This past week was another transfer week, and I'm safe here in North Dakota. That means I will be here at least a total of 5 1/2 months! Here is a picture of an oil rig, in case you were curious. Most of them are at least a few miles from town, but this one is actually pretty close to our church building. I heard some cool history about the oil industry recently, beginning in the times of the great depression. There was a man who owned many grocery stores throughout the North Dakota area, and during the depression, he would give free groceries to farmers in the area in exchange for their mineral rights. Now that the oil industry is so huge, his grandchildren are being rewarded for his kind deed. He had no practical use for the mineral rights, but he made the trade anyway for the good of society. What a cool piece of history.
I would like to briefly address a problem that we face as humans. There are many sources trying to define success for us. We often feel pressures from those we associate with to fulfill their desires in order for us to be successful. There is only one source that, without fail, wants for us what will give us the most happiness that we can have. God does not promise us wealth, popularity, approval from our leaders, or freedom from challenges and trials. He does promise us eternal life, however, if we are faithful in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Father sent a Savior to us to show us the way to live now and to make possible infinite peace and joy in the life to come by paying our way into the Kingdom of God, into which no sin can enter. In the Church, we hope that our leaders always want the best for us, but even they are far from perfect. Sometimes in our efforts to follow the counsel of our leaders, or bosses, or teachers, or counsellors, or even parents at times, we forget the ultimately more important priority to seek and live the will of God for our lives. It may be the strictest and require much self discipline, but it does not put unnecessary pressure or stress on us. It is important to trust those that have been put in our lives to instruct us and direct us, but we must remember that their influence and authority cannot and will not ever overpower God's merciful hand, which He so lovingly and patiently extends to us. His invitation is to repent and be baptized, with faith in His Son, which pattern of life will never fail to give us true and lasting success; Real success that does not give us worldly status or recognition but that makes us perfectly and permanently clean in the eyes of Our Creator. John 14:1-6, 15-27 (KJV):
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
15 ¶If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.