Thoughts from Sacrament “The Sacrament”

First off I’d like to acknowledge that even though I work for one of the biggest I.T. companies in the country that it took me 3 months to figure out I could change my picture in the above box to the picture of the lovely DC Temple I took a year or two ago!

It’s been a crazy month to be honest. The East coast has been getting slammed with winter weather advisoryWeekend storms that for most have either postponed, or cancelled Church services all together. It was something that I had never seen before. In the three and a half years I’ve been in the church I’ve never seen Church cancelled.

SnowWell we were sitting in ward council Sunday, and there was snow and ice coming down. The ward Mission had organized an activity at the Visitors Center to watch the Film “Meet the Mormons”. Something Jason had been working hard to organize. We were all proud of it. Alas a winter mix threatened to cancel it.

Well as I was saying we were sitting in our weekly pre church ward Council meeting trying to decide what to do about Sacrament. Should we cancel it? Should we abbreviate it? What about the Break the Fast potluck dinner, or the activity? Most of these questions took precedence during the meeting. Then I remember my Bishop something along the lines of this…

“Yes the Talks and the sharing of testimonies are important, but the Sacrament is the main reason we come on Sunday. The most important ordinance we can take every week. That’s most important”

Those words stuck with me. It was fast Sunday, so I had decided in my head I was going to get up and speak. But he made me realize something, we come to Sacrament meeting to partake of the Sacrament and remember the Sacrifice our Savior Jesus Christ did for us.

So there we had it, We had our opening hymn, the opening prayer, Partook of the sacramentsacrament, then the closing hymn and then funny enough I ended up giving the closing prayer. It was short, but it was powerful, because it helped me personally remember the sole reason why we are in church on Sundays.

sacrament 3I think some times the true meaning of Church services gets overcrowded with social aspects and other things. We should come to Sacrament meeting with our prayers and our broken hearts and contrite spirits ready to renew the everlasting covenants we made at baptism and repent and prepare for the new week. I dare say it was the best sacrament meeting I’ve attended. And no I’m not saying that because we got out early, (I  actually ended up being there until like 330).

The Truth of the matter is, no matter what happens in our lives our focus should Jesus always be on the Savior. Seeing how I didn’t get the opportunity to do it Sunday in Sacrament I want to do it now, I know that this gospel is true, and I know that our Savior lives. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father in heaven who is always looking out for us, no matter how far we turn from him. I know sharing the gospel and missionary work is a path to happiness, for I have felt the joy in missionary work. I know that we are all here for a reason, and have a capacity to make this world a better place, and I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen.

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I hate to do stupid little things to a blog post meaning to be spiritual, but I wanted some feed back on the new design route I’ve taken. Let me know what you think in the Poll here below. Stay blessed and Stay safe! I love you all! Even those I don’t klnow.

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Thoughts from Sacrament “Fast and Testimony- Love one another”

i know it’s later in the week than I normally post my “thoughts from Sacrament”, but it’s been a crazy week and I’ve been quite busy, but nonetheless here I am! I hope every has had a good week.

It was a wonderful Fast and Testimony sacrament meeting. The spirit was extremely felt as members of the ward bore thier testimonies in front of the entire congregation. One Testimony in particular, and it was that of the new Elder, Elder Levy, pronounced (LEE-VEE). He’s a really good guy, and I see him doing very well on his mission. He spoke about finding his own particular path to the gospel. That it wasn’t just a straight route, and just reinforced the notion that the path to salvation you going to take many turns and dips, but because of the Atonement of Christ we can always find our way back. And that just touched me so deeply.

I got up this weekend and bore my testimony. But I specified it down to one of the most imporant aspects of the gospel, that is the commandment Jesus Christ gave and that is to “Love one another.”

So saturday I had the opportunity to go to the temple with my friend jason, and it was just such a wonderful way to start the day. It definitely help3ed me to get into a more spiritual mindset heading into Fast sunday.

Well after I left the temple, I decided to go see the new Temple model that was built to show the inside of the building. The 9 ft display was just incredible, and so exact. Right down to the paintings. I was incredibly impressed. I had found out from the sister missionaries that work there that the elders from my ward were there, and I decided to wait for them to chat them up before I left.

Well I found myself in front of the statue of Christ, and I was halfway deep into my music and the other half jsut mesmerized by the statue. Examining the scars from his hanging on the cross, and just the spirit that came from the image of Christ. I then remember hearing the recording. I remember most importantly the scripture that was quoted coming from the speakers of the

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another”

John 13:34 

I remember those words sticking in my head, and I just thought about it all weekend afterwards. It’s something that I think the rest of the world needs to hear. It’s something I think along the way the world has forgotten.

This commandment of loving one another is at the root of the gospel of Christ, for through the Atonement, Christ proved that he is love. He is pure love. therefore through loving our neighbors we become his disciples. When we take the charge of becoming disciples of Christ we take on the call to arms to spread his gospel and his love.

We can make a change ladies and gentlemen. We can love one another, and spread joy in this world. The 25 years I’ve been on this planet, I’m pretty sure the United States of America, the land I call home has been in some type of conflict. That’s not even counting the years before hand. We as followers of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ must spread that love to make this world a better place. We can’t wait for someone else to start the charge, we must start TODAY!. Change starts from within.

I know through love we can change the world. It we decide to love as compared to fall into contention, we can make a difference. It’s nto always easy, but through our heavenly Father all is possible! Follow that great and wonderful commandment for the betterment of the world and your own life.

I know this Gospel to be true, and that through Love we can make a difference. I know our heavenly Father loves us so much because he gave us his only begotten son. I love this gospel and I love that my Heavenly Father has blessed me beyond measure, and I leave these things in the name of Jesus Christ name

Amen…

Thoughts from Sacrament- “Finding Happiness in the Gospel”

So I was sitting in Sacrament this Sunday where the topic had alot to do with the plan of Salvation and agency, but my mind was taken back to how the gospel of Jesus Christ has shaped me throughout the last few years. So therefore I will be sharing those thoughts in this weeks installement of “Thoughts from Sacrament”.

AS you all know, from a previous blog, I was a convert. I always had a belief in Christ, well for the most part before my baptism. But I didn’t have any real personal guidance. My parents and my grandparents were amazing and tried to guide me. But for some reason or another I decided I knew better, and well I didnt. I kind of just went with the wind, and did whatever felt right in the moment. I was very short sighted in the early years of my adulthood. As I told the Sunday school class I taught, before accepting Christ into my life, the only things that mattered to me in college was throwing a 16 pound metal ball at track meets (Shot put) or what party I was going to. Didn’t have a strong career plan outside joined the Baltimore City Police dept, and even that was up in the air.

When I think about everything that happened or I went through before I found faith in a higher authority, I am not ashamed…. In fact I’m grateful for those trials. Those trials got me to where I am today.

To some the commandments that are given aren’t easy. And honestly it’s very true. There are some commandments that are harder for some. When you think of the Law of Chasity which means (No Sexual relations before marraige), or The Word of Wisdom (No Alcohol, drugs, or harmful substances, no coffee or tea) or the Law of Tithing (10 percent of your income to the church, for use of upkeeping holy buildings and welfare programs), Keeping the Sabbath day holy (Attending church meetings on sundays, not shopping, and other activities that dont promote the spirit.) some of those can be hard to follow. And there are many others, but those are just a few. To be honest when they were presented to me before my baptism, I was a little nervous on if I could follow them, and it wasn;t easy. But I see the light in my life when I do follow commandments, because I have a testimony that they come from God for the betterment of my own life.

When I think about it, you truly need a testimony on each Commandment to truly be able to follow them. For example in January’s Ensign, the 1st Presidency’s message main focus was on “Following the Prophets”, well that’s a very Broad Statement, because we can go back almost 200 years and to be honest they’ve said many things. So what you have to do is break down what the Prophets have said.

So 1st off, the point is gaining a testimony that there are Prophets on the Earth today. Today in 2015 it is President Thomas S. Monson.  For me, i remember the first time I truly felt a spirit about him, was the first time I heard him speak in the October 2011 Conference before I was baptized. I felt it in my heart that he was indeed a great man, and called of God. Through study of the gospel and lessons with the missionaries I knew this man to be a man of god. And in my first monthly installment of Home Teaching I’ll go more in depth.

Well once I had a testimony in the Prophets, I started to gain a testimony of the commandments. But just learning them wasn’t enough. I had to live the commandments before that testimony to grow.

Everybody is different. Some will have problems in one area, but strive in another. That’s just how life is. But there’s the saving grace that our Heavenly Father knows we’re not perfect. We’re going to slip up from time to time, and that’s where the Atonement comes in, for someone has already died for our Sins. All he asks in return is that we strive to be better everyday, and to be honest that’s not a bad trade.

So once you’ve made these changes, and found a testimony, and continually try to follow the commandments you will find Joy. One of my favorite scriptures comes from the Book of Mormon says this

O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gateand continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life” 

Jacob 6:11

We’re all on the path to make it back to be with our Heavenly Father. We will all have different paths to take on this journey, we will see different trials, and different joys, but one this is constant and that is the Word of God. That is the Gospel and his commandments. For they come from him that we must obey. For when we obey these commandments we shall be blessed.

So I will leave you with a challenge…  I love challenges therefore I offer them out as well. Pray on a commandment you may be not so good at. Pray hard and seek out a way to become better. The mission is not to be perfect today, but to be better than you were yesterday, always striving for Eternal greatness.

“Thoughts from Sacrament” The Fragility of Mortality

“Thoughts from Sacrament: The Fragility of Mortality”

 

This week sadly I don’t have a “Thought from Sacrament” specifically dedicated to the talks given. Not because I didn’t go or anything. I was there and the speakers did fabulous, but my mind was elsewhere,and that’ what I plan on writing about. I was reading over a blog post I had written two years ago about Legacy, and I will refer to that as well.

So Around me lately there’s been a few passings. One of them was a friend I had grown up with, and a few others were conencted to friends and loved ones. I know death is a way of life, and just another step on our eternal progress to become Exalted beings, but it still sucks.

At the end of the day no matter what you believe or who you are we mustn’t excuse the fact that life is so fragile. And sometimes we do take it for granted. I for one am guilty of this transgression. I go through my days some times in auto-pilot, and that’s not what we were sent here to do. If we were created to just go through life in auto-pilots we may as well assume our rolls as cyborgs with no souls. No instead we have a deep purpose in this broken world! That roll is to make the world a better place. We’re meant to enjoy the moments, and make the most of the time we have here in mortality. When you really think about mortality from a fragile point of view, it makes it more precious, and makes life more beautiful.

So then in that beauty there is the inevitability of passing on to a higher plane, and then all that’s left is your memory and legacy. So I personally find myself always thinking when I write in my journal, post a blog post, or update a facebook status, How will I be remembered. How will generations after me remember me. How will my family and friends see me after I’m gone. what will my legacy be.

Will it be one of valor, and honor, or will it be covered by mistakes and pain. Truth be told we are in control of our own legacy, and that’s what’s so awesome about it. WE stand here today with a choice to make the most of the day. To do good unto others and do our part to make the world a better place. We can build legacies that can inspire the future.

I could go on for hours talking about this, and I think it sums up like this…

Make the most of life, Don’t be afraid to chances. Don’t be afraid to ask the girl or guy you like out. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on moving or a new adventure. Don’t be afraid to make a change for good in the world, because we never know when it’ll be our time! So I challenge all of you, start looking for ways you can make the most of today for a better tomorrow, leave a legacy to be proud of.

I’m going to leave you with a song, that kind of inspires me at time to do the most  today so that tomorrow can be a better place.

“Will you be Remembered” By Kinetics & One Love

https://soundcloud.com/swong3/will-you-be-remembered-feat

R.I.P. John

 

 

Thoughts from Sacrament- Fast and Testimony

So first off I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New years! Hope everyone had a good holiday!! I know I did. I also look forward to keeping this train rolling as long as I can. So  lets kick this off!

This sunday was the monthly Fast and Testimony Sacrament meeting. Each month, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint devote a sunday, usually the first sunday to a fast. There are many Reasons behind this, some use it to ponder out important decisions that may lie before them, or pray for guidance, or any other matter that may be apparent at the time. Nonetheless this time is a time of reflection.

Usually this fast will go from Saturday night after dinner, until Sunday evening, (dinner). Some Wards like the Singles Ward I attend have what they call a “Break-The-Fast” potluck, where the entire ward eats together right after church.

During Sacrament, instead of the weekly talks given by two members of the congregation, members are given the opportunity to stand at the pulpit and bear there testimonies. Seeing how there is no subjegated talk assigned, I will therefore bear my testimony…

I find myself looking back on the last 25 years. With a new year in front of me, I like to look back, and I think of all the crazy moments in my life where most likely I shouldn’t have survived, or made it out. I thinik about all my trials, and there’s only one thing I can do, and that’s give thanks to our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be here. I’m 25 years old, and I am blessed with a family that would do anything for one another, that’s fights together for one another! I’m blessed with a loving girlfriend, who’s supported me and been by my side for the last 5 years more than anyone outside my family. I’m blessed with friends that I know that I can go to for just about anything. I’m blessed with a job, that I probably didn’t qualify for when I started but due to the grace of God I was able to focus just enough to learn and progress.

I am so grateful and humbled by the influence and strength the Lord has given me in  my life. For that reason it is why I choose to share my testimony and spread the gospel using my God given gifts! I know this Gospel to be true, and I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I’m so grateful for all the blessings he has given me and still gives me each day. I know his son Jesus Christ died for our sins, and through the atonement we can be cleansed of our sins and the sins of this world. I am so grateful and filled with Joy, and I leave my testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ’s name

Amen

 

Thoughts from Sacrament- “Hope”

So this Week’s installment of “Thoughs from Sacrament” is on the subject of Hope! It was a good Sacrament service, and I gto to hear a talk from a good friend of mine! So here goes…

So I feel whenever the term hope is brought up in a non-spiritual concept, it’s defined with the want and desire for something to happen, yet often times is hindered by a sense of doubt. For example, we may say “We hope for a raise or promotion at work”, or “I hope I can pass this final…” In both phrases as you read there’s a sense of uncertainty that both outcomes may not happen. To be honest until Sacrament, and really studying hope out for this post, I lived in that uncertainty when applying Hope. I always thought of hope as the belief in an outcome that may or may not happen. That is indeed the misconception of the word in the word outside of a Gospel manner.

When speaking in Gospel terms, the word “Hope” is “sure, unwavering, and active” as said in the manual “True to the Faith” It also goes onto in this same section that Prophets of old have spoken of having a “Firm Hope”, and a “Lively hope” It goes on Later in this section as spoken by the ancient Prophet Moroni “Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a betterworld, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of Faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in bood works, being led to florify GOD (Ehter 12L4)”

So lets look a little closer….Hope is derived from faith; faith in Heavenly Father who is the father of all things possible, and all things before present and future. So lets look at it like this, with the belief that Heavenly Father is the eternal and all knowing and all doing, and hope deriving from a faith in heavenly father, then Hope no longer becomes a a matter of “what if”, but a matter of “When”.

That changes one’s perspective and one’s take on Hope. It definitely changed the context how I use Hope. So when combining my personal testimony and faith to the word, I’ll use it in a sentence “I have hope that scripture study can enlighten the non-believer.” or “I have hope, with regular daily prayer, the Lord will be by my side”

The word Hope is a very tricky word when not truly understood from a gospel point of view, and honestly sounds more delightful with the Faith support it deserves.

Let us Remember having Hope in something is not a bad thing. It’s not something to be ashamed about. Hope is something every human being needs to survive this crazy world. The Hope in a better tomorrow.

 

 

Thoughts from Sacrament: Kindness Pass it On

So every week I’ll be doing a weekly installment known as “Thoughts from Sacrament”. Each week I’ll share my thoughts on the Sacrament topic.

Today’s subject was on “Kindness”. As the two speakers were giving their respective talks it made me think to my levels of kindness. It also made me conjure up memories of when I had been mean to another or treated them in a way the savior would not approve. Sadly as the talks went on I grew less proud of those  examples… I knew I needed to check myself.

One of the speakers told a story about her mother’s example of kindness. She recollected a story ifrom her middle school years in which an unliked child had his hat discharged out of a bus window during an altercation. The girl had told the accounts of this event to her mother when she got home and her mother to the girls surprise decided to go to the busy highway and get the hat, as well as clean it and drive it to the boy’s house to return it. Now this act of kindness though we did not find out the effect it had on this boy’s future life, probably meant a great deal to him.

Sometimes we may not always see the fruits of kindness, but when we consider the Christ like behavior we are emulating in doing kind acts, we must first and always remember that the savior never did these acts because of reward. Yet he did it out of the pure love he had for humanity.

The world around us is ever changing and turbulent! This is no hidden secret. Every time we turn the news on or open Facebook we see so much pain and terror in the world… But it can change! We can change it!

It starts with us! The thing is we have to learn to love our neighbor. It doesn’t matter what race, political affiliation, religion, gender or sexual orientation, but WE ARE ALL GOD’s CHILDREN.

When we get caught up in the differences men have divided us into we lose focus on the fact that we are all spirit children Of God. Making us brothers and sisters. When we are filed with hate, discernment and contention we are within Satan’s power!

So let’s step it up! Let’s offer a lending hand! Don’t just accept the status quo, go forth and make a difference. The domino effect or positivey and love can start with you!  Just open your heart.