Atonement

A church minister and friend that I admire for his gentleness, humility and Christian example, posts daily on Facebook- uplifting and encouraging words that serve to remind his readers of the countless ways Jesus Christ blesses our lives.

While I was away last week this was one of his posts.

“Last evening I said to the crowd that if this was my last sermon, and knew I would never preach another…this is what I would preach…then did so. So, what would you say? If God said you could say something that the whole world could hear and you had one shot at it…what would you say? Would love to hear it….”

Friend, what would your response be if you had one shot at it?

If I had only one shot at it, this is what I’d say.

I’d tell the world about Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation-where we come from, why we are here and where we are going. People crave deep in their hearts to know these truths.

Out of His great love for His children He is desirous that all progress and rejoin Him as His heirs in exaltation. To make this possible there had to be an atoning sacrifice.

He willingly sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be the atonement-to bear the weight of our sin and pain in exchange for an abundant life; to be blessed with the promise and hope of exaltation-to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father forever.

I’d tell how that Beloved Son-our Spirit Brother promised-and was willing to suffer and give up His precious life that ours might become immeasurably blessed, way beyond what this temporal life has to offer.

Christ loves you and me so much that He willingly walked the mortal path, was killed, buried and was raised three days later. Resurrected, triumphant and powerful He lives to save each and every soul willing to pledge obedience, to do His will and follow in His footsteps while there is yet time.

I’d be sure to mention that during His mortal ministry, Christ promised that He would build His church on the rock of revelation so that we wouldn’t have to travel alone.

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven…on this rock I will build my church”. (Matthew 16:16-18)

He promised that the gift and companionship of the Holy Spirit would be available to enable each of Heavenly Father’s children to know the truth, to receive guidance and personal revelation.

Jesus Christ lives. And He keeps His promise this day. He desires each of us to know Him intimately, to recognize and hear His voice and to follow His direction with our whole heart, mind and soul.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

I would share how that promised gift is priceless; His divine touch, His love, His kindness, His understanding, His comforting hand, His Spirit, His gentleness, His inspiration and direction. None else knows and fulfills the heart’s needs and desires so completely and perfectly.

Jesus Christ lives today, is exalted to the highest place and His name is above every name-

 “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

Today, we may choose to not bend our knees in faith and humble adoration. However once the veil of forgetfulness is removed, we will remember that we were privileged to be present when He promised to give His life as the atoning sacrifice.

We will know that He endured His mortal ministry to the very end and arose triumphant. And as foretold, remember-every knee will bow in reverence and with inexpressible gratitude and praise for His faithfulness and infinite love-our Savior and Redeemer.

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”   Hebrews 3:7,15 4:7

The beauty and wonder of the restored gospel is that by the Spirit of revelation we can know this truth for ourselves today.

Do you know with all your heart and soul that Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father’s only begotten Son, is Lord and Savior of us all?! He lives to lead His church in these latter days.

 

Walking briskly, I stopped abruptly to stare at a lone tree. Not a thing unusual about it-not distinctly beautiful or breathtaking.

Passing it by for years, I had never noticed it before. However, this day there was something different about it.  It must have been the way the sun was shining on it.

Curious, I crossed the road to inspect it. It had berries! And as I got closer, I could see their powdery blue prolific little orbs.

I stared, contemplating. What kind of a tree produces this blue fruit? I wondered what value there is in its fruit. I believe everything created by God serves some purpose.

There the tree stands; doing what it was created best to do. Given life and light, it stands alone. It just is. Facing each storm that lambastes it. Growing stronger. Straighter. Enduring. Year after year.

Not attracting much attention. Unnoticed by the casual observer, it seems apparently not good for much. Yet in season and when the time is ripe, it produces the fruit that it was meant to produce.

The Lord…will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3

How very much like Heavenly Father’s children.

Have you ever found yourself feeling totally alone? Like that lone tree. What was your wilderness? A widower? Are you a single mom?  Grieving orphan? A virtuous teen making choices that alienate you from the vast majority? Terminal illness?  A student?

Or ‘other’, presently? The rest of the world races by unaware of you.  You may linger in your wilderness 30 days, a year, 40 years, or for a night.

“God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” Deuteronomy 8:2

I don’t know about you; however I do not have a desire to experience the wilderness. But you know, sometimes we don’t have a choice. If we don’t choose the wilderness, it may be brought to us. Then it may be that we must stand in the Light, face the storms and strive to grow stronger.  And straighter.

Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it…ye shall know them by their fruits…every good tree bringeth forth good fruit…by their fruits ye shall know them” Matthew 7:14-20

Numerous souls have spent time in the wilderness. Think of those people you admire and long to understand, know or emulate. Among these, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, the prophet Joseph Smith, and not least, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Each was familiar with the feeling of being alone. Each stepped out of pace apart from the rest of the world.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness” Matthew 4:1

Each stood alone and is now known to us because she/he produced the fruit that served and blessed countless lives. Some temporally. Some spiritually. ONE eternally. Each learned their life’s purpose or mission and served her/his brothers and sisters as best they could-at home, in the community, abroad or universally.

By the way, superior to any other person, Jesus Christ still stands-at the right hand of our Father in heaven. Countless pay Him no mind at all. Millions upon millions pass Him by year after year never heeding His direction and not at all interested in seeking His truths.

“There shall be no other name  given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” Mosiah 3:17

To the casual observer He may not be recognized for Who He is. Today, resurrected and alive, He continues to serve and work in our behalf. He leads His true church in these latter days.

The power of His atoning sacrifice continues to bear fruit in obvious ways. Yet in season and when the time is ripe, He promises to produce and will bear fruit in ways that we cannot yet comprehend or imagine.

Have you found yourself feeling totally alone? What is the fruit you are meant to bear?

It’s not enough that I’m new to blogging and still have tons to learn to get good at wordpress-well at least good enough to wing it on my own to avoid calling on my virtual support gurus every week- now I’m exploring Twitterland! Here I am!! Now what?!!

Oh dear! Can you imagine how tough it is to express anything-something within 140 characters for me?!! More than once a day?! What am I thinking! Another learning curve. Oh, yay.

It’s helping me make new ‘friends’. I’m reading a larger variety of topics per day than I ever have in my life. Words catch my eye and before I know it, 2 hours have vanished. No, I’m not addicted…just desperate to catch up with this social media and figure out the successful tips, tricks and Tweets of Twitter. And by the way, if you have tips and tricks, please do pass them on!

Twitter tweeted “The importance of building your list”.  I know it’s important to build a list. I’m curious to know how. I got introduced to the concept of a “marketing funnel”.

I read “you must learn how to market yourself if you’re ever going to sell an information product, or any product or service for that matter.”  Well, I’m not in the selling business but growing my “list” is key to inviting more readers to my blog. Right?  So I continued.

Here’s what a marketing funnel looks like:

The author continues, “The idea is that you generate the interest of your potential clients and customers, or your readers through offers.  You begin with a free offer or a freebie, which is something of value that you give away for free.”

 

Well, folks! I have soooo let you down!! That is not how I began my relationship with you! (Actually, it sounds like manipulation to me.)

I reflected and quickly it became apparent that I have no freebies to offer you. None! No checklist, no ebooks, no special report, no e-course or free audio. Not yet. Wow. I may as well quit, then. Right?

Without fail we all enjoy free gifts. There’s something at our core that derives pleasure and satisfaction when we walk away without paying for something we deem valuable.

All of a sudden, the biggest and best freebie to offer you materialized! Look!!! If I knew how to edit the funnel above, I’d change the words from the top down:

  • Freebie = Atonement
  • Entry level Product = Baptism and Confirmation (gift of the Holy Ghost)  A little is asked of us. See, at this level, Heavenly Father is still gifting.
  • Mid-range Product = Revelation (a relationship with the Godhead)  At this level there is a price to pay: obedience to commandments, reading our scriptures, prayer, keeping our covenants- we are still receiving gifts from Heavenly Father.
  • High End Product = Exaltation (The ultimate reward)

The first model gives freebies and then has expectations of the customer. “The more information that they receive from you and the better they get to know you the more likely they are to purchase from you in the future…Without the power of a list, you don’t have much chance to get your product out there…”

Examine briefly our model: We are all familiar with John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) How many of Heavenly Father’s children are rejecting this most precious of gifts, freely given? Why?

And then-Jesus Christ promised the gift of the Holy Ghost. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things…” John 14:16 (KJV) Another gift has been offered! How many of Heavenly Father’s children are rejecting this marvelous gift? Why?

By the Holy Ghost we are given countless gifts, if we continue to live righteously and receive them. “God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” Hebrews 2:4  (KJV)

Back to the author of the online article-she adds, “The reality is the power and often times the “money” is in the list.

Well, some of this may be true, however I was involved in business long enough to know that most people on ‘the list’ don’t give it their all. Some people get in with freebies and that’s all they’ll take. Some give/buy into the products –again, they only go part way. And then there are those who give it all they’ve got, striving for money, success and power.

Isn’t this just the way it is in the Christian world? Some believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His atoning sacrifice, but deny the gift and power of Holy Ghost. Others believe in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost, but have little interest in paying the cost of discipleship. And then there are those who accept it all and give it all they’ve got- with exaltation as the ultimate goal. Yes, there is a cost: believe, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure faithfully to the end.

Heavenly Father has a plan for our happiness and salvation. We are loved, treasured and cared for very much. Matchless and priceless are the treasures already given and offered to us.  It certainly does not begin to compare with any freebie this world may offer. He has promised each of us eternal life and exaltation and asks comparatively little in return. His returns far outweigh anything that it might cost us. Anything.