Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Some of Isaiah's visions of the Birth and Life of Christ, and this Great Latter-Day work

Read what Isaiah saw about the Savior: "unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

Over 2000 years ago, the Savior of the World was born in a humble stable, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His coming had been prophesied of by Isaiah and many other prophets. 

The Savior came, as Isaiah also said, "to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound," (Isaiah 61:1) and he did that for both the living and the dead. 

This great latter-day work goes on still, for the living and the dead through missionary work, strengthening the members, and through the work of the dead in temples. This work will go on until, as the Standard of truth says, "The Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

At that time, the work begun from before the foundations of the world will be complete, and the Sons and Daughters of God will dwell with him forever, as recorded in the Bible and Modern Revelation. 

Become engaged in serving others, and in the work of the Lord. At this Christmas season and always, may we ever seek out the Babe in Bethlehem, our Savior, Our Redeemer, our all. 

Find out more about Christ this Christmas at http://bit.ly/1jE0F7S

When Christ was born, the people in the American continent saw the star, and had another sign of his birth, a night of light, even though the sun had set. This was prophesied by prophets in the Americas. Read more by clicking here http://bit.ly/J8J59P

More questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

picture courtesy of lds.org at http://bit.ly/1ZU4Yfu

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Christmas Message-Still Time to Serve and #LightTheWorld

How much have you been able to give to others and to the Savior this last year? As this year’s Christmas approaches, can you say that you have followed the Savior more this year, and have served others more? Make that your gift to the Savior this year and help #LightTheWorld  

Have we gone to the temple more, have we given more of ourselves, have we helped make others’ lives better? That is the true spirit of Christmas, and should impel us to be better all year through.

There is still time to serve. As the Prophet has said, “There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. “

So take some time. Think of those who are sad, lonely, need help and help them. Take an extra trip to the temple to help someone else return to the presence of the Father. Share the gospel in whatever way you can, and you will catch the true spirit of Christmas.

As the Prophet has said, you need only take off the last syllable of Christmas and it becomes the spirit of Christ. 

May we live with that this Christmas season, and all year round.  Find out how to #LightTheWorld this Christmas at http://bit.ly/1jE0F7S

to view the video where this picture came from go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FSQuHDIsVw 

When Christ was born, the people in the American continent saw the star, and had another sign of his birth, a night of light, even though the sun had set. This was prophesied by prophets in the Americas. Read more by clicking here http://bit.ly/J8J59P

More questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God..."

And His name shall be called wonderful, counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/isa/9.6

As Isaiah Prophecied, Christ came and gave to us a priceless gift. His life, and in so doing, saved all of ours. Because of him we can return home to our Father in Heaven again. 

Pour your hearts out in gratitude to our Father in Heaven for the blessing of the Savior in your life. Let your Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ know how much you love them. Then, take a moment to wait and feel of the love they have for you. Then share that love with others. That kind of love changes you forever. 

When Christ was born, the people in the American continent saw the star, and had another sign of his birth, a night of light, even though the sun had set. This was prophesied by prophets in the Americas. Read more by clicking here http://bit.ly/J8J59P

More questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Find out more about Christ this Christmas at http://bit.ly/1jE0F7S

Meme courtesy of lds.org

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"And there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus"- The Promised Savior was about to be born

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed...And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child" (Luke 2:1-5 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/luke/2.1-5)

The Prophesied of Savior was about to be born.  He is the true reason for this Season.  Without him we wouldn't have Christmas.  We are the recipients of the priceless gift of his birth, life, ministry, atonement, death, and resurrection, and triumph over sin and death.  No more sacred events have ever been recorded than than these, both in the old world and the new.  

This year, make a determination to study more of his life, to learn more of him, and to follow him.  He is real, and is active in our lives, more than we know.  Remember he is the God of the whole world, yet individual enough to touch our tender hearts.  

When Christ was born, the people in the American continent saw the star, and had another sign of his birth, a night of light, even though the sun had set. This was prophesied by prophets in the Americas. Read more by clicking here http://bit.ly/J8J59P

More questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Find out about ‪Christ this Christmas at http://bit.ly/1jE0F7S

Picture is Journey to Bethlehem by Joseph Brickey

Friday, November 25, 2016

#LightTheWorld in 25 Ways over 25 Days

The Church has a wonderful Christmas initiative for 2016 to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
This year’s initiative is entitled #LIGHTtheWORLD. It focuses on celebrating and sharing the Light of Jesus Christ with others, and begins Friday, November 25, 2016 (today) and runs through Christmas Day.

Together we can #LightTheWorld and lift others.  It is what the Savior would have us do, and is what he would do if he were here.  We are his hands on earth today.  There are a lot of components to this push.

First, you can Invite your friends to visit https://www.mormon.org/christmas - this is good because they can also chat with missionaries about the gospel there. 

“Light the World” Video. The video will be available on mormon.org, Mormon.org YouTube Channel, and in the Gospel Library app beginning Nov‌ember 25 for viewing and downloading, and for sharing on social media.  The introductory video is below: 



Advent Activity Calendar. Each day in Dec‌ember, the calendar focuses on a different Christlike behavior and provides suggestions for ways we can emulate His example. You may find it useful in finding ideas for Christmas service activities.  Download the advent calendar at https://www.mormon.org/bc/content/assets/media/campaigns/christmas-2016/english-25-days-calendar.pdf

Pass-Along cards and posters are available for downloading and printing at https://www.mormon.org/download.
I invite you to use these resources with your family and friends to plan Christmas activities.

This is exactly what President Monson has done his entire life, and now the church urges us to do as our prophet, and especially the Savior, have done.

May we ever do that, both at this time of year, and always.

#LightTheWorld this Christmas by serving others

#LightTheWorld by serving others as Christ would do if he were here.  We follow his example and the example of our prophet as we do.  And share the following video with others:

Find out more at http://bit.ly/1jE0F7S




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our Prophet's powerful words about Gratitude for the Savior

At this season, read what our prophet has said about Gratitude, and especially gratitude for the Savior:

"Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love...

to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.

As I close this morning, it is my prayer that in addition to all else for which we are grateful, we may ever reflect our gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do our spirits go when we die? That gospel brings to those who live in darkness the light of divine truth.

He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.

Ultimately, He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Who was this “man of sorrows, … acquainted with grief”? “Who is this King of glory,” this Lord of lords? He is our Master. He is our Savior. 

He is the Son of God. He is the Author of Our Salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.” He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.” He pleads, “Keep my commandments.”

Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.

My sincere, heartfelt prayer is that we may in our individual lives reflect that marvelous virtue of gratitude. May it permeate our very souls, now and evermore. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, amen." (From "The Divine Gift of Gratitude,  at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/the-divine-gift-of-gratitude )
Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture is from http://www.mormonnewsroom.org

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What Church Leaders say about Gratitide

At this time of year, may we remember President Monson's words, "to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven." 

Gratitude is the most important thing we can have in our hearts. It gives us life and connects us with our Father in Heaven, and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Here is more of what our leaders say about gratitude:
“He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious” (D&C 78:19). Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.

We should be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are ours and for the tremendous opportunities we have. We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers. We should express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way.

We should thank our Heavenly Father for His goodness to us by acknowledging His hand in all things, thanking Him for all that He gives us, keeping His commandments, and serving others. We should especially thank Him for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for the Savior's great example, for His teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help, for His infinite Atonement." 

At this time of year and always, may we ever remember to have gratitude in all things, and especially for our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Sources are The Divine Gift of Gratitude at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/the-divine-gift-of-gratitude , and gratitude at https://www.lds.org/topics/gratitude 

Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Monday, November 21, 2016

"These are men whose hearts swell with thanksgiving to God"


Elder Bednar on Prayers of Gratitude with the Brethren: "The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests. As I am blessed now to pray with apostles and prophets, I find among these modern-day leaders of the Savior’s Church the same characteristic that describes Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon: these are men whose hearts swell with thanksgiving to God for the many privileges and blessings which He bestows upon His people (see Alma 48:12)."

May we follow the example of our leaders, not just at this time of year, but always.  May we be like Moroni of old, with hearts swelled with Thanksgiving to God for the many blessings bestowed upon us.  

Want to find out more about Christ? The Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, is the Word of God. I know it to be true. God Showed prophets what to include in the Book of Mormon for our day. Read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Pictures courtesy of lds.org at http://bit.ly/1ZU4Yfu

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Reality of Christ and the Scope of his Gospel today and forever

From Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, men who have seen the Resurrected Savior: "Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God...He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come." (The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles http://bit.ly/1bAqOhI )

And from the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father— That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/76.22-24 )

Jesus Christ is real, that he lives, and that he is the only way to return to our Heavenly Parents.  He was prophesied of by many Old Testament and Book of Mormon prophets, he came in the meridian of time and taught his gospel, taught us by example how to love, worked miracles, raised the dead, organized his church, and finally, in the garden and on the cross, atoned for our sins.  Truly he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

He rose again the third day, and appeared to many. Those apostles and witnesses testified of him until they were killed for that testimony, and the world plunged into the great apostasy.  And those who had seen him in the Americas similarly lost the gospel.  But God guided humankind in other ways, so that the gospel could be restored later.  On a brilliant morning, he and his Father appeared to a 14 year-old prophet, and through this and subsequent revelations and visitations, the Gospel was restored, with all of the blessings of previous dispensations. 

Temples now dot the earth, and all are being gathered from the 4 corners of the earth. All will have the chance to accept Christ's gospel.  The gospel is again on the earth, never to be taken away.  Christ stands at the head of this church, yet is so personal that he can touch the tenderest parts of our hearts.  We know that through the spirit, and in other ways.  

As we pray to know that he lives, and loves us, may we feel of his love for us, and know he lives. For he is real, and we are meant to know of him, for those are the real blessings of the Restoration-that we may come to know Christ, even if we do not see him. 

At some future day, Christ will come again to rule and reign upon the earth.  But may we be able to say at that time, as did Bruce R McConkie at the end of his life, "I will not know any better then than I know now that he is God's almighty Son" At that day when we see him, may we already know him and love him, as we "wet his feet with our tears."

And at the day of judgement, when we stand face to face with him, may we find it to be, as President Eyring said "a time of joy for those who have spent their lives in his service."  May we serve him, and serve others so that we may embrace him, feel of his love for us, and have him take all of our pains away. 

The Savior longs to bless us in our lives.  May we reach out to him in Faith, and serve others, and he will bless us to know that he lives, through the spirit.  

Want to find out more about the Christ of the New Testament? The Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, is the Word of God. I know it to be true. God Showed prophets what to include in the Book of Mormon for our day. Read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture is The Lord Jesus Christ by Del Parson, courtesy of https://www.lds.org/

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Love of the Good Shepherd is for us

What wonderful promises the Lord makes to us with the analogy of sheep and the Good Shepherd. "And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture" (1 Nephi 22:25 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/22.25

All of us are children of the Lord, and as we come to him, and are baptized, we come into his fold as we continue to keep his commandments and rely on him.  

As we come into his fold we will be able to be protected, saved, sheltered, and loved in a way only the Good Shepherd can give.  He will succor us, strengthen us, and lift us in all things.  

He also speaks to those of us working in the flock, "Feed the flock of God which is among you...And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" ( 1 Peter 5:2-4 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/1-pet/5.2-4 )

As our Prophet Says, may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord, so that at the last day, we may be crowned with Glory and Immortality in his kingdom. 

All of this made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, who elsewhere has said "I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:15 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/10.15) May we come to the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for you and me, sealed by his blood.  And with the Good Shepherd, we and our families can find rest and peace that "surpasseth all".  

Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Or, Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Resurrection and the Life; The life and the light

The Savior said to Peter "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (http://bit.ly/16y1Yey)

In other scripture, the Lord is the Life and Light of the World, and as Elder Maxwell said, is our Succoring Savior.  

The Savior loves us with a love we cannot comprehend.  He descended below all things so that we may return back to him and our Father in Heaven again with our families.  And he is the light.  

May we all take the time to pour our hearts out in gratitude to our Father in Heaven for the gift of his only begotten son, and take a moment afterwards to wait for the Lord's response through the spirit.  Then, may we love others as the Savior would have us do.

Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture is Christ's Love by Del Parson

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

No More Revelations? The Flow of Revelation continues in the Church Today

Some detractors of the Church mistakenly ask the question "Why are there no new revelations if the Church is founded upon revelation?"  Often their reason for doing so is to try to discredit the church.  But for some, it is an honest question.   

The answer is that the revelation hasn't stopped.  Many of the revelations received during the time of Joseph Smith were information about how the church was to be organized, and specific to that timeframe.

But there is more than just that.  Many dealt with missionaries being called to serve.  And other revelations had to do with people being called to different positions and callings within the church. Others were specific blessings for certain people. I will give examples of how these continue today.    

Recently, Elder Dallin H Oaks on a recent Facebook post spoke of the process of calling Missionaries, and said it is always a revelatory experience, and they [the apostles] come fasting to it.  But we don't add a new section of the Doctrine and Covenants with each missionary called.  A letter is simply sent out to the missionary, and when set apart as a missionary, he or she is given revelation pertaining to his or her mission.  The church leaders do not have the time to set all of the missionaries apart.  So the revelatory experience in the church expands, and local leaders have a part in the revelatory experience.  The Lord through their leaders gives the new missionary guidance they can take with them on their mission.    

Above I mentioned that some of the Doctrine and Covenants was for calling people to certain positions.  Every Conference we are asked to sustain an ever increasing number of releases and sustainings to our leadership.  But each time that happens we don't add to the Doctrine and Covenants.  But the revelation goes on.  And not just at the highest levels.  It continues in over 30,000 congregations across the world. The revelation is just expanding.   

I know during times I have been set apart for callings in the church, my leaders have been prompted by the spirit to say things they could not have possibly known, because they didn't know me personally.  Only myself and the Lord knew the things they said.  And the spirit bore witness to me that they were receiving the revelation from God.  

Finally, with regards to specific blessings for certain people, that has expanded as well.  Many of the sections of the doctrine and covenants were devoted to revelations given to specific people.  That flow of revelation has not stopped today, it has expanded as well.  There are simply too many people in the church for church leaders to give individual blessings to. Most often it comes by them exercising the priesthood to invoke the blessings of heaven upon the membership of the church in general.  

But for individuals, in all of the over 3000 stakes, there is a Patriarch, a High Priest, who gives blessings to the members of the church called a Patriarchal Blessing.  This blessing happens once in a person's life (most often), and is private to that person, and is not shared with others, with exceptions being their parents and later, spouses, although church leaders are able to have access to them.  
  
This blessing is recorded and given to the person to keep, and is considered scripture for that individual person.  These blessings can contain a declaration of their lineage, and what blessings they can receive as the posterity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  It can contain insights and prophecy about their lives.  It is meant to be a guide through your life.  So, even though it is not made public, often thousands of revelations per year are recorded and sent out to worthy church members, specific to their circumstances.

I know that decades after I received my patriarchal blessing, I have now come to realize some of the blessings promised in my Patriarchal blessing.  Just as being set apart for callings, the Patriarch said things he could not have possibly known, and now that it is much later in life, I have seen the fulfillment of many of the blessings contained therein, many times being confirmed by the spirit, as personal revelation.   

What we see in our modern era is that Revelation has not stopped, but is expanding, and is alive and well.  Revelation is the lifeblood of the church and from the top of the church where new leaders are called, to the congregation level, where bishops rely on revelation through the holy ghost to lead their flocks, we see not a church that has stopped in the number of revelations given, but a church that has expanded the number of revelations given to the point that there is almost not room enough to hold the quantity of revelations given. 

The breadth and scope of this great revelatory work is incredible.  As the Late President Boyd K Packer said, "The mind of man could not conceive it"  God is behind this marvellous work.  What began in 1820 (though really began before the foundations of the world) has expanded beyond what mortal man is able to do, and that is being done through revelation given from the Lord and his authorized servants.  

That revelatory process will continue into the millenium, where the work will continue until at the last, the Lord declares the work is done, and will present it to the Father.  

All of that work will have been powered by revelation, and as we continue to seek it out, we will become a part of the Lord's work on this earth and in the life to come, eventually to inherit all the father has, to become joint-heirs with Christ, and to become, as the Savior pleaded for in the great intercessory prayer, One with the Father as he, Christ, is with him.  

That oneness is made possible by the Atonement, and happens by revelation, both now and in the eternities.

 Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Or, Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture courtesy of https://www.lds.org

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"I fell at His feet, and there saw the marks of the nails..."

Elder Melvin J. Ballard, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, relates the following vision he had of the Savior: “I had sought the Lord . . . and that night I received a wonderful manifestation and impression which has never left me. I was carried to this place—into this room. I saw myself here with you. I was told there was another privilege that was to be mine; and I was led into a room where I was informed I was to meet someone. 

As I entered the room I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious being I have ever conceived of, and was taken forward to be introduced to Him. As I approached He smiled, called my name, and stretched out His hands towards me. If I live to be a million years old I shall never forget that smile. He put His arms around me and kissed me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole being was thrilled. 

As He finished I fell at His feet, and there saw the marks of the nails; and as I kissed them, with deep joy swelling through my whole being, I felt that I was in heaven indeed. The feeling that came to my heart then was: Oh! If I could live worthy, though it would require four-score years, so that in the end when I have finished I could go into His presence and receive the feeling that I then had in His presence, I would give everything that I am or ever hope to be!” (Melvin J. Ballard—Crusader for Righteousness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 65-66.)

The Savior Lives! He is Real, and from the Prophet Joseph Smith on down, people have been able to see him, or to feel of his presence through the veil.  He is there.  It is worth every sacrifice to be able to feel what it is like to be in his presence.  May we all be worthy of that.

Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Or, Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Miracle of the Holy Bible - for International Day of the Bible

Today is the International Day of the Bible. Listen to Elder Ballard's counsel on the Bible, and share it on Facebook and twitter with the hashtag #BibleCelebration 

"My brothers and sisters, the Holy Bible is a miracle! It is a miracle that the Bible’s 4,000 years of sacred and secular history were recorded and preserved by the prophets, apostles, and inspired churchmen.

It is a miracle that we have the Bible’s powerful doctrine, principles, poetry, and stories. But most of all, it is a wonderful miracle that we have the account of the life, ministry, and words of Jesus, which was protected through the Dark Ages and through the conflicts of countless generations so that we may have it today.

It is a miracle that the Bible literally contains within its pages the converting, healing Spirit of Christ, which has turned men’s hearts for centuries, leading them to pray, to choose right paths, and to search to find their Savior.

The Holy Bible is well named. It is holy because it teaches truth, holy because it warms us with its spirit, holy because it teaches us to know God and understand His dealings with men, and holy because it testifies throughout its pages of the Lord Jesus Christ." (The Miracle of the Holy Bible, available at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/the-miracle-of-the-holy-bible)

To see a video by Elder Ballard about the Bible go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN0cit0XFDs

Want to find out more about Christ? The Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, is the Word of God. I know it to be true. God Showed prophets what to include in the Book of Mormon for our day. Read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Declaration at the Well that still speaks to us today

Said the Savior to the woman at the well; "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

The Savior and the woman speak some more, and later..."The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he."

Such a wonderful passage.  The Savior declared that he was the promised Messiah, and then fulfilled all of the Biblical prophecies.  He lived a sinless life, taught his gospel, atoned for our sins, and rose from the dead so all may.  The Savior still lives, and is real.  He is the promised Messiah, and still works today for our Salvation.  He will ever comfort us, and as President Monson has said, he is in the details of our lives.

May we, as the woman at the well, have the Savior declare himself to us, only for us it is through the spirit.  That way we can know that he lives, and loves us. 

You may watch the Bible video of this story by going here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF7ma1yoLNk 

Or, you may read it in John by going here https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/4.7-26

The Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, is the Word of God. I know it to be true. God Showed prophets what to include in the Book of Mormon for our day.  Find out for yourself whether it is true by reading the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G , and then pray about its truth. 

Or, Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture is Woman at the Well, courtesy of https://www.lds.org

Friday, November 11, 2016

How we can feel the embrace and presence of the Savior

How can we be "eternally encircled in the arms of [our Savior's] love." As Nephi says,  "I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love" (2 Nephi 1:15 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/1.15)

The more we seek after the Lord, the more we do his work, the more we can be encircled in the arms of his love here through the spirit.  That happens in this life through the influence of the comforter, or occasionally, in the temple, we may feel of the presence of the Lord through the veil as we pray for it, as Doctrine and Covenants says.  

Then, at the last day, we can be encircled in the arms of his love again as he embraces us.  President Eyring says it so well:

"We will on the Day of Judgment stand before the Savior, face to face. It will be a time of joy for those who have drawn close to Him in His service in this life. It will be a joy to hear the words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I so testify as a witness of the risen Savior and our Redeemer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." Entire talk at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/come-unto-me

Additionally, Elder Melvin J Ballard had an experience where he embraced the Savior, and these are his words about that: "He put His arms around me and kissed me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole being was thrilled...Oh! If I could live worthy, though it would require four-score years, so that in the end when I have finished I could go into His presence and receive the feeling that I then had in His presence, I would give everything that I am or ever hope to be!” - see more at http://ldsprinciples.blogspot.com/2015/04/elder-ballard-sees-savior-and-feels-of.html 

May we give everything in our whole souls for the Savior, and his work, and be able to feel of his presence through the veil in this life, and feel his warm embrace at the last day.  

Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Embrace of the Savior at the Last Day

After we have finished our mission in this life, can we imagine being embraced by the Savior when it is time to return home?  What joy will fill our hearts at that time if we have endured to the end and followed him.  Can we imagine him saying to us:

"Come unto me in my kingdom; and with me ye shall find rest” (3 Ne. 28:3) 

Further, can we imagine after a lifetime of service to the Lord being welcomed back by him saying "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:21)

What sublime peace will fill our hearts at that time.  Until it is our time to return home, may we live worthy of the companionship of the spirit, for it is sent by our Father in Heaven in the Savior's name for us, to comfort, strengthen, and help us.  When we have the spirit we feel just as if the Savior were there, beside us.  I pray that all may feel of that joy, for it is free unto all who come unto the Savior. 

Find out more about Christ. Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7 

Picture by Derek Hegsted.  Available at http://www.hegsted.com/journeysend.html

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Peace of Forgiveness

Mosiah 26:30 says "Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me."

Do we earnestly seek the Lord when we have done wrong?  We can find a peace that is beyond compare if we do.  

I believe this is part of what the Savior meant when he said "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).  Rest from our sins and trials.  

As we see in the picture, the petitioner is humbly seeking the Lord, asking him for forgiveness, and to take his burden of sin.

When we make mistakes, do we petition the Lord to take our sins and burdens as well?  He can and will take them, and has promised us that he would.  

May we ever remember that.   

Want to find out more about Christ? Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture is Forgiveness by Brent Borup

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Whither Thou Goest" The stories of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz

Listen to the message by the artist of this painting; "Many years ago, I was commissioned to paint the Old Testament account of Ruth and Naomi. My client had many excellent ideas about how the two women should be depicted. I felt deeply impressed, however, that this was not the direction the Lord wanted me to take. When I begin any religious painting, I start by researching, praying, and on many occasions, fasting. Three years later I was blessed with the concept for this painting, Whither Thou Goest.

I felt that the imagery of the journey to Bethlehem was deeply symbolic of the journey each of us must take in mortality. Ruth, in the extremity of their adversity, reaches up and covers them both with her cloak, just as Christ’s enabling power blankets each of us. In Aramaic the word atone means “to embrace.” I am grateful for that grace, that enabling power associated with change and renewal of the human soul.

The Lord intends everything in the Old Testament to bring us to Christ. As our goal in life is to “come unto Christ and be perfected in him,” the Old Testament becomes a precious and invaluable guidebook.

How does the story of faithful Ruth and Naomi help bring us to Christ?
The Story of Ruth is the quintessential parable about the Atonement.
Suffering from famine, Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, leave their home in Bethlehem, along with their two sons, to find bread in the land of Moab. For generations the Moabites have been enemies of Israel, even though they are kin to Israel, being descended from Lot, the nephew of Abraham. In Moab, Elimelech dies; the two sons marry and then die, leaving Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, in misery.

Hearing there is bread once again in Bethlehem (intriguingly, the name Bethlehem means “house of bread”), Naomi decides to return to her homeland. She discourages her daughters-in-law from coming with her, as she knows that having no husband or sons, she will be reduced to poverty. “Go, return each to your mother’s house,” she tells them. Orpah goes “back unto her people, and unto her gods.” Ruth, however, refuses to return: “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”

Ruth renews the covenant she made with God in marrying the son of Naomi. It is in her faithfulness to the covenants she makes with God that Ruth demonstrates her virtue.
In ancient times, having “virtue” meant having the strength and courage to be faithful to one’s covenants. The Hebrew word we translate as virtue, chayil¸ did not have the connotation it has today of moral purity — although by definition virtue encompasses moral purity. Virtue was a larger concept than that: it meant faithfulness to the promises one makes to God. This is why Ruth is known by the city of Bethlehem as a “virtuous woman.” In marrying Naomi’s son, she has taken upon herself the covenants of Israel and is determined to keep them in accordance with the commandment of the Lord: “If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond… all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand… These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife.” Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law stems not only from her love for Naomi, but also from her determination not to return to the gods of Moab; to honor her commitment to the God of Israel.

In keeping her covenants, Ruth faces hardship. She could have returned to her parents and lived securely, and in gathering with Israel she knows she will live without that security and will be reduced to gleaning the fields alongside the poor. Her mother-in-law has returned to Bethlehem with nothing: “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty.” But Ruth is determined to do her part by her mother-in-law and goes to the field to glean food for them both.
While gleaning, Ruth encounters Boaz, the lord of the field, who looks upon her with favor and invites her to glean only on his property: “Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here… When thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink.” Ruth finds in Boaz what the saints find in the Savior: that if we stay close to Him, remaining faithful only to Him, He provides bread and water for our souls.

Ruth bows to him and asks: “Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?”

“And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath full been shewed me all that thou hast done unto thy mother –in- law since the death of thine husband… the Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”

Because of her faithfulness, the Lord brings Ruth under the protection of “the mighty man” Boaz, whose name means strength. Although she has lost everything and comes destitute into the house of Israel, her trust in the Lord God of Israel restores her.

To those like Ruth who give up so much to follow the Savior, there are great rewards in store. When we are confronted with loss, the compensations of the Spirit are greater than any compensation the world can make.

Encouraged, Naomi instructs Ruth to go to Boaz and claim the redemptive promises of the covenants of Israel: to ask him to “spread his skirt” over her because he is a “near kinsman.” So Ruth washes and anoints herself and dresses to meet with Boaz.
Ruth’s actions must be understood in light of the great covenant of redemption. Having lost her husband, Ruth has claim on her husband’s near kin according to the Law of Moses to preserve and protect her as a family member and even to raise-up a family by her. The Hebrew word gaon, here translated as kinsman, actually means redeemer. By the Law, “The wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife.”

So Ruth’s request of Boaz was perfectly in keeping with the law of the Lord. Boaz, as her dead husband’s near kin, has the responsibility to redeem Ruth, to marry and cherish and love her.

The action of “spreading the skirt” was anciently a token of atonement, or redemption, as the following indicates: “It was the custom for one fleeing for his life in the desert to seek protection in the tent of a great sheik… whereupon the Lord would place the hem of his robe over the guest’s shoulder and declare him under his protection… This puts him under the Lord’s protection from all enemies. They embrace in a close hug, as Arab chiefs still do; the Lord makes a place for him and invites him to sit down beside him — they are at-one. This is the imagery of the Atonement, the embrace.”

As Boaz “spreads his skirt” over Ruth, we are reminded of the “wings of the Lord God of Israel,” in which Ruth had come to trust. We are also reminded of the beautiful imagery of 2 Nephi 1:15: “Behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; …I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” Because Ruth has remembered to observe the Lord’s statutes, she is redeemed and made one with the Lord’s people. She is married to Boaz and gives birth to Obed, grandfather of King David and an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus the story of Ruth is a beautiful parable of the Atonement. To be at one with our Savior is to have him “spread the skirt” over us, to take us in his embrace and declare that we belong to him. This is the consummate act of redemption. Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city… doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” Like Ruth, we become “virtuous” — that is, worthy of the Atonement of Christ — through our faithfulness to our covenants even in the face of hardship. Regardless of the difficulties we encounter in remaining faithful, we must remember that Jesus Christ will not fail to honor His covenants with us. He will gather us to Himself as Boaz cared for Ruth, and as Ruth cared for Naomi “as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.” In Isaiah 49:15-16 it eloquently states: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

Through efficacious power God compensates our losses. C.S. Lewis describes it this way: “Ye cannot in your present state understand eternity…But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective…All this earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved…That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering,” No future bliss can make up for it, “not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory…The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven…And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here…the blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven.”…

“Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin observed, “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude” (Come what may, and love it, Ensign 2008).

Want to find out more about Christ? Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture is Whither thou goest, and message by Sandy Freckleton Gagon available at https://sandyfreckletongagonartblog.wordpress.com/

They Assembled...to cast in their voices. May we do the same today

"Therefore, it came to pass that they assembled themselves together in bodies throughout the land, to cast in their voices concerning who should be their judges, to judge them according to the law which had been given them; and they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted unto them." Mosiah 29:39

The Brethren have counselled us this year to participate in the political process, and to exercise our right to vote, and have encouraged us to choose candidates who best embody gospel principles, at the same time maintaining political neutrality, and advising that principles of the Gospel may be found in the platforms of various political parties. See the statement at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-2016-letter-political-participation 

May we exercise our right to vote today, because it is our chance to stand strong for the principles we hold dear.  

Additionally, at this election time, I encourage people not to demonize others who vote differently than they do.  The Lord has stated that contention is not of him, and we would be wise to follow that counsel.  

It prevents us from becoming the Zion people we are meant to become.  To be united in the gospel of Christ. 

May we ever remember that.  

Want to find out more about Christ? Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Monday, November 7, 2016

"that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them"

"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."

Sister Sheri Dew stated:

“ The stripling warriors‘ faith began at home. “They had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47). Not only did those righteous, faithful, dedicated mothers teach their sons the gospel, but the stripling warriors listened, which almost certainly prepared them to follow the prophet Helaman into battle when the time came for them to do so. The lesson for us is clear: Choose carefully whom you listen to, and then listen. Choose carefully whom you will follow, and then follow. Listen to righteous parents and leaders, and certainly to prophets, seers, and revelators whose counsel is motivated only by their desire to teach truth and by their belief in our divine potential.” (“No Doubt About It”, Sheri Dew)

Happiness and lasting joy come only from living the gospel. Helaman said after leading his two thousand into battle, “I was filled with exceeding joy because of the goodness of God in preserving us” (Alma 57:36)."

Not a one of these boys was ever slain, but they were preserved by the hand of God, and were valiant men of God.

Do we have their faith?  Do we earnestly pray in faith for the things we have need of?  If we will try the best we can, the very best we can, and then trust in the Lord, leave it in his hands, miracles can and will happen in our lives.  

May we ever be mindful of that.

Want to find out more about Christ? Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture is Divne call by Sandy Freckleton Gagon available at https://sandyfreckletongagonartblog.wordpress.com/

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Do we have the faith of the Widow of Zarephath?

The story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath is a remarkable story of faith in the Lord's Prophet that we would do well to heed today.  Interesting to note that just after this exchange, Elijah raised the little boy from the dead as well (not noted here). 

"And the word of the Lord came unto [Elijah], saying,

Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.

And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.

And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah." (1 Kings 17:8-16, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/1-kgs/17.9-15)

May we all have the faith of the widow of Zarepthah, and be willing to give our last for the Lord. 


Want to find out more about Christ? Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7

Picture by Sandy Freckleton Gagon available at https://sandyfreckletongagonartblog.wordpress.com/

Friday, November 4, 2016

Martha's witness of Christ; thou art the Christ, Lazarus, Come Forth

Picture and Message are by Sandy Freckleton Gagon.  

One of the most significant episodes in our Savior’s mortal ministry was the literal raising of Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the tomb for four days. The setting for this dramatic manifestation of Christ’s power and love is carefully laid out in John 11....It is an astounding public miracle that illuminates the core truths about Christ and His Atonement. This was the concept for my next painting: Martha’s Witness of Christ

You know the story: Christ receives desperate word from Martha and Mary to come to Bethany, for their brother is deathly ill. Jesus deliberately delays His journey for two days, and then announces that Lazarus is dead and that He and His disciples must go to him. The disciples remind Him of the hostility of the Jewish leaders toward Him, even unto His death. Thomas simply says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (v. 16).

When Christ arrives in Bethany, Martha greets Him with weeping and a gentle rebuke: “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (v. 21). Martha’s complaint is followed by her fervent testimony: “But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee” (v. 22). Jesus affirms His own role and identity: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (v. 25).

I have painted two paintings about Martha. Martha’s testimony is one of the most striking recorded testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ. Her testimony echo’s that of my own.

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die, Believest thou this?

“She saith unto him, Yea Lord: I believe that thou are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world (John 11:25-27).

The scriptural account continues at the “tomb of tears” where Lazarus had been buried. His sisters, the disciples, and other Jews were among the mourners. Some believe; some are critical. The intense grieving of the sisters, the wailing of the mourners, Christ’s own tears, the anticipation of His own death, the disciples’ fear of the Jewish leaders, the hostility of certain ones in the crowd, and the melancholy of the grave site–all of these constitute for us a crescendo of profound human emotion. Jesus commands that the stone covering the tomb’s entrance be removed. Martha objects, saying, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days” (v. 39). Christ says, “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God” (v. 40).

The stone is removed. Jesus offers a prayer of gratitude that reveals He had asked permission from His Father to stage this miraculous representation of the Atonement for the purpose of comforting wounded and grieving hearts, of testifying of His love and power, and of convincing the people present to believe the Father had sent Him (see v. 42).

The climactic moment comes when Christ cries out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth” (v. 43). Can you imagine that combination of hope, terror, and surprise the people feel when Lazarus obeys the command and rises, “bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin” (v. 44)? The sight and smell of this dead man must have been more than some could bear. But then came Christ’s second command to certain others standing by: “Loose him, and let him go” (v. 44).

Think of it. Christ was commanding Lazarus to be freed. I invisioned  Mary and Martha as the ones privileged to render the service of removing the grave clothes and unbinding the wrappings from around his eyes, mouth, hands, and feet–the wrappings of the grave. For he lived again! Think of the joy!

For me the Lazarus story provides one of the most powerful metaphors of the Atonement of Christ for all humankind. We are all like Lazarus, beloved of the Lord, but wrapped about in the grave clothes of this world.

The Atonement is the central reality of our existence. It is the comprehensive instrument of hope, justice, and mercy in the world. In a significant way the Atonement will account for, reconcile, and redeem every injustice perpetrated in the history of this planet–all suffering, cruelty, guilt, violence against innocent and defenseless people, all accidents and ironies. It is the principle mechanism through which the work and glory of God can be accomplished, namely, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life” of mankind (Moses 1:39). It is only by the grace of God that we are able to succeed.

Picture and Message are by Sandy Freckleton Gagon available at https://sandyfreckletongagonartblog.wordpress.com/

Want to find out more about Christ? Along with the Bible, his words are in the Book of Mormon. Find out for yourself and read the Promise of the Book of Mormon online now at http://bit.ly/10t8QYm or get a free copy at http://bit.ly/11WKJ1G

Questions? Click here to chat online http://bit.ly/14NQosW or, to meet with representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to http://bit.ly/10t9mW7