Thursday, January 24, 2013

Powerful talk... for me!

Tonight I’m talking about the Atonement... The most important event in the whole history of the world and what makes eternity a possibility... I had the opportunity to give a talk about the Atonement last Sunday and it hit me incredibly hard during preparation! SO I felt I needed to share...
So in the Mormon church we talk about the Atonement a lot... As I prepared this talk I thought of how as humans (key word humans) we often take things for granted. I have to admit I was very ashamed of myself when I was preparing and I said to myself and my family, that I didn’t want this talk to be boring and the same old stuff people hear all the time... What kind of attitude is that for someone who claims to have a testimony. Then I thought of how important it is for these things to be repeated! We need to hear about topics like the Atonement because they are foundations of what we claim to believe and shouldn’t ever be boring!  
On that note lets get down and honest on ourselves and the Atonement. As I speak I encourage you to join me in deep thought of your use of the Atonement... Ok so we know that the Atonement is the most sacred of gifts from our Savior Jesus Christ... We know that it is the greatest event in history... We know that it was the most painful sacrifice ever given... We know that he bled from every pour and took on every sin and every pain ever experienced... We even know that Heavenly Father had to turn momentarily away because he couldn’t handle watching his son go through the pain... We know all this and we hear it all the time but Ask yourself right now when was the last time you truly submitted to the gift of the Atonement... How much do you use this gift? How much does it really mean to you? While you contemplate I’m going to talk a bit about what it is to me...
But lets start a little rough so we can end off happy! Life is tough we live in the last days right? and it’s just going to get worse before it gets better.  It seems that evil is coming at us from all directions, so why don’t we use the Atonement more? Well if you are like me it’s because it’s hard to submit and place your burdens and trials on someone else. I should be able to Cowgirl up and just take it... One thing I have really learned over the past months is that Satan is just as physically real as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ... He’s also really good at bringing us down and he knows our weaknesses and knows how to strike... In my opinion his greatest tool against us is, well, ourselves. We are our own worse nightmare because we tend to spend so much time on keeping harmful things out, we tend to forget about the ones that might already be inside... One way he uses ourselves is through the victim mentality... When we take our pains, sins and trials and we choose not to turn them to the Lord we lock them in, and allow ourselves to become comfortable... This leads to more pain that we slowly absorb until we let it become part of our identity and we allow ourselves to become victims...

When we let that happen we only seek for sympathy not service and we start to seek worldly things that will add to our victim inside... We let that victim bring us down and eat away at the soul until Satan wins with a spiritual fall... Even young Huckleberry Finn understood the hardship of giving up sin:
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing... but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out.”
So we can’t pray a lie, we can’t let the victim win so what do we do? We turn to Christ and his Atonement! The Atonement is right there waiting for us to partake of it’s blessings and it’s relief! The battle isn’t over yet. Christ has brought it to us we have to decide if we want it. We have to take ownership and decide to give up this “comfort” of the victim and seek the real comfort and peace which our Savior has already paid for. He desperately wants us to take it but we can only decide for ourselves if we want it.
 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
This scripture gives us the seven sufferings of our Savior. 
  1. Pains
No one likes pain but it’s a huge part of life and a huge part of growth. I’m not talking about physical pains. I’m talking about the mental pains and the pains of loss. Very real pains that ha has felt and he has the ability to bring peace in all situations of pain! 
1. Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?
2. Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
3. Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new—
4. A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.
Text: Joseph Fielding Smith, 1876–1972 Afflictions
  1. temptations 
Temptation is a hard one too (ok they are all hard.) haunt us daily. They are also very different for everyone. Luckily we have the promise that we won’t be temped beyond what we can handle.   
  1. Sickness 
Amazing what he can handle now we have sickness which is the more physical pain. We have these incredible bodies that heal and grow and allow our spirits to go through this mortal experience. Even these great bodies feel pain because they are mortal! He has felt all sickness and he can take that too...  
  1. Death
Death is another dreadful part of this mortal experience... Probably the most painful thing many will ever face. The Savior solved that one too. Alma 11:42 
42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the abands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death. 
I cannot express how important this is to me. The hope the Atonement brings in these times is priceless... I have seen what it’s like to not have this hope in these times... I don’t know what is more painful the loss or the hopelessness that comes with not knowing the peace that is out there.
  1. Infirmities 
This one takes the mental and physical weakness we all have. None of if perfect and we have plenty of weaknesses. Well I do anyway, but weak things can be made strong.  
  1. sins 
D&C 61: end of 2
I, the Lord, aforgive sins, and am bmerciful unto those who cconfess their sins with humble hearts;
It’s up to you weather or not you decide to repent and confess your sins. He brought the Atonement to you. It’s your decision! 
As a young missionary, Elder Orson F. Whitney (1855–1931), who later served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, had a dream so powerful that it changed his life forever. He later wrote:
“One night I dreamed … that I was in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. … I stood behind a tree in the foreground. … Jesus, with Peter, James, and John, came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, He passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed … : ‘Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.’
“As He prayed the tears streamed down His face, which was [turned] toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I wept also, out of pure sympathy with His great sorrow. My whole heart went out to Him. I loved Him with all my soul and longed to be with Him as I longed for nothing else.
“All at once the circumstance seemed to change. … Instead of before, it was after the Crucifixion, and the Savior, with those three Apostles, now stood together in a group at my left. They were about to depart and ascend into heaven. I could endure it no longer. I ran from behind the tree, fell at His feet, clasped Him around the knees, and begged Him to take me with Him.
“I shall never forget the kind and gentle manner in which He stooped and raised me up and embraced me. It was so vivid, so real that I felt the very warmth of His bosom against which I rested. Then He said: ‘No, my son; these have finished their work, and they may go with me; but you must stay and finish yours.’ Still I clung to Him. Gazing up into His face—for He was taller than I—I besought Him most earnestly: ‘Well, promise me that I will come to You at the last.’ He smiled sweetly and tenderly and replied: ‘That will depend entirely upon yourself.’ I awoke with a sob in my throat, and it was morning.” 1
We may not ever have this kind of revelation like Elder Whitney did, but the peace and the power and these same feeling are available to all of us if we choose to call on them. This is the greatest gift ever given! What are you going to do with it?

Well, that's it for today! Have a magical night! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

betrayal... trust no more...

I want to talk about betrayal. It's not a happy topic but it's one that has taken precedence in our world today and in my mind. Betrayal... what an extremely painful term... In my mind one of the most painful things we can ever go through. For those who have been betrayed by someone close to them, they understand this pain... The agonizing of wondering what you could have done to have this trust battered. Betrayal is an evil human reaction dictated by Satan to turn us against those we love most. Betrayal comes in multiple ways but In the end betrayal is pure evil and we should do all in our power to avoid committing this pain to those around us.

With betrayal there has to be trust. Now if you are like me, you really really like your walls... It takes a lot to trust, to build that bond and to open up yourself to another. Especially for those who have experienced this pain before. Which is probably all of us. When you start to trust you put yourself out there to potentially hurt yourself again. It's quite barbaric way of life, but our hearts still long for interaction with other humans. Deep down we have that love for one another that causes us to reopen again. Sometimes suddenly there is a stab to the back so we put the walls up again even harder with the thought to never open again....

So why do we wield this painful weapon? Yah I say a weapon because it hurts... Not necessarily in a physical way but a penetrating heart break way! Well we are all human and we let Satan into our minds and into our own walls. When that happens those natural human emotions take hold, like greed, control, anger, pride, victim mentality etc... When those take our hearts we become tools in the hands of Satan and we end up going against the Father and the ones we love most.. alright Matthew 22:37-39:

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt alove the Lord thy God with all thy bheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind.
 38 This is the first and great acommandment.
 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt alove thy neighbour as thyself.

To love God and our neighbor are the greatest commandments... Don't you think Satan will do what he can to attack the greatest of all commandments?  He is going to do all in his power to cause us to hurt ourselves and even worse hurt those around us. So when we let these human emotions into our walls we wield the weapon of betrayal... I have seen first hand in my life the pain of when this weapon meets it's contact. I know the pain of betrayal, not only that but I know as a human I have had my own moments of betrayal, we all have....

So I would submit that betrayal comes in different forms. I think that depending on what human emotion is in control that will reflect the severity and the depth of the betrayal. So who has betrayed you? Like I just said betrayal cannot happen without some level of trust, obviously the level of pain will go hand in hand with the level of trust you gave that person. Some of the greatest and most painful betrayals will come from those closest, a best friend, a lover or maybe even a mentor... There is one more that we don't always see and that is the betrayal of ones self. That's right I submit that the worst comes from ourselves. We talked about those walls... When we betray our own souls we place a personal attack from the inside. It's never a betrayal that we expect until the damage is down... 

I know we have all felt the affects of betrayal, It's never a fun game. I know the pains of losing friends, mentors and others that I was supposed to trust. There is no question that it is an evil act that does nothing but harm... Buuuut I must say that even this harm builds to a better tomorrow... Only if we choose for the better. We can either close ourselves completely from the world and from all humanity, and become victims to the painful situation. Or we can take this pain and learn from it. We can take this and apply it to future relationships. The times I have felt betrayal still haunt me, the friends, mentors and family lost will scar my heart for all my life. I try my very hardest everyday to stand from the pain and move forward... True it has caused my walls to close even more over my heart but I have come to a place of forgiveness that I would not trade for anything and I think those experiences have taught me a lot for my future. I may have a ways to for complete forgiveness with everyone that has hurt me but I feel those I have come to terms with in my mind I could pick up with friendship tomorrow...

My greatest prayer is that we all do our best to avoid this painful interaction, but I found very recently that it is something that will continue to become even worse... I hope that I have not done anything to betray any of you, if I have I offer my deepest most heartfelt apology and I pray with all my heart that you will forgive me... I am human just like you and we will always have our moments of betrayal.

It may be rumbly and all over the place, but I hope ya'll enjoy... Have a fantastic day!!