Thursday, November 19, 2015

Spiritual Whirlwinds

For the past two weeks I have been thinking of a talk I listened to during General Conference that gave the visual of a tree being whipped about by winds.  The fibers of the tree grew stronger through the winds and so it was not able to be pulled down.  Whereas a tree that has lived with no opposition to cause it to grow deeper and stronger may grow large and beautiful, but when a larger than normal storm comes, it will fall to the ground because it has not built up the strength to endure.

I searched to remember more about the message from this talk and found it was Elder Neil L. Anderson from April 2014 General Conference.  He shared a story of a woman that lived in a trailer during a large storm where a tornado had come, picked up her trailer, and placed it on top of her neighbors trailer.
Don't be carried away like in the "Wizard of Oz"

With these two message I learn a few things.  First, that trials and opposition come to everyone, but that is okay because we can know that we are being strengthened.  As we conquer each trial that comes, the Lord is making it so we can be stronger and be able to better face the trials ahead.  During these trials, we need to have ourselves anchored to something so that we will not be tossed about by the winds and placed somewhere where we don't want to be, or even hurt because of the trials.  What can we anchor ourselves to that will build our strength and keep us firm and immovable?

 Christ in a white robe, kneeling near a large olive tree, with hands clasped, looking upward.

During my scripture reading this week I read the teachings of Kind Benjamin in Mosiah 1-3.  In chapter three King Benjamin teaches about the atonement of Jesus Christ.  We learn that King Benjamin is prophesying that the Son of God would come and suffer for the pains and afflictions and sins of the world. 

Through Jesus Christ we can be redeemed from all that would separate us from God.  Through the atonement we can become "submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)


This really stood out to me, especially the part that say we would be "willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him".  God is going to test us and try us, and that means that things might be hard.  As we rely on our Savior to be strong and immovable, we will be blessed to overcome these trials.

This is not to say that every trial that comes in our life it something God inflicts on us.  Some trials are the result of living in a fallen world where there is wickedness and corruption; yet again, as we put our faith in Christ he will be our sure foundations that will keep us safe as the winds blow around us.  We may be whipped about on all sides, but we won't be broken because the Lord is our strength.

An image of a tree trunk coupled with a quote by Elder Quentin L. Cook: “We can thrive … if we are rooted in our love of the Savior.”

The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I'll conquer at length.
My weakness in mercy he covers with pow'r,
And, walking by faith, I am blest ev'ry hour.
"The Lord is My Light" Hymn 89, vs. 3 

The Master 
 I know that as I keep the Savior at the center of my life, the whirlwinds of life can rage all about me, but I will not be moved.

My young brothers and sisters, how we love you, admire you, and pray for you. Don’t let the whirlwinds drag you down. These are your days—to stand strong as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Build more firmly your foundation upon the rock of your Redeemer.
Treasure more completely His incomparable life and teachings.
Follow more diligently His example and His commandments.
Embrace more deeply His love, His mercy and grace, and the powerful gifts of His Atonement.

you do, I promise you that you will see the whirlwinds for what they are—tests, temptations, distractions, or challenges to help you grow. And as you live righteously year after year, I assure you that your experiences will confirm to you again and again that Jesus is the Christ. The spiritual rock under your feet will be solid and secure. You will rejoice that God has placed you here to be a part of the final preparations for Christ’s glorious return.
-Neil L. Anderson

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Boosterthon Fun Run!

Boosterthon is the best school fundraiser I have ever seen. The children love it so much and it is so full of fun and energy. We were so excited to go and cheer on all the students. Here is a glimpse of all that fun!

We made a sign to cheer on our special guy and his class.  It also provided great shade as well.

They announce each class and the class comes running through with their flag held high.

Getting all pumped before they are let loose to run!

The first lap was a walk lap with the pace flag.

First lap

Just before they let them run.

Running his heart out
Running with a stop at the water booth

His finished stance!

High-fiving everyone still running.

Finished all 35 laps!  Way to go!
I loved getting to cheer all the children on, but I especially love this guy and his energy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Press Forward and Endure to the End

A young girl wearing a plaid dress sits on a patch of grass next to a bed of pink flowers and reads from the Book of Mormon.
I am always touched when I read the words of Nephi in "The Book of Mormon". He has a clearness in his writings that helps me feel the Spirit so easily.  Nephi said, "for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn." (2 Nephi 25:4)  In the last three chapters of 2 Nephi, Nephi is giving his last message to all people on how we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.

In Chapter 31 Nephi is telling us about baptism and why Christ was baptized.  Even though Christ was perfect and without sin, He understood that he not only had to be our example, but that he needed baptism to enter the gates of Heaven well.  In verse seven it states that "he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments".  We too need to take these steps as well, and since we are not perfect, we also need to add in repentance.  Nephi says in verse 13 that if we follow the Savior in all that he did and repent of our sins, then we can be blessed with the power of the Holy Ghost.

One we receive all this, we need to "press forward".  As I pondered what this means, because there is a lot more to it than just continuing through each day, I found a beautiful talk by Sister Elaine S. Dalton from the May 2003 Ensign message entitled, "Press Forward and be Steadfast".  In this article she talks about what it means to be steadfast.  She shares a description of a statue of a girl facing the sea in Denmark, the wind is fiercely blowing against her but she is unmoved.  She says that '"pressing forward" implies resistance'.  In life there is a lot of resistance we have to face, whether it be to our values, how we use our time, the way we speak, etc.  Pressing forward also implies that we have a vision or a goal in mind, or a set course in which we want to follow.   So we need to press forward with our vision of the end in mind because, as Sister Dalton said in her message, generations depend on us to keep going.

A conceptual photograph of a runner standing still near the finish line, paired with the word “Finish.”

How do we press forward and endure to the end? In 2 Nephi 31:20 Nephi says we need to have a "perfect brightness of hope", a "love of God and of all men", we need to feast "upon the word of Christ".  In the next Chapter Nephi shares the importance of the Holy Ghost and of prayer.   Lastly, Nephi challenges us to "believe in Christ".  Believing in Christ will lead us to do good. (2 Nephi 33:10)

 A photograph of the Salt Lake Temple coupled with a quote by Elder Richard G. Scott: “Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences.”

 Sister Dalton said, "Your daily decisions will influence generations." So we must do as Elder Scott said and decided today to do those things that will bring about positive eternal consequences.  If we are to press forward and endure to the end, we need to do those little things that have big results: read scriptures, attend the temple, study the words of the prophet, attend meetings, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, etc.  Do our best to choose the best.

We must press forward.  Nephi didn't use the word "should" or "it would be nice if you did", but he said we "must" because this is the only way to truly endure to the end.  I know that Nephi's words are true.  I know we have words of living prophets today to help us in our journey to press forward and endure to the end.  I am thankful for the Spirit I feel in my heart and it fills me with joy and hope.

The words of 2 Nephi 31:20 printed on a white background with a gold and black border.

If you would like to learn more about what I believe, you can look here: