Monday, August 11, 2014

I have to let everyone know that this has been an amazing week! I am willing to make the statement that the last few days have been the most dramatically uplifting days of my life. Looking back, I can see that I have been struggling for several weeks but that I have been too naive to notice it. Sometimes we get the impression that we are doing better than we actually are. We look at all the things that are going right and that are right about us, but then we fail to grow and progress. On the other hand, if we focus only on what we are doing wrong, we become discouraged and depressed. One of the tricks of life is finding the balance of rejoicing in success and learning from failure. A key to this is recognizing the source of our blessings. If you think back to the times when you have been rescued or saved by being able to recognize a failure in yourself and then having the strength to overcome it, you will notice that it wasn't anything special that you did. God reaches out to us through many sources. Maybe you have felt this through scriptures, parents, friends, even feelings that you get when you pray. It could come through church, siblings, children, or anything else you can imagine. I know that we can be happier if we recognize this one truth:

"It is by the grace of God that we discover our weaknesses; it is by the grace of God that we have the strength to overcome them; it is by the grace of God that we receive any blessing in life, even if and especially when that blessing is simply the gift of life. All that we can and must do is accept God's will for us and be willing to make the changes that His grace offers us the possibility of making."

If you don't think you need God, your life will be a dull, repetitive life. Everybody has ups and downs, but God has provided us with the way to lasting success. In order to really achieve anything worthwhile in life, we must look to Jesus Christ. I testify that we will stand before God at the last day, and our worthiness will be determined by one thing, and one thing only. That is our spiritual preparedness. All that we do and have to make ourselves feel worth something will disappear upon death. The only thing that will clothe our vulnerability and unworthiness before God is our discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ. The entertainment we seek, recreation, careers, education, physical stature, strength, abilities, talents; anything measurable to the human eye will vanish when we come into the presence of God, and we will stand naked of anything but the desires of our hearts and our works (see Revelation 20: 12-13, KJV, quoted below). There is a common belief throughout the world that by grace alone we are saved, and that works don't matter. The first part is absolutely true, but works are necessary. Works do not matter because they show superiority or because we believe we can save ourselves through works. Works matter for one reason. They are the evidence that we have allowed God into our life and let His grace change us. They show that we have not shut Him out, but that we have opened our hearts and our lives to Him.

The importance of serving God is urgent. Because I know that we will be judged before God and that nothing ungodly can dwell in His Kingdom, I know that without being changed by grace and living the gospel as evidence of this transformation, we will certainly not be prepared to meet Him, much less to live with Him. We will not feel comfortable in His presence, because the only feelings that exist in Heaven are the same feelings that result from living close to Him here. If His grace has changed you and converted you, you will be able to know. You will sincerely desire to do good. You will look forward to activities such as prayer, scripture study, church, offering service to others, and anything else spiritual. If you experience such changes, you will not be able to deny God's power (see Moroni 10: 32-33, quoted below). If you read this and say, I am just not like that, you might be right. But, you can be. Follow the advice of Moroni and come unto Christ. I strongly urge you to do so, because it is truly the only thing of eternal significance. Make God a priority; prepare to meet Him by exercising faith in Christ and repenting. Further that by being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost, then live a life as a disciple of Christ. It is infinitely rewarding to live this gospel as taught simply in the New Testament of the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and God's authorized servants and leaders of His Church Today.

Revelation 20: 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Moroni 10: 32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.