Tag Archives: Christ

Easter, Celebrating Christ’s Atonement and Resurrection

What does Easter mean to me?  It is a time to remember the atonement, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ because these great gifts make possible the greatest gifts mankind has to gain!

“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  Pearl of Great Price, Article of Faith 3 and 4.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to show us the right way to live and to prepare the way for us to return to live with Him and with our Heavenly Father.  His great example has helped me live a better life every day of my life.  When problems arise, or I am unsure what to do in a situation, the stories and the teachings of Jesus help guide me to make the right choices.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I have learned the way that Christ prepared so that I and my family may follow in His footsteps, live the principles and accept the ordinances that Jesus instituted for those who desire to know the truth and return to live with Him one day.

Because Jesus was resurrected, everyone will be resurrected – body and spirit reunited once again never to be separated again!  This is a free gift that He provided for all.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ paid for the sins of all mankind.  This is difficult to fathom, for our minds are so finite and small.  Yet, He accomplished this great price:

“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—”  Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-18.

This great gift is available to everyone, but it is a conditional gift.  To receive it, we must repent of our sins and strive to live a good and righteous life, following the example of Jesus.  We build our faith in Jesus, which allows us to learn more about how He lived and try to make the same types of choices in our own lives.

The reward for that is not only to be resurrected, but also to live with God forever and ever!

What greater joy could there be?

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    Christ’s Atonement and Grace

    My mother sent me a beautiful article about Christ’s atonement and grace.  It is entitled, His Grace is Sufficient, and was given by Brad Wilcox in a devotional at Brigham Young University on July 12, 2011.

    In his talk, Brother Wilcox (what we members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call each other since we are all children of God) explains that rather than looking at the atonement and grace as Jesus making up the difference after all we can do, it is much more akin to a mother providing music lessons to her child.

    The mother pays the piano teacher, she pays the debt in full.  So she can ask for something from her child.  What does she ask for?

    That the child practice.

    Does the child’s practice pay the teacher?

    Does the child’s practice pay back the mother?

    No to both.

    Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for the wonderful gift his mother provided.  It is how the child takes advantage of the opportunity his mother is giving him to live his life on a higher level.

    And the mother doesn’t receive happiness by getting repaid for the lessons, but by watching her gift being used, to see her child improve his life.

    If the child complains that her requirement to practice is unreasonable and too difficult, it may be because he doesn’t see the big picture the same way that she does, how much better his life could be if he chooses to live on a higher level.

    It is the same with Jesus Christ.  He paid for our sins, satisfying the demands of justice.  Therefore He gives us His requirements – to follow Him and keep His commandments.  He invites us to live on a higher level.

    If we complain that His requirements are unreasonable and too difficult, it may be that we do not see the big picture in the same way that Christ does, how much better our lives could be if we choose to live on a higher level.  We have not comprehended what He is trying to make of us!

    We try and try to follow His commandments – not as a punishment nor even as payment for what He suffered for us.  The purpose of His rules, His requirements, is to change us, to bring us to a higher level.

    We are not earning our way into heaven; we are learning heaven.  We are preparing for heaven, practicing for it.

    The purpose of grace is to change us.  Remember not only what Jesus saved us from, but also what He saved us for – to be like Him and to enjoy all the blessings and happiness that He has!

    25 Days of Christ – Day 19

    Does the Christmas season get you down?  Is it hard to feel the spirit of Christmas?

    In the story, The Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans, Mary and David Parkin lose their young daughter in a fire started by an angry young man as retaliation against David.  Of course Mary and David are heartbroken, and depressed.

    At Christmas time several months later, they are still grieving terribly, especially David who has long since thrown himself entirely into his work, barely stopping even long enough to eat or sleep.

    One day their minister stops by to see how they are doing.  He tells Mary of a child who will have no Christmas and invites her to go with him to bring the child a present.  Mary goes with him.  They are greeted at the small home by a young mother.  Her little girl is peeking around her to see who is there.  Mary gives her a doll and the child’s eyes light up!  She hasn’t had a present in a long time.

    As they leave, the minister tells Mary that this is the family of the young man who started the fire and is now in prison.  Mary’s heart goes out to the mother and child.

    When her husband finally gets home that night, Mary is brimming over with the joy she felt when giving the gift to the little girl.  David sees her love and happiness with the experience, and agrees to help provide Christmas to the family.  They deliver food and presents to the doorstep of this family who have almost nothing, and watch from afar as they excitedly gather the gifts and take them inside.

    Despite their great loss, Mary and David have found the true spirit of Christmas through selflessly giving to those in greater need.

    “Then shall the King [Christ] say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    “Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    “When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    “Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:34-40.

    25 Days of Christ – Day 17

    What do you do when all seems lost?  When it just seems that you cannot go on one more step?  When your burdens seem too heavy to bear, and one more tiny thing will be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”?

    Christ said, “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 11:28-30.

    Father in Heaven did not send us to earth so we would know only pain and sorrow.  In fact, just the opposite.  He knew we would experience pain and sorrow here, so He planned the way for our “escape”.

    Instead of turning away from God and Christ, instead of hunkering down to bear it, Christ invites us to look up to Him.  How often He has invited us, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  Luke 11:9.

    We are invited to lay our burden at Christ’s feet and bear a song away.

    Sound impossible?  It isn’t.  I have done it myself on more than one occasion.  Talk to your Father in Heaven and explain how you feel and what is going on.  Perhaps you’re not sure you really believe in Him.  Go ahead and explain that too.  Tell Him all that is in your mind and in your heart.  Then ask Him to help you, to work with the tiny desire you have to believe.

    And put your trust in Christ, closing your prayer in His name.  Then, take a moment to see how you feel inside.  Your head may still be swarming with the many things that trouble you, but your heart will feel a bit lighter.  Hang on to that feeling.

    Turn your troubles over to the Lord.  He can handle them much better than you can anyway.  Let Him know that you will try to do whatever He asks you to do.

    Then let go.

    Leave that burden there at His feet, trusting that He will take care of it, and walk away singing praises to Him.  You will be amazed how much better you feel.  And as you strive to hang on to that trust, instead of to those problems, you will see God’s mighty power take over and your problems start becoming resolved or not as worrisome.

    And soon you will see that things are working out.  In fact, better than you dreamed they ever could!  More than likely, better than you ever would have thought of!

    I testify this is true as it has happened to me.

    25 Days of Christ – Day 16

    What about little children?  Are they in limbo or some horrible place if they die without being baptized?  Is that what our loving Father in Heaven would do?

    No.  He planned for them from the beginning also.  Here is one of His most beautiful messages I know of:

    Moroni chapter 8.  This one chapter has so much in it, so many layers.  Enjoy!  🙂

    “1 An epistle of my father Mormon, written to me, Moroni; and it was written unto me soon after my calling to the ministry. And on this wise did he write unto me, saying:

    “2 My beloved son, Moroni, I rejoice exceedingly that your Lord Jesus Christ hath been mindful of you, and hath called you to his ministry, and to his holy work.

    “3 I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.

    “4 And now, my son, I speak unto you concerning that which grieveth me exceedingly; for it grieveth me that there should disputations rise among you.

    “5 For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.

    “6 And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle.

    “7 For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying:

    Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

    And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

    “10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

    “11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

    “12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

    “13 Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.

    “14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

    “15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

    “16 Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.

    “17 And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

    “18 For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

    “19 Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.

    “20 And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.

    “21 Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.

    “22 For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—

    “23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.

    “24 Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.

    “25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

    “26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

    “27 Behold, my son, I will write unto you again if I go not out soon against the Lamanites. Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they should repent.

    “28 Pray for them, my son, that repentance may come unto them. But behold, I fear lest the Spirit hath ceased striving with them; and in this part of the land they are also seeking to put down all power and authority which cometh from God; and they are denying the Holy Ghost.

    “29 And after rejecting so great a knowledge, my son, they must perish soon, unto the fulfilling of the prophecies which were spoken by the prophets, as well as the words of our Savior himself.

    “30 Farewell, my son, until I shall write unto you, or shall meet you again. Amen.”

    And through modern revelation we know that the age of accountability is 8, therefore children under 8 have no need of baptism.  As Christ said, “little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them.”

    Heavenly Father loves your children!

    25 Days of Christ – Day 13

    Today, 12/13/14, is a very special day, the opening of the brand new Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colorado!  And it ties in perfectly with our 25 Days of Christ!  Let me explain.

    I awoke early this morning, and thought about the move into the new hospital which would begin at 7:00 am MST.  I recorded some thoughts in my journal:

    “Well, it is now 7:33 am.  Patients started moving from the old hospital to the new one at 7:00 am.  I am with them in spirit.

    “7 am, the first patient begins the journey.  7:07 am, the 2nd patient begins the journey.  7:14 am, the 3rd patient begins the journey.  They are scheduled to move, one every 7 minutes.  The route has been laid out.  A nurse and transport person accompany every patient.

    “Patients are moved in wheelchairs and are taken from the old hospital directly into the new hospital which is attached at the newer, back portion of the old hospital which will remain intact.  Patients not well enough to move by wheelchair will go by ambulance with a full care team to ensure their safety and well-being during the entire transport.  Newborns will be carried in their mothers’ arms (how fun!  🙂 ).  And the NICU babies will transport in their beds through the hospital with their care team and with Mom right behind them, or by ambulance if need be, with Mom there beside them.

    “7:45 am now.  7 patients have left for their beautiful new state-of-the-art room and are settling in.  Family members, who were eating a light breakfast while waiting for their loved one’s turn to move, are escorted to the new room where they rejoin their loved one.

    “This move has been well planned and well thought out.  There are volunteers all along the route for both patients and family members.  No one will get lost.  Every effort is being made to keep all apprised of process and progress.  It is an exciting day, even from afar!”

    OK, that’s pretty exciting, but what does it have to do with Christ?

    Saint Joseph Hospital was started 140 years ago by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.  They were seeking to follow Christ, and did so by  coming to Denver in order to help the poor and underserved.  They began with almost nothing and invited others to help them in their mission.

    They built a hospital in the heart of Denver, then later a new one right next door.  50 years later they again looked to build a new hospital.  They desired to stay in the heart of Denver at a time when other hospitals were being built in the surrounding areas.  They were part of the community and wanted to stay there where they were needed the most.  They were able to purchase the land of one of those hospitals that moved from next door to them and were blessed to build the new building right between the two!

    The proud tradition of these Sisters, which had its humble beginning with a small handful of dedicated, very motivated Catholic Sisters, has now grown to include 2800 ‘Sisters in spirit’, male and female, from all races, religions, and walks of life – employed and volunteers alike – whose mission embraces the thought: “We are One” with the Sisters.  They feel the spirit of Christ and share His love with all who walk through the hallowed doors of Saint Joseph.

    25 Days of Christ – Day 12

    Christ came to live on the earth to show us how to live.  His life and teachings are recorded in the New Testament of the Holy Bible.  The Old Testament records God’s dealings with the people long ago.  Have you ever wondered if He didn’t teach others also?  Could He be God and have only given us that much information to go on?

    These are great questions!  And, as you may now realize, God is our loving Father in Heaven.  In fact, that is the name He asks us to call Him by – Father.

    Imagine for a moment that a family is getting ready to send their child off to college.  What happens?  They prepare their child for the journey, ensuring accommodations are acquired, necessities packed, directions given, and big hugs exchanged before he leaves.  Is that all?

    Would the family simply wait for their child to return, feeling they had done everything necessary to assure his success?  Would they simply “hope for the best” for him, never reaching out to him to see how he is doing?

    Not likely!  And, as Christ says in Matthew 7:9-11: “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

    What does this tell you about your Father in Heaven?  Obviously He carefully prepared us, His children, for our journey into mortality.  He planned it so that every child is given a father and a mother, a family.  He sent us with His Godly characteristics and attributes.  He provided scriptures to give us rules and direction in our lives.  Is that all He did?  Did He then sit back and “hope for the best”?

    No.  From the beginning Father in Heaven set up a plan to bless every one of His children.  He taught the gospel, including His Plan of Happiness, to them from the beginning.  “And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.  And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.”  Moses 5:4-5.

    Heavenly Father knew that we would not always obey the rules, that we would be selfish, make poor choices and suffer the consequences, that we would even stop believing in Him.  So His plan included sending prophets to His children, prophets who would follow Christ, receive His teachings, and share them with the people.  The prophets wrote the words they received, such as what is in the Bible.

    Heavenly Father also sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to live on the earth and give His children the perfect example of how to live.  But Christ was not just sent to the Jews.  “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”  John 10:16.  Who were these other sheep?

    In the Book of Mormon we read the beautiful story of Christ visiting the people on the American Continent after His resurrection.  3 Nephi 15:21 records His words to them, “And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

    And in 3 Nephi 16:1 He further explains, “And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.”  Heavenly Father does not forget about His children!  He seeks to bless every one of them.  He sent His Son to visit many of them.  And He does not stop speaking to man.

    Today He continues to guide His children through a prophet.  We also have Christ’s teachings in modern-day in the Doctrine and Covenants.  And we hear from the prophet and the 12 apostles regularly as they lead and guide Christ’s church on the earth today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Our loving Father continues to care about and bless His children, seeking to help us as we journey through life and work our way back home to Him.  🙂