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In the movie “End of the Spear,” christian missionaries are led by the Holy Spirit to a indiginous people in South America.  The people have a distorted concept of God and the sanctity of life.  Ultimately many of the missionaries end up sacrificing their lives in order to bring the message to this indiginous people. 

The scriptures also contain many accounts of people sacrificing their time, talents, and in many instances their lives in order to bring salvation to people.  Prophets in the Bible include: Paul, Stephen, Christ’s disciples, Jeremiah, and of course Jesus who was not just a prophet, but the Savior of the world.  Book of Mormon prophets who sacrifice include: Lehi, Alma, Abinadi, and also many more.  Of the Latter-Day Saint prophets, Joseph Smith is definitely the most recognized as sacrificing all he had for the Lord’s kingdom.  When ridiculed he wouldn’t renounce his testimony for he knew he’d seen a vision and God knew he’d seen a vision and he dared not deny it.  He was persecuted and eventually killed as a result.  Millions of other Latter-Day Saints and also Christian members of other faiths around the world today have felt the love of Jesus in their hearts and have sacrificed their time, talents, and even their lives.

What is it that moves us to action?  Why sacrifice so much for people that we don’t know in many instances?  Those of who have been moved by the Holy Spirit…in other words, born again, understand why.  Once we’ve tasted of the love of the Lord and been born again, we are willing to try to do everything we can to help the Lord and do His will. 

My message is for those who have been or want to be born again and want to continue on by building a solid foundation on Jesus that will weather any storm that may come. 

One of my favorite scriptures on building a foundation on the Lord is in Helaman 5:12.  It reads:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

We all have “mighty storms” that beat upon us and all of our experiences are different.  Sickness, depression, fears, trying to make ends meet, the list goes on and on.  The LDS priesthood manual offers 7 suggestions to help us build, strengthen, and maintain our foundation on Jesus.  These include:

1. Seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost

2. Partake of the Sacrament (Communion)

3. Pray and fast

4. Keep the Commandments

5. Study the scriptures

6. Follow the living prophet

7. Love and serve the Lord

Three additional ways that I use to strengthen my relationship with Jesus include:

8. Attend the Lord’s house (the temple)

9. Pay tithing and fast offerings

10. Share my testimony with others

I will be sharing more thoughts on each of these ways that have helped me build and maintain a strong foundation on Jesus in future posts.  I, like many of you, feel I have made a lot of progress and at times feel my foundation is sure and steady.  Many other times I’ve felt the whirlwinds of Satan hit the foundation and I’ve had to start rebuilding again. 

Many times I notice that opportunities to build my foundation are little by little on a daily basis just by doing simple things to help others, telling someone who’s down about God and prayer, praying for others, telling the truth and being honest in dealings with employers and friends, and focusing on being positive about myself and others.  My hope is that my foundation will be strong enough to be a witness for the Lord in every event just as the missionaries in the movie and the prophets mentioned. 

In conclusion, I pose some questions:

1. Has building a foundation on Jesus helped you?  If so, how has it helped you?

2. What do you do or have you done to build and maintain a firm foundation on Jesus? 

3. What does it mean to you to have a foundation built on Jesus?   

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.

During my morning scripture study today I was reading John 15:1-16.  This is a section where Jesus is teaching his disciples on the perfect law of love.  The verses that stand out to me are verses 5, 7, and 10.  They read:

Verse 5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing”

Verse 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.”

Verse 10: “If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commndments, and abide in his love”

My first question was “How do I abide in the Savior’s love?” The answer is obviously in verse 10 by keeping His commandments.  Further research into the scriptures led me to some of the commandments that I personally should do to abide in the Savior’s love.  These include: praying, studying scriptures, acknowledging His hnd in all things, recieving counsel from Him, walking as He walked, and keeping His commandments.

Why is it important to abide in Him?  The answer is in verse 7: “…ye shall ask what ye will, and it shll be done unto you…”

This led me back to verse 5 where Jesus states he is the vine and we are the branches.  If we are not connected to Him (abide in Him), we can do nothing.  This scripture reminds me also of Psalms Chapter 1 verse 3.  Here the psalmist compares a man that “delights in the law” i.e. keeps the commandments of God to a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth fruit and prospers.  Compare this also to when Jesus Christ offers the woman at the well “living water” in John Chapter 4.

I am very grateful for the Lord, Jesus Christ.  I know that I can do many things on my own, but when I do that I do not have the strength of the Lord or His Holy Spirit in my life.  I am very grateful and know that when I abide in him and keep His commandments I feel more love for my fellow men and peace in my heart. 

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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