Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Never Be Ashamed

       Today I feel like a should share an experience that I had as a teenager. Have you ever been in a situation where you had feelings that you should not do what your friends were doing? Especially when you know what they are doing is wrong
      In my last blog post I talked about how important it is to follow your spiritual compass. It is also important to never be ashamed of the guide that you have in your life. In other words, to stay true to what you know and feel is right rather then giving in to the temptations that are all around you. 
     When I was about 16 years old, I went on a hike in the Grand Canyon. It was probably one of my favorite hikes ever. To get down into the canyon you have to proceed down several switch backs until you finally get to the floor of the canyon. From there you follow the canyon about 7 to 8 miles until you get to your final destination which is beautiful water falls and rivers all around. It is definitely worth it. At the time I had just received a brand new Global Positioning System (GPS) that I can use while I hike.It tells me how far I have hiked and much farther I have until my destination and provides a basic digital compass to keep you on the path. In addition I can use these same paths to get me out of the canyon. As I was hiking, I was with several good friends. They all gave me a real hard time about my GPS saying such things as, "Mike, we are in a canyon there is no way we can get lost", or "Mike, do you really think that thing is going to help you much"? I looked past these comments and still used my handy GPS to navigate to our final destination.
      On our way out of the canyon however, there was a huge rain storm and so we carefully proceeded to hike out of the canyon. I stayed in the middle of the group just hiking along, and referring to my GPS as often as I felt. At one point I realized that we had gone past the place in which we had to turn off to go up the switchbacks. The rain had washed out the trail that was originally there. I informed everyone that we were not headed in the right direction but that we needed to turn back but very few listened to me. I finally got them to look at my GPS so they could see how far off we were and so we all turned back and with everyone gathered around to follow what the GPS said, we safely got out of the canyon and away from the danger of flash floods and the sort.
      The reason that I bring this up is because the spirit is always there to guide us, just like my GPS was there to guide me. I could have felt dumb or felt ashamed for using the GPS on such an easily navigated canyon but if I had deserted this GPS during the rainstorm, who knows how long we would have hiked and gone off course. In the end everyone was using my GPS to get home. Likewise, we all need to use the spirit to help us get back to our Heavenly home. Never be ashamed of the guidance your Heavenly Father gives to you to help lead you through the storms of life.
If you feel like want to learn more about how you can follow the spirit more and to increase your faith in Christ visit http://mormon.org/  to learn more about it!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How Is Your Spiritual Compass?

       Today I thought that I would share about one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon! It is in 1 Nephi 16. The basic story is that Nephi and his family are in the wilderness and his father Lehi found this Liahona, or in other words a compass, to help them get through the wilderness safely. This Liahona was provided by the Lord and pointed the way that they should go and even on some occasions it would have some writing on it, giving them some specific messages. There is one catch to this special compass, it only works according to the Faith and Diligence and Heed which was given unto the Lord. If they complained, then the compass didnt work, if they were not choosing the right, the compass wouldnt work. The only way that it would work was if they were walking the correct spiritual path, only then would it show them the correct path through the wilderness.
    As I ponder about this story, many different things come to mind. The biggest one is, ''Am I giving all the faith and diligence that I need to in order to receive guidance from the Lord"? By all means, our Liahona is not the high tech GPS that we find in new vehicles these days, our Liahona is the Spirit of God or the Holy Ghost! As it says in 2 Nephi 32:5, "The Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do".
     What have you done today to be worthy of the Lord's guidance? Did you say your prayers? Did you read your scriptures? Did you give a helping hand to someone who needed it? In all ways we should live worthy of the Spirit. I humbly testify that if we live worthy of the Holy Ghost in all things, then we will never go astray. The Lord is always there for you to help you through all things! I love my savior Jesus Christ! At the same time I know that I am weak and that I need to rely upon the Lord for all things. So How Is Your Spiritual Compass?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hurrah For Israel!

     Today I thought that I might explain why I decided to rename my blog to Hurrah For Israel! What does that even mean and where does it even come from? This statement represents the sacrifice of the early members of the church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has always taken up the admonition of our Savior Jesus Christ at the very end of the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 28 verses 18-20 which says,
   "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore , and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen".
      I have always loved this scripture and it has always given me motivation to know that my Savior is with me always! In this scripture the Lord commands his people to go forth and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Baptize them.
      During the early periods of the church, there were many missionaries that were sent overseas to preach the Gospel, which often brought much sacrifice because of the hard times. There was one missionary in particular that I have always had a special admiration for and that is Heber C. Kimball. Heber was called to go on a mission with Brigham Young and as they were both leaving their families, they were practically on their death beds. They were extremely sick but they were promised that if they were faithful then the Lord would provide for their families and would protect them all along their journey. As they were leaving on the carriage it was a sad parting between their families. As they drove off they both mustered up enough strength to stand in the carriage and proclaim, 'Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel'. Israel meaning the Kingdom of God. They went on to serve a faithful mission and had much success in bring others unto Christ through baptism.
       I am so grateful for the examples of Sacrifice that have been in my life. Those that have given up their comfort so that others can have a happier life through receiving the Gospel. The greatest of all sacrifices that comes to mind is that of our Savior Jesus Christ. (Alma 34:8-15) His Sacrifice is infinite and eternal and I know that it is only through him that we can truly enter into the Kingdom of God. I am now a missionary and there are those tough times but just as Heber C. Kimball proclaimed I do now, "Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel"!
     

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simply Overcoming The Complexities of Life

      So for the past several days I have really been pondering about what can make us happier as 'Children of God' (Rom. 8:16). I promise that if you simply do these three things, you are guaranteed to have more happiness. You may ask, how can anything simple bring me happiness? In a story told so wonderfully in 2 Kings 5 of the Bible, Naaman, who was the Captain of the Guard for the King of Assyria was afflicted by Leperosy. He sought high and low for a way to be cured and he heard of a Prophet Elisha in Israel. He brought all of his horses and chariots to Elishas very door and was met by a simple messenger. This messenger simply relayed a message from Elisha saying to wash in the Jordan River Seven times and he would be healed of his Leperosy. Thinking of how absurd this was because there were plenty of more clean rivers in Syria he was about to turn away and ride back to Syria. If it werent for his very simple servants saying 'if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?'
      It was a very simple thing that Elisha told Naaman he must do but how many times do we do the same thing as Naaman and refuse the simple thing thinking that its just too simple to be true?
     Upon emerging the seventh time from the river Jordan Naaman was completely cleansed of his leprosy, or in other words the thing that was holding him back from full happiness. The key is simply increasing your Faith. We increase our faith most when we do three simple things.
1. Pray to our Heavenly Father daily. He is your father in Heaven and just like any other parent wants to hear from you so too does Heavenly Father. PRAY DAILY!
2. Read from you scriptures daily. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon have been given by inspiration of God and are the words of Christ. They testify of Christ, they preach of Christ. They will bring you closer to Christ. READ SCRIPTURES DAILY!
3. Keep the Sabbath Day Holy! The Lord created the earth and the Heavens in six days and on the Seventh He rested. Attend church on Sunday so you can be uplifted and edified with one another. I know that going to church, even as a missionary, helps me become rejuvenated and gives me strength to overcome my challenges. GO TO CHURCH!
    "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" (Alma 37:6)
    There are small and SIMPLE things we can do to overcome the complexities of life. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves us and that if we increase our Faith in him by doing these 3 Simple things then we will be happier!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting used to things!

     After a year and a half of not using a computer for anything but writing family, I am now going global over the internet. I will tell you what, it has definitely taken some getting used too. I was completely clueless because I have never done this before. I think I will be able to get the hang of it sometime soon. Hey, at least I have finally got my blog up, long time coming too.
    Having the experience of trying something new is both absolutely wonderful  but at the same time, a tough change. It reminds of when I first came out on my mission. I had no idea what I was doing. I hardly knew the scriptures and I definitely didnt know how to teach people using them. Likewise, I am now here, hardly remembering how to use the computer and sometimes thinking, 'Why in the world am I doing this'. But what I do know is that the Lord will bless me and he will help me accomplish everything that he would have me accomplish. It brings back the quote I heard in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. "Just Do Your Best And The Lord Will Do The Rest". I know that is true without a doubt. Until next time!