Sunday, March 27, 2016

Watch and Pray Always

This past week has been pretty interesting for me and I feel like Mark 14:38 is very good advice. I've realized that as we make big decisions in our lives, we need to make sure that we are preparing ourselves for an attack. Not only do we have to be keeping all the commandments to receive revelation about what we should do, we also need to be putting on our armor. Mark 14:38 says, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak."
I'm getting married soon, and I've realized as I've gotten closer and closer to my wedding date, that Satan is working very very hard to stop this from happening. This is reassuring because it means that I'm doing the right thing but it also hard because it means that I have to be at the top of my spiritual game. It reminds me of Doctrine and Covenants 27, where the Lord talks about the armor of God. In verse 15, He says, "Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand." He then goes on to list all of the pieces of armor that we need to have. If even one of these pieces are missing, then we become vulnerable. It's a scary idea because the adversary is only getting stronger. But I know that if we strive to obtain the whole armor of God, then we will be protected. He will have no power over us, but only if we watch and pray always. 
Another way that Satan gets to us is through doubt. All good things come from God and all bad things come from somewhere else. Doubt is not and never will be a good thing. I think so that sometimes we don't consider it to be from Satan, just something that happens to us. But it is definitely not from God. Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. Keep on believing and watch and pray always.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Oil In Our Lamps

Jesus's prophecies about the last days reminded me of the story of the 10 virgins and how it relates to us. This has always been one of my favorite parables in the Bible. I love it because it shows that we are accountable for ourselves at the last day. The five wise virgins brought extra oil for their lamps and they were prepared. When night fell, the five foolish ones weren't prepared and they asked for oil from the five wise. Of course, they couldn't share their oil because then there might not be enough for their own lamps. We need to use our time wisely and prepare ourselves, build up our testimonies. The first time I read that story, I thought it was so unfair. But now that I've grown up a little bit and gone though the temple and served a mission, it all makes sense. We can't give people our testimonies or faith even if we want to. It's just ours. We go through the temple the first time, it is just for us. When we bare our testimonies to people, we can help them feel the spirit but it's up to them if they want to believe. 
While we're here on this earth, we need to be preparing ourselves. Like Christ said in Mark 13, "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (verses 35-37)
We need to share our beliefs with others as often as we can. 
This week has been a sad one for me. Two of my friends from my mission have died in the last two days. They were both young, one a 17 year old preparing to serve a mission, and the other a 24 year old that was a school teacher and had a loving boyfriend. I am so grateful for my knowledge about the Plan of Salvation. I know that both of them are where they are needed. They are doing the Lord's work for those who need it on the other side. I know that they are both at peace and that they are where they are supposed to be. 
In church today, we watched the new LDS video for Easter. It was perfect and exactly what I needed to see. 
https://www.mormon.org/easter/hallelujah
That's the link to it. It's an amazing video that is so simple but so powerful. I know that God has a plan for us and that He loves us. He is sad when we are sad and happy when we are happy. He knows what is best for us.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Testimony

This week in New Testament, we read what Christ has to say about marriage and what he has to say about missionary work. This was great for me because it was like the last chapter of my life and the next chapter that is coming up fast.
While I was in church today, I was reminiscing about my mission and how much it meant to me. It really was the greatest thing that I have done so far in my life and I'm so grateful for it. It really strengthened my testimony as I went out and found the lost sheep that had wandered far. It gave me so much joy.
Right now, I feel like I need to share my testimony. And one of the easiest ways that I can do that is through song. My favorite song that expresses perfectly how I feel about my savior is a song called "I Testify" by Janice Kapp Perry.
The lyrics go like this:

I testify of Jesus Christ, My Lord, My King Omnipotent,
Who framed the worlds and scattered stars throughout the firmament.
Who from the dust of earth formed man and gave us breath that we might move.
And gave us laws to serve our God and live with Him in love.

I testify of Jesus Christ, My God, My Unseen Comforter,
For I have sought Him oft through prayer and found Him waiting there.
I have not touched His wounded hands nor yet beheld His holy face
But I have felt His love for me and heart His gentle voice.

I testify of Jesus Christ, Beloved Savior, Precious Friend,
Who suffered death and hell’s abyss to ransom me from sin.
Who came when demons sought my soul and banished them with sword of light.
And when despair would steal my hope His presence stilled the night.

When with all flesh my eyes shall see my blessed Savior face to face
My witness then shall not exceed the truth I know this day.
For God has written Jesus’ name with pen of flame upon my soul
And how can I but testify of Jesus Christ my Lord?

I love my savior so much. I am so grateful for all that He has done for me. I know that He lives and that He loves all of His children. I know that because of his atoning sacrifice, we can all go home to live with him someday.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Missionary work is the best

This week, in my New Testament class, we read Matthew 16-18, Mark 9, Luke 9, and John 7-10. In our reading, the Savior gives the 12 apostles the authority (priesthood) so that they can heal the sick and preach the gospel to everyone. In Luke 9, it says, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." (verses 1-2). This stuck out to me as very important because missionary work is the way that our church grows. We have members who try to share the gospel using social media and other ways and we have people who actually sign up and serve missions. They pay money each month to go to a new place for 1.5-2 years to share the gospel with the people in the area that they are assigned. They are called by a prophet of God and given the authority to share the gospel and to preach to people.
When I was on my mission, I was so grateful for that authority to preach. Being a sister in a foreign country, it was a great comfort to know that I was being watched over and that I had the power to help people change their lives. In the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 15, Abinadi is a prophet who preaching to the priests of king Noah and chastising them a little bit because of the things that they are teaching or not teaching to the people. In a way of encouraging them to change their ways he quotes Isaiah in verses 14, 15, and 17, saying, "And these are they who have published peace, who have brought tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth! And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet! And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!" 
Where I served my mission, I didn't always feel like I had "beautiful feet." Walking up and down mountains and in the dust and through mud and giant puddles, my feet got really dirty. But I knew that I was blessed and as long as I continued to use my authority righteously and used it to bless others lives or to "preach the kingdom of God" I would be okay. This was such a comfort and I'm so grateful for the power that the priesthood gives us.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sowing. What kind of seed are you?

In Matthew 13:3-8, Jesus gives the parable of the sower. It says,
 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
When I read this, I like to interpret it like this...
The sower is the missionaries. The seeds are people who have received the gospel of Jesus Christ. This parable is about people's reactions to receiving the gospel and how it affects their lives. 
In verse 4, it says that some seeds fell by the wayside and the fowls came and devoured them up. Those seeds that fell by the wayside, I think, are the people who don't come to church very often after being baptized and the members don't go after them and help them come back. The fowls are a representation of trials or temptations that new members go through.
Verses 5 and 6 talks about seeds who fell on stony places and sprung up, but because there was no earth when the sun came up, they were scorched. These are those who probably weren't as converted as they should have been or were those who were pushed too hard to be baptized. These people fall away easily and  go back to their old lives.
Verse 7 is definitely about trials. It talks about the seeds that fell among thorns and the thorns choked them. When new members are baptized, life seems to get instantly harder. That is why members are so important to the conversion process. They are there to support the members and help them grow. 
Verse 8 is the best kind of seed to be. It fell on good ground and grew fruit, lots and lots of fruit. These are the people that accept the gospel, have everything they need to grow (a calling, support from the ward, and daily nourishment from the gospel), and then they go and help others receive the happiness that they have received as well.
I'm posting this for you to see what kind of seed you are. It's a good way to measure yourself and see where your conversion is at. We should always strive to be the kind of seed in verse 8. It really is the best.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Word of God

Hello everyone :)
So in my New Testaments class, we've been asked to share what we learn. I felt like it would be a good idea to share what I learned this week in a blog post. It's been a while since I've shared anything here.
I would like to start this post with a statement that as a member of the LDS church, I do believe that the bible is true. It's a common misconception that we only believe in the Book of Mormon. That is not true at all. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." (Articles of Faith 8).
This semester, I have the privilege to study the New Testament and the life of our savior, Jesus Christ. Every week, we are assigned a few chapters to read from the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). We are then asked to discuss three principles that we have noticed in the reading. This week, the reading was Matt 3-4; Mark 1; Luke 3-4; John 1-4. Most of the reading was about John the Baptist and Christ's baptism. There was also a lot mentioned about Christ's miracles.
One of the main principles that I noticed in this weeks reading was in Mark 1. Towards the end of the chapter, Christ heals a leper. These stories are always my favorite. The charity that Christ shows towards these poor people is amazing.
For those of you that don't know, charity is defined (in LDS terms) as the pure love of Christ. According to the dictionary, charity is the act of giving money, food, or other kinds of help to people who are poor, sick, etc. Christ is the perfect example of charity, and as Christians we are asked to follow him, meaning become like him.
In Mark 1:40-45, a leper approaches Christ and his apostles. In those days, leprosy was a horrible disease. It's still horrible but we have medicine today that can help with it. There was no medicine back then, so when a person caught leprosy, they were sent to live in a colony with other lepers. They had to leave their families and friends and were automatically considered outcasts. This leper approaches Christ and kneels to him and says, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Jesus, moved with compassion for this poor man, says, stretching out his hand toward him, "I will; be thou clean."
As soon as Jesus says this, "immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed." This man had such amazing faith in order to be healed. And because of his faith and Christ's love for him, he was healed and was able to go on with his life, to return to his family and friends.
In Preach My Gospel, a handbook for LDS missionaries, charity is discussed. It says that "charity is a gift from God." It says, "we are to seek to develop that kind of love," meaning charity.
"When you are filled with charity, you obey God's commandments and do all you can to serve others and help them receive the restored gospel." (PMG 118). It goes on to say, "Charity, like faith, leads to action. You will develop charity as you look for opportunities to serve others and give of yourself."
We all need to develop charity, no matter our religion, or nationality. We are all children of God, brothers and sisters, and we need to love each other. In closing, I'd like to share on of my favorite passages from the Book of Mormon.
Ether was a prophet in America back before Columbus' time. He was prophet during a very hard time when all of the people around him were very very wicked and his preaching fell on deaf ears. His words are some of my favorites because I know that he was talking to us, in this day and age.
"...Thou hast said that thou hast prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father, in which man might have  a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared... And I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father." (Ether 12:32,34)
As we can see from Ether's words, if we don't have charity, then we are nothing. As Christians, we need to develop charity for everyone. It is how we show our love for Christ and our desire to follow him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cellphones!?

So a couple of months ago, my mom asked me to write a post about cellphones. This would be for my little brother who is 12, almost 13, and thinks that he NEEDS a cellphone.... And I thought why not write one?
I didn't have a cellphone when I was in middle school. I never even thought about having a cellphone... I know these days, parents give their kids cellphones because they want to be in touch with them and make sure that they're safe always, blah blah blah. Personally, I don't think it's necessary.
From my experience, middle school/junior high age is waaaaay too young to be needing a cellphone. Yes, it helps you know where your kid is. But it causes way more problems than you think.
Kids are stupid. There I said it. I was stupid when I was 12, 13, 14, even 15. Phones these days give kids access to everything. All sorts of bad stuff that they don't need to be exposed to. It also causes heaps of drama. And can also cause kids to hide things from their parents.
My younger siblings, all at various ages, have had problems with social media and drama. "So-and-so said this about me" "So-and-so told everyone my secret" "So-and-so called me this" It goes on and on and on.
I remember when I was back in middle school. Nerdy little Q, heading to the library or the band room. Life was simple back then. No boy drama. No friend drama. These days, it's pretty amazing to hear about all the stuff that goes on over at that school.
And a lot of that craziness is linked to cellphones. Kids don't need em. They can lead to cyber bullying, secret relationships, addictions (yes, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter count as addictions), and lowering grades. It can get kids in trouble too. I heard recently that my high school has started a ban of cellphones during class. Phones may only be used during passing time on penalty of suspension. Honestly, I think it's a great idea.
School is a time for learning. Phones take away from that time and distract students and cause more drama than their worth. Please don't give little kids cellphones... I am grateful that I wasn't allowed a cellphone with texting until I graduated.
So, for my little brother, you'll understand when you're older. Mom and Dad love you and they want whats best for you. Even if you might not like it. You'll be better off with no phone. I promise.
Love,
Q
True, true, true