Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another Witness of Christ

Sigh. I may need to switch from blogging twice a week on a schedule to just blogging twice a week. I never know which days will have more homework than others.  Sorry for the inconsistency.
Sooo... last Thursday, something interesting happened to me. Well, interesting, maybe. Happy, no.
My friend invited me to go to church with him. (Let me note, I have been to his church once previously, but with a different friend of mine who also goes to that church.) So, he invited me, and I told him that I would really love to go, but I had my own church that day. This disappointed me because I try to go whenever one of my friends asks me. I believe that I cannot ask a friend to do something that I am not willing to do myself, and I often invite my friends to my church.  However, I had never asked this friend before. (For the purposes of this story, lets call him Steven.) Steven then asked me what religion I was. I happily told him that I was Mormon, and asked if he knew what that was. I saw something flicker in his eyes, and he, probably only half sarcastically, scooted away as if I had just announced that I had a highly contagious disease. "What?" I asked. He scooted back to where he was sitting and said,
"Ha, that's ironic, my mom and I were just talking about this last night." Uh-oh. What was he about to say? I had never before encountered negativity from my peers about my religion. I didn't like where this was heading.
"What did she say?" I asked.
"Welll... there was a dude, who wrote a second Bible, said he had a vision from God. But, there can only be one Bible, so your's is fake."  Well. That was bluntly put.
"Hmmm. Well, Joseph Smith did recieve a vision from God and Jesus, but he didn't write a second Bible. He translated another witness of Christ through the power of God. The Book of Mormon and Bible back each other up."
"Whatever. It's not true. Christianity is good. It's true. But there is only one Bible." Sigh.
" I have a Book of Mormon in my locker if you would like to read it."
"No. I don't want to."
"Okay then. I have a deal for you. I'll come to church with you, and you can come to church with me. Just once."
"No. Your religion is a lie. I will not join the dark side." I was almost crying. What? Did he just say that? We are in a biology classroom of 40 kids...
"What did you say? I couldn't hear all of that."
"I said that I will not join the dark side."
"Ok. Fine."

So, yeah. It really made me upset. I feel so sad that he feels that way. It was kind of ironic, well, it probably wasn't an accident that I came upon this verse in my personal scripture study the next day:

2 Nephi 29:6
6. Thou fool, that shall say: A aBible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?

I have totally forgiven Steven, and I'm still his friend, but I'm very sad for him. I don't understand how people can say something is bad without even reading it. Even though I had faith in my religion, when my other friend (the one who goes to Steven's church) invited me to her church, I accepted. I prayed before I left, that the Spirit would guide me and help me interpret right from wrong. And it did. I went with an objective attitude, just as I would want someone to do if they came to church with me.

 This experience has made me stronger. It has helped me strengthen my testimony of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon.  I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. Because, I did pray. And He sent peace to my soul.

I have felt many blessings from the fullness of Jesus' gospel in my life. I'm very grateful for His guidance and love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Patience, a God-like attribute

I know... I missed a week. I was sick, had lots of makeup work for school, had lots of tests to study for, auditions... all excuses, but all true. :)
Lately, I've been learning about the Lord's time. I mean, I've been learning that not everything happens when I want it to. Even if I pray asking for something to happen, and it doesn't happen, it may not be that what I prayed for wasn't the Lord's will, but it wasn't the right time. Often, I pray for something, and I'll ask for it right now. And often, it happens gradually. I have been learning to be patient, but sometimes it is difficult. On Sunday, there was a talk given about patience. Here are some of the notes I took that stood out to me:
  • Often, the hardest times of our life forms our character
  • God-like patience requires effort
  • without patience, we cannot be happy
  • Patience isn't: just sitting and waiting, effortless, passive or fear
  • True,, God-like patience IS:faithful, requires effort
  • The Lord does bless our lives when we are patient
  • We need to be patient with ourselves, just like we need to be patient with others
  • And, a great analogy: Patience is like a marathon. we must steadily pace ourselves so that we can reach the final sprint.
I thought about that as I ran a mile in gym yesterday.  It's really a great comparison. I really like a talk that President Dieter f. Uchtdorf, Second counselor of the Church, gave. Part of it reads:

"Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace."

To read the rest of the article, click here

I know that patience is a God-like attribute. And I'm grateful to have this life to acquire this, and many other righteous attribute.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reading The Scriptures

Recently I have started reading the scriptures everyday. In the past I read them once or twice a week. But now, i really understand the power that they bring into my life. When I read the scriptures, I get answers to prayers through the words that I read. This happens a lot when I read my scriptures.
I also feel the spirit. It's great to have the Spirit in my day. I read my scriptures on the bus before and after school. It is fantastic to be uplifted right before school. It gives me confidence and makes me feel my Savior's love for me.  It's especially hard at school when most of the people around talk and act in ways that are innappropriate and offensive. So, it's great to be able to think about the scriptures at school. Reading the scriptures before school also gives me the courage, confidence, and reason I need to stand up for myself and my beliefs at school.
I feel happier when I read the scriptures everyday. I just do. I guess it kinda goes along with having the Spirit with me. BUt when I'm always reading and thinking about the scriptures, it's easier to choose the right. And choosing the right makes me happy too.
When I read the scriptures, I learn a lot. Like, I'm learning tons more than I really thought that I would learn by reading the scriptures. I guess I just never really thought about how much knowledge is in the scriptures. But, if you think about it, the scriptures are truly the words of God. And He knows everything. Who can think of a better teacher?
I also feel closer to my Savior. And that, I think is the most important benefit of reading my scriptures. And, people can't know how this feels until they have read the scriptures, and prayed about them.
My testimony used to live on borrowed light. But one day I decided that I wanted to get my own testimony. So I prayed. And read the scriptures. And prayed. And payed attention to how I felt. And prayed some more. I did this for several months. It never did come as  big realization. One day, I just finally realized that I did believe in Jesus. I knew that He is my Redeemer. I knew that the Book of Mormon and Bible were true. I knew that my Father in Heaven and Jesus loved me. And the spirit softly testified of that.
Over time, I have repeatedly felt the Spirit testify again of all these things. And other aspects of this gospel. I especially feel this testament of the Spirit when I am in the temple.
I know all of these things and many more ot be true. And the Spirit confirms that every time that I read my scriptures.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book of Mormon Challenge.

On Sunday my Young Womens Leaders challenged us to read half of the book of Mormon this month. The rest we will read together next month. But, anyway, I have taken to reading on the bus, because I have spare time then. I'll get back to this.
In U.S. History, we were briefly reviewing about the Native Americans, Spanish Conquistadors, and the colonization of the Americas. It was an interesting review, but I found myself wondering how much was really true, or not.
So, back to my scripture reading. Today on the bus I was reading in 1 Nephi, chapter 13. In this chapter. Nephi has a vision where he sees the future of his posterity. And in this vision, we read about the Native Americans ,who are Nephi and his family's posterity, the gentiles who cam from across the sea, the wars fought between them, and the wars between the gentiles who are separated across the sea (American Revolution). This was very interesting to read right after reviewing all of this information in school. It is amazing to me that the Lord could give Nephi a vision of the future.
I'm very grateful to my Heavenly Father who no doubt had a hand in this impeccable timing. :) His plans are just so perfect. :) I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It uplifts me and strengthens my knowledge of eternal and temporal matters.

If you would like to read Nephi's account of America's Colonization click here.  You may want to back up a couple chapters if you would like to know more about his vision.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Lord's Help... He will help you.

I know i didn't post yesterday, but I was literally doing homework all afternoon and night. So, I'm posting today. :) So, these past weeks of school have been kind of tough for me.  Well, mostly it's after school that's hard to manage.  This year I am getting much more homework than I am used to. Much much more.  Because I am in honors, the work is also harder. So it has been very hard getting used to the expectations that are now set for me. But, I am so grateful for the Divine help that my Heavenly Father is giving me. Lately, my math grades have been suffering because my homework grades have been bad. I was literally doing the best I could, but it wasn't enough. Also, my homework levels were totally stressing me out. So, I prayed about it. A lot. I felt that I should ask my parents for help, and they were glad to give it to me. But, my homework still took a lot of time. My sleep was getting cut shorter because of all of my work. So, I kept praying. And, God helped me. Last night, I had to study for two giant tests (one of which was math, it would make or break my grade). All I did was study and do homework. And even though it took my whole afternoon and evening, I noticed that assignments that I thought would take a while, took less time than I thought they would. At the end of the night, I got everything done, I was well prepared for my tests, and I was able to get to bed at a good time.
Today, I prayed before school, and before each test. There was only one question on each test that I didn't know the answer to. The rest I feel like I aced! I prayed for peace, a clear mind, and help recalling all that I had studied, and Heavenly Father did help me.
In fact, right before my math test, I had just had a very frustrating lesson in biology, and I was very upset. I was almost in tears because I couldn't understand the material. I was still wound up from that when I had to start my test. I prayed and asked my Father in Heaven to help  me focus, and He really did help me clear my mind. I wasn't even thinking about biology!
I have really learned that God doesn't prevent trials and hardships, but he does help us through them if we ask. I am know realizing that hardships are meant to help strengthen our faith in Heavenly Father.  That is the whole point of adversity. And I have truly felt my faith strengthened. I am truly realizing that God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want Him to. He is perfect, and know exactly what we need. And, things always turn out better when we humble ourselves enough to let Him guide our lives and show us the path to take. This experience has really improved my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I really do know that I am a child of God. I know that He loves me. I know that Jesus really know exactly how I feel- all the time because He suffered just for us. Every single pain, affliction, embarrassment, discomfort, stress. And, I know that They both love me more than I can fathom. I know that I have this knowledge to help others. And I am so grateful for this. I really love my Heavenly Father and Savior.
And, I really do know that if you ask Him for help, He will give it to you.