Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Power of the Adversary

Years ago I became acquainted with a man who taught a lot about the power of the adversary and how he works in our lives.  Since that time I have done a lot of reading and studying about his role in these last days and how he seeks to make us miserable like unto himself.

For those not of my faith, let me briefly share our belief in the 'plan of salvation'.  We lived with God, our Father, as spirit children, before we came to earth.  We were taught and nurtured and loved.  Yet, we couldn't fully progress without a body.  We agreed to come to earth - to receive a body and have a mortal experience - to see if we would choose good over evil.  In order to do so most effectively - we'd have to live by faith; meaning that a 'veil' would be drawn over us at birth and we'd forget what we used to know.  But, as we heard it again, or relearned it, it would 'ring true' to our souls.  And, a Savior would be provided for when we made mistakes and needed to repent.

Also, we were given a gift of conscience and the Holy Spirit as our guide.  It would lead us along paths of righteousness - if we would not dismiss it by our unbelief.

Fast forward - years into our lives - and many challenges we each face.  Some face, perhaps, more difficult challenges than others'.  We don't always know all the reasons why but some are because of our own choices and things we may have wanted or 'agreed' to learn, some are because of the choices of others' and life circumstances.

Nevertheless, we are free to choose light or dark, good or evil.  And, the 'Adversary' (Satan) who was with us in the beginning (before we came to earth - and he choose evil) - never received the gift of a body.  And...wants us to hate ours.  He is filled with wrath and all manner of evil.  His whole goal is to destroy us - and 'win' our souls.  All he does is with the purpose of leading us astray and getting us to do things that are destructive and, ultimately, damning (the state of being stopped in one's progress).

Life is a great gift; filled with a mixture of joys and triumphs, sorrows, toils, and griefs.  We are here to 'learn from our own experience' to choose the good over the evil.

Satan, the adversary, father of all lies; etc - seeks for our destruction.  He does this from thousands of years of experience - how to tempt and to try us.  What can he get each of us to do to falter or fail?  How can he cause us discouragement and despair?

Probably most of us have experienced a myriad of emotions on this journey.  I know that I have.  And, I have learned the pain and sorrow and sin as well as the joy of hope and faith - thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It is the greatest gift we could have.  And, it's accessible to us all.  That is the greatest joy of all.

Repented sin brings a peace and joy that is available in no other way.  In His goodness and mercy - He wants to bless and comfort us.  And, he knows that by us aligning our lives and our will with His - we will have the ultimate blessings of eternal life once again with Him.

This is, perhaps, the biggest difference between us and some other faiths.  We invite all to learn of these things and see if they feel right.  Sincere prayer - to our Father in Heaven who LOVES us - and has made this perfect plan for us (and, who, yes, has a tangible body of flesh and bones - as He is our Father) - is full of grace and truth and will continue to do all He can to help us 'make it back' to Him.  And, part of that is how we choose to live and worship Him in our lives...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Peace in a Troubled World

How do we find Peace in troubled world?  What has caused the world to be troubled?  What are we to learn from it all?

In Doctrine and Covenants section 84 we read
 49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.
 50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.
 51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
 52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
 53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.

Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, is the 'author' of all peace and righteousness.  If we turn to Him, we too, can have those blessings.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Importance of Kindness

For the past few days I've been pondering on the importance of Kindness in our lives.  I've re-learned for myself that it is one of the fruits of the Spirit - along with long-suffering and gentleness.

Galatians 5:22-23  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..."

It's 'easy' to become judgmental and critical of others'.  That is true especially if we are without the Spirit in our lives.  On those occasions we may do well to remember that when we're filled with the Spirit of God - we have love for others' and we see them through clearer lenses.

President Thomas S. Monson counseled:
"Unfortunately, there are those who feel it necessary to criticize and to belittle others. You have, no doubt, been with such people, as you will be in the future. My dear young friends, we are not left to wonder what our behavior should be in such situations. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior declared, “Judge not.” At a later time He admonished, “Cease to find fault one with another.” It will take real courage when you are surrounded by your peers and feeling the pressure to participate in such criticisms and judgments to refrain from joining in."

Most of us have probably experienced both sides of criticism; as the criticizer or the recipient.  Either of those brings us turmoil.  And, when we are the recipient of it - it's often difficult to know what to do and how to repair the damage.  Sometimes it's not in our control to do so - and we may suffer in silence.

I recently had an experience like this where the only sure comfort I could get was from the Lord himself.  He answered my deep prayer and comforted my troubled soul.

This morning we discussed the 'fruits of the Spirit' as a family - in our devotional.  I shared with my 3 teenagers my testimony that this is a true principle and that we can find true joy and happiness only through these beloved principles.  Any other way is not of God and will not bring us what we search for; true peace and everlasting happiness.

Only through the gospel of Jesus Christ - can we find the peace and joy that is everlasting and a fulness.  Some other paths may lead in that direction - and those are good.  We are grateful for goodness from wherever it comes.  But, it is my deep belief, and actual conviction, that anything other than these truths - are not the things that will save or really comfort us.  For this understanding I am deeply grateful.  It has changed my whole life.