My beloved family, hard to believe another weeks has already passed. This week was full of miracles, and some trials of faith, but that's to be expected in the service of the Lord.
Our friend who was on his way to get baptized decided to stop contacting us, so that has been pretty hard. It's always hard to watch someone walk away from something you know to be so good. We found a new person who we will hopefully start teaching soon. He is a 17-year-old surfer, and has a lot of interest in learning about and coming to church. The only problem is his parents are very much opposed, and with him being 17, he doesn't have the ability to join without his parents' consent. So we will see what happens. There is a time and a season for everything in the garden of the Lord.
Today I was studying in the first book of Kings in the Old Testament. I was reading about the prophet Elijah. To be specific, I was reading about the occasion where Elijah was contending with the priest of Baal. The goal was simple; each would call upon the power of their own God, and whichever God sent down fire to burn up the offering was the true and only God. So Elijah gives the priest of Baal the opportunity to go first. I always thought it was weird why Elijah didn't go first. Wouldn't it have been so much easier to just cast fire down, and be done with it? Elijah knew he had the power to do so. So why did he wait? I feel like this is where the mantle of his true priesthood begins to show. The patience and faith exercised by Elijah is almost beyond comprehension. He knew everything would work out the way the Lord needed it to, so, without a trace of doubt or fear in his heart, he endured, and waited while the priests began what became a day long attempt of accessing the powers of a non-existent God. And when the time came, Elijah stepped up to the plate, and demonstrated what it truly meant to wear the mantle of the prophet. With complete access to all the powers heaven had to offer, it was a simple task for Elijah to prove to the nation who the one true God of Israel was.
That's quite an accomplishment, demonstrating complete dominion over all things natural and consistent. But this is the power that God holds. And we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have complete, unrestricted access to all of it. The requirement? Faith. That's all the Lord asks of us. The capacity to perform miracles as did Elijah and many other prophets of old is within each and every worthy priesthood holder. Think about that for a second. If any of you are like me, that's almost more incomprehensible. But nevertheless, it is truth. An unshakable testimony, with faith rooted firmly in the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to move mountains, separate oceans, and change human nature. The question then becomes,"How does one obtain faith of that magnitude?"
Faith like unto Elijah is not obtained easily. There is a price for everything. "If you don't not pay the price of success, you will pay the price of failure." Success, spiritual light and knowledge, joy, happiness, none of these come with out a price. What are we willing to pay? What are we willing to sacrifice? Probably one of my favorite quotes right now comes from the prophet Joseph Smith, and he says, "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of everything, can in no way produce the faith necessary unto eternal life and salvation." That's a pretty hefty price to pay, don't you think? Everything? That's a lot! But then I read this quote that helped me see this in a different light. "
"Sacrifice is not just about giving things up. The roots of the English verb sacrifice mean 'to make something holy.' Sacrifice includes taking something that is precious to us and offering it to God, making it holy because we give it to the Holy One." - Voices of Hope by Wendy Ulrich
So in reality, the act of sacrifice is actually the act of sanctification, or consecration. That's is a little bit easier for me to understand. So how do you gain the faith and knowledge of Elijah? By paying the price of faith.
Now beloved friends and family, I don't want you to get the wrong idea here. It sounds hard, yes, but is it impossible? No! Far from it! But, it will take time. For example, if you want to go from Utah to Disneyland, it doesn't matter how much you want to be in Disneyland, you have to get in the car and drive! And you have to drive for a while! Faith is based upon the same principle. If you want faith, you have to start driving. You have to keep the commandments, get the knowledge, and keep going! A testimony is not forged in the company of frivolity, but in the deepest recesses of trial and struggle. The Lord expects diamonds, so let's not settle for coal.
I love each of you. Just keep going! Everything will work out. Just remember who you are, and what you stand for. Face forward, and press forward. The light and knowledge you seek will come, just like it came to Elijah. I can promise that.
I love you all! I hope you have a great week
|Our District at Suzuki兄弟s!|
|Out for okonomiyaki with a member!|