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NEW!  Exploring The Book of Mormon In Americas Heartland Photographic Book
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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet = Great Easter message for all

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet

Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could lift us to eternal life.
Without safety ropes, harnesses, or climbing gear of any kind, two brothers—Jimmy, age 14, and John, age 19 (though those aren’t their real names)—attempted to scale a sheer canyon wall in Snow Canyon State Park in my native southern Utah. Near the top of their laborious climb, they discovered that a protruding ledge denied them their final few feet of ascent. They could not get over it, but neither could they now retreat from it. They were stranded. After careful maneuvering, John found enough footing to boost his younger brother to safety on top of the ledge. But there was no way to lift himself. The more he strained to find finger or foot leverage, the more his muscles began to cramp. Panic started to sweep over him, and he began to fear for his life.
Unable to hold on much longer, John decided his only option was to try to jump vertically in an effort to grab the top of the overhanging ledge. If successful, he might, by his considerable arm strength, pull himself to safety.
In his own words, he said:
“Prior to my jump I told Jimmy to go search for a tree branch strong enough to extend down to me, although I knew there was nothing of the kind on this rocky summit. It was only a desperate ruse. If my jump failed, the least I could do was make certain my little brother did not see me falling to my death.
“Giving him enough time to be out of sight, I said my last prayer—that I wanted my family to know I loved them and that Jimmy could make it home safely on his own—then I leapt. There was enough adrenaline in my spring that the jump extended my arms above the ledge almost to my elbows. But as I slapped my hands down on the surface, I felt nothing but loose sand on flat stone. I can still remember the gritty sensation of hanging there with nothing to hold on to—no lip, no ridge, nothing to grab or grasp. I felt my fingers begin to recede slowly over the sandy surface. I knew my life was over.
“But then suddenly, like a lightning strike in a summer storm, two hands shot out from somewhere above the edge of the cliff, grabbing my wrists with a strength and determination that belied their size. My faithful little brother had not gone looking for any fictitious tree branch. Guessing exactly what I was planning to do, he had never moved an inch. He had simply waited—silently, almost breathlessly—knowing full well I would be foolish enough to try to make that jump. When I did, he grabbed me, held me, and refused to let me fall. Those strong brotherly arms saved my life that day as I dangled helplessly above what would surely have been certain death.”1
My beloved brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday. Although we should always remember (we promise in our weekly sacramental prayers that we will), nevertheless this is the most sacred day of the year for special remembrance of brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins. Against the background of this story reported by John and Jimmy’s family, I express my gratitude for the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge events in the divine plan of God that led up to and give meaning to “the love Jesus offers [us].”2
In our increasingly secular society, it is as uncommon as it is unfashionable to speak of Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden or of a “fortunate fall” into mortality. Nevertheless, the simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death—in other words, there is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter—without understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it.
I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death.3 To add further sorrow and complexity to their circumstance, their transgression had spiritual consequences as well, cutting them off from the presence of God forever. Because we were then born into that fallen world and because we too would transgress the laws of God, we also were sentenced to the same penalties that Adam and Eve faced.
What a plight! The entire human race in free fall—every man, woman, and child in it physically tumbling toward permanent death, spiritually plunging toward eternal anguish. Is that what life was meant to be? Is this the grand finale of the human experience? Are we all just hanging in a cold canyon somewhere in an indifferent universe, each of us searching for a toehold, each of us seeking for something to grip—with nothing but the feeling of sand sliding under our fingers, nothing to save us, nothing to hold on to, much less anything to hold on to us? Is our only purpose in life an empty existential exercise—simply to leap as high as we can, hang on for our prescribed three score years and ten, then fail and fall, and keep falling forever?
The answer to those questions is an unequivocal and eternal no! With prophets ancient and modern, I testify that “all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”4 Thus, from the moment those first parents stepped out of the Garden of Eden, the God and Father of us all, anticipating Adam and Eve’s decision, dispatched the very angels of heaven to declare to them—and down through time to us—that this entire sequence was designed for our eternal happiness. It was part of His divine plan, which provided for a Savior, the very Son of God Himself—another “Adam,” the Apostle Paul would call Him5—who would come in the meridian of time to atone for the first Adam’s transgression. That Atonement would achieve complete victory over physical death, unconditionally granting resurrection to every person who has been born or ever will be born into this world. Mercifully it would also provide forgiveness for the personal sins of all, from Adam to the end of the world, conditioned upon repentance and obedience to divine commandments.
As one of His ordained witnesses, I declare this Easter morning that Jesus of Nazareth was and is that Savior of the world, the “last Adam,”6 the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega of eternal life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,”7 Paul declared. And from the prophet-patriarch Lehi: “Adam fell that men might be. … And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.”8 Most thoroughly of all, the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob taught as part of a two-day sermon on the Atonement of Jesus Christ that “the resurrection must … come … by reason of the fall.”9
So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem.
Beginning in the spiritual anguish of the Garden of Gethsemane, moving to the Crucifixion on a cross at Calvary, and concluding on a beautiful Sunday morning inside a donated tomb, a sinless, pure, and holy man, the very Son of God Himself, did what no other deceased person had ever done nor ever could do. Under His own power, He rose from death, never to have His body separated from His spirit again. Of His own volition, He shed the burial linen with which He had been bound, carefully putting the burial napkin that had been placed over His face “in a place by itself,”10 the scripture says.
That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.
This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that Jesus still stands triumphant over death, although He stands on wounded feet. This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that He still extends unending grace, although He extends it with pierced palms and scarred wrists. This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that we can sing before a sweat-stained garden, a nail-driven cross, and a gloriously empty tomb:
How great, how glorious, how complete
Redemption’s grand design,
Where justice, love, and mercy meet
In harmony divine!11
In the sacred name of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

To All Christian Faiths / Churches / Denominations on Earth I invite all to Live your Faith!

To All Christian Faiths / Churches / Denominations on Earth 
I invite all to Live your Faith!

Some attend church Sunday worship only, then feel their duty is done, a teacher once said 1 day for Church 6 days for Fun, odds of going to heaven 6 to 1. So do you dare play those odds? Some go for more of a social event than to remember Christ. 
Others Preach the words people desire to hear, thus to itchy ears and stray from the simple truths Christ taught. Some mix the worlds politics and views into their worship to please human ideologies of all kinds thus forgetting the simple words and truths of Christ to please the world and to gain wealth by their incomes their churches provide for them not unlike the Pharisees and Sadducee of old Israel and others who preach for self glory and priest crafts meaning you preach as a job, business, creating personal wealth. We see that in all ages and even today when preachers become multimillionaires and grow in their pride and honor of the world. Thus as Christ taught they shall have their rewards, for he never lifted the ban on priest crafts.

So we recently remembered the Resurrection Day and day of the Atonement that Christ did for all humanity who has ever and will ever live. This was on the old pagan day of Ester / Easter. 

What is the purpose of going to a church building? Or gathering with a grouping of fellow believers? This is a needed place to recharge your faith before returning to the world each week. Where You learn to share, and help one another grow in your faith. The example of Christ being the Light of the World, the truth, the way the life, if Christ were a bonfire then you should attend the bonfire or as close you can to embrace the light, to change from the cold stones we are by drawing closer to the fire where we become warm, then like coals of the fire once we enter the blaze of truth and light we ignite our own lives and can share with others. 
During the week our own coals can become dull or cooler from the hard life we all live here on Earth. Thus returning each week to the bonfire of truth allows us to rekindle, recharge our own lights so we can then share our little lights with others. 
Those who once had the light and choose to stay away from the light and truth return from the burning coal to a cooler or cold stone once more.
That is the importance of Sunday worship to help others and ourselves become better than we can by our selves.

How can you share your belief in Christ with others best? Many try preaching and pointing our others problems or struggles with Gods commandments and laws that were designed to guide us to true happy lives during our sojourn here on Earth. 
Pointing out others flaws to them does not build a desire for change or for wanting to embrace Christs teachings but has the opposite effect that is why God said not to judge others, that he only is our judge. Remember you cannot pull the sliver out of your friends eye while you have a beam in your own.

So try this to share the teachings of Christ to others, Live your Faith!
If your a follower of Jesus Christ the Creator and only living God of this World, then I say study, learn, but do more than attend church on Sunday. Live It. 
Let your light so shine forth upon your local area's as to invite others, by your example of striving to live a Christ centered lifestyle, to come unto Christ, to wish / desire to see what you have to offer. So see your light that shines forth in the growing darkness of the World. Do let your light shine upon the roof top, hills, mountains. No greater sermon can be preached nor shared than that of a true follower of Christ, one who humbly lives their lives day by day, living his teachings. That alone will eventually invite others to see why you are different than the world. 
No amount of success in life can outperform the success you will have in your own home, thus your own home and family, as you become an example to your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, as you study the teachings of Christ in your families you will guide others to him. 
No preacher, no Sunday service can out perform the personal education in Christ that takes place at your own home with family and with the Holy Spirit as your guide and the Holy Scriptures that tell of his life, his service, and the success and failures of other humans as they searched for Christ as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. 
Let us learn and be better than we were yesterday, one day at a time. If you say 'I am Christian" I be a follower of Christ, then let your life's example be more powerful a sermon to others than any words can say.
This is the best way to both serve your Master Jesus Christ and your fellow humankind through out the world.