Rubik’s Life Lessons IV: You Can Always Be Solved

Lesson Four

No matter how mixed up you are, you can always be solved. That is the beauty of Christ’s Atonement. No stain is too deep to wash clean. No wound is too severe to heal. No soul too miserable to be comforted. Through Jesus Christ, the colors can always be matched up again.

In the Book of Mormon, we read of the wise counsel of a loving father to his two sons.

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.(Helaman 5:12)

He tells his sons that if they build the foundation of their faith upon Jesus Christ, the devil will have no power over them to bring them down to misery. Helaman, the name of this father, also says that this will happen when the devil will send his storm upon us. It’s not a matter of if. We will face adversity and trials in this life. Our ‘cube’ is going to get mixed up time and time again, but by relying on Christ and standing upon the rock of His atoning sacrifice we will not be brought down into the crashing waves.

Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father. He is the Way to the Father, the Messenger for the Father, and He will plead for us when we stand before the judgment bar of God, if we have had faith on Him and used His atonement.

Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—

Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life(Doctrine and Covenants 45:3-5)

If we repent and forsake our sins, our Heavenly Father will forgive us, and we will someday enter into His kingdom and live with Him again eternally. I know this to be true, and I know it’s only possible through our Savior Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter how mixed up you think you are. Come unto Him and you can be solved, you can be healed and forgiven.

The Poetic Corner: The Man on the Bench

The Man on the Bench

 

i sat down on a bench the other day
too tired to stand anymore
life it seemed had lost the dream
and i was losing my count of the score

then a man walking by sat next to me
and said “you look like a sight for sore eyes.”
i said “i’m sure I do and to tell the truth
i’m a bigger mess inside.”

he shook his head and smiled and told me “life is no big deal.
it’s the little things that count and build the love and hope we feel.”
i said “i haven’t any hope left and my love is thin as air.
so save your breath and take the rest of this to someone who cares.”

he just stared and said

“oh, faithless child, how often would i have helped you,
but you were busy with anything apart from the truth.
so many witnesses have shown you why you came to this Earth.
just take a notice and you’ll see what your life’s really worth.
it has worth.”

i blinked and took a breath hoping to block out what he said
but the words he spoke kept ringing notes familiar in my head
i said “i don’t know who you are but what makes you think you can change
the story of my life with just a simple word or phrase?”

he looked amazed and said

“oh, faithless child, how often would i have helped you.
i’ve been calling but the times that you’ve listened were few.
all the moments you had thought you were left to yourself,
i was holding you but you were too numb to have felt.”

my heart swelled as i closed my eyes to try and stop the tears
before me fell my life and all the wasted years
regret stung my heart
as i turned to face this Man
only to find he wasn’t near

with a bit of swallowed pride i stood up straight and realized
a newfound strength had just replaced the emptiness inside
silently i thanked the Man for giving me that day
to live my life
to be alive
to give up sight and walk by faith
to walk by faith

 

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37)

From this verse, we can make a simple analogy. How often do we ignore the voice of the Good Shepherd? How often do we not hearken to the counsel of His prophets and His word in the Bible and the Book of Mormon? When life finds us in a bind, and we feel like we are far from the Savior, who do you think has moved? Certainly not Christ. His arms are always outstretched, ready to receive all who will come unto Him. As He says here, He is always willing to gather us as a hen gathers its chickens.

He is constantly supporting us from one moment to the next. In the Book of Mormon, a wise ruler named King Benjamin stated,

I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Mosiah 2:21)

We live and do according to our will because Christ is our support. Even when we feel abandoned by everyone and everything, His light and life is still within us, keeping us alive and giving us breath. He is never gone, but sometimes we have been removed too far or become too numb to see the brightness and feel the warmth of His light.

Let’s shake off the numbness and draw closer to our Savior. I know He is ready to receive anyone and everyone, so long as we come unto Him with full purpose of heart, willing to obey Him and His gospel. Christ lives and loves us. No trial is too great for His power, and no darkness is too thick for His light to disperse. This is my testimony.

 

The Poetic Corner: The Altar

The Altar

 

let me down without a sound
i’ve been wreckless but i finally figured out
Your love can save me
can i still make up for how
i let my faith in You go south?
tell me what You see buried inside me
and i’ll give my heart to You

You brought me to the altar
my life in Your hands
it is tried and broken
erase the memories of
the light i’ve stolen
i am tried and broken

this is how i will shout
i’ve been hopeless but i finally see it now
Your light can wake me
is this why the world around
is fighting back to keep me bound?
help me to be free
from what has tied me
so i can be like You

You brought me to the altar
my life in Your hands
it is tried and broken
erase the memories of
the light i’ve stolen
i am tried and broken

take my life and make me something great
here at the altar i awake
forgive my past with its mistakes
here at the altar i awake

 

In the Mosaic law, the Jews offered animal sacrifices for sin and other things. Such was their commandment from the Lord. But Christ came to fulfill the Mosaic law, giving us a higher law to obey. Animal sacrifices were done away with. Instead, we must offer up something that goes much deeper than rams or turtle doves.

When the Savior Jesus Christ visited the inhabitants of the Americas after His resurrection, He said to them,

And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost… (3 Nephi 9:19-20)

Christ has told us to offer Him a broken heart and a contrite (sorrowful) spirit. Our “altar” of sacrifice is no longer a literal, physical structure but a spiritual manifestation of our willingness to give our lives to Christ. We all are stained with sin, and it can only be removed by approaching our individual “altars” and offering up our broken hearts and contrite spirits. This is not all, though. If our hearts truly are broken, and our spirits truly contrite, we will repent and forsake our sins. We will desire to be like Jesus Christ and change our wills to be in line with His.

This change involves the simple steps of having faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins, being baptized by someone holding His authority, and then, by that same authority, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, as did the disciples in the New Testament and Book of Mormon. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled. (3 Nephi 12:19)

 

Take You Back

The reason why I stand
The answer lies in You
You hung to make me strong
Though my praise was few
When I fall I bring Your name down
But I have found in You
A heart that bleeds forgiveness
replacing all these thoughts of painful memories
But I know that Your response will always be

I’ll take you back always
Even when your fight is over now
I’ll take you back always
Even when the pain is coming through
I’ll take you back

Take You Back ~ Jeremy Camp

We are imperfect beings sent to live on an imperfect world. We live, make mistakes, and grow from those experiences. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. In fact, He expects us to make mistakes. Of course that’s not saying He condones our failures, but He knows we will always fall short. It’s inevitable.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

But this doesn’t excuse us from not trying our hardest.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

We are told to be perfect, as God is perfect. An impossibility, yes. But God is no dummy. We must strive for perfection. Ahhh, now that sounds a little bit easier, right? Well, maybe not, but at least it makes more sense.

To be completely honest, however, I’m absolutely terrible at this whole ‘striving for perfection’ thing. Even more candidly, I often feel like a failure. But such thoughts do not come from the Big Man Upstairs. More specifically, the source of that negativity is the small man in the basement, Satan himself. He wants us to feel as though we cannot return to the straight and narrow path. It’s too late to turn back around. It’s too far to walk back. Its no use, you’ll just miss it and stray from the path again. Perhaps Satan’s most deceitful lie is the idea that Jesus doesn’t want us back. But who did Jesus spend the majority of His ministry chillin’ out with? The publicans and sinners!

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17)

Satan would have us believe that Jesus will not take us back, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Jesus will always take us back, so long as we repent and have faith in Him. Jesus said to take His yoke upon us and we will find rest. Allow Him to carry your burdens. He suffered and died for us. He took our sins upon Himself. He wants us to turn to Him and place our troubles upon His shoulders. So let’s allow Him to do us. Let’s use the atonement of Christ. Let’s repent and follow Him. He will always take us back.

Burdens… Braces… Bacon.

Getting braces is not fun. Of course, they’re good for you in the long run, but having them can be a nightmare for a lot of kids… and adults. From the first day you get them on, they’re a nuisance. My teeth hurt so bad that first day I couldn’t eat my bacon at dinner (my dad took the liberty of eating it for me).

Sure, you may get used to having them after a while, but you never forget about them. They’re always there, feeling uncomfortable, cutting up your lip… whatever else. I was a bit self-conscious when I had mine; I definitely don’t recall smiling too often.

So all in all, braces aren’t a pleasant experience. They’re restrictive, uncomfortable, and definitely not the prettiest thing to look at. If  you had them, and you’re anything like me, your confidence level probably took a bit of a hit. But when that day comes that they finally come off… holy cow. It was an awesome feeling! I felt like I was on top of the world… at least for the next couple days.

Sin is a lot like this; it restricts us and makes us uncomfortable. The guilt can make us self-conscious and our confidence can be shot. The initial sin can often feel painful. Over time we may become accustomed to carrying this burden, but the burden is never eased, and we long for the day when the burden can be eased.

Getting the braces off is repentance. Confessing our sins before God, coming unto Christ to be healed by His atonement, and forsaking our sins removes this burden. And the feeling is awesome! We feel like a new person when that load is removed from us. This is the joy that comes from repentance. This is the joy that comes when we turn to Jesus Christ and let His atonement work within us.

And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

(Alma 36:17-20)

As Daylight Dies

Contest the lies
We cannot be so blind
Hear their cries
Don’t wait till daylight dies.

Daylight Dies“, by Killswitch Engage

So I got a new companion; I picked him up in Great Falls. We stayed there for a couple days before driving back up to our place. When we arrived at our place he unpacked and then went downstairs to do laundry. Thirty seconds went by and he rushed back up the stairs.

“You better come down and see this,” he said to me.

I followed him down to find half the basement flooded with about an inch of water. Turns out, the water heater was leaking. Boxes and clothing belonging to the owners of the house were soaked. We ran to the neighbors and they brought over a shopvac to suck up all the water. We spent most of this morning moving clothes and boxes and vaccuming up more water. We’ll definitely need a new water heater.

The problem was simple. The water heater was about sixteen years old and had rusted on the bottom until it simply could no longer hold the water.

This water heater is a lot like our own problems. When a situation arises, we need to be sure to take care of it right away. It may be a wrongdoing, a sin that we’re covering up. It may be a problem we have with an individual that we put off and allow to fester. Whatever the circumstances, it never works out when we allow it to grow and escalate. The water heater should’ve been replaced years ago. Just the same, we may have problems that we should’ve dealt with a long time ago, but instead have been left to rust.

If we don’t deal with them, eventually they’ll leak out, often spoiling the lives of loved ones and others in the process.

Amulek, in the Book of Mormon taught,

And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. (Alma 34:33)

Whether it is a sin or not, we can’t afford to procrastinate the day of our repentance or our resolving. Work while it is still day.

Existence and Repentance

The walls of a church don’t make it holy.
It’s what’s authentic that completes the sum of its parts.
Don’t excuse yourself from life today on the pretense of your past.

You’re hurt. You’re broken. That’s alright.
This might be what it takes to wake you up.

“Existence”, by August Burns Red

Making mistakes is inevitable. God does not expect us to be perfect. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to Atone for our sins, allowing us to repent. A negative connotation is often placed upon repentance. Sometimes it’s viewed as a punishment, but this is not so. The original Hebrew word that was later translated into what we now know as “repentance” included the root verb shuv, which means “to return”.

Repentance is not at all punishment, but is a process of turning one’s self around and coming back to God. Of course, it does include sorrow, but that sorrow should be godly sorrow. Paul, as usual, gives us some good insights…

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (1 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Paul says that godly sorrow worketh repentance, which leads to salvation. Being broken down, being hurt, being grieved, are actually good things, when we take them in the right light. Feeling sorry for yourself, or feeling sorry because you got caught, etc., are not ways in which we feel godly sorrow. Godly sorrow involves having a desire to change ourselves, to turn ourselves around, change our ways, change our mindset, and change our hearts.

Through these ways, repentance is not a punishment, but is a joyous opportunity to come closer to God and to our Savior.

In the Book of Mormon, there was a young man named Alma, who went about trying to destroy Christ’s church, spreading lies in order to get people to sin. He was struck down by an angel and for three days seemed to be dead. When he regained his strength, he proclaimed that he had been forgiven of his sins. It was a difficult process, because of the evils that he had done, but repentance brought him indescribable joy. I invite you to read his account that he gave to his son,

Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy. (Alma 36: 18-21)

I know that daily repentance is necessary if we desire to become close with God and Jesus Christ. But it is not punishment. It is not a chore. I am grateful that I can repent. I know that repentance is a blessing to us. If you’re hurt, if you’re broken, that’s alright. That’s often what it takes to wake us up.