Saturday, January 14, 2012

Don't give up on New Year's Resolutions.

According to recent statistics about half of you reading this have made at least one new year's resolution.  The decision to change our lives is not an easy one, Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said, "Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them."  While the decision to change and become better is a good and courageous decision, statistics also show that 88% of you that have made resolutions will fail in keeping them.  Unfortunately, these almost inevitable failures usually cause so much dissapointment that people just give up on their resolutions.  President Thomas S. Monson has said, "even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve...Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow'"  So where do we gather this courage from?  The Apostle Paul helps answer this question for us, "I can do all things through Christ which stregtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)  If we look to Christ for help we can change and become, as Paul says, a "new creature in Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why missionaries do what they do.

While I was serving in Butte I had an interesting conversation with an older gentleman.  After answering some questions and explaining what I did as a missionary, he said,  "Wow that sounds pretty difficult, but at least the church takes care of your college tuition when your done."  This surprised me a little and I informed him that, while that would be really nice, my college tuition would not be paid for by the church.  "Oh, well you must get a pretty good salary to do this then" was his next statement.  I informed that I not only was not paid but, my family was providing the funds for me to be out on a mission.  He then asked "Well why do you do this then?"   I responded, "Because I love my savior, Jesus Christ"  He seemed to not believe me and his rebuttal was, "Well of course that's what you have to say, but why do you really do it?"

Unfortunately we live in a world where if there is no material gain or satisfaction that comes from doing something, it is usually considered unworthy of our time.  So why then do missionaries give up two years of their lives to a cause that, to the naked eye, seems to give them nothing in return?  Because, we love our savior Jesus Christ and as the Apostle John wrote "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)  We each individually at some point in our lives were touched by Christ and his infinite love for mankind.  For some he comforted them in a time of need, or maybe he provided healing after a mistake they had, or perhaps he showed confidence in them when they didn't have any confidence in themselves.  Whatever it may have been we know the blessings that come from having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the message that we have to bring to the world that "God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)