The Poetic Corner: Another Ship That Sinks

Another Ship That Sinks

as days go by, it seems to me

that life’s no more a mystery than how we breathe

or why we see the rising of the sun

what’s simple and what’s beautiful

is waking up without a thought of self

but to help someone

 

i haven’t always been the best

of making the day worth it when i rest

my head

i think instead too much

of my own fears

returning years of chaos to my thoughts

 

my plans that span across the week

the good i’ll do, the way i’ll think

they end up as a ship that sinks

forever lost under the deep

and while i drown in ocean blue

wondering what i must do

thinking that i can’t be saved

i am no good, i’m just a slave to sin

within myself

 

i lift my gaze, see through my tears

from where i kneel there’s something near

a picture frame rests there for me

and suddenly it’s all so clear

my plans, my hopes, my thoughts, my dreams

in all these ways i missed one thing

the Savior of the world, my King

 

without Him i can only fall

though i think i try so hard

but i left him far behind

and this is why…

 

Jesus, You are everything

Savior, Friend, my only King

without You I can do nothing

I’m just another ship that sinks

 

Jesus, You are everything

the Light, the Life, the air i breathe

without You I can do nothing

I’m just another ship that sinks

 

Jesus, You are everything

the only way i’ll be happy

without Your grace I am nothing

I’m just another ship that sinks

Of Sheep and Goats

It’s impossible to earn your way into Heaven. Everyone knows that. No human power can bring about salvation. It is only through the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved. But doesn’t Jesus Christ bid us to follow Him? Did not the apostles state that He, Christ, set the example for us to follow?

I ask you, what did Jesus do? Perhaps a better question would be to ask what He didn’t do, but I’ll answer the first one. Christ carried out the will of the Father. He performed miracles, forgave sins, and set the ultimate example of righteousness for us to follow. He is the Good Shepherd, and those that follow Him are His sheep. Those that do not follow Him are goats. We read in Matthew 25, verses 33 through 40…

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

The goats, on the other hand (literally), did not tend to the hungry, the poor, the sick and afflicted, or the needy in general. They did not work righteousness. They still, however, acknowledged Christ as their Lord. They believed, but they did not follow Jesus’ example. They didn’t do the will of the Father. Christ said Himself that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of the Father.

The prophet Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, stated,

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. (2 Nephi 25:23)

We are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, but only after all we can do, for we will be judged by our righteousness. So don’t be a goat! Believe in Christ. Believe He can save you, and then follow His example and work righteousness.

 

Hollow vs. Hallow

Life isn’t always clear. Walking uncertain paths is a common metaphor to describe the hardships of life, and many times we find ourselves on these uncertain paths, unhappy and unsure. If we allow them to, the feelings of emptiness can tear us from the inside out and leave us hollow inside.

A Hollow is a creature in a Japanese cartoon show called BLEACH. In this show, a group of spirits called shinigami, or Soul Reapers, assist in the flow of spirits departing this life and entering the next. Sometimes a spirit is lost and unhappy. They refuse to cooperate and instead remain in their misery until it consumes them. When this happens, they turn into a monster called a Hollow. When a Hollow appears, the Soul Reapers are called in to destroy it and free the spirit so it can continue on.

There are monsters in our own lives. Sin and Hell are monsters. When we sin and refuse to repent, we can be a monster to ourselves, harrowed up in misery and guilt. In our anger we may forget or not know where to turn or who to turn to.

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi’s brother, Jacob, talks about a monster that awaits us and the One who can save us from it,

O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.

And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. (2 Nephi 9:19, 21)

Just as the Soul Reapers save the Hollows from their misery, our Savior Jesus Christ can deliver us from the chains of Hell. Through His atonement, He suffered the pains of us all. He took the pain of our sins so that we may repent and not take the pain ourselves. Jesus Christ is One who can save us from the awful monster of death and Hell. If you feel yourself becoming a Hollow, angry, confused, or depressed, turn to Jesus Christ. We all must repent and turn to Him and use His atoning sacrifice. Only through Him can we be saved from sin and Hell.

He is Risen

As Easter soon approaches, we remember our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While Christmas is a time more focused upon His birth, Easter brings attention to His Atonement and Resurrection. In the Book of Mormon we read,

And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceiveby the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. (Alma 7:10-12)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ prayed to the Father and, in a manner incomprehensible to man, took upon Himself the sins of the world. Every pain and sorrow, every sin, and every affliction of every kind was heaped upon His shoulders. The pain was so great that He bled from every pore.

He was soon betrayed and brought before Pilate and others. Though Pilate found no fault in Him, the people cried out, “Crucify him!” He was stripped of His clothing, whipped, humuliated with a crown of thorns and mockery, and made to carry His own cross until His mortal body would no longer allow it. After the scourging, He was crucified on Golgotha. The One sent to redeem the world was betrayed and killed by His own people.

But then, Sunday morning came…

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. (Matthew 28:1-8)

The Lord Jesus Christ had risen and broken the bands of death. I bear testimony that Jesus Christ lives, and that He will forever live as our King. Yes, He died for us. But more importantly, death could not contain Him. He lives for us. Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, lives.

The Poetic Corner: Descend and Comprehend

I was searching through some of my old poems this morning and came across this one. I wrote it last March. It’s not terribly clever, but I like a couple of the rhymes. 🙂

Of My Own Design

tension strains, wings beat

but my feet won’t pull free

of the weeds.

 

when i break

You take me in

hold me tight, tell me it’s alright

despite my sin.

 

when i lose my way

You call my name

too many times i ignore Your voice

a selfish choice, pride i should swallow

but the echoes remain for me to follow.

 

i’ve tended only so much

and spent too much time at rest

does this labor speak

for the burning in my chest?

 

when I fall on my face

You hold out Your hand

bring me up to my knees

so i can prepare to stand again

 

The message I wanted to get across is obvious. Jesus Christ is and will always be there for us. In revelation given by the Lord through the prophet Joseph Smith, we read in Doctrine and Covenants Section 88 verse 6,

He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth

Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ descended below all things. He felt all pain, all sin, and all sorrow that accompanies them. He comprehends all things. For myself, this has made all the difference in my life, knowing my Savior has understood my heartaches every step of the way. He understands yours as well, and His hand is always outstretched to pull us back up when we fall.

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.

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Growing up, I never sang the hymns during church services. One reason was because I just didn’t like to sing. The other was simply to be rebellious. After I graduated high school, I decided to attend an LDS congregation for young, single adults. Sitting with my friends or by myself, I decided I should probably start participating in the hymns. And as a missionary, I’m always singing them.

Through these steps I’ve been able to gain a great appreciation for hymns, both the words and music, and I’d like to share my favorite hymn with you…

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

by Samuel Medley

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with His love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.
 
He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
 
He lives, my kind, wise heavenly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while He lives I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives.”
He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
 
It pretty much sums up everything I can possibly say about the Savior. He is the center of my life. He is and does everything for me. As we begin this Easter season, let us reflect on the role Christ plays in our everyday lives. He did indeed die for us, but perhaps more importantly, He was resurrected on the third day. Jesus Christ is my Redeemer, and I too know that my Redeemer lives.

We Had A Hard Time

I’m going to be a little lazy today and just post a video. 🙂 It’s a good one though. If you’re unfamiliar with these videos, I strongly encourage you to visit the MormonMessages channel on youtube and watch some of the videos. This is one of my favorites.

Just as Elder Cook says, this life isn’t always easy. More often than not, it’s pretty difficult. But it’s supposed to be. It’s a test after all, so why should it be a free ride? This is why we have the Savior Jesus Christ. In every situation, He suffered the greater burden. Our sins, sorrows, and pains have been placed on His shoulders. All He asks is that we do our best to carry what we can, and He’ll carry the rest.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I’m grateful to know that through Him my burdens can be made light. I’m grateful to know that through every trial I face, there is One who understands the feeling completely.

I know that I can do a better job of putting the Savior first in my life. I invite you to do the same. Take His yoke upon you, learn of Him, and share His love with others. We will find peace. We will find comfort. We will find rest.

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.

Graven Upon His Palms

I am grateful each day for the knowledge that my Savior Jesus Christ lives and that He loves me. Satan does not want us to know this or believe it. He would rather have us think that we are alone, that no one cares about us. But how far from the truth that is! Unfortunately, many people today fall for this ensnarement. Many do not believe Jesus Christ lives. Many do not believe He is our Savior and Redeemer. Many do believe but doubt that He is there and cares for us.

The book of Isaiah is full of prophecies concerning the Messiah. In chapter 49 of Isaiah, verses 14 through 16, it reads,

14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

In the last days, many will say that the Lord has forgotten us, that He doesn’t care. Many will say that we are alone.

15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Here, a rhetorical question is asked. Would a mother forget her baby? Surely not. The thought of my own mother abandoning me is unthinkable. My mother and father have sacrificed, and still do sacrifice, tremendously to give me a good life. I know that they would do anything for me. And yet, here the Lord says that my own mother would forget me before He ever would.

Basically meaning… He will never forget us, nor abandon us in our time of need.

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

The word I like to focus on here is graven, or in other words, engraved. This is strong symbolism. He doesn’t say that we’re written, or scribbled, or even penned in. No, we are engraved upon the palms of His hands.

Much of Isaiah is metaphorical, but this can also be literal. Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, with nails hammered into His hands. When He was resurrected and showed Himself to many in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, those scars were kept as a testimony to show that He is indeed the Messiah.

We are literally engraved upon Christ’s palms. He will never forget us. I know this is true. If you ever feel alone, or abandoned, or forgotten, you can know that there is One who will always remember  you and will never forget you. He is Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of this world.