Thursday, September 29, 2011

What did Bob Marley and Mormons have in common?

Probably more than you would think! I love reggae music, and although Bob Marley isn't my most favorite reggae artist, one of his classics has been on my mind lately. It's the song, "Give thanks and praises". In contains the lines, 

"Glory to Jah, the Prophet is come (through all these ages);
Glory to Jah, the Prophet has come (through these stages)."

For your information, Jah is the shortened Rastafarian (Bob Marley's religion for a large portion of his life) way of saying YHWH or Jehovah. Bob Marley believed in a living prophet, and he sang his beliefs beautifully. That simple statement has summed up how I have been feeling in preparation for this weekend. What is this weekend you may ask? It is the weekend of General Conference! In this conference, we have the opportunity to come and listen to a prophets voice! What a grand thought!

We have the supernal blessing of being able to hear the words of a living Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. He will testify of Jesus Christ and will give us the guidance and direction that our Heavenly Father wishes us to have. I know this from personal experience.

About two years ago, I was wondering around a bit. I was very indecisive of what I wanted/needed/should do. I had the choices before me: 

      AGo on a mission
      B: Stay home, finish school, get married, have kids

Thomas S. Monson, Prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ
At the time, I had a lady friend, and that made me start to think more about marriage. I wanted to stay home and be with my family. I wanted to do the second one, but I felt uneasy about it all. It was getting close to decision time, and I prayed my heart out. I pretty much told Heavenly Father that "B" was the way I was going. A week later was general conference, and in the back of my mind was the question, "What should I do?". I started to watch conference with the question still bouncing around in my mind. President Monson got up to speak first, and lo' and behold, 2 minutes into it he spoke about missionaries. The Spirit confirmed to me that staying home wasn't an option. I was to get out on a mission, quick! 

I followed what I knew to be right, and it's the best choice I ever made. It doesn't matter who you are, or what kind of opposition you face. You can take whatever challenges, issues, questions, or problems you have to Heavenly Father in prayer, and I promise you that you can receive the help you need from something that will be said in General Conference. Put it to the test and let your life be blessed! Glory to God, the Prophet has come!

To watch General Conference, click here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mumford and Sons/Josh Garrels Collabo! (in my blog)

I feel like this little guy sometimes! All feared up!
I've heard it said that we shouldn't take any counsel from our fears. Unfortunately for me, fears and doubts have been running rampant through my mind. So what am I to do? Well, thank the good Lord for music and how it has again helped me to come a little bit closer to overcoming my weaknesses.

The song "Children of the Earth" by Josh Garrels is about becoming like a child again. It has been ringing so true to me. In the song is the line, "Make my mind free from fears, you know I can't do it on my own." This has helped me to remember the absolute necessity of prayer in overcoming our fears. I love the statement the Lord makes in the Doctrine and Covenants. In section 6 verse 36 where He tells us to, "Look unto (Him) in every thought. Doubt not, fear not." It's so simple, yet so powerful. If we will remember the Lord in all our doings, and turn to Him at every moment of weakness, doubt and fear will begin to disappear. This thought reminds me of another song by Mumford and Sons.

The chorus pierces my soul and reminds me of the love of Christ that is available to me, if I will allow it to sink in. It says:

"And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see, what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."

Check out then!
I know my hair is pretty awesome, but to have flowers in it would be a little weird. I think you get the point though. When we are in the midst of trials, trials which can bring doubts and fears, we can take courage in knowing that the trial will someday end. There will be a better day, if we turn to Christ. We may wish the end to get here sooner than later, but it will come. We can look unto Christ in every thought, let His love mend the heart, and dismiss all fears.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sooner or Later, God'll Cut You Down!

"You can run on for a long time, run on for a long time, run on for a long time
Sooner or later God'll cut you down"~ Johnny Cash
It's a lesson that we all need to learn. Hopefully you can learn this one by watching others. But for me, the Lord has repeatedly retaught me this throughout my life (I hope it sinks in this time!). But what is the lesson?

Running on for a long time? Well, to me it means trying to go about life and do things my way, instead of the Lords way. How easy it is to be prideful and attempt to follow ones own path without yielding to the promptings of God. I look back on my life however, and see that the Lord will let me go off on whatever I want to, because He respects my agency. After a time (sooner or later) He cuts me down, or I go through a very humbling experience or trial. The beauty of it is that after the dust begins to settle, I come to see that God's cutting me down has allowed me to see things as they really are (to a point), which allows me to learn and grow. His cutting me down is in reality Him helping me come to a point of humility where I have the choice to let go of pride. If I do let go, then great blessings begin to flow into my life.

It may be difficult in the humbling situation because of the uncertainty of the future. But God has a pretty good track record as far as I'm concerned. A few examples? I have a big one for you! I ran on for a really long time, ten years in fact. Then, God cut me down (my poor choices are what lead to it, but God nudged enough to awake my soul) and I was as low as low can get. As a result, I came back to church and every aspect of my life has improved for the better. It was really difficult and it took quite a bit of time to get back on the right path. The blessings didn't come to me alone though. I was able to help my sister and parents back to activity as well. Then, I was able to help a friend of mine back to the church, and now he's on a mission sharing the good news as well! My life will forever be changed for the better because God loved me enough to cut me down.

The better way to go however, is to find humility before humility finds us. The Book of Mormon teaches this very plainly in Alma 32:16 "...blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God...without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know..." We can humble ourselves, and in turn save ourselves from the pain that can come from compelled humility.

Thank you kindly, Mr. Cash, for reminding me of the blessings that can flow from God cutting us down. I am trying to be a little more humble each day by looking to the example of our Savior.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Looking Beyond the Blue

I love the power that good wholesome music has to assist me in introspection and conveying my feelings, because it's a fact: I seriously lack effective communication skills. Here's some lyrics of a song that's been helping me out lately. It's called 'Beyond the Blue' by Josh Garrels.

And wisdom will honor everyone who will learn
To listen, to love, and to pray and discern  

We all go through times of trial. I for one bring most, if not all of my trials upon myself. But we can always learn from the opposition in our lives. There is something to be gained with each difficulty we face. If we are prayerful and open to God's understanding, He will give it to us. We will learn and grow.

And to do the right thing even when it burns
And to live in the light through treacherous turns 

 Doing the right thing, even when it burns. Who wants that?!? This could apply to so much, but for me, this has been speaking of forgiveness. Seeking forgiveness from Heavenly Father and from those I have wronged. But also imparting forgiveness to those who have hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally. Fortunately, the Lord has helped me to truly forgive all that have hurt me. It's not to just do the right thing on occasion though, but to turn to Jesus Christ and His example with every treacherous turn we face.

A man is weak, but the spirit yearns
To keep on course from the bow to the stearn
And throw overboard every selfish concern
That tries to work for what can’t be earned 

Yes, I am a very weak man. My weaknesses continue to be more and more apparent with each passing day. They strive to distract me and get me off course. I am amazed at how quickly God comes in, shows me my weaknesses, helps me to see the mistakes I have made, the problems I have caused, and gives me the chance to repent. He helps me to throw away every selfish, and self-centered thought. He helps me to get my desires in line, and gets me on track.

Sometimes the only way to return is to go,
Where the winds will take you 

I get myself in some pretty sticky predicaments. I distance myself from God with each mistake I make. Then, I try to fix things the way I want them to be fixed, not the way God has presented. The only way to get back closer to God is to submit to His power. It's to submit to His love. It's to go wherever He will take me and to do whatever He asks me to do, no matter how difficult it may be.

Jesus Christ, the Hope beyond the blue
And to let go, of all, you cannot hold onto
For the hope, beyond,the blue
In any situation we find ourselves in, we have the option to get better, or drag things out. We can analyze and dwell on things that have hurt. We can rationalize our behavior and justify our sins. On the other hand, we can honor wisdom, and learn. We do this by choosing the path of repentance, forgiveness, and hope for a brighter day. We can seek forgiveness from God, we can seek forgiveness from those we have harmed, and we can forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made. We can let go of the damage of the past, and move on. We can move closer to the Son, who is beckoning us from beyond the blue.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Don't You Quit!!!

Sometimes, life is tough. No, it's a lot more than tough. In fact, I often times get slapped so hard upside the head that I don't know which direction is up anymore! Albeit, I bring most if not all of my trials and difficulties upon myself through impatience, pride, and selfishness. Regardless of how opposition comes into our lives, what are we to do? When the burdens of life, with all it's twists and turns become more than we can handle, how do we keep from crashing? I testify that "for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are better days and good things to come."

No matter what our problems may be, it is the Savior and His teachings, the Gospel, that will help us the most. If we will learn to "trust in the Lord with all (our) heart(s); and lean not unto (our) own understanding..." the Lord will "direct (our) paths for good."(Proverbs 3:5-6) It may be difficult, but we must never quit or give in. I know from experience that there are better days and good things to come as I continually embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm able to learn, even if it's slowly, to let go of impatience, selfishness, and pride. Great things lie in store for you as well! So embrace it and be happy!

To learn more, click HERE