Thursday, February 24, 2011

Which Is The Way We Ought To Go?

I have found many times that the most successful ventures we have in life are those we take the time to plan and prepare for.  We can plan for homework; we can plan for our days.  Planning is a principle for us to find success in our lives.  It is when we neglect to plan that the hopes and aspirations we have are not able to come to fruition.  Planning is nearly impossible if we do not have a goal or objective we are planning for.  I feel many times planning helps us to realize the goals we have and helps us focus on achieving them.

I am reminded of Alice from Alice and Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:

"Cheshire-Puss," she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider.
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where---" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"---So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

As the Cheshire cat says, when we don’t care where we are going “it doesn’t matter which way we go.”  Does each of us know where we are going in our lives?  Do we know what our purpose is and are we planning on going there?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Finding Some Light Because of Cancer

I love the video at the bottom! :)

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, they whole body shall be full of light” – (Matthew 6: 23).  Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to have a real glow about them?  Some people, all we have to do is make eye contact with them and suddenly our day is just a little better.  These people seem to expel sunshine from their face, something truly angelic.  I notice for myself, as I meet these people in my own life, I am drawn to them, and I have a desire to be close to them.  I do not believe this is happenstance, but rather a part of something which they have truly a part of them.  The source of this inspiring light is Jesus Christ.  He is the light we need to let shine for all men.  I know as we focus on serving and following Him, the periods and pieces of darkness in our lives can made clean and whole through the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus Christ.

Striving to make the light of Christ a part of us takes a daily effort on our part.  It is a continual effort of putting off the natural man, and turning, and then yielding our hearts to Jesus Christ.  Just as cancer can erode us physically, sin also can damage us spiritually.  Just as recovering from cancer is more involved than a simple pill, repentance also is much more than a simple confession in our lives.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Purpose of Life - Made Simple (A Must See!)

I've served as an Mormon missionary online for nearly a year.  In that time, I've learned that having something to show makes a big difference when you've got a message to show.  I love the videos produced on the Mormons Made Simple site.  They are often the perfect thing to share with someone who has questions about our church, or isn't sure what to expect when they visit.
Recently, they launched a video that everyone should certainly find interest in, "The Purpose of Life."
Our unique understanding of the purpose of life is something that sets Mormons apart.  The answer to life, the universe, and everything is a great deal more fascinating than "42."
So sit down with a snack, be prepared to take a note or two, and enjoy the show!

This is a great clip to share with a friend.  If you have questions about this plan, and I hope you will, feel free to chat with a Mormon missionary.  Ask away.  :-D

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Thursday post!

I was listening to a talk by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Bruce R. McConkie today, and it led me to finding this slideshow about our Savior. The talk I listened to is called "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane". It is a powerful witness by a SPECIAL witness of Christ. I would highly recommend it for anybody who wants to know just a little more about the story of Christ's last 24 hours in mortality. For now, here is the slideshow. Comment and give YOUR testimony of Jesus Christ!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Unto A Lively Hope"

Hope.  Like faith, it's another one of those words that seems difficult to define at times.  What exactly is hope?  And what is worth hoping for?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has several definitions for hope, some of which are "to cherish a desire with anticipation", "to expect with confidence", and "desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment".  The dictionary then gives several examples of "hope" being used in a sentence.

    Everyone in your family is well, I hope.

                      The latest reports hold out hope for a possible end to this crisis.

                                       I hope you're feeling better soon.

While all of those examples are good things to hope for, the hope that I have found in life is a lot more certain.

Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur.

The apostle Peter writes in his epistle that through the mercy of Christ, we can gain a "lively hope" (1 Peter 1:3), and Paul speaks of hope as "an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast" (Hebrews 6:19).

The prophets in the Book of Mormon are not silent on the attribute of hope either.  In 2 Nephi 31:20, Nephi writes "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."

 Hope is a truly powerful thing.  For me, hope is the force behind my faith.  Without hope in Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His gospel, I have no reason to do the things I do.  President James E. Faust, who at the time was serving as First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, stated, "Hope is the anchor of our souls. I know of no one who is not in need of hope—young or old, strong or weak, rich or poor." ("Hope, an Anchor of the Soul") Our hope reaches far beyond the limits of what we are sure of, and helps us to believe in a world where disbelief is often viewed as easier, less restrictive, and increasingly common.  It is in this type of world that hope becomes all the more important, for if we refuse to find hope, then we will most likely never find joy.

Elder Wood - Michigan Lansing Mission
On days when the world seems to be against me, I can find joy in the hope that tomorrow will bring a new day.  When I feel lost or sorrowful, I can find joy in knowing that there is always at least One who is reaching out to me in love.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, "Those with true hope often see their personal circumstances shaken, like kaleidoscopes, again and again. Yet with the “eye of faith,” they still see divine pattern and purpose (Alma 5:15)." ("Brightness of Hope")

I have come to realize that of all the things in the world that I could hope for, none are more beneficial to me than having hope in and through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Moroni 7:41)  Even when the world turns upside down around me, and I don't have any idea where to turn next, as I center my life and my hope on Our Savior and His teachings, I know that things will turn out alright.  My hope is sure, and I know in whom I have trusted.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Plan of Salvation

I recently finished a new prezi presentation on the Plan of Salvation, or plan of happiness which God has for us. I do know God loves us, and I know we do have a purpose here on earth. Take some time to read through it, and learn, where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going after this life.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Hand of Providence!

One of the big parts of missionary life is getting transferred.  We get a phone call that moves us to a new city with new people, spending every hour of the day with someone we may have never talked to before.  A couple weeks ago I was transferred to Providence, Rhode Island.  Things have been really busy here and that is why I haven't been posting anything.
Moving to a new state changes a lot of things and sometimes I wonder why I couldn't stay where I was before.  But I always learn really quick that I am where God wants me to be.  Allowing God to direct our lives isn't about sitting back and letting him have the wheel.  It is taking directions from him and doing what he would have us do.   As missionaries, getting transferred reminds us of who is in charge but more importantly it gives us the opportunity to listen to what God wants us to do.   It helps us stay focused on what we are doing and we have get new ways to learn and different struggles to deal with.  Being in a city like Providence is much different than being somewhere like Hamden, CT.  Even though I have been on my mission for quite a while, every time I get transferred it helps me think about all the things I need to work on that weren't concerns where I was before.  It can be pretty hard to change and let change happen but as we trust in God then it works out. 

 The lady in this video went through a lot more than we do as missionaries and it shows the great lessons we can learn from accepting change and adversity.
-My name is Elder Stakland and I am a Mormon
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