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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 1: Faith in Jesus Christ

Eight-ish weeks from now, we will celebrate a new life. This life was laid down, and then picked-up again. Yes, I am talking about the Life of Jesus Christ, not His mortal life, but His immortal life, which He currently enjoys. An appropriate "eggs-ample" to remind us of His Resurrection is the infamous "Easter Egg" (if you couldn't have guessed by my bad pun). Eggs symbolize a new life being brought into the world. For us, that was Jesus Christ. He has a new life, which gives us the blessing of getting a new life also. This is what I look forward to. To be perfect, even as He is.

As a mission, we are focusing on developing more "Christ-like characteristics," as mentioned in Preach My Gospel. We are focusing on one every week until Easter. Last week, we focused on "faith in Jesus Christ." The first attribute mentioned in Chapter six. The dictionary (on my iPad) defines faith as "having complete confidence or trust in someone or something."Christ had faith in Heavenly Father's plan. We have confidence that Christ will bring us to our Father. Paul described faith as, "the [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11: 1) Faith is the assurance. Assurance is not a concrete, tangible, object. Rather, it is a feeling. We must remember that "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." (Alma 32: 21) The reason I know that Christ is my Savior is because the Holy Ghost ASSURED me that I was doing the right thing. The Holy Ghost ASSURED me that God has a prophet today. Both of these truths, I have had to gain reassurance by the Holy Ghost on multiple occasions. some people, in other faiths, feel this assurance, they claim they have the right of being saved, no matter what they do afterward. This is being saved, but not to the extent by which God wants us to be saved. In order to obtain this gift of exaltation we must continue to show our faith. Christ taught, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also..." (John 14: 12) In the words of James, "faith, if it hath not works, is dead..." (James 2: 17) this work we do when we have faith is what we call repentance. I do not wish to go too far into the Doctrine of Christ, but when we have faith, we have the potential to be changed by His Amazing Grace. There is an example of such a change in the Book of Mormon. A righteous king told his people about Christ. Their response was, "we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5: 2) A prophet, far after this has occurred, explains this process to his Son, "the Lord... should not come to redeem [His people] in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins. And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls." (Helaman 5: 10-11) The difference between "in" and "from" is clear. We aren't going to meet the Father as sinners, or having the disposition to sin. We are going to meet the Father as people who have no inclination to sin whatsoever. This this the power faith has for us, and ultimately why we need it. So we may deny the natural man, not just in the next life, but this mortal life as well. When we have this faith in Christ, we are confident to go to the Father, including in prayer, and become more close to Him. We will have the confidence necessary to ask Him anything. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in [the name of Christ], he will give it you." (John 16: 23) Faith, then, becomes principle of power. It is the power by which ALL miracles are done. "Faith is a principle of action and of power, and by it one can command the elements, heal the sick, and influence any number of circumstances when occasion warrants." (Bible Dictionary) our faith has the potential to become, "unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea." (Jacob 4: 6) "Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth. Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost. Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites. Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after. And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death..." (Ether 12: 13-18) With faith, nothing is impossible. Hence why we must continue to grow it, or to obtain it. The Lord has told us, clearly, in His word how to do so. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10: 17) As we listen to the words of the Lord, through His servants (D&C 1: 38) or being read to us from the Sacred Scriptures. This also applies to reading them. A Book of Mormon Lamanite prophet told the people of Nephi, "as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth... and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them." (Helaman 15:7) So, to grow in in faith, we must read and hear the Word of the Lord, but both of these fit under the over arching way. To grow in faith. That is by acting and living the commandments of God. I mentioned this principle in a past post, "by living a specific commandment, we learn the truthfulness of it, by experience. One of Christ's final teachings to His disciples before his ascension to Heavenly Father was, "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7: 16-17). This is my invitation to you: to ignite and fan the flame of your faith. So you to can see the many miracles the Lord provides.

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