Savior

You’ve heard of habitual criminals, right? When offered their freedom they make an attempt to reintegrate into society.

Their family, filled with compassion and renewed hope give of their means-whatever money and goods are necessary to help their loved one re-establish him or herself into society. New apartment. New furnishings. New job.

Sadly, though, they may also return to their old friends. That’s understandable. But sadly, too often the same way of thinking, the familiar habits and attitudes permeate and life proceeds to resume the way it’s been experienced in the past.

Within weeks a family’s hopes are dashed and compassion has been replaced with cynicism, anguish and heartbreak. Shaking our heads, we wonder how it is that those delinquents will choose to repeatedly return to the confines of their prison. It seems like self sabotage, right?

“Men… have become free forever, knowing good from evil: to act for themselves… they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” 2 Nephi 2:26-27  

Can our condemned friends not imagine life on the outside of those four walls? Are they too terrified to leave the familiar? Are they too discouraged? Does it take too much effort to make the necessary changes?

Do they feel that they do not fit in with the rest of us? Is their belief system to blame? Do they not desire more out of life and better for themselves? A clean honest living. Freedom. Happiness.

 “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18

What happens when someone offers to take the prisoner’s hand and walk with him out that door? That depends, doesn’t it? What is it dependant on? Does it depend on the heart condition of the prisoner? Is there any light remaining there to connect with? What are his desires?

Does it depend on whom is offering to hold their hand? Joe Christian? Jesus Christ? Whom does he admire? We can offer. Will he trust the gesture? Will he accept the hand offered in charity?stuck

Most of us understand what may divide individuals on this earth; those that become imprisoned as a result of their choices or those that fly on the wings of freedom.

Are you stuck?

Consider the following. Are any of these a part of your belief system?

“God doesn’t talk to us today.”

“I’m spiritual enough. I don’t need any church.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“Mormons think they are gods.”

“I can’t change.”

“The Holy Ghost was given only in the New Testament times.”

“There are no prophets.”

“I don’t like reading.”

“Joseph Smith made up the Book of Mormon.”

“All we need is the Bible.”

Be careful! This may be your self made prison!

I feel the above is a close analogy to our spiritual choices. Like our prison friend who cannot begin to imagine himself living a clean life filled with true communication, honest hard work, humility and giving of his means rather than pilfering and greed, we are surrounded with family and friends we deeply love who cannot imagine that the best available in this life has been offered to each of us.

Surrounded by our friends, our philosophies, our comfort levels, traditions and our own way of thinking we might be stuck. If so, consider what it may mean to be liberated!

Like an innocent child, carefree and adventurous choose to investigate. Read, ponder and pray. Pretend there is nothing to lose. There isn’t. Pretend there is nothing to fear. There isn’t!

There is everything you can possibly imagine to gain and more. Much more.

“By their fruits ye shall know them” Matthew 7:20

What do Latter Day Saints truly believe? Ask them questions with an open honest heart. Seek to know the truth. Search Mormon.org or LDS.org.

Listen to our leaders speaking to the world during General Conference and notice how doing so brings the Holy Spirit into your heart and into your home.

Examine the lives of successful Mormons. They are many.

Jesus Christ, our eldest Brother and Friend loves you more than you will ever imagine. He, our Savior, perfect and holy in all His ways, beckons.

Accept His hand and walk with Him. Doing so ensures your progression. Doing so promises your salvation. The greatest of all freedoms is assured-your eternal life and exaltation.

 

Christ -I am come

“Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.”, www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

When I was a kid, one of the most abhorrent methods of punishment was to be sent to our knees. Not allowed to speak, facing a wall or a corner, kneeling, back straight with hands clasped behind us we would remain ‘forgotten’ at times for hours. I don’t recall for how long, or even that sometimes we missed meal times. When I am reminded by certain dear siblings, those memories vaguely return.

I do remember well the agony, feeling very faint and lightheaded. One of my sisters with a phenomenal memory recalls passing the time by imagining clouds, animals and such in the patterns on the wall. She remembers times feeling like she almost passed out, even hallucinating. I mention this to give you an idea, that while I cannot quote how many hours at a time…it truly was a long time for children to remain rooted and unmoving.

It always amazed me that my sisters remained kneeling in the correct posture for a very much longer period than I was able to do. I couldn’t understand how it was possible that they were able to endure so much longer than me. After only a few moments, I would begin to feel sharp pains shoot through my bones. Soon I’d lift each leg in turn to relieve the torment.

Eventually though, we all would succumb to sitting back on our legs for some relief hoping that we would not get caught. If we were found out, that would be for the worse. When we finally were liberated, it would take us some moments after we stood up to be able to walk, stiff legged and sore, with deep grooves in our reddened knees imprinted from the wooden floor patterns.

And we were good kids! I’ve no idea where this idea for discipline originated, but I am pretty sure ‘hours’ were not supposed to be included in this method for such tiny souls whose worse transgression was the mishap of quarreling and ‘not getting along’.

The same malady that had affected me as a child was a challenge whenever I knelt in prayer. Instead of speaking with my Heavenly Father, all I could focus on was the pain I was experiencing.

One of my most embarrassing moments was kneeling in my chiropractor’s office one day. Why would it be embarrassing to kneel in his office? I’m not sure, unless it brought back a measure of the feelings I’d experienced as a child cowering before a parent, mute, humiliated, hopelessly angry and feeling unloved.

Several months before, I had mentioned my challenge and asked for this good man’s help. He had attempted adjustments several times and I was beginning to wonder if there was ever going to be a change for the better. This time, he thought he had succeeded and so when he was done I promptly kneeled to test out my knees. No pain.

It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” Phillippians 2:13

Why would I persevere? I could have just accepted this limitation, couldn’t I? Praying in other positions is surely acceptable. The deep desire to address Heavenly Father on my knees began somewhere deep within my heart. I don’t fully know how or why.

I believe that He may well have given me that yearning so that I eventually could humbly bow before Him with confidence and pleasure-a very long way from my childhood experiences.

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Phillippians 2:10

I’ve never felt such deep love, approval, peace and joy in all my life. I’ve never cried so deeply as when I’m on my knees before the Almighty. Not in physical pain. But with cleansing of the heart and soul my wounded spirit was healed. For me, I do not know that I would have received the healing, love and peace that I needed in any other way.

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross”  Phillippians 2:8

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
“Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.”, www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

There is a tremendous price for the blessings we receive. That’s the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ has paid for our abundance with His life.

We may choose to humbly bow with faith and gratitude today. Or we may procrastinate until we meet Him face to face, speechless, and with great remorse fall on our knees–at the Savior’s feet.

 

How important do you feel kneeling in prayer to be? Do you feel there is a difference? What has been your experience?

 

 

Do you live with daily unrelenting pain? Emptiness and ache in your bosom? Have you received heart wrenching news on the eve of Christmas? Are you feeling lonely? Are you ill? Do you know what panic attacks feel like? Are you depressed? Are your feelings hurt? Grieving deeply?

Are you suffering?

“Is any one of you in trouble? …Is any one of you sick? …pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” James 5:13-16

It’s the time of year when just about everyone has their mind on gift exchange and celebrating the season with those we love.

Several years ago, I was last minute shopping on Christmas Eve. My heart was breaking and my whole being weighed down, feeling betrayed and heavy with disappointment. I could not stop crying. In dire need of relief and not able to approach anyone but the Lord, my prayers felt stifled, stiff and totally inadequate for my predicament.

Certain that Christmas was in ruins, irreparable forever, I struggled with the idea of calling someone for extra help. I knew I looked horrid with a red face, swollen eyes and smeared mascara. I sure wasn’t in any mood to speak with anybody. I didn’t want to bother anyone on this, of all days.

Shutting my mind to the voices of pride and objections, I called a faithful brother and his wife from the mall to see if they were available, gratefully driving to their home when invited. I asked this priesthood holder for, and received a priesthood blessing.

Soon, completely transformed and totally filled with the deepest, incredible, calming influence, I continued my preparations to enjoy Christmas thoroughly with my family. No more tears. I was filled with assurance and a profound peace that I previously would not ever have thought possible in the circumstances. I felt strong, like nothing could ever shake me again.

I hope that this Christmas and every day of the year we will consider, in particular, the many gifts we have been given by our loving Heavenly Father. I hope we will receive these gifts with the wonder, thankfulness and excitement of a child.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Our Heavenly Father has given us many gifts. First, as we know, is the perfect gift of His Only Begotten Son, the gift of the Holy Ghost, personal revelation and guidance, our salvation, eternal life and more-too numerous to count.

One of Heavenly Father’s gifts that I have learned to honor and appreciate is the power of the Holy Priesthood upon the earth today. I do not have a priesthood holder in my home and at first I did not understand their responsibility to serve with the authority of God.

Here is a marvelous excerpt with some explanation by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

“We know and understand that the priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. We can easily recite this definition from memory. However, do we truly comprehend the significance of what we’re saying? Let me repeat: the priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God.

Think of it. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He redeems and exalts His children, bringing “to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

Our all-powerful Father in Heaven has entrusted priesthood authority to us—mortal beings who, by definition, are flawed and imperfect. He grants to us the authority to act in His name for the salvation of His children.

By this great power we are authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, help build the kingdom of God on the earth, and bless and serve our families and our fellowmen.

This is the sacred priesthood we bear.

The priesthood, or any responsibility within it, cannot be purchased or commanded. The use of priesthood power cannot be influenced, swayed, or compelled by position, by wealth, or by influence.

It is a spiritual power that operates on heavenly law. It originates in the great Heavenly Father of us all. Its power can be controlled and directed only through principles of righteousness, not self-righteousness.

Christ is the source of all true priesthood authority and power on earth. It is His work, in which we are privileged to assist.

“And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.”

I no longer hesitate to seek a faithful brother when I need relief from the frailties and weaknesses of this life. Why remain in inordinate pain, either physical or emotional when a few moments’ blessing may transform my well being?

When my challenges seem greater than my lone prayers can handle, I am grateful beyond words for the service of my righteous and faithful brothers. The Savior’s peace and comfort that follows is a priceless warm wrapping.

Are you suffering? You too may have access to this precious gift. Seek this blessing at any time of the year. Ask humbly and with faith of one who bears that Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.