You know God loves us so much he's never going to "force" us to do anything. This beautiful gift he has given us is called agency. Agency is the ability to choose right or wrong. We can choose God ie good things that uplift and edify ourselves as well as others, or we can choose the Devil ie captivity, addiction, sin, and death. At first glace you thing wow, these choices are a no brainer. Why would anyone in their right mind ever choose captivity, death, sin, addiction?? I've got a few theories. Yes I've definitely made the wrong choices in my life, when confronted with the two decisions I've more times than I wish to remember I've chosen the wrong. I can completely relate. First I know that the devil is a crafty dude. He's never going to be really obvious with things at first. He works in very subtle ways. One of his favorite things in my opinion is to make things sin seem harmless. If he can make you think that what you're doing is "harmless" or "not a big deal" he will succeed. Sin can never be justified. EVER. So when we start trying to justify our actions because we think they really are harmless we will most likely always make the wrong choices. Take a step back and look at the world today. What does the "world" tell you is harmless, or "not a big deal?" Second I think Satan is really good when it comes to applying temptation proportionally. He usually starts with the very small things and than once that ball is rolling his influence over you becomes greater. To combat this we need to be aware! The spirit is a great indicator. I was told once that the greatest thing we can accomplish here on earth is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost. I know he will never lead us astray! Before those small things even start he'll help direct us away from them! Think of that blessing. The devil would have no power over you zip, nadda, nothing if we are constantly standing in holy places with the spirit of God.
Sometimes the right choices aren't necessarily the most "fun" option. You know who wouldn't want to go out and do whatever they wanted and not be accountable for it?? The world has some appealing things to the natural man side of us! I promise you this right now though, you'll never experience true joy in riotous living. Our eternal spirit clings to deity. Our eternal maker designed true happiness only through him! Now if you don't believe me that's fine. I can really only state my opinion right? I will however invite you to try it out. Experience it for yourself. Commit yourself 100% and see how you can change your life for the better! You get out only what you put into it! God speed brothers and sisters!!
Elder Mitch Wilkes
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
I believe the key to successful missionary work is to be sincere and genuine. A question we must ask ourselves often is, "do I look at missionary work as only an obligation, or do I focus on the opportunity?" The obligation side of missionary work was a result in becoming a member of the Church. The scriptures validate this in Mosiah 18: 8-10
and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
Now that we have established ALL members of the church have the obligation to be a missionary lets separate the whole hearted missionaries from the task driven missionaries. The whole hearted missionary sees missionary work as an opportunity to help others come to Christ. (Mosiah 28: 2-3) Whole hearted missionaries are sincere, they desire the welfare of all souls because the love Christ, and their fellow men. Whole hearted missionaries don't find missionary work a burden, rather their joy comes from helping others discover their divine potential. Whole hearted missionaries emulate Christ. They have "felt to sing the song of redeeming love," and desire others the same blessing. Christ isn't just spoken by whole hearted missionaries, but is seen in the countenance of the individual. Do we see the pattern here? Christ-like love separates a whole hearted missionary from the rest. Successful missionaries serve because they love Christ. They've taken the obligation they've made at baptism and earnestly seek out opportunities to serve others.
Thursday, 5 February 2015
Who has the authority to define Christianity other than Christ himself? I believe true followers of Christ represent him in all things. It's not enough to say, "Lord I believe." and than do little to nothing because of it. When we truly accept Christ we will do the works of Christ. Christ exemplified love, therefore if we are truly Christian we will love ALL men. Not to be selective, because Christ wasn't selective. Not to be somebody that puts down others, because Christ never put down others. Christ is love. If we don't love, we are not true Christians. The world today needs more doing and less saying. I believe true Christians don't talk the talk, they walk the walk. People that will take up their cross and follow Christ till the end. I love Christ, I will follow him to the best of my ability. I know I'm not perfect, I'm far from it, but I do know that his grace is sufficient for me to become perfect. If being a Mormon doesn't qualify me as a "Christian" to the world, so be it. When did the worlds opinion matter? Christ knows my heart, he knows me perfectly and he is the true judge. He truly knows those who took upon themselves his name, and lived as he lived. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will remain a member for eternity. I have felt the Holy Spirit confirm to me the truthfulness of the gospel and I cannot deny it. I will not deny it! My name is Mitch Wilkes I'm a Mormon, and I am Christian.
Thursday, 29 January 2015
1 Nephi 11: 16-17
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
Why do bad things happen to good people? I don't know. What I do know is that Heavenly Father loves all of us. His love is matchless, and eternal. Sometimes things happen that we just don't understand. Our brain tries to comprehend things that are just above our limits. When confronted with a trial ALWAYS remember that first and foremost God loves you. Trust Heavenly Father with all you've got! Sometimes we don't always see the end of the tunnel, or maybe our situation never does get resolved in this life, but your Father in Heaven is always with you. This life is such a small part in an eternal perspective, and everything we face in this life we can handle! We are stronger than we think we are! We are literal offspring of God! The creator of ALL things, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God knows us PERFECTLY, we are His children. His love is the power to overcome adversity. His Grace makes up for everything that may seem unfair. True faith, is absolute trust. When a trial comes your way, first know God loves you, and you can overcome anything.
Saturday, 24 January 2015
My study this morning was in 2 Nephi 9, one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. There were definitely things that stuck out to me today worth noting. First, it's noted in verse 7 that there "must needs be an infinite Atonement." I loved the wording Jacob uses, Infinite. I found it very interesting the dictionary defines Infinite as limitless or endless, impossible to measure. Isn't that just the perfect way to express the Atonement. It's power is limitless, it's duration is endless, and our mortal minds can't even comprehend or measure it's enabling potential. Jesus Christ provided the means for us to return back to our Father in Heaven. Without him there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved! The Atonement of Christ encompasses every aspect of life. (Alma 7:11-13)
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
These verses teach us that there is NOTHING this world to offer that Christ hasn't already felt, and overcome. (John 16:33) "but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
How do we apply the Atonement? Apply means to bring into action, the Atonement defines Christ, so therefore we must put into action the works of Christ. If we strive to live Christ-like, honestly in our hearts, we will feel the power of the Atonement daily. Christ intended for us to feel this gift eternally, not just when we need to repent. I invite all to become more Christ-like today. Start now. You will forever be grateful, for with Christ anything is possible.
Friday, 23 January 2015
2 Nephi 4: 15-35
15 And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.
16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.
The psalm of Nephi is AMAZING.
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Study topic today was enduring to the end. I have been pondering this topic for a while now and new insights have come to mind. Most of the time when we think of enduring, we usually think to suffer. Joseph Smith experienced this in liberty jail when the revelation in D&C 121 came. "Peace be unto they soul, for thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment, and than if thou ENDURE it well, God shall exalt thee on high." That is the epitome of endurance in the context of suffering. However, enduring isn't just limited to suffering. Few if any will ever endure the same way the saints did in the 1800's. The dictionary defines enduring as, "continuing, or long-lasting." I believe that is what the Lord requires of us. Enduring the suffering the world has to offer is obvious, but the Lord needs us to endure to the end on his side! Our loyalty must be to the Lord. When our conversion to the Lord is "continuing" we are placing the Lord as the number one priority. True loyalty is an attitude of predisposition to follow whatever the Lord says, and what the Lord says is voiced through the prophets (D&C 1:38). Some may say that's blind faith. Blasphemy. There is no such thing as blind faith in a God who has proven himself since the beginning. The point I'm trying to make here is this; Enduring to the end is simply continuing to be loyal to Christ. The only thing that will detract us from this endurance is ourselves.
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Words can't describe how much I love serving the Lord. I am constantly reminded every day about how great a privilege this is. I've been reflecting on the past 18 months and the impact it's made on my life. It's as if before I left, I was a collection a raw material, the mission has taken me, refined me, and shaped me into the person I want to be. The beauty of this life, is that we have the ability to choose. We get to peruse things of our own desire. The gospel provides direction, a road map if you will, to help us choose the correct path. A path of eternal happiness and Joy.