Monday, 14 March 2016

Not just another religion

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not mean I am part of a religion that holds opinions concerning this and that. I am not a part of the Latter-day Saint religion, or even the Mormon religion for that matter. Being a member of this Church means being a member of Christ's Church. It means that the truths revealed come from God - the commandments given come from Him.

In other words, doctrines and policies are not debated, rationalised, or compromised. The leaders and representatives of the Church represent Christ and His Gospel - not the people and their views. We are bold, yes - that is our calling. It is not our place, nor would it be fair or true if we said that these truths could be true, along with others. There is an Eternal law! We choose to follow and/or accept it.

Fortunately for us, these truths are for our benefit, happiness, salvation, and exaltation. If we choose to listen and obey the blessings come. If we can no more than desire we are promised answers, clarity, peace, and assurance. God will not force us to believe - if we've already made up our mind, He will not give us the answers we need.

"For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?" - D&C 88:33.

This is truth. Absolute truth.

This week I received my new companion, Elder Human - and we continued to push the work here in the Bethlehem area. Through our faith and diligence, the Lord was able to bless us with many tender mercies. Faces at Church we hadn't seen (especially among the youth), and an attendance boost we'd been praying for. In fact, greater than what we'd hoped for.

We had the opportunity to meet a few less-active members, being entrusted with the challenges they face. As we listened, to both them and the Spirit, the words came. The answers came. As the saying goes, we found the loose brick and took down the walls.

Though there continues to be challenges, and walls around almost every person we meet, we were able to witness the ignition of hope in a number of souls. And I was once again reminded that tears sometimes heal.

This Sunday we covered the lesson from Howard W. Hunter, Help from on High. A fitting topic considering the number of people we'd met facing particular challenges they could not understand. As we learn from the scriptures, this is when we need to turn to Him. There is a standard of truth, it is the Gospel, and I bear witness that it heals - all because of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

In the lesson the following was mentioned, "Men and women in many circles are clever, interesting, or brilliant, but they lack one crucial element in a complete life. They do not look up."

No wonder there are so many that say, "Something is missing."

Now I know that there are many who turn away, because they struggle to find answers. I have seen many who simply do not understand, or fail to recognise when the Spirit speaks. The worst being those who simply believe things should come, things should happen, God will sort it out for them. But we need to be reminded that this is a Gospel of action - we need to do something. In other words, "faith without works is dead" - James 2:17.

"We must take time to prepare our minds for spiritual things. The development of spiritual capacity does not come with the conferral of authority. There must be desire, effort, and personal preparation. This requires, of course, … fasting, prayer, searching the scriptures, experience, meditation, and a hungering and thirsting after the righteous life."

This Gospel is not just another religion. It is not just another way of life. It is the Lord's way - and it is the only lasting way. This Gospel, and this Gospel alone, can bring us back home.

I am privileged to be given the opportunity to witness its impact not only in my life, but also in the lives of others.

So when we ask you to ask God, we mean it. When He asks us to act, He means it. And when we say it's true, it's not just something we're saying. It's something we KNOW. And the truth is, you can know it too - it just takes effort.

P.S. Easter is around the corner. Follow the link to see this year's Easter message.

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