Last Sunday I mentioned to my Relief Society president and 1st councelor how nerve wracking conducting infront of the ladies has become for me. I of course brushed it off with the comment, I just need more practice. Two days later...
The bishop's secretary calls me in desperation because the planned speaker had to go out of town. So, now I really got a chance to practice my public speaking as a sacrament speaker this Sunday with less than a week to prepare. Not to mention I had a planned Relief Society activity to execute, three out of my four children had some part in the primary opening exercises scheduled for this Sunday as well and several planned meetings for service, Relief Society, and homeschool. Let's just say I did not go to bed early last night. ;)
But here are my best efforts with a crazy week and the most fiendish preparation possible the night before...
Spring is almost here! I can’t wait to see flower buds and tulips shooting up out of the ground. Green grassy wisps peppering the lawns and getting a chance to throw open the windows to let the spring air in. Everything will be fresh and new again.
I love that the kids have been learning the song, “Gethsemane” in primary. It is so fitting for the renewal of life that spring will hopefully bring our way very soon. It goes like this…
He felt all that was sad, wicked or bad, all the pain we would ever know.
While his friends were asleep He fought to keep His promise made long ago.
The hardest thing that ever was done,
The greatest pain that ever was known,
The biggest battle that ever was won,
This was done by Jesus!
The fight was won by Jesus!
As stated in the fourth Article of Faith the first principle of our gospel is faith; faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, our Redeemer and Savior. He is our champion. He rallied for our cause in the premortal life and promised to come to earth so that we would have a way home. “Here I am, send me.” We all started with faith in Jesus Christ. Being here in a physical body shows your willingness to trust Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness with Jesus being our way. We are the ones who said ,”Yes! We will follow Him as our Savior and Redeemer.” But sometimes that faith is lost or forgotten, or hibernating, or better yet still growing which is my hope.
First we need to know who He is. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, felt so strongly about this in 2000 that they wrote and sent out a their combined testimonies called, The Living Christ.
So how do we find faith in Jesus Christ?
“Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime,” teaches Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve. “We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. (The Book of Mormon is powerful spiritual nourishment.)
We then remain steady and patient as we progress through mortality. At times, the Lord’s answer will be, “You don’t know everything, but you know enough”—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right.
Faith is such a precious gift. It is a shield from the fiery arrows of Satan, a comforter in time of distress, trails, and loss. It is our eternal life vest and firm foundation. Faith in Jesus Christ should also be the principle motivator for all that we do that is good and right. We have been given so many resources to grow our mustard seeds of faith daily through scripture study and prayer as families and alone, in church and temple worship and work, through a living prophet’s voice, in service, in forgiveness and repentance, in charity, and in finding the good in each other.
Pres. Monson so effectively states, “To have faith is to have confidence in something or someone” (Bible Dictionary, “Faith,” 669). True faith must be centered in Jesus Christ. “Faith is a principle of action and of power” (Bible Dictionary, 670). It requires us to do, not merely to believe. Faith is a spiritual gift from God that comes through the Holy Ghost. It requires a correct understanding and knowledge of Jesus Christ, His divine attributes and perfect character, His teachings, Atonement, Resurrection, and priesthood power. Obedience to these principles develops complete trust in Him and His ordained servants and assurance of His promised blessings.
There is no other thing in which we can have absolute assurance. There is no other foundation in life that can bring the same peace, joy, and hope. In uncertain and difficult times, faith is truly a spiritual gift worthy of our utmost efforts.”
“Of our utmost efforts.” That helps define our priorities, a bit, don’t you think?
Faith is tantamount to our earthly existence. We must cultivate and grow our faith in Jesus Christ till we are filled to the brim with His light, that we have not a doubt, to know Him as our personal Savior.
In Moroni 7:33 Christ said, “If ye have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.”
As we focus our hearts, minds, might, and strength toward gaining a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ and building the faith that comes with that we will be able to with stand the pressures of life and the world. Examples of faith are all around us. In a great missionary, a valiant and virtuous young women, and righteous mothers, fathers, and grandparents, and in diligent hometeachers and visiting teachers. We never have to look to far to see a disciple of Christ.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws the greater will be the endowment of faith” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 264).
Obedience is our key to faith. Faith builds our trust, and allows miracles to happen in ourselves and our lives.
To the woman with an issue of blood with faith so pure that all she needed was to touch the hem of His clothing, the Savior assured her, “…thy faith hath made thee whole.” Finding our own faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will make us whole; whole in spirit, in heart, in might, in mind, and in strength.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.