Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's wrong Mr. Grumpy Gill's???

Life is difficult sometimes. It's just the way it is. We face tough times and the way gets a little rough. I know that I have experienced some very hard times in my life and that my attitude is what usually made the difference. This is especially true about the mission. We face extremely challenging circumstances as missionaries. If we are not careful, we can easily become discouraged. That's why it is absocritical that we make sure we have a positive attitude and just keep working hard. If we can learn to keep a smile on our face and find joy amidst our trials, discouragement, one of Satan's greatest tools, will have no power over us. I think Dory from "Finding Nemo" says it best.

When life gets you down, don't be like Mr. Grumpy Gill's and complain. Just keep swimming along. Keep moving forward and the Lord will give us strength. We can find that strength in the hope of Jesus Christ and His atonement. Not only did He atone for our sins (see 1 John 2:2), but He took upon Himself all of our weaknesses and infirmities (see Alma 7:11-12). Because of that, we can rely on Him for all our support. What do we need to do to qualify for that help? We need to just keep swimming. We need to keep moving forward. If we mess up, we need to acknowledge our misstep and start over. It can be especially discouraging when we continually succumb to the same sins over and over again. Christ is going to forgive us as many times as we are willing to repent. Brother Brad Wilcox  stated in his book The Continuous Atonement "Would Christ who commanded us to 'continue to minister' to the afflicted (3 Nephi 18:32) if he were not willing to continually minister to us in our afflictions?" He will step in and help us get control of our lives as soon as we are willing to let Him. It may take us a while to realize it, but He will start to help us immediately. He will do it over and over again until we learn and grow and overcome through His grace.

I know that as we do what we can on a consistent basis, we will overcome every trial, temptation, sin, weakness, and every other thing we are here on this Earth to conquer. We just have to keep on swimming and find joy in the journey by trusting in the Lord and His promises. If our attitude is one of optimism, persistence, and hope, then we will have a happy and peace filled life no matter what we are facing.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Empty my hands...

I consider myself a pretty competent person. I learn very easily (well, knowledge at least. Wisdom...not so much). I believe that I can achieve pretty difficult tasks. A portion of this feeling of ability comes from the knowledge that I am a child of God and that He has given me certain talents and capabilities. But there is a bigger thing that overshadows this. I tend to forget that what I have is from God and get off into the foolish notion that I am pretty cool. I get caught up in my abilities and start to think that, "Hey, I am doing pretty well here. I'm kind of a big deal. Look at how good I am at _______." I forget that I of myself "am nothing". That "in my own strength I am weak" (Alma 26:11-12). I start to do things my way instead of His way. That's when I really get into a pickle. Luckily, God knows what to do in situations like me. I think Johnny Cash said it the best in his repentance proclaiming ballad "Sooner or later, God will cut you down."

The amusing thing is, when I submit myself to the Lord, I prosper in every aspect of my life. When I start to get prideful and start to do it my way, thinking I can do it without His help, the Lord withdraws His support and I am left to myself. Things start to go downhill. What's the solution? Give up control. Submit my will to the Lord and stop being such an idiot. How do I ensure that I am always moving forward and that I don't get bogged down? Submit my will to the Lord. Give it all up.

Brother Lawrence F. Corbridge sums it up better than I could. He stated, "Just give up. Surrender your will to Him. Unconditionally. Withhold nothing. Turn it all over to Him; all of your desires, wishes, dreams and hopes. Be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. Trust in Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him whose love for you is perfect. Trust Him, who alone suffered, paid and atoned for you sins, and for your weaknesses as well. Trust Him that He will make of you, immeasurably more, than what you will ever, ever in all eternity, make of yourself. He will create of you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God."

If we trust Him, we will be transformed. If we trust Him, He will guide us back to our Heavenly Father. If we trust Him, we won't be tossed to and fro', driven like the waves of the sea. My real issues come down to trust. When I don't trust that things will turn out the way the Lord promises, I try and take matters into my own hands and I end up getting less than what I want. Sometimes, I have righteous desires that of themselves are not bad, but they are not what the Lord wants for me at this time. That's when we really have to dig deep and let go of control, putting total trust in the Lord. It hurts, but it's worth it. I have to let go of what I want and seek the Lord's guidance and direction in my life, for everything.

Again, music  is the only way that can say what I am trying to say. I couldn't find the not so loud version of the song, "Empty My Hands" by Tenth Ave. North, so here you go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Remember Him!

One year ago today, I got on a plane and came to the beautiful State of Montana. I had been in the Missionary training center in Provo, Utah for three weeks and was anxious to get out and start teaching people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The first day we got into Billings we went through a series of orientations and saw the beautiful Temple. We also filled out a bunch of paperwork and forms. One of the things they had us do was write ourselves a letter for our one year anniversary. I received mine and was surprised at what I wrote myself. I feel prompted to share it.

Elder Ika,

You better be working hard! Remember the long road it was to get back involved in the Church. Don't ever forget your Savior and what He has done for you. Remember Romans 8:16-17 and how we are all "heirs" to our Heavenly Father. Those you are teaching need to know that too. Remember to be patient, to be agreeable, and above all to be charitable. Remember the night it all changed. Remember how you cried out for deliverance and finally received it. Don't worry about the family. The Lord will watch over and take care of them. He is blessing them in ways you don't even imagine. Remember to be enthusiastic and happy. It is the Gospel of Happiness, the Great Plan of Happiness. Look for the best in others and ignore the rest. Talk less, say more. You are on the Lords time, and you only have one year left so make it count! Gird up your loins and go to work!

I have been so distracted lately. I have been distracted by my own selfish desires and weaknesses. This letter has helped me remember why I came out here. I am here because Jesus Christ has wrought a mighty change in my heart. He has given me a remission of my sins and He has given me a newness of life. He preserved me for a reason. Part of that reason was because He loves me and wants my happiness. Another part was so that I could be used as a means to help bring some of His other children back to our Father in Heaven. I'm trying to remember all those things that I told myself. I sometimes forget that I was once lost and wondering in the world, but the Lord found me and got me back on the path to our Father. I am trying to be better and do better so that others who are lost can get on the path, and that's what the Lord asks of me. He asks all of us to remember Him and submit ourselves to His will. With that, we are promised that we will have His spirit with us and that we will be happy. It's by remembering Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for us that we can escape temptation and receive peace amidst all our trials. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Will Be Freed

Satan is a trickster he is. Don't let him fool you. Even if he has you in his grasps, you can break free. Through Christ you can be freed and cleansed from sin. There is no substance on this earth that is more powerful than the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Heroin or other pain killers? Nope! Alcohol or tobacco? Nuh-uh! Christ conquered all things with His infinite Atonement. He will help you to overcome anything. Don't believe me? Here's what an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ has to say about it.