Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Meekness Vs. Weakness

Hello Everyone!

This week I was struck as I was reading in the scriptures, and a verse stuck out to me that lead to a greater understanding of a vital, and sometimes missed, Christlike attribute:  Meekness

A quick search of the topical guide of the LDS edition of the Holy Bible, will point to many scriptures that outline what meekness is, and why it is important.  We know that a meek spirit is of great worth in the sight of God, and is one of
the attributes that Christ showcased for us (1 Peter 3:4 ; Matt 26:53).

In searching through the scriptures, I found a number of stories where the meekness of the Lord's servants is shown.  Some examples are:
  • Moses (Num 12:3)
  • David (1 Sam 26:10)
  • Elijah (1 Kings 18)
  • Alma & Amulek (Alma 14)
  • Nephi (1 Nephi 17:50)
  • Captain Moroni (Alma 44:6)
  • Lehi & Nephi (Hel 5:20-23) 
Meekness, as defined by the 1969 edition of the American College Dictionary (which is the only one we have in our apartment currently), is:

Humbly patient or submissive, as under provocation from others

I liked this definition, especially the emphasis on humility.  When put into scriptural and spiritual connotations, meekness is showing restraint over our physical tendencies as a manifestation of having spiritual wisdom and understanding.  

There is another way to look at meekness found in the footnotes of Matthew 5:5 (footnote A).  This partially reads:

the Hebrew in Ps. 37:11 characterizes as the humble who have suffered.  

The additional Hebrew usage in Psalms would suggest that meekness is a byproduct of suffering and affliction.  As we wade through trials and afflictions in this life, we will find that as we rely on Christ's Atonement we are able to bear those afflictions and come to understand why we were given that trial in the first place.  A meek spirit is one that understands that God is all-powerful, but also a spirit that understands that God has his own plan and that his ways are higher than our ways.  

Meekness is still a topic I am delving through, but I felt like I would share some of my findings as I've searched the scriptures.  Not many people talk about the importance of meekness, and I feel it is a wonderful and worthwhile Christlike attribute to attain in this life as best we can.  

I hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Happy Happy, to Joy Joy Joy

Hello All!

This week I've been thinking about joy for a while.  For most of my life I always assumed that the words joy and happy were interchangeable.  That all things that could make you feel happy were good.  But after a while many of those things that made me happy, failed to bring me joy.  The crucial part of joy is the lasting fulfillment.  To demonstrate there have been those moments when I've been down in the dumps and yet someone has been able to make me laugh.  But that laughter has always died after a while, and the gloom returns once again.  Happiness is fleeting, and will not sustain you through sore trials.  

Conversely joy is everlasting and will bear you up when you need comfort.  It is impossible to compare the joy of watching your child grow up and learn to be successful and find joy on their own, to how you feel when you find out that Safeway is having a sale on Cheez-Its.  Granted in my life I only know the happiness of the latter, but from what I've heard the former is quite different.  

Note that in 2 Nephi 2:25 Lehi did not tell Jacob that "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might [be happy]".  We are to have joy in this life.  True joy that, while overshadowed at times by sorrow and grief, will always abide with those that are born-again in Christ and have tasted of his love.  

I wish to bear testimony this week simply that I have found that joy.  For much of my life I was just happy.  I never paused to consider that there was more joy to be had in this world.  But I now have considered my life pre-mission and how I felt overall, and I feel that I have truly found the joy that is promised to all those who will follow the example of Jesus Christ.  As an ending I wish to encourage all to seek this joy every day of their lives.  Trials come into our lives, and if you do not seek the joy, it may pass you by.  Find and focus upon the tender mercies of the Lord as you go about your days.  

I hope that you have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

That Ye May Believe

Hello Everyone!

This week I would like to take a short while to speak about the scriptures and their importance in guiding us back to our Father in Heaven.  A few weeks ago I finished reading the Book of Mormon, and a verse in the Book of Mormon caught my eye.  

8. Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.

9. For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.
(Mormon 7:8-9)

We are here in this mortal state to learn and to grow.  To receive a body and learn of all the good and bad that comes with being imperfect.  The above verses stand as Mormon's testimony of how we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.  His testimony contains three main points:

1. Lay hold upon the gospel of Christ
2. Repent
3. Be Baptized

I wish to speak somewhat today about the importance of the first, and how it is the basis of any faith in Christ.  

Mormon wrote in the above verses that the Book of Mormon was "written for the intend that [we] may believe" the writings that came from the Jews to the Gentiles, or in other words the Holy Bible.  The Book of Mormon seeks to establish greater faith in our lives by providing a second witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and of his all-important role as our Savior and advocate with the Father.  

Many often wonder how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can believe what we believe, and how we can live lives the way we do.  And in a discussion with a member of the ward here, we came to the conclusion that the reason this belief exists is because of personal spiritual experiences.  It's an amazing thing to be a missionary, it truly is.  If you haven't served a mission, and are able, I would recommend it to all.  And if you have served a mission, remember the experiences you had that were unique to you.  For two years I have the opportunity to invite others to come unto Christ.  And I use the term invite for a specific reason.  I am here beckoning like Lehi of old to come and partake of the joy of Christ's Atonement.  I am here encouraging others to experience what I have experienced so that they can know for themselves the truth of this message.  

There is no point to missionary work if all we seek to do is indoctrinate.  We invite others to have their own spiritual experiences and to find for themselves a testimony, instead of relying on others for strength.  These spiritual experiences either start with scripture, or are strengthened by scripture.  The scriptures are written that we might believe and know for ourselves that Christ is our Savior, and the principles contained in them will bring the Spirit into our lives so that he may teach us of godly truths.  

To be brief, my advice to all is to seek and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ.  Earnestly seek to know the truth and delve deep into the word of God.  There is truth to be found, and sometimes all that is needed to find it is a prepared mind and a willing heart.  

I hope that you all have a great week!

-Elder Gailey

Monday, June 8, 2015

Peace Be Unto Thy Soul

Hello Everyone!  This week I wish to speak about peace.  

I wish to talk more on the micro-peace rather than the type of peace the world seeks on the macro-scale.  The type of peace that will enable 'world peace' will come through peace that is first found within the self.  We cannot expect the world to be at total peace when we as humans are conflicting with ourselves and our own ideas and emotions.  This week with the theme of peace I wish to share two of my favorite passages from scripture that have brought me peace in this life.  

The first of these is found in the 121st Section of the Doctrine and Covenants.  Joseph Smith, having spent a great deal of time in Liberty Jail, supplicated to the Lord for peace, answers, and understanding.  He cries out "O God, where art thou", and in response the Lord utters these great words of comfort:

7. My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment

The first words that the Lord uses when comforting the Prophet Joseph is the phrase 'my son'.  Imagine the comfort that those words brought to Joseph.  It was the Lord reminding him that we are all indeed children of a loving Heavenly Father.  We are not forgotten or placed on a shelf to be watched at a later date.  Both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are actively and consistently watching us and seeking to give us guidance and experience to perfect us.  

The next phrase used reminds us that Heavenly Father is indeed a tender parent.  Imagine an earthly parent trying to quiet a child that has just woken from a nightmare.  That loving parent would tell their child that there is no need to fear, and that the morning will come soon.  Our Heavenly Father reminded Joseph Smith of this by telling him that this mortal life would be 'but a small moment'.  We endure trials here now and develop faith so that we can again live with our Father in Heaven.  

The second scripture that has brought me peace is found in 2nd Nephi.  In council given to his 'firstborn in the wilderness', Lehi gives this great nugget of advice:

 24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
Lehi tells his family, though directed toward Jacob specifically, that all things are done in the wisdom of our Heavenly Father.  Not a few things, or half of the events in history and the future.  But all events that have or will take place are done in wisdom.  And this is not wisdom of the earth that can diminish with time or be twisted for selfish gain.  In the wisdom of our Heavenly Father, all things are geared towards our success in coming back to live in his presence.  If our Heavenly Father truly wanted to give us the best possible chance to return to him, he wouldn't leave one detail unaccounted for.  And in truth, he couldn't leave it unaccounted for because if he did he would cease to be God and our lives would lose all purpose and we would be subject to the Father of all Lies, rather than in the presence of our true Father.  

When trials come into your life, or when you experience a difficult circumstance.  Know that all things are done in wisdom, and that this life will be a small instant in our eternal lives.  In truth, this life is but a step in the grand race of eternal progression, but this step makes all the difference.  Take care where you step in this life, but know that when you are faced with trials or when you slip, your Advocate with the Father is always standing by to help pick us up and dust us off so we can continue moving forward.  

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"What Seek Ye?"

Hello Everyone, this week I'm going to do something a little bit different.  

The post this week is going to be a little bit shorter and more of a testimony than anything.  It was sad for me to hear this week of Elder L. Tom Perry's passing away last week, so this week I wish to take a little from one of his talks and bear testimony concerning the topic he chose.

In his April 2005 General Conference address titled "What Seek Ye?", Elder Perry quotes from the first chapter of John, which reads:

35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye?

Elder Perry continues to speak in his talk concerning the world's desires and our desires.  Of those that are in the world, Elder Perry noted that "many are sowing seeds of a fruit that will not nourish an eternal soul."  There are many desires and many goals to search and strive for in this world, many of them are not intrinsically bad, but they are not the things that are of eternal worth.  Elder Perry spoke much of the Kingdom of God here upon the earth, and it should be our desire to build it up in these last days.  What should we seek in this world?  We should seek to spread the message of Jesus Christ.  We should seek to uplift and edify others and bring them to glorify their God.  

I wish to take some time now to bear simple testimony concerning Elder L. Tom Perry.  I can bear testimony that through his life, and especially in the years as a general authority, his priority and true happiness was found in seeking to build up the Kingdom of God.  I wish to bear testimony that he was and is a man called of God, that sought to do his Heavenly Father's will to his fullest ability.  Concerning Elder L. Tom Perry, the words from the 135th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants holds just as true for him as it did for Joseph and Hyrum Smith:

"He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people" (D&C 135:3)

Elder Perry was a truly inspiring and loving man.  The world has lost a great soul, but he continues his Father's work in preparing souls to come unto Christ.  I encourage each of you to search through his many talks for the great wisdom therein.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

-Elder Gailey