The Sacrament

The Sacrament (Communion, Eucharist, Holy Supper, et al) is the only ordinance of the gospel that we repeat over and over for ourself.  Every other ordinance we perform, we do so once for ourself, then we repeat for the dead—for those who have gone before us.  Why is that?  What is it about the Sacrament that makes it different from every other ordinance in the gospel?

I believe it is because the Sacrament is the culmination of the repentance process.  As we go through our week, every one of us sins.  Sometimes (hopefully most of the time) it is a series of little sins.  Other times (hopefully rarely) it is a more serious sin.  Regardless, partaking of the Sacrament is the final step in declaring our desire to repent, accept the Atoning Sacrifice of the Savior in our life and be forgiven.  Yes, there are other steps involved in repentance (such as speaking to the Bishop for certain sins, paying restitution, or apologizing as required), but it all ends with the Sacrament.  If we have repented correctly and fully, then when we partake of the Sacrament, we will be clean.  Just as clean as when we came out of the waters of baptism.

We find the doctrinal foundation for the Sacrament in the New Testament.

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28)

We get a second witness of the Sacrament when Christ visited the Nephites as recorded in 3 Nephi 18:1-14.

“And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him. And while they were gone for bread and wine, he commanded the multitude that they should sit themselves down upon the earth. And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples and commanded that they should eat. And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude. And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it uno the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you. And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled. And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you. And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock. But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them. Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall keep my commandments, which the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you.

What a powerful passage of scripture.  We are blessed to have the Savior’s words describing the importance of the Sacrament.  We are further blessed with a third & fourth witness of the Sacrament by Moroni & Joseph Smith.  I group these two together because they record nearly identical words regarding the Sacrament (see Moroni 4, 5 & D&C 20:77, 79)

The question then becomes how do we observe the Sacrament?  What do we do in our life that makes the Sacrament effective?  We can simply go to church, mumble the songs, rest our eyes while someone prays, and then eat the bread/drink the water, or we could invite the Spirit by raising our voices in songs of praise, invite our Father in Heaven to the meeting by actively praying in our heart while someone voices the words, and then completing the repentance process by thoughtfully partaking of the bread and water.

I have heard a couple of times recently that our observance of the Sabbath day (and of the Sacrament in particular) needs to begin on Saturday.  We need to prepare our hearts and minds to partake of the sacred emblems early.  We should pray for the spirit to witness to us.  We should honestly repent and ask for forgiveness.  We should seek after a spiritual experience as we partake of the Sacrament.

This ordinance represents the most difficult act of the Savior. The bread represents his body.  It is broken on the tray to symbolize his broken body.  We should not casually take of the bread. The water represents his blood.  The blood he freely spilled in the Garden of Gethsemane.  We are told that his agony was so great he sweat great drops of blood.  We should not casually take of the water.

My witness to you is that the Sacrament should be far more sacred, far more spiritual, far more important to us than we treat it.  Nothing else we do on the Sabbath day comes close to the importance of worthily partaking of the Sacrament.  Nothing else we do during the week is as important as the partaking of the Sacrament.  The scriptures tell us that if we bring “…one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of [the] Father” (D&C 18:15).

Every ordinance in the gospel is designed to bring souls to Christ.  But only one ordinance is designed to make sure that every other ordinance is still effective in our life.  Without the Sacrament every single week, we would be disqualified from receiving the blessings of Exaltation.

Through sin, we nullify every ordinance we have partaken of.  

Through the Sacrament, we renew every ordinance we have partaken of.  

Through the Sacrament, we enable one soul (our soul) to return to the Father.

If we treat our Endowment in the Temple with great reverence, then we should treat the Sacrament with equal reverence. If we treasure our Sealing in the Temple as the greatest day of our life, then we should treat the Sacrament with the same joy. If we desire to return to our Father in Heaven in the Celestial Kingdom to live forever with our family, then we must partake of the Sacrament and renew the covenants we’ve made with our Father in Heaven.

Be honest in your prayers, be earnest in repenting.  Ponder on the Savior each time you partake of the bread and water.

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Symbols of Christmas

What do the things we associate with Christmas mean to me? These are all my personal thoughts–they don’t represent the official doctrine of any church.

Christmas Lights: this represents the Light of Christ to the World. (John 8:12, 12:46). Check out some amazing Light displays in Washington DC, Mesa Arizona, St Louis, and around the world.

Christmas Tree: the Evergreen tree never loses it’s leaves (needles).  It is always green, reminding us of an undying life in following Christ Jesus. It is also a representation of the Tree of Life (Genesis 2:9; 1 Nephi 11:25). One of my favorite stories about Christmas trees is “Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect

Star on Christmas Tree: represents the Star of Bethlehem which guided the Wise Men

Candy Canes: there are many stories of how candy canes came to being.  I enjoy thinking that they are in the shape of a shepherd’s staff reminding us that Christ is the Good Shepherd leading us to Eternal Life

Red & White: red represents the blood of Christ freely spilt for us; white represents eternal life. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

Gift giving: Jesus gave us the ultimate gift when he atoned for our sins; the wise men came bearing gifts. We emulate his example by giving gifts

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: I believe the gold given to the Christ child financed his move to Egypt to protect him from King Herod; the Frankincense is representative of the incense burned in the Temple (which is itself a symbol of our offering to the Lord); I think of the Myrrh as the oil used to anoint the Savior

Shepherds: shepherds abide in their fields during lambing season.  Their role was to certify the first born lambs (to be offered for sacrifice).  The angels came to the shepherds because it was their job to certify the first born lamb…the Son of God.

Caroling: just as the shepherds heard “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13-14), we also sing praises to the world.

Ornaments on the tree: these represent the blessings we’ve received, the memories we’ve made. I believe the ball ornaments remind us of eternity (just as wedding rings remind us of eternity)

Santa Claus: there is much debate surrounding Father Christmas.  I like to believe that he represents the Savior–freely giving gifts to all

 

All this leads to the true reason for the season…

the Birth of Jesus Christ!

The Savior of the World born in the flesh!

#aSaviorisBorn

#HeIsTheGift

 

What Christmas Symbols do you enjoy?

 

Studying the Scriptures

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Why Should We Study the Scriptures?

The commandment to study God’s word is nothing new, it has been around since before the Savior was born and it is repeated today.

The Lord told Joshua: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

Paul instructs Timothy “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:13)

Howard W. Hunter said: “The portion of scripture known as the Old and New Testaments is often referred to as the great literature of the world. These books have been regarded to as scientific treatises, as philosophic dissertations, and also as historical records; but if we understand the true purpose of these and other scriptures, we realize that they are really the fundamental literature of religion” (Reading the Scriptures).

Clearly we should seek after and study God’s word. Some have gone to great lengths to obtain the scriptures. Moses spent 40 days and nights on Mount Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments. Lehi sent his sons back to Jerusalem (a multi-day trip one way) to retrieve the scriptures from Laban. Two young pioneer girls risked their lives to rescue portions of the Doctrine and Covenants from mobs in Independence, Missouri (Caroline & Mary Elizabeth Rollins).

Why do people go to such extremes for a book? Because they are that important.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). He goes on to tell us to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39). What better way to lean about the Savior than to read about him in the Scriptures. The teach us the qualities and characteristics we should emulate. When I was in the Air Force, I went to classes where we studied the great men throughout history. This taught me the skills and characteristics of these men (with the intent that I might develop those skills). Reading about something or someone helps us to become like that thing or person.

There are so many opportunities in today’s society to get dragged down the path of filth and obscenity. It is so easy to slip into a mentality of violence and oppression. I don’t believe that is a good way to live. I know it doesn’t make me feel good inside. Based on those feelings, I have made it one of my daily goals to shun evil and pursue good. In the words of President Marion G. Romney, “I am persuaded, my brothers and sisters, that it is irrational to hope to escape the lusts of the world without substituting for them as the subjects of our thoughts the things of the Spirit, and I know that the things of the Spirit are taught with mighty power in the Book of Mormon” (The Book of Mormon).

How Can We Study the Scriptures?

How then can we best study the Word of God? I believe there are several ways, depending on what your goal is. Remember, you should always begin scripture study with prayer. Let Heavenly Father know what your intent is and you will find you are better inspired by the Holy Spirit.

1. Study by topic. My family really enjoys choosing a topic and then finding a verse from the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants that pertain to that verse. It has been very enjoyable listening to my children find and read verses that I never would have thought of. As the saying goes, “out of the mouth of babes” (Psalm 8:2).

2. Search for answers to particular questions. The scriptures contain answers to almost every situation in life. These answers aren’t outlined in the index though, they are woven among the stories of great prophets like Daniel, Moses, Paul and Peter and require you to read and ponder upon the meaning.

3. Study the words of the Savior. Sometimes it’s good to simply read the words of the Savior. I don’t recall where I heard or read this, but someone once said that if we want to be able to recognize the voice of the Savior when we hear it, then we ought to study his words in the scriptures. This is similar to the advice given in Preach My Gospel (pg 114).

4. Start at the beginning. When all else fails, start at the beginning and go to the end. The scriptures build upon themselves. I’ll never forget when I realized that the scriptures are really just a collection of journals. That time I read the scriptures like a journal—the recordings of someone’s life—and they took on new light.

5. Study as a family and individually. Elder L. Tom Perry shared counsel on family scriptures study:

“My sincere counsel to you today is to recommit yourselves to these two basic practices…. Never let a day go by without holding family prayer and family scripture study. Put this, the Lord’s program, to the test; and see if it does not bless your home with greater peace, hope, love, and faith. I promise you that daily family prayer and scripture study will build within the walls of your home a security and bonding that will enrich your lives and prepare your families to meet the challenges of today and the eternities to come” (Back to Gospel Basics).

I like this study advice I read on the www.oneplace.com:

There are a number of ways we can study the Bible, but one of the most effective and simple approaches to reading and understanding God’s Word involves three simple steps:

Step 1: Observation—What does the passage say?

Step 2: Interpretation—What does the passage mean?

Step 3: Application—What am I going to do about what the passage says and means?

What Blessings can come from reading the Scriptures?

President Marion G. Romney once said:

I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (The Book of Mormon)

When I was in college, a mentor once promised me that if I would read the Book of Mormon for 5 minutes each day, I’d have more time to study and do better at school. I didn’t really try that back then. I have since tried that promise and have found it to be true. Spending as little as 5 minutes a day in God’s word makes a difference. This brings me to my next point: reading vs pondering.

I believe the Lord will bless you for reading the Scriptures no matter how much or how little. I also believe the blessing will be commensurate with the effort we give. If we give a “reading” effort, then we’ll receive a “reading” blessing. When we give a “pondering” effort, the Lord responds with a “pondering” blessing. Is this doctrine, no. Is this an across-the-board statement, no. But I do believe it is fundamentally true. The harder we try…the more effort we give…the greater the blessing from the Lord.

I have seen the benefits of reading from the Book of Mormon in my family. One of my children has had challenges in school. Once we began a diligent effort to read as a family every day, her studies improved. In fact, she went from repeating a grade to performing at the top of her class.

I also have a son with significant developmental delays. This past year, I resolved to read the Book of Mormon to him every day. There were days that I missed, but overall, we’ve been pretty successful. I also have seen him improve—if nothing else, he often looks forward to bedtime and his “story.” My heart is full when he refers to the scriptures as “his story” and we can read about the Savior together.

This past year I’ve tried to spend more time pondering the scriptures. It’s very cool because I find that when I start my morning with God’s word, I am more inspired in ways to fulfill my obligations. The Spirit whispers to my mind how to better serve my fellow man.

To conclude, why do we study the scriptures? In an address titled “Understanding the Importance of Scripture Study“, David A. Bednar said studying the scriptures is important to us because of:

  • The covenants we have made

  • The direction we need in our lives

  • Scripture study is a preparation for and prerequisite to receiving personal revelation

See also:

Prophetic Promises Regarding the Book of Mormon

Promises for Reading the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon – Keystone of our Religion

2 Nephi 4:14-16

Foundational Principles of the Gospel

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 

1 Corinthians 3:11

When my family moved from Colorado to Illinois, I was sent ahead of the main body as the vanguard company…primarily to secure a place to live. I spent months looking at houses. One in particular stands out in my mind. It was a nice enough house—a foreclosure, so the price was right (even if it did need a little bit of work). Then my realtor and I went into the basement and we saw a crack running across the entire width of the house. It was about ½” wide and was offset by about 1/4”. That’s when I looked at my realtor and told her we could leave. It just didn’t feel right.

The parable Jesus told about the wise and foolish men came to mind. The foolish man built his house on the sand. When the rains came and the winds blew, the house fell. The wise man, however, built his house on the rock. When the rains came and the winds blew, his house stood firm because it was built on a sure foundation (Matt 7:24-27). I knew this house had a problem with its foundation—I wasn’t willing to establish our home in a house that didn’t have a good foundation.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:

I think most of us intuitively understand how important the fundamentals are. It is just that we sometimes get distracted by so many things that seem more enticing.

“The holy scriptures and the spoken word of the living prophets give emphasis to the fundamental principles and doctrines of the gospel. The reason we return to these foundational principles, to the pure doctrines, is because they are the gateway to truths of profound meaning. They are the door to experiences of sublime importance that would otherwise be beyond our capacity to comprehend. These simple, basic principles are the key to living in harmony with God and man. They are the keys to opening the windows of heaven. They lead us to the peace, joy, and understanding that Heavenly Father has promised to His children who hear and obey Him. (Of Things that Matter Most)

I believe you can sum up the foundational principles in four bullets:

  • Exercise Faith

  • Receive the Saving Ordinances

  • Develop Christ-like attributes

  • Partake of The Atonement of Christ

The Foundational Principles

Exercise Faith

One of the best chapters in the Bible on faith is Hebrews 11.  This chapter shows the raw power that true faith can have.  It takes faith to feed the hungry, shelter the needy. Here’s the cool part…you don’t have to have a great experience to have faith. You don’t have to have visions, move mountains, or part the sea to have faith. Alma compares faith to seed. He tells us that if we no more than desire to believe, that it is sufficient (Alma 32:27). All we have to do is want to believe, then that faith will begin to grow within us. Even the Articles of Faith tell us that faith is the foundation…“We believe the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are, first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Articles of Faith 4)

Faith is not only a foundational principle, it is the foundational principle.

As an editorial note, the next two foundational principles (receiving the saving ordinances and developing Christ-like attributes) are really intertwined. You will develop Christ-like attributes as you receive the saving ordinances. For the sake of simplicity, I will discuss receiving ordinances first.

Receive the Saving Ordinances

Jesus showed us by his example the first saving ordinance: baptism.

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.(Matthew 3:16-17)

In his book, The Power to Become, Elder David A. Bednar identifies the saving ordinances as: baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, Priesthood Ordination for men, the Temple Endowment and the sealing of families in the Temple (pg 75). We should each follow the example of the Savior and strive to obtain the saving ordinances of ourselves and our family.

Develop Christ-like attributes

There are many Christ-like attributes that are worth of our emulation:

Humility, repentance, charity, love, virtue, knowledge, diligence, obedience, sacrifice, kindness, modesty, character, godliness, etc. I’ll speak on just a few of these.

In 1999, my family took shelter in the church because of Hurricane Georges. As the storm started to blow, a stranger came to our door and those in charge of the shelter let him come in. After an interview to be sure he understood the standards expected, he was given a room and remained with us until the storm was over. This was certainly the right thing to do, who wouldn’t invite a someone to take shelter? The real test came when everyone in the shelter had to give up some of their food, bedding, personal items (because he came with nothing). Amulek taught the Zoramites that after they did everything they’d been taught, they still had to have charity or everything else was in vain (Alma 34:28).

Another christlike attribute we might try to develop is kindness or friendship. A good friend from my youth once shared with me the definition of friendship he learned from my father. “A true friend” my father said “is one who will hold your place in line for the gallows.”  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

This leads to another Christlike attribute: sacrifice. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “the law of sacrifice is that we are willing to sacrifice all that we have for the truth’s sake—our character and reputation; our honor and applause; our good name among men; our houses, lands, and families: all things, even our very lives if need be” (Obedience, Consecration, and Sacrifice). We aren’t often asked to die for the Savior.

In another great hymn, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, comes the phrase “as He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free!” Today we are asked to live for Christ! Our sacrifice comes in different forms. We are asked to live for the Savior. Each time we are called to a position, we are sacrificing a part of ourselves for the Lord.

Partake of The Atonement of Christ

In my opinion, the Atonement is the most important principle of the gospel. Everything else we learn about in the gospel hinges upon the Atonement. Moroni taught that “[we] receive no witness until after the trial of [our] faith” (Ether12:6).  It is only after we develop faith, receive the saving ordinances, and develop Christ-like attributes that  the fullness of the Atonement becomes effective in our lives.

In an address titled, Teachings of Jesus, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “We understand that the Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us the opportunity to overcome the spiritual death that results from sin and, through making and keeping sacred covenants, to have the blessings of eternal life.”

These foundational principles really do build upon each other. The culmination of this earth life is the atonement. It is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we have hope of eternal life “for,” in the words of Alma, “it is expedient that an atonement should be made…or else all mankind must unavoidably perish” (Alma 34:9).

Living the Foundational Principles in Our Life

Elder Walter F. Gonzalez said “our task…continues to be seeking for the principles found in the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets and writing them ‘not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart’” (Writing Gospel Principles in our Hearts).

So where do we start? How do I write these principles in my heart? Perhaps more importantly, what should I be working on today? There is no way I can focus on every gospel principle at once…it just won’t work. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on this in October 2015. He told us to “start where you are” (It Works Wonderfully).

As we walk the path of discipleship, we have to work on the principle that we need to work on. The most important principle for you and I to focus on right now, is the principle that we are struggling with, right now. If tithing is a challenge for you today, then work on paying an honest tithe. If charity is a struggle for you now, then work showing charity. We should start where we are. And the starting point is going to be different for everyone.

The other point that President Uchtdorf made in his address was to keep it simple.

[Living the gospel] is really straightforward. It could be described like this: Hearing the word of God with earnest intent leads us to believe in God and to trust His promises. The more we trust God, the more our hearts are filled with love for Him and for each other. Because of our love for God, we desire to follow Him and bring our actions in alignment with His word…we want to bless the lives of others and help the poor and the needy. The more we walk in this path of discipleship, the more we desire to learn the word of God. (It Works Wonderfully).

Let me now close by going back to the beginning. Just as a house will fall if it is not built on a foundation of rock, we will fall if we don’t have the right foundation. The words of Helaman to his sons, Nephi and Lehi, show us the foundation we should have:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5:12)

Build your foundation on Jesus Christ. It starts with a desire to believe—demonstrating faith, which leads us to receive the saving ordinances and develop Christlike attributes. This all culminates in partaking of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Start where you are, keep it simple.

I Am a Child of God

“I am a child of God, and He has sent me here, has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear.  Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.  Help me find the way.  Teach me all that I must do to live with Him some day.”

Naomi W. Randall, I Am a Child of God

This is the first verse to one of the simplest and powerful songs I know.  How valuable to know that “I am a child of God.”  As I look around me I see so much confusion and anger.  While there are many sources for these emotions, I believe the prime source is that people have forgotten that they are children of God.

Knowing that I am a child of God helps me to see others as children of God.  It allows me to look for the good in others.  It also helps motivate me to do good.

When we lived in Colorado, we were invited to a family retreat at Christhaven Lodge.  It wasn’t long after arriving that I felt the Spirit of God.  I had found a place where my family was loved.  I had found a place where people could worship God together…in their own way. That first visit was the beginning of the opening of my eyes that we all are children of God…part of the same family.  We may worship in different chapels, we may call our Heavenly Father different names, we may pray using different words.  But we are still all part of the same family of God!

So often, we tend to group ourselves with people who think, act, or believe the same.  That isn’t always bad, but it limits our world.  Sometimes it’s good to reach beyond our circle of comfort and discover the rest of the world. Before you reach beyond your circle of comfort, however, I believe you must be firm in what you believe. You must allow the Spirit to guide you as you reach out.

I have a firm belief in God. I have no desire to change churches.  At the same time, I love to talk with people from other denominations.  Last night I took the youth from our church to another church’s Christmas presentation, The Bethlehem Journey.  I think there were some in my congregation who questioned taking the youth to another church. The presentation we saw was doctrinally correct.  There was nothing said or done that contradicted anything within our dogma.

For me, reaching beyond my circle of comfort isn’t something I do to question my beliefs, it is something I do to share my beliefs.  How can you preach the gospel if everyone you know and associate with already believes the same as you?  How can you teach anyone anything if everyone already believes what you know?

As we each wander through this field of life, we must hold firmly to the iron rod.  At the same time, we reach out to those we pass by and invite them to join us on the path because we are all children of the same God.

Knowing that I am a child of God, helps me to feel the love of God. In an address to the women of the Church, President Thomas S. Monson said:

Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.

I know that I am a child of God.  Because I know this, I know:

  • God loves you & me
  • God wants good things for you & me
  • You & I have potential

See also:

Deuteronomy 14:1 – “Ye are the children of the Lord your God”

Galatians 3:26 – “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:14 – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”