Father’s Day! Yeah!

Well, it’s soon to be Father’s Day. Let’s be honest, Father’s Day definitely doesn’t get quite as much recognition as its counterpart. It should though. It’s quite an understatement, but… fathers are important. The role of a father, to me, is the role of the protector, provider, and example-giver.

The father shows his children how to act and how to get things done, but most importantly, I believe, the father presides over the family. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a patriarchal order. That’s not saying the males are better than the females, but their role is to preside and be a leader, and do so using God’s priesthood.

My own father has a been an awesome example to me of that, of dedication to the Lord. I’m grateful that he’s always been faithful to the gospel, even when my family experienced hard times, when it would’ve been easy to give in and give up. He’s also been a great example of working past weaknesses. We all have faults of course, and many people, including myself, try to justify idleness, transgression, or sin with their weaknesses. My dad, however, has always pulled through. Even when I knew he was struggling, and even when I thought that if I was put in his shoes I would’ve given up, he never did. The Lord and his family were too important to him. For that, I’ll always be grateful, and I hope that I will be able to reflect those righteous attributes that he possesses. I hope that when trials come, I’ll put the Lord and my loved ones before myself, like he has done and will continue to do.

Dad, thank you for… well… being you, for being an example, and for expecting me to go on a mission. I definitely needed the push, and I’m thankful for it.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! You’re awesome!

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Walk the Walk

So my compañero and I were knocking doors the other day. After about the sixth door, someone finally answered and he let us right in. I’m always a little bit suspicious when that happens, but  he was a very nice man and started the conversation by asking us some questions about the LDS church and how LDS missions work. We answered all of his inquires, but then he shifted the discussion a little by asking us how we viewed the whole “receiving Jesus into your heart” thing.

The conversation got a little more interesting, and we started telling him about some more specific doctrines pertaining to The Church of Jesus Christ. It eventually turned to the doctrine of salvation, and what constitutes being “saved.”

He made sure we understood that many “Mormon” doctrines don’t quite fall under the “umbrella of classic Christianity.” This is something that my companion and I are very well aware of. Many things that The Church of Jesus Christ teaches don’t agree completely with the traditions of what the world now likes to call “mainstream” Christianity.

Naturally, talking about salvation, we delved into faith and works. He was all for faith, which of course is a necessary thing. We must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But he told us, “Don’t hang your hat on works.” Well, duh, I know I can’t earn my way to Heaven. I don’t know if people just think we’re stupid or something, but we know very well that only through the Atonement of Christ can anyone have any hope of salvation. Without Him, and without having faith in Him, our good works are in vain, and profit us nothing… because we’d all be damned to Hell. Simple.

I quoted James and told him that “faith without works is dead.” He tried to explain that good works come as a result of our faith and… as far as I understood it, ultimately don’t even matter anyway. They’re just… good things to do. We asked him about the Ten Commandments, if it was needful to obey them in order to gain salvation. His answer was no.

A bit puzzled, I said, “You don’t have to obey the Ten Commandments? So basically you can just be a bad person?” He said yes. Well, now that was interesting, ’cause last time I checked, they were still called the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions, or the Ten Creative Ideas.

I’m sorry (no, I’m really not), but “receiving Jesus into your heart” is more than just proclaiming a belief in Him and His atoning sacrifice. If you’re going to receive Him into your heart, then you better darn well get out there and do something about it.

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:21)

There are the words of Cephas himself. Christ suffered for us, not so we could sit on our butts and not obey His commandments, but that so we could see His example and follow it. “Work out your own salvation”, as Paul states to the Philippians, but still maintain an understanding that salvation comes “not of works, lest any man should boast,” as he counsels the Ephesians.

Find your faith in Christ and show it, otherwise your “faith without works is dead”, as James so boldly proclaimed. You may tell your neighbor, who is in need of food and clothing, to be fed and clothed, but what’s it going to do if you don’t do anything about it? If you proclaim your faith in Christ, that’s great, but if you seriously think that’s all there is to being worthy to receive the glory of God, you’ve got something to reconsider.

God didn’t go through the trouble of creating this entire world and placing us here for eighty something years just so we could say “Lord Jesus I receive you into my heart” and automatically become “saved.” You know what? Salvation isn’t cheap. It doesn’t come from saying a few lines that some random pastor guy made up off the top of his head. Christ didn’t suffer for that.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19)

You believe in Christ? That’s great, so do the evil spirits that flood this earth. Does their belief in the Son of God do anything for them? No, because it’s not just about believing, it’s also about living a life that’s in harmony with what Jesus Christ taught.

So if believing that our salvation is also dependent on being a good person somehow makes me a non-Christian, then I suppose by today’s standards I’m not a Christian. But I do know that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that He lives again. And I know that only through His grace can we hope to be saved. Christ’s atonement is the bridge that has been built over the gulf of misery. Without it, our destination, no matter how good of person we were in this life, would be Hell. But with it, we can escape the captivity of the devil and enter into salvation. We must walk across that bridge, however. Standing there and saying, “That bridge has saved me!” is not going to get you over that bridge.

I know that through obedience to God’s laws and ordinances, all mankind may be saved, and that the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ is the only thing that has made that possible for us. His sacrifice has opened the door into eternal life, but He has left it up to us… to walk through it.

Follow His Steps

We went out to visit some less-active members of the Church yesterday. Their house is at the end of a long dirt road which, after a long winter, is nothing but giant ruts of mud and deep snow. We decided it would be a good idea to take our truck. The snow drifts were huge though, so we stopped the truck and walked a short distance to their house through the snow.

My companion, Elder Andersen, has some nice boots, so he trudged confidently through the drifts. Although I’ve got some pretty durable shoes myself, they’re not quite as high. By stepping exactly where Elder Andersen’s feet had been, I managed to avoid filling my shoes with snow that would’ve soaked my feet.

In all honesty, I’m not one that often ponders about spiritual analogies. But I couldn’t help but think of one in that moment.

Jesus Christ lived a perfect life. Through everything He did, He set the example for us to follow. His footsteps have trudged through and overcome every affliction this life can throw at us. By following in the Savior’s footsteps, we can be safely guided through, every step of the way.

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps ~ 1 Peter 2:21

I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that He is ultimate example for us to follow. No matter the terrain, we can always overcome if we follow in His footsteps.

Light in a Darkened World

i see so much corruption

and it’s hard to ignore

living on greed and possessions

is this what we’re dying for?

so choose this day who you will serve

to be the light in a darkened world

A Light in a Darkened World ~ Killswitch Engage

We live in a day and age when darkness is creeping all around us. Satan’s plagues can be seen wherever we go: drugs, alcohol, greed, selfishness, pornography and other forms of immorality, government corruption, war, etc. The list can go on and on. Some of us might ask, “Where is the light?” What is it? How can we find it?

What is the light?

John 8:12Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the Light! It is by Him that we can be guided through the dark paths of life. Through the direction of our Heavenly Father, Christ created the world and everything in it, including us. Being an artist, I put myself into each of my drawings. When you look at the ink, you can see a little bit of who I am. The same goes for us and the world. By viewing the beauty of the Earth and ourselves, we can see Christ’s light and who He is.

Matthew 5:14-16

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Christ’s light is in each of us. We are His creations and therefore have the potential to be the best examples of His light, His goodness, and His love. Christ encourages us to let our light so shine and show others Heavenly Father’s love, Christ’s love, and our own love through our good works. By doing so we can be a light to those that may be lost in this darkened world.

Christ is the Light, and the Light is within us. We can find it in ourselves and in others, and help others to find it by letting it shine  before men. We must choose to do this, however. It will only shine forth when we are striving to emulate Christ’s example and obey God’s commandments.

Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

May we all choose this day to serve the Lord and be a light unto others, that through us they may see Christ’s love shine forth. I testify that Christ is the Light and Life of this world. I know that He loves each of us and wants us all to be a shining light.

Be a light in a darkened world.