Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Spirit

Every year when Christmas rolls around it's been a tradition for me to get all anxious because I'm not excited enough. Much like another certain short, bald guy in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," I wonder why I'm not feeling the spirit of Christmas like I did as a kid.

But since I've been married my wife has introduced another tradition-- every day in December (leading up to Christmas) she gives me a tiny note with a thought or a scripture on it about Christ, and also a task given that is service-oriented. The intention there is to help me keep my thoughts centered on Christ, and keep me in a charitable mood. That will help me feel the Spirit, which is the spirit of Christmas.

My first task was to "make a list of goals for this month to help feel the Christmas spirit." Since this blog is sort of my spiritual journal, I decided to do that here.
  1. I want to focus this month on why Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time-- and that all starts with why the Savior's birth was such a joyful event.
  2. I want to serve others-- in small, simple ways, but also I'd like to find a bigger service project for someone in need. This will help me to think of others and to strive for charity.
  3. I want to pray every day that I can feel the Spirit this Christmas.
  4. I want to do fun Christmas-y things with my wife and kids.
So there you have it! Let me know if you have any suggestions or anything that's worked for you.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hidden from View?

I love this passage from President Eyring's recent conference address:
Prayerful study of the Book of Mormon will build faith in God the Father, in His Beloved Son, and in His gospel. It will build your faith in God’s prophets, ancient and modern.
It can draw you closer to God than any other book. It can change a life for the better. I urge you to do what a missionary companion of mine did. He had run away from home as a teenager, and someone had placed a Book of Mormon in a box he carried with him in his search for more happiness.
Years passed. He moved from place to place across the world. He was alone and unhappy one day when he saw the box. The box was filled with things he had carried with him. At the bottom of the box, he found the Book of Mormon. He read the promise in it and tested it. He knew it was true. That witness changed his life. He found happiness beyond his fondest dreams.
Your copy of the Book of Mormon may be hidden from your view by cares and attention to all you have accumulated in your journey. I plead with you to drink deeply and often from its pages. It has in it the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only way home to God.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Service Heals

This is a wonderful story of how service has blessed others who are going through great difficulties.

This video touched me deeply because my family has been going through a really tough time the past 6 months. Through the absolutely selfless service of friends, family members, and neighbors, we have been richly blessed during this difficult time. We've had our needs met and our prayers answered.

I can't tell you how much it means to me and my family that others have come to our aid, in ways big and small. Even the tiniest thoughtful acts or kind words have helped to heal our hearts. If you've done anything for us at all during this trial, I want to say thank you.

And if you know someone who's going through a trial, take some time to do a little service for them. It can really provide some hope and healing, and it serves as a reminder to them that our Father in Heaven is watching over them and answering their prayers.

Believe me, that goes a long way.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Got Worries?

Life is challenging. I don't think anyone would disagree with that. It was meant to be challenging. What do we do when we feel overwhelmed?

We should look to God. I love this talk from the last General Conference, given by Elder Carl B. Cook of the Seventy. Not only does he begin with a powerful object lesson, but he offers some wonderful counsel on how to get through life's challenges.

I love this passage in particular:
Experience has taught me that if we, like President Monson, exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy.
Here is the zinger:
We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance—and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction.
I've always tried to be a firm believer in 1 Nephi 3:7-- that if God asks us to do something, He will help us do it. I believe this applies to every aspect of our lives that involves some form of commandment from the Lord-- church callings, overcoming addictions, even raising families. If it's something that matters in the long run, God will help us with it. If it doesn't matter so much, why are we worrying so much?

That always seems to help me get through trials-- and it's helping me get through a particularly difficult one right now. I know that what I'm trying to do matters to God, so I know that He is helping me.

What a comforting thought!

Here's the full talk:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

I love this talk from Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. The growth of the Church never ceases to amaze me. The coolest part about it is that, as Elder Clayton mentions, the growth of the Church means the spreading of the knowledge of a Savior to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (Mos. 3:20).

Think about that for a second-- the more lives the Gospel touches, the more people are able to come unto Christ, learn of Him and enter on the road to salvation and exaltation. This truly is His work, and I hope to be able to contribute to its growth in any way I can (even through this small and simple blog).

I encourage you to think of a way you can share the Gospel too, and perhaps help somebody come to know their Savior.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thank Heaven!

2 Nephi 9: 6-12:
For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.

Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.

O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.

And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.

O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.

And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.

And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
How awesome is this? This is the central message of the Gospel-- that through Christ we can overcome sin and death and be brought back into the presence of the Father.

It's overwhelming to think of how it would be otherwise! We would live these lives of ours without any hope, without any joy, for we would know that only death and misery loom ahead.

But because of Jesus Christ, our lives can be joyful and full of hope! I am so grateful for that!