"There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah"
2 Nephi 2:8 (The Book of Mormon)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Be ye therefore perfect? - Guest contributor - My Mom

As God led Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, he devised a perfect plan to help the covenant children leave behind the "world" and look forward to the day of true deliverance when he would come to redeem them from their sins. He gave them the Law of Moses, everything pointing to that future great and eternal sacrifice.

Approximately 1600 years later, in the the meridian of time, the keeping of the Law of Moses enabled  many to have "eyes to see and ears to hear." They recognized Jesus for who he was and followed him. They received. Sadly there were also those who had embellished the law given by God, looking blindly beyond the mark, using the law to persecute others and establish their own power.

To a multitude gathered on a mountain side, Jesus taught regarding the ten commandments given to ancient Israel. He urged his followers to "do and teach" them. However, he clarified that keeping the commandments was a matter of "heart" not a merely a legalistic exercise. The beatitudes then, now and forever reveal the keys of happiness and blessedness. They are the foundation principles of the commandments.

Jesus' teachings on that holy mount included a call to perfection. (Matthew 5:48 KJV) As we take the name of Jesus Christ upon us and are filled with his love, we keep the commandments as a matter of our love for God and for our fellowman. We yearn to grow and learn through his grace and power. We have a repentant nature as we come up against our weaknesses. We receive of the Savior's sacrifice in our behalf. We begin to reflect the light of His perfect love for each and every one we meet. Ultimately, after much striving and receiving of his grace, in him and through him we are made perfect. Jesus is literally the "fulfillment" of the law.
     Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
     And again, if ye by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.  (Moroni's final testimony) Moroni 10:32-34

Next week we will finish "The Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 6&7.  Happy studying:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Priceless Friend

A friend is a person who is willing to take me the way I am, but who is willing and able to leave me better than he found me.
Marvin J Ashton

In Mark chapter 2 we read:
1- And again he (Jesus) entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
2- And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

At this point in Christ's ministry, word had spread of His power and miracles.  He entered into a home to preach and it was filled to overflowing.  Four friends of a man stricken with the palsy had heard of Christ's power to heal and desired to bring their friend to the Savior.

3- And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne (carried) of four.

Seeing the crowded house, they realized that they would not be able to gain access to the Savior through the door.  How did they solve their problem?  What can we learn from their tenacity in helping their friend?
4- And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5- When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
10- ... that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
11- I say unto thee, Arise and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
12- And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God...

I love that this man was healed both spiritually and physically, because of the faith  and tenacity of His friends.  These two qualities mark the difference between a good friend, and the priceless friend.  The best kind of friend is one who knows that full joy, peace and healing lie at the feet of the Savior and will do everything in his power to bring a loved one there.  I thank my Father for the dear friends in my life who by their loving examples have led me to my Savior.  I want to be that kind of a friend!

Next week:  Matthew 5- The Sermon on the Mount!  

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's ALL about LOVE

Love one another and be Happy.
It's as simple and as difficult as that! 

In 1 John 4:8 we learn that God is Love. The grand motive for all that He does is the perfect, selfless love He has for each of us.  He loves us without condition or qualification.  

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness.

Knowing this helps us to understand that not only do we look like Him, we also have His likeness within us.  Peter refers to this as our "divine nature". (See 2 Peter 1:4-8)   Each of us has the opportunity to develop these godly qualities if we will but seek and search for Him with all of our hearts.  Knowing that God is Love, helps us to understand that this same quality is a fundamental thread in the fabric of our souls.

 If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

As we become more loving and our focus turns outward, our hearts become a warm and safe dwelling place for His spirit.  We experience His love in new and deeper ways.  We are able to receive His love more perfectly and in turn extend His love to all with whom we associate.

Love is the guiding light that illuminates the disciple's path and fills our daily walk with life, meaning and wonder. 

Love is the way of the disciple.

Next week we will look at Mark 2: 1-12


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Savior's Pattern

This week's reading is about the call of the original 12 apostles. In Matthew 9:36-38, we learn of Christ's purpose in calling these special witnesses.

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples,  
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

He called the apostles and set them apart to be His representatives.  He gave them power to act in His name in benefit of all to whom they would minister.(Matthew 10:1)  Did He intend for only those who lived at the meridian of time to be blessed by this organization, or was He establishing the pattern for His church, so that even those of us who live today could reap the same blessings?  In Ephesians 2:19-20, Paul declares

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, 
but fellow citizens with the saints, and the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, 
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

Christ demonstrated His pattern and Paul testified of it!  I add my testimony to Paul's, that indeed, Christ's church is still built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone!  I invite you to listen to the words of one of His apostles of these, the last days.

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