Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Peace and Joy of Knowing The Savior Lives

I'm back! It has been crazy the last couple of months but I am filled with so much joy and gratitude that I can't help but share a few thoughts. Christmas time is my favorite time in the whole world! I love giving gifts and enjoy time with family and friends! I especially love at this time to share music and praises unto our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful that we publicly set time to remember His birth and to remember what the birth really means to each one of us. I hope that we can ALWAYS remember Him and that this Christmas season can spark something new and something extraordinary that you can emulate from the Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him with all of my heart, might, mind, and soul. I hope to get to know Him even better....

The ensign printed for this month is remarkable and I have been able to feel the true spirit of Christmas this season and I am overwhelmed with the feeling of love for others and gratitude for all we have because of Him who died for us. If we were wise we would still seek Him.... Christmas brings joy and happiness to all but, there is still room for joy and happiness throughout our entire lives even in the hardest of times.

Elder Russell M. Nelson put it plainly,"Difficult days are ahead. Sin is on the increase. Paul forsaw that members of the Church would endure persecution. Peter counseled,"If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf". As Jesus descended below all things in order to rise above all things, He expects us to follow His example. Yoked with Him, each of us can rise above all of our challenges, no matter how difficult they may be." (emphasis added)

Yes, difficult days are ahead. It is clear that we will be persecuted for choosing to do as the Savior has done, BUT let us NOT be ashamed...we will rise above all things because Christ has risen and because He is aware of us individually and collectively. He knows with perfect understanding how to help us rise above and conquer. We can ONLY rise above what is set within our course if we CHOOSE to be "Yoked with Him". We must let Him in.

Elder Nelson goes on to say," Considering all that the Savior has done--and still does--for us, what can we do for Him? The greatest gift we could give to the Lord at Christmas, or at any other time, is to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, worthy to attend His holy temple. And His gift to us will be the peace of knowing that we are prepared to meet Him, whenever that time comes." (emphasis added)

I am hit with "WOW!" as I read this over and over again. We aren't asked to give much...except what He has already given us. It was by Him and ONLY through Him that we were given gift to choose for ourselves, and the greatest gift we could give to Lord is to choose to be unspotted from the world and worthy to enter His house? Isn't it interesting that Christ would bleed from every pour and die on the cross for each of us and all He asks of us it to keep His commandments in being unspotted from the world and be worthy of His house? Think about the temple alone and the privileged blessings we have from attending. He asks us to be worthy to partake of his Sacred and Holy blessings and covenants when in reality we should already have the desire to go and to be there all the time because the blessings are SURE. He expects us to be unspotted from the world... to live in the world but not be of  the world. Does the world offer everlasting life, happiness, peace, and joy? Does it offer to sacrifice itself for you and then love you with a capacity that you cannot even fathom? Then why do we worship and idolize the world? We have to remember that THIS IS NOT our home. We have a Heavenly Father and a Savior Jesus Christ who deserve our praises. We owe it to our Heavenly Father and our Savior to worship them and to stand as witnesses of them at ALL times, in ALL things, and in ALL places. They offer all that the world cannot. The world is a counterfeit of true happiness. The "worldly" is Satan's temporary happiness. We are not here to sell ourselves short. If we could just give Christ those two things then we will, in return, be blessed with an even greater gift of peace in knowing that we are prepared to meet Him! What a profound thought! We aren't asked to give much... and return we are blessed with more than we can comprehend. I love the Savior and this Gospel more than I could ever express. He lives and I am amazed at the love He offers to me everyday of my life. I am SO grateful for Him. I am grateful for this season and for the true meaning of it! We are a blessed people and we owe all that we have to Him who gave us life. May you all have a very merry Christmas and may you remember THE greatest gift you could ever give. Work for that and never give up until you have reached the Savior's loving arms again. He is coming. He loves us. Remember Him.

I leave you with Elder Nelson's Testimony,"As a special Witness of His holy name, I testify that Jesus the Christ is the divine Son of the Living God. He will love you, lift you, and manifest Himself unto you if you will love Him and keep His commandments. Indeed, wise men still adore Him."