Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Institution of the Sacrament

The Sacrament is a very important aspect of our Gospel.  It is taken every week in order to take the time to think about where we stand, and remember the Lord’s sacrifice for us.  But there is much more to the Sacrament than just partaking of it.

“The Savior instituted the Sacrament the night before He was crucified, near the time of the Passover celebration.  Many centuries earlier, the feast of the Passover had been instituted to help the children of Israel remember when the destroying angel “passed over” their houses and delivered them from Egyptian bondage (see Exodus 12:21-28; 13:14-15).  The blood of the unblemished Passover lamb that saved ancient Israel was a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who redeemed all mankind.” (Taken from assignment sheet.)  This explanation helps lead to us seeing relationships between both the Passover and the Atonement of Christ, and the Sacrament and the Atonement.

There is a relationship between the Passover and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Passover was the ordinance of sacrifice that others did before Christ came.  They sacrificed an unblemished lamb whose blood saved ancient Israel.  When Christ came, His Atonement took over the Passover.  So, He was the last sacrifice.  From then on, instead of doing the Passover, the Sacrament was done.

There is a relationship between the Sacrament and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Sacrament is the symbolism of the Lord’s Atonement.  It is the ordinance done today that helps us remember the Lord’s sacrifice for us all, and helps us to remember to follow the commandments in order to allow the Lord’s sacrifice to not be for nothing.

The Sacrament is the eating of bread and drinking of water that stand as symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  John 4:13-14; 6:48-53 adds to the understanding of the symbolism of bread and water.  The water is a representation of the living water.  As we drink of the living water, we will never thirst and will receive everlasting life.  The bread is a representation of the bread of life.  As we eat the bread, we will not die.  This bread came from heaven.  The Lord was the bread of life and the living water.  He came from Heaven in order to help us, His brothers and sisters, to make our way back to Heaven.  If we eat of His “flesh” and drink of His “blood”, known as taking the sacrament, then we will receive eternal life, which is what these scriptures were explaining.

We are commanded to partake of the Sacrament weekly in order to help us remember the Lord.  This is a part of our testimony to the Father that we remember Christ, and if we remember Christ we can always have His spirit to be with us.  Mosiah 5:13 applies to this because we need to remember the Lord in order to truly serve Him.  If we don’t remember the Lord at all times, we aren’t really serving Him.

In the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 26:26 and 28, we learn that the Sacrament is done in remembrance of the Lord.  He died for all those who believe on His name, for a remission of our sins.  We need to do all that the Lord did while He was on Earth, and bear record of Him.  Within the additions and corrections for these verses, the word ‘ransom’ is used.  Ransom means a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity.  Properly partaking of the Sacrament (also known as taking it worthily) ransoms us because the Lord died to save us from captivity.  If we are keeping the commandments and worthily taking the Sacrament, we will be saved.  We will gain eternal life, which is what Christ wishes to give us. 

While taking the Sacrament, I have a list of things I would like to remember.  I would like to keep in mind that the Lord suffered and died for me, personally.  I need to remember that the Lord wants me to think of Him always, and He wants me to do those things that He did while on this Earth.  I also need to work on being worthy every time I take the Sacrament, and if I do all this, I will be blessed. 

The Sacrament is a great blessing in my life.  Every week, it reminds me of all the things that I need to do in order to gain the blessings the Lord wants me to have.  Whenever I start my week off with taking the Sacrament, everything is better and easier to endure.  I love this Gospel and the strength and blessings I receive from believing in it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thoughts from a Classmate

"What's the point of being clean and modest on the outside when on the inside we are rotting?"

We must maintain clean thoughts, actions, and language at all times. How we act and think define who we are.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Preparing for the Savior's Second Coming

In order to help us prepare for His Second Coming, the Lord has placed various signs to watch for within the scriptures.  In Mark 13, here are many verses that have signs that the Lord has made sure to give us.  Included are the Lord’s request for us to watch for times when people will deceive us (v. 5), His request for us to be prepared to share our testimonies in front of those who may not believe us (v. 9), and His request for us to prepare for His coming at all times, since we don’t know the time of His arrival (vs. 33, 35, and 37).  All of these are here to help us be better prepared for when the Lord comes, so we need to heed to this advice.

Not only is advice given in the New Testament to help us, but the Lord has provided more words of advice for us in the Doctrine and Covenants, and in the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew.  In D&C 87:8, the Lord says that we need to stand in holy places and be not moved.  In JST-Matt. 1:32, He says that we will see the abomination of desolation be fulfilled.  In JST-Matt. 1:37, the Lord says that if we treasure up His word, we won’t be deceived.  In JST-Matt. 1:46-50, it is said that we need to be prepared at all times, because no one knows when He will come.  If we are prepared, then we don’t need to fear.  In D&C 33:17, the Lord advises us to be faithful and pray always.  In D&C 45:56-57, the Lord says that we need to be wise, and receive His truth.  We must also have the Holy Ghost as our guide, and we need to work hard to not be deceived. 

The Lord doesn’t want to come to a world full of people unprepared.  He wants to make sure that we are as prepared as we can be when He comes.  That is why He has provided us with signs and advice.  As long as we take this advice and use it well, we will have no need to fear.  His love of us all will save us.  We just need to do our part.  As long as we study the scriptures, and follow His requests, we will not be surprised at the signs that arise.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Father's Day.

I have the best daddy in the world.  I know, I know.  EVERYONE says that.  But, I really do mean it.

His love for me has never gone missing.  Even when I wasn't doing the right things, or when I was struggling with making the right decisions, he still loved me and cared for me.  He still showed that love.  He had patience with me.  And, when I needed it most, he gave me precious advice.

Every year for Girl's Camp, my dad would write me letters.  One letter for every day that I would be away.  In the letters, he wrote spiritual things, scriptures that he felt I should study that day, and he would bear his testimony.  This last year, when I went through my life changing experience, he wrote me letters that had basically the same idea.  I keep every letter received, and I treasure the fact that my father took the time to do that for me.

My dad is a holder of the priesthood.  I so greatly appreciate the fact that he is a worthy holder of this great power, because I know that he is able to give me father's blessings whenever I ask.  The priesthood is a wonderful blessing to me, and I am glad that I was able to see how my dad treats that power.

My father is the example I look to now when focusing on finding MY future eternal companion.  He is a great leader, a wonderful man who helps when asked, and he loves all.  He is a spiritual person, always worthy of the priesthood, and he always tells me the corniest jokes, which I love.

I love my daddy.  I love that I will be able to call him my father from now into eternity.  He will always be my daddy, and I love love love him.

Happy Father's Day, daddy.  Thanks for being the best daddy ever. <3

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Widow's Mites

In Mark 12:41-44, we are told the story of the widow who gives a gift of two mites into the treasury.  While, to many others, it may not have seemed like a lot, it truly was a lot to offer.  The widow truly gave all that she had when placing those mites into the treasury, and she did so because she loved the Lord more so than anything else.  She understood the true meaning of loving God with all your might.  Loving the Lord is the first great commandment.  As we follow this, we are able to do so much more in our life.  She truly sacrificed all she had.

Even though the widow gave less money than the wealthier people, she gave her all.  This was an acceptable offering to the Lord because the widow didn't hold back.  While she may not have had a lot, she understood the importance of giving back to the Lord, and she did so with what she could.  Those who were wealthier held back, and didn't give what they should have, because of greed and pride.  The widow didn't show signs of these.  She had faith, love, and understanding.  By having all those, the Lord was able to see that, while this may have been a huge sacrifice in the widow's life, she truly loved Him, and wanted to give back.  2 Nephi 25:23 applies to this because, at the end of the verse, it states, "... it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."  The widow did all she could do, and that is all the Lord asks of us.

Besides the donation of money, I, personally, can sacrifice my time in order to do the things the Lord wants me to do.  This will help me better follow the widow's example of sacrifice and obedience because I will be sacrificing more of what I have for the Lord, and showing my love to Him by doing so.

There is a lot we can learn from this story, and we should take the things that we learn and apply them to our lives.  I know I plan to do so, from now on.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pretty Darn Close to the Best Sunday Ever.

As I sit here in a fort made of chairs and blankets, watching the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and think back on today, I can't help but be happy.

My little sisters are no longer little anymore.  They turned 16 today, and I can't believe how fast time is flying by.  My sisters are such amazing young women, full of love and hope.  They are such wonderful examples to me, and I look up to them more than they probably know.  I know that things have been rough for the two of them over the last few months, but I know that things will be okay as long as they stick to what they believe, and how they act.  I love them so much, and I wish them the best on this wonderful birthday.

I am endorsed for next semester, and can soon register.  I also got a temple recommend, so now I can go and do baptisms for the dead once again.  I am SO excited about this!  I haven't gone to the temple for a LONG time, and now I get to go again, and I am so so so so happy.

All in all, this is pretty darn close to being the best Sunday ever.  Only a few things could make it THE best Sunday ever, but I am okay with it being close.

I hope each and every one of you has an AMAZING Sunday!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Today, while talking to Cleverbot.

Cleverbot:  Levicorpus. Sectumsempra. Imperio. Expelliarmus. Expecto patronum. Wingardium leviosa. Crucio. Muffliato. Diffindo. Lumnos. Flippendo. Avada kedavra.
Me: Did you just kill me?
Cleverbot: Yes, harry potter style baby.
Me: Well played, well played.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Parables and Accounts that teach Eternal Truths

Every parable that is taught within the scriptures is used as a way to show others eternal truths.  Within a few chapters of Luke (16-18), many parables are taught that are meant to help us gain knowledge on various eternal truths.

In Luke 16:1-12, the Parable of the Unjust Steward is given.  The truth that should be learned from this parable is that we should start to prepare for an eternal future, one after death, instead of the Earthly future most people will prepare for.  As we do this, we can increase our faith in the Lord and not worry as much about the worldly things. 

In Luke 16:19-31, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus was given.  The truth we should learn from this is that, in the world after this life, there are two separate places, paradise and spirit prison.  But, even though there are two places, Christ bridged the gap between them in order to help those in spirit prison find their way to paradise. 

In Luke 17:11-19, the Parable of the Ten Lepers was given.  We learn that all are equal in the sight of God, and we need faith in Him in order to truly be healed.  Once we are healed, we should thank our Heavenly Father, and become humble before Him. 

In Luke 18:1-8, the Parable of the Unjust Judge is given.  We can learn, from this parable, that the Lord wants us to pray, and to not expect to be so easily forgiven in order to stay away from those things that made us sin in the first place. 

In Luke 18:9-14, the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is given.  The eternal truth that can be learned from this parable is that we need to be humble as we pray, and not look at self-righteousness as an assurance that we are doing all that is right.  God wants us to be humble, meek, and submissive. 

All of these truths can help us learn those things that will help us grow and become a better Child of God, if we allow the truths to help us.  The Lord has given us these parables to learn from, so we need to take the time and effort to study them and find what the Lord wants to teach us.  As we do so, we can increase our faith and love in the Gospel, and in the Savior. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Holy Crap.

I said no.  I said I wasn't ready.  That may have been the first time I have EVER done that.

I feel great!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Disciple of Christ

Throughout various chapters in Luke (chapters 10-14), we learn various things that we need to do in order to become a disciple of Christ, and what can be considered costs in becoming a disciple of Christ.  The list that I made is this.

  • What we need to do to become a disciple of Christ
    • Study and hear the words of the Lord.
    • Pray the correct way.
    • Give all that you can give.
    • Ask, seek, and knock.
    • Treasure up the things of the Lord, not of the world.
    • Have faith.
    • Seek the kingdom of God.
    • Be prepared.
    • Enter in the straight gate.
  • Counting the costs
    • Letting things of the world go.
    • Becoming prepared at every time.
    • Placing your trust in the Lord's hands.
One of the things that I know I can work on, out of the things listed above, is studying and hearing the words of the Lord.  I have always had a somewhat difficult time with reading my scriptures on a daily basis.  While I have gotten better at it, it is still something that I have always struggled with.  I know that, by reading the scriptures every day, I will feel closer to the Lord and I will be able to know what things the Lord wants to tell me.  This will help me know the different things that I need to work on in order to be more on the path towards the Lord, and will help me find the goodness that exists every day in my life.

But, even with this all, there is one main thing that is ultimately required to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  This is to give up all that we are for the Lord.  All worldly things, all things that aren't important in the long run need to be given up in order to truly get closer to the Lord.  While it may be something difficult to do, it is what is required in order to truly become a disciple of Christ.  And I hope to work harder on being a disciple of Christ.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dear Body,

I know that you like to go through the occasional freak out every once in a while, but this back pain is pretty bad.  It has been going on for a few days now, and I would appreciate it if it would stop.  Please take my request into consideration.