surrounding area had just enough light to be able to see where we were going. But only for a brief  period of time. Even though that light was good, it still would have given us more direction if the light was consistantly "on". soaking wet, we eventually made it home
     This world that we are living in, is like this storm of which I have just spoken. There are many outside influences and temptations that beat upon us and blow us down. we are surrounded by a mist of darkness that makes it impossablt to see where we are going. However, our father in heaven loves us so much. we are his children. He sent us here with a guide. That is the holy ghost. Before he ascended into heaven, Christ told his apostles that he would send "The Comforter" to help guide them back to our father above. Many have felt promptings or recieved direction periodically throughout life. This is like those flashes of lightning. it helps us see where we are going for a brief period of time. It helps us make decisions, it helps keep us safe. But when we are baptized, we receive the gift of the holy ghost. To have him as our constant companion. This makes our life fully illuminated, continually, so long as we remain worthy of that companionship. It is like the difference between this storm and a clear day on the beach. I am so thankful for the Holy Ghost and that our Father in heaven cares enough to give him to us. :) 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Missing Children

     Recently there has been a lot of commotion here in Decatur County Tennessee. Some may have heard the sad news of the Kidnapping of Holly Bobo. Friends, family and strangers alike have joined together in a search to bring her home again. I can only immagine the worry that must be in the hearts of her loved ones, and I pray that she comes home safe!
     This is an incident that has caused some reflection and pondering on my part. I love trying to relate things to the gospel, and this is an epic topic to do it with. God is our loving Father in heaven. presently we are absent from his presence. He knew that sending us here to earth was going to be a struggle for each of us and that the opposition and trials each of us would face would sometimes cause grief, sorrow and pain. He loves all of his children so much that he allows us to exercise our freedom of choice. Some of these choices may not always be the best, but we learn from the mistakes of ourselves and the mistakes of others.
     This is one of those time where people may ask themselves the question, "why does God allow bad things happen to good people" well, in the Book of Mormon, another testiment of Jesus Christ, we can find answers to this question and other questions of the soul. the following link will take you to a chapter that has always given me comfort in my times of need and suffering : it is about a father teaching his sons why these things occour and how everything that is unfair in this life will be made right by the Atoning Sacrafice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
     Another point I would like to cover. Parents who may have lost a child by any cause, I'm sure, fear for their child. That is the way of a loving parent. They wonder about all the many things that could happen. I testify that God is the exact same way. As I said earlier, we are currently absent from his presence. And although he knows all things, he litterally fears for us and our well being. He knows the many diverse paths one can take in mortality and he, just as Holly's Parents, wants us to return. But out of his love he has provided a safe haven where we can be protected from all the things of the world. That place is church, A place where we and feel the arms of a loving God encompass us and protect us from harms way.
     I am greatful for the Knowledge we have of our father in heaven. I know that he watches out for us, and to the Bobo family, I know he has you all cuped in his hands wanting to give you the comfort that you stand in need of at this time. May we all meet together at the feet of Jesus one day! :) 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blessings from Heaven

     Throughout the holy scriptures there are many instances where people have received blessings from heaven. and even today we see the hand of the savior in our individual lives. Since 2009 when I was set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, until this present day, I have seen many mighty miracles take place assuring me that the Lord is at my side assisting me in this work. It sure is neat! Just the other day one of my dear friends named Daniel received a testimony of the great message that we have the privelage to share. The night it happened, my phone rang at 1:00 am with Daniel on the other end. When the answer to his prayer (weather or not the book of mormon was true and weather or not Joseph Smith was a prophet) was answered it came to him with such great force that he wanted to get baptized right then! What a wonderful experience that was for him. I love being ablle to see paople make changes in their lives, and I love seeing people receive answers to their prayers. It's just one of those great blessings that God our Father wants to bestow uponn us.
     There are also many unseen blessings that often go unseen at first. Back when I was serving in Mcminnville Tennessee My companion and I were taking the time each night to write down three things that we were thankful for and put them into a jar. At times it was hard to think of what to write, but over time the jar was filled and soon began to overflow. At the end of our time together we read a bunch of those little slips of paper. There were so many blessings to be thankful for. As we did this, I began to think of my life as a jar. Though sometimes its hard to recognize the blessings that have been given to us, eventually there will come a time when we realize that our lives are truely overflowing. My prayer is that we can all take the time to count our blessings and remember where thay came from. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Families Can Be Forever

     Isn't that a good looking family. Not to boast or sound prideful, but they are the best, that's just the way it is. I have two super great parents and plenty of siblings to go around, ha ha. As a young boy, I always had someone to play with. Dad would always try to teach me new things like how to change the oil in the cars, what makes a garden grow better, and how to work hard.  Mom spent countless hours cooking for me, pulling out bee stings and slivers, and staying up with me all night to help me with school assignments that I had foolishly procrastinated on. There was always a great sense of peace and love in our home and I attribute it to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It helped to develope a strong relationship and spiritual strength. families are ordained of God, and are the most important social unit in time and eternity. I know that through the restored teachings of our savior, this joy can last beyond the grave. Our families can be sealed together forever.
     Now I dont want y'all to think that my family is perfect, cause we're not. We share many of the same trials and burdens as the rest of the world, but because we all have the same goal in mind, and we were all taught true principles throughout the course life (and we're still learning) we cast our cares on the savior, and it makes the burdens light. The Master himself taught us to do just this:
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)

I'm so greatful for the knowledge I have that families can be together forever. I am truely greatful for Jesus Christ, the Holy One of Israel and the power that his gospel can bring into our homes. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Surrounded By Good

     You can see good all around you if you learn to look for it. Sometimes as a missionary things don't exactly go the way you want them to. When your having doors slammed in your face, people telling you that your wrong all the time, people not keeping their commitments, and walking in the rain, it's easy to say "This World Stinks!" Ha ha it's great isn't it! Living in a time when it seems like there is so much bad all around us, it's hard sometimes to see the good.  One way you can learn to recognize blessings is by making it a habit each night to count the good things you saw that day.
     President Dieter Uchtdorf, one of the leaders of our church, gave a recent talk on this same topic called Looking for the Good:

     "While looking for a new home, a young Latter-day Saint couple talked to potential neighbors about the neighborhood and the schools in the area.
One woman they spoke to said of the school her children were attending: “This is the most incredible place! The principal is a wonderful and good man; the teachers are well qualified, kind, and friendly. I am so pleased that our children can attend this wonderful school. You’ll love it here!”
A different woman said of her children’s school: “It’s a terrible place. The principal is self-absorbed; the teachers are unqualified, rude, and unfriendly. If I could afford to move out of this area, I’d do it in a heartbeat!”
The interesting thing was that both women were speaking about the same principal, the same teachers, and the same school.
Have you ever noticed that people can usually find whatever they are looking for? Look hard enough, and you can discover both good and bad in almost anyone and anything. People have done the same with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since its beginning. Those who look for the good will find a kind and compassionate people—a people who love the Lord and desire to serve Him and bless the lives of their fellowman. But it is also true that those who look for the bad will certainly find things that are not so ideal.
Unfortunately, at times this happens even within the Church. There is no end to the creativity, ingenuity, and tenacity of those who look for reasons to criticize. They cannot seem to release their grip on grudges. They gossip and find fault with others. They nurse wounds for decades, taking every opportunity to tear down and demean others. This is not pleasing to the Lord, “for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16)."
     So thats what I wish to share today. look for good things Each day. dont dwell on the bad cause it hurts us. God has sent us here to be happy, so look for and focus on the good things that bring joy into life! :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whom shall I fear?

     So the other day we had a meeting with our mission president and the stake presidency to correlate the missionary efforts around the area.  I was stressing out way to much trying to get everything ready for 6:00. I had to be on my best behavior cause these were the big dogs, i felt the need to impress them and so that they could know I was a good missionary. Now I want you to keep in mind, I'm not one for campaigning, but it was important to me that we looked good. You all know how it is, when you go in for an interview or something with your boss at work, it's important to make a good impression. . .
     Why does that happen. Why do we try so hard to please those around us, why do we forget our creator. If we are living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God, things just seem to work out a little bit better. It has been prophesied that in the last days, people will fear men more than they fear God. That we will be more caught up in trying to conform the the ways of the world so that we can be accepted by others, when we loose sight of the greater thing. That greater thing is to prove to our father in heaven our willingness to follow him through thick and thin, that just because we are in this world, we don't have to be of the world. I believe that there is great power in striving to improve our time while in this mortal probation.

"When we choose to follow Christ in faith rather than choosing another path out of fear, we are blessed with a consequence that is consistent with our choice."
                                                                                 -Quentin L. Cook

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Makes People Happy?

     Throughout my life I have often asked myself, what on earth does it take to make someone happy? All around us we see despair, sadness, heartache, loneliness, sickness, and afflictions of every kind. People will spend millions on things that cause temporary pleasures which all die as time goes on. Unfortunately, people don't realize how many of these things are actually the crippling agents that cause so much of what is keeping us from being truly happy. Think to yourself, what the world would be like if there were no drug and alcohol addictions, no children being born out of wedlock, no murder, hate, or greed.  As a member of the church of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have found that true happiness comes from following the example of Jesus Christ and developing Christlike attributes such as obedience, goodness, honesty, gratitude, humility, love, charity, and forgiveness. It comes from serving others and helping them to follow Jesus Christ. It comes from controlling the appetites of our human bodies and following the promptings of the Spirit. It comes from working hard and having a healthy lifestyle, friends, family, and personal achievements. Regardless of what you do or don’t have in this life, your deepest, most lasting happiness will come from knowing God’s plan and following it. So what is God plan for us? In a talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, he spoke about this subject.( ) we are spirit children of the Divine Creator who has sent us to earth that we might have joy. We are here to show God that we are willing to follow him and keep those commandments that have been given for our protection. the pourpose of life is to prepare ourselves and those around us in any way we can to meet our lord and savior again one day.