Saturday, March 2, 2013

Parables and Lessons from the Life of Jesus Christ



 The scriptures are a collection of parables and accounts that teach us the principles that are necessary to learn and live if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I reviewed the following and learned/reviewed several principles.

 
    Luke 16: 1-12, recounts the parable of the unjust steward. After reading this, I thought that the principle to be learned is that we are to be faithful in keeping the commandments and taking care of our responsibilities. But if we should falter, we should not give up, but repent and do our best to get back on track.

 
    Luke 16:19-31, is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. I think Heavenly Father wants us to learn that when we make evil choices, we will be separated from him and be miserable. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and make choices that demonstrate our choice to follow Jesus, we will be in paradise and receive rest from our sorrows and the heartaches of our earthly existence.

 
    Luke 17:11-19, is about the ten lepers. I think Heavenly Father wants us to learn two principles from this account of the Savior healing these ten lepers. First, when we have faith in Christ and then follow the instructions or guidance he gives us, we will receive the healing or help that we are asking for. Secondly, we need to express our gratitude and give glory to our Savior and Heavenly Father for the gift of healing and help we received. As a side note, I learned that it was required for lepers to present themselves to the priests to show that they were clean before being allowed to reenter society.

    Luke 18:1-8, is the parable of the unjust judge. From this parable, I think Heavenly Father wants us to learn that he will answer our prayers in the appropriate time and in the perfect way to meet our needs. In the process of waiting for prayers to be answered, we can be strengthened and improved through our trials.

 
  Luke 18:9-14, is the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. We need to learn that we are not good of our own accord. Everything that we have and everything good that we are is a result of Heavenly Father and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If we recognize this and have a change of heart and habit as a result, changing our behavior to express our gratitude and love for him., Heavenly Father promises that he will accept us into his kingdom.


 Of the above accounts and parables, I think I love Luke 18:9-14 the most. It reminds me to be careful of my attitude and not let self-complacency and pride sneak into my thought patterns. I love my Savior and I don’t want to ever forget the great and amazing things he has done for me and every person I love or will ever love. Because of him, I have the chance to be with my loved ones after this earth life. Because of him, I am blessed and strengthened every day with all that I stand in need of. The below video is a sobering reminder of all I owe him and the beautiful hope that comes from believing on his name.


video



Saturday, February 23, 2013

 

I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The above message exemplifies the love of Christ and what I want to strive for.

What does it mean to become a disciple of Christ? Today, I read the following passages:
Luke 10:38-42, 11:1-13, 12:13-40, 13:23-24, 14:16-33, Omni 1:26, Mosiah 2:34 and Matthew 13:44-46

After reading through these scripture passages, I came up with a list of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.



a.       Choose the Savior over all else
b.      Pray, seek and ask for the Spirit and whatsoever is needful
c.       Beware of Covetousness
d.      Lay-up treasures of spiritual virtues
e.      Have great faith that the Lord will provide for appropriate wants and needs
f.        Seek the Kingdom of God
g.       Fear Not
h.      Be watchful for the Lord
i.         Keep the Commandments, endure to the End
j.        When the Lord calls, answer
k.       Be willing to forsake all to follow the Savior
l.         Trust in Heavenly Father’s ability to bless in ways that are best for you



What does it mean to count to count the cost of following the Savior? I didn't really know how to put that in a list format, but as I've been thinking about it, it means that I need to realize that when I make this commitment to be a disciple of Christ, I will be required to make decisions to give up or forsake things that will be a sacrifice to give up. It may be relationships that are inappropriate, activities that keep me from properly prioritizing my time or drive the Spirit away, or opportunities that may seem good at the time, but for whatever reason, may need to be given up for purposes I don't understand.

After perusing the above list, I felt like I needed to focus on applying the teaching of praying and seeking for the Spirit and whatever else might be needful. Lately, I’ve notice that I haven’t been praying as regularly and that when I do pray, it tends to be repetitious. I’ve realized that I need to be more particular in having regular prayer morning and night and making sure that I spend time during prayer, where I’m just listening and trying to understand what things I need to do or change. Then, I need to trust that Heavenly Father will answer my prayers in the perfect way for me. I believe that if I focus on building the habit of having regular, meaningful prayer, I will have an increase of the Spirit in my life, I will receive needed direction, and my relationship with Heavenly Father will be improved. I’ll have more confidence and greater faith and I'll be a more effective disciple of Jesus Christ. I love Jesus Christ, I hope that as I try to improve in my habits, that I will be a better disciple, that I will exemplify his love and charity.




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Become as a Little Child


video


   This short video demonstrates the pure and simple qualities the Savior wants us to have. I love the beautiful, trusting smiles which reflect the happiness and joy that I believe we can also enjoy, when we embrace the qualities and virtues that will draw us to God.

   In Matthew 18:1-14, the Jesus’ disciples approach him, asking who is the greatest in the kingdom of God. I thought it was very interesting that they were concerned with rank. How often are we caught up in how we are perceived by others? How often do we want to be seen as important and vital? I wonder what criteria they were putting forward to help determine who was the greatest. After being around the Savior for so long, were any of them surprised when he called a child into their midst and proclaimed, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  

   What does it mean to become as a little child? The Savior talks of being converted and being humble. A verse in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19, expounds on the qualities we must have. It states, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, 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.” I love this verse! It lays out all of the virtues that will draw me to the Savior and help me become like him. First the verse explains that we have a nature that, if left to our own natural inclinations, will keep us from becoming like Jesus Christ. We may be selfish, lazy, dishonest, lustful, unkind and impatient. But we have a choice. We can choose to listen to the teachings of the Savior and embrace those qualities that will help us transcend the natural man. This is a very difficult task, and I don’t think it’s even remotely possible to be successful without accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. When we do, the grace of the atoning sacrifice will immediately work in our lives, helping us overcome, little by little, those inclinations that would keep us from our Father in Heaven. It is a lifelong task, where we have to choose to be converted over and over again. It requires that we be patient with the process, ourselves and others. It requires that we recognize that we will be subjected to trials and our attitude while undergoing these trials will help us grow closer to God or draw us away from him. If we are meek and accepting of these trials and with patience, love and humility, seek out our Father’s will for us, he will help us overcome them; he will draw us to him and save us. We will become fit for his kingdom, because we have shown our desire to be acceptable by submitting to whatever trial or challenge we have lived through and we have accepted that Christ is our Savior. It is only through his atoning sacrifice that we have been changed and made acceptable in the first place.

   I pray that I will someday lose any more dispositions to do evil, but that I will become a saint through Christ’s great and loving sacrifice and like a little child, be willing to humbly, meekly submit to my Father in Heaven.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Walking on Water



Matthew 14:22-33

 22 ¶And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to apray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
 25 And ain the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good acheer; it is I; be not afraid.
 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was aafraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little afaith, wherefore didst thou bdoubt?
 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 I love this powerful story of the Savior. The Apostles were afraid, unsure of what they were seeing, but as soon as the Lord assured them of his identity, Peter expressed a desire to join Jesus on the water. What a frightening thing, to be out on the storm-tossed sea. It's no wonder that Peter's faith and determination faltered, when the reality of his situation began to distract him from his purpose of joining Jesus. What does the Lord want me to learn from this story? I learned that first, it is vitally important to completely rely on Jesus Christ. When I'm going through my own storms in life, if I can rely completely on the Savior, I won't falter, and not only will I make it, but I'll walk on the water! I won't be overcome by the challenges that life will throw at me, I'll be able to see how to make it. The second thing I learned is, if I falter, and I probably will, the very instant that I cry for help, Jesus Christ will save me. I'll feel his hand reach out and rescue me. I'll feel his words comfort me and give me guidance and direction and he'll send his followers to help me. I know this is what will happen, because I've felt his sheltering hand over me and my family when storms have threatened us in the past. I just had one other thought. These storms are distractions that would blow us off course and keep us from reaching the Savior. When we keep focused on him and express through our words and actions, our desires to keep his commandments and live his teachings, we'll be able to hold our course and make it back to him. His hand will always be held out to help us stay on course, we just have to ask.What do you think the Lord wants us to learn from this story? I'd love to know!