Saturday, April 19, 2014

Because of Him

"Mom, what do you want for your birthday?" We would ask every year.

"I just want you all to be nice to each other," She would reply.

We would usually get her a few nice smelling candles, and occasionally we would pitch in for something nicer to buy and give together. Sometimes it was something for the kitchen, sometimes it was a pet (dad was never too happy about that one) and sometimes silly cards would accompany a silly gift.

When I was younger, I used to think that my mom didn't ask for anything but us being nice to our siblings because she just didn't like anyone to spend money on her. I thought measly little candles and trinkets weren't important to her, and if we spent more money on her and bought her bigger and better things, she would be happier.

But as I've grown and learned more about my mother and about my God, I've come to see my mother's response in a different light.

Matthew 22:39
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt alove the Lord thy God with all thy bheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind.
 38 This is the first and great acommandment.
 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt alove thy neighbour as thyself.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to love Him. He wants us to trust Him and do what He says. Sometimes when we asks our earthly parents or our Heavenly Parent why we have to do something, the response is "Because I said so." It's frustrating sometimes and we don't always understand, but it's rare that a parent will give a rule or tell us that we can or can't do something because they want to hurt us. They do it because they see the bigger picture, they know what lies down certain paths, they've experienced heartaches and pains and they don't want those things for us. They see consequences short term and long term and they want us to walk down paths that will lead us to joy and fulfillment and success.

Our Heavenly Father is no different. He sees EVERYTHING, He sees the consequences long-term and short-term. He sees what will make us happy and He wants us to trust Him and what He says. He just wants us to be happy!! When He tells us "Because I said so," or "Because I know better," we would be smart to listen to Him.

Likewise, He wants us to love each other. He wants the Spirit to be present in our lives and in our homes. He wants each and every one of us to eventually return to live with Him. He knows that living with Him will make us happier than anything else.

Can you imagine a world where everyone loves each other? Think about it for a second. If every single person was motivated by the love that they have for God and for each other, life would be pretty darn good! There would still be problems with physical ailments, but if the entire world were motivated by love...

The single greatest act of all of earth's history was motivated by pure and perfect love.

Because of Him, we CAN love each other. We can overcome our weaknesses and help others overcome theirs because He performed the Atonement and set the example for how we should live.

And most importantly, because of His love, we can be perfectly happy and return to live with our loving Heavenly Father again. And we can be there forever.

And it's all made possible because Christ loved his brothers and sisters.

Discover what else is possible Because of Him by checking out this website and the life-changing video attached! And love your friends and family members enough to share with them what Christ has done to help them to be happier!

Monday, February 10, 2014

God is our loving Heavenly Father

Who is God?
The simple answer is that He is our loving Father in Heaven. He was with us before this life, so He knows us, and who we are and who our spirits were more than anyone else does. He is aware of our constant efforts to do good and to live like we think we should. He also knows what we can do, how we can love, and what we can say to help us to be happy! 
I know that my Father in Heaven loves me, and I know He loves you. I know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. As members of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we learn a special song while we're in primary. It's called "I am a Child of God" (You can listen to it here, or you can watch this adorable video that I LOVE here). It touches my heart when I hear small children singing this beautiful song. Think about it, children who know hardly anything about life know that they are children of an all knowing, all loving Father in Heaven! Lately, though, I've found such joy in hearing older people sing this song, especially people who have only recently come to the knowledge of their Father in Heaven, or of people who have a new understanding of Him and have started to build a relationship with Him. I asked my friend about his relationship with God, and he wrote his neat story of how He came to the knowledge of God and of God's restored gospel :)
 "I was a normal kid all my life, I never really believed in a God, or whatsoever, but I’ve always wondered if there may be a bigger power… I have never found an answer. As I have decided to become part of an exchange program to experience something new, a wonderful family in American Fork, Utah thought I’d fit in with their family and decided to become my American Host Family. I’ve enjoyed many wonderful experiences with them, that I’ve never had with my own family, I’ve felt loved and REALLY HAPPY, but I didn’t know why. 
Throughout the year I’ve heard a lot of talks during sacrament meeting in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints about how the gospel brings them true happiness. I wondered what that meant…. 
Just a week before I would leave back to my home country, Switzerland, I was invited to AFY, which is like EFY, but just for the Youth of my former Stake I lived in. It was a really great time being with my friends for a last little while longer, and I enjoyed many more moments with them. 
During the Testimony meeting we were singing the EFY Medley of 2011, everyone started crying, and I felt really weird during that time because I didn’t know why, and what was going on. Moments later I felt this strong peace, warmth feeling inside of me, I’ve felt my hear grow 10000x bigger than its normal size, I was worried, but I have felt how the Spirit of the Holy Ghost had testified to me, He had answered my prayer of what is true in this world, where I should be, and what I should do. 
Ever since that day, I have been reminded that if we truly seek for truth, and ask Him with a sincere prayer. He will answer us. 
I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, NO MATTER WHAT I DO, He will unconditionally love me for all eternity, He has a plan for me, I have realized that His way is far greater than what I have planned in life for myself. He loves YOU too, even if you’ve never talked to Him before, He’ll listen if you pray. Amen."
I know that what my friend said was true. We have a Father in Heaven who loves us. We can find Him through prayer, through scripture study, and especially through living His commandments. He is always, ALWAYS there for you. You're never in a hole too deep that the Savior's atonement can't help you get out of, or that will make Heavenly Father love you less.
 If you have any questions, either ask them in the comments section of this post, or go here to invite missionaries to come to your house and teach you :) They're there to help you! Use them!

Friday, December 20, 2013

What will you give Him for Christmas?

What is your favorite part of the Christmas season?

I love the warm smells of hot chocolate, spicy cider, freshly baked cookies. I love curling up under warm covers in the chill of the night. I love helping my mom set out the presents. I love waking up on Christmas morning to check my stocking with my brothers and sisters. I love the pretty decorated trees and learning about the traditions that other families have.

However, my very favorite part of Christmas came when the Christmas decoration boxes came out. I would excitedly look inside and help my mom find places for everything. There was the tree and the tinsel and the special table cloths and the lights. The Santa's and reindeer and elves. The bells and poinsettias and holly.

And then my mom, my siblings and I would start to find room for the nativity sets. There were ceramic ones, wood ones, marble ones. There were large ones and small ones, some that had many pieces and some that were Mary, Jesus, and Joseph all clinging to one another in love and adoration. There were ones that were carefully hand painted, some that didn't have faces that left the viewer to imagine the emotions of that night, and some that were fun and festive. I would lovingly set them out, placing all of the people and animals of the particular set around the tiny baby Jesus, who was always the highlight of the scene. When I would walk past these joyful scenes in my house, I would often take a moment to pause and take them in and feel something warm growing in me. I have always felt happy when looking at those scenes, even when I was little and didn't exactly understand what they meant.

As I've grown older, I've come to know my Savior Jesus Christ. I've felt His influence in my life and the comfort and support in my trials. I've seen His pure love working in others, and I've seen it changing me and helping me to BECOME who He knows that I can become.

This year I have thought about what I can give my Savior this Christmas. What does He want from me? What can I do to help Him? How can I follow His example better?

So I leave you with the same questions. What does Christ want from you? What can you do to help Him? How can you follow His example better?

Answer in the comments below!! :)

If you know of anyone who would benefit from a message about Christ, or if you yourself would, go to this link and send in some info :) Ask the missionaries, they can help you!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Answering My Father's Call

When I had just received my driver's license and was on the road for the first time, I found myself shortly afterwards in need of buying gas for my car. I stopped at the gas station and put my card into the card reader, typed in my information, opened my gas tank, and went to fill up. To my surprise and confusion, the pump didn't do anything. No gas was going into the tank. So I tried again. After a moment of trying everything I could think of, I called my dad in frustration. Through the phone, I told him what my problem was and asked him for help. He told me a few things to try but I was upset and nothing was helping, so I hung up the phone and left the gas station, not having been given the information that I wanted in the way that I wanted it.

I tried to fill up my gas at the same gas station a day later and, in frustration again, finally went in to the gas station and asked the man at the front desk to help me. He came out and showed me the way, doing the one thing that I hadn't done and hadn't known to do.

Different gas stations have different procedures. They all do generally the same things, but there are a few different steps that vary from station to station, such as needing to pull up the lever in some, put a zip code into another, or pushing separate buttons. Sometimes you have to ask for the receipt, sometimes the receipts are automatically given to you, and sometimes the machine will ask you if you want a receipt.

Sometimes it's hard when we pray to be able to wait for the answer. Sometimes the answer we receive doesn't come the way we want it and sometimes it isn't the answer we want. But God asks us to pray, and then, if we pray with faith that we will receive an answer and with the intent to act on the answer that we receive, He will give it to us.

I have been blessed to know of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have seen miracles happen and I have felt peace in my heart. But it came through action and through doing what I know Heavenly Father has taught me.

I know that Heavenly Father loves me and that He wants me to happy. And I know that He has given me His gospel so that I can reach that joy and that happiness that He intends for me to have. I know that the same applies to you, too.

I encourage you to pray to our Heavenly Father tonight. Pray to be able to gain knowledge and wisdom. Pray for strength or peace. Pray for anything and have faith that He will answer your prayers. I testify that as you do, He will bless you far more than you can imagine!

Also check out Elder Mark Knobbe's blog post about prayer. It's a good one!

And if you're feeling REALLY adventurous, go and read Elder Nathan Nelson's blog post about rules and principles and how they connect with each other. Apply it to yourself with God's commandment to pray day and night 2 Nephi 9:52!