Sunday, March 22, 2015

What is Grace?

What is grace?

Picture two glasses of water. One glass is almost filled to the brim and the other glass isn't even half full; the glass represents a person and the water in the glass represents the best efforts of that person. Who is better? Well, most people would say the glass, aka the person, that is filled with more water, however, that is not the case. In God's eyes, as long as you're doing your best, it doesn't matter who's best seems to be "better" than yours, who's glass is more full, God will make up the difference, God will fill your glass. 

What is grace?

Grace is marvelous strength that we receive from the atonement of Jesus Christ that enables us to endure to the end. Through His grace, we can be saved from the pain of our sins and from inevitable death. The grace given by the atonement is available to everyone who is putting in effort and trying their best in this life. Grace comes at those times when you feel as if you've done everything you can and you still fall short; God steps in and will do what you can't. Grace is mercy, love, hope, peace and trusting in God. Trusting that God knows what's best for you, loves you more than you'll ever comprehend, and will carry you through anything and everything in this life. Grace is knowing that we are saved by the atonement and by the love of God. All we have to do to be worthy of his divine grace is come unto Him and try our best to keep the commandments and live his gospel. Without this amazing gift, no one would be able to return to the presence of God and resurrection would not be possible. Ether 12:27 says that if we can humble ourselves before the Lord, he will turn our weaknesses into strengths. 

What is grace?

Well to me, grace is my way back to my Father in Heaven. Through His grace, I am enough, I am sufficient. Through God's grace I can be transformed, I can be changed. His grace is the only way that repentance is possible. Because of His selfless and amazing sacrifice, I am able to utilize His atonement and His grace to come unto my Savior and repent. It is only through the grace of God that I will be able to be perfected and become like my Savior. Grace is the only way that I will be able to spend an eternity with my family and it is my only way into the celestial kingdom. Without grace, I am weak and I fall short. But with His grace, I am powerful, I am mighty, and I can do anything. Because really, Christ is doing it. He is making up the difference for what I cannot do. He is picking me up and carrying me on His back when I can no longer stand. Grace is the way for all of my weakness to become strengths. When I think about grace, I am always reminded that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. As I have tried to seek the grace of God in my life, I have found Christ to always be by my side. The grace of God refines my soul, touches my heart, and fills me with the love of my Savior. 

Without His grace I am nothing.
With His grace I am everything.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Be An Example of the Believers

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." -1 Timothy 4:12

Being an example is not always an easy thing to do; however, we never know who is watching. People have told me my entire life that I am a leader and an example, but I never thought about how that effected others until after I graduated from high school. After graduating, I found myself at a crossroads. I could either choose to be a worthy and true member of the LDS church, or I could fall away. It was a decision that no one could make for me and one that was completely my own. As I began thinking about this decision, I reflected back on my life in the church; and as I did this, I thought back to all the people that I looked up to. The Beehives when I was in primary, the Laurels when I was a Miamaid, I always looked up to the older girls. That was when I realized that I had become that older girl. The girl that I had once looked up too, which meant that I had people who were probably looking up to me. And that's when my mind started racing. What had I been doing with my life? What had these girls seen from me? Had the younger girls seen an example of the believers, or was I being a bad example? And that was when I decided that not only was the church the most important thing in this life, being an example is one of the most important things I can do. We must be an example at all times in because we never know who is watching. As members of the church, we carry the churches name with us where ever we go. If people know you're a Mormon, you're actions don't just reflect you, they reflect the church as a whole. You never know what might effect those around you. So, why not just strive to be uplifting and Christ like in all that we do? In word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in spirit, in purity. If we can do this, others will be able to see our example and they will be inclined to come unto Christ.

Christ was the ultimate example. He came to this earth and was tempted just like we are, and remained perfect. He didn't have to, he could've given in, he could've backed down, but he didn't because he loved us enough to be strong and to be an example. He showed us how we should live by the way he lived his life. "Behold I am the light; I have set and example for you." (3 Nephi 18:16) The best way to live as Christ lived is to strengthen the Christ like attributes that you have within yourself. These attributes that we can have can allow others to see the beauty of the gospel through your righteous example. President Gordon B. Hinckley said it best when he said, "The most persuasive gospel tact is the exemplary life of a faithful Latter-day Saint." This is so true. People don't join this church because of what they know, people join the church because of what they feel. They feel the happiness and peace the gospel brings, they feel the love of our Savior, they feel the spirit and that's why they join. If we live exemplary and faithful lives, people will get that feeling from being around us. How amazing is it that we have to power to live in such a way that people will feel the spirit just by being around us? I think that is such an amazing opportunity and blessing. We must go  forth into the world and be examples, even if it's not the easy thing to do. We must show the world the light of Christ and bring the world his truth. And we can do this by being an example and living the way Christ lived. We can change the lives of others, just by choosing to live righteous lives of our own. 

I never want to feel the way I felt after graduation again, wondering if I had impacted someone's life for better or for worse. I want to live my life in a way that I know that if someone is watching the way I live, they see the goodness and glory of this gospel and are impacted for the better. I want to live my life in such a way that when I face God on judgment day, I can say that I did everything I could to spread his amazing word. I want to face him with a smile on my face because I will be able to say that even in the hardest of times, I remained an example of the believers. That is my ultimate goal, and I pray that we can all make that a goal.

"There is no more power missionary message we can send to this world than an example of a loving and happy Latter-day Saint life. The manner and bearing, the smile and kindness of a faithful member of the church brings a warmth and outreach that no missionary tract or videotape can convey." -Elder Holland

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Light on a Hill

" 14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16)

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I am an example of the believers. I am an example of what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. I am a light on a hill. I may just be one, but just one light can be hope to those who have lost their way. One light in the darkness will spread some light; however, when you start to add lights to it, it can light up the world. 

As members of this amazing church, we are all lights on a hill shining in a world filled with darkness. In a world that is lost and lonely, our Father in Heaven works through us. The light that is within you brings hope to everyone, but especially those who are searching for the truth. Until this life changing light has been spread throughout all the of dark corners of the earth, we must remain lights on the hill shining so that all can see. We must remain strong examples and we must continually chose the right. The light that we have within us from this gospel cannot be hidden, so share it. Share the gospel, share His light, until the whole world lights up with it. Don't hide this gospel because it is life changing, it is amazing, and it is the only place where we can find true happiness. Don't put your light "under a bushel" because that not only makes it so you can't grow closer to your Savior, but it also makes it so that others cannot find Him through you. Put your light "on a candlestick" and hold it up high and proud for the whole world to see. Be proud to be a member of this church. Be proud to know the truth. Stand strong, stand tall, and share the goodness of this church. Keep the commandments, follow the prophet, and chose the right, and others will be able to see your good works and know that you are working for a higher power. They will see the light within you and they will want to know what it is, and they will want it for themselves.

I choose to be a light on a hill because I know that this gospel brings true and everlasting happiness. I know that without this gospel I would be completely lost and lonely. I know that without this gospel I would be a broken soul. I choose to be a light on a hill because I want those around me to know that you are never lost or lonely in this life and you are never to broken to be loved. I want everyone on this earth to know about this amazing and eternal church. I want to be able to be an example that those around me can see and follow to Christ. I want to be a tool in His hands. I choose to be a light on a hill because I want to show the world of the goodness, glory, and mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ. I want everyone to know of His atonement and know that there is always hope. I choose to be a light on a hill because I can't imagine my life without the gospel and I don't want anyone else in the world to have to live one more minute without it in their lives. I am proud to be a member of the church and I am proud of what I believe in and know to be true. I choose to be a light on a hill for so many reasons, but must importantly because our Savior was and is a light on a hill. I strive everyday to be more like my Savior and so I will continue to choose to be a light on a hill that cannot, and will not be hidden.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reflect Christ

Over the course of my life as a girl, I have gotten in the habit of overly caring about how I look. I wake up and take so much to get ready and look “perfect”, still to spend my day wondering: Is my hair right? Is my makeup perfect? Is my outfit cute? All these things run through my mind not just while I’m getting ready in the morning, but as I am walking around throughout the day. But lately, that has changed. Instead of focusing on getting ready each morning, I am focusing on making sure I say my morning prayers and I’m reading my scriptures. I ask the Lord to be with me throughout my day and help me to do His will. And from doing this, I no longer spend my day thinking about me, I spend my day thinking about Him. I often find myself wondering, when people look at me, can they see Christ? Do I reflect that light that He has? Do I resemble Him at all? And if I don’t resemble Him, what changes do I need to make in life to make sure that when people see me, they see Him? Well, to reflect the light of Christ we first must be living life the way Christ did. This involves keeping the commandments, reading the scriptures, attending church meetings, saying your prayers, and serving others. We must be striving to be like Him if we want to reflect Him. I believe that if we are to be a reflection of our Savior, we must have faith, hope, and charity. When I think of these things, the first thing that comes to my mind is the words of Paul when he said, “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” These three things will bring you closer to your Savior, and the closer you get to Him, they more you become like Him! I also am reminded of the words of Moroni, “Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.” Growing up in the church, I heard all the time that charity is the pure love of Christ; what better way to be a reflection of Him then by showing others the power of His pure love?! And when we are keeping the commandments and doing the things we are supposed to be doing, these Christ-like attributes will abide with us. But it is not an over night process; we must put in the work and the time to build up these attributes in ourselves. Each one is incomplete without the other. Moroni goes on to explain that we cannot be saved if we don’t have these attributes. By slowly strengthening these traits within ourselves, the light of Christ will grow within us. People will know just by looking at you that you are a true disciple and follower of Christ. If we want to reflect Christ, we first must follow Him and then become like Him. I strive to become more like my amazing Savior every day and strive to have the honor and privilege of having His light with me always. I strive to have Him in my countenance and reflect His goodness and glory. So now, each morning, I ask myself, “When people look at you, do they see Him?”

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I Would Never Have Asked For This

Looking back on the last 3 months, I would never have guessed that everything that has happened was going to happen. I never in a million years would have asked for the trials, the heartache, the sorrow, the worthlessness, and the hard times that accompanied the last 3 months; but I also wouldn't change one thing about it and I wouldn't trade it for the world. From my trials, I have come out of it a completely changed person. I have come from these trials closer to God than I ever have been in my entire life. I have gained a deep and true testimony of the things of the gospel. And I would not be here, with the firm and steadfast testimony that I have, without my trials.  
When I read this quote from Sister Stevens, I immediately began to cry. I had been praying that some sense could be made of everything that happened and then, I found this. It was then that I realized how much truth this holds. All the trials, the heartache, the sorrow, the worthlessness, and the hard times that I've faced not just over the last 3 months but my entire life. All the trials I've been through have slowly shaped me into who I am today, and they have slowly brought me closer to Christ. I am so thankful for my trials and for the hard things I've gone through in this life because through them I have found the Lord and my Savior and the amazing power of this gospel. I know my Savior loves me and is always looking out for me. I know He is cheering me on and carrying me through my hardest times. I wouldn't trade any of the trials in my life for anything because they have made me, me. And they have made me more like Christ, someone who I will strive to be just like until the day of resurrection. And if that takes going through the hardest trials, I will do it over and over again because the blessings we get from trials far exceed the pain of the actual trials. So no, I would never have asked for the trials in my life, but I also wouldn't trade it for the world.