Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!!!!
It is a new year, and as we read in 3 Nephi 12:47, because of Jesus Christ, “Old things are done away, and all things have become new.” This is the perfect fresh-start, reset, and paradigm shifting opportunity. You can look at yourself, your life, your world differently starting now. Here’s a video illustration of this thought: It is called Look Not Behind Thee, and is based on Genesis 19:17. Enjoy!
This year I have made a lot of goals for myself. One of the first goals I made was that I would bear my testimony every month on Fast Sunday. So, a quick break down for those who read that sentence and were not sure what I mean by that. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have one Sunday a month that is called “Fast Sunday.” On this day, members of the church can choose to fast – to go without food and drink voluntarily for a certain period of time – and then attend a special church service where members of the congregation are invited to speak and share their testimony – their personal witness, experiences, and feelings about their Savior, their Heavenly Father, the church, etc. I made the decision that I would take the opportunity to share my own testimony every month in this meeting. I had a mission preparation teacher who would always say, “A testimony is gained in the bearing of it.” (Paraphrasing President Boyd K. Packer in his 1983 talk The Candle of the Lord. I decided I would experiment upon his statement this year.
I began this with yesterday’s fast and testimony meeting. As I left the pulpit, walked back to my seat, and sat back down in the pew, I had an overwhelming feeling that the Lord was pleased with me. I sat there in the meeting and began to cry and just felt so much peace and gratitude for the experiences that I have had in my life and on my mission that have filled me with certainty and love of the gospel, the Lord, the church, etc.
I know that the work I am doing is real, important, and deeper than I can even express. I know that through Christ we can see miracles in our lives and the lives of those we meet. I have seen, countless times, how focusing on the eternal perspective of our identity as children of God and the things we are preparing for in this life, allow us to let petty things go, focus on what it most important, and see the world around us as more beautiful, more hopeful, and more bright. It is gratitude.
I would urge and invite you to focus on gratitude this year. Focus on the blessings that come on a daily basis. Write them down. Take pictures of them. Post them on Facebook, write them in a journal, share them with a friend, PRAY ABOUT THEM. But please, please, notice the tender mercies of the Lord in your life. Really, that’s the whole purpose of the Book of Mormon, as Nephi says in the last verse of the first chapter (1 Nephi 1:20):
“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”
His tender mercies are over you. Look for them and love them.
I love you. I love you more than words and I wish you all the most beautiful January and 2015 you could ever imagine. Stay strong. Be faithful. Believe in God and know that He is (Mosiah 4:9).
Much love and rice and beans and blessings and all good things,