Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Poem

I enjoy good poetry.  Especially if I want to get in the right mood for a special occasion or season.  I have felt very much in the Christmas mood with my mother setting up all of the decorations for the house, so I decided to write a poem.  Now I'll let you all be the judge of how good it is, but hopefully it will do the job of getting us in the right mind for what this Christmas season can bring!

The Shepherd's Story

What did you see that first Christmas day?
I saw a couple come to Bethlehem, for taxes to pay.

What did you see that first Christmas day?
I saw an inn, with no more room they say.

What did you see that first Christmas day?
I saw a lowly manger with beds of hay.

What did you see that first Christmas night?
I saw a star, so very big and bright!

What did you see that first Christmas night?
I saw Angels! Bidding us not to have fright.

“For unto you is born this day,
“Christ the Lord, in a manger he lay.”

Then proclaimed the Host, as the prophet did pen,
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace, good will toward men.”

What did you see that first Christmas night?
I saw shepherds, guided by a star's light.

What did you do that first Christmas night?
I worshiped Jesus Christ the Lord, with all my might.

What do you do for Christmas today?
I still seek for that babe, laying in the hay.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Have Ye Recieved His Image in Your Countenances?

I have been home for over two months now from New York.  It is interesting to me how easily I have slipped back into the worldly things, such as movies and music.  The more I get back into the popular things of the day, the more I see the person I used to be.  This reminds me of a question that Alma asked the people of Zarahemla, after they had fallen into a bit of an apostasy,  "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God?  Have ye received his image in your countenances?  Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? . . . And now behold, I say unto you, my beloved brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"  (Alma 5:14, 26)

This mighty change of heart that Alma talks about is conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is a lifelong process which we must pursue in order to gain eternal life with our Father in Heaven.  It is a course that is impossible if we strive with vain ambition to travel alone.  There is only one name under Heaven whereby man can be saved, and that is the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has told us time and time again "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matthew 28-30)  So why do we shun his name or his yoke?  His is the only way that we may gain true happiness.  Let us not be "weary in well-doing, for (we) are laying the foundation of a great work!"  (Doc. & Cov. 64:33)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Everyday Things

It has been 3 weeks since I have returned home from my service as a full time missionary.  Let me tell you, the transition has been odd.  It has been a lot smoother than I thought it would, but it ain't all roses and daffodils.

The other day I went for a run.  I know it is a strange hobby, but it is a lot of fun!  On this run I was pushing my body so that I could run the 4 mile loop I was doing in less time than I usually do.  Well for some reason my lungs didn't want to cooperate.  I became short of breath and the airways started to close off a little.  I guess it just wasn't time yet to push that hard.

So what does all this have to do with anything?  As with running, we will be asked to surmount some pretty incredible tasks in our life.  All of which boils down to whether or not we are doing the simple day to day things to prepare ourselves for these events.  Just like a runner has to train diligently and consistently to be able to run a marathon, we can't expect to forgo the important things of life and be ready to be on the lords  team.  It just doesn't work.  It is the everyday things that will prepare us for the occasions when we will truly be asked "Whose on the Lord's side, Who?"

Elder Ulisses Soares: Abide in the Lord's Territory!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For Love of God and All Mankind

"And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor.

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:25-37)

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  (Matt. 22:35-40)

"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.  Wherefore my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.  Amen."  (Moroni 7:47-48)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Staring the Bull in the Eyes

For the past couple of days I feel as though I am staring a bull in the eyes.  As a missionary we spend two years away from movies, television, dating, family, friends, and other such interests and go out to a place that the Lord has asked us to go and spread his message and serve his children.  Looking at two years at the beginning is a long time.  I now have 4 months left as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I find myself asking this question, "Where did the last two years go?"  So there is my bull, the end of the greatest two years I've ever had.  I cherish each moment I have with all of the people I have met out here and all the friendships that I have gained.  You all will never be forgotten.  I love being a missionary and I will give it my hardest these last few months!

As I have pondered the beautiful moments I am reminded of this video.  How many times do we forget the small things in life?  We need to live each moment as if it could be a cherished memory for the ages.  "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to met God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to preform their labors."  (Alma 34:32)

Moments that Matter Most

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Healing the Wounded Soul

Have you ever had that family member or that friend who has had more than their fair share of trials and heartache?  The one who you are amazed at everyday as they greet you with a smile and always has a listening ear when you need to vent a little?  Or is it you that I am describing?  Have you ever had to go through heartache and grief?  Have you ever wondered if there was a way to root out the pain in your soul?

Well, lets look at the scriptures.  There was a man named Jacob who was a prophet of The Book of Mormon.  He had a lot of struggles in his life.  First off, he was born in the wilderness (1 Nephi 18:7).  Not the most convenient place on earth to begin your life.  Then his family needed to cross the ocean, and while they were in the middle of their trip some of his older brothers decided they were going to harrass the other family members so much that it ended up bringing their parents "even upon their sickbeds. . . even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave."(v. 17-18)  Thankfully all was amended on the voyage and the brothers had humbled themselves enough that they all arrived at the promised land (v. 23).  Later, Jacob's father told him; "Thou art my first-born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness.  And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of they brethren." (2 Nephi 2:1)  Jacob did not have the best time growing up.

Despise all of this tribulation and trouble that he had to go through, Jacob never wavered in his faith.  His faith was strong enough that he was able to see his Redeemer, just as Isaiah and his older brother Nephi had seen him. (2 Nephi 11:2-3)  So having all this opposition, there has to be a secret that he had where he could be healed.

After Nephi had died it rested upon Jacob to be the Prophet.  He had a very hard task ahead of him because he had to put some things in order.  He felt bad that he had to bring up these sins that the people had committed because there were those in the audience who had not done the wrong, but were still affected severely because of actions others had taken. (Jacob 2:1-9)  But he offers some advice to those who have been wounded by the actions of others and have come to listen to the Prophet speak:  "And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul."  (v. 8)

 No matter what has happened in the past, it is in the scriptures that we can find the healing balm.  They will tell us what we need to do (2 Nephi 32:3) and they will invite the spirit of God into our lives.  They point us to Christ who is the master healer.  They lead us to him so we can be healed through his atoning blood.  "For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.  And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."  (2 Nephi 25:25-26)

May we always look unto Christ no matter how good or bad our situation seems!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Believe in God

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." (Mosiah 4:9)

Where does our trust lie?  In whom do we believe?  How can we show more fully our willingness to obey God?  Why does it always seem so hard?

When we are first asked to accomplish a seemingly hard task, our natural instinct is to run away.  To duck our heads so we won't face the brutal opposition.  Jonah was afraid enough that he boarded a ship in a desperate attempt to flee from the presence of the Lord.  Many times we try to flee from the Lord as well.  We may wake up late and convince ourselves that it is too late to go out now, that we'll be able to get to it next time.  Or we may receive an invitation to go somewhere else when we know that the Lord would have us do his work.  Whatever the case may be, it is up to us to muster up the Faith to do hard things.

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." (2 Nephi 2:11)  Without opposition we would not survive.  If the gravitational force of the Earth was not here, then we would all just float out into the deep dark vacuum of space.  But thankfully, we have gravity to keep us all here with those we love.  Thus, opposition is an important principle.  If so, then overcoming opposition is even more important!  Let us build our Faith in God that he has all power and that "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."  (1 Nephi 3:7) 

He knows each of us personally.  He knows our weaknesses, and He knows how we can overcome them.  "He will take upon him their infirmities, . . . That he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:12)  "Come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation." (Omni 1:26)