Tuesday, December 8, 2009
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."
In these scriptures Christ is speaking to his apostles and promising them the guidance of the Holy Ghost. It is unknown whether his apostles actually understood what Christ was saying. (I personally believe they had no clue.) They were so accustomed to being around Jesus and having the ability to ask him about their concerns that the idea of some unseen being might have seemed unreal. Yet, just like his prophesy’s of His death and betrayal came to pass, this also came to pass.
What, or shall we say who is the Comforter? The Comforter is the Holy Spirit. He is not Christ. While Christ and the Spirit have the same purpose and goal, their bodies are separate. Since the Spirit has no body his mission is special. He can touch spirits. Through this ability he is able to comfort us when we are sad, guide us when we feel lost, and tell us what we ought to do.
What an amazing reality. While Christ had to leave this earth, he sent the other part of the God- head to stay with us. The spirit can be felt by everyone as they do good things. It is the good feeling that one gets when one serves another, prays, or sacrifices. Yet, if we want to have the spirit guide us every day there is a requirement. We must accept baptism and live according to the laws of God.
I am grateful for the spirit. I have called upon its comfort daily and have become stronger through its promptings.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
As we moved from painting to painting Rita would continue to ask us questions such as "what emotion does this art evoke, how does this represent Christ, etc." As she asked these questions I was given direction to begin pondering and exploring my mind and feelings. As I did so thoughts and feelings came that I had not thought of before. I started seeing myself in the paintings. For example, there was one painting that was a woman holding a perfectly baked bread loaf. At first glance I thought it was a nice painting but had the desire to pass it by because it did not strike my first glance. Yet, As she kept us in front of this art piece I found myself in the woman. This woman was noticeably tired from her days work, yet with great posture and presentation bestows the bread to the audience. This is perhaps how I/we are everyday. Every day I personally strive and work for an goal, a person, or a desire. Most of the time I am tired, a little stressed, but persistent. I want so badly to do my best, give my all, and present it well. I strongly believe in sacrificing for what we desire most. This painting became a representation of that ideal to me.
As we moved on through the Art museum we were also stopped in front of a wall sculpture. The scene it portrayed was of a man in the crucifix position ( undoubtedly Christ himself) , who has a rod exuding from his finger. Connected to the rod was the hand of another man. Our tour guide gave us some ideas of what this could represent. Yet, we cannot be sure if the man is jumping up to hold on to the rod, or letting go and falling. As I looked at this sculpture I yet again found myself inside of it. The rod spoken of vanishes as it gets closer to the finger of Christ. This I interpreted as follows. We must hold on to the rod in order to be led to Christ. Yet, as we get closer to Christ the rod disappears ( kind of a walk in the dark , faith idea) and then we see Christ himself. Therefore this man who is on the rod I see as me. A person who has been trying to faithfully hold on to the rod, yet feels the rod disappearing and feels fear because of the unknown. Yet just like the sculpture…all I need to do is look towards the Savior and he will catch us.
Art is one of the most powerful tools that can bring us to Christ. How wonderful!:)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
This scripture is perhaps one of the most famous scriptures in the Bible. It is so famous that it has been arranged into many different songs. In fact it was one of the earliest Christian songs to be sung. There are more verses/words, yet, I would like to focus on the first five. It is interesting to see that the Word is referring to a being, or in other words, Christ. Why would Christ be referred to as the Word? While pondering this I reflected on the purpose and use of words in our lives today. In the dictionary it defines words as the following, “Words are a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.” As I read this I was hit by the words representation and carrier of meaning. We cannot see God, yet Christ can. Christ is our representative to the Father. His very body is the vehicle by which we have been made free from our sins IF we will repent and change. Everybody’s life has meaning. We determine everyday what our individual meaning and purpose is. Every time we repent and change this meaning changes because we are changing our vision, our thoughts, our wants, and our perspective to that of Christ’s. He then “carries” all of who we are, makes us perfect, and presents us to the Father. He literally is our form of communication with Heavenly Father.
A common old phrase goes like this, “my word is my bond.” This implies that whatever one chooses to say, they are choosing to do. If I say I will be somewhere at a certain time, I will. If I say I like something, I do. Basically anything we say is true and thereby turns into action. Today this principle has been disregarded and therefore there are liars, cheaters, back stabbers, and a lot of people who speak a lot and do very little. Anything that our Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ says is true and therefore is cultivated or acted upon. This is why “all things were made by him and without him was nothing made.” He said create earth, and it happened, he said let there be light, and there was. I hope that perhaps I may be so true to my word that I make life happen instead of watch it.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The account of Matthew demonstrates the evils of money. We cannot be sure why Judas turned Christ in, yet, we know that for this devilish act of hypocrisy he received 30 silver pieces. This is the same amount that then was used to buy a field, which became known as the “field of blood.” This detail added by Matthew is one of uniqueness. This example of betrayal still continues on today. Many people will do anything for money, including selling others or oneself. How horrible! Yet, as we continue to read Matthew he does not focus on this. Instead he focuses on the fact that each hypocrisy and horrible thing that happens to Christ are all manifestations of His divine calling. Many times Matthew tells us that what happened “fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet.” Perhaps this is why He allowed himself to feel the pain that in reality through His power could have easily chosen not to feel. Perhaps this is why He endured. He knew who He was. He knew for what purpose He was living and dying. The scriptures say He “held his peace.” I believe that in reality He did hold his peace. No one could disturb Him. He was solid and determined in what He was accomplishing.
As Christ was being tortured we are not told of Him using any type of restraint. Matthew simply tells us of the treacherous things that were done to him. This I take as strength. If Christ resisted, yelled, kicked etc. I am sure they would have put this in the account. Yet, Christ was able to control Himself and His natural reactions. As I thought about this I have become more determined to become this way; to be able to control our natural reactions.
The one expression He did use and was recorded was when He was on the cross in the dark. He cried “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me.” This plea exemplifies His love of the Father and His depth of pain. Christ had always had His Father there to help and guide Him. Yet, in order to feel the pain of all men God left Him alone for a little bit. As we reflect on this plea, let’s remember anytime we might have called out for our parents. Perhaps when we fell off our bike or when we were being hassled by our siblings. We call on them for support and love. Our Savior also called to His Father for support. I know that Heavenly Father lives. His son is Jesus Christ. They are 2 different and distinct individuals. Because our Heavenly Father loves us soo much He sent His son to die for us. I know this is true. I know it through reading the Book of Mormon and prayer. If you will read and pray you will also know, and have a deeper relationship with our savior Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
At the printing museum I was impressed with the feeling of awe that one gets from someone who has succeeded to do something great. Gutenberg spent 20 years figuring out how to make a move-able type printer. I can imagine after 10 years I would get a little discouraged. Yet, his determination and perhaps spiritual drive to create this world-changing method drove him to keep going. This printer that he created was used for more than 60 years. Think of how fast it takes for someone to come up with a new addition of anything these days. It seems that once we buy a computer it is already outdated. This invention not only helped with faster printing, but through the sources printed it inspired others to think of new ideas. Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the greatest example of this. From a young age he loved to read, his reading caused him to imagine. Then he began working at a printing shop with his brother. At age 17 he became known as the youngest head printer. I strongly believe that it was due to the written word and the ability to print that he had so many great inventions.
Also from the printing press Gutenberg was able to print the Bible. The word of God was able to be in the hands of the people. This was definatly inspired by God.
While at the museum I was struck how everything that God inspires us to do has 1 purpose, and 1 purpose only. This purpose is that of helping and loving us. If Gutenberg had not invented the first printing press think of where we would be right now. We would still be stuck in the middle ages. Few books, high illiteracy rates, and no indoor plumbing. That is what I call a nightmare! Yet, due to this one invention alone we have developed into a nation where we can communicate and know about the issues of the whole world. More importantly we can know the truth. This came about in the 1820’s when a young boy name Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. They then directed him to a book which holds all the truth we need to know about where we came from, why we are on this earth, and where we are going. It tells us of our true relationship with God and how we can progress so that we may become like Him. This book is called the Book of Mormon. It is true. I know it is true. I’ve read it and prayed to know if it is true. I promise anyone that if they will read it and pray, they will know it is truth.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
In the book of Matthew he speaks brief and to the point. Before getting to the point of Christ’s birth he writes the list of who begat who. I used to think that this was rather annoying. Yet, as I’ve matured I’ve realized the importance of our familial lineage. If it were not for our ancestors we would not even be here. Christ is just like us, He came through a lineage. It is also interesting to look at the people in his ancestry. Many of them were sinners in a variety of ways. Yet, Christ came. In my opinion He came from such a messed up line because he was sent on earth to save. This fact that his ancestry was less than perfect reminds me that no matter what I do or how I may mess up, Christ was sent to save and He will if I let Him.
In contrast, Luke did not bring up lineage. Instead he started with the story of Zacharias and the birth of John the Baptist. As he writes this he is setting up for the grand moment of Christ’s birth by comparing it to that of his cousin John. He then ties the story into that of Mary. Instead of just stating her name like Matthew, Luke introduces her by her attributes- “favored among woman,” a panderer, young, etc. This explanation is important because the reader understands just what a miracle Christ’s birth really was. We see how Heavenly Father will take those who are less than adequate to fulfill His purposes. Mary than receives the information about her Son such as His name and holy calling. Luke than adds a very important part. He shows the doubt of Mary. She states, “How shall this be seeing I know not a man?” This question is familiar to us all. We all have times when we are told to do the impossible. To this impossible plea the angel told Mary, “For with God nothing is impossible.” Will our response be as humble as Mary’s was when she humbly accepted this answer and replied, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
While Luke is using detail, Matthew begins with Mary being found with child. No Zacharias, no angel, no talk of doubt etc. He simply wrote the solid facts of her becoming pregnant, the issues with Joseph, him having a dream and the baby being born. I was shocked by the lack of detail. Yet, the basic facts were given. I much rather prefer the details which Luke writes in his narrative because it helps me to better understand Christ and His life, which in turn help me understand myself.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Luke uses an interesting use of comparisons. We discussed this in class after which I became fascinated with it. The comparison is that of Zacharias and Mary when they were individually visited by an angel. Luke uses detail to explain the story of Zacharias. The Lord tells him to “fear not, for thy prayer is heard.” The Lord continues to explain many in depth details about the son of Zacharias. Luke makes sure to include all of them. Yet, Zacharias still did not listen to the Lord. Next Luke mentions the young Virgin Mary. Mary was not well-known or prestigious. She was a humble youth who was betrothed to Joseph the carpenter. She was also visited by an angel. Yet, unlike the wise, experienced Zacharias who was doubtful of the Lord’s ability, Mary straightway believed. Luke shows the audience that being a follower of Christ is not a “position.” Instead it is a mind set, humility of spirit that allows one to believe and do.
He also expounds many times on the need for baptism. He repeatedly finds areas to insert more detail about baptism. For example he states, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” “preaching baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Baptism is necessary for salvation. Luke knew this principle and through many details shared what he could with the audience. When expounding on baptism, he uses one detailed phrase, which I enjoyed. “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight , and the rough ways shall be made smooth and al flesh shall see the salvation of God. “ Look at that description. It would have been simple enough to say that everyone on earth will know god lives. Yet, he takes the opportunity to show the grandness of his statement.
Luke also seems to be fascinated with women. He expounds more in depth into the stories and parables of women than he does men. He explains in detail about the lady with an issue of blood. This lady was sick for a long time. She could not find a cure. Yet, by the touch of the Saviors garment she was healed. Luke explains that when she touched him “virtue …[went ] out of [Him]. He also expounds on the story of the woman who anoints the feet of Christ. This lady had done many bad things. Her life was one full of sin. Yet, as she learned of Christ she came to understand that He is the Savior. She knew that He was her personal Savior and was going to die for her. Therefore, out of respect and devotion she anointed His feet. This act was one of love. Others chastised her for doing this, yet, Christ was grateful for her service and love. Luke helps us to learn the lesson that we should never judge another’s righteous act.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Mark’s description of the death of Christ is straightforward and to the point. Yet, through his words we can still gain a deeper understanding of the events that led to and the events that occurred after the death of Jesus Christ.
Before the physical death of Christ, He had to die spiritually and emotionally. This was done through Him walking into a garden, falling on the ground and feeling all the pains, sickness, sorrow, betrayal, and guilt that we have and ever could feel. It might be hard for one to understand this. It seems impossible. Yet, I know it happened. Mark describes the emotions of Jesus being “very heavy” or “sorrowful unto death.” I would like us to imagine a time in our lives when we have felt sorrow. Not sadness for scraping a knee, but real inner sorrow. Take that feeling and multiply it by 1 million and maybe we’d start to understand a little of what Christ felt. He cried to His Father asking if there was another way, yet, in the realization that there was not, He kept going. I am grateful that He persevered. What if my sins and my sorrow was the last of all He suffered? If He would have stopped than I would not be saved. But, He didn’t.
After this act of selflessness, Jesus was betrayed by His own close disciple kissing His cheek. He willingly submitted Himself to the soldiers. No fight. No Struggle. Christ had just undergone emotional and spiritual death, now He was undergoing a type of social death. His closest friends all left Him. Peter denied knowing Him three times. He was left alone. When brought in front of Pilate He used the dignity of silence to pled for His cause. Soldiers mocked and scourged Him. They even dressed Him in a purple robe and crown of thorns while beating Him. Everything that Jesus was and is was being beaten down.
When on the cross innocent Jesus Christ was hung alongside “transgressors.” The mocking continued as they taunted Him with his prophesy destroying the temple and then building it in 3 days. As well as the cringing idea that if He was not able to save Himself, how could He save others? Yet, perhaps the world felt the sorrow of this event, because for 3 of the daylight hours there was pure darkness. During this time Jesus perhaps hit the lowest of the low. All had rejected Him. He felt alone. He could not even feel the love of God. This is portrayed through his wrenching words, ““My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me.” Yet, even then Jesus did not stop. He loved me and you too much to stop. He continued. When His work was finished Jesus cried with a loud voice and “gave up the ghost.” After Jesus died a centurion stated “ truly this man was the Son of God.”
He was and is the Son of God. He died for us. Yet, it is not His death that saved us, it is His resurrection. After His body died, He was put into a sepulcher of a dear friend Joseph. 3 days after His death. He arose. His body and spirit came back together in a perfect form. He conquered the unconquerable. He conquered death. A women named Mary saw Him. She told others and they did not believe. Yet, Christ himself came and appeared unto them. I know Christ lives. This is why we can have happiness in our lives. No matter what problem you have, Christ overcame it. Trust in Him.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
In the dictionary it states the definition of astonishing as follows:
“To fill with sudden wonder or amazement.”
“To fill with sudden and overpowering surprise or wonder.” (http://dictionary.reference.com)
We can see that according to the dictionary it is an unexpected feeling, which causes one to reflect or be in an elevated state of mind.
As I pondered on this word, I thought of times when I too felt this feeling. Each time was when I was being taught by the Spirit. This feeling of astonishment has led me to do such things as write music, poetry, go have an uplifting conversation, go serve etc. It was this feeling which led me to have a DESIRE to act. The Bible itself is a compilation of people who through the teachings of Christ were enlightened and therefore willing to change.
If we look in the book of Mark we can learn even more about what the word astonishing means.
Through out all of the references in Mark containing the word astonishing, every single reference was an after effect. In most it was Christ who shared with the people about the real questions of life, for example, Who am I, Where did I come from, What is my purpose, What do I need to do, What happens after I die….etc. Through Christ’s teachings these questions which many assumed to be unanswerable, were answered. Not only did they receive an answer to these question, but the power by which Christ taught them left the people amazed…astonished. This happened as He taught the people with wisdom, healed the 12 year old “damsel,” questioned the apostles etc.
All of the astonishment was a result of Christ’s ministry and the attention of the astonishers.
What was this power? Why were others effected by what Christ said. What authority did Christ have. Lets look at the reasons why
1. Authority- Jesus Christ was and is the literal son of God. God is His earthly Father. Just like I have brown eyes and a spunky personality from my mom, Jesus Christ in reality has the characteristics of God. He and God are as separate in body as my mom and I, but, He has powers that no other human being possesses.
2. Power- along with the literal authority, Christ’s words have power because they are true. We have all heard the saying “ The truth will set you free.” Truth, in its simplicity is the greatest source of power and when we live it we have the power to become free. While upon the earth Christ did not teach about the cosmos and the galaxies. Instead he spoke simple powerful truths. For example, God is our Heavenly Father, He loves us, We must choose to love God by being baptized, Repent, Forgive, and Love. Living these brings power, the true power into our lives.
As we see the power that Christ possessed it causes me to reflect upon what capacity I have to astonish and move others. I will never be the literal son of God, but I can speak with power. What keeps us from this power? It seems simple enough to love, forgive, repent, but is it? When was the last time we held a grudge against someone we believe wronged us? When was the last time we allowed our judgments or sarcasm create barriers with those around us. We are not perfect, but we can try to be. In this complex world it is only the pure simplicity of living a truth that can bring our minds to the point of astonishment.So lets lift our heads, speak kind words and courageously love.
Mark 1: 22
Mark 5: 42
Mark 6: 2
Mark 7: 37
Mark 10: 24, 26
Mark 11: 18
Monday, September 21, 2009
In the New Testament Christ performed many miracles. He gave much counsel. He taught and healed in such a way that after being in his presence, those in attendance were changed. I have noticed specific attributes of those who were witnesses of Christ. First is that they were active, second is that they were forever changed by the experience.
Let’s start with the birth of Christ. Matthew chapter 2 speaks of the exodus of the wise men in search for Christ. It states they, "saw a star and rejoiced." They later found him and worshiped Him. They were not just witnesses, but they were active witnesses. When they saw the star, they sought ought Christ and found him. And when they found him, they worshiped him. In our world today we live in a time of inactivity. By this I mean that many people prefer to watch others "live" their lives from a television screen instead of actively living life. As I have read through the gospels in the Bible, I have found a reoccurring theme. The nature of the true eye witnesses of Christ is change, action, and becoming. I will give a few examples.
1. Luke chapter 8- There was a man who was possessed by many devils. He would scream in the night and run around ragged all day. He remained this way until the master came. The Savior cast out the devils and the man was restored to his natural self. His life, his very body became a sign of the compassion and power of our Savior. He was a witness of how through the Savior one can become whole. Yet, he did not just look at himself say thanks and walk away. He was active. He went to his home and praised the name of God.
2. Luke chapter 8- There was a "woman having an issue of blood 12 years." She heard of Christ. She actively sought Him amidst the tumultuous crowd. She touched Him. One simple touch of his clothes and she witnessed within herself the healing power. She was willing, active, and eternally changed.
3. Matthew chapter 8- Christ healed a leper. The leper was healed. The savior told the leper not to tell others about this occurrence. Yet, the leper knew. He changed. He went away glorifying the name of Christ. It was not just a physical change, but an inner.
4. Mathew 7- A government man‘s servant was sick. He actively sought out Christ. He did not send a servant or maid to find Christ, he directly went to him. The Savior offered to come to his home. Yet, this centurion showed his witness of Christ by saying, “speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” This man saw Christ, yet he did not see him heal his servant. He didn’t have to. He was a true witness of Christ. Or in other words, he actively believed.
As we can see theh witnesses of the New Testament are many. Thihs point causes me to think... am I a witness? Do I believe in Christ enough to actively show it and allow myself to change?
Monday, September 14, 2009
There are many many negative people, news clips, and movies. Many things that try to make us believe that this life is unfair and really........ that life just stinks!!!!
I'm here to prove that life is wonderful! What a great time to be alive! I hope that through this blog I might assist others to see how happy life really is! :)