Monday, November 18, 2013

A Message on Faith

(sent in email on November 12, 2013)

Hi everyone, I hope everything is going well for at home! Elder Garcia is doing some online english tests for study this afternoon, so I decided to take a minute to share a message I have been learning about faith, but haven´t had the time to share on P-day! I hope everyone can take something from this, it sure has been amazing as I have applied this in my life! 

To begin, I want to start out in the Book of Mormon specifically Alma Chapter 32, the entire chapter talks about faith, but there is a message in it that all people of Christian background, no matter how strong or weak in their beliefs they are can take from. In verse 21 we learn the definition of faith

 21 And now as I said concerning faith—afaith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye bhope for things which are cnot seen, which are true.

In order to have faith we don´t have to have a perfect knowledge that God is god. We don´t have to have actually seen Jesus suffering on the cross to know that he suffered for our sins, and trials. We simply have to have a hope in these things that are true, that we can´t specifically see. 

In the following verses from the Book of Mormon, exemplify one of the best examples of faith, and how it works.  

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstandingg, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
 29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
 30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own alikeness.
 32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
 33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
 34 And now, behold, is your aknowledge bperfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your cfaith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your dmind doth begin to expand.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ only takes a little seed of faith to sprout into something much grander. As we experiment on the teachings and principles of Christ, and apply them to our lives, our little seed starts to take root, then as we receive more knowledge, we get a seedling or a little sprout. My message that I want to share is it doesn´t matter how firm or how small of a belief in Christ and God you have right now. Take that little belief that you have, and try to expand on it. I know that as we learn to take the seeds of faith that are planted with in us, we will be able to grow spiritually just as a little seed can grow literally into a large oak tree. 
38 But if ye aneglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
 39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your aground is bbarren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
Now unfortunately there are people who maybe had started to grow in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but as it  talks about in verses  38 and 39 didn´t take the time to ¨nourish¨ their tree. It wasn´t because they had a bad seed or because Christ isn´t our Saviour, or God doesn´t exist. No, the seed was good, the fault lies with the person. Just as a plant needs water and sunlight to live, we to need the spiritual nourishment of the scriptures, and attending church in our lives to continually build us up, and help us grow stronger.
I want to finish with a poem that I have had since I was about 8 or 9 years old, it is called Good Timber. If you watched General Conference, President Monson shared this in his talk, it is an all time favorite of mine, and I read it quite frequently! 
The tree that never had to fight                                                                 
For sun and sky and air and light,                                                          
 But stood out in the open plain                                                                
 And always got its share of rain,                                                        
 Never became a forest king                                                                
 But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil                                                                   
To gain and farm his patch of soil,                                                             
Who never had to win his share                                                                
 Of sun and sky and light and air,                                                               
Never became a manly man                                                                     
 But lived and died as he began
Good timber does not grow with ease,                                                  
 The stronger the wind, the stronger trees,                                                 
The further sky, the the greater length,                                                   
The more the storm the more the strength.                                               
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,                                                        
 In trees and men good timbers grow
Where thickest lies the forest growth                                                         
We find the patriarchs of both.                                                                
 And they hold counsel with the stars                                                       
Whose broken branches show the scars                                                 
Of many winds and much of strife.                                                           
This is the common law of life. 
My friends and family, I pray for you every day. I pray that we will be able to take those little seeds of faith in our lives, and nourish them to become those strong trees routed in the foundation of Christian Principles, that we need to survive those storms that arise. I have a testimony that we only need to take that little step, and exercise our faith, and the Lord will bless us in more ways then we can imagine. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have everyday to invite, and help strengthen the faith of others in this great work of the Lord in Argentina. It is amazing, everyday I receive some small testament that Christ truly is our Saviour, and just to think that God sent his only Begotten Son for us, specifically for our sins and problems. This gift which is the greatest of all we will never be able to repay, but we can show our love and gratitude for our Saviour, by exercising our Faith in him, and strengthening ourselves and our families spiritually. I love you all, and most importantly and I know for a fact of the love that our Heavenly Father has for each and everyone of his children. I continually pray, and hope all is well. And I share these things in the sacred name of my Savior, and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

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