The name of the church I attend is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Paul called the members of the church in the meridian of time saints. Those who believed in Christ and sought to understand and practice the gospel of repentance which he had taught were known then as saints. Not because they had performed miracles but because they relied on the miracles of Christ, especially that of the Atonement.
They were not perfect. Nor are his latter-day saints. As we strive to become like him, let us remember the words of one who serves him.
“If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites” ~Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
While Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, there were two blind men sitting by the road. Think of them as ourselves. Are we too blind?
These men called out to Jesus and begged for mercy. He stopped and asked them what they wanted him to do for them. Of course they asked to receive their sight. Matthew records the Master's response in this way.
Matthew 20:34 (KJV): "So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."
In such a short sentence Matthew conveys some great lessons. First, is the Lord's great capacity for compassion. Second, that Christ will touch those on whom he has compassion. Third, that we can receive immediate blessings from Him through faith. And finally, that the mark of true disciples who have received their sight is that they follow Him.
Do you call out to Him in faith? Will you see? Will you follow Him?
When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, he looked out upon her and wept for its wickedness and imminent destruction. These were his people and they, except for a few, had not recognized him, as had been prophesied, yet he had compassion on them.
Luke 19 (KJV)
41 ¶ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
I hope that we will each learn to recognize the works of the Lord in our own lives, that we will embrace him and love to serve him as we serve others.
Take a moment today to recognize someone in your path as one you can lift a little with a kind word or a hug. Listen for a moment and see them as the Lord might. Then you will bring a little of the Lord's peace into their life and your life.
"...we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments. And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." ~2 Nephi 25:25-26 (Book of Mormon)
We are God's children living in a fallen mortal state where we are tested that we might prove worthy to return and live with him. But we all fall short. We are not perfect as we must be to live with God. In His infinite wisdom God provided a plan whereby we might overcome our imperfections. This great plan of happiness requires a saviour to step forward and pay the price for our sins. God's firstborn in the spirit stepped forward and said, "Here am I. Send me."
It is through the grace of his atoning sacrifice that we may be made clean and worthy to enter into God's kingdom. I am so grateful for this blessing in our lives. Let us embrace our Saviour Jesus Christ and follow him in every way we can.
The idea of "Something Better" has been on my mind lately. In life, work, everything. There is much good to choose from. How do we choose the better part? How do we store up that which moth nor rust can corrupt?
I read these words of Christ today: "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." ~Mark 12:31,34 (KJV)
As we ask ourselves, which is better, let us keep in mind those words. Which thing sets me on the path to find and build the kingdom of God? Let us seek the Lord's guidance in all that we do and then do that something better.
We are agents to ourselves, free to act and choose our actions, thoughts and words. This gift is inherent in us and we bristle when others try to take it from us. Even when our cognitive faculties abandon us, we often work hard to maintain our independence and ability to choose for ourselves.
An ancient prophet in America wrote the following.
2 Nephi 10 (Book of Mormon)
23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
God will never force us to choose Him. But if we reconcile our own will to His and choose to follow Him, accepting His Son Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice He made, we can be made whole from our sins through His grace and be saved in God's kingdom.
In 2 Nephi 9:51, Jacob teaches the people of Nephi, "Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy."
I am pondering this today. What do I spend money on that is of no worth? My mental list is already growing. On what do I spend my labor? What does satisfy? These are perhaps the harder questions.
Why do you suppose Jacob taught this? Is there greater wisdom in these few words than first meets the eye? What is the result of following this advice?
I turned next to my somewhat random reading through the Gospels of the New Testament, today in John 6 (KJV) and this whole chapter seems to be an answer to some of the questions I posed. These verses stood out to me especially:
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Do you struggle with a bad habit? Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again? Do you feel inadequate to the challenges you face? Are you worried that your best won't be good enough?
You're not alone. A prophet in ancient America named Moroni had some of these same concerns. In reply to his worries, the Lord told him this:
"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." ~Ether 12:27
If we humble ourselves before the Lord and put our faith in him, he will strengthen us and we will be able to overcome our weaknesses. Through his grace we are made strong.
To the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., the Lord revealed, "Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will." ~Doctrine and Covenants 19:23-24.
Let us heed these words. Let us learn of Christ and do our best to be like him.
Be strong in your faith. Be humble. Overcome.
(Image credit: Light of the World, by Brent Borup)