Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring is Here!


I love the Spring because I love the beauty it brings! The trees start to blossom and the animals appear again. Spring brings with it  great beauty and much happiness. Although spring is imminent so is the winter with its bitter cold and often destructive storms.

So it is with life! We have the winters and the trials, challenges, heartaches and headaches that they bring, but we also have the springs with the beauty, peace, happiness, growth and joy that they bring. Just as in nature that winter and spring always come, so it is with life, trials, and peace with both always come. If you are currently in a winter, the spring WILL come. If you are currently in a spring, prepare yourself now for the winter that is around the corner. As we face the winters in life with a good attitude we are able to see the spring sooner and it is able to be more glorious. The growth we see in ourselves is greater and the happiness is just delightful! I love the spring, in nature and in life, but I also love the winter. Even with the struggles and trials that the winter brings, much growth is able to be achieved. In a way winter is a cleansing, it kills and destroys all the unwanted things and then spring brings in the beauty and new fresh growth. So it is with trials, with the proper outlook we are able to let the things in life of less importance die and wither away, and begin to see the growth and blossoming of greater things in our lives. We are able to get closer to God and become more like Christ. As we come out of winter and into spring we need to have the future in mind, and prepare ourselves now for future storms in life. I know the winters are hard, but the springs are great!!!

Currently I would consider myself in a spring! The mission is a time of great growth and yes it does have it struggles, but I believe that they are showers that allow more growth and that bring beautiful flowers! There is so much happiness to be had in life, and I love being here on a mission to have great joy, and share that joy with others!

Whether you are currently in a winter or a spring in your life, make the most growth out of it that you can, and began to blossom into a true follower of Christ.

A talk is coming to mind that may help those encountering a winter: "Sunday will Come" Joseph B. Wirthlin.
For those in a spring here is an article on producing the most spiritual growth possible; "Nurturing Our Spiritual Growth: The Labor of a Lifetime."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"You Will Be Freed"

As I got online today I saw the above picture with the following caption, "You will be Freed! For all who have fallen prey to addiction, 'there is hope … because the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ makes all things possible.' Elder M. Russell Ballard." This picture and quote touched me as it did when I heard the talk from Elder Ballard in October at General Conference. I know that there are many who have "fallen prey to addiction," in some ways we all have. An addiction is "the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice" (Dictionary.com) It is the act of giving our agency away to Satan. Addiction is Satan's plan, for he wants us to be "miserable like unto himself" (2 Nephi 2:27). Many times in the midst of addiction it feels like there is no way!! And that is exactly what Satan wants us to think, he wants us to lull ourselves down to hell. To say things such as, "It's too late now, I am way to far gone," or "I am not even worthy to pray to God and ask for forgiveness." Those are all things that Satan puts in our head to try to keep control over us. They are lies from the "father of lies" (see 2 Nephi 9:9).

A few months ago I decided that I wanted to work on an addiction of mine to try to get a small dose of what is like to try and overcome an addiction. I decided that I wanted to work on my sarcasm. I am a very sarcastic person, and my companion suggested that I try to not be so sarcastic. So I decided to try it. The first day I failed epically! Day two I decided to start again. This time I turned to God and asked for his help. As I did so it was easier but still took effort. From that small experience I learned that it is very hard to overcome and addictive behavior, and they only way is if we seek for God's help.

There is a very good program that the church has to help us overcome addictive behaviors. The Addiction Recovery Program is a twelve step process to overcome those behaviors that are not pleasing unto God. Take a look at the program online, or contact me (through a comment or facebook) to learn how to become a part of a support group near you. There is a group that meets at the Church Building, 1100 Gray Fox Lane, every Thursday night at 7pm in the Family History Center.

Also, read the talk from Elder Ballard, "O that Cunning plan of the Evil One".
And watch the video that caught my eye this afternoon, "You Will Be Freed".

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"For Whom I Love I Also Chasten."

So Friday, we had an amazing experience while we were in a training to become better missionaries! My attitude wasn't the best at the beginning, I felt like they were trying to make me something I wasn't and something I didn't really want to become. We then got some time to be alone and pray and study to see what we needed to do individually to become better. I now cherish that time that we had so much. So when I got into the room by myself I felt like I should pray, so I did so, and then I had the prompting to flip open the Book of Mormon. I opened to 4 Nephi Chapter 1 and started reading. As I got to verses 29 through 34 I realized why I was lead to these scriptures. I was at that time like the non-believers, hardening my heart and denying the power of what did and could happen in the trainings. As I was pondering on that I felt like i needed to flip open the Doctrine and Covenants and see what happened, so I did. I opened to Doctrine and Covenants section 95. At first I wondered how this could apply to me, since it was a revelation to the Saints of the church at the time about not building the temple. So I almost just closed it and tried it again thinking, "well that didn't work this time." But then I decided to just read it anyways. As I read verses 1 through 3, I knew it was the scripture that I needed yet again. I knew at that moment that God did love more and that this experience was for em to learn and to grow. For pride is a "grievous sin" and I was guilty. I know that God will have a humble people, and we will all have humbling experiences in our lives! (see Deuteronomy 8:2) As I left the room and went back to the training, I had the attitude I needed and throughout the training I then received much needed revelation for how I need to improve!  It was an amazing spiritual experience!

Allow the Lord to chasten you, "For whom I love I also chasten." (D&C 95:1) It will turn out to be a great experience and you will be happier in life!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Opposition In All Things

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so... righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad." (2 Nephi 2:11)

Opposition is a necessary part of our Heavenly Father's plan. Whenever there is something good there must also be something bad. Satan uses this opposition to try to weaken us and overcome us. He wants us to be miserable just like he is. I love the scripture in 2 Nephi chapter 2 verse 27. It reads, "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." We are free to choose, and we receive according to our choose, however, it is a law in heaven that there is opposition. (see 2 Nephi 2:11) And even when we choose what is right, Satan still seeks to bring us down and make us miserable. This is when our agency comes into play again. We need to not choose to follow his plan, "And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring [us] down to hell, that he may reign over [us] in his own kingdom." (2 Nephi 2:29)

This opposition of which I speak, I felt so strongly yesterday. As you might have read on my previous post, I had an amazing experience on Monday night. I felt the spirit so strongly there and wanted to improve and work harder. Satan also knew what happened in that home that night and wants desperately to stop it from having lasting positive effects. Yesterday morning was great and the spirit was still lingering strongly from the night before. Then as the day progressed, Satan fiercely attacked me and my companions. We had some tell us to slow down and lay off of them. Then later got in at least two arguments over simple things, and let them escalate to roaring flames of contention and hatred. As these things happened we felt the spirit leave us for "he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another." (3 Nephi 11:29) We realized that Satan was working on us, and that he was doing a great job, because we were allowing him to enter our lives and we did as he wanted us to. We were able to make amends and are trying hard to continue to remain on the path God has for us.

Whenever there is good there will be evil. Satan knows us and seeks to destroy us everyday. Just as he tried with Joseph Smith as he prayed to God to ask which of the churches was right. Satan knew that if Joseph prayed the heavens would open and the world would be changed for the better forever. Satan tried his darnedest to stop Joseph, but with his faith and desire to serve God, he prevailed. (see Joseph Smith History 1:15-17) We too can prevail over opposition as we put on the whole armor of God, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." (Ephesians 6:13-18)

I testify with all the fiber of my being that God loves us, each and everyone! He wants the best for us and He will help us overcome the opposition that will undoubtedly come in life!

Learn more about opposition on Lds.org

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Men and Brethren What Shall We Do?"

What is Baptism?
Baptism is the first ordinance we receive in the Gospel. It is the gate by which we enter in order to travel down the path to the kingdom of God. (see 2 Nephi 31:17-18) It is a necessary step to prepare ourselves to enter into the presence of God. (see John 3:5) "The Savior revealed the true method of baptism to the Prophet Joseph Smith, making clear that the ordinance must be performed by one having priesthood authority and that it must be done by immersion" (Baptism; See also D&C 20:72–74)

Within the last few days I have had the opportunity to have some amazing experiences with baptism. Saturday there was a 10 year-old girl that made the decision to follow her Savior's example and into into the covenant of baptism. It was a simple, but spiritual service. With much of her family there to support her in this great step she has made. The spirit was strong as her grandfather performed the baptism. It was great to see her joy as she went down into the water and rose again, with new life, ready to take on the world! That experience strengthened my testimony of baptism and the joy it brings into the lives who sincerely enter into it.

Last night I was also able to have another fantastic experience involving baptism. There is a family that we have been teaching for some time, and we were able to have a lesson with them last night in the home of some of their member friends. As we started with a song and a prayer, the spirit immediately came in and continued to flood the room through out the night. It was the best lesson I have ever had. We began to teach about faith, what it can do in our lives, and what it has done in our lives. Many heartfelt testimonies were shared, and the spirit was thick. There were many eyes that were filled with tears! We invited the wife to baptism, and she eventually told us that she was ready and felt the burning motions within her, and the deep desire to be baptized, but she wanted to make sure her husband was ready so that they could do it together as a family. The attention then turned to him, and we taught and more testimony was borne. We had told them that we wanted them to pick a date for their baptism, and then do all they could to prepare for it. We had suggest the 26 of March, as the date that we felt they would be ready by. As the lesson went on, the husband then turned to me ans asked, "What was that date Elder Dye?" I replied, "The 26th of March." He pulled out his phone to check his calendar and then began to enter in "baptismal date" on that day. There was much excitement and love in the room, as we together knelt down to pray. As the prayer was offered the spirit was string, and testified of what had just taken place, and that it was pleasing unto God. I know that family is ready and they will recieve great blessings as they are baptized.

These great spiritual and joyful experiences are reserved just for these two families, but they are for you as well. If you have not been baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I challenge you to do so. Comment on my blog, friend me on Facebook, or chat with missionaries to make the necessary steps to prepare yourself for the joy and happiness that can and will come from following Jesus Christ and being baptized.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Everyday We Grow

Each day we should strive to learn and grow. Yesterday I had a growing expeirence. So Elder Neubert, our Zone Leader, was down working with us. We went out walking in the afternoon, and no one we tried was home. So we went to our ward mission leader's home, and he said that he wanted to go see some people with us that night. So Elder Walker went with him, and Elder Neubert and I tried to see some people. We prayed and tried some people and prayed and tried some more people, and probably prayed a few more times, and tried a few more people, but no one was available to meet with us. So it was a time that Elder Neubert and I were able to talk. We discussed some of the struggles that I had been having and how to overcome them. The Spirit was strong and I learned and grew. So then we still had about an hour of the night left. We prayed yet again, but this time it was more sincere and more fervent. After the prayer Elder Neubert grabbed the binder we have with information about previous contacts missionaries have had in the past. As we looked through it there were 2 names that came out to us. We decided to travel the distance to where they were and try them even though it was already 8:20 at night. We did so, and had a great spiritual expeirence. We met a man who has recently had a life changing even in his life, and we were able to feel of his strong spirit and talk with him of the gospel. I hope it helped him a little, because the experience sure strengthened my testimony.

I know that Christ lives and loves us, and as we turn to Him each and everyday with open hearts and minds He will bless our lives and we will learn and grow!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life is a Choice

How many choices does someone make a day?
It seems as though in everything we do, we have a choice. Agency is one of the greatest blessings that we have. Even though life is hard and it is sometimes difficult to make all these choices, it really is a blessing. We just have to use our agency for a righteous purpose.

One of the things that I believe we have constant control over is our attitude. In every situation we face we are able to choose to be sweet or sour! A great person in my life often told me, "You always have a choice... you can do it happy, or you can do it sad!" How true that is! With the trials and struggles that we face everyday we get to choose to be happy or let them effect us negatively, which leads to discouragement. Satan wants us to choose the negative, he wants us to be discouraged and miserable like himself. (see 2 Nephi 2:27) But that is not why we are here! We are on this earth "that [we] might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25) So "Find Joy in the Journey,"  "Come What May and Love it" and love life, no matter what is thrown at you!!

Sometimes it is hard to continue strong and steadfast with a positive attitude. So, allow me to share a personal experience. Lately, I have been stressed and the bad attitude has begun to kick in. I have wanted to kick it, but I just haven't had the will power. Yesterday I got a Priesthood Blessing from my Mission President. After the blessing and the encouragement to study from the Book of Mormon, and Preach My Gospel everyday, I set out. I was determined to kick this attitude of mine out of my life. Last night I did great and it was relatively easy, I didn't have any struggles. This morning, I studied from the Book of Mormon, and Preach My Gospel as suggested. The spirit was strong, and I felt great! Then the first struggle of my "new attitude" came. It was a simple thing, but I had to try hard to focus on the good and maintain a positive attitude. The study  from this morning along with prayer in the time of need paid off. I was able to maintain the attitude that God wants me to have and to "Find Joy in the Journey."

My wish is that we will all be able to achieve and maintain a positive attitude.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Spirit of Revelation

We have the opportunity and privilege to talk to God, our Eternal Father in Heaven, through prayer! He talks back to us through revelation. "According to our faithfulness, we can receive revelation to help us with our specific personal needs, responsibilities, and questions and to help us strengthen our testimony." ("Revelation" LDS.org)

Revelation is a great blessing that God has given us. We are able to seek that revelation in many ways, such as through pondering, scripture study, prayer, and in Spirit filled environments such as Church or Church related meetings!

Today I had the great opportunity to go to a Leadership Training Meeting. There were 8 leaders with our mission President and his wife. They taught us about several things, but the most amazing part is that God taught me. They set up the environment through singing, prayer, the sharing of scriptures, the teaching of doctrine, and the bearing of testimonies. The Spirit was there strongly and taught us individually as leaders what we needed to know and do for ourselves and those we had influence over.

Today my testimony was built on revelation and the power of the Spirit in our lives to teach us and encourage us to do more and become better people and servants of Christ!!

I know that revelation is real and we are all able to receive it as we prepare ourselves, and put ourselves in places were the spirit can come (see my list above). As there are trials, questions and hard times in our lives we can seek revelation on how to improve our situation. God will give you an answer when you seek for it.(see 3 Nephi 27:29)

Read more about Revelation:
The Spirit of Revelation

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"You Know Enough"

"Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. (The Book of Mormon is powerful spiritual nourishment.)

We then remain steady and patient as we progress through mortality. At times, the Lord’s answer will be, 'You don’t know everything, but you know enough'—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right. Remember Nephi’s words: 'I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.' (1 Nephi 11:17)" (Elder Neil L. Andersen)

We can and do know enough as we put our Faith and Trust in God! He will bless us as we act in faith, even when it seems we don't know enough!

Friday, March 4, 2011

"The Healing Power of Forgiveness"

"To forgive is a divine attribute. It is to pardon or excuse someone from blame for an offense or misdeed. The scriptures refer to forgiveness in two ways. The Lord commands us to repent of our sins and seek His forgiveness. He also commands us to forgive those who offend or hurt us." (LDS.org)

Why is it Important to Forgive?

Forgiveness is a great gift from God that will change and bless our lives and lives of those around us. I  remember times when i was younger and was teased or hurt in some way, I would begin to hold grudges and personal vendettas against the offender. The anger and frustration would build with in me and the hatred would began to seek deep into my body. I then realized that the vengeful thought and feelings I was having were from the devil, the great deceiver. I learned that I could quickly avoid such feelings, and the associated pain and guilt that came with them, by simply forgiving those who offended me. The blessings that came into my life were amazing! I was happy and peaceful again! I know that sometimes forgiveness is hard to give, but I can promise you that it is worth it. You will see "The Miracle of Forgiveness" work in your life, and the hand of our Savior reach into your life and bless it immensely.

Watch a touching story of a man who learns forgiveness and therefore blesses his life as well as the life of his offender.

Also view other resources on Forgiveness:
"The Healing Power of Forgiveness" James E. Faust
LDS.org "Gospel Study: Forgiveness"
Additional Resources

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Make a Joyful Noise"

Music is a wonderful thing that can bless our lives and our spirits! The Lord has said, "For my soul adelighteth in the bsong of the cheart; yea, the dsong of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12)

Music has enormous power for good or evil, we need to choose the music we allow in our lives according to the spirit it brings with it. 

The First Presidency of the church has said, "Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end." They also continue to counsel, "Hymns can also help us withstand the temptations of the adversary. We encourage you to memorize your favorite hymns and study the scriptures that relate to them. Then, if unworthy thoughts enter your mind, sing a hymn to yourself, crowding out the evil with the good" (First Presidency Preface to Hymns)

As we apply the wonders of righteous music in our lives and see the miracles that come!!!

Find some Hymns.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Holy Ghost Will Verify Your Words

“A testimony is what we know to be true in our minds and in our hearts by the witness of the Holy Ghost (see D&C 8:2). As we profess truth rather than admonish, exhort, or simply share interesting experiences, we invite the Holy Ghost to confirm the verity of our words. The power of pure testimony (see Alma 4:19) does not come from sophisticated language or effective presentation; rather, it is the result of revelation conveyed by the third member of the Godhead, even the Holy Ghost.”
David A. Bednar, “More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 19

How do we gain a Testimony?

We gain a testimony by study and prayer. As we read from the Book of Mormon and other Scriptures, and the words of the Prophets. The Holy Ghost testifies to our minds and hearts of its truthfulness. (see D&C 9:8-9)

All of us are able to recieve a testimony of Divine Truth!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let's Talk to God!

Ever had a time in your life, where you feel alone, and you just want to talk to someone but it seems like no one is listening?

I know that I have, and there someone we can turn to who will always listen to us... GOD!

Prayer is one of the greatest blessing we have in this life; the ability to directly communicate to the Father of all things!! He is always there and willing to listen to our prayers as we take the time to talk to him.

I love the way that the Bible Dictionary in the LDS version of the Scriptures puts it, "Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."

As we pray we are able to feel the Spirit influence our lives and overwhelm us with love and peace! In prayer we can even ask for the simple things that are struggles in life, such as lost keys. I can't count the number of times growing up that we would be on our knees as a family asking God to help us find my Dad's keys that had been misplaced. Without fail, within minutes of saying the prayer we would find the keys, often in a place we had never before thought to look.

I know that God loves us and wants to bless us, with the simple and large trials in our lives. I know that the power of prayer is real!!!

Check out this video from Mormon Messages about Prayer!