Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Do You Pray?" A Question That Stood Me Still!

Today I had quite the experience that really made me think! As background about this story I work in the Oil and Gas Industry, so religion is pretty rare to find. A co-worker is going through a time that I never want to happen; A divorce. His wife sent him a text message telling him they are getting a divorce and two days later(this morning) moved out. Just brutal in my opinion.

Today he I saw he was having a pretty rough day and never even having a relationship I had no idea what to say. He later came to me and asked in tears, "Do you pray?" I looked at him for a second and responded, "Yes!" I was quite surprised by a question like that? It made think for a second, Do I pray. I am not gonna say I am the best at remembering to pray. He then replied, "Will you pray for and ask God to show me a sign that He is not abandoning me to?" My thoughts went straight to wow so many ways to respond. They all know I am a Mormon, but it the last question I expected but the only other guy who is religious. My heart was pretty much stopped for a time as I  was in total shock. I instantly prayed for him, because its not everyday something like that happens.

So I ask you, "Do you pray?" Think about that. You don't know who may ever come to you and ask for something as meaningful as a prayer.

We are all children of God. He loves us and knows our needs, and He wants us to communicate with Him through prayer. We should pray to Him and no one else. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded, "Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name" (3 Nephi 18:19). As we make a habit of approaching God in prayer, we will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Our desires will become more like His. We will be able to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that He is ready to give if we will but ask in faith.(Taken from LDS.org)

President Thomas S. Monson says of prayer,
“To those within the sound of my voice who are struggling with challenges and difficulties large and small, prayer is the provider of spiritual strength; it is the passport to peace. Prayer is the means by which we approach our Father in Heaven, who loves us. Speak to Him in prayer and then listen for the answer. Miracles are wrought through prayer”

Let us follow our Prophet of God's Counsel and pray!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Tunnel of Darkness!

In modern times when we relate to something hard in our life it always seems like we talk about darkness. Darkness in most situations is troublesome. Have you ever tried changing a tire in the dark? Its not easy and depending on the area can be very scary. There could be someone or something watching you and you would have no idea. Your sight is very limited and makes things more nerve wracking and uneasy to the stomach. I don't want to scare you, but to enlighten you from this point.

So when you hear the title "The Tunnel of Darkness", what do you think about? I commonly think about going in an underground tunnel. This tunnel could be very winding to seem there is no end. This tunnel may not be lit up very well or even at all. Thankfully with modern day technology we have electricity and lights which light up the world, but what happens when the power fails?

In life we go through many tunnels of hardships. Some may seem there is no end, others may just come and go frequently. Some may hardly ever see severe hardship. I have picked just a few hardships that we suffer day to day: 
1) Finances- To me the world seems like the items there in are getting more and more expensive but pay is staying close to the same. It causes trouble in families, relationships and even personal life
2) Relationship problems within couples/families- Pornography, Laziness, Selfishness, Adultery, Finances and Jealousy are all common problems in relationships. Tearing couples/families apart
3) Employment- Truthfully how many people today are unemployed. I have been unemployed for 6 weeks and it sucks. Thankfully I am single and not providing for a family. Jobs take spouses away from each other, fathers/mothers away from their children, moving from place to place for work

These are common problems in today's society. There are more than this, but I hit just a few points. Each of these can totally cripple a relationship with another or self. 

Lets looks at the tunnel of hardships todays younger generation goes through:
1) Peer Pressure- "Its cool, everyone does it" is said over and over to these young souls. Are we teaching them to run from inappropriate peer pressure, which I personally think covers it all
2) Abuse- So many kids today are abused physically and emotionally. They are bullied physically and mentally which changes their life, not for the best usually though, these kids become suicidal and reckless
3) Broken Families- Kids grow up without a parent who may have been able to guide them a little different that the other, different experiences change attitudes, single mothers working all the time to provide for her kids
4) Lazy Parents- Parents teach their kids to live on welfare and not to work. What economic problems does that create?
5) Early Sexual Experimenting/Rape- How many teen girls do you know who drop out of high school because they are pregnant? How many lives are taken by abortion because the mother or father are still in high school? Girls are taken advantage of. Obviously there are certain situations for abortion but that will be discussed later.
6) Drugs and Alcohol- Lives are destroyed by these things

I hate discussing such content but its the truth of what we go through today. I was in high school just a few years ago and I saw all that went on. Thankfully my parents raised me to always run for safety. Was I an angel? Absolutely not, but if I would have listened to my parents earlier in my life it would have been easier.

Now that we have discussed these horrible and sometimes endless seeming obstacles in life, how can we over come them? Every person is different and different things work for different people. Some parents think locking their children in the house will do. I can honestly say if anything it normally makes them way more experimental in their lives away from home. I personally believe it all starts from the time the kids are born. How do we raise our kids? Are they given everything they want? Are they taken care of and treated with respect or are they just a tax write off? You may be wondering how this ties in with tunnels of darkness but you will see.

Their futures depend on the training, love and discipline they are given during their first 18 years. Roughly at about age 14 they are experimenting behind their parents back. It may be serious or just minor but no matter what how we respond will change their outlook the next time. If we respond in hatred, you may never see your kid again as they will run away. If you respond with the greatest love you can give, it will make them think the next time or maybe even years down the road.

So in the time that they are being raised, hardship will come to both parents and children and will effect both. Children will see how their parents respond. If the parents just give up that is what the kids are being taught. If they are taught to persevere throughout whatever comes their way they will be stronger when life gets harder.
Example; My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was about 12 years old. My mom did not show much weakness to us kids. She seemed pretty upbeat about it. As we have gotten older and know more about it we can just imagine how hard it was for her to keep smiling, to press onward as if life was normal knowing it was definitely not. That took me years to actually understand how great of an example it was. I ran into different medical things in my life and my mom was continually giving support. It probably effected her more than me at the time but she didn't show it. I had a harsh attitude and wanted to give up. By her example though was I brought through that tunnel. 

Her example was that of the Savior. She continually tried to emulate His example towards us. Obviously yes we made her mad and she showed it on occasion, but for the most part she was so patient and loving when we made mistakes. We were able to learn from her testimony and strength when we didn't have our own understanding.

This is one of my favorite disney songs. It is called, "Go The Distance" from the movie Hercules. Hopefully you know the story of Hercules. He grew up a boy who was bullied and pushed around but with determination and incredible effort he became a hero to many. Its the same in our life. We may be having problems but with determination and effort our problems will be worked out and we will come to the end of the tunnel. The path may not be easy, but it will most definitely be worth it.

I challenge you to look(not dwell) at your problems, see what needs fixing, come up with a plan and then take that plan to God for help. As it states in Matthew 19:26 in the Bible, 
"... , but with God all things are possible." Let Him help you fight your hardship.  Let Him lead you to the light at the end of the tunnel. Let Him be the cornerstone and rock upon which your life is built. "He will help you avoid wells without water!"
May you always keep the eternal view is my prayer that you may not get distracted for the here and now moment.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Standing Alone

Lets look at life as a race. We all start our race at the time of birth for the mortal portion of eternity. Here as Sons and Daughters of God we are to help and uplift one another. At some points of this race we have to stand alone. Are we really alone though? I know for me it really feels like I am alone.

Whether you are a family member waiting for your soldier to return home to them or the soldier far away from his family and not being able to talk to them and be with them. You could be a student at college and its your first time leaving the house not knowing anybody there. You could just be having a bad day and your friends or family are not around to talk to. Or in another situation you may have been in prison where you are alone without family and friends. How will you stand alone?

Are you going to give up on everything you have learned and know to be true? Are you going to learn from the situations? Are you gonna give it your all and look back and honestly say I gave it my all in troubled times?

Now I may only be 22 years old but I have experienced a lot in my life. More than anyone actually knows. We all have experienced different things that have taken us to our limits. Admit it! So as I said we are all here to help each other. We can only help to a certain point though. Unfortunately that is how it works.

So we have started this race and get to a point that we have to stand alone. How will we manage? The thing I try to do is remember what I either had or what I have to look forward to to keep my mind on where I am going. It is totally fine at this point in life to sit down and cry. We are human. We are gonna feel lost and not know what to do. I like to take time to do nothing but just think. Whether I have to go somewhere to be able to do this or just as I am lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. I think of what good I have done, what I wish I could have done and most importantly what I did that I did not like. I think about that last one because I want to improve and change. I don't want to make that same stupid decision. I want to say for example over addictions big or small, jobs hard or easy that I have conquered and learned. Don't you agree?

Lets look at a time in someones life where they have given everything to this race. This athlete has trained and practice continually for this race. But the unexpected happens. He sustains an injury. Watch the video!
How does he respond to this trial? Who comes to help him in tough times but lets him be alone to conquer on his own?

That's right his father ran through security to go to the aid of his son. He was there in a time of need. Of course his father was limited on what he could do but what he could do was be there and support him.

Like this father we have a Father in Heaven who may not actually be with us physically but He is there even when we don't realize it. He comes to our aid whether it be through a friend, family or some complete stranger who comes to help. Now we are learning slowly, but we are learning how to conquer times of hardship. Time after time we are gonna have hardship here on earth. Sorry but it is just a part of life. We need to learn how to deal with it.

Watch this video of a girl who all she wanted for Christmas was her dad home from Iraq.
This poor girl has so sadly missed her dad and she could careless about earthly possessions but she wants only that which is truly important to her. Imagine how hard it is for that girl. Many of you may have experienced this in one way or another.

I have so much to learn in life yet as hopefully I have quite a few years of training ahead yet. We never know when our race is going to end. It could be today, 10 years from now or 50 years from now. We need to endure to the end of the race. Until then we have got to learn to conquer instead of giving up and beating ourselves down.

So are you going to stand alone or are you going to let Heavenly Father stand with you? Its your choice! Whether I show it or not I truly do know that He is there for me even when I don't do everything right. His Son Jesus Christ made it possible for our Heavenly Father to be able to receive His children into His Kingdom for eternity.

Orson F. Whitney
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”
Orson F. Whitney