You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘God’ category.

This may surprise you, but money is the primary competitor with God for our affection.  Jesus tells us we will serve–and love–one or the other…

When the Crusades were fought during the twelfth century, the Crusaders purchased the services of mercenaries to fight for them.  Because it was a religious war, the Crusaders insisted that the mercenaries be baptized before fighting.

As they were being baptized, the soldiers would take theri swords and hold them up out of the water to symbolized that Jesus Christ was not in control of their swords, that they retained the freedom to use their weapons in any way they wished.

Many people today do a similar thing.  They hold their wallet or purse out of the water, an attitude that says, ‘God, I yield control of my entire life to you except in the area of money—I am perfectly capable of handling that myself.’ And without realizing it, this attitude hinders their relationship with God and harms their finances. (Howard Dayton, Your Money Map)

I thought this quote from this Christian author was amazing and thought I’d pass it on to everyone who wants to learn to spend money the way the Lord would have us do.  People of all faiths and all countries struggle with putting money before God whether we’re rich or poor. 

What can one do in order to put the Lord before our money?  I won’t claim to be an expert, but I’ll share some things that have helped me.

  1. Acknowledge all things are Gods and I am a Steward  When you really think about it, everything we have comes from God.  The air we breathe, our families, our life, and of course our money.  We are merely stewards.  As I pray to realize and recognize this, I find that I am more careful with being frivolous with spending and have greater respect for the money God blesses me with.
  2. Be Grateful for Blessings and Tell the Lord  I’ve found that when I express gratitude to the Lord for any blessing He gives me, that my heart grows less hardened and more apt to use the blessing as He would have me do.  Regarding money, when I think about how grateful I am for the money he blesses me with and pray to use it how He would have me use it, I find myself become less attached to the money. 
  3. Pay Tithing  I’ve seen miracles by paying my tithing.  I feel the first two steps mentioned are the “mental” action steps and paying tithing is the first “physical” action step on how to spend money the way the Lord would have us do.  No matter what, pay your tithing and you’ll be blessed.  I’ve been blessed by paying my tithing because when I do, I become less attached to the money and more drawn to the Lord as I pray that the money will be spent how He would have it spent.  I also have seen physical blessings come as a result of paying tithing. 
  4. Give to the Needy  King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon talks about how we should always give to those in need.  We all see people on the streets asking for money (especially in the Seattle area where I live).  I’ve found that when I see this person if I ask him what he will do with the money I trust him if he says he’ll use it for food.  Who am I to judge?  However, some of them are honest enough to tell me they’ll spend it on drugs and beer and then I don’t give them the money.  In addition, our church (the LDS or Mormon church) has an option to pay additional funds for humanitarian causes and I pay towards that as well.  I’ve found that by doing this, I become even less attached to the money and grateful that the Lord has blessed me so abundantly and I pray the people that receive the money will feel the same way and be blessed.
  5. Pay Yourself  The next thing I do each month is pay myself in two ways.  1. Retirement funds 2. Emergency Savings
  6. Make Extra Payments Any debts I have such as student loans and car payments we pay extra money towards them.  This reduces the amount of time to be in debt as the Lord has commanded us to stay out of debt and pay our debtors.
  7. Do Not get into Credit Card Debt  I heard on the radio today the average American has $15,000 worth of credit card debt.If you have a credit card, pay it off every month.  If that is too hard, don’t use a credit card. 
  8. Avoid “Get Rich Quick” schemes I’ve been scammed a few times and it hurts.  If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.
  9. Live within Your Means My wife and I were talking yesterday about how our grandparents lived in small homes and raised big families.  Today we live in big homes and raise small families.  We need to be very honest with ourselves and really pray to see what our needs vs. wants are.  If we can afford to pay tithing, give to the needy, save money, and pay the other bills and still get a house, then get a house that is within your means.  Pay cash for purchases such as cars, furniture, etc.  If you don’t have the money, save up for it.
  10. Be Honest in Dealings  ALWAYS be honest in business dealings, on our taxes, etc.  It’s the right thing to do and keeps the Holy Spirit with us in our decisions.
  11. Pray for Strength against Pride As we give to the needy and express gratitude to the Lord, we’ll be blessed with more abundance (at least that’s what I’ve found).  When the additional blessings come, pray that you’ll stay humble and that you won’t be prideful.

These are steps that have helped me, but I’m sure there are many more and I feel like I’m learning every day about how to be a better steward.  Are there any scriptures or any other things you do to help you be a better steward over the Lord’s money?

Advertisements

This morning I was reading an excellent talk given by John H Groberg a few years back called “The Power of God’s Love.”  If you saw the movie “The Other Side of Heaven,” you will remember many stories he shares in this excellent talk.  I encourage you to read through it.

What impressed me today were the following phrases:

Since all love emanates from God, we are born with the capacity and the desire to love and to be loved.

Only as we feel God’s love and fill our hearts with His love can we be truly happy.

 

The more we obey God, the more we desire to help others. The more we help others, the more we love God and on and on. Conversely, the more we disobey God and the more selfish we are, the less love we feel.

 

…trying to find love without helping and sacrificing for others is like trying to live without eating—it is against the laws of nature and cannot succeed.

 

When we understand who God is, who we are, how He loves us, and what His plan is for us, fear evaporates. When we get the tiniest glimpse of these truths, our concern over worldly things vanishes.

 

I learned that just as rockets must overcome the pull of gravity to roar into space, so we must overcome the pull of the world to soar into the eternal realms of understanding and love. I realized my mortal life might end there, but there was no panic. I knew life would continue, and whether here or there didn’t really matter. What did matter was how much love I had in my heart.

 

 

 

…when we are ready, His pure love instantly moves across time and space, reaches down, and pulls us up from the depths of any tumultuous sea of darkness, sin, sorrow, death, or despair we may find ourselves in and brings us into the light and life and love of eternity.

As I read this, my mind went back to various times throughout my life that I’ve felt the Love of God so much that I knew without a doubt that there was a God and He loved me.  I remembered times in my life when all I wanted to do was help other people and had no worldly cares because of the love of God that was in me.  It’s a truly amazing experience.  But, as Groberg states, the pull of the world comes and it is easy to forget that love sometimes.

 

 

How does one bring God’s love back into life then?  Personally, I think an answer is found in the Book of Mosiah chapter 4 verses 11-12.  In verse 11, King Benjamin says (paraphrased) that if we have tasted of God’s love and want to retain it we have to do the following:

  1. Remember God
  2. Acknowledge our “nothingness” before him in humility
  3. Praise Him for his goodness
  4. Pray to Him
  5. Stand strong in the faith.

In my life I’ve found that the best way to remember God is to read the scriptures daily and start with a sincere prayer.  I pray to God (well, try to anyways) as I would another person and thank Him for his love and patience He’s had towards me throughout my life.  I pray about my family, friends, my heart to be softened so I will love all people and see them as He does.  I pray for spiritual discernement and understanding.  I try to obey His commandments as best I know how as well.  Many times I feel the love of God in my heart very strongly.  Other times I don’t.  I believe that standing strong in the faith comes into play when we aren’t feeling the love as strongly, but we continue to try to develop a relationship with God.  And conversly, when everything is going well it is important to remember to thank God and be grateful and continue on in study, prayer, and obedience.

 

 

These are a few thoughts experiences that have helped me.  What are some things that you do to retain and/or bring back the love of God into your life?

 

 

 

Today in church our bishop and some of his family members shared experiences they had while visiting Uganda, Africa.  It impressed me how he shared his testimony of how the love of God is shown in all people throughout the world and how he was so grateful for his relationship with God and Jesus Christ.

His experiences and testimony reminded me of a scripture in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 26:33, which reads:

…for he (the Lord) doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he ainviteth them ball to ccome unto him and partake of his goodness; and he ddenieth none that come unto him, black and white, ebond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the fheathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

This scripture reminded me of another statement made by the Baptist Preacher who believes in the Book of Mormon, John Ridenour.  In this statement, he submits that God is non-denomonational and that God doesn’t really care about doctrine as much as he cares about how we treat each other.  A part of his statement is included below:

How does God think?

When He looks down over my city, Kansas City, Missouri, He doesn’t see Baptist churches or Lutheran churches or Catholic churches or Pentecostal churches or Mormon churches. He sees His children. That’s it. God is not “denominational.” We have over 100 denominations in our city but I submit-the Lord recognizes none of them. That is, His Church is built upon the rock of revelation that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 13). I submit-when the Lord looks down upon any city, He sees His Church-and all who have had a personal revelation that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, are members of His Church. I’m saying–I want to view His church as the Lord sees His church–based upon a revelation of His Lordship, not doctrinal agreement. Why wait ‘till we all get to heaven to think like God thinks?

I’m also saying-too often we’re divided by doctrine. That ought not be. He who has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior is my brother in the faith. Fellowship is centered around His Lordship, not doctrine. Again–all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives, regardless of creed, color, or class, are my brothers and sisters. I like the way C.S. Lewis said it in his classic book “Mere Christianity.” Lewis says, “…it’s not that we Christians disagree; it’s that we disagree on the importance of our disagreements…” How true! Example…

For some of the brethren, it’s very important that we believe in baptismal regeneration before we will fellowship; for others it’s very important that we believe in irresistible grace (the Calvinist point of view of Salvation) before we can fellowship; with others, the will of man (Armenian point of view) plays a crucial role in one’s salvation. With some of us, we embrace the “second blessing” typically known as “the deeper life experience.” Methodists call it sanctification. Others of us do not believe in the second blessing experience. Some of us believe in the “baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit” with the evidence of glossalalia; others of us don’t. Some of us are pre-millennial regarding our views on the Second Coming; some of us are post-millennial; a few of us are amillennial. A few of us think esoteric temple rites have a role to play in the afterlife.

See what I mean? Fellowship too often is based upon doctrine.

We as mortals will never come close to seeing things the way that God does, but I think that the Book of Mormon scripture along with this statement by John Ridenour are very positive steps in starting to see things the way God does.  One of the beauties and magnificence of God is that he sees all people the same whether they believe or not.  He loves unconditionally in a way that we will never comprehend and His arms are always stretched out ready to receive us.  I believe that God blesses all people, and those who take steps of faith towards Him come to know and love Him.  As a result, we come to love and appreciate all people and see them as God sees them.

Now, I’m sure most people will agree that God loves everyone and is not partial towards one group of people, as the Bible teaches, but it leaves the questions: which doctrines and religions are recognized by God? Which ones are not?  Does it even matter?

All I can speak from is personal experience, and I firmly believe the path I’m on is the correct path.  I believe that God appeared to Joseph Smith and re-established the Church of Jesus Christ.  I believe this as a result of personal study and sincere prayer and many experiences.   However, I do not believe that the LDS church has a monopoly on truth and there are many things which haven’t been revealed to us as to how heaven works. 

I know many people in other faiths who say they’ve had just as personal of experiences and a witness from God that their path is the correct path.  I don’t doubt that God has just as close of a relationship with them as He does with me.  But if we believe there is one faith, one Lord, one baptism, etc. how can we say that God is not denominational?

12 Steps to Overcoming Anxiety and Depression without Medication

1. Learning from Others

I suffered for years having panic attacks followed by a darkness that would come over me sometimes for days.  I didn’t know what it was for many years, but one day a friend mentioned that I could be struggling with depression and anxiety. I was devastated when I took a test online and learned that I indeed had symptoms for anxiety and depression.  I didn’t know where to turn.  Thankfully, there are other people who have gone through similar experiences to share their insights.  If I didn’t have valuable resources and other people to help me, I wouldn’t have survived because at my lowest point, I was considering suicide.

I didn’t want to use drugs to overcome anxiety and depression, so I turned to others for advice that found in the book: Discovering Light. Discovering Light  is a #1 Amazon bestseller and a book that has valuable insights in the category of overcoming anxiety and depression and contains a  journey in overcoming anxiety and depression without drugs.  This book not only highlights the story of suffering from anxiety and depression and overcoming it, but it

Overcoming Anxiety and Depression without Medicationalso provides many other resources and books for those who are suffering.  All of the concepts in this book helped me completely overcome anxiety and depression.  It is worth the $10-$13 and will save you a lot of time and money trying to find ways to overcome anxiety without drugs.

Simply click on the image of the book, or the link below to learn more:

My friend also referred me to use self study programs, which were very cost effective and helpful for me as well.  They referred me to a sites similar to the ones listed below:

***Cure Panic and Anxiety***              ***Beat Depression Naturally***

2. Desire to Overcome

After I found out I had both anxiety and depression, I had an intense desire to overcome anxiety and depression.  I wanted a normal life back and held an image of that in my mind.  It was very hard, at times, and I sometimes lost hope and would just sit and stare at the walls wondering if I would ever make any progress.  Thankfully, there were many resources that helped give me hope to keep looking forward and to not give up.  One of the books below, Discovering Light contains many valuable insights and references to other books that helped me maintain a hope and desire to overcome anxiety and depression without medication.  This desire led me to complete the other steps.

3. Faith in God

Alma Chapter 34: 32-34 was what kept me moving ahead.

When I had serious depression and thoughts of life being better if I weren’t alive, I remembered this scripture.  I believe that the same spirit we possess now will be with us even after we die, so if I don’t deal with it now I’ll be dealing with worse things later.

5. Home Study Programs

A friend of mine told me about an in home program and how they had used to overcome anxiety and depression without medication.  I had tried taking medication, but it didn’t feel right to me so I quit.  This program was a very useful tool for me and I still refer to it often.  I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with anxiety and/or depression.  This book describes in detail how to use the in home study program along with the benefits involved.  In home programs played a crucial role in overcoming anxiety and depression.

Below is a list of very effective in home programs that are both time and cost effective and recommended:

***Cure Anxiety and Panic***            ***How to Cure Anxiety***       ***Stop Depression***         ***7 Steps to a Depression Free Life***

6. Talking with a coach or mentor.

Many people who deal with certain issues from their childhood such as I did with abandonment develop negative addictions.  For me, talking with clergy was somewhat helpful, but bishops aren’t usually trained to handle these issues.  I was referred to a different program that helped me overcome my addictions and also train my thoughts.  Bishops know where these resources are.  If you are not a member of the LDS church, you can also look up various agencies such as: alcoholics anonymous, sex addicts anonymous, etc.  I think they have organizations for people who use drugs, have eating addictions, etc.  I believe that most of these programs will have a 12-step approach.  I found these to be very, very helpful.  There is a list of various resources outlined in detail in this book.

7. Prayer/Meditation

Again in Alma 34, it talks about praying for everything important in one’s life.  This links back to step #2, but I can’t emphasize enough how important faith in God and prayer are.  Through this experience I learned how God cares about me personally…especially when I’m at my “worst”.  I say this in quotes because we are never bad in God’s sight, no matter how good or bad our behaviors are he views us and loves us the same.

Through prayer and meditation, I was able to learn how to focus and control my mind.  I am very grateful to God for the gift of prayer and know that miracles happen as a result of sincere, humble, faithful prayers and patience.

If you are interested in learning powerful meditation techniques check out the following programs:

***Meditation Power***              and     ***Learn how to Meditate***

8. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP was the key to me being able to move from just managing anxiety and depression to completely overcoming it.  NLP is another tool I used to clear my subconscious mind.  I worked with two coaches who used NLP on me to clear negative experiences I had seared into my subconscious mind that were affecting my behaviors.  This is another highly recommended tool.  The book contains a whole chapter dedicated to NLP.

Some very good programs to learn about re-programming our subconsious minds are:

***Subconsious Sabatoge***    and   ***Quantum Mind Power***

9. Learning to control thoughts

 Proverbs 23:7 says: “as he (or she) thinks in his (or her) heart, so is he (or she)”.  This is true.  I think this is something all of us will be working on throughout our lives.  However, learning to control our thoughts is essential.  I wrote another post a couple of months ago on how to overcome negative thoughts and provided a few techniques I use.  The post is called “The Gifts of the Spirit: Overcoming Negative Thoughts and Speaking with the Tongue of Angels”.  In addition to that article, Discovering Light has very detailed information on learning to control thoughts and how to train our minds.  If we do not learn this skill, we will not be able to overcome anxiety and depression.

The Quantum Mind Power program is a good resource too.

10. Have a daily routine/Healthy Living (Exercise and Nutrition)

Having a daily routine helps me a lot.  I notice that I do much better when in a familiar environment surrounded with positive things.  For me, this is my daily routine: Wake up, pray, exercise, read scriptures, make breakfast for my wife, think about daily goals, work, come home and either relax or do house chores, etc., read scriptures with wife, pray, go to bed.  Sticking to this schedule keeps me focused and my attitude stays much more positive.

Eating a lot of healthy breads, fruits, protein, and some meat has helped me a lot.  Staying away from sugar and caffeine is essential as well.  I’ve found that the promise in the Word of Wisdom is true in that I receive more health by following its counsel.

Although these suggestions are good, there is even more involved with eating properly and taking care of our bodies.  A complete chapter is dedicated to nutrition and how it plays a role in being able to overcome anxiety and depression.  In addition, the following programs on nutrition and exercise are available:

***P90X***                and           ***Shakeology***                

11. Keep a Gratitude Journal

The book Real Men Do Cry has a great reference on counting our blessings and how gratitude can change our mood.  I found this to be true in my situation as well.  I keep track of all the positive things that happened to me and at the end of the day I write them down.  This keeps me in a positive state and away from dwelling on the negative.

12 Relaxation

For someone who has struggled with anxiety, relaxing is a learned technique.  There are certain activities, music, and thought control techniques needed in order to train our minds to relax instead of fly into “fight or flight” mode.

I found Reiki and meditation to be very relaxing and would recommend checking the following programs out:

***Reiki Home Study Course***   and ***Deep Zen Meditation***

In conclusion, I know that if you are struggling with anxiety and/or depression how hard it can be.  Some of you may be on medication and that might be necessary or even mandatory for you, which is fine.  My main purpose is to share some things that have helped me and I encourage you to incorporate any of these things, if you haven’t already.  Also, please feel free to share any additional things that have helped you so other readers can benefit from it.

I also want my readers to know that I know that God hears your prayers and will answer them in due time.  I’ve learned to be grateful for my experiences with anxiety and depression because I’ve learned how dependent I truly am on God and have see how great His hand can be in my life if I stay close to Him.  I pray that we can all stay close to our Father in Heaven and know that if we do, he’ll lead us through the dark and discouraging times on our lives.

This scripture is in 1 Nephi 2:16:

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

Just a little preface for those who may not be familiar with this scripture.  Nephi’s father, Lehi had just had a vision that was difficult for his family to understand.  In this example, Nephi turns to the Lord rather than to science, other men, etc. to learn the Lord’s mysteries.  As a result, the Lord visits him and softens his heart.  This experience serves as a building block for the rest of Nephi’s life as one reads through the Book of Nephi and sees how strong Nephi is in the Lord throughout his life.

As I read over this again this morning I thought about my own life.  What are the “mysteries” that I’ve experienced and what are some that I’ve seen others struggle with?  Examples include: is there a God? Which church is true? Is the Book of Mormon true?  The Bible? Why am I sick? What job should I take? Who should I marry? What school should I go to? Why do we have temples and what is the meaning of what we do in temples? How can I experience God’s love?  How can I love my enemy? How can I trust in something I can’t see (Jesus, God, etc.)? Why did I lose my job? Why don’t I feel happy?

I could go on, but the point is that “mysteries” to me are basically anything we don’t understand (which is about 99% of life!).  Since there are so many things in life that are incomprehensible, that makes it even more important to turn to the Lord. 

In the very next verse (1 Nephi 2:17) Nephi describes how we can know the mysteries of God, which is through the power of the Holy Ghost.  Other scriptures state that the Holy Ghost will “teach us all things,” and by the power of the Holy Ghost we’ll “know the truth of all things.”

Receiving an answer and recognizing the answer from the Lord through the Holy Ghost may not come all at once.  It didn’t for Nephi, but eventually the Lord visited him and said in 1 Nephi 2:19:

Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. 
 

Notice that the Lord didn’t simply give Nephi an answer, but it was because Nephi was:

1. Humble (i.e. didn’t rely on the philosophies of men and science but relied on the Lord)

2. Never gave up (he didn’t just ask once and call it good and then blame the Lord for not answering.  He diligently sought)

3. He had faith (he believed the Lord would answer him)

I encourage all of us to follow Nephi’s pattern when we have a question or do not understand something whether it be gospel or spiritually related or something else in our lives such as our children, job, friends, spouse, or anything else. 

One thing I’d like to add in conclusion.  Although we can apply this formula to virtually any question we have in our lives, these scriptures are specifically referring to the “mysteries of God.”  People ask questions such as “Was Joseph Smith really a Prophet?” “Is the Book of Mormon a true Book?” “Did Jesus really exist and atone for the sins of the world?” “Is there a God?” “How do I recognize answers to prayer?” “Why does God allow bad things to happen?”

Whatever questions we are asking ourselves, I hope we can apply these principles in our lives and turn to the Lord rather than man or science.  I don’t know much about God’s mysteries and many of life’s mysteries, but the little I do know has been revealed to me through the Holy Spirit when I follow this pattern to know the mysteries of God. 

After we finished excersizing today I collapsed to the floor by our bookshelves in the living room and said “Whew!  I’m going to sleep right here!”  I turned my head to the side and was about to close my eyes when I noticed one of my old German poetry books from college.  I hadn’t looked in it probably since college and so I picked it up and it opened to the following short poem by Angelus Silesius .

It Depends on You (by Angelus Silesius)

Oh, if only your heart could become a manger, God would once again become a child on earth.

The imagery and words immediately brought varying thoughts to my mind.

First, the image of a manger.  When we read in Luke chapter 2, we read of Joseph and Mary trying to find room in the busy inns.  In contrast, they find a humble location and a place in a manger.  In addition, I looked up words similar to “manger” in the thesarus and words such as “bassinet” and “cradle” are synonomous to manger.  I asked myself, is my heart like the inn or like the manger?  What can I do to clear it out and make it a place that God can rest?

The next thing I thought of was the part stating that “God would become once again as a child on earth.”  I thought of the numerous scriptures that Jesus spoke of us becoming like a child.  My favorite scripture is in Mosiah 3:19 when it talks about putting away our natural man and becoming patient, meek, humble, and willing to accept everything God gives us…the good and the not-so-good.

I’d like to hear what you thought of as you read the poem or my comments. 

How can we make room in our hearts for the Savior?

What can we do to become humble and meek like a child?

Why is it important, or is it even important to do these things? 

Those of us in the Northwest get the benefit of some very beautiful days, and yesterday was one of them.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun reflected off the crystals in the 10 degree weather.  My wife (Becca), my friend Jeremy, and I decided we would go skiing and it was a good decision!

Becca hadn’t been skiing before so the first part of the day Jeremy hit some runs on his own as I stayed with Becca and helped her out.  She was great!  I was very impressed at how well she picked it up and that even though she was a little nervous, she stuck with it.  I’d given her instructions to keep her skis in a “pizza wedge”, slowly turn back and forth down the hill, and if she felt out of control to push on the ski facing down-hill and that she would stop.  While I watched her I noticed that if she stayed focused on the instructions she did great!  However if a skier, snow-boarder, or a tree would come into view she had the tendency at first to loose concentration and focus on the other object.  Pretty soon she would head straight for the object and she would freak out a little and fall down.  However, by the end of the day she had learned to steadily make it down the mountain and avoid the obstacles.  I was very impressed with how well she’d done at learning. 

As I watched her, I thought of how this relates to our relationship with God.  God has given us instructions and a way to make it down this mountain of life and back to Him.  Sometimes there are obstacles such as sickness, death, loss of a job…and a million other things throughout any given day that we can focus on and many times we fall.  Luckily for us, we have instructions through the scriptures.  The following scripture shows us how we can “make it down the mountain.”

“Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” (3 Ne. 15:9.) There are many other scriptures in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants that refer to this promise as well.  You can visit them here

I would like to hear some experiences and thoughts from you…

How do you “look unto the Savior”? 

What is “enduring to the end”?  (for some good clues click here.)

What are ways you’ve used to endure? 

In one of my recent posts, I said it was a law that God would answer our prayers.  I was wrong….he’ll answer our prayers if we are keeping the commandments.  Here’s proof: John 15:10 “if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love…” and John 15:7 “if ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”

Furthermore, it is important to keep the commandments because if we “keep not the commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with us and we’ll walk in darkness.” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:12).  Therefore, if we are keeping the commandments God is bound by his promise to answer our prayers.

I was reading an article in the Ensign today and a reader posed a question about prayer.  Here is the question:

I have always been taught to pray, but often I don’t seem to get answers.  I have faith and think I’m worthy.  What should I do?

It appears that this person is trying to keep the commandments and believes that they will receive an answer to their prayers, but either isn’t receiving an answer to their prayers or they are not recognizing the answer to their prayers.

How would you respond to this person?  How do you receive answers to your prayers and how do you recognize the answers are from God?  What would you suggest this person should do to receive an answer or recognize an answer to their prayers?

Leave your comments below…

Recently I posted a blog on why I believe in God.  Many of you emailed me directly and a couple of you left responses.  This blog is written in response to a comment left by someone on my blog who says he doesn’t believe in God.  I appreciate him getting in touch with me and sharing his perspective with me.  It caused me to reflect on my beliefs.  Here were the comments left on my page:

“…after careful consideration, pondering, reading, rationale, et. al, I’ve come to the conclusion  that there isn’t a god.  And because I don’t believe in a god, I only have to live for myself and those that I love.  And I mustn’t fear death, for I also don’t believe in hell.  It’s a wonderful way to live life.  It makes me very happy.”

First off, I commend this person for sharing their views.  Although many of his views are not aligned with mine, one of them is.  The view that he loves those around him and loves himself.  This I find to be very positive and there are many (including myself) that need to work on further developing the trait of loving and respecting oneself as well as his friends and family.    

Next, I would like to offer some suggestions to my friend just in case my friend ever has a faint desire to learn if there is indeed a God and how to find out. 

I would like to address a few laws that I know to be true.  In Doctorine and Covenants 130:20 it states that when we keep the commandments of God, he is bound to bless us.  It is a law and with every blessing there is a law attached to it.  What are some laws of Heaven?  Some examples include: Faith, Prayer, Tithing, Fasting, all of the commandments basically.  For purposes of addressing the topic on hand, I would like to focus on the laws attached to faith and prayer.

The Law of Faith

In my opinion, the most beautiful and simple explanation of how to excersize faith is in Alma chapter 32 of the Book of Mormon.  If my atheist friend even has the faintest desire to find out if there is a God, I recommend a careful study of this chapter.  It outlines step by step how to excersize faith.  Here are the steps:

1. Develop Humility (Alma 32 verses 12-16)

2. Desire to believe (verse 27)

3. Experiment upon the word (verse 27)

4. Hold on to truth…nourish the “seed” through prayer (verse 37)

5. Patience (verse 42)

6. Diligence (verse 42)

7. Recieve reward of Faith (verse 43)

If faith is a law, then god is bound to bless us with knowledge if we follow these steps.  He only blesses us with knowledge and miracles according to our faith. ( 2 Nephi 27: 23; 2 Nephi 26:13) Alma compares faith to a seed that if planted in our hearts will grow into a tree of knowledge if we are patient and nourish the seed by reading and studying and believing.  If we do not practice these steps then God can not bless us according to the laws of nature as seen when Jesus couldn’t perform miracles in the Bible because of lack of faith.  (see Matthew 13:58 and 3 Nephi 19: 35

However, numerous examples are contained in the scriptures of the miracles that are able to be perfomed because of following the prescribed steps of faith.  Some examples are: the miracles of Paul in the bible (Acts 19:11); numerous examples of healings in the scriptures; and people receiving a testimony or witness of the spirit according to their faith.  There are thousands of other examples in the scriptures that witness of miracles as well. 

It appears that my atheist friend was almost ready to recieve an answer or witness that there is a God.  He completed the steps of having a desire to know, and reading and studying.  I’m not sure if this studying was done in humility.  I’m not the one to judge, but if it was done in humility and he still didn’t recieve a witness then it was because he didn’t practice the law of prayer.

The Law of Prayer

In the scriptures it states: “All things ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall recieve” (Matthew 21: 22)  This is a law.  God promised he would do this and I testify from personal experience that he will.  Examples of people recieving a witness that there is a God by praying include Enos in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith when praying to find out which church he should join, and other examples throughout the scriptures. 

My atheist friend also commented on my experience I posted about praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true that there is no way that I could have had this experience and that it was something I had imagined up.  This story reminds me of an anti-christ in the Book of Mormon named Zeezrom who challenged Jacob, a prophet of the time. 

In closing and in response to my atheist friend, I want to tell you that I have tried the experiment on the words of God.  I know that the law of faith and the law of prayer works.  I know that I have felt God in ways that I can’t describe and that one can’t understand unless they have experienced them.  I feel like Joseph Smith in a small sense that the experiences I’ve had I know are from God and I can’t deny them.  If I were to deny that God has sent me His Spirit to testify that Jesus is our Savior, the scriptures including the Book of Mormon and the Bible are true, and that He (God) actually exists; I would be lying to God and myself.  This I will not do.

I invite my friend to try this experiement with humility and faith.  If you have the desire and patience I testify to you that you will recieve a witness.

If anyone reading this has similar experiences to share or ideas to help my atheist friend, feel free to contribute in your comments.

Last week my wife and I went to the symphony for her Christmas present.  It was amazing!  Beethoven’s 9th.  The only problem was that we go to sleep listening to classical music and so when the slow pieces were playing we started to snooze.  We woke up suddenly though during the last piece…you know the one: “Ode to Joy!”

 We’re all familiar with the “Ode to Joy” theme.  The Seattle Symphony was amazing and I was moved by their sound.  What moved me even more were the lyrics to the song.  I went to Germany on my mission, so I get excited when I hear German lyrics.  The part that really moved me was this part of the song:

Seid umschlungen, Millionen, diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!  Brueder! Uebem Sternenzelt muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.  Ihr stuerzt nieder, Millionen?  Ahnest du den Schoepfer, Welt?  Such’ ihn ueberm Sternenzelt!  Ueber Sternen muss er wohnen.

The words are beautifully powerful and together with the music and vocals it moved me deeply.  However, that might not mean much to you if you don’t speak German.  Here’s the English translation:

Be embraced, all ye Millions with a kiss for all the world!  Brothers, beyond the covering of the stars must dwell a loving Father.  Do you bow down before him, O Millions?  Do you feel the Creator’s presence?  Search for him beyond the stars!  He surely dwells beyond the stars.

As I heard this, something deep within my soul cried out “Yes!  Yes!  I search for Him.  I feel His presence!  Embrace me, Heavenly Father!” 

This was a very moving experience for me.  I do not know for certain many things, but many things I do know.  I know that I have felt close to God as I sing praises to Him.  I feel Him when I pray.  I know that I have felt close to God as I’ve seen His creations. (see Alma 30:44) I know I’ve felt Heavenly Father’s love as I’ve shared love with others, for God is love.  (see John chapter 4)  I also feel His love through reading the scriptures about the Saviors ministry.  As Elder Holland said in a conference talk, everything the Savior did while he was on earth testified of his Father and our Father in Heaven. (see talk “The Grandeur of God“)  Jesus said he did nothing that he hadn’t first learned from the Father. (see John 8:38)

Joseph Smith stated that the first step necessary for excersizing faith in God unto salvation was to believe that God actually exists. (Lectures on Faith, pg 39

So I pose the same question to you.  Why do you believe there’s a God?  Leave your comments below.

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 887 other followers

GraceforGrace Community

Pages

Blog Stats

  • 484,366 hits
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: