Who Are You Passing By?

Here are some conversations Sister Newson and I have had with people on the street lately:

Sister Newson, holding out a card: Hello!  Would you like some Christmas cheer?

Man walking by: NO.

Sister Newson: Are you sure?

Man: Yes.

*keeps walking*


Me: Hello!  We would love to share this short video with you about Jesus Christ and the peace we can find from Him this Christmas season!  Would you say that He has played a role in your life?

Man: Nope.  Not whatsoever.  And I’m not interested.


Sister Newson: Hello!  How are you doing?

Man in his yard: Fine, thank you.  What are you two doing out today, going for a walk?

Sister Newson: We are!  And we are spreading the Christmas spirit about Jesus Christ!  We have this card that will lead you to a great little video about how He is the true gift of Christm–

Man: *walking away* I don’t have time, sorry.

Haha!  And there are more where those came from!  Seems like Rochester needs a little bit more of the magic of Christmas, wouldn’t you say?

As I’ve had many experiences like this lately, my heart has been hit with a kind of sadness I can’t really explain.  Not because people are rejecting me, but because ultimately they are rejecting Christ.

As missionaries for His church, we are literally called by a prophet of God to represent the Savior Himself.  And I just think, how would these people’s responses be different if Jesus Christ was literally right there asking them the same questions?

What would your response be?  Are you passing by Him without a second thought?  Are you too busy for Him?  Are you simply not interested in Him?  If He were here on the street, would you care to stop and hear His message?

I can’t imagine how the Savior feels, having literally suffered the pains, sorrows, sins, and afflictions of all humankind (2 Nephi 9:21, Alma 7:11-12) and having so many people simply not even care.

And the amazing thing?  Despite how many people reject Him, deny Him, ignore Him, mock Him, disregard Him, or think He simply doesn’t matter, His arm of mercy is still extended to ALL of them.  (Alma 5:33).  Every single one of them.  No matter what they have done, He still reaches out to every individual soul on this earth and offers them His healing hand if they will but repent and turn unto Him. (3 Nephi 9:14)

Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you have ever heard?!  I know it is for me!  I have felt His healing hand in my life and I know that His love is the BEST GIFT I have ever received.  It’s for that reason that we keep spreading His name.

So for those of you who already know and love Jesus Christ all the way to those who don’t care one bit about Him: Learn of Him.  Put in the time for Him.  I promise you, He is there.

This Christmas season, don’t pass Him by!

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)

True Freedom

“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever.” (2 Nephi 2:26)

With the celebration of the independence of our country a couple weeks ago, I have been thinking a lot about what true freedom means.

Freedom: noun, the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved; personal liberty,
as opposed to bondage or slavery

In a way, all of us are in bondage.  All of us are slaves to physical death; there is nothing we personally can do to stop its grasp from eventually overtaking us.  Because none of us are perfect, we are also subject to sin, which brings a slavery in an of itself.

If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that I cannot free myself from these two things.  I alone do not have the power to erase my transgressions or to raise myself from the grave.  If I did not have a Savior, I would be stuck in the “grasp of…that monster, death and hell” (2 Nephi 9:10).  And yet, out of such great love, Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice overcame the effects of both these.  Because of Him, I can be freed from sin and from death.  I can be freed from guilt, shame, regret, sorrow, hurt, sadness, anguish, and despair.  Because of His infinite compassion, I can become free forever if I but choose to follow Him.

So brothers and sisters, LIVE FREE.  Turn to Jesus Christ, and I promise that He will liberate you from any mental, spiritual, and emotional bonds that you may find yourself bound in. ♥

God is With Us

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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!

Because of Him

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:5-6)

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My heart cannot begin to express the joy that these two verses give me.  He is risen!  He lives!  Do you know what that means?  Do you know what we can now do and feel and become because He has risen for us?

His almighty hand is in each of our lives, though we may all feel and recognize it differently.  How do I know that my life is profoundly different because of Jesus Christ?

Because of Him….

I am never alone.
I have hope for a better life.
I do not have to let my past define me.
I know that my life has purpose.
I can conquer any challenge or trial through His help.
I know that my family can be together for eternity.
I know that my Father in Heaven loves me with an infinite love and is so aware of me.
I can become so much more than I am.
My weaknesses can be made into strengths.
My sorrow and pain never has to last.
The darkest parts of my soul can be replaced with pure and glorious light.
I can be successful in life and find everlasting joy here and in the life to come.
I can have eternal life.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it!

How is your life different because of Jesus Christ?

It is my testimony that HE LIVES!  This Easter season, let Him change your life.  Let Him heal your heart.  Let Him show you the higher path.

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

(Click here for an amazing Easter video clip!)

http://easter.mormon.org/

Look to the Light!

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

My simple plea to you today, my friends, is to never let darkness overcome you.  Walk in the light. Choose the higher path of happiness.  Look up towards the Son, and let His love and His light brighten every step you take on your earthly journey.

Photo: "The path to eternal life may not be an easy one to follow with all the worldly enticements about us, but when we consider the rewards and blessings we gather if we travel the narrow way, it is worth every sacrifice we make." ~Delbert L. Stapley

I promise you, He is there.  Jesus Christ is not only the light of the entire world, but the light of our own individual worlds.  His light permeates what we may think to be even the darkest, most desolate corners of our souls.  He is my emblem of light.  He is the reason I have not fallen into darkness, and He is the reason that I will never, ever have to.  Neither do you.  If we choose to follow Him, we have His sure promise that we will never walk in the dark!

“There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things.  It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn.  This is ‘the Spirit of Jesus Christ,’ which gives “light to every man that cometh into the world.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Hope of God’s Light)

So go forth, and spread sunshine!

I KNOW. Do you?

Christmastime.  Bells, snow, gifts, singing, lights, warmth, remembrance.

What does it mean to you?  What does Christ mean to you?  Though the day is now over, may you continue to think about that, for it is among the most important things you will ever think about.

So, during this wonderful season, how could I not share how much the Father’s gift of His glorious Son means to me?

I know with all of my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He came into the world to save His people.  I know that He was born in the most humble and unpleasant circumstances and lived the most grievous and difficult life of any being who has ever or will ever walk the earth and He did it out of love.  I know that He descended below all things because of me, and because of you, and because of everyone whose face we will ever behold.  I know that because He did these things, I can live for eternity with a fullness of love and joy.  Because He was born in Bethlehem and did what He came here on earth to do, I can overcome all things through faith in His name.  Because He lives, I can be healed and made whole from all hurt and sin.  Because He is the perfected Christ, I have the glorious hope to one day become perfected even as He is.  That is the hope that He wants for all of us!  That is the glorious plan of salvation!  That is the purpose of why we are here!

And all of this is possible because of that babe in a manger over 2,000 years ago.

He lives, He is there, and He loves us.  I invite you in the words of His living prophet on the earth today, “May we all make the journey to Bethlehem in spirit, taking with us a tender, caring heart as our gift to the Savior.” (Thomas S. Monson, The Real Joy of Christmas)