Tag Archive: Agency


Why am I so Blessed?

My life is awesome, I love it and I want to make the most of what God has given me.

Why am I the one who receives all these choice blessings though?

I was raised in a home with two parents who loved us, we never seriously struggled financially, our extended family was supportive. I was given the freedom to choose what activities I wanted to do and what friends I wanted.

I was given every opportunity to do activities in high school, I was raised in a home where I was taught about Christ and his Gospel from a very young age.

Why?

I’m not any more special than the homeless man we see whenever we go to Walmart to shop, I’m not more valuable than the criminal facing 10 years in prison, than the prostitute who was forced into that sort of living.

I’m just like them, we’re all children of our Heavenly Father.

Christ and a Child

So why?

Why we’re they not born into loving homes comparable to mine?

Why are there children born who will struggle every day to fight off hunger and sickness while I have been given so much.
I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, I wish I did but I don’t.

All I know is I am blessed, extremely blessed and odds are so are you.

Maybe I’m blessed and others are not cause our Father knew they were strong enough to get through those things and I am not. Maybe it’s because I needed to learn certain lessons only learned in a life of safety while they needed to learn the opposite.
And maybe we’re all in our own situations because of our predecessors choices.

God has given is this amazing gift of Free Agency. The ability to choose, to learn good from evil.

Sadly while that gift can being amazing learning and blessings it can also bring devastating results. One mans actions brought the world to its knees, and so it is today.

Just think of a world where everyone loved one another, where each and every human being was seen as a child of God. There would be no domestic violence, no wars, no unloved children.

It’d be glorious.

So today I want you all, to go out of your way to be kind. Remember that everyone is your brother and sister. Absolutely everyone.

Yes even that driver who just cut you off as you we’re getting I work.

Yes even that man who you find so very very creepy.

Yes even that woman who you know could be better if she just tried.

Yes even that murderer who was just sentenced to life in prison.

They are still your Heavenly Parents children.

They’ve made a few mistakes, so have you, love them all the same.

I know there is a plan to get us all through life, that Jesus Christ is the Savior and that through him we can be healed.

In Jesus Christ’s name Amen.

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Only thing is missing is a Frisbee

Only thing missing is a Frisbee

I love sports. Sports to me just are something amazing. When two teams, individuals or whatever are competing in fair, honest and skillful competition it just seems to be one of the most beautiful acts. I could spend hours and hours playing different sports and they just never got old and its not like there is one best sport, all have good things in them, we all just have favorites.

 

So what does my love of sports have to do with changing , well a lot actually.
In Ultimate Frisbee there are many different ways to throw the frisbee. You throw the Frisbee to work it down the field and your ultimate goal is to have a team-mate catch it in the end zone.

Throwing a Disc

Throwing a Frisbee

In Ultimate there are many different throw types but the most common ones are flicks and backhands. Anyone can pick up a frisbee and usually they’ll be able to throw the frisbee one of these two ways.

It will fly fairly straight, not wobble till the end and can get to the destination.

It will be a good throw. However when the game is on the line you don’t want just a good throw, you want that throw to be absolutely perfect. You want it to be your best throw you’ve ever thrown.
This is where the change comes in.

 

Before the game, before you need to be ready you can choose to be good, you can choose to put in some effort to get better or you work your tail off in an attempt to be the best.

 

You can decide at any given moment you want to change. That you need to act different and be a different person.

 

In our mission we have a phrase, Good, Better, Best. Taken from Elder Oaks talk called Good, Better, Best.

 

At any time we can decide whether we want to settle for being good, or whether we want to be the best.

I like being the Best, what about you?

I like being the Best I can, what about you?

We can live forever just going about doing what we’ve always done or we can strive to be better and work at improving. This change, this becoming better has a name.

Repentance.

 

When we repent and try to become more Christ-like, become perfect we change for the better. There are so many ways to become more like Christ. To list a few, when we serve others, study the scriptures, when we make God the center of our lives, when we stop worrying about things and start taking care of people. All of these ways force us to look outward and change.

 

Change for the better.  Now we won’t become perfect overnight, you don’t become the best you overnight without work. It takes work, so much work.

Work, work, work

Work, work, work

 

We always have someone on our side who will never let us down. When we want to change to become better we have Christ, the perfect coach, motivator, leader to help us become better.

 

Christ always stands at the door knocking and ready to come in and help us, but its up to us to let him in. In order for him to change us we have to let him in.

So will you let him in?

He's ready are you?

 

So this last Sunday Elder Pemberton and I were talking with Brother Le Bel, our Ward Mission Leader about church standards and doctrines. So while we were talking Bro. Le Bel made an interesting statement that really stood out to me.

 

“As much as we like to think we aren’t like the children of Israel, we are. How often do we look for exact rules or ask how far is the limit on various things.”

 

That made me wonder, there often is a lot of gray area that is left open to members of the Church. Yes we have a prophet of God who leads us but how often are exact stances left unsaid.

 

I’ve realized more and more on my mission its very often.

 

We aren’t given exact rules because you don’t learn anything with rules, you can always find ways around the rules. So there’s this dilemma you face, which path to follow, which way do you go.

 

Which way do you go?

Which way do you go?

So lets compare life to this path a little.

 

Neither one is particularly special, one goes left and one goes right and both look to be about the same. Without some further knowledge or outside help you’ll be making the decision of which way you choose to go blind.

 

So to the uninformed hiker either path is good.

 

We can be like this in life.

 

When we come into this life we don’t have knowledge, we’re born with a clean slate and we come here to learn and get experience.

The great thing about this life is that we don’t have to go at it alone. We have the instructions and leadership that we need.

 

Our Heavenly Father has given us the scriptures to guide us home. In the Book of Mormon we can learn life lessons from the writings of prophets and just ordinary people who tried to live their faith in their every day life.

 

So the hiker with the map will be able to look down the map, see what the terrain with each path is like and know which one is the best one to take.

 

In real life the Church provides us with the necessary maps, resources and other such stuff that we’ll be able to find our way on our own. But they don’t force you to follow the “straight and narrow”.

 

We have to figure things out on our own, we can always ask our Heavenly Father and he’ll give us the answer but not when we think we need it.

 

Our Heavenly Father has given us the tools to figure out right and wrong on our own, he wants us to learn and grow and that’s what he’s going to let us do. He’s going to let us work for answers.

 

Work can cure a lot of things

Work can cure a lot of things, and not just cattle

So maybe that’s one reason life is so hard, so confusing and without exact doctrines defined by our prophet and the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We already have the tools to find them, they’re in the scriptures and its our job to find them.

 

I know that by studying the scriptures we can find answers to many of life’s greatest questions and always know that what we are doing is right.

 

How do you learn what is right and wrong?

Christ and Satan

Image

May I start off by saying i absolutely love this picture, unfortunately I have no clue so I can’t give them proper credit. If anyone knows where its from let me know and I’ll give due credit.

 

So onto why this photo is so good.

 

For me it embodies the fight between good and evil, Christ leading the forces of good and Satan the forces of evil. Of course we all know how the conflict will end but that doesn’t change the fact that the war is well underway in all our lives.

 

There are three main things that stand out to me in this picture, the first is the eyes of Christ and Satan.

 

First Christ’s eyes, he’s staring directly into his brothers eyes. His eyes seem to be saying, “What are you doing? You had your chance to become like Father, if you had followed his plan you wouldn’t be miserable. You blew it.”

There is not a shadow of doubt in Christs eyes, he knows the outcome with every fiber of his being. All he’s waiting for is his Father’s word and he’ll end the war and a new age of peace and love will begin.

 

Now Satan.

At the first glance he looks all big bad and scary. I won’t lie if I saw someone that looked like that walking down the street it would give me the chills.

 

However look closer at his eyes.

When I really look into Satan’s eyes I don’t see anger, power or any of the other emotions I’d expect from him.

 

I see fear.

 

He knows he’s lost, he knows his Heavenly Fathers plan will win and that means he loses. He knows its a lost cause but because of his pride he will never give up the fight to make us as miserable as possible.

 

Another thing that really stands out to me in this picture is Christ and Satans aura’s.

 

Satan’s aura is dark, red and doesn’t permeate and stay around. It just kind a fades when it gets closer and closer to Christs aura.

 

Now Christs aura doesn’t seem scary, isn’t overpowering yet its always present. I think of the aura’s kind a like light. It looks peaceful, in a state of tranquility.

 

Darkness and light.

They simply cannot be in the same space as each other. It is impossible.

 

As soon as light comes into a room the darkness flees, even a simple candle flame will immediately dispel the darkness in a dark room with no windows or other possible sources of light.

 

Just like how light will always overpower darkness, so too will Christ and good always overcome evil.

 

Evil may seem like its going to win, it may be dark but eventually the light will come and the darkness will be no more.

Now you can over analyze anything and I probably am over analyzing this but still that doesn’t make the symbolism I find any less meaningful to me.

 

I don’t know if the painter of this picture meant for the eyes, the auras or anything in the pictures to truly have deeper meanings. Maybe the painter just painted a really cool idea they came up with.

 

It doesn’t matter.

 

It has meaning to me because I can see those things in the picture for myself. Who knows, maybe completely different things will stand out to you and maybe all your’ll see is two guys arm wrestling.

That’s the beauty of our Heavenly  Father’s plan of salvation. It gives us the agency to experience things for ourselves.

Agency is so essential in our lives, that’s the ultimate gift our Heavenly Father has given us. So use your agency to learn good from wrong. More on Agency can be found here and here’s an apostle on agency if you want.

So get out there and experience our Heavenly Fathers creations to the fullest.

Life won’t be easy, but when we let Christ help us out we know that we will win.

So who’s side do you want to be on?

What we all Want

So as a missionary we get the great opportunity to go out and help people.

Our calling is quite literally to do what Christ would do were he with the very people we are with. Now of course I don’t do this perfectly or even very near perfectly but I’m trying. So while trying to be a true representative of Christ there are a few things I have noticed that are common to many, many people.

The biggest desire, the most wanted thing I notice people in life want is stability. They work so hard to try and have their own permanent possessions, they work to have a stable relationship with their friends and family. Its a constant fight to preserve that stability in life.

This desire for stability is also present in our spiritual natures. So many people want some big, huge, constant thing. Only problem with that is, that’s not how this universe works.

The way I see it is, Anything worth doing is worth doing well and anything worth doing well is going to take some effort to do well.

So that’s why we can’t just wake up and have changed because the universe’s laws don’t work like that.

There are eternal laws that everything obeys, yes everything. An example for me of one of these came to me in the form of playing the piano. I remember the first time I decided I was going to learn a real performance song. Its name was Song of the Ocean, by Jon Schmidt.

Song of the Ocean has 8 pages in it. That’s 8 pages I have to learn to complete the song. Now I in my foolishness thought I would be able to go about learning it as I had previous easier songs. Playing the whole thing through multiple times till I had the muscle memory of it.

 

Well I was wrong.

 

I had to learn it page by page by page by page. It was tedious, it was time consuming and it was hard. My family can attest that for the first week I had to focus merely on the first two pages to get the underlying theme down so I would be able to play it throughout the harder parts.

 

This relates to life and everything because nothing comes without work. In order to learn a song on the piano, you have to practice, in order to have a strong relationship with your spouse, you must show them that you love them. In order to know if there is a God, you have to put some work in there to find him.

 

God is our loving Heavenly Father but just like any good parent he does not coddle us. He wants us to get up and try to find him. He’s left us search lights, hints, notes and all sorts of things to help us but we have to follow those hints, those lights in order for them to do anything. If we just sit around waiting for something to happen, you will never find that stability you seek.

 

That’s why we as missionaries we invite people to pray, to read the scriptures and come to church. Those are just some of the ways you will find our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And I promise you there is nothing that will bring as much stability as this. If you are waiting for something to happen for you, you will be waiting until the end.

 

So just like how I couldn’t learn Song of the Ocean in one day, you probably won’t find out Heavenly Father in one day. You’ll have to work for it, you’ll have to make an effort to come to him. His arms are open and reaching out to you  but he won’t force you to come into his arms.

 

I don’t know all of you reading this but I do know this about you. You are a child of our Heavenly Father, and the way to find the most peace, the most stability, in our lives is through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’d love to talk with any of you if you have any questions about what I’ve written so always feel free to message me.

So if you’re looking for peace, stability, hope, joy or comfort, Christ always stands with his arms open. So in the words of an ancient prophet.

Come unto Christ and be perfected in him. Please do, it will be worth every moment of heartache and trouble to come to the Prince of Peace.