It is through us - members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where we are able to bring the message of hope, the message of healing, and to encourage one another. To engage in missionary work and be of service to our neighbors in the hopes of giving them an invitation to come and see and to hopefully come unto Christ and partake in the blessings of the Restored Gospel.
Our vision is the purpose of immortality and eternal life. To faithfully endure and overcome as Christ endured and overcame (Revelation 3:21).
The harsh reality is this - there is no perfect healthy congregation - not until we pass on to the other side of the veil. In fact, what makes a truly healthy and vibrant congregation of believers? One that has individuals on their own spiritual journeys and growth. Mature members who are strong in the faith meeting with those who are new to the faith and are just starting out their own spiritual journey and growth. Investigators and visitors who are coming in to see how we worship and what we teach.
Today, our young men and women face those challenges. It is up to us to lead and guide them. Influence them toward understanding their true divine heritage, divine purpose, and divine destiny. Hold them accountable and give them the discipline they need to continue holding strong to the covenant path of righteousness.
We are called to endure patiently. Live out our course. And seek faithfully to live out the principle truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is accomplished through those covenants we make along the way. It is also accomplished when we desire to seek after the will of God for our own lives.
Our faith in Jesus Christ is a motivation for us to continue to increase in our spiritual growth and faith. The more we increase in our faith the more we receive in blessings, inheritances, and fulfillment of promises. Some of those promises may be delayed.
Like all other faithful predecessors (Adam on down to Noah) the priesthood authority after the order of the Son of God continued to be faithfully preserved. It is the order of which Christ is referred to as our High Priest.
There is much conflict in our culture and society today. Each one of us are exposed to warring factions. And it is quite disheartening and troubling to our hearts and minds. Yet we are promised by our Heavenly Father to experience the joy and peace the Everlasting Gospel provides us (John 14:27). A life of abundance because of Christ's infinite atonement (John 10:10).
The invitation for us to place our faith in Christ, repent and seek forgiveness for our sins and trespasses, and willingly to deny ourselves and lose our lives for the sake of Christ is an invitation to enter into sacred covenants through those true ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today, we make sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father. Those covenants we make bare the signs, tokens, and symbols that help remind us of those sacred covenants. These signs, tokens, and symbols not only help remind us of our Heavenly Father's grace and faithfulness toward us, but it also reminds us of our willingness to continually seek Him and conform to His will for our lives.
Through Noah - there will come a brief period of rest from all that which bore wickedness. Through Christ, we come to find everlasting peace and rest from the carnal mind and vain imaginations of our own hearts.
Thus, to have the Lord's Spirit strive with us means that we are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to rule over our hearts and minds. To judge us and guide us into those moral truths of our Heavenly Father. It is therefore to this end that we understand how the Holy Spirit is limited to how long it will strive with us - as we make our sojourn and pilgrimage through this mortal existence.
Noah and his family were saved of (or through) water from the spiritual decay and immorality surrounding them. The flood destroying the old life in order to bring about a newness of life. It is the very nature and covenant of our baptism.
By reading and studying through the scriptures, listening to those ordained by our Heavenly Father, teaching these things unto our families and others - we are to also engage in meaningful and sincere prayer. Through prayer and fasting, we are able to become conquerors and overcome Satan and those who uphold the work of the adversary (D&C 10:5).
As we submit ourselves, with willingness, to follow Christ and the commandments of our Heavenly Father, we are continually renewed, strengthened, and growing in faith. As we increase in our faith and knowledge of Christ, the power of His intimate atonement, and endure with patience and long-suffering - we shall stand ready to be cleansed and purified of all unrighteousness.
Christ will come and dwell on earth in righteousness. Today, we are asked to prepare our hearts and our minds to be ready when that day shall come. And it will come as a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10). For us - we look toward the peace and the glory of His return.
When we weep, our Heavenly Father weeps with us. When we mourn, He mourns with us. Yet, because of our moral agency, we fall short. This is expressed by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Ephesus when he wrote and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30). This grieving is a deep sorrow and mourning. Such as what Enoch observed.
Individually, we are obligated to seek after God and His Kingdom. Collectively - as faithful believers in Jesus Christ - we are to follow Paul’s counsel to exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13).
Today, more than ever, our children need to be raised up with a strong and bold faith in understanding and knowing who Jesus Christ is. Develop a strong testimony in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Possess a true and authentic intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Scripture is very clear on this. The savior made it a point to teach that it is far better for an individual to tie a millstone around their neck and be tossed into the sea (Matthew 18:6 and Luke 17:2) when it comes to teaching children to stumble and offend God. Our duty and obligation are to teach them to live right and true to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The essential truth of Christ’s infinite atonement - and the baptism for the remission of sins - means we are justified before God through Christ, sanctified through the Holy Spirit and our willingness to walk in humility and obedience, and are glorified through Christ’s resurrection and infinite atonement unto immortality and eternal life. Once we are baptized, we walk a path and journey where we are perfected unto Christ (Moroni 10:32) by the process of repentance and forgiveness.
It is only when we are faithful to the basic principle doctrine of Christ that we are able to call others unto repentance and forgiveness. Meaning, we ought to give ourselves over to walking in forgiveness and repentance daily. Otherwise, we are merely criticizing, judging, and condemning others while ignoring the transgressions and sins in our own life (Matthew 7:1-3, 5).
Our faith starts out small and seems quite insignificant. Yet it has a powerful potential to grow and develop into something that is formidable. This is evidenced with the contrast that such faith can move mountains. In other words - as we cultivate our faith in Jesus Christ. Nurture it from its germination. Cultivate it as it grows and maintain its active growth. Our faith becomes powerful enough to influence and change the course of our lives.
Today, many possess the spirit of Cain and say with grave arrogance am I my brother’s keeper? Unfortunately, many who possess such an attitude and spirit of haughtiness are those who claim to be followers of Christ. How are we able to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength when we turn ourselves from the suffering of others? To love God also means we are to love others as we love ourselves.
The purpose of a refiner's fire is to take ore and purge out all impurities through a process of refining. This is done with both fire and water. The ore is heated up and shaped into a metal object. It is thrust into the water. And it is a process repeated until the metal that is cleansed and purged. Here, the Prophet Malachi uses such imagery and symbolism that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we shall be purged and cleansed of all impurities and natural undesirable elements.
Our Testimony is the armor of God the Apostle Paul references in Ephesians 6:11-17 (See also, D&C 27:15-18). And it is vital to our faith, our progress toward maturing in our faith, and going forward with meaning and purpose.
The reality is that restoring broken relationships, to be reconciled with others, is quite a difficult task for us to undertake. Yet, it is significantly important to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we are humble, sincere, contrite, and motivated by the spirit and love of God to go forth with faith and purpose to seek reconciliation.
In Word: The Tree of Life is symbolism of the Plan of Salvation. The love of God who is Jesus Christ. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the representation of moral agency. It stands in opposition to the tree of life. It represents mortality. Adam and Eve remained in a state of spiritual existence. A state of innocence. A state of perfect union and harmony. Yet, to bring about the reality of the Plan of Salvation - humanity needed to make a choice. That choice led to the temptation and partaking of the forbidden fruit. The Tree of Life represented immortality and eternal life. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represented mortality and moral agency. All that encompasses human liberty and freedom of choice comes suffering, adversity, and sorrow. Yet, our Heavenly Father has prepared a way for us to overcome and endure temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
A vibrant and healthy fellowship and community is place where we all are able to come and know we belong. Where there is kindness, empathy, charity, compassion, forgiveness, willingness to be honest, discreet, share with confidence, and keeping in confidence those things we share one with another. All of us are walking our own spiritual paths and experiencing our own spiritual journey - however, it is not meant for us to do so alone. We strive to be complete, unified, and in harmony because of the pure love of Christ.
True discipleship is one of great cost. It requires us to take up our cross and abide in Christ by keeping his commandments (Matthew 16:24-26 and John 15:10).