Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Now That's a Beard!

Even since I was a kid, I've always loved hockey.  Whether it be playing hockey, watching hockey, or even just talking about hockey.  But my favorite thing about hockey is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Nothing gets me fired up like a good playoff game.  There's been a tradition in the NHL that when the playoffs start, all of the players grow out their beards.

All of the players give it everything they have.  They're not ashamed one bit, no matter how goofy they look with a beard.  And trust me, many of them look goofy.  They're not ashamed to grow their beards because they want all to know that they've made it to the playoffs.  They want it to be crystal clear why they're here, and what they're intent is.  This is how we should be with our beliefs.

Paul writes to the Romans and says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ..." (Romans 1:16).  He wore his religion on his sleeve, or his "beard" on his "face."  He wanted everyone to know what he stood for, and we should do the same.  The real question is how?  How can we let everyone know?  There's no possible way we can talk to everyone and growing a beard just doesn't cut it.  1 Timothy 4:12 gives us the answer, "...be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

As we all strive to be examples of the believers, we will be able to let everyone know where we stand without saying a word to them.  It is said that actions speak louder than words, and they truly do.  Now let's put on our playoff beards and get in the game!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho

"Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's off to work we go." ~The Seven Dwarfs.  A lot is to be said about the Seven Dwarfs in the movie Snow White.  One of the first scenes in the movie has the dwarfs marching in single file and singing the song previously quoted.  Why are they so happy to be off to work?  That has always puzzled me. 

It hasn't been until a couple of years ago that I've really enjoyed helping others.  I used to look at it as more of work.  I was working to benefit someone else.  Though that is true, I still didn't have the right mind set while doing it.  Moroni 7:6 says, "...for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing."

The act of helping others consists of two separate, but equally important, parts.  The service itself is only half of it.  In order to successfully serve others, we must have the right mindset while doing it, which is the other half.  We could do all the service in the world, but without the proper mindset, it would profit us nothing.  We should all strive to have the mindset of those seven dwarfs who were happy as can be to go to work.  If we have that attitude while we serve others, we will be able to see the daily blessings that come from genuine service.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You Just Got Served!

As I've been on my mission, I've thought a lot about how I can be the best missionary I am capable of becoming.  A ton of ideas fly through my head each day of how I can improve.  In my opinion, it all boils down to service.  While on my mission, I devote 2 whole years to serving the Lord in whatever way he asks.  It's the least I can do to repay him for everything that he's blessed me with.

The service that I'm doing is helping more than just the people I serve.  It helps me every day.  King Benjamin, a righteous king in the Book of Mormon, explains the important of service in Mosiah 5:13, which reads, " For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?"  From this scripture we find that service can help us as well. 

If we live our lives only thinking of ourselves, then we won't know too much about the people around us.  We'll be too busy tending to our own needs to take them, or their feelings, into consideration.  This scripture applies to our Heavenly Father as well.  How can we know him and what he wants for us if we never serve him?  The servant must serve the master to be able to better know the master's will. 

Jesus Christ himself said, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:34).  If we lose our life in the service of God, we will find it.  I am a witness of that.  As I've been on my mission, I've discovered things about myself that I would've never known if I would have passed up this opportunity.  The things learned and the experiences gained will benefit me the rest of my life.  The same can happen to you if you put that scripture to use.  There's no end to the blessings that will come because of it. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Crosswalk

One day in high school, I wanted to write a song, but I had no idea what to write about.  As we were walking across the street, a friend that was with me jokingly said, "Write a song about crosswalks."  Ever since that experience, I've never looked at crosswalks the same.  Sure they're pathways that take us safely across the street, but they can be looked at as so much more than that.

At first glance, a crosswalk seems constricting or limiting, but if we really think about it, they're there to keep us safe and to make sure we make it to the other side.  Commandments are extremely similar.  At first glance, they seem like they take away our freedom, but in all actuality, they give us more freedom and keep us safe.  Without crosswalks, we might not make it to the other side.  Just like without commandments, we might not make it to the Heaven. 

Obeying the commandments that have been set before us is a huge part of life.  John 14:15 reads, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."  Obedience to God and his commandments is the best way we can show that we love and appreciate all that he's done for us.  As we do our best to obey them, he will help us safely make our return back to him.  It won't always be easy to do, but it will definitely be worth it. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Feeny! Fee hee hee hee heeny!

I've always liked the show Boy Meets World.  I just felt like a better person after watching it.  It follows a group of kids from 8th grade to graduating college.  There is always something to learn at the end of each episode, whether it be really obvious, or something harder to catch.

One continuous theme is the wise words of Mr. Feeny.  No matter the problem, concern, or trial, he always knows the solution.  Almost every time he solves a problem, he teaches the kids an important life lesson that will benefit them in the future.  He's preparing "the boy" to meet "the world."  Even though he knows how to solve the problem, he doesn't give the kids the answer right away.  He waits for them to approach him.  Our Heavenly Father works the same way.

Heavenly Father doesn't solve all of our problems for us right when they happen.  He sees how we'll play it out, and waits for us to ask him for the help.  The Lord will help us through it, but will make sure we learn a valuable lesson in the process.  The Lord is preparing "us" to meet "him." Alma explains it well when he states, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors" (Alma 34:32).  Remember, God is always there and is always willing to help us, but it's our job to do our part which is to ask for his help.  Never underestimate the power of asking, and remember that all things happen for our benefit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's Your Focus on?

There once was a young boy just learning to use a plow.  He was trying really hard to plow in a straight line, but couldn't get it right.  He went to his Father for advice.  His father told him, "Just keep your eye focused on something on the horizon, then you'll go straight."  That's some pretty sound advice if I'd say so myself.  After an hour or so, the Father goes to check on the boy only to find that boy had done everything except plow in a straight line.  The lines were criss crossed, zig zagged, and loop de looped.  He asked his boy what had happened.  The boy responded with, "The cow kept moving."

Many things in life are constantly changing.  Standards have drastically changed.  We need to get our focus off of the cow that keeps moving on the horizon and focus on something that is constant and immovable.  But how can we know what or who to base our standards on?

When Christ was on the Earth, he not only taught us how to live, he showed us as well.  Hebrews 13:8 states, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever."  His standards are set and they will never change.  He has already set the bar from the beginning of time.  It's our job to put our focus on the immovable object on the horizon.  When we do, we will no longer be "like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed," but we will know exactly where we're headed (James 1:6).

Friday, May 6, 2011

How Do You Spell Charity?

Mother's Day is quite a special day.  It seems the older you get, the more you appreciate it.  When I was a kid, well, younger than I am now, I just thought Mother's Day was like a second birthday for all moms.  Now that I'm older, I can see the real reason that we have Mother's Day.  Moms everywhere devote their whole lives to their children and they only get one day dedicated to them in return.  It's incredible that they'd do that for all of us. 

The only thing that can compare to our Savior's love for us is the love that moms have for their children.  That love is called charity.  Paul speaks of charity in 1 Corinthians 13:4, which reads, "Charity suffereth long, is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."  Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet, adds to that by saying, "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever" (Moroni 7:47).  These short scriptures just scratch the surface of the unconditional love that each mother has for their children.  No matter what happens, your mom is always your biggest fan. 

I wish there was a way I could sufficiently thank my mom for everything shes done for me.  The best way I've found to repay her comes from 3 John 1:4, which states, "I have no greater joy that to hear that my children walk in truth."  May we all do our best to make our moms proud of us and give them the joy they deserve by walking in truth and righteousness.

A special thanks to all the moms out there and remember that your love and kindness never go unnoticed.  I think I figured out how to spell charity: M-O-M.  Happy Mothers Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No Service, No Cell, No Problem

The world today has so many forms of communication.  We depend on them.  The better the technology, the faster we can communicate.  As the years have gone by, we've evolved from the Pony Express, to mailmen, to emails, to texting, and everything in between.  Through all of these changes, there is one type of communication that has been constant since the beginning of time.  That communication is prayer. 

The unique thing about this type of communication is that we don't need a cell phone signal to use it, we don't have to pay a monthly bill to maintain it, and we don't have to wait for the signal to get through.  It is all at an instant.  Prayer is something that is so simple, yet so powerful.  Often times it is underestimated.  Here's a personal story involving prayer that happened a couple of days ago. 

I lost my planner and couldn't find it for the life of me.  I had looked everywhere for it, or so I thought.  The planner was gone and was no where to be found.  I decided to pray and ask Heavenly Father to guide me to where it is.  Once I finished my prayer, I waited a couple seconds and thought really hard about where it could be.  Still nothing.  The second I stood up to start looking again, a thought came to mind as to where my planner might be, and what do you know, there it was. 

John 14:26 reads, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."  I know that because I said a prayer, I remembered where I had last put my planner.  Heavenly Father wants to hear from us and really does answer every prayer.  The more we pray, the better we can know what our Heavenly Father has in store for us in this life.  Prayer is the key.