Monday, March 28, 2016

Hello! I hope everyone had a great Easter. I know I did! This week we've been orienting all of our proselyting efforts around Easter. Most Koreans know about it, but very few (if any) actually celebrate it. Still, we took the opportunity to teach and bear testimony of Christ as God's Son and our Redeemer as much as we could. 

I'd like to share some of the impressions I've had this week about overcoming weaknesses. In Ether, we are told that we all have weaknesses so that we can be humble. We are promised, also, that our weaknesses can become strong. The question that we have to answer, then, is how. We all have things we wish we could do better. We may even wish that we were more humble. We may wish we were more charitable or more patient, or that we had greater strength to overcome temptation or addictions. No matter what our challenge is, the answer is the same: our Savior. 

From here, there are many things that could be discussed or learned about how we obtain the Savior's promised blessing to overcome weaknesses. I would like to talk about gratitude and humility. Remembering our Savior and His sacrifice for us is the most powerful way I've found to bring this things about - it's what we do every week in Sacrament meeting, and especially during Easter time. When we really understand what it means when we testify that He is God's Only Begotten Son, we begin to understand how much He really did for us. He, like His Father, is perfect. He is equal in knowledge and power. He was and is the only one through whom salvation can come, because He was the only one able to accomplish the enormous task required of Him. 

What was that task? It was the task of descending from His throne above below every person who would every live. It was descending below every weakness, sickness, trial, sin, and death of every person who ever did, does, or will live. It was descending from a position of absolute glory and perfection to a position below the combined imperfections and weaknesses of every person. More than that, His task was then to lift each and every one of us back up all the way to perfection. Having descending below all to place all on His shoulders, He then, being perfect like our Father in Heaven, can lift us all up to His degree of perfection and glory. The magnitude of this task is incomprehensible to us, but we know that by obeying Him and His commandments, we can be lifted with Him to eternal life. The words descended and lifted up help us understand His central role in our plan and purpose. Christ himself taught this to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 27:

 13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—

 15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

 16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

This Easter, we remember what Christ did for us. We remember that because of His sacrifice - his condescension below each of us - and His glorious resurrection that we will all be resurrected too. Every weakness can be purged and forgiven through Him. 

So, we are back to the question of "How do I receive this gift?" We follow Him. He descended below us all and paid everything for us to receive His fullness, but in order to allow him to lift us up, we need to do our part in clinging to Him. Part of this is gratitude and humility. Consider His example is verse 13 - He came to do His Father's will. One of the most powerful gestures of humility was made in the very beginning, when Christ told His Father: "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever" (Moses 4:2). Savior, Redeemer, Master, Lord, and Jehovah are just a few of the names that describe Christ. He is the Savior of mankind, worshiped by all those with hope and faith in Him. This is why Satan wanted this role - for glory and power. Christ, however, takes none of the glory of this calling to Himself, but gives it all to the Father. 

We should follow this example in our own lives. Fulfilling our desires for improvement and progression, overcoming each of our weaknesses and becoming more Christlike, is our purpose. But as we improve and and weaknesses grow strong throughout our lives, let us never forget He who made this possible. When we feel the strength of the Spirit working in us to build us up or build others up, let us give all glory to the Father. Imagine the spiritual strength that comes when our every thought and prayer is "Lead though me on, and the Glory be Thine Forever," recognizing with all the gratitude and love we can muster that it is Christ who is our strength from the beginning to the end. It is by clinging to Him and His every word that brings joy, strength, glory, and happiness previously unknown into our lives. We gratefully and anxiously turn outward toward all others in a Spirit of love and meekness. We can never be brought down for the joy that comes of being converted to Christ. We submit our will to Him more naturally than we submit to the natural man. And, always, we remember that it is He to whom all credit and glory belong, not to us. 

I know that Christ is the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. He is our Savior and Redeemer. I know He lived and died for us, and we will all live again. 

Have a great week everybody!

​Just a normal dinner at the house with Elder Barr, Dye, and Welling

​View from the window when it decided to start snowing the other day

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