– Do you know where you are?

WP_20170918_15_27_31_ProI once heard a story told about a US civil war military spy ship that had been out at sea and got caught in the middle of a terrible storm. During the storm they lost all of their navigational instruments and ended up drifting into a sea port in enemy territory. They did not want to give away any hints about their being on a secret spy mission. They however wanted to know their location to confirm if they were in a friendly port or in one belonging to the enemy. The signal officer on the ship set up to sent a message to the shore to see if he could determine their location and he signaled “Where are we?”. Those on the shore were a bit suspicious and signaled back “Where did you come from?”. The ship replied “We don’t know”. The shore then signaled “Where are you going?”. The shipped replied “We don’t know, where are we?”.

At this point the people on the shore gave a very clever message back to the ship. They said “If you don’t know where you came from, and you don’t know where you are going, it really should not matter where you are.”

Knowing where you came from and where you are going are key in this life. They matter, as what you do and where you are each day should be effected by the answer to those first two questions. Otherwise might be wondering aimlessly through life with no real purpose. The answers to these two profound questions are contained in the scriptures. We are children of God the Father. He created us, gives us life and we can return back to Him.

Christ tells us to “pray to thy Father”. We came from God and can return to him. We are all born of an earthly mother and father, yet we have the right to claim our spiritual heritage and become spiritually reborn. We can become inheritors of the great God of all creation.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:12, 13

You are not descended from some seaweed that supposedly sprung up in the ocean billions of years ago! That is a deception of the devil. You are of divine origin! You have a divine destiny if you accept it and live up to it. The great truth to learn that will change your life and determine where you are each day is that you came from God and will return to Him. Believing on Christ will give you new and fulfilled meaning in life.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” – Romans 8:16-18

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– Spiritual Detox

I have occasionally gone on a special diet in order to detox my body from the ill effects of processed foods. One of the things I drink from time to time to help with that is dandelion tea as it aids the natural filtering capability of the liver. If you give your body the right food and cut out the bad, you can eliminate the impurities lodged there. Then you can have better overall health, such as lungs that are able to absorb oxygen easier, a healthy digestive track and many other benefits. It is clear that there are bad things people commonly ingest into their bodies. To get completely free from them, you need some amount of detox to completely rid your body of them. You have to stick with it and not let one ounce of the bad back in you body.

There is a direct analogy to this that has to do with our spiritual diet and the need for a detox to cleanse your spiritual self. What has your diet been of television shows? What has been your diet of music? Have they been clean and wholesome? If not, these spiritual impurities build up toxins in your spirit that drag down and chain your soul. The following describes what happens if you let evil influences poison your spirit with toxins:

“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” – Titus 1:15–16

Get on a new diet that rids your sprit of the toxins you have built up and feed your spirit with the diet that a Saint should have. You don’t need to be on your new diet for weeks or months to feel the effects of the detox, effects will be immediate. Your diet should consist of – worship, fasting, prayer, scripture and good music.

The spirit as well as the body is in need of constant nourishment. Yesterday’s meal is not enough to sustain today’s needs. An infrequent reading of “the most correct of any book on earth,” as Joseph Smith called it, is not enough. (History of the Church, 4:461.) You must read the Book of Mormon every day. Then you will experience the fruits as follow:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…” – Galatians 5:22

– How do you know?

I heard a preacher once take for the title of his sermon – “If you were tried in a court of law for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It is an interesting question to ponder. A similar question to ponder would be the following. How do you know if God has identified you as one of His sheep that has heard His voice and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise? Here are my signs for knowing if a person is a true Christian.

1. They rely on God and endure faithfully to the end, having been identified by their baptism of water and being led by the Holy Ghost
Read Second Nephi chapter 31. Here is an excerpt. It speaks to what we need to do after we are baptized.

“For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life…after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” – 2 Nephi 31

2. They have the countenance of Christ about them
I can see it in a person’s being. It is the spirit inside that is really beaming forth that people can sense.
“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him.” – Alma 5:14

3. They have troubles and trials
God chastens those he loves. “I will try the faith of my people.” (3 Nephi 26:11). I heard it said that you can judge a person by the enemies they have. True believers will stand out in a crowd and will be persecuted on occasion. This should become more and more apparent as the world becomes more and more wicked.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matt 5:11 NIV

Even Christ was derided. People even accusing him of being a drunkard and possessed of the Devil. The following scripture however gives us great comfort.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

4. They believe in Prophecy and God speaking to mankind today
Modern revelation is a necessity to gain salvation, for without it we cannot have the revealed word or authority unto salvation. Without revelation, there will not exist the church and kingdom of God, and without that there is no salvation. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Word and His purpose for us, providing us with personal revelation. Joseph Smith once said the following.
“…any man who says he is a teacher or preacher of righteousness, and denies the spirit of prophecy, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; and by this key false teachers and imposters may be detected.” – Joseph Smith

5. They love and praise God and others and seek to keep the commandments and serve others
“If ye love me keep my commandments” – John 14:15

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” – James 1:27

These people will be more concerned about others than themselves and will always be looking for someone to help.

6. They are humble and repentant
“Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble” – Alma 5:27

7. They show forth good works
“By their fruits ye shall know them” – Matt 7:20

– Prophesied conditions in America; are you part of it?

The Book of Mormon tells of a civilization of people that was destroyed called the Nephites. It would obviously be wise to study and find out what caused their downfall. Then you can apply those circumstances  directly to America today. The destruction of the Nephites came down to one reason – the Nephites did not keep the commandments of God that were a requirement to stay on the land.

“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” – Ether 2:10,11

What then were the people guilty of? You might be comfortable right now believing that you could not possibly be guilty of what they had been caught up in. Turn to Mormon chapter eight, where Moroni states that he was the last of his people to remain alive. He then is permitted to write about their downfall as he closes out the record of the Book of Mormon. He directs his words in chapter eight directly to us in our day! The Book of Mormon was written for us in our day then to warn us.

Just to be sure that we knew he was talking to us, Moroni goes on to describe the circumstances in America when the book would come forth. These are the evidences he presents to the reader to prove he saw our day:

  • “it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away”
  • “it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness”
  • “it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches”
  • “it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands; And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places”
  • “it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth”
  • “murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations”
  • “it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins”

Is there any question as to his accuracy? Now that Moroni has gotten our attention, he proceeds to address us directly and tell us some of the things we need to repent of:

“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts…For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads? Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.” – Mormon 8: 35-41

Take a course today to free yourself from the vices of evil that America is caught up in. Take the advice of a modern apostle:

“Moroni announced that he will face us on Judgment Day in defense of his words (see Moro. 10:27). This he will do, together with his book, for out of the books we shall be judged, and the Book of Mormon is one of those books. We now have it in our hands. It is published to the world. It carries God’s message to all. It gives full and fair warning to this generation, and the warning is true! Read it! Believe it! Pray over it! Obey its counsels! It can lead us unerringly to Christ! The last words of Moroni! Dare we forget them?” – Mark E. Petersen

– Navigating a Crisis of Faith

Have you found yourself wondering what you believe in anymore? Have you been embarrassed to admit to your coworkers of friends that you go to church on Sunday? Are you wanting a more purposeful life? We can encounter periods in our life where we get discouraged. There are many reasons for a person to stop and evaluate and question what they believe and why the believe. Questioning is a natural part of human living, but so is finding answers and believing. Should your mounting pile of questions overrule your answers and feelings you have already about God?

“When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.”…I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle…In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith…Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.” – Elder Holland, April 2013 General Conference

Do not delay any longer. Put yourself on a more sure foundation and find you faith for the first time, or strengthen what you have already. It really boils down to a simple plan to follow. Study like crazy, pray as hard and as sincerely as you can, and combine this with living as cleanly as you can. You will not be able to receive any inspiration or gift of faith if you are not living a God fearing righteous life.

“Study diligently, Pray fervently, Live righteously.” – Thomas S. Monson

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– First things first – it is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ

oneOur most important undertaking in life is to understand and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. This means our belief in Him, following Him and preaching Him. Christ is our Lord and Saviour.

So what exactly are we being saved from?

Mankind is born into a fallen world. This was brought about by the transgression of Adam and Eve. The result was the removal of man and woman from the presence of God and our becoming subject to physical death. We are both spiritually dead and physically dead.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV

As mortals we become sinful and fallen people that are out of God’s presence. In such a state we become subject to Satan. This is where the gospel message comes to save us and place us in the state of being made “alive with Christ”. God had a marvelous plan from the beginning to provide for us a Saviour. Jesus saves us from death in two ways. First, we are able to be resurrected and have our earthly body raised to incorruption and united with our spirit in eternity. This is our overcoming of the mortal death. Secondly, we also need to overcome spiritual death. Saving us from the spiritual death of Hell (captivity of the Devil) was also accomplished by the sacrifice of Christ. Those that accept Christ in this life and submit to following him and keeping his commandments will not be subject to Satan after they die, but will immediately enjoy a rest in “paradise”.

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– Prepare yourself for the coming great tribulation and second coming of Christ

Jesus_ascending_to_heaven

The second coming of Jesus Christ is an event that Christians have been anticipating ever since Jesus ascended up into heaven following his post-resurrection 40-day ministry. As people stood there that day gazing up into the sky at the ascending Christ, an angel spoke these words –

“why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (See Acts 1:6-9)

From those earliest days continuing up to our day, believers have thought that they would be the generation living on the earth that would see Jesus return as promised. Should we have reason to think that we might finally be that generation during which Christ returns in power and glory? Yes we certainly should! There are definite signs that the second coming is imminent!

No person knows the exact date, but the second coming however does not approach without any warning. The scriptures give us the signs and events to watch for, so we need not be caught by surprise. The book of Revelation outlines a series of events that will happen in succession and that lead up to the rapture in which the saints are lifted up to meet Christ as he comes. These events, like a chain reaction of dominos, fall quickly into place and will bring us to the great and dreadful day of the return of Christ. It is both great and dreadful; depending on if you are the righteous or the wicked.

The plan of God is to gather the elect that hear His voice and then to destroy the wicked at the time of judgments that are poured out at the second coming of Christ.

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