Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lesson 4 - Student Choice Assignment #2 - The "Bread of Life" Sermon

·       The day before the “bread of life” sermon Jesus had fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. 

·       According to John 6:22-26 many people were seeking out the Savior at this time because they had been fed the day before, and were looking to be fed again.

·       In the assignment the question was asked “What motivates you to ‘seek’ the Lord today?” At first I wasn’t sure how to answer this question because I am kind of out of practice in “seeking” the Lord. I have spent many years lately fighting through life on my own. I have let my spiritual side dissipate in an effort to keep my head above the water and just survive. The funny things is though that in making those choices to not include the Savior in my daily life I have actually made things harder for me. The past few months I have hit my breaking point.  My life was falling apart.  I felt alone, and I shared my burdens with no one.  On the outside, and to the rest of the world I looked like I had it all together, that life was great. Yet, on the inside that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I was hurting and struggling to even breathe. I felt alone and completely overwhelmed.  I needed to make some serious decisions about my marriage, and where I wanted to go in the future. A friend happened to be over one night when things fell apart at home, and she was able to coax some answers out of me about how I was really feeling. That next day I was able to attend Time Out for Women. I was able to feel the Lord’s love for me, and the reassurance that I could move forward and be happy again.  In fact I was reminded that those were things that I deserved and he wanted for me. I went home with the decision that even though I could no longer avoid these hard choices.  It wasn’t fair to me, it wasn’t fair to my kids, and living in limbo was no longer an option. A couple weeks later I was able to talk to my Bishop about my situation and my feelings.  He reminded me that I needed to return to my faith in the Lord and ask him for help.  Though facing my problems was a scary thought I knew that it was necessary. I am working on daily personal prayer, and scripture study. Though things in my life have not gotten better yet, I am facing them with a different attitude, and my burdens feel lighter. I know that I am no longer facing them alone.  I have allowed the Savior to carry me in my time of need, I am leaning on the support of my Bishop, and a few close friends. So, back to the original question. I am “seeking” the Savior because I am tired of being tired, unhappy, and unloved.  I am worth more than that.  I am a daughter of God, and has great things in store for me. I am trust him to lead me in and through my trials.

·       When the people came looking for Christ to feed them he reminded them that the meat they were seeking would perish, and that they should seek “meat which endureth unto everlasting life”.

·       In Matthew 6:19-21 the Lord also encourages the people to seek “treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal”. I think it is natural to want to seek things that bring us immediate happiness. We want to be happy and have fun now, not wait for an indefinite time to receive those rewards. In today’s world people spend their money of things like fast food, movies, and entertainment. While these things are not necessarily bad most of the time they will not bring you lasting happiness. We should be seeking things that will build our faith, or bring our families closer together.

·       Many of the disciples that heard Christ speak the “bread of life” sermon felt that what he was asking was too hard, and they decided to no longer follow him, and went back to their old lives.

·       When Christ asked the 12 apostles if they were also going to go away, they asked where they would go when he was the one who had the words of eternal life.

·       Peter and the apostles were able to respond that way because they knew that he was the Son of God, and the Savior of the World.

·       From then on there are many people who show this kind of faith when faced with “hard sayings”. The first I think of was Joseph Smith. He was just a boy when he was able to see and speak to the Lord. He was told that his life would be rough, and that he wasn’t going to be able to share this burden with many people yet, he pressed forward and followed the counsel and direction of the Lord. One thing in my life that I felt those “hard sayings” was when I was making a decision to serve a mission. I was young, and newly engaged when I received my patriarchal blessing. In the blessing I was told that I would serve a mission and meet the man I would marry. This was not an easy thing to hear, as I really felt that I loved this young man, and that marrying him was the right thing to do. I was faced with direct counsel from the Lord that challenged what I had planned with my life. I chose to serve a mission and that relationship dissolved, but I knew that the sacrifice would bring greater blessings in my life. It was more important at that time for me to stand up and choose to follow the Savior and partake of the “bread of life”.

·       In reading and studying this section of John and the “bread of life” sermon we are promised that if we will seek after things of eternal value and follow the Savior he will make sure that we are spiritually fed, and bolster us up when life is hard. He will stand by us and give us support when we need it. Having the spirit and the teachings of Christ are not a privilege, but a blessing that we need to cherish.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lesson 1 - Student Choice Assignment #2 - The Early Disciples

This week I chose to study the early disciples. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it was something that I haven’t put much effort into previously. John was the first apostle mentioned to recognize Jesus and his Divine roll.  John called Jesus the “Lamb of God.” This was to imply his role as our Savior and the sacrifice that the Lord gave to us. As Jesus began hi ministry he came across many different people; the chart below will show how they learned about Jesus Christ and what they did after they met him.

How They Learned about Jesus Christ
What They Did After They Met Jesus Christ
Andrew (Simon Peter’s brother)
John pointed out Jesus to Andrew.
He followed Christ, asked to be taught, and then went to get his brother.
Simon “Peter”
His brother Andrew told him about Jesus.
He went to see Jesus.
Jesus called to him and invited him to follow.
Philip followed and then went to tell Nathaniel.
Peter told him about Jesus.
Nathaniel went to see Christ and he believed.
Jesus called to him.
He immediately left his ship and followed Jesus.
Jesus called to him
He immediately left his ship and followed Jesus.

All of these apostles chose to follow Jesus immediately. Andrew and Philip were great examples of this missionary spirit. Every one they approached they said “come and see.” They didn’t just stop with the invitation though, they personally made sure to bring those people to Christ. In modern day scripture we read a lot about this responsibility. Lehi tasted the fruit and wanted to share with his family, the sons of Mosiah went to preach the Gospel to the Lamanites, and in the Doctrine and Covenants we are each commanded to “testify and warn the people.” Missionary work is not just a suggestion, it is a commandment from the Lord to all of his people.

Sharing the Gospel has never really been hard for me.  I love to tell people about my beliefs.  In Jr. High and High school I was always inviting my friends to church activities, and sharing my testimony. After high school I served a full-time mission.  This was a great time in my life, I felt like I was becoming who the Lord wanted me to be.  It felt natural and wonderful. Coming home from my mission was a little bit of a rough transition for me as I fell into old habits. When I moved to Texas I was again presented many opportunities to testify of the Gospel and share my beliefs.  I was even blessed to help one of my best friends go through the missionary discussions and get baptized. As a mom, I have found that I spend most of my time at home with my kids, so my circle of influence has dramatically decreased. I still try to share my testimony with those I come in contact with. I have also begun to use my social media accounts like Facebook to share my testimony and gospel truths. I have not seen much “fruit” from this labor, but I know that I am planting and nourishing seeds that will one day produce fruit that is “exceedingly white” and “desirable above all other fruit.”

In the future I think that I need to reignite and strengthen my testimony. I also need to actively seek for opportunities to share the truths that I hold dear.