" And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again."
Alma 5:49

Monday, September 8, 2014

As I Complete My Training

"Today, I leave the CCM in Mexico City to go to my mission in Ecuador. The CCM has been a wonderful experience for me, and I would like to share with you one of the biggest lessons that I have learned here. 

I would like to center my message around the scripture Matthew 11:28-30. It reads, 

28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The first thing I learned from reading this scripture is that Christ is always there, and that he wants to help us. He has suffered for us that we might not have to suffer. Alma, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, taught this about this about our Savior,  " And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." (Alma 7:11) Because of Him, we can overcome the trials that face us in this life. I have felt this power in my own life. I know that every struggle I have ever had, whether it was at school or on the track, it has been He that has helped me to get through it. And I know that He can help you too if you are willing to come unto Him.

This leads to my second observation... to receive His help, we must also act. We cannot sit idly by and expect for him to do everything. He is willing to help, but He does not come to us, rather, we must come unto Him. This requires that we come before him being "meek and lowly of heart". This process is called repentance. Repentance is when we show sorrow to God for the things that we have done, and the opportunity to repent is one of God´s greatest´s gifts. 

If you don´t believe me, consider this. Without repentance, we could not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Isaiah taught us this about what happens when we apply the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." But, just like our bodies can´t be clean without actually using the soap, our souls can´t be clean without actually repenting. And if we are not clean, we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. (See 1 Ne. 10:21, 15:34, Alma 7:21, 11:37, 40:26, Hel. 8:25, 3 Ne. 27:19) 

I would that all men would partake of the joy that comes from repentance. Alma explains the change repentance brought to his life in the chapter 36 of Alma in the Book of Mormon. A little background. As a young man, he "went about... seeking to destroy the church of God" (verse 6). He was visited by an angel, who boldly commanded him to "seek no more to destroy the church of God" (11). He was struck with "such fear and amazement" that he completely lost the ability to move (11). He says, "And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" (16-20).
I know that we all can feel the same joy and peace that Alma was able to feel. I know that we can each become clean as we humble ourselves before the Lord. I know that through His help our weaknesses can become strengths. I have seen this in my own life, and I know that it is true. I would that you all would follow the advice of the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni and "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." (Moroni 10:32). 

I love you all, and I hope that you each can feel the truthfulness of my message. And I testify that as you kneel before God in prayer, humbling yourself before him, asking with faith, he will show the truth of these things unto you."
Elder Bahr

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