Christ Centered Conversations – What are they?

I was listening to a talk by Elder Holland that really had nothing to do with Christ Centered Conversations, however, The Spirit put thoughts in my mind about conversations and fruits of the spirit. Looking back now he was giving a talk so maybe him talking (aka conversations) made these thoughts come to mind. So I am here to talk about what I think a “Christ Centered Conversation” is. I wanted to talk about the scripture in The Book of Galatians 5:22-23. It reads:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.”

I believe as the scriptures say that anything that is good comes from God. I think any conversation we have with others if it has these fruits of the spirit is a Christ Centered Conversation. If you read the For Strength of Youth Pamphlet about language we gain some insight:

“How you communicate should reflect who you are as a son or daughter of God. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Good language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity

How we choose to speak and the conversations we have can all be Christ Centered without having said Christ’s name once and that is because good fruits invite His Spirit to be in that conversation and The Spirit will uplift, testify, and edify in those conversations. I believe we can have these conversations because we are His disciples. As we seek to do his will his Spirit accompanies us. Have these conversations at dinner with your family, with your friends, teachers, and those you meet around you. One of the best pieces of marriage advice I ever got was tp “remember who you are speaking too”. EVERYONE is a Child of God so remember that our conversations should treat, uplift, and edify their value and worth as a Child of God.

Thanks for reading & I hope that you find more Christ Centered Conversations in your life.

Balance

Elder Bednar spoke in a priesthood leadership meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina in February of 2016. He said something that I wasn’t sure I agreed with at first, “Balance is a false notion, you can only do one thing at one time”. He stated that by definition if we are at work, then we are neglecting family or vice versa when we are at home we are by definition neglecting work. So then how do you balance all your responsibilities? Watch this video by Elder Bednar:

Isn’t it a great video? I just loved that he pointed out that “The plates never spin at exactly the same speed at exactly the same time.” We can’t do everything, we can’t have them all spinning at the same time, so with that being said some days you spin one plate and some days you spin another- or you are finding balance. 

I know you have heard before as I have many times, that when you put the Lord first everything falls into place. I do believe this, however, I also believe it takes practice and work. Taking Elder Bednar’s advice from the video he says that over time a plate gets a spin and this ensures that it does not fall off and break. We just have to remember to not forget to continually spin the other plates. 

Recently I have undergone a studying routine for my exam coming up at the end of February. I have had to find balance on when to spin my plates which include, health coaching, training, studying for the exam, calling, work, and home life. That can seem like a lot to take on but I just focus on adding time to spin a plate (whatever plate it may be) a little at a time. Remember this scripture:

“Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass…” (Alma 37:6) 

One day at a time, one spin at a time & you got this. 

Endless Torment and Punishment

Wow- its been a minute sine I have written a blog post. However I thought I would share what I learned today in my studies for Come Follow Me. My sister asked me the other day “Do we believe in Hell?” and it was a fair question, I think in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints its not entirely clearly taught (just my opinion-not fact). So I told her in response that I think of Hell as being anywhere God and my family are not. Anyways needless to say this conversation primed me for studies this week.

In D&C 19:4-12 it talks about “Endless & Eternal Punishment”. I learned something and its that the term endless and eternal refer to the source of punishment rather than the duration. I always thought that endless and eternal punishment meant forever and I thought how could this be possible with such a loving God? But when I heard this clarification I realized that this means that those who are punished or have not repented do have an opportunity to repent. Elder James E. Talmage taught: “To hell there in an exit as well as an entrance. Hell is no place to which a vindictive judge sends prisoners to suffer and to be punished principally for his glory; but it is a place prepared for teaching, the disciplining of those who failed to learn here upon the earth what they should have learned…..No man will be kept in hell longer than necessary to bring him to a fitness for something better. When he reaches that stage the prison doors will open and there will be rejoicing among the host who welcome him into a better state.”
Needless to say I was grateful to know that we can always progress and become like our Savior.

Press Forward Saints

Hi there. Kevin here to write a blog post this week. I wanted to share my thoughts on this week’s Come Follow Me readings.

After the loss of the 116 manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon translation, Joseph Smith and his newly appointed scribe addressed the issue. “The logical thing might be to go back and retranslate that portion,” (Come Follow Me 2021).

The problem was, the record wasn’t Joseph’s to translate however he wanted – it was to be done by the gift and power of God. He thought he was calling the shots but the record was the Lord’s property and down to this day, The Book of Mormon belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we read the Book of Mormon, we are getting taught by Jesus Christ. When we read the Doctrine and Covenants, we are sitting in on a masterclass with the Master.

Regarding the 116 lost pages, I have studied and contemplated that event in Church history a lot lately. What I’ve learned from it? Keep moving forward. Keep truckin’ on!

In other words, Press Forward!

“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.”

2 Nephi 31:20

Where is your focus?

It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog post, there are many reasons I could give as to why not but the main reason is I did not make it a priority. However, this past week I knew I needed to write about something but was not sure what to write about. I forget where I was when I heard someone talking (probably at church) and they said something along the lines of “Satan wants you to look at that “one thing” you do not have & only focus on that. 

It got me thinking about perspective and these words spoken made me think of an illustration I saw once. Picture two circles, one is a VERY big circle of everything you know and have been blessed with and the other is a very tiny circle of the things you do not know and have not been blessed with–are you following? (I wish I had a picture to show but I could only find the one below)

So, that smaller circle of what you don’t have, that is where Satan will get you to focus in on and it makes you forget EVERYTHING else you had in that big huge circle of blessings & knowledge. Isn’t that crazy? 

We need to remember that what is in that little circle is not worth giving up everything we have in our big circle- don’t forget it. Choose to focus on the blessings, gifts, talents, and everything you have VS what you do not have because that is how ingratitude creeps in and Satan comes in and just adds a little disappointment, sadness, and thoughts in at a time. 

Ask yourself where your focus is and re-align to recognize the blessings and goodness of God in your life and I promise as you do this- your perspective & mood will change.

The First Law of Heaven

If you can’t tell already I am writing today about obedience. I am not going to write about what obedience is per say (I think we all know what it is), but I am going to write about what happens when we are obedient. We know that obedience is the first law of heaven. So what is it we are being obedient to? We are being obedient to His commandments he has given us. (Read here for more information on obedience to His commandments)

I wanted to shift now to what God has said about His laws. In D&C 130: 21-20 we read:

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated–– and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

So there we read that we are blessed as we keep commandments. Lets also ready in D&C 82:10:

” I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”

This reminds me of the blog post I wrote on agency, feel free to go read if you would like. The point I wanted to make here was that the Lord cannot go back on what He said he would do, He is literally bound to bless us when we do what He says. If we do not He does not have to be “bound” to bless us, we just loose the blessing. So ya’ll think of how many more blessings we could be receiving by being more obedient to Him?!

Lastly, I wanted to share a story about Enos in the Book of Mormon. Enos pled with the Lord that the record upon which he was writing would be preserved. (See Enos 1:13) The Lord made a covenant with Enos that he would preserve the record. (See Enos 1:16) Here we have the Lord promising a blessing to Enos as he is obedient and faithful. We know Enos continued his days faithfully and was obedient, so the promise of the records being preserved would have to come to pass. Well here is the cool part that I learned– are you ready?!

SO lets flash forward to the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when Martin Harris (his scribe) & Joseph Smith was working on translating The Book of Mormon. Marin Harris desired to share the 116 pages that had already been translated with his family (these pages came from the larger plates of Nephi and spanned from 600 B.C. to 130 A.D). Jospeh inquired of the Lord and ultimately permission was given. Well these translated 116 pages were then stolen by wicked men and lost.

Now pause- that would mean that the record Enos requested to be preserved was “lost” and not preserved, however I am here to tell you that God in His goodness and for a “wise purpose” had Nephi write a set of smaller plates that also covered the same time span as the larger plates of Nephi that were lost (600 B.C to 130 B.C). This fulfilled the covenant that The Lord made with Enos to preserve the record. (See The Book of Mormon Student Manual: Words of Mormon)

This was mind blowing to me- I always knew there was a second record made but when I learned the exactness of the time frames and how intricate the Lord has worked to fulfill his covenant with Enos, my testimony was strengthened. I promise you that all I have wrote is true and that as we are obedient, we are blessed. The blessings come, we get closer to God and His Son Jesus Christ by so doing. I know that The Book of Mormon is True. I know it was translated by the power of God through His Prophet, Jospeh Smith. Ya’ll I end with just inviting you to deepen your testimony of His Gospel and The Book of Mormon, and I promise you (because The Lord has said it) that you will be blessed.

Agency

What in the world is agency?! Elder Bednar taught that when you enter into your baptismal covenant you then use your moral agency to choose God. He then explained that the principle of moral agency is one of the least understood doctrines in the church. Here is the video to reference what I am talking about:

When I first watched this video I was like whoa!! So I wanted to learn more for myself. I went back to the basics similar to what Elder Bednar did in his discussion above. So my first question was, “What do we covenant at baptism?” and here are my answers:

1. Take upon you the name of Christ

2. Bear one another burdens

3. Stand as witnesses of God

4. Serve Him

5. Keep His commandments

(Mosiah 18: 8-10)

So when we covenant to use our moral agency given by God to do the things listed above. So my second question was what is a covenant? A covenant is an agreement between 2 people but please note this from the definition of covenant in The Bible Dictionary:


” It is important to notice that the 2 parties to the agreement do not stand in the relation of independent and equal contractors. God in His good pleasures fixes the terms, which man accepts…. The Gospel is so arranged that principles and ordinances are received by covenants, placing the recipient under strong obligation and responsibility to honor the commitment.

With this in mind and what we know about covenants now, this is what we are using our moral agency to choose Jesus Christ by honoring covenants we have entered into. As mentioned in the last sentence we are under strong obligation to honor the commitment we made to God.

When we use our moral agency to “do what we want” and have entered into a covenant with God we are actually “breaking our covenants”. I believe this is the part that Elder Bednar was referring to as the least understood doctrine in the church. I wanted to reference D&C 1:15 “For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant.” This is the Lord addressing His people who break covenants or what most of understand as “doing what we want.” In a sense, yes you did do what you want but you also broke your covenants and the consequences of that will follow. You don’t get to pick the consequences of your actions or choices.

As I learned about moral agency more and understanding my covenants my testimony of the protection that The Gospel of Jesus Christ provides has increased. I know I am loved and a beloved child of God and thats why He sent me here to make covenants with Him so I could return to Him with my family.

A Christmas Star

I wanted to share a very short and simple blog post this week by simply sharing another’s blog post. This article has to do with “A Christmas Star”. It speaks of hope, love, and The Light of The World- Jesus Christ. It links scriptures and quotes by our beloved prophets and apostles.

Please do read this blog post. I know its true. I know that everything testified and talked about in this blog post is of God and His Son Jesus Christ. I felt the spirit as I read it. I am so grateful for this holiday season and especially for the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we all be looking for him and toward him in our lives as we navigate our lives.

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW:

God’s House on Earth

If you know me you know I have always had a special love for temples. I mean… when I say I love temples… I LOVE temples. For a very long time when I lived in Rexburg, Idaho and was attending school at BYUI I went to the temple every single week without fail to participate in baptisms for the dead. It was my source of strength I could always count on that week and I never missed even if there was snow or rain. That love still runs in my heart.

Right before COVID-19 hit Kevin and I were able to go to the Dallas, Texas temple about 3 days before all temples closed. We had made a habit of attending the temple every 2 weeks. I was SO grateful that we were able to go for one last time. That was March of 2020 and now its December of 2020. 9 months have passed and when I say I miss temples…I mean I miss temples! So this week with the announcement of some temples who are heading into phase 3, I decided to write about them. Please watch this video recently released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

I love Elder Renlund and how he explains the impacts of the Coronavirus and temple re-openings. I felt during that video a very strong message to my heart about how politics have gotten in the way of COVID-19 and I also felt that in a way Elder Renlund was saying we aren’t sure how long all this will take but we act anyway. When we act, we are blessed. I know that the blessings of the temple are real. Here are but a few that I have seen and felt:

  • Spiritual strength to endure
  • I have felt my ancestors near me
  • I have gained an increased eternal perspective
  • Ability to resist temptation
  • Things that were not of value fell out of my life
  • Increased amounts of time to do what the Lord would have me do
  • Spiritual protection
  • I have received answers to prayers in the temple
  • I have felt God’s love for me and others

The list can go on and on but I can also tell you this, even though I have not been physically able to go to the temple these blessings are still with me. I invite those who have not felt or gained a testimony of temples to do so! Please study and read about them and ask Heavenly Father in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ to help you gain a testimony and I promise you will.

Deep In Our Hearts

Every week its really fun to see what topic is impressed upon my mind to write about. I will say that this week I asked Kevin and he mentioned that maybe I could discuss getting The Gospel of Jesus Christ “deep in our hearts”. Obviously I thought it was a GREAT idea so here we are.

Almost immediately I thought of two videos which I will show and talk about but I wanted us to start with asking ourselves the following question: “Why is it important to get The Gospel of Jesus Christ deep in my own heart?”

Take some time to ponder this question as you watch the first video with our beloved prophet President Russell M. Nelson:

Continue thinking about your answer to my question and throughout the rest of this blog post. President Nelson mentions a verse in Luke 22 where he says “Mens hearts are failing them for fear” and then almost right after he states that its because “They forget their identity and their purpose.” Now with this in mind please watch the next video with Elder Holland’s message Safety for The Soul:

Isn’t that an AMAZING video?! I love the passion in Elder Hollands voice. I now want to loop together these two videos to one thought. Earlier I mentioned the verse about mens hearts failing them for fear from President Nelsons video, well by divine design Elder Holland says the same thing in his but also adds some insight. He says, “Think of the heart as the figurative center of our faith… and then consider that in the last days mens hearts shall fail them.”

So I ask again to those reading, “Why is it important to get The Gospel of Jesus Christ deep in my own heart?”

I want to answer by giving my insights. As Elder Holland mentioned our Heavenly Father knows all that we have to face here on earth, He knows of temptations, trials, afflictions, and the challenges that await us. So in order to survive them with joy and having peace we need The Gospel of Jesus Christ in our hearts and souls. It provides perspective. I wanted to share a little list of things that happen when we have The Gospel of Jesus Christ in our heart and souls:

  • We know our identity, which is that We are Children of God.
  • We know our purpose, which is to return to live with God & our families and help others to do the same.
  • We read The Book of Mormon for many reasons but one being to become spiritually fortified.
  • We know The Atonement that Jesus Christ preformed is real and we use it in our lives through repentance and being strengthen by His Atonement.

As we do these things we are blessed, we are getting “The Gospel of Jesus Christ deep into our hearts” to survive the times ahead (whatever they may be- good or bad). It’s a survival guide. I know that as we move from having knowledge of Jesus Christ to really knowing who He is and becoming more like Him we are on the right path my friends.