Archive for April, 2012


Being One

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

When Jesus was about to be delivered to the hands of wicked men, He spent time in the garden of Gethsemane. In it, He “…lifted up his eyes to heaven” and prayed. There are no prayers recorded that are more poignant than that of the Son of Man in His last recorded prayer with His Father. In it, He prayed for Himself and for us. And the words that He stated should be subject for profound meditation as we strive to understand what is the height, the depth and the breadth of its meaning.
 

As recorded in John 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” His prayer was that both He and Heavenly Father share in the same glory, thus making Him equal with the Father.
 

But, this was not all. In John 17:20 & 21 we read the following, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
 

Additionally, Christ continues to say in John 17:22, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:”
 

We are taught in modern society many times to be independent and to cherish independence, but the ways of the Lord are much higher. He teaches us that alone, we can do nothing. (c.f. John 15:5). He teaches us to turn to Him in every thought (c.f. Prov. 3:5,6; D&C 6:36) “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” D&C 59:21
 

I can do nothing without God. As well, I can do nothing without you. In Christ we are One. He who abides not in this love is none of His.
 

May God bless you richly with oneness in the body of Christ.
 



He Is Not Here, But Is Risen

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

In celebration of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, today’s thought to meditate on comes from an April 1999 conference talk from then President Gordon B. Hinckley (see http://bit.ly/ldsorggc).
 

Here are some quotes:
 

“‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ asked Job (Job 14:14). There is no question of greater importance than this.
 

Those of us who live in comfort and security seldom give any thought to death. Our minds are on other things. Yet there is nothing more certain, nothing more universal, nothing more final than the closure of mortal life. No one can escape it, not one.”
 

“But Jesus the Christ changed all that. Only a God could do what He did. He broke the bonds of death. He too had to die, but on the third day, following His burial, He rose from the grave, ‘the firstfruits of them that slept’ (1 Cor. 15:20), and in so doing brought the blessing of the Resurrection to every one of us.
 

Contemplating this wondrous thing, Paul declared: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (1 Cor. 15:55).”
 

“He was betrayed, arrested, condemned to death, to die in awful agony by crucifixion. His living body was nailed to a cross of wood. In unspeakable pain, His life slowly ebbed away. While yet He breathed, He cried out, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).
 

The earth shook as His spirit passed. The centurion who had seen it all declared in solemnity, ‘Truly this was the Son of God’ (Matt. 27:54).
 

Those who loved Him took His body from the cross. They dressed it and placed it in a new tomb offered by Joseph of Arimathaea. The tomb was sealed with a great stone at its opening, and a guard was set.
 

His friends must have wept. The Apostles He loved and whom He had called as witnesses of His divinity wept. The women who loved Him wept. None had understood what He had said about rising the third day. How could they understand? This had never happened before. It was totally unprecedented. It was unbelievable, even for them.
 

There must have been a terrible sense of dejection and hopelessness and misery as they thought of their Lord taken from them in death.
 

But that was not the end. On the morning of the third day, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary returned to the tomb. To their utter amazement, the stone was rolled away and the tomb was open. They peered inside. Two beings in white sat at either end of the burial site. An angel appeared to them and said, ‘Why seek ye the living among the dead?
 

‘He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
 

‘Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again’ (Luke 24:5–7).
 

These simple words—’He is not here, but is risen’—have become the most profound in all literature. They are the declaration of the empty tomb. They are the fulfillment of all He had spoken concerning rising again. They are the triumphant response to the query facing every man, woman, and child who was ever born to earth.”
 

“… He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:4–5).”
 

“Thanks be to the Almighty. His glorified Son broke the bonds of death, the greatest of all victories. As Paul declared, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
 

He is our triumphant Lord. He is our Redeemer, who atoned for our sins. Through His redeeming sacrifice all men shall rise from the grave. He has opened the way whereby we may gain not only immortality but also eternal life.
 

As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bear witness and testimony of these things this Easter day. I speak in solemnity and reverence and gratitude, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.”
 



Confounding False Doctrine

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

In the last session of this weekend’s General Conference, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated some marvelous truths. The following is an excerpt:
 

“Why is it important for the world to have both the Bible and the Book of Mormon? I believe the answer is found in the 13th chapter of 1 Nephi. Nephi records, ‘And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles,’ (that is the Book of Mormon) ‘shall establish the truth of the first,’ (which is the Bible) ‘which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.’
 

Neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon in of themselves is sufficient. Both are necessary for us to teach and learn about the complete doctrine of Christ.
 

The need for the other does not diminish either one of them. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are necessary for our salvation and exhaltation. As President Benson so powerfully taught, ‘When used together, the Bible and the Book of Mormon confound false doctrine.'”
 



An Ever Present Danger

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

How wonderful it is to have the blessing of General Conference and be able to feast upon the words of Christ. Today’s thought to meditate on comes from a talk from the Saturday morning session of this weekend’s General Conference by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy. Here is an excerpt of the talk:
 

“Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal.
 

Therein lies a danger.
 

It is possible to be active in the Church and less-active in the Gospel. Let me stress, activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal. However, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed. By contrast, the things of the Gospel are usually less visible, and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance.
 

For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants?
 

I repeat, we need the Gospel AND the Church. In fact, the purpose of the Church is to help us to live the Gospel.
 

We often wonder, how can someone be fully active in the Church as a youth, and then not be when they are older? How can an adult who has regularly attended and served stop coming? How can a person who was disappointed by a leader or another member allow that to end their Church participation?
 

Perhaps the reason is they were not sufficiently converted to the Gospel, the things of Eternity.
 

I suggest three fundamental ways to have the Gospel be our foundation:
 

  1. Deepen our understanding of Deity
    A sustained knowledge of and love for the three members of the Godhead are indispensible. Mindfully pray to the Father in the name of the Son, and seek direction from the Holy Ghost. Coupled with constant study and humble pondering, continually build unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. ‘For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?’ (Mosiah 5:13)
     

  2. Focus on the ordinances and covenants
    If there are any of the essential ordinances yet to be performed in your life, intently prepare to receive each of them. Then we need to establish the discipline to live faithful to our covenants, fully using the weekly gift of the Sacrament. Many of us are not being regularly changed by its cleansing power because of our lack of reverence for this holy ordinance.
     

  3. Unite the Gospel with the Church
    Concentrating on the Gospel, the Church will become more, not less, of a blessing in our lives. As we come to each meeting prepared to seek learning even by study and also by faith, the Holy Spirit will be our teacher. If we come to be entertained, we often will be disappointed. President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked, ‘What do you do when you find yourself in a boring Sacrament meeting?’ His response, ‘I don’t know. I’ve never been in one.’
     

In our lives, we should seek what occurred after the Lord came to the people of the New World and established His Church. The scriptures read, ‘And it came to pass that thus they’ (meaning His disciples) ‘did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed’ (c.f. 3 Nephi 28:23)
 

The Lord wants the members of His Church to be fully converted to His Gospel. This is the only sure way to have spiritual safety now and happiness forever.
 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”