Wednesday, August 20, 2014

[you are loved more than you can imagine!]

Love, love, love this talk by President Uchtdorf

God does not look on the outward appearance. 8 I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.
He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[Nearer, My God, to Thee by BYU Vocal Point, feat. BYU Men's Chorus]

Love this! Love the Latin language! So cool! I love listening to men sing. :)


I know this is an Easter video and that I'm late with it. But this short video really touched my heart today. I love my Savior! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

[persecuted for your faith]

Lately, I have received much abuse because of my faith and the church I belong to. The sad part is that this abuse has come from people who should know and love me, yet it seems that they don't know me at all and they think they can say whatever rude things they want about my faith. It makes me so sad that they don't seem to have any idea who I really am and what a positive, edifying influence my faith is for me. 

It is not new though that people who try to live the gospel are being persecuted. This has happened all through the ages. I just finished reading Elder Holland's talk from last General Conference and it helped me as I was reminded that I'm not the only one who has been treated unfairly or rudely because of faith.

With admiration and encouragement for everyone who will need to remain steadfast in these latter days, I say to all and especially the youth of the Church that if you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on your part.
For example, a sister missionary recently wrote to me: “My companion and I saw a man sitting on a bench in the town square eating his lunch. As we drew near, he looked up and saw our missionary name tags. With a terrible look in his eye, he jumped up and raised his hand to hit me. I ducked just in time, only to have him spit his food all over me and start swearing the most horrible things at us. We walked away saying nothing. I tried to wipe the food off of my face, only to feel a clump of mashed potato hit me in the back of the head. Sometimes it is hard being a missionary because right then I wanted to go back, grab that little man, and say, ‘EXCUSE ME!’ But I didn’t.”
There was a missionary who was stabbed to death when I was serving my mission in Ireland. There were some other missionaries who were badly beaten. These kind of things happen all over the world still. People who turn hate into violence or hurtful words. Most of it stems from misunderstandings or ignorance.

Lately I have noticed that it seems ok to belittle people who believe in God. To make rude remarks of them. To ridicule them. I don't get it. How is there ever going to be peace in this world if we think that that kind of rude behavior is acceptable? We can have our beliefs and thoughts but couldn't we learn to live civilly? To treat those who think differently from us with respect and kindness?

I love these words from Elder Holland.

That kind of hate for a prophet’s honesty cost Abinadi his life. As he said to King Noah: “Because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. … Because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad”9 or, we might add, provincial, patriarchal, bigoted, unkind, narrow, outmoded, and elderly.

And these.

Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.11

Love how he says that. :)

People just don't want to hear it when someone says something they do is not right. It has always been that way. People want religion or things they believe in to be easy. "Do what you want." So it has been throughout the history and so it is now and will be in the future too. 

Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).

No matter what the world does, a disciple of Jesus Christ will need to continue to try to live the gospel and to try to be an example for others of the blessings that come from keeping the commandments of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ really is the only hope for mankind. There is no other doctrine that can heal people's hatred or make people into better people than that what Jesus Christ teaches. There are doctrines that can do much good, but the fullness of the gospel is the only thing that can cure this world. So despite any persecution, we need to stay committed to the gospel. 

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.

Have I mentioned how much I love Elder Holland? :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

[God IS love!]

I came across this quote as I was browsing Pinterest. 
I couldn't get it out of my mind. Not because it challenged my faith in any little way - it didn't. But because it made me sad that people judge something sacred and good to be a thing of garbage. And because they judge God without knowing who He is.

Yes, you can look at the Bible and draw all sorts of conclusions from it. Especially if you don't study it, but just quickly read through some things and use your limited knowledge to make conclusions about it. 

To me, the Bible is a sacred book. It shows God's dealings with people throughout the ages. The thing that leads to misunderstandings about the Bible is that God has dealt with humans who are VERY imperfect, unknowledgeable, and prone to do wrong, human things. God is omnipotent, omniscient and all loving. But He has had to teach people with small snippets of wisdom as they couldn't deal with the whole truth due to their limited understanding/willingness to accept His wisdom. Line upon line, precept upon precept.

The Old Testament shows this perfectly. Through Moses, God wanted to give much wisdom to the people. But they weren't ready so the preparatory law of Moses and only the Ten Commandments were given to prepare the people to receive more.

Then Jesus Christ came and gave "The New Testament". New laws, new teachings, new ways to see and do things. What He taught was revolutionary! Sadly, people weren't ready for it yet. Eventually, people rejected His teachings and started to change them until you could barely recognize them anymore.

Time of dark ages began until religious reformers paved the way for Jesus Christ's gospel to be restored in fullness in these last days again (more about that on another time). The prophets of old have looked forward to this time we live in. The time when the gospel will be taught in all the world and the many prophecies will come to pass. No, the gospel won't be widely accepted by people in the world today either. But many people will find God's Plan and it will make people into better people as they try to live according to what God teaches them.

God really is Love. He is our Father in Heaven who loves us, His literal spirit children. He knows what is good for us, what is bad for us. He will try to give us as much light and knowledge as we are willing to accept from Him. People in Bible times weren't ready to accept much from Him. Hence some of the things in the Bible. But it wasn't because God isn't perfect and loving. It's because the people weren't ready for the fullness of His teachings. 

We only see this short, earthly life. God sees into all eternity and knows what makes us happy in the long run. 

I want to bear witness that the Bible can help a person get closer to God. But only if it's studied with a prayerful, humble heart. With a sincere desire to get to know God. With a desire to understand Him. 

I promise you that if you sincerely study the teachings of Jesus Christ and try to live according to those teachings, that you will get closer to God. You will see miracles happen in your life. You will become more forgiving, loving and kind. You will start to see things more eternally, not just temporarily. 

Yes, there are many bitter, negative "Christians" out there. Who judge people etc. But they really aren't living the gospel. They aren't following Jesus Christ. The Bible talks about these kinds of disciples. They haven't "got it yet". They don't understand what a disciple of Jesus Christ really should be doing. 

God is LOVE. I bear witness of that. I have experienced His love in so many ways. He loves all of His children. As a Loving Father, He sometimes says "no, you shouldn't do that" to some things we like to do. Not because He is mean, but because He sees the eternal picture and more perfectly sees what will be for our eternal benefit. Just like our children get mad at us sometimes when we say "no", so do people get mad at God for saying "no". My experience has proven time and time again that they'd be wiser to stop and listen. He does know better!