March 20, 2011

faith precedes the miracle

The more I look into this topic the more I go back to the beginning...belief...belief that things will happen; belief Father in Heaven loves us; belief that there are no limits to his powers...and if I do not ask amiss (2 Nephi 4:35) it shall be granted. Now, here is where it can get a little confusing...belief is not the same as having faith...or is it? We are ask to belief 100% that things will happen but all we need is faith as a grain of mustard seed (Mat 17:20) to move mountains...

March 15, 2011


I have recently been thinking a great deal about miracles. A good friend of mine asked me if I believe in miracles and if I expected them in my life. I though about it and recently that idea has been running through my mind more and more. The more I have thought about it the more I have realized there have been instances in the past few weeks that have fueled that desire to understand, belief, desire and expect them in my life. Miracles have a deep root in faith. Moroni thought that "...[I] receive not witness until after the trial of [my] faith..." and this is seen in our daily lives
Someone said long ago that when great events occur, three types of people are manifest: first, the one who doesn’t realize that anything great is happening; second, the individual who realizes something is going on but doesn’t know what it is; and third, the man behind the scenes making it all happen.(Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ)
That "man behind the scenes making it all happen" had to be tried and had to pay the price for that event to occur. Faith has to be founded first on the Savior Jesus the Christ and only after on works. Looking into my life I think that a big obstacle is committing myself. We all want to see this marvelous events come to our lives but how many of us are willing to give all to make them happen...some times, all I can see in front of me is "impossible."

March 05, 2011

There must be a price paid....

I have been thinking all day on the price we must pay for bead do I want it? Not long ago, I came across a talk given by Elder Gene R. Cook in which he taught the following

"Do all in your power to fulfill your part. Men falter and expect the Lord to do more than his part. It is evident in all of scripture that unless man does do all in his power, the arm of the Lord will not be revealed in his behalf.

After a man has truly sacrificed and done all in his power, God will come and save him in his time of need. As James taught us, “By works was faith made perfect.” (James 2:22).

Man must not only pay the price the Lord requires but search to understand in what currency it will be required. The sacrifice most often required by the Lord is our own personal sins. He desires us to sacrifice those to him and obtain the broken heart and contrite spirit which he requires of all men. " (Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ)

Something that catches my attention is that "...Man must not only pay the price the Lord requires but search to understand in what currency it will be required." I am willing to pay the price? Is not just paying the price for things but I must find out in what currency I required to pay it...

May 24, 2010


"Shortly after I was called as a General Authority, I went to Elder Harold B. Lee for counsel. He listened very carefully to my problem and suggested that I see President David O. McKay. President McKay counseled me as to the direction I should go. I was very willing to be obedient but saw no way possible for me to do as he counseled me to do.

"I returned to Elder Lee and told him that I saw no way to move in the direction I was counseled to go. He said, 'The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.' I replied that I would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: 'You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you'" ("The Edge of the Light," BYU Today, Mar. 1991, 22-23). (Audio)

Last Sunday, during Sunday school, this quote was read and I have not been able to forget about it. This experience from Elders Packer's life has made me look into my own life and evaluate my willingness to take a step (s) into the dark. As we have learned from Elder Bednar, there are not coincidences in life but Tender Mercies. I have been thinking more and more on how much I am willing to follow the promptings of the spirit without any reservations. I think that my problem is that I, more often than not, "I would like to see the end from the beginning" and I need to "learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then [and not until then] the light will appear and show the way before [me]." In Sunday school we were talking how the priests carrying the arch of the covenant had to get their feet wet before the see parted and I must do the same before I may be able to see the Lords light guiding me.

April 10, 2010

Excellence through daily choices

Daniel Webster, during a crucial time in history of the United States in 1830, stood before the senate and said:

Mr. President, when the mariner has been tossed about for many days in thick weather on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun to take his latitude and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence and before we float on the waves of this debate refer to the point from which we departed, that we may at least be able to conjecture where we now are” (Link)

After a busy week in the seas of life we every week have the opportunity to “ascertain how far the elements have driven [us]” by partaking of the sacrament; we then can make the necessary course corrections to our earthly voyage which can take us to the heavenly harbor where our heavenly parents will be waiting for us. I know that our Savior is the ultimate unchanging reference point and destination. He can show us how to use the instruments given to us to navigate through life, but I must choose to learn.

This topic has been on my mind for some time now. It is something I need to work on and I definitely won’t achieve in the next couple months, years or even decades but I can make some progress on that direction now; the quote by an unknown author will help me set the stage:

How many times a day do you bargain with yourself to avoid maximum effort? How often have you compromised somewhere between maximum potential and minimum daily requirements? "That is just human nature," you may say, but beware of a lurking danger!

For it does not take long for the minimum to become the maximum that you are willing to do. When the minimum becomes the maximum, the sum of your life becomes mediocrity. That is the way countless generations have lost a portion of that characteristic called

"Excellence." All too often, we are willing to settle for a "comfort zone of mediocrity," caused by a diet of minimum commitment, minimum effort, minimum risk, and minimum accomplishment in life

President Hinckley speaking on this topic said in the 1992 Ensign (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Quest for Excellence,” Ensign, Sep 1999, 2) “I want to invite us all to walk a higher road of excellence” after this invitation he continued saying:

I speak of the need for a little more effort, a little more self-discipline, a little more consecrated effort in the direction of excellence in our lives. This is the great day of decision for each of us. For many it is the time of beginning something that will go on for as long as you live. I plead with you: don’t be a scrub! Rise to the high ground of spiritual, mental, and physical excellence. You can do it. You may not be a genius. You may be lacking in some skills. But so many of us can do better than we are now doing. We are members of this great Church whose influence is now felt over the world. We are people with a present and with a future. Don’t muff your opportunities. Be excellent.

As president Hinckley said, IT IS MY DECISION. A scripture that always comes to mind is Alma 37:16, Alma speaking to his son Helaman taught:

But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you…behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words.

It has to be my choice.

There is a history about Socrates of a time when a young man came to him asking for knowledge; Socrates took him by the sea and dunked him under water for some time and took him out again and asked “what do you want?” to which the young man reply “knowledge!”. Socrates repeated the dunking until the young man answered “air”. And so it is with me, I will never be able to do anything until I make the resolution or I want it as bad as I want air. My conversion is my decision and I have to choose it. I am thankful to my father in heaven for the gift of agency that allows me to act and not to be acted upon.

I know that being excellent may seemed like overwhelming or even impossible specially if we want to do so over night; but with effort and time it can be achieved. I know I am not perfect and I am far from it but the Savior himself gave us the invitation when he said:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in which is in heaven” (Matt 5:48)

So it is possible!

Here is where the old question about how to eat an elephant comes to play, and no not with ranch or barbeque sauce. We eat it a bite at the time. I have been looking more closely at the things I do in my daily life and many things have caught my attention and even surprised me! One example of this happened to me couple of weeks ago when I caught myself watching part of a show where the language used was less than desirable and it didn’t seemed to registered until I have watched few minutes of it. It seemed to be that I am getting desensitized to many things. So one once asked: “if the warm water in a tub is raised by 1 degree every 5 minutes, how would a person in it know when to scream?

More than ever before, I need to be on guard. The scriptures tells us that in the last days the mentality will be more along the lines of fearing God; yes he will justify in committing a little sin…and if we are found guilty God will beat us with few stripes and at last we will be saved in the kingdom of God. Elder Ballard in the Liahona of 2002 said regarding “The day of the “repent and go” missionary is over. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you, my young brothers?” yes, at this time he was raising the bar for missionaries but if the bar was raised for them it has also been raised for me.

Elder Ballard continued in his talk and addressed to me…and to all of us, including those who have not yet served missions:

Finally, to those of you who have already served, please remember that you were released from your missions but not from the Church. You spent two years as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. We expect you to always look and act like one of His disciples. Look the part. Act the part. Don’t follow worldly trends and fashions. You are better than that. If you have slipped, then do what is necessary to regain your spiritual balance. The rules for happiness and success after your mission are pretty much the same as they were during your mission: pray hard, work hard, and be obedient. Get busy now and find your eternal companion to enjoy life with. Serve the Lord together, and raise up the next great generation.

Now that I know what I need to do, the question is how do I do it?

Well, things I do, decisions I make, things I choose to think, shows I choose to watch may seem like small things but those are the waves on which we drift away from my desired course. At work, I have the opportunity to see every day the big impact small things we do have. As part of my job I am contacted by people higher up in the firm because a system they depend on is not working properly. In several instances the whole problem that cost the firm thousands of dollars was a checked box left unchecked.

But…we all know that! Don’t we?! We all have learned this since primary days and recently we all have heard talks and examples of how small things made a huge difference at the end and in some instances had disastrous consequences. We have hear president Uchtdorf and how few degrees caused a plane to crash or how being off a degree or two will end up being 600 miles off our destination.

What I need to work on is the desire to do those things I know I should be doing. Moroni invites us to pray to the father so we may be filled of his love (Moroni 7:48) once filled of his love, as Alma teaches us, even if we cannot more that desire to believe; if we let this desire to WORK even to the point that we will believe and as King Benjamin taught to his people we will have the change of heart and we will be able to overcome.

There is a scripture I like a lot and is often referred to when talking about tithing but I personally feel that I can apply it for anything “and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” In my mind is like the Lord is telling me “I dare you to try me” and this is the hard part: to take the step in the dark to see the light turn on.

I do know God lives. I know life is hard at times and we may get discourage even though we may be doing our best. I also know that in those times when all things are going wrong the Savior has been there for me to rescue me like he did to Peter who after walking on water focused more on the storm than on the Savior. I know Christ lives. I end with the words of the hymn:

Today seek the treasure better than gold,
The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.
Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;
While here we labor, choose the better part.

Today, today, work with a will;
Today, today, your duties fulfill.
Today, today, work while you may;
Prepare for tomorrow by working today.

February 18, 2010

How do I know when to do what?

The following is something our institute class got to read yesterday and for some reason I cannot stop thinking about it. I think there is a lot I still need to learn and I may write more regarding some portions of it in th future. In the mean time I have marked some things that caught my attention:

"There was a man whose name is not preserved to us in the ancient record. He’s known as the brother of Jared. From other sources we know his name was Moriancumer. He was the spiritual leader, initially, of the Jaredite people. As they started their progress from the tower of Babel to their American promised land, he was the one who communed with the Lord to get the direction, the spiritual guidance that they as a people needed.

And some very interesting things occurred. They got to the waters that they were going to cross, and the Lord said to him, “Build some barges.” But interestingly, the Lord didn’t tell him how to build the barges. The brother of Jared had done it on a previous occasion; he didn’t need instruction; he didn’t need revelation to guide him. So he built the barges.

But this time they were going to be used under some peculiar and difficult circumstances, and he needed something more than was now present in them: he needed some air. And this was a problem that was beyond him. So he took that matter up with the Lord, and because it was totally beyond his capacity to solve, the Lord solved it for him and said, “Do thus and so and you’ll have air.”

But then the brother of Jared—having confidence because he was talking to the Lord, because he was communing and getting answers—asked another question: he asked for a solution to a problem that he should have figured out by himself and not taken up with the Lord. He said, “What will we do for light in the vessels?”

And the Lord talked to him about it a little and then he said this: “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” (Ether 2:23.) In effect, “What are you asking me for? This is something you should have solved.” And he talked a little more, and he repeated in essence the question: “What will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” (Ether 2:25.) In other words, “Moriancumer, this is your problem. Why are you troubling me? I’ve given you your agency; you are endowed with capacity and ability. Get out and solve the problem.”

Well, the brother of Jared got the message. He went up into a mount called Shelem, and the record says he “did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass.” (Ether 3:1.)

Well, the brother of Jared took sixteen little crystals of some sort (he could hold all of them in his hands) up on the mount. The record says, “He did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount” (Ether 3:1), and then he said in effect to the Lord, “Now this is what I hope you will do.” You really don’t tell the Lord what to do, but you get some inspiration, and you use your judgment, and then you talk the matter over with him. And so Moriancumer said to the Lord: “Touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.” (Ether 3:4.)

And the Lord did what the brother of Jared asked, and this is the occasion when he then saw the finger of the Lord; and, while he was in tune, he received revelation that exceeded anything that any prophet had ever gained up to that moment. The Lord revealed more to him about his nature and personality than ever theretofore had come forth, and it all came about because he’d done everything that he could do and because he counseled with the Lord.

There’s a fine balance between agency and inspiration. We’re expected to do everything in our power and then to seek an answer from the Lord, a confirming seal that we’ve reached the right conclusion; and sometimes, happily, in addition, we get added truths and knowledge that we hadn’t even supposed." (Italics added)

(Elder Bruce R. McConkie, "Agency or Inspiration?," New Era, Jan 1975, 38)

"There is a fine balance between agency and inspiration." We are supposed to do everything it takes to find answers and once we have done so go to the Lord and ask for confirmation...but how does He speak to me? How do I know it is a confirmation and it is not me telling Him what I want to hear?

August 05, 2009

Friends, goals & prices

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will come, in time, to the one who stays.

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life's victories, after awhile.

Thank goodness for friends!! I am so thankful for friends that are not afraid to tell you the truth; truth that everyone else is too polite to tell you. In the past few weeks I had been struggling to follow a training schedule for a marathon I am running in the middle of September; instead I have been doing other fun things. I supposed to run 3 times during the week in preparation for the long runs that take place every Saturday; well, needless to say, this week runs had not taken place for about 3 weeks so…when it came time for Saturday runs, well…let me say that they are a pain to finish. I wonder why!!!?

Running a marathon has been a dream I have had for the passed 4 or 5 years and due to school or injuries I have not been able to do so until this year that school is not an issue and, knock on wood, I have not been injured. I have spent the first half of the year slowly preparing for this event on September and the first months of the summer had been more intense training. Well, kind of: as mentioned earlier, week runs started struggling and here is where true friend come to the picture.

Talking to couple of friends who know of my running goal, made me think about how much I really want this. Do I really want it? They made very valid points and made me remember that everything in life has a price to be paid. Whether it is monetary or some other kind, the price has to be paid. Am I willing to do what it takes to achieve my dream? What am I willing to give up for it? Well, this conversation happened the night before of my 16 mile run and guess what was I thinking for the entire duration of my 17 miles run (yep, I ended up running 17)? Yep, how much am I willing to pay for my marathon goal.

Life is full of prices to be paid, some bigger than others and at the end of the day we are the ones who will ultimately decide if that something is what we want most. I am grateful that we have the opportunity, and privilege to pay the price. I am also grateful for a heavenly father who is here to help us determine the important things in life. I am grateful for friends that will help us achieve our dreams even if that requires of them to tell us things may be hard to be said.