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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Seeing Is Believing

We are all familiar with the old adage,
"Seeing is Believing."  

Are you one of those persons who has to see something to believe it is true?

If your friend told you, "Hey, I just baked the most amazing cake.  Would you believe or would you need to see it (maybe taste too)?  or "I just saw the most beautiful rainbow outside."  Would you need to look outside to see if there was a rainbow?

Do you need proof, to see for yourself, before you can believe something is true? It is probably safe to assume most of us need to see to believe.  But, is that true in all aspects of our lives, or can we trust?

Are there things that you haven't seen for yourself, but know they are true?  How about the Great Wall of China.  Have you seen it?  I know China exists and I have heard about the Wall, but I have not seen it.  Or, dinosaurs.  I feel confident in saying none of us lived during the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth.  I have seen pictures and replicas, so I have hope and faith these things are true. So I can surmise they are true without seeing for myself.  

These are two different examples of believing without seeing.  So are there other areas where we don't need to see to believe?  Think about that for a moment. 

Now, lets change "seeing is believing" to
"Believing is Seeing."

If we believe in something, will we be able to reach farther and see, or understand more?

Do you believe the scriptures in the New Testament are true without having lived in that time?  

In Hebrews 11:1 we read,
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

So, we can say we have hope and then upon further research we have faith things we have not seen or experienced for ourselves are true.

Read in Alma 32:21,
"And now as I said concerning faith-faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things, therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."

The more hope and faith we have will lead us to studying the scriptures and pondering what we have read.  We began to understand more....we began to see. To see with spiritual eyes.  We will not only have hope and faith, but we will know.

The first step to knowing is to have faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  When Joseph Smith was but a boy of only 14, he wanted to know what was true.  He read in,
James 1:5-6
5  "If any of you lack wisdom, let his ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

Joseph had the faith to pray to his Father in Heaven.  He had not seen God, but he knew He existed.  He knew the promise in the New Testament was true.

Like Joseph Smith, we too can receive answers, if we have faith.  And like Joseph our knowledge will be increased as we remain faithful and study the scriptures.

BELIEVING IS SEEING things of the spirit.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Oh, the Things You Can Do With a Hanger!

In the New York South Mission there are 9 zones.  Every 6 weeks we have mega zone conferences with two or three zones.

I have mentioned in an earlier blog that we are given 20 minutes at each conference to teach important principles concerning missionary apartments and how to maintain and clean them.  We try to make our presentation fun and informative.  As we reviewed the telephone calls from missionaries the previous 6 weeks, 4 problems seemed to dominate the conversations.  Bugs...vacuums...clogged drains, and toilets that don't flush.

My dear companion, Elder Johnson, was so sweet in asking me to cover the topics of drains and toilets.  Neither are great topics to cover, especially during the lunch hour.  How to make it fun???

Years ago, when I had a sink that would not drain, Richard took a wire clothes hanger and devised a simple tool with a hook on the end.  Just insert the tool in the drain and because of the hook on the end, you can pull out all sorts of "gunk" from the drain.  The sister missionaries all have beautiful long hair so their sinks are always clogging. Richard made one for each sister missionary (I added the ribbon).  They were delighted.  We told the elders when in the not too distant future they will have wives and daughter who will come to them with clogged sinks, and they too can become heroes.  The mission president thought we should go on the TV show Shark Tank, in which inventors and investors are brought together to compete on which invention will be promoted and financed. Who knows........


AMAZING....AMAZED!

Yesterday, at church we sang, "I Stand All Amazed" for the sacrament hymn.  It is one of my favorite hymns.

I pondered how amazing the blessings that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with because He love us....we are His children.  I think of the beauties of the earth, the air we breathe, all the comforts we enjoy, beautiful music, our families and friends, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Think of the Old Testament.  The scriptures written by prophets of old, their lives and the world they lived in, and most importantly, a record of God's revelations to them and His children both living and yet to be born. One of my favorites in the Old Testament is Psalms.
Psalm 8:3-9
3  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7  All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8  The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas,
9  O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

And how beautiful is the New Testament.  Therein we learn about the birth, life and atoning sacrifice of the promised Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Gospel of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  In these scriptures we learn by word and example of Christ's many attributes, and are challenged to become like Him by being more loving, more charitable, more patient and forgiving, more obedient, and rendering more service to others.  He set the example of how we should live, and He taught these same principles through parables.  Through His works He taught love and compassion.
I Corinthians 13:1-13
1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a thinking cymbal.
2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Please turn to your own scriptures for the remaining verses.  They are beautiful...

How do we show love to our Father in Heaven?  Simply by following His commandments.  Through following His commandments we will find joy beyond measure.  And it can and should be so easy.  But, we are human. Because we are not perfect, we make wrong choices.  We transgress the law.  Does this mean we are doomed?   Is it too late?  Never!  Our savior became our advocate to the Father and through His grace satisfied justice by suffering for our sins if we will but repent and have faith.  His atonement not only save us from our sins, but assures us that He understands our sorrows and pains and we are comforted thereby.  What a blessing!

My favorite scriptures are found in the Book of Mormon.  The writings of the Book of Mormon were specifically written for us!  They teach us about Lehi and his sons as they travel from Jerusalem to the promised land...America.  We learn of their blessings, trials, and wars.  These scriptures teach us when we follow the commandments and remain faithful we will be blessed.  We learn when we have trials and sorrows, our Heavenly Father will be with us and comfort us.

I love how the plan of salvation is explained in 2 Nephi 2 and the atonement and judgement in 2 Nephi 9.  I marvel at the faith of the brother of Jared, the wisdom of King Benjamin, the strength of Alma, the testimony of his son and the sons of Mosiah, the leadership and bravery of Helaman and his 2,000 stripling warriors, Mormon and his son Moroni watching the destruction and end of their people.  I could go on and on.

How blessed we are to live in this dispensation when the Book of Mormon came forth through the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He was the latter day prophet who was visited by  the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He was chosen to transcribe the Book of Mormon so that we could have these valuable scriptures today.  He was commissioned to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people living in these the latter days.

We are so blessed and loved by our Father in Heaven.  We are His children and He wants us to return to Him.  He has made it so easy and asks so little of us. Follow His commandments and the example of His son, Jesus Christ. In return we are promised the richest of blessings....eternal life with our Father.