Friday, October 4, 2013

What is Faith, Why Baptism?

Last night I went to a mans home with hope to teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As we spoke, he kept referencing the book of Romans, in the New Testament.  His comment was, "If  Paul taught the people in this epistle that faith was enough, then it is enough for me."  No matter what was taught in the lesson, he kept referencing that statement.
So, in this post, I hope to cover some points that I was not prepared to cover last night.  First, who was Paul addressing in the Epistle of Romans?  He was living in Corinth at the time.  He was hoping to make a trip to Jerusalem, and IF he survived the trip, he would then head over to Rome, to be with the saints there for a time.  Reference  The letter or epistle was an attempt to prepare them for his anticipated arrival.  One of the main problems that he needed to address was the separation between Jews and Gentiles, because of rituals, namely circumcision.  The Jews, according to previous tradition showed their faith in Judaism, by circumcision.  The Gentiles had not been circumcised.  Paul was trying to teach them that even though their traditions were different, their riotousness depended on their faith, not the outward signs of their religious practice.  He taught that Abraham was good and faithful even before circumcision.  Which is why he was chosen to be a father of nations.  Even after his circumcision, it was his faith in Gods word which produced Isaac in his old age, not his circumcision.  So, faith is heart based, not ritual based.

                                              Come listen to living prophets

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I am also known as a Mormon.  As I have taught many people the gospel, one of the main hang ups I have found, is that we have a different way of saying things.  We believe that throught he atonement of Christ, everyone can be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.  I have told that to people, and they say, "Oh wait, you mean, you believe that Jesus Christs grace is not sufficient?"  But, as we talk about it, and I ask them about faith, we come to the same conclusion.  It is this, a literal definition of faith in your own life.  What is Faith?  I asked the man last night.  He said, "faith is knowing that Jesus Christ is my savior, and wanting to follow his teaching even or especially when no one is watching."  Why do we add that second part?  Why do we add the action to the knowing?

In  James chapter 2 we read that faith without works is dead.  What does that mean?  In the Book of Mormon there is a little analogy of a seed starting in vs. 28.  The seed is the word of God.  If you plant his word in your heart, and it is good, it will grow and swell, and help you to understand things of God better.  But, even this is not a perfect knowledge, so how do you get that perfect knowledge?  You nourish that seed.  How do you nourish a seed?  Again Christ teaches another analogy of the seed in Mark chapter 4   He starts to explain the parable in vs 14.  So what can we do, to nourish and grow the gospel of Jesus Christ in our hearts?  Lets go back to Romans and James.  They both reference Abraham, because of his great faith.  What did the Lord ask Abraham to do?  He was asked to give his only son as a sacrifice.  We see that this is an action.  What about the Noah?  He was commanded to build an ark. Moses? Hold up his staff to part the red sea.  Adam?  he was commanded to give burnt offerings.  Jonah?  Preach to the people of Nineveh.  Peter?  Fish for men.  Paul? Leave his former life and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  What about people who were not apostles or prophets?  Nicodemus asked what he could do.  Jesus told him to be baptized.  The children of Israel are plagued with fiery serpents, what does the Lord command them to do?  Look at the serpent on a pole, constructed by Moses and live.  He also commands them to cross the sea.  Rahab the harlot received messengers from the camp of Israel, and sent them out another way, believing and saving her family.  James calls her justified by her works.  So, what am I getting at, with these examples?  Faith is dead with out our works.  Our seeds of faith die, not because the seed is bad, but because we are not nourishing the seed with our works.

Christ says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."  By faith we nourish the word of God in our hearts.  Through nourishment or action that faith grows.  Now, for the next question, Why Baptism?  Does God need us to prove our commitment to him?  No.  So, why does he ask us to?  For our benefit.  I was baptized at 8 years old.  I made a covenant with Heavenly Father.  I promised to take his name, or become a Christian.  I promised to care for others.  I promised to keep his commandments, and to testify of Him.  In return, I believe he promised me that he would forgive my sins.  I received the gift of having the Holy Ghost with me at all times as long as I was a worthy vessel.  I was also given the promise that as I live the gospel, I will be able to live with him again.  Through this covenant, I feel great strength, given to me from a loving Heavenly Father.  I believe that he asked me to make this covenant, to give me the added strength and help.  He loves me enough to ask me to make a commitment.

Faith leads to action, actions results in greater faith and eventually knowledge.  Baptism is an action, that results in greater faith and strength in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  There you have it, my answers to What is Faith, and Why Baptism.
-With love.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Mink in the Chicken Coop

This morning my husband and I were sitting on the porch swing, enjoying the quiet and the beauty of the morning.  As we were talking about things, we noticed a chicken running over by the ditch.  It is not uncommon for the chickens to get out of their pen, so we figured that is what had happened.
Then after a little bit, I saw something that looked like a ferret run across the yard.  I pointed it out, thinking I had never seen a ferret in the wild before.  My husband instantly thought of the chickens.  He ran over to their coop and saw many dead- and the Mink not ferret fighting the Rooster.  He called for help.  I ran over there- a city girl at heart wondering what I might do.  Mostly I just stood back and cheered him on.  He chased the Mink back and forth until he had caught it and killed it.
As I looked at the sad scene before me- chicken feathers, dead chickens, dead pheasants, and dead chuckers, totaling nearly 20 dead,  I started to wonder why an animal would act that way.  The mink just seemed to kill for the pleasure of killing.  Why?

Then I thought of the evil in our world.  There is no sense of it.  Pornography or addiction, violence or stealing, murder and rape.  There is no reason for it.  It just comes into peoples lives and takes, for no other reason than taking.
The only thing standing between spiritual death by the evil that surrounds us is our shovel or weapon of choice(this morning it was a shovel), and willingness to wield it.  Will we be caught unaware like the chickens, chuckers, and pheasants?  Will we fight like the rooster?  Will we run like the loan chicken?  Will we chase it down like my fierce husband with his shovel?
When evil gets into the chicken coop, how can we react?
I am reminded of the scripture that encourages us to put on the whole armor of God.  You can read the whole thing in Ephesians 6, starting in vs. 11.
I am going to paraphrase it.
Girt your loins with truth
A breastplate of righteousness
your feet shod with the gospel of peace
a shield of faith
a helmet of salvation
a sword of the spirit
If we can be armed with God, we will not fall to the evil that preys on those around us.  We will certainly be talking about Gods armor in our family!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We will miss you Devin

A death of a child, always tears at my heart.  But none more than when it is caused by a senseless murder.  I cry for the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers that will not be able to understand why their family member is gone.
We heard about the Oakdale MN shooting last night, and it was so crazy to think that that was where we lived, shopped, and played.  This morning we found out it was a fourth grade boy.  My oldest son is a fourth grader.  He went to Oakdale Elementary.  We figured he probably new the boy.  So, I told him about it.  We spent the day openly talking about it, and comforting him when he cried.  We prayed for the families.  The family of the shooter, and the families of those that were shot.  We prayed for the school, the teachers, and the students.

KMSP-TV Tonight the name was released.  Devin Aryal. My mind reeled. I had talked with his mom on the phone.  I took this little boy on field trips with my own son.  He went to my sons birthday party.  His mom helped on the PTO, when she could get off work.  Not that Devin.  Here is a picture of Devin at our party.  We loved this boy.  We loved his friendly personality.  You will be missed Devin, but hear is a shrine to remember you in our hearts.  We know you are in a better place, and we are praying for those left behind.
With love little bud,
Momma Jo

Friday, January 11, 2013

Do you know that some day, I plan to be awesome. Some day I will have it all together. Some day I will get everything done that I set my mind to. Do you know what I want to do with this life Heavenly Father has given me? I want to share the gospel through song and story with my own family. I want to travel all over the country on a big bus and sing. I want to be home in the summer to tend my garden and reenergize. But come the fall, I want to travel and worship and minister. I want my kids to share their testimonies and get used to being in the public and serving and making the world a better place. And I want to adopt. I want to give children-teens, wards of the state a chance to be part of a family. I want my children to be strong, hard working, and talented. I want to homeschool on the road. I want them to constantly be learning and growing. I hope to be there in 5 years. So how do I go from here to there? Do you make long term plans for your family? I want to hear about them. with love- Jo