Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Whole Armor Of God

The Armor of God is a compilation of many attributes that we need to have in order to bring true and lasting happiness in our lives. I wanted to go into detail about what each part does, and how it can help us in our lives today. Let's start at the top.

The Helmet of Salvation is extremely important to have on for several reasons. Thoughts take place before actions do. Because thoughts are that important, it's necessary to have our minds free from things that would compromise who we are. Someone once said, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Also, many words we speak, people will remember. That is important because if we say something bad, we can't take it back. The scriptures tell us in James 3:10-12, "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." What we eat and drink can also make a difference as well. We know that alcohol is not good because of what it can do to us. We know that coffee and tea aren't good because of the tannic acid that it contains. We know that smoking, of course, isn't good for us. We know that any illegal drugs are bad because of the damage it can do to our health. And we know that too much food can cause obesity. The Helmet of Salvation can remind us of these things, and in turn, help bring us closer to Heavenly Father because this will make our purpose, His purpose.

Next is the breastplate of righteousness. This breastplate will help us do several things. Not only will it help us to be righteous, but it will also help us to think righteous thoughts. This is very important because our thoughts become our desires, which becomes our actions, which becomes who we are. So if we think righteously, we're going to be doing righteous things. It helps us to break off of the sins that keep us held down. Breastplates in ancient times were used to protect the vital organs. The breastplate of righteousness does just that as well. It protects our hearts from temptation and allows our lungs to breathe in the cleanliness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The breastplates were also once used to intimidate your enemies and to scare them off. If you have on the breastplate of righteousness, even Satan will find it hard to tempt you because he will not know how to get inside your heart, to persuade you to do evil. It will be hard for him to find your weak spot because of your firm faith, and because of your righteousness.

"Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth..." In John 3:21 it says, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light..." We know that the light is Jesus Christ. We also know that "the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). So why do we have to girt our loins about with truth? In Doctrine and Covenants 123:12-13 it says, "For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it. Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven." We have to girt about our loins with truth because we need to know the truth for ourselves, and because we have missionary work to do with helping others find the truth we know as well. This is also an important piece of armor to have on because it also helps us with chastity.

Now we need to equip our feet with armor. This armor is The Gospel of Peace. The Gospel of Peace is what we need to be following. Following someone requires walking in their path. We are always trying to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ in our lives. There may be some that have on, what I call, the Sandals Of Laziness, which leave our feet exposed to the different paths that this world has in store for us, but when we have The Gospel of Peace on our feat, there is only one path we want to follow, and that one straight and narrow path will lead us down the road to Jesus Christ, and, one day, to Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father. Having your feet "shod with the Gospel of Peace" is a very important part of the Armor of God for that reason alone.

The Shield of Faith is a very important part of our armor. Armor can take a lot of abuse and damage, but a shield is built especially for that purpose and can take much more damage while still being able to protect you well. When we use a shield, we can't see beyond it until we lower it back down. As we're holding it up, we're protecting ourselves from the fiery darts of Satan who is always trying to weaken our armor. Luckily, our Shields Of Faith were made special to defend against these darts. While these darts are flying, our faith is being tried, and when our trial is over, and we lower our shield, we will be able to see what has happened when we exercised our faith. In Ether 12:6 it reads, "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Never put down your shield.

The last thing we need is something to attack our adversary with. All of what we've seen so far is a defense so that we can take anything that is thrown at us. What we need is an attack method of our own. This is where The Sword of the Spirit comes in. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Where we can find the Word of God is in the scriptures. The scriptures provide us with the knowledge of where to go and what to do. When opposition comes up and tells you that what you are doing is false or stupid, or when accusations start flying, you can be sure to use The Sword of the Spirit to "thrash the nations" by using the Word of God. Diligent study of the scriptures will help us know who is right and who is wrong. It will help us identify that God is our strenght and our help, as well as give you the guidence on how to recieve His help when we need it. I know that by using The Sword of the Spirit, we can overcome any trial that is set before us, by attacking it head on, without any fear. 

I know that while using The Armor of God, you can be assured that you have the Lord behind you. I know that the Armor is flawless in its design and that, by using it correctly, there is nothing that can penetrate it. I thank Heavenly Father for providing us with the protection and use of His Armor. Remember the promise of the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 35:14, "And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them." I pray that we might all use it each and every day of our lives.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Stresses of Life

There are a lot of things that stress us out in life: war, money, work, time, etc. There are many things that can put us under these huge loads of burden. How do we escape these burdens? How do we free ourselves and stop the insanity. Sure, you can try to cover it up using drugs or alcohol, but that won't make the problem go away, it will only make it worse. There are several solutions that could help.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Commandments???

Some may wonder why Mormons do the things we do, or in some cases, don't do the things we don't do. These are called commandments. Any commandment we read out of the scriptures are from the Lord himself. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that Nephi said, "...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." So basically, the Lord won't give us any commandments that he knows we can't follow. That's comforting to know because that means the commandments we have are not impossible.

Many people outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that membership in this church requires strict adherence to many "rules" that don't allow us to do much of anything. Many think we are forced to obey these rules. I am here to testify that there's more than meets the eye when it comes to obeying and keeping the commandments that we follow.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Did you ever go up to the funhouse to play
and look in the mirrors there?
They bend up your face and widen your waist
and alter the shape of your hair.
In one place you're as big as a hot air balloon
in another as thin as a stick.
First you're slim as a telephone pole
and everywhere else you are thick!
Some people are mirrors reflecting to us
an image we really are not.
If we listen to all that these people will say
we've been blinded to all that we've got.
Some might say that you're ornery, stupid or weird
or say that you're stuck up or fat,
but in others you'll view a reflection of you
that doesn't have any of that.

You've also got teachers and parents and friends
whose reflections are true and correct.
When peers say you're homely, you're haughty, you're dumb,
God says, "You're my child, you're elect."

So take out some paper and pick up a pen
and write down what others may say.
Then turn the page over and fill it with things
The Lord and the Prophets convey.
In one place you'll have all that others have said,
Some true, some are hard to conceive.
Then turn to God's side and ask of yourself,
"Which side am I going to believe?"
-John Bytheway

There have been many people I have come in contact with that don't feel they have any self worth. They have been told all their life that they are nothing, or stupid, or wrong in every thing they do. They have been told they are worthless, that they were an accident, or that their family had wished they were dead. I have even met someone that was told by their brother that if they wanted to commit suicide, he would help out with it.

If you are one of these people, or have been told anything you know isn't true, I am here to tell you that you are looking in the wrong mirrors. True mirrors are those people who reflect who you really are. You are a child of a loving Heavenly Father. He loves you with an infinite love. He wants the best for you. This knowledge changes everything. If only we understood who we are, and what is in store for us, our hearts would overflow with such gratitude and happiness, that would enlighten even the darkest souls with the light and love of God. I plead with you to look into the True Mirror and see your true reflection. It is my testimony that when you look at your reflection, you will be able to see beyond imperfections and self doubts, and recognize who you truly are, glorious sons and daughters of Heavenly Father.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Look Not Behind Thee

When I first saw this video, I was reminded of another important lesson I've learned. There are always going to be those situations that put us through a rough time, but how you react to what has been put in front of you is your choice. If, for instance, someone insults you, you can either get upset, which won't do anything but hurt yourself, or you can just walk away and forgive them. In the case of this video, she could've either followed the Lord's counsel and not look back, or she could've looked forward to something better. She chose her reaction, we can choose ours as well.