Trusting in God’s Promises

Lately I have been thinking about doubt.  Let’s be honest, we all experience it sometimes.  Whether it is doubt in our own abilities, doubt in other people, doubt in answers to questions, even doubt in God.

However, I’ve also been thinking a lot about promises!  And not just any promises, but God’s promises.  One definition states that a promise is a commitment to someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future.  It is something we should be able to trust in, and something that should usually bring us a sense of hope and assurance.  

Now, not everyone keeps their promises.  But the Lord and Master, our Savior Jesus Christ, DOES.

I have recently learned a lot about how trustworthy He really is.  This past summer, all the missionaries in the New York Rochester Mission read the entire Book of Mormon together in just under 9 weeks.  We marked every reference to Christ–His attributes, His words, His names, His doctrines.  It was the best challenge EVER!  I made some connections as I found myself in its pages:

People in the Book of Mormon, just like today, were faced with extreme difficulties and trials.  They struggled with their faith, they experienced profound disappointments, they saw families torn by discord, and there were times when they were in spiritual or physical bondage.  There were many of them who faced doubts.  There were many times when things just didn’t make sense.  Yet despite all of these struggles, there were those who remained faithful to the Lord and trusted that His promises would be fulfilled.  Despite how at times everything seemed against their favor and they were perhaps wondering how God could possibly be answering their prayers, they held fast to their trust in Him and never doubted that He would fulfill His word.  Often His promises were not fulfilled until much later than they had supposed, and yet for those who kept His commandments and remained close to Him, they always were fulfilled.

Think for a moment.  What are the promises that God has made to you?  Do you know them?  Do you truly understand the promises that He extends to all those who are faithful to His name?

He promises that He will be with us and never forsake us.  He promises us that in our hour of trial, He will not leave us comfortless.  He promises us that whatever we leave behind for His sake, He will give us a hundredfold in return.  He promises us that despite whatever challenges we pass through, we will find a fullness of joy as we endure righteously. He promises us that we will have all that His Father has.  Ultimately, He promises us everlasting salvation and eternal life.

And these are just the beginning.  What greater promises could you have than from the Creator of all things?  His word NEVER fails!  

So if you’re confused, discouraged, doubtful, or starting to question whether God really hears your prayers, don’t worry. Be patient. Because “God is powerful to the fulfilling of all His words. … He will fulfill his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.” (Alma 37:16-17)

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It Was Dad

“Noble fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine.” ~James E. Faust

As I think about the words of President Faust, I can’t help but smile in memory of my father.  Much of what I have learned about God I have learned from my amazing dad!  He has taught me more than I could ever describe.

It was Dad who taught me to walk by faith and not by fear.  It was Dad who taught me to live my life with intention and to embrace everything that each stage of life has to offer.  It was Dad who taught me how to genuinely love others.  It was Dad who taught me to be functional, to be Christlike, to be generous, to be kind.  It was Dad who showed me how to give pure, selfless service to others with no thought of reward.  It was Dad who taught me how to put the important things first in life.  It was Dad who taught me to laugh when things are hard and to keep moving forward.  It was Dad who helped me believe in myself when I felt like I was failing.  It was Dad who taught me that I was enough, and that nothing in the world could compare with my personal worth as his daughter.

In my life, it is Dad who has typified the kind of love and grandeur that exist in the Great Deity above.

My friends, just like we all have an earthly father, ALL of us also have a Heavenly Father.  Yet unlike our earthly father, our Father in Heaven is perfect, has all power, and knows all things.  He is the most loving, merciful, understanding, patient, and compassionate being in the Universe.

We are all literally children of God, spiritually begotten in the premortal life. As His children, we can be assured that we have divine, eternal potential and that He will help us in our sincere efforts to reach that potential.” (God the Father, http://www.lds.org)

We cannot even comprehend the amount of love of Heavenly Father has for us.  He wants the best for us– ALL of us.  He has a plan for our happiness!  He is there whether we recognize Him or not.  He knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves because He created us.  His whole work and glory is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”  (Moses 1:39)

This Fathers Day, remember: No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what your religious background, no matter what your family situation, no matter how alone or forgotten you may feel, your Father in Heaven is aware of you and loves you deeply.  He will help you walk through this life and lead you to eternal joy.

Search after Him through prayer and study, and I know you will feel that that is true.

And then, catch a glimpse of that noble fatherhood through this incredible video!

Happy Fathers Day!

Also check out this amazing website about fatherhood 🙂

 

Christlike Love

love

Happy June!

This week I have been thinking a lot about my motivation for being here in New York on a mission.  Not only that, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivation to live a clean life, to stand out from the world, to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, etc…  And I’ve realized that for me, it all comes down to love.  Love for my Savior, love for the people around me, love for the Gospel.  I want to emanate that love to the world!

Think of it…can you imagine a world filled with people who emanated the pure love of Christ?!

I recently came across this gem of a talk by Elder John H. Groberg about the power of God’s love, and I simply can’t resist sharing it:  “God’s love fills the immensity of space; therefore, there is no shortage of love in the universe, only in our willingness to do what is needed to feel it.

When filled with God’s love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us.

Jesus Christ was filled with unfathomable love as He endured incomprehensible pain, cruelty, and injustice for us. Through His love for us, He rose above otherwise insurmountable barriers. His love knows no barriers. He invites us to follow Him and partake of His unlimited love so we too may rise above the pain and cruelty and injustice of this world and help and forgive and bless.

I know He lives. I know He loves us. I know we can feel His love here and now. I know His voice is one of perfect mildness which penetrates to our very center. I know He smiles and is filled with compassion and love. I know He is full of gentleness, kindness, mercy, and desire to help. I love Him with all my heart. I testify that when we are ready, His pure love instantly moves across time and space, reaches down, and pulls us up from the depths of any tumultuous sea of darkness, sin, sorrow, death, or despair we may find ourselves in and brings us into the light and life and love of eternity.”  (October 2004 General Conference, “The Power of God’s Love”)

This is the love that the world desperately needs.  And YOU can go and bring that to someone today.

Spread it! 🙂

God is With Us

stand

Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” ~2 Kings 6:16

Do you know that Jesus Christ is by your side? Do you have faith in Him?  And what does having faith in Him really mean to you?

For me, it means that I know He walks beside me, even though I cannot see Him.  It means I know that He also paves the way before me and that even if I have to take a few steps into the darkness, I can trust that glorious light is ahead.  It is believing that while I cannot do all things, He can and therefore through His strength I can do all things (Philipians 4:13).  It is hoping for a better future because of what He has done for me.  It is trusting that He knows me better than I know myself, and that He loves me more than I can fathom.  And  because of that knowledge, I walk forward with the faith that the God of angel armies is on my side!

And guess what?  HE’S ON YOURS TOO!

So when you walk out the door today, remember who is with you!

We Lived in Heaven!

Have you ever wondered where you came from?

I’m not talking about where you were this morning, where your ancestors are from, not even how you were conceived.  But you–where did your spirit, your own personal soul come from?

The beautiful answer is found in one of our fundamental beliefs as members of Christ’s church, which is that we lived with our Father in Heaven before we came to this earth.  Our spirits are eternal, and our stay here on earth is but a period of time in a vast eternal round.

….WHAT?  We were where? What was that life like?  Who did we know there?  Why are we here on earth now?  Are we going back to live with Him again?  Here’s some of my favorite little insight from an apostle of the Lord today about our experience before earth:

“You knew Jesus Christ, who would become the Lamb of God. You had faith in Him. And you knew that your destiny was not to stay in the security of your premortal home. As much as you loved that eternal sphere, you knew you wanted and needed to embark on a journey. You would depart from the arms of your Father, pass through a veil of forgetfulness, receive a mortal body, and learn and experience things that hopefully would help you grow to become more like Father in Heaven and return to His presence.

In that sacred place, surrounded by those you knew and loved, the great question on your lips and in your heart must have been “Will I return safely to my heavenly home?”

There were so many things that would be out of your control. Mortal life would be hard at times, filled with unexpected bends in the road: sickness, heartbreak, accidents, conflict.

Without a memory of your previous existence—without remembering that you once walked with your Father in Heaven—would you still recognize His voice amid all the noise and distractions of mortal life?

The journey ahead seemed so long and uncertain—so filled with risk.

It wouldn’t be easy, but you knew it was worth every effort.

So, there you stood on the edge of eternity, looking forward with unspeakable excitement and hope—and, I imagine, also with a degree of worry and fear.

In the end, you knew God would be just—that His goodness would triumph. You had participated in the great heavenly councils and knew that your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would provide a way for you to be cleansed from sin and rescued from physical death. You had faith that, in the end, you would rejoice and join your voice with a heavenly chorus singing praises to His holy name.

And so, you took a deep breath …

And a great step forward …

And here you are!”

(To read/watch the rest and learn about the map God has provided for us here,
click here: Your Wonderful Journey Home, Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

HERE YOU ARE.  Can you believe it?  We are smack in the middle of our earthly adventures, and now it is up to us to live the way that will bring us that eternal joy we are promised through Jesus Christ.  We are all brothers and sisters of the same loving Heavenly Father, and He sent us here because He LOVES us and wants us to SUCCEED GLORIOUSLY.

So get out there!  Don’t be afraid!  You made the right choice once, and you can make it again!  Remember where you came from, and that you are not forgotten. ♥

Take the next great step forward and succeed gloriously, my friends!

Awakening

One of the most sacred experiences I have been blessed to have is that of praying in the Sacred Grove.  There is pure majesty that exists there.

What I feel goes something like this:

Kneeling down, eyes closed in prayer.  Darkness.  I see nothing.  This helps me focus on the things of a far more eternal nature.  Whispered, heartfelt words, spoken with the marvelous understanding that somewhere above, a grand and glorious being–God, our Heavenly Father–is listening.  For a moment, the world is lost.  Distractions disappear and I am at one.  I know who I am.

And then, as I end my simple prayer, I open my eyes.  Green.  Light.  Life.  Wisdom.  Perfect stillness.  Everything seems new and beautiful.  The trees know, I think.  They know where they are and they bear powerful record of it.

In that moment, I feel revived–new, pure, and filled with purpose.  In short, I feel as though I have awakened.

Awaken: [verb] to spring into being, to wake up, to stir, or to rouse from sleep or inactivity

To you reading this, are you aware that you are a child of God?  Are you aware that you have unlimited divine potential?  Are you aware that you have a Savior that loves you unconditionally?  Are you aware that your spirit existed before this earthly life and that your time here is simply a training ground for a much more eternal destiny?

My dear friends, awaken.  Spring into being!  Look around you and see the beauty in everything!  Do not let the mundane struggles of life drag you down.  Open up your eyes to the light around you, for  “the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:11-13)

God is in the details.  I feel Him in the rays of sunshine from above.  I feel Him as I pray in the Sacred Grove.  I feel Him in the beauty of nature.  I feel Him in the kind smile of a stranger.  I feel Him through the scriptures.  I feel Him through music.  His tender mercies “are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty.” (1 Nephi 1:20)

You may feel God’s presence in your life differently than I do.  All of us come to know Him in a different way.  Perhaps right now you may not feel Him at all.

But how can we recognize Him unless we first awaken to the reality of His existence?

And what greater day than today to awaken your souls to truly finding Him?

 

 

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”   ― Roald Dahl

All You Need Is Love

Lately my mind has been called up to reflection as to what my life would be like without the Gospel.  I have often sat and wondered what would be worth living for or how I would find lasting happiness.  As I reflected upon these things, I thought about the relationships in my life–those I care about deeply and the love that we have shared.  In my reflecting I came to the conclusion that without the Gospel, the only thing that would come close to bringing the same purpose and joy into my life is love–that deep and abiding love that is shared between people.  Mothers, fathers, children, spouses, best friends, boyfriends; no matter where it comes from, to share a mutual feeling of pure love from someone who values you is a precious gift.  Nothing else in the world, whether it be careers, money, traveling, school, music, etc., could be fulfilling enough for me to find true happiness.

Today, however, I have come to at last truly understand that the two divinely connect: the Gospel IS love!  God is love.  The reason that love exists and can be felt in its intimacies and extremities is because God has given it to us.  That is what this life is all about.  That is what God’s plan is all about.  Pure and abiding love is the greatest joy we could ever experience.

Think of the purest love you have felt in your own life.  Can you describe it?

The love of God “sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men, wherefore it is the most desirable above all things …Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” 1 Nephi 11:22

I recently heard someone say that God does not love us because He is God, He is God because He loves us.

He loves us to an inexpressible extent.  He “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Unconditional love is the foundation of the world.  It is the foundation of the Gospel.  It is the pure essence of Christ!  It is His matchless gift to us.

Are you using it?  Are you letting it fill your life?  What is your foundation?

I want it to be absolutely clear that I love the Savior with my whole heart.  His love has healed me.  It has guided me, it has uplifted me, it has strengthened me, it has kept me safe, and it has filled me with an unspeakable fullness of joy.  His unconditional love is the foundation that I have built my life upon, and because of that, I know I will never fall into hopelessness, loneliness, or despair.

These are the blessings that lie in store for those who come unto Him!  If we truly understood that, would we let anything stop us from following Him?

CHOOSE NOW.  Make the decision to follow Him and never turn back!  For “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9