Saturday, June 9, 2012

Baseball and the Game of Life

     Many people who know me, know that I love the game of baseball. Most of my growing up life has revolved around baseball; from Little League, to Tournament Teams and on up through High School. I love everything about the game, maybe that's why its one of my favorite sports....
     Baseball is an interesting sport. There isn't a lot of contact and action like there is in football and basketball. People say that baseball is "slow, boring and nothing happens". However, many people don't know how much you actually have to be doing while you are playing. They say baseball is 90% mental and 10 % physical. Hence the reason people think not much goes on. A LOT of mental aspect goes into the game! 
     You must constantly be thinking about what you are going to do when action happens. You never know when something is going to happen so you always need to know ahead of time what you are going to do with the ball! If you are ready and on your toes, when the action does come, you will successfully execute the play! That's the key, being prepared and ready, for you really don't know what's gonna happen on the next pitch. If you aren't ready, then games can be lost. 

     The game of baseball is a lot like the game we are all in, the game of life. I have learned a lot of life lessons from playing sports, which I appreciate all my coaches who helped me see that life isn't just all about sports and you can learn a lot from sports about how to be successful in life.  But what I wanted to focus on for a moment is how if we are prepared, ready, and "on our toes", whatever comes our way can be dealt with successfully. Part of this life is to be tested and we are tested in SO many different ways. If we do what we know to be right and prepare ourselves for life's challenges, we can "execute the play" and find joy in our journey through life!
     We must always be on the look out. It says in the Book of Mormon "if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not" (Mosiah 4:30). I know that we do our best to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ, we will win the game of life and make it back to the presence of God, our ultimate goal!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Momma Dirt

     So its time to give a little tribute to Mothers and of course my mother. Tonya Brinkerhoff Neilson, what an awesome woman she is! Moms are just the best there is no doubt about it! Since I've gotten older and especially since I've been on my mission, I've realized that my mom raised me the way she did because she loves me and wanted me to me the best I could be, even when at times I may have wanted to be a little rebellious or thought that she didn't know anything. I have definitely come to find out that moms are ALWAYS right!

     "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ... Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). I can definitely say that my mom has done her part in raising my siblings and I upon the foundations that God has planned for families. She has been such a great example to me on how to live my life. From cleaning my room to how to treat a girl on a date.  She would often remind me when I would leave my house to "Remember who you are and what you stand for." I really appreciate those friendly reminders she would give me and they will stick with me throughout my life

     In the Book of Mormon there is a group of young men, whose fathers had died for what they believed in so they had their mothers to teach them the principles of the gospel. And what a great job their mothers did. When facing a decision to go to battle being so young, the record says the following of these valiant boys,
"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
 "And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."
     My mom has done just that with me. She has taught me to live my life in such a way that will bring me the greatest happiness of all. I am so grateful for my mom and what she has taught me and how she has raised me! She truly is my biggest fan! I love you mom! Thanks and Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Answers to Prayers

     I saw a quote in our church building and it really stuck out to me and it was something that I never really thought of before. This post is mainly going to be the quote I read but I feel like it is really good and worth sharing on my blog. The quote has to do with receiving answers to prayers and I hope it might open a new perspective when waiting for an answer from God because I know it has for me.

    The quote is by Elder Richard G. Scott, one of the Twelve Apostles and he says the following,
     " It is vitally important to recognize that the Lord also responds a third way to prayer by withholding an answer when the prayer is offered.
     Why would He do that?
     " He is our perfect Father. He loves us beyond our capacity to understand. He knows what is best for us. He sees the end from the beginning. He wants us to act to gain needed experience.
     "When He answers yes it is to give us confidence.
     "When He answers no it is to prevent error.
     "When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act."

     I know oft times we say that God always answers our prayers, which is true. I never thought that Him withholding an answer from me was in fact, an answer to prayer. Sure that may sound contradicting a little bit but I really believe it is true. We must not sit around and wait for an answer to come, we must keep going forward with faith and act, then the rest of the answer will come when the Lord sees that we are ready.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Overcoming Temptation

     Recently I have been reading from the book Teachings of the Presidents of the Church. These books are about the life and teachings of the Latter-day Prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet I have been reading about it President David O. Mckay. He was a Prophet for about 20 years from 1951-1970 and many people loved Pres. McKay. I have learned a lot from the small parts that I read and I wanted to share a few things from His teachings specifically regarding Overcoming Temptation. 
     We all go through different trials and tests in life. That's a part of mortality. Along with that, because Satan rebelled and was cast out of Heaven, he wants to destroy God's plan which gives us an opportunity to return to live with God. Therefore, Satan tempts us to choose evil and make mistakes so we won't be able to return to God's presence. However, even though we all fall short and sin, we can conquer Satan and his temptations.
     Jesus Christ Himself was tempted of the Devil, found in Matthew 4, yet Christ never gave in to the temptations Satan tried to throw at Him. Because Christ overcame temptation, "he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Heb. 2: 18). That is one thing we must remember, Christ can help us overcome the temptations we face in life.

Pres. McKay tells us, "Every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of three forms:
  1. A temptation of the appetite or passion;
  2. A yielding to pride, fashion, or vanity;
  3. A desire for worldly riches or power and dominion over lands or earthly possessions of men." 

    He then gives some wise counsel, "You cannot tamper with the Evil One. Resist temptation, resist the Devil and he will flee from you. [See James 4:7.]"  Just say NO when the temptation comes!
One final quote that I loved from Pres. McKay and which gives me hope and courage to resist says the following
"Your weakest point will be the point at which the Devil tries to tempt you, will try to win you, and if you have made it weak before you have undertaken to serve the Lord, he will add to that weakness. Resist him and you will gain in strength. He will tempt you in another point. Resist him and he becomes weaker and you become stronger, until you can say, no matter what your surroundings may be, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8)."
I truly believe that the more we resist temptation, the more strength we will have when another temptation arrives. I am confident that the Lord will not allow us to be tempted above that which we are able to handle. God knows how much we can take and He knows we can resist Satan if we trust in Him enough to try and resist. Whatever you may be facing in this life, there is always hope through our Savior Jesus Christ. Just read your scriptures, pray, and do your best to keep the commandments and you will be able to resist any temptation that comes your way!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Book of Mormon: From God or the Devil?

     Lately I've been thinking about a talk that a General Authority of the Church gave in General Conference in October of 2011. The talk was given by Elder Tad. R. Callister and the title of his talk is The Book of Mormon- a Book from God. This talk was one of my favorite talks and most of my information from this blog comes from his talk.

     Elder Callister begins by telling of an experience his great-great grandfather had. While reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, his great-great grandfather said, "That book was either written by God or the devil, and I am going to find out who wrote it." He then read through the Book of Mormon twice in the next10 days and declared, "The devil could not have written it—it must be from God."

     There is no middle ground with the Book of Mormon, it is either written from God, or not. Ultimately it is up to the person deciding who its from to actually read it for themselves and find who it truly came from.

Let me tell you more from Elder Callister used in his talk to demonstrate how the Book of Mormon relates to the Bible which proves it is in fact of God. First Elder Callister poses a question. "But why is the Book of Mormon so essential if we already have the Bible to teach us about Jesus Christ?"

He then gives us the answer, "Have you ever wondered why there are so many Christian churches in the world today when they obtain their doctrines from essentially the same Bible? It is because they interpret the Bible differently. If they interpreted it the same, they would be the same church. This is not a condition the Lord desires, for the Apostle Paul declared that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). To help bring this oneness about, the Lord established a divine law of witnesses. Paul taught, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1)".

He continues, "The Bible is one witness of Jesus Christ; the Book of Mormon is another. Why is this second witness so crucial? The following illustration may help: [now pay attention to this analogy] How many straight lines can you draw through a single point on a piece of paper? The answer is infinite. For a moment, suppose that single point represents the Bible and that hundreds of those straight lines drawn through that point represent different interpretations of the Bible and that each of those interpretations represents a different church.
What happens, however, if on that piece of paper there is a second point representing the Book of Mormon? How many straight lines could you draw between these two reference points: the Bible and the Book of Mormon? Only one. Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses."
     The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, only testifies of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. The Book of Mormon provides warnings against the devil and his temptations and testifies against him. Why would the Satan provide a book that completely goes contrary to his plan? He would not do that! Therefore, the Book of Mormon has to be from God. I know it is because I have read it and have been brought closer to my Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ. You too can know for yourself whether or not the Book of Mormon is from God or not. The only way for you to know that for yourself is to read from its pages.  Like Elder Callister's great-great grandfather, I know the devil could not have written the Book of Mormon, it must be from God.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Love of God

     I wanted to share a pretty powerful experience I had a couple four or five months back. I was serving in the town of Glasgow, Montana. Glasgow is a pretty small town and I loved serving there. There are some great people there whom I grew to love and appreciate. Anyways, at this time, I wasn't really down or depressed or anything. I've been blessed to have a positive attitude for the most part during tough times on my mission, but I just really wanted God to show me that He loved me.
     So, like it says in James 1:5, if we lack wisdom, we ask God, I decided to pray to my Father in Heaven, asking Him to show me in someway, that He truly loved me. Now, I grew up believing that we have a God in Heaven who loves us, and I still believed that when I asked my prayer, I just wanted a confirmation that what I had believed my whole life was in fact true.

     Now, I was told once that if we want to talk to God, we pray, and if we want God to talk to us, we read the scriptures. If I remember right, that same day I prayed asking God to show He loved me, I was reading in my scriptures and I was reading in the New Testament in the Book of 1 John of all books. Let me share a few verses from that chapter;
 7 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
 8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." 
Most of this chapter talks all about how God is love, love is of God, etc. and as I was reading this, I almost got a little annoyed with it because it kept saying that God is love. At that exact moment when I got a little bugged, the Spirit pretty much slapped me in the face and some words came into my head like, "Look, maybe God is trying to tell you here that He truly loves you." Or something to that effect. When I realized that, I got a sense of calm, peace, and comfort and I knew, with all my heart that God does in fact know me personally and He really does love me! 

I would like to testify to you all that God loves each and every one of us with a perfect love! He knows us and each of our situations and He is always there for us, whenever we may need Him!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kingdoms of Glory

 At the final Judgement God and Jesus Christ will judge us according to our works and our desires done here on earth. We will then, be rewarded to reside for eternity in one of three kingdoms. Those who accepted and followed the full gospel of Jesus Christ, doing the necessary ordinances, will be rewarded to the highest kingdom, known as the Celestial Kingdom. They will live in the presence of God and progress eternally to become like Him. They will also live with those of their family who qualify. There is no end in the Celestial Kingdom. Its glory is compared to the glory of the Sun, the brightest of all!

Those who don't accept the full gospel of Jesus Christ, but were good people lived good honest lives will be rewarded in the Terrestrial Kingdom. They will not however be able to live in God's presence or be able to become like Him. They can only progress to a certain point. This kingdom is compared to the glory of the moon.

Those people who didn't have a desire to follow Jesus Christ, who didn't repent and lived in their sins, will be rewarded with the lowest kingdom known as the Telestial  Kingdom. These people will obviously not live with God and they won't be able to progress very much. This Kingdom is compared to the glory of the stars.
I know someone who likes to compare the kingdom of Glory to God's Mansion. Those who go to the Celestial Kingdom will be inside the house, chillin with God in His living room and being happy forever. Those in the Terrestrial Kingdom are the people who are out on the front porch, looking through the windows but can't come in. Sounds pretty disappointing. Last, those in the Telestial Kingdom are those who are out in the outhouse. Hope that explanation will give a good visual. I know which kingdom I want to live in, I hope you want to live with God too.

And that is the Plan of Salvation. I testify that this is the Plan that God set before us from the beginning. I  know that if we follow this plan, then we will have the opportunity to live with God and our families for eternity. I know that Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, fulfilled this plan. Let us look to Him and follow His example and true gospel.