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Faith vs Fear

We all have fears regardless of who we are there are things in this world we fear.  Whether it be the unknown or failure or even the color yellow. Everyone is afraid of something. It is a natural instinct that we all have that can protect us from a dangerous situation. “On the other hand fear is spoken of as something unworthy of a child of God, something that” (BD Fear). Why can it be so bad?

Fear stands in opposition to faith. Fear as I said earlier is a reaction to prevent us from doing something we percieve as dangerous.  Faith is the assurance that we will be safe from harm. Faith is a trust that God will be there for us no matter what. The more faith we have the less things we need to fear. For what is there to fear when God is there to help you and strengthen you? The Moses when speaking to the children of Israel before they went into battle said this “Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you.” (Deut 3:22). The Lord is there for us now just as He was then and He always will be.

 

Elder Hinton

Witnesses of Christ

The Bible has been around for over 4oo years as the actual Bible. The writings it contains have been around for a lot longer over 4000 years. To keep something around that long takes a lot of effort. Why would people strive and work so hard to keep the words of some men intact? Why would man read a book that is so old about a time that is so far behind us? What makes it so important?

Well what it contains is what makes it so great! It is the words of prophets. The words that were revealed unto these men by the Holy Ghost or in some case by God Himself. How great is that! The principles taught in their teachings are for us of all ages and at all times. That is what prophets do they help us to understand how God can help us now and forever. That is why God calls prophets is so that we can all learn what God desires us to learn. That priceless and invaluable word that is recorded in the Bible is why men have fought so hard to keep it intact for so long. “For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.” (Jacob 4:4).

The Bible is the word of God and we should all be grateful for the men that wrote it. So if these words are so important why would God cease to give them to us? Why would God only give them to a small group of people in Jerusalem? He didn’t! He called prophets in the ancient Americas as well. Their record is in a book known as the Book of Mormon.  This record  is for the same purpose as the Bible as Nephi wrote “they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.” (2 Nephi 33:10). That is why it is so great it as an additional witness that Jesus is the Christ and that God does loves us and wants to give us guidance and direction. I know its true and I know that you can come to know by the same power that it is true if you but ask your Heavenly Father.

 

Elder Hinton

A New Day!

Happy New Year!!!! This time of year it is often a time for people to set goals and make plans for things they wish to accomplish this year. These resolutions more often than not are found a few months later dying on the side of the road and most seem to not even remember them by time December rolls around. But how can we truly measure success in a year? How can we look back and say yeah I had a good year?

Well what is the overreaching goal of life? Simple “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32). So after all is said and done that is the question did am I better prepared to meet God this year then I was last year. Even better am I closer to God today then yesterday. The process of growth in faith in Christ is a daily gradual climb towards the ultimate goal. To be “as your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:48). It is a lofty and impossible goal, but through consistent care this goal can be reached through Jesus Christ.

How might you ask. Simply through repenting and changing. Growing and desiring to be more than you were. “For in his strength I can do all things” (Alma 26:12). As we call upon the Lord daily in prayer and repent of our sins, meaning we change the sinful behavior, we can put “off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord” (Mosiah 3:19). I know this to be true and I know that we can live happier and more fulfilled lives as we change our lives and put them more in line with what God desires us to do.

Elder Hinton

The Spirit of Service

This time of year we are often turned towards the life and love of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Christmas season is always a time of family, food, and fun. More then likely we will all hear messages of buy this and buy that. Even more then that there is the messages about how important Jesus Christ is. Now not to discount His importance because Jesus is the reason for the season. But we hear these messages and I think all of us on some level or another will begin to tune them out or only listen to that which we want to hear. With all this noise and conflict what is a person to do. How do we know what the Spirit of Christmas is and more importantly how do we get it?

Christmas is not about boxes and bags or packages and ribbon. It is more then that. It is more then a celebration of a Great Mans birth into humble circumstances. It is more then all that. Christmas is about the birth of the Son of God! The Savior of the world! It is about the good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10) brought by angels to simple shepherds. The news that made Nephi exclaim “I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” (2 Nephi 33:6).

Jesus once said “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another” (John 13:34). The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ. It is the Spirit of love, of service, of compassion. It is manifest in simple acts of service as we go “about doing good” (Acts 10:38). It is the way we serve others.  So what better way then to show our love for Him then to serve those around us. Jesus Christ’s messages has always been about serving others. The glad tidings are meant to be shared. They are meant to be shown.

So the reason for the season is Christ the Spirit of Christmas is His. Now what are we to do? Go and do what Jesus did. Love and serve. Chances are you wont save someones life or change the world tomorrow. But if you do show someone love you will know why He came. You will know why He mattered. You will know Him.

Elder Hinton

To Know All Things

As with all things and a running theme in most of my posts it all starts with the love of our Heavenly Father for us His children. The love of God is an incomprehensible and undefinable gift that no amount of scientific or logical reasoning can ever hope to describe, define or quantify. It is so inconceivable that it can overwhelm and stupefy us. It is due to this love that God so badly wants to hear from and talk to us.

Revelation is the mode by which our Heavenly Father speaks to us. To learn something from God is the greatest way to learn. “The English word revelation is translated from a Greek word apocalypse, meaning to make known or uncover.”( BD Revelation). God will make known or uncover all things if we simply ask Him to. As Paul put it “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Gal 1:12). When we learn something that way it has a powerful impact it is the mode by which we obtain any spiritual truth. “What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:23). Through the Holy Ghost all people can hear from their Heavenly Father.

We speak to our Father in Heaven through prayer. it is that way that we can align our will with His. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matt 21:22). Multiple times through out the scriputres we are promised answers and help to our questions if we but simply ask (Mark 11:24; Hel. 10:5; Morm. 9:21; Moro. 7:26; D&C 88:64 (63–65); Matt 7:7; James 1:5; 3 Nep 18:20). So why not ask? Our God will not let us down He will always answer our prayers. we can have access to all knowledge and wisdom and help and strength all that God wants is for us to ask. So will you ask God for help?

 

Elder Hinton

 

Count Your Blessings

“And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?” (Alma 26:2). This question posed by a missionary named Ammon over 2000 years ago is still a relevant question today. Think about it how much has God truly blessed us with can we really named and list all the things that have been given? Or would it be easier to make a list of the things that are ours? It would be much, much shorter. Why though have we been given so much? Why does God continuously bless us regardless of our relationship with Him or our state in life? Why does He always give?” Simply put we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16).

God shows His love by all that He does for us. Also most importantly by what He gave us. Jesus Christ. But the question remains how can we show our gratitude for what is an impossibly long list of items? One wise king said this.

” I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your ownwill, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. And behold, all that herequires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” (Mosiah 2:19-22)

Or as Jesus Christ simply stated “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). We show our gratitude and love by simply doing the things He asks. He has already given His Son all we need to do is accept the gift by trying a little harder then we did yesterday. That is how we show gratitude by accepting and treasuring that which He gave us.

God shows His love in the blessings He has given us. We show our love by keeping His commandments and in gratefully accepting that which He has given. Therefore “Offer unto God thanksgiving” (Pslams 50:14) and follow your Savior Jesus Christ.

Elder Hinton

The Book of Mormon

“Is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” (Introduction). It is a second witness that God is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (2 Nephi 29:9) It testifies that God loves us so much that He teaches all men everywhere that they should do good.

The Book of Mormon begins by telling the story of a family, that consists of the parents Lehi and Sariah and their sons Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi, who is in Jerusalem around 600 years before Christ. After Lehi tells the people to repent the Lord commands them to leave the city. After wandering in the wilderness for a while they come to the ocean where Nephi builds a boat. They cross the “great waters” and come to a promise land (i.e. the Americas). Once settled the two older brothers threaten to kill Nephi and Sam so Nephi departs and his children and descendants become a group known as the Nephites while Laman and his descendants become the Lamanites.

The Nephites like all people were loved by God. So God gave them prophets who taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The taught and preached the exact same gospel that was being taught in Jerusalem. Such vital doctrines as baptism (2 Nephi 31) or charity (Moroni 7). They laid out our Heavenly Fathers glorious plan of redemption on simple clarity (2 Nephi 2).  Most importantly they testified that a Messiah would come (Mosiah 3).  They did all this that they may “exhort you that ye would come unto Christ” (Moroni 10:30). This that our Heavenly Fathers purpose may help us to be happy.

The Book of Mormon helps us to understand our Savior better and leads us to believe in Him. It is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It invites “all men that they should do good” (2 Nephi 33:10). If it does or does not lead all men to Christ “judge ye for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory” (2 Nephi 33:11)  they do testify of Him. For I have asked and I know that it is true.

Elder Hinton

I Believe In Christ

“I believe in Christ, he ransoms me. From Satan’s grasp he sets me free, And I shall live with joy and love In his eternal courts above.” (Hymn 134). That is what Jesus did for us. He set us free from the grasps of sin and death. Faith in Christ is the most fundamental principle I can think of. Faith in Jesus is believing that He is our Savior even though there is no concrete evidence that we can hold or touch.

“Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge” (Alma 32:26) but, it “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1). It is something we can test. It gives us an assurance that everything will work out in the end. “Faith in Christ is inextricably tied to, and results in, hope in Christ for our redemption and exaltation. And assurance and hope make it possible for us to walk to the edge of the light and take a few steps into the darkness—expecting and trusting the light to move and illuminate the way.” (Elder David A. Bednar).

This faith in Jesus Christ molds us. It causes us to act and it allows us to change. It creates in us a hope and a desire to move on towards the future. It gives us reason to be obedient. It basically drives everything we do. Faith is the fundamental principle of the gospel. It is the principle of power that drives us all.

Elder Hinton

That Which Is of God

There are a lot of choices out there. Everything from what school should I go to or where should I live to what flavor mouthwash should I buy. There are millions of little choices and millions of results for those choices. Most decisions wont have life altering consequences some however do. One such choice is to follow Christ or to follow Satan. But with a world of decisions and reasons and enticements how can one tell that which is of God apart from everything else?

A prophet in Moroni gives us a simple answer “But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God…for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.” (Mor 7:13-16). Those things that invite us to come unto our Savior Jesus Christ we can know of a surety that they are good and sent by God. For why would Satan lead us towards Christ? Just as Jesus Christ himself taught “by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt 7:20).

Therefore those things that invite good into your life and those things which produce the fruits of the spirit which are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23). God has taught us how to tell if something is of Him or not. He has told us that way if we truly desire to follow Him we can know what we need to do. So that when we find what is of God and what invites us to come unto Jesus we can seek after it.

Elder Hinton

The Chief Corner Stone

“And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood” (3 Nep 27:19). Jesus Christ is the hinge upon which our Heavenly Fathers plan for us sits. With out Jesus none of us can qualify for eternal life. For it is only through Jesus Christ that we can be cleansed from sin. Only through Jesus Christ can we make it through this mortal life clean. This is Heavenly Fathers goal. His goal is for us to be with Him forever. This is because He loves us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John3:16).

Jesus Christ makes this possible “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Jesus Christ has paid the debt for us all. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8) “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nep 25:23). It is not by our works are we saved but, because of the greatest event in human history, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that we can be saved. If we but keep His commandments. Faith in Jesus and His power is essential but, “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17).

Jesus loves us and has paid the price for the truly penitent. We must “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matt 3:8). We must change and come unto Jesus Christ for “there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3:17).

Elder Hinton

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