Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

I thought that it was fitting that I write a blog about New Year's Resolutions. I have never been good at setting them, and when I actually do I haven't ever been good at following through with them. But recently I have discovered an interesting correlation between New Years and Christmas.

So first off, what's the point of New Year's Resolutions? Well, to change, to become a better person. I found this interesting, because as missionaries, we are always thinking about the Gospel. So in religious terms, positive change equals repentance. Repentence is literally a change in mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. If we add it all up then that means that New Year's Resolutions are a way for us to repent. So I thought it is great that New Year's is a week after Christmas.

                                                                                                                                 My Facebook page

(This painting was done by
my Great Grandmother
Minerva Teichert)
If you go back and read my last blog, titled "The Greatest Gift of All" you can read my opinion about the meaning of Christ's life and how we can apply it in our own.  I think that the timing of these two holidays is not a coincedence. With the Christmas spirit that everyone seems to possess at this time of year, it appears that most people are looking to set resolutions that will help bring them closer to Christ. If that is your circumstance,  then I invite you to seek what the Lord would have you do in order to come closer to Him. I know that this post might not get to everyone who reads it before the new year, but it's not too late to turn to God. Repentence is real, let it change your life, and if you slip on one of your resolutions, or all of them, get up and try again. This life is a great time for us to learn and grow, and we WILL make mistakes, but that is where we gain our knowledge. Happy New Year's everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Greatest Gift of All

 The Greatest Gift of All

 This Holiday season is a wonderful time of year. I have been able to reflect and ponder over the many things I am grateful for. And one of the greatest ones has been my mission. There are so many things I have learned and changed on my mission. And there are so many more that I still really need to work on. But that is what is so great about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we can change. Man can change. The whole world looks over this, and it's very apparent to me that that is the subtle craftiness that is talked about in the scriptures. Satan does not want us to change, to become better. Because really, that is our purpose in this life. And if he can blind us from that, then he has won.

 Thankfully, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." Thankfully Christ took upon Himself all of our sins, and mistakes and weaknesses and pains, so that we can have divine means of help or strength, or the grace of God. That is why we celebrate the day of His birth in such a grand fashion.

I absolutely love Christmas, without a doubt it is my favorite Holiday. The whole Holiday season is just amazing, people are so inspired to do much more good than they normally would. But I'm not going to lie and tell you that the only reason I love Christmas is because it helps me remember Jesus Christ and what He did for me. I love Christmas for so many reasons, lights, trees, foods that only show up in December, giving and receiving presents, I love it all. And to be honest, before my mission, I rarely thought about the gift that is our Savior's life.

Of course I thought about Christ, with all the nativities and Christmas songs, and the fact that it's named CHRISTmas, it's impossible not too. But I never really thought about the importance of His life. Thankfully I have had the privilege of spending the last 17 months studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. I have come to know why He is so important, why we celebrate His life, and why millions and millions of people have turned to Him for strength and guidance.

Jesus Christ is the only person that has ever lived a perfect life, He never once gave into the temptations that so easily lead the rest of us astray. He is the perfect example, and teacher. He showed us how to live, and how to love. And the greatest expression of His love came in the form of the Atonement, when Christ suffered for all of our sins, all of our weaknesses, all of our illness and anything else that this mortal life can throw at us. He knows perfectly how each and everyone one of us feels, even in the darkest of hours. His mortal journey gives us a purpose in life. Without it, we cannot change. 

As you go through this Christmas season, with all the gifts and decorations and food, take time to ponder on the greatest of all gifts. Christ has already paid the price, and through Him we can find strength even during the toughest of times. We can find the strength to change, to become better people. In this sense, change also means to repent, and repentance is essential to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Repentance is not a sad word, when we repent, we draw nearer to God. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, and my the Lord bless you with safety and peace as we all travel to see family or friends. And for those that may even be spending Christmas alone, spend some time with Christ, get to know him.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Finding a purpose in life.

I really have no idea how to do this whole blog thing. Letting missionaries loose with technology is like letting animals drive. But I think that I am figuring it all out.

This blog is going to have a lot of posts that are about us, and our relationship with our Father in Heaven. This first one in particular was inspired by a picture I took from the top of a building in downtown Arlington, VA. I will try to show you all the picture, but don't be surprised if it never shows up, it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to get it from my camera to the computer.
Oh wow, that was actually easy...ok let's do this.

This is a picture of Arlington, with some of the District of Columbia in it in the distance. As I stood on the 26th floor of this building looking out over the city I thought to myself, there are probably more people currently within the screen of my camera, than in the entire state of Montana (which is where I was born and raised). For a long time I have pondered on that, why are there so many people in this area?

Arlington county is one of the smallest counties in the country. It is also one of those wealthiest. I just guessed on those so don't quote me on them, but they are somewhat accurate. But these numbers are real; in Arlington county, there are more than 8,000 people/sq mile. That is way too many people! So why are they here? Most of them are here for work, or school, or just grew up here and never left. 95 percent of the people you will meet on the street here are Type A personality people, or so it seems. The life here is so fast, the people here so busy and driven, that everyone has become blind to what life is all about. They are here to make a name for themselves, to make the big bucks. But if we take a step back, what's the point? To make money?... Why?

Life has become all about material possessions, all about reputations and who you know. But what good is all of this? How fulfilling can it be? Of course money is important, we need a way to provide for ourselves and our families. And most of these jobs play a significant role in keeping our society moving. But if we step back a little further, what is the point of keeping our society moving?

 This world is in the process of moving farther and farther from a belief and worship in God, and closer and closer to a total worship of money and power. I personally believe whole-heartedly that there is a more important reason for our life on Earth.

This Earth life is not the only life, in fact the purpose of this life is to prepare for the next. We are here to learn how to make choices for ourselves, and to learn how to love and serve one another. A proper knowledge of our relationship with God can help clear a lot of this up. We are literally the children of God. We lived with Him as Spirits before this life. He loves us and wants us to be happy, but it's our job to make the correct choices in order to return to live in His presence once again.

God has given us exactly what we need to do to return to live with him. It's called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we all learned how to love and serve one another, this place would be awesome! Could you imagine? No contention, no hatred, no wars. This place would be paradise. Do your part, live the way God wants us all to live. It's not going to be easy, but why should it be? We can't grow without trials.

I know that this is a rather bold blog, but it is essential that everyone understands these basic truths. I know that God lives, and that He loves me. I know that He loves all His children and wants us to be happy. And He has provided a way for us to be happy, and to return to live with Him, through His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. I hope everyone that reads this can find some peace and comfort from this. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured.