The realization that I have been a missionary for almost the past 2 years of my life came to me last night as I opened the gospel library app to exclaim "OH SWEET!! There is a new teaching of the presidents book." Haha my excitement alone made me laugh at myself. The fact that I got so pumped over simply more NEW material to study is what made me realize the change has come over me during the mission. It has really been great!
This past week, it's was again great to be a missionary here in Virginia! We had lots of good lessons and fun times. We sadly probably don't have anyone getting baptized my last week in the mission :( coming to church is such a struggle here! And Satan is working really hard on those people that we see. Because of that, and some other reasons I have began an in depth study at the ENABLING POWER OF THE ATONEMENT.
I will say that it is hard to fine study material on since most articles are on the redeeming power. But the articles u do find are awesome! Here are some quotes/ideas that I wanted to pass along.
So how do we build these eternal fortifications? The first step must be sincere, thorough, and complete repentance. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, each of us can become clean and the burden of our rebellion will be lifted. Remember, repentance is not punishment. It is the hope-filled path to a more glorious future.
Father in Heaven has provided us tools that help to build the fortifications between our vulnerabilities and our faithfulness. Consider the following suggestions:
•Make covenants and receive ordinances for yourself. Then steadily and consistently work to provide ordinances in the temple for your own ancestors.
•Share the gospel with nonmember or less-active family members or friends. Sharing these truths can bring a renewed enthusiasm into your life.
•Serve faithfully in all Church callings, especially home teaching and visiting teaching assignments. Don’t be just a 15-minutes-a-month home or visiting teacher. Rather, reach out to each individual member of the family. Get to know them personally. Be a real friend. Through acts of kindness, show them how very much you care for each of them.
•Most important, serve the members of your own family. Make the spiritual development of your spouse and children a very high priority. Be attentive to the things you can do to help each one. Give freely of your time and attention.
Many of us have allowed weakness to develop in our character. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we, like the Ammonites, can build spiritual fortifications between ourselves and any past mistakes that Satan attempts to exploit. The spiritual protections built around the Ammonite fathers blessed and strengthened themselves, their families, their country, and future generations. The same can be true with us.
Where do we turn for help? “In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way” (Ether 12:11). The Savior isn’t our last chance; He is our only chance. Our only chance to overcome self-doubt and catch a vision of who we may become. Our only chance to repent and have our sins washed clean. Our only chance to purify our hearts, subdue our weaknesses, and avoid the adversary. Our only chance to obtain redemption and exaltation. Our only chance to find peace and happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.
Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life.
But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.
May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement.
We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth.
We must search the scriptures, accepting them as the mind and will and voice of the Lord and the very power of God unto salvation.
As we read, ponder, and pray, there will come into our minds a view of the three gardens of God--the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.
On the eve of Jesus Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane, He issued this benediction to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Of this invitation, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “This may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart.” Elder Holland added, “I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands.”
We grow in two ways--removing negative weeds and cultivating positive flowers. The Savior’s grace blesses both parts--if we do our part. First and repeatedly we must uproot the weeds of sin and bad choices. It isn’t enough just to mow the weeds. Yank them out by the roots, repenting fully to satisfy the conditions of mercy. But being forgiven is only part of our growth. We are not just paying a debt. Our purpose is to become celestial beings. So once we’ve cleared our heartland, we must continually plant, weed, and nourish the seeds of divine qualities. And then as our sweat and discipline stretch us to meet His gifts, “the flowors of grace appear,” like hope and meekness. Even a tree of life can take root in this heart-garden, bearing fruit so sweet that it lightens all our burdens “through the joy of his Son.” And when the flower of charity blooms here, we will love others with the power of Christ’s own love.