Monday, August 27, 2007

Heirs of God

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:16-17

When I first read this verse in the hallway of the Institute building, it hit me like a flood. Why hadn't I found this before?! I read it over and over again, each time loving it more and more. I was filled with that amazing feeling of the Spirit, and I knew that it was true.

We are the children of God. And as His children, we therefore have the potential to become like Him. Heirs of God; joint-heirs with Christ! Think about what that means: who you are--what you may become. It's so exciting!

But of course, this identity also comes with a responsibility. If we are to become like God, we must suffer with Christ--that is, serve Him, dedicate our lives to Him, and never deny Him even in the face of the bitterest of persecution. It is no small decision, and an even larger burden to bear once one has accepted the call to righteousness, but I promise that it is worth it. The Lord knows His servants, and He will bless each of them to endure through every task, if they are faithful. We are His children, after all; He loves us, and wants us to return to Him. And if we endure well, we have that promise: that we may also be glorified with Christ.

We have divine potential, my friends. We are the children of a Heavenly Father who loves us infinitely. If we serve Him, and endure to the end, we will attain that Godly glory in the highest degree of Heaven. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Be still and know that I am God."

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

D&C 101:16

This is one of my favorite verses, and is often quoted among the youth and leaders of my ward. While I often remember it in the company of those people, this week it was especially and constantly on my mind with everything that's been going on at work and in other facets of life. I've had to trust God to know what would happen, because I certainly had no idea what awaited me behind every corner.

As you know from my blog posts the past few days, I was offered a promotion in the middle of the hiring process at another job. It was a good deal, but I wanted the other job more and kept trying for that instead. But God knew all along that I wouldn't get the new job this early, and when I was finally rejected after a week of effort concerning it, the promotion was there to back me up. If I had to stay at the warehouse another few months, I at least needed better pay. God knew that, and He took care of me even when I wanted to force His help into another endeavor. There still is no guarantee that I will get this promotion, but whatever happens, as long as I listen and obey, the Lord will lead me to greater things.

I also had the opportunity to help Gordon plan youth conference on Friday. The last two days had come together early on, but ever since planning started months ago, we somehow hadn't been able to put together the first day. Nothing we tried fit, no matter how great we thought it would be.

Meanwhile, we have also been trying to plan a trip to do baptisms at the temple. But every time we'd settle on a date, something would come up to prevent us from going. Last week was our most recent plan, but true to pattern, it didn't work out and we ended up doing something else. And, until just recently, we've had to continue pushing it back because of various obstacles.

The Lord's hand has been in all of this. He wants us to go to the temple . . . but He wants it to be at a time He knows we can get the most benefit out of it. Likewise, He wants our youth conference to be a great spiritual experience, bringing us closer to Him. At times we've become a little frustrated in our planning of these activities because nothing has worked out. But God places obstacles in our way for a reason.

In the final planning stages of youth conference, Gordon remembered (and reminded us of) D&C 101, and we stopped trying to force it and went with whatever God put in our hearts and minds. After doing this, it barely took an hour on Friday to plan our activity! Everything came together perfectly; I'll wait to go into detail until my report later on, but we'll basically be centering the first day on Church history. We're starting the day with some early stuff, then progressing to the modern day, finishing with our trip to the temple as the perfect and most relevant close to the day's spiritual lessons. It all just came together when we became still and remembered that the Lord was God; there was no frustration of any sort, all the ideas came easily, and we all agreed unnaturally with each other on what should be done. God must have something important for us to learn at youth conference this year.

The week's last reminder of D&C 101 came at a family gathering today. Aunt Ramona held an open house for her daughter and son-in-law, Alyssa and Lonnie, and their children, who had made a rare trip here from Austin and would be going home tomorrow. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with my cousin and her family again, but I especially won't forget what happened near the end. As I was talking to Grandma Read, she suddenly remembered something and pulled a white envelope from her purse.

"Aunt Rosanne wanted me to give this to you," she said. "She didn't want to mail it; you know how people steal greeting cards. I meant to give it to you a while ago, but I set it on the piano and forgot about it."

I thanked my grandma and took the envelope home. Inside was a belated graduation card, with a note from the Schulthieses that read, "Sorry this is a bit late. You have a great future ahead of you." And enclosed therein was a twenty dollar bill--a sorely needed help as I buy my college books this week. I've been worrying the past few days that my finances may not yet be sufficient for my books, but I've been doing what I've needed to be doing, and the Lord is picking up whatever I leave behind. Sure, twenty bucks isn't going to buy a textbook. But it may just push me over that line when I make the purchase. In any case, however, every little bit helps, especially when it reminds me to put my trust in the Lord.

"Be still and know that I am God." In the hustle and bustle of life, do we put enough action into those words? I know I haven't. But I also know that if we are doing what we're supposed to be doing, and obeying the Lord's will, He will help us through anything. When we work for something and can't quite go the whole way, God will take care of what's left. He will inspire us, He will place aid in our paths, and He will do many other things to see that His children succeed in their righteous endeavors, if they make an honest effort. It is up to us to listen and obey.

I'm grateful to have such a loving Heavenly Father who cares enough for me to reach His own hand into my life. I'm thankful for all the help He has given me this week and many times before, and for the generous help He will continue to give me if I continue on the path of righteousness. God loves His children; why should we worry? I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Families Can Be Together Forever Through Heavenly Father's Plan.

Today during sacrament meeting, I didn't share my testimony. I should have, but I didn't. So I want to share it with you now. I want you all to know that I know that after I die, I can be with my family. I can spend forever with them. There is something more, you don't just die and not exist. It can't be, you aren't meant to live here on this earth, and then just to die. There is more, you don't just stop existing.

I love my family, I can not even possibly imagine existing without any one of them. They all mean so much to me. I can't even begin to imagine what I would be with out them today. I love them all so very much. I don't want to imagine what it would be like with out them, for that would be to painfull for me. I love them, and I know I can be with them even after I die.

If you will please imagine the immage you see when you look into one large mirror, facing a large mirror, What would you see? You would see your bright shining face shining back at you a million plus times. You can't even count the times it reflects back at you. Now I want you to picture your whole family standing infront of that mirror. How many times do you see your family's loving faces shining at you? What would you rather see after you die?

I know that families can be together forever because of the Preisthood that was restored to the earth. The sealing preisthood power is here on the earth again. We can seal families together forever. Essentially we can all be sealed as one family once again. Heavenly Father has given us the keys to Return to Him, with honor, as one family. He knows each of us individually. He knows us as who we really are inside. He knows the part of us that the rest of the world does not see. He can only know because he created us, and is our father. Our father loves, He would not leave us helpless. He sent his son to die for us, so that we can live again just as the savior does. I know that the savior lives. And that The Church Of Jesus Christ is the only true Church of Jesus Christ living on this earth. That the Lord Jesus Christ will come again. That we will live in peace again, that good will triumph over evil, that we can continue our Lord's work. We are the Lord's tools, We are working in his hands. He is directing us. He is guiding us and leading us to accomplish the work, the work of sealing Heavenly Father's Children into one Family. Adam and Eve Started the world's first family. We are working to seal that family, starting with our generation, and working back to the top.

The keys have been restored, and I know with out a shadow of a doubt, That Families are Forever. Just as those mirrors reflect forever. I can't imagine being with out my family forever, to me, it would not be worth it to live with out being sealed to them. If I could not be apart of something that great, that nothing could destroy, how could I survive? To me that would be endless torment.