Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A God of Miracles

Today, a woman smoked her last cigarette ever. Today, a young man entered the temple to receive the Holy Endowment, when he was addicted to pornography just 6 months ago. Today, a man let the missionaries teach his family, and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. Today, a girl talked her boyfriend out of suicide. Today, a wayward daughter returned home. Today, a woman diagnosed with cancer prayed to her God for the first time in thirty years. Today, a couple less active for over 30 years committed to return to church. Today, miracles happen every day.

Many people feel the age of miracles is past, or miracles are unexplained science, or fragments of lore. But the prophets have said, "And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles" (Mormon 9:15).

Some may say the examples listed above are not miracles, because they do not show any supernatural power. But they all do! By the power of faith, the woman quit smoking. By the power of faith, the young man overcame addiction. By the power of faith, the same young man prepared to enter the Lord's house. All the people listed, "even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith" (Ether 12:16).

The Red Sea need not part, for God to wrought a miracle in a heart.



Friday, December 11, 2015

Deliverance

Lost in the wilderness,
Or on the waves of the sea,
Call out God's children
To the King from Galilee.

Though bruised in the battle,
Though burned by the sun,
We all became victors when
He said, "It is done."

The depth of our sorrows:
No eye can see.
Except one in a Man
Who said, "Come, Follow Me."

The pain we all face,
Through toil and snares,
Becomes washed away
In the blood of His care.

The grave has no victory,
And death has no sting.
They were defeated 
By our eternal King!

Our woes and our sorrows
Bring us all pain,
But Israel's God
Will rend them in twain.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Battle Plan

We are at war! The Book of Mormon's war chapters serve several purposes. One of the main purposes is to teach us tactics on how to defeat Satan. Some principles I have drawn out through recent study has helped me through some recent struggles I had, as I implemented these battle plans into my own life. I will share a few with you to whet your appetite, but you will truly come to find your individualized Battle Plan as you study the Book of Mormon, and have revelatory experiences, particularly with the War Chapters.

Alma 50:1 in part reads, "Moroni did not stop making preparations for war". It's a rather easy line to overlook in the verse. But, by focusing on it, knowing that we are each in a war, a personal war fought by the destroyer of men in an attempt to destroy you, the principle comes out. We should always be preparing for the next battle through our scripture study, Sabbath observance, and our daily prayers to the Almighty. 

We should not be so focused on doing good and doing things to strengthen us when the trial is here. We should be prepping for the next attack through listening to the Spirit to give us direction as to the next big thing we need to be doing. Revelation does not come all at once, it usually comes in "what's the next step?" ways. In other words, "What Lack I Yet?". 

The Spirit is able to lead you and guide you in the battle plan needed for the upcoming battles. He is a watchman on the tower who can speak to you every minute of every day, if you allow him. When you receive the battle plan, you will be blessed to follow, but God will hold you accountable to the battle plan you are given. 

Monday evening, as I climbed into bed, I realized that I haven't been studying the scriptures like I should have, and I know it was totally the Spirit telling me that I needed to get on it. I received personal instruction that, in my case, I needed to contact a specific friend and ask him to let me report what I learned in scripture study that day. So, I started on Monday, and continued strong every day this week. Today, I had a battle with anxiety I struggle with. I was pretty low all day long, but the study I've been having out of the war chapter this week, in addition to help of several close friends, has kept me strong.

Each one of us is fighting a different battle. Thus, each one of us will have a different battle plan. If you don't know what your battle plan is, get a pen, get some paper, and start studying the scriptures, demanding revelation for your battle plan. The Lord will tell you simple things you can do. It may be to start waking up at 6:30 again, or it may be to ask someone out on a date. Whatever it may be, follow it, and the Lord will guide you to the path He needs you on to make both the best defense and the best offense against the adversary in your life's terrain.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gathering a Righteous People

After Conference, I immediately turned to "ponderizing". The talk really spoke to me as something I should be doing. I opened my scriptures to find the first verse I should use for ponderizing, and the verse I chose was Doctrine & Covenants 38:31, "that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless—"

The Monday after this started, it was a really good day, but then I got hit with a panic attack at about 9:20 PM. I was able to text a good friend of mine, and he happened to be in the Library, just across the parking lot from my dorm. He and I were able to get together and talk for a little more than two hours, about life, the gospel, struggles, our families, and every other topic imaginable. Through the course of the conversation, we discussed just how improbable it was we were having that conversation: how I happened to be companions with one of his middle school friends, how we happened to be in the same major at the same university, and went to its opening social, and happened to talk to each other and grow close to one another.

As I pondered our conversation and our friendship in general, it hits me: that's how the Lord works! He brings together two people, two righteous people, who can easily get along, and he allows them to deepen a friendship naturally, until we love that person as ourselves. We then start to open to each other, and we expose our own demons, making us vulnerable, but gaining someone who can help us through our struggles. As we work together, our minds and our hearts become united with the Lord's and we begin to see, hear, and love them as the Lord sees, hears, and loves them. And "because [we are] of one heart and one mind", "the Lord call[s] his people Zion" (Moses 7:18). But remember, "Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom;" (Doctrine & Covenants 105:5).

So how do sinners who keep trying, in other words, saints establish Zion on the Celestial Kingdom's law, when none of us are perfect? Celestial Law is taught in the scriptures and the Holy Temple: "And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation" (Doctrine & Covenants 88:25). The earth lives Celestial Law by filling the measure of its creation, so too, we live Celestial Law by filling the measure of our creation. What is the measure of our creation? What is our whole purpose of being here on this earth? And how does that enable us to establish Zion?

One of  Merriam-Webster's definitions of measure is, "a step planned or taken as a means to an end." So really, what is the reason we were created? In other words, what is the purpose of life? We know that God's work and glory is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). The Lord defines, "[our] work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength" (Doctrine & Covenants 11:20). So, what does that mean in filling the measure of our creation?

If we keep the commandments, we become sanctified. If we perfectly keep the commandments, we become perfectly sanctified, in other words, we become holy men and women. But none of us perfectly keep the commandments; therefore, we have a Savior provided for us to enable us to become clean and return to God's presence. When we are washed clean in the blood of the lamb, we become holy men and women. Remember, "in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is [God's] name" (Moses 6:57). In the end, the measure of our creation is nothing short of becoming like our Father.

If we are bit by bit becoming like our Father in Heaven, of course Zion will be established! As we come to follow the Lord more closely, our minds become aligned with His mind. As our minds become like His when it comes to how we view one of His children, and they come to do the same, and we love each other as Christ loves us, that's Zion! That's how God is gathering us together. “I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion” (Jeremiah 3:14). As more and more people create Zion with individuals, communities will grow, so wards, stakes, and ultimately the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can become Zion. As we gather to Zion, and fulfill our baptismal covenant to bear one another's burdens, including the burden of sin we each carry, we slowly become more purified until that day we are "without spot and blameless".

Now, why do we need to be gathered to Zion? Read the initial verse again: "that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless—" (Doctrine & Covenants 38:31). The reason God gathers us together as a righteous people is so we can escape the power of the enemy through our ordinances and covenants, as well as the sheer strength you can obtain by simply having a friend you can turn to and say "Hey. I'm struggling with this right now." And the friend can say, "I'm here for you." Of course, results may not be immediate, but there is great power in withstanding the adversary when we stand together.

Furthermore, the devil does not seek just to hinder you or slow you down, he intends to destroy you. God knows that there is strength when we become one with the saints, because, as a whole, the saints generally seek to follow God's will, but just get distracted sometimes, and gathering together aids us in ceasing to listen to false philosophies, sometimes even false philosophies put forth by apostates within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, particularly using blogs in this day and age. When we gather to hear the prophet's words, or to the sacrament emblems, we are empowered to stand against any person whose words are upheld by the devil, seeking to destroy us.

In addition, each of us have days and times where we are down. Days when, despite our efforts to remain cheerful, a shadow seems to hang over us. Days when it seems to take our entire being to just hang on, without really being able to make any progress. Gathering together with God's saints enables us to rely on the strength of others. And there will Christ be also. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).  With Christ there in our midst, He bears up our burdens. With other saints helping us bear our burdens, we allow them to fulfill their baptismal covenants.

When two friends are working together to draw each other to the Savior, by inviting Him into their midst, each are cleansed by the redeeming power of Jesus Christ's Atonement. Each one becomes a savior to the other, in a sense, by bringing the other to the Savior. Christ can then redeem both of them from every spot and blame they put upon themselves. God gathers us together, so that we can better rely wholly on the merits of Christ. God gathers us together so we can make and renew our covenants before Him to become holy people.

The Prophet, Joseph Smith, once taught, "God gathers together His people in the last days, to build unto the Lord a house to prepare them for the [Temple] ordinances". I'm going to Utah State, and so I know this might not be possible everywhere, but I know of a ton of my friends who will get groups of people together to go to the Temple. We prepare to keep our covenants by going to the temple hear them again and again. Temple ordinances keep us clean by giving us something to hold onto, and gathering with saints at the Temple enable us to not only become clean, but also gather our dead to come to our aid, giving more strength to escape the enemy.

In the temple, we gain a deeper understanding of God's law. Thus, in the very next verse, the Lord commanded His people to gather to a place where they would build a temple, so He could "give...[His] law; and there... [we become] endowed with power from on high;" (Doctrine & Covenants 38:32). God gives us law so that we can receive power. God has all power, because He obeys all law. The better we understand the law, the better we obey it, and the greater power we have to do all things which are expedient in Christ.

So what does the doctrine of gathering mean to you and to me? It's more than just a work God has been intending to be completed for millennia; it's a promise that God will not leave you comfortless, that He will send His angels, mortal and heavenly, to your aid. Also, it is a promise to use you as an angel, to change you, as much as you will allow Him, to become angelic. He gathers His people together to strengthen each person who has taken upon themselves the promise to bear Christ's name.

He has gathered you to His covenants. Will you gather others that they may obtain the same blessings? Those who joined the church, friends of other faiths, it doesn't matter. God will gather His people to covenants. Each of us is not perfect in our covenants, so we each need to be gathered to the covenants again and again. What are you doing to gather yourself, your friends, and your family to the covenants once more?

He will gather a righteous people unto Him, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb through the covenants of His everlasting ordinances. Will you be gathered?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reflections 10/1/15

It's been awhile since I'd been able to sit down and actually write a post. My Senior year here at Utah State University has been amazing and extremely busy! It's been a difficult time, but it's also been a time of some of my greatest blessings. In the time since I returned, I've met some of the greatest people who have helped me through some rough patches in the few short weeks in my Senior year, as well as people who have walked with me for many months and years before now.

I've passed two years since my suicide attempt, and two years since I've returned home from my Full Time Mission. Honestly, even amid the struggle, I had no idea my life would ever become this awesome. Thinking about my life, I am reminded of the words in "Come, Come Ye Saints":


But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell--
All is well! All is well!

I know that my work, clearly, is not yet complete. Every single day, regardless of what we've done, our lives have been spared to see the Saints obtain their rest. Each day is an opportunity to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him" (Moroni 10:32). Have I made mistakes along the way? You bet I have! I wish I could take back some things I've done, but the Atoning power is real, both the redemptive and the enabling.

To any person who is lost and who is reading this: know that everything will get better. Jesus Christ died for you. To any person who has helped me along the way and who is reading this: Thank You! Mortal words of any language cannot express my gratitude to you. And may God bless us to stand a little taller, and be a little more each and every day.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Sign

There are signs which show people what one's attitude is like. For example, a person coming towards you with a plate of cookies, with a big smile on their face will invoke a different reaction than if someone was coming towards you with rage on their face, carrying a big knife.

Signs of our attitudes surround us, penetrate us, thus people find out who we really are through our deeds, and through the Spirit's power (or lack thereof) behind our words. More importantly, the Lord sees our efforts, and if our signs are pointing toward Him, He knows, and will assist us in becoming more like Him.

One such sign we have is our personal observance of the Sabbath day. Going to church is only part of that sign. "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." (Exodus 31:16-17). With this one sign, we determine the rest of our signs.

If we truly make it a sign of our devotion to God to observe the Sabbath, all other commandments will be fulfilled. No man or woman can faithfully observe the Holy Sabbath, and not have it affect what they do on Thursday. As a sign, we need to determine what we view the Sabbath as. Said David L Herring, "Our great-grandfathers called it the Holy Sabbath day. Our grandfathers called it the Sabbath. Our fathers called it Sunday, and now we just call it the weekend."

What do ye truly think of the Sabbath? Is it a holy day devoted to the worship of Almighty God? Is it a day of rest? Is it just another day? Or is it just part of a portion of the week most people have off of work? I hope you think of it as the Holy Sabbath.

On the Sabbath, the Lord also sets out a sign for us, through the hands of young men prepared and ordained to administer the Holy Sacrament. While the Sabbath is our sign to God that we love Him, the Sacrament is our sign to God that we remember Him, and His sign to us that He will not leave us comfortless. The sacrament is sacred enough to require an altar; the only other ordinances sacred enough for altars are in the Holy Temples. We bring the beast in us, the natural man, to the altar each week, and promise to sacrifice it just a little more: to stand a little taller, and be a little more.

What is your sign for the Sabbath? How do you prepare for the Sacrament? I can't tell you, but you can find out.

"I will show...them their weakness." -Ether 12:27

Ether 12:27 is a beloved scripture verse among the Latter-day Saints, and many seem to skip over a certain section in the scripture. It reads, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27, Emphasis added).

Notice, as we come unto the Lord, He promises to show us our weaknesses, in progression. Why? So we may become like Him. If we couldn't see our weaknesses, we can't take time to fortify them. Some of us deal with addiction and sins we constantly go back to, but the Lord shows us that weakness as we come unto Him. I do not believe for a second that the Lord merely shows that weakness, but He is also pulling with us to get us out of that mire.

This life is the time for men to kill the natural man by destroying our weaknesses, but that can only happen as we come unto Christ to be perfected in Him. No other option suffices in our quest to become perfect.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Gospel According to Supernatural

Supernatural ,one of my favorite shows, is about a couple of brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) who hunt monsters and demons. With it being renewed for an eleventh season this year, obviously it has attracted a bit of a cult following, so many people like it. The question is why? Why do people enjoy watching shows with the bloodshed and fighting against monsters? Well, I guess not so much because of the monsters, but because it shows us monsters can be beaten.

In the show, some monsters, some demons, are only around for an episode or two; others are main villains for several episodes, or even whole seasons. Some demons come back after they were defeated a few seasons earlier. Each person has monsters and demons attacking them daily. Some monsters and some demons come and go every so often, others seem to just hang around all the time.

Sin

We all deal with the demon of sin. Some have larger demons, others have more demons. Any thing we do that distances us from God is sin. He knows that it is still hard for us. His arms are always stretched out to welcome home the prodigal. They are stretched out to comfort those who slip up. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed from sin, it is also that we can have enabling power to avoid sin.

In Supernatural, demons are not able to pass salt lines on the floor. Salt is a symbol of covenants (Leviticus 2:13). As we honor covenants, and don't break any of the lines they draw about us, the demon of sin can have no power to assail us. Holding on to our covenants, and staying within the bounds the Lord has set provides us with protection.

Addiction

During Season 4, Sam Winchester had been drinking demon blood. He couldn't stop. He felt it provided him with power. And to a degree it did, but as always with addiction, it came at the cost of his freedom. He couldn't do anything without getting his fix of demon blood! It was just something he had to have!

Many good people suffer from addictions. The absolute monster that comes, begins to control every aspect of life. Even when one feels that it gives them power to cope, it really doesn't, and the only way to break free from addiction is by turning to the enabling power of the atonement, and the redeeming power. The enabling power to let you live your life; the redeeming power to break the bands of addiction.

Loneliness

Multiple times through the show Sam and Dean get separated. Sometimes through death, sometimes through decisions they've made, they get separated from the only family they have left. They often are put at odds against one another. Yet, eventually the two of them reunite in the bonds of family and of brotherhood.

The Atonement allows that reuniting, and that forgiveness to be possible. Whether we feel estranged from our family or not, we are often set in places we are at odds with our elder brother, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father. The Atonement sets us back with God and our Savior. We all have times of loneliness, when it seems nobody is near, but because Jesus was alone in Gethsemane and on Golgotha, we don't have to be alone. He will come to us.

Regardless what demons you face, what monsters come after you, hold firm to your covenants. Look to your God, and He will deliver you from any trial that comes your way.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Battles

Let's face it: life is hard. We each have very unique trials that nobody else but God knows. To us, our trials loom like a Goliath. We get weighed down by everything happening around us, and sometimes even wonder if God might be near. We wonder why nobody seems to reach out to us.

If we step back for a minute, we realize that the previous paragraph resonates with us. And that's just it: us. We all go through painful tribulations, attempting to hearken to our God, but feeling constantly beat down by the storms of life. We rarely pause for a moment to think that just about how everyone else around us is going through the same thing.

Especially in America, personal feelings are meant for our closest friends and family, so we rarely open up. While, in some cases, that should change, the likelihood of that changing in the near future is close to nothing. As disciples of Christ, therefore what? How do we live up to our baptismal covenant to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort?

Obviously, we become friends with people, and when we get close enough, we start opening up, but that is not enough. There is no possible way on this planet we will become extremely close friends with every person we contact. What can we do?

Treat everyone as if they are fighting a battle.

For example, if we are in middle school, and a kid snaps at us for moving his instrument because it was in the way of our locker, we can either retaliate, fume over it, or let it go. Well, if all we saw was a kid getting a little agitated over something so minor, we may retaliate and lay into him; however, if we knew someone had stolen his instrument before, or he was in a rush to get home so he could see his mother in the hospital, we'd be more apt to respond with kindness.

That is one small example from one time in my life, I'm sure you can make many other great examples from your life. As difficult as it is to train yourself to think like this, it's even more difficult to do so when we ourselves have a battle raging. That is the ultimate expression of divinity though: treating others as if they are fighting a battle, when we ourselves are in a battle.

The Savior in Gethsemane and on the road to Calvary was fighting the hardest battle ever fought in the history of mankind. Every last weapon in Satan's arsenal was leveled against Him to stop the Atonement, yet in the midst of that battle, He healed the ear of the High Priest's servant; He made sure His mother had care; He forgave the Romans who crucified Him.

Many of us have had the pain of getting a cut, and that hurts enough: imagine having an organ cut off. It would hurt like no other pain we'd ever felt. I'm sure that servant was mostly there because his master sent him. The thoughts racing through his mind may have been along the lines of "I should have called in sick" or anything like that. Yet, as great as that agony was, Christ was suffering greater pain. He just had blood ooze out of his pores, that would require exorbitant amounts of hemorrhaging. Yet His thoughts were with the servant.

Regardless of how big or small your battle may seem: serve others in the midst of it. Chances are, they are in the midst of one too.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Stop Hiding Behind Agency!

Moral agency is one of the great doctrines taught from on high to the Prophet, Joseph Smith out to the rest of the world. It means "men are free according to the flesh... to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil" (2 Nephi 2:27). For the last several years I have found many people hiding behind this doctrine, and subtly mixing it with their own philosophies.

Far too often, other doctrines take a back seat to moral agency (which is always called free agency or just agency by people doing this). For example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' doctrine on marriage and family goes right back to The Family: A Proclamation to the World stating, "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children...WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society." Yet today, as the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that states cannot decide whether to allow homosexual marriages or not, many church members seem to be chanting how they're so happy about the decision, because ****AGENCY!!!**** 

The gospel is not a buffet from which you can pick and choose which doctrines and principles are ones you should uphold, and which ones are not. Any person who has entered into the waters of baptism, and ESPECIALLY any person who have received the temple ordinances, are under strict covenant to obey God's commandments. Yes, that includes ones that are contrary to your personal, political, or social beliefs AND the ones contrary to society's current trends, dominant political ideologies, and, yes, even codified and court law.

Agency is a wonderful thing! We, however, are not given agency so we can do whatever we want! We are given agency so we can choose to follow Christ. If you do not choose to follow Christ, you follow another being, who's sole purpose is to "drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo"
(
Helaman 5:12). Agency is not the gospel! The gospel encompasses agency along with hundreds of other doctrines, so stop pretending that you're righteous because you allow agency in your broad philosophy.

I stand with Joshua in saying, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

I pray that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the citizens of this once great nation will echo the Israelites in the next verse, "And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;" Yes, including the god of agency.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Goal Setting

Every week on my mission we would set goals and plan the next week, and every day we would set daily goals and plan for the next day, including what we would be studying the next day. Each goal was related to the "Key Indicators for Conversion". As I've gotten into post-mission life, such things have begun to slip away from me, but over the past couple days, I've been studying Preach My Gospel with a focus on how the doctrines and principles taught in there can help with everyday life.

I do not recall if it was one of my mission presidents, or someone else, but during my time serving, someone said that if their employees would apply the principles taught in Preach My Gospel chapter 8 (How Do I Use Time Wisely), their income would be double what they were making. Unfortunately, there are no specific key indicators for the general membership. Fortunately, we can establish them for ourselves.

A few I thought of for myself:

  • Daily Scripture Study
  • Regular Temple Attendance with a Family Name
  • Weekly Family Home Evening
  • Worthily Partaking the Sacrament Weekly
  • Daily Communication with Heavenly Father
That is obviously not a comprehensive list, as our lives don't only focus on the Gospel, but have other aspects related to the Gospel (such as school and careers which enlarge your capacity to serve others). If it is important to set goals, we must come up with our own key indicators to give our goals focus. And I testify if we do not set goals, we will not become who we are meant to become! 

PMG 8 shares this bullet point: "Set goals for personal...study". It may not be the most organized thing in the world, but you should have a plan as to what you will study that day (in the scriptures, in your school work, in your professional life, etc). If you do not establish what you will study ahead of time, it will become much easier to shirk off the studying.

If we set goals, we manage our time. If we don't, our time manages us. If we set goals, we can become like our Savior. If we don't, we can become like the devil.

Ezra Taft Benson said, “Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals. A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. Some will be continuing goals. Each week when we partake of the sacrament we commit ourselves to the goals of taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, of always remembering him and keeping his commandments. Of Jesus’ preparations for his mission, the scripture states that he ‘increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.’ (Luke 2:52.) This encompasses four main areas for goals: spiritual, mental, physical, and social. ‘Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?’ asked the Master, and he answered, ‘Verily I say unto you, even as I am.’ (3 Ne. 27:27.) Now, there is a lifetime goal—to walk in his steps, to perfect ourselves in every virtue as he has done, to seek his face, and to work to make our calling and election sure” (“Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Oct. 1986, 5).

We have been asked to set goals to improve and become better men and women for decades! Now is the time to listen to the Prophets' words and set goals to improve ourselves. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Judge Righteous Judgement

I made a post on Facebook in response to a blogpost that has recently been circulating throughout social media of many Mormons called "You're on Satan's Side" (if you want to read it, you go find it; I will not post a link to publicize false doctrine). It received some backlash from some people, and I felt it needed to be shared here. I have only included the post and a comment I made in response to some of the backlash. Remember Doctrine is not found on blogs nor in anything officially published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (in other words: copyrighted IRI). Please allow the spirit to be your guide when you read blog posts, even mine. Seek for the spirit to be with you, and now, my response:

Well, my posting this will probably cause some backlash. I've seen many many people post the article "You're on Satan's Side". They extol it saying that missionary service is not for everyone. Give me a break! What part of "Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much." do people really not understand? (Thomas S Monson, Oct 2010)

Now, I am not saying that every young man has to serve a mission at age 18, or 19, or before they're 23. But every single one should fulfill the responsibilty given them in the Abrahamic Covenant that "they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;" (Abraham 2:9).

Satan is a real being who seeks to destroy the work of God. He knows he is going to lose; he knows the Kingdom will win. However, if he can stop one person from receiving all that the Father has, he will. He will especially stop those who could be powerful missionaries, so all the Father hath will not be given to them nor the people they could touch. As Elder Jeffrey R Holland once said, "Satan is a real being set on destroying you, and you face his influence at a younger and younger age. So we grab you by the lapels and shout as forcefully as we know how: Hark! the sound of battle sounding loudly and clear; Come join the ranks! Come join the ranks! My young friends, we need tens of thousands of more missionaries in the months and years that lie ahead. They must come from an increased percentage of the Aaronic Priesthood who will be ordained, active, clean, and worthy to serve."

So yes, even if it's not the kindest way of putting it, a worthy, able priesthood holder who willingly chooses not to serve is allowing Satan to gain power.

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

[End Status, Begin Response to Comments]

I know the article is about not judging, but they are using the wrong situation. If this article was about someone who had medical issues or it was about anything other than choosing not to go on a mission of their own free will and choice, it'd be fine. If it was about someone who was unworthy to serve, and was trying to clean up his life, it'd be a great message. If it was about someone who medically couldn't serve or had to come home early, it'd be great! But it is about someone who is breaking the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood as furher revealed in 1973.

Secondly, in the days when many of the Apostles and Prophets were of the age to serve a mission, it was NOT a priesthood responsibility. In those days, it was a nice thing to do. But with World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, etc, in order to keep good ties with the government, the church limited the missionaries under the Lord's direction. The decision to serve a mission is made when one accepts the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood by being ordained an Elder. "For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God." It wasn't until the 1970s that revelation was received that every young man should serve, so kick out any examples who were 19-26 before the 1970s, which would be everyone but David A Bednar and Neil L Andersen, who served in Germany and France respectively.

If this article was about someone who felt judged because members did not like the fact they drank coffee, it would not be going viral like it is now. Members act like we should not make any judgements anymore with certain commandments, but other commandments are fair game. Shouldn't judge a boy for not going on a mission (even though it's a commandment), because it's his choice, but other commandments are fair game.

Finally, Christlike love does not mean you passively allow things to happen, and you ESPECIALLY don't actively celebrate broken covenants. Christlike love is perfectly distinguishing between the sin and the sinner. I did not even mention once the boy the article was mentioning. He might be the coolest guy ever who I'd be willing to hang out with, but that does not change the fact that it is NOW part of the Oath and Covenant of the priesthood to serve an honorable full time mission. So yes, it is between them and God, but they and God already made the promise.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rise to the Level of your Divinity

A few days before he passed away, Elder L Tom Perry was visited by Elder M Russell Ballard and Elder Dallin H Oaks. Elder Ballard quoted Elder Perry's final wish for church members, “[I wish I] could get every member of the Church to go and partake of the sacrament, and when they took the bread, they’d ask themselves, ‘Who am I? What am I doing? How am I living? Where am I going? What should I be accomplishing?’ as they renew their covenants with the Lord.” He finished, “The minute they’d pick up the bread, something [would] happen.”

I took those questions with me to the altar upon which lie the symbols of the Savior's atoning sacrifice today. I read over them and thought of them as the bread and the water came to me. He was right, something changed inside of me as I pondered those five questions. The spirit whispered revelation to me very personal and very sweet today. 

Each time we brush spiritual shoulders with divinity, small, nearly imperceptible changes come, nudging us in the right direction. It will not be an overnight, miraculous change, but consistently being touched by the Holy Ghost will make each one of us holy men and women. Indeed, like our Father in Heaven, "for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name" (Moses 6:57).

Each time we brush with something or someone holy, we put an oil drop into our lamps. These five questions, if asked each time we study the scriptures, each time we go to the temple, each time we partake of the sacrament, each Priesthood/Relief Society Meeting, or each ordinance witnessed, would change any man or woman's life to become who they are destined to become.

No person who came to this earth is destined to fail. We are all destined for all that the Father has, if we accept it through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. By continually striving to improve and become more like your Savior and mine, and relying wholly upon His merits, you shall rise to the level of your divinity!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Come, O Thou King of Kings

One of my favorite hymns has always been "Come, O Thou King of Kings". It was written in one of the toughest times in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints's history: when saints were driven from their homes, and crossed the frozen plains, often bleeding in exile from Missouri, Parley P Pratt penned the powerful words of the saints' desire for Christ to return and save them.

Whether on big scale or a smaller scale, we all desire the Savior to come to us that we may feel peace once more, to redeem us from whatever is holding us down, indeed for Him to set us free. We should be "Calling upon the name of the Lord day and night, saying: O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down" (Doctrine & Covenants 133:40).

Whether He comes ten months from now or ten decades from now, He is coming! Make sure you are excited for the King's return. As President Hinckley once said, "I don’t know when the Savior will come. I’m ready for Him. I hope it isn’t too long in this evil-filled world. I do not know. ‘Come, O thou King of Kings’; I can sing that with conviction.”

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Guardians of an Altar" (For the Strength of the Hills, Hymn 35)

The past few weeks have not been easy for me. It seemed as though the heavens were brass, and my pleadings were doomed to deflection back to earth. I would speak, and silence would remain. The contact lack was so difficult and prevalent, even the scriptures couldn't help, and I still felt very disconnected from the eternal world.

Then, after many days, a thought came into my head, "We are watchers of a beacon Whose light must never die; We are guardians of an altar 'Midst the silence of the sky" (For the Strength of the Hills). With that thought, revelation began to flow more freely. I pondered on those lines again and again.

I'm sure I allowed myself to become a little more distant from heaven, through complacency. However, I'm sure also that revelation stops for other reasons to each one of us, through no fault of our own, because the Lord needs us to learn about ourselves. On the way to the top of the mount, there was no indication that Abraham was getting any revelation until he came to the altar to sacrifice Isaac. He would not have learned how deep his loyalty to God was until he was asked to do the very thing God saved him from many years earlier.

Regardless the reason, during those times when heaven seems silent, we continue forward, we remain guardians of the altars. The temples center on altars in making covenants. The chapel has an altar where the emblems of the sacrament are placed weekly as an ordinance to renew our covenants with God. Each altar encompasses our sacrifices to God through our covenants. What does keeping our covenants give Him? As C.S. Lewis masterfully put it, "Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart."

Covenants do just that, so in times of silence and in times of revelation: keep on keeping your covenants.

"To know the only wise and true God"

God's nature is one of the most important doctrines to understand, but it is also historically one of the most widely debated topics. Many ecumenical councils were held on the subject in the second and third centuries A.D. Unfortunately, the creeds, in seeking to pacify all opposing parties to solidify power for the emperor, destroyed the fundamental understanding the church had previously held on God's nature were brought to naught, and relatively few people have any semblance of who God is.

Compare the feelings you have while reading the Athanasian Creed:
"we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
To the feelings you have while reading The First Vision:
It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally. After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
You only need to meet someone to know what they are like, and God is no exception to the rule. The Lord is not some distant, detached mass or force somewhere out in space. His whole work and glory is intimately intertwined in us. He loves each one of us very much, even those He does not trust, and especially those who wander and stray far from him. Indeed, we have a God who looked upon "the people, and...wept" (Moses 7:28).

Knowing God's nature requires us to share this knowledge with the world. No man can be saved unless they know who God really is. In the High Priestly prayer Christ himself prayed, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). You cannot do that with "The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible," but you can do that with God.

Coming to know God is a quest of a lifetime. We cannot perfectly know Him now, because of the difference in degree we have with Him, but remember: "when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). We can only be like Him if we follow Him, and we can only follow Him if we know Him.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reflections 2014-2015

This year has been a really crazy one for me. Since the end of last school year, I got physical therapy that made me finally be able to go long time periods without crutches. I've lived with people who have driven me to the verge of insanity. I've made some amazing new friends, and was able to reconnect with several old friends. I watched one of my closest friends go through very stressful times in his life. I've been sick for weeks on end, yet still made the Dean's list. I was able to oversee the Sunday School in my ward (congregation) as the Sunday School President, and was able to see the Lord's hand in how he directs His church quite vividly. I've also seen how He is in the details of our lives in many numerous ways, down to the very places we live so we can touch certain lives. I've been able to see two of my really good friends enter the waters of baptism and make covenants with the Lord. I've seen other friends progress on the path towards making those covenants, and it has brought me such great joy to know them. I've had major spiritual insights I will not soon forget, and have come to know the Lord more personally as I've been more honest with myself and with others. I've learned at a much deeper level that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is just that: the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter days, filled with His saints. Jesus Christ lives and He stands at the head of the church. I know Him, and His love and trust for me. I wouldn't have made it through this year without the help of y'all, and I pray that as I journey through this summer and next school year, I will allow him to guide the path of my feet that many souls may come unto Him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Silence

Silence

___________
It rings across the hall,
___________
From shore to shore across them all.


In it one can hide,
___________
In the darkness they abide.
___________


___________
The heart may beat, the tears may flow,
___________
But silence creates its own abode.


Noise and language can expose
___________
Silence will never fears disclose
___________


From silence, burst!
Find relief!
Quench your everlasting thirst,
And wash away eternal grief!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ye Cannot Behold

God places people in our lives, and us in theirs. Sometimes we quickly find out why and other times we have no idea why for years. 

We read in the Doctrine & Covenants, "Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation."

Relationships' depths can increase as we reach out in love with one another. Love can grow. Friendships can develop to the point of brotherhood. We have been taught that there is no greater love than a man willingly lays down his life for his friends. We are under covenant to love and to lift, and if we truly live our covenants, I testify that God will put people in our lives who we can touch, and we alone. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Our Message

The gospel's greatest beauty lies in its simplicity. Many attempt to overcomplicate the message in their own minds, because humans enjoy doing so, but it is not necessary. Our message is this:

God is our loving Heavenly Father who desires His children to become like Him. He established a plan "to bring to pass [our] immortality and eternal life" (Moses 1:39). The Plan of Redemption has been given to righteous men, who God calls as prophets, by His own mouth and the mouths of angels through all time, who then declare this supernal plan to the rest of God's children. What is this plan?

"IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life" (The Family). The Plan was an impossible one, save there was a Savior provided for us. Among the spirits, "there stood one...that was like unto God" (Abraham 3:24). Jesus accepted the Father's invitation to save us all, and we accepted Him as our Savior.

Under the direction of the Father, Jesus created all that was created. "The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him" (Doctrine & Covenants 93:10). This creation gave a place for which God's family to obtain bodies and experience. Adam and Eve were placed upon the earth as the first people.

When placed into the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were sealed together as husband and wife. God, further, gave them two commandments: "[thou shalt not eat of] the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Moses 3:17) and "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Moses 2:28). In this state, "they would have had no children" (2 Nephi 2:23), but God left the path open for them to choose to leave their Edenic state into a fallen world where they could have children. Thus, the Fall of Adam and Eve allowed that their family could grow.

Shortly after the Fall, "the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Moses 5:58). What was the gospel that was preached to the children of men? "[Jesus] came into the world to do the will of [His] Father, because [His] Father sent [Him]. And [His] Father sent [Him] that [He] might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that [He] had been lifted up upon the cross, that [He] might draw all men unto [Him]" (3 Nephi 27:13-14).

The Savior came to the world to perform the Atonement. As he bled from every pore, not only did He ransom you from your sins, and feel your struggles, He also allowed for a little thought of blessing to happen. "The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families" (Julie B Beck).

Without the Atonement, all ordinances would be in vain. The Plan of Salvation, the Plan of Happiness, is this: Jesus Christ came to the world to bind families together. The power of sealing was allowed as He suffered in a way we cannot understand. We may not know all the reasons why, but we know Families are Forever, through "him that redeemed us" (Behold, a Royal Army).

Come, accept His sacrifice today through the gospel ordinances. He loves your family, and wants you in His.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Send forth the elders of my church" (Doctrine & Covenants 133:8)

Over the past several months, I have begun to see a bit of a cultural shift (I guess that'd be the right term) among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that has really begun to bug me. I've begun to see tons of blog posts about how we shouldn't be judging people who haven't served missions. I get that some are unable to serve due to health or other circumstances. However, the message in these posts are different: it is that no young man who has not served a mission is to be under any condemnation. It gives the message to those on the fence that a mission can be just not for them.

President Kimball once said, "I was asked a few years ago, “Should every young man who is a member of the Church fill a mission?” And I responded with the answer the Lord has given: “Yes, every worthy young man should fill a mission.” The Lord expects it of him. And if he is not now worthy to fill a mission, then he should start at once to qualify himself. The Lord has instructed, “Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and them upon the Jews.” (D&C 133:8)."

 I really do not care what the excuses are being propagated to make those who choose not to serve feel good about themselves. It is a priesthood responsibility to bear the gospel to all nations. In Institute, I learned that the missionary department is estimating that we need 96,000 missionaries to cover India alone: we have 88,000 missionaries. There is no way we can do it without getting more of the young men to go out and live up to the measure of their ordination to the holy priesthood.

There is no greater duty we have than to engage in the work of salvation: we cannot keep losing more and more young men as they desire not to go on missions! Making these excuses amounts to fighting against the Kingdom of God rolling forth. Imagine if you can convince one young man to not go on a mission. How many lives would go untouched simply because he was not there where he was supposed to be? How many souls will be on his head, because someone convinced him through cunning means that it was unimportant to serve?

"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks" (Jeremiah 16:14-16). This is the most important work! The more hunters and fishers we have, the more of God's children, even the whole house of Israel can be gathered again. Without the missionary work, we will cease to see the miracles.

Stop making excuses! And, "Send forth the elders of [His] church" (Doctrine & Covenants 133:8)!


Friday, January 23, 2015

"Receive the Holy Ghost" -Doctrine & Covenants 130:23

It is very common to hear that the time someone felt the spirit the strongest in their lives was on their mission. Some have said that it is because there is an added need for the spirit because they are on the front-lines for the souls of men. I do not doubt that one bit, but we all can be on the front-lines of this war if we choose.

I think the bigger reason missionaries carry the spirit around in greater abundance is because they ask for the spirit to be with them: constantly! In every prayer I said on my mission, at some point I asked for the spirit to be with us. We would pray in the morning by ourselves, then as a companionship, then to start personal study, when personal study ended, to start companionship study, when companionship study ended, over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each time we left the apartment, each time we were about to go into a lesson, at the start of each lesson, at the end of each lesson, when we didn't know what to do, when we did know what to do, when appointments fell through, and so on. In short, we were praying all day every day, each time asking that we could go forth "armed with [His] power" (Doctrine & Covenants 109:22). We would ask for His spirit to be with us, that we could preach the gospel to all people.

In essence, we were constantly following the direction, "the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith...And all this ye shall observe to do" (Doctrine & Coevnants 42:14-15). In other words, by constantly asking for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we had the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Can we not all do the same thing in our "normal" lives?

Think of the words of the sacrament prayers:

"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Doctrine & Covenants 20:77)

"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this [water] to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Doctrine & Covenants 20:79)

We are promised as we strive to remember Him, we can always have His spirit to be with us. We are also told that the spirit will be given us by the prayer of faith. How do these two match up? Simple: we are promised we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, as long as we remember Christ, and ask for the Spirit to be with us.

I make no hesitation in promising that if you ask for the spirit to be with you throughout the day, and are praying every opportunity you get, that you will feel the spirit more strong in your life, and will be led and guided more often by the spirit. I invite each of you to ponder how you can "receive the Holy Ghost" and allow Him to stay with you (Doctrine & Covenants 130:23).


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Freedom at Pi-hahiroth

In Exodus 14:1-3, "the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in." Migdol and Baal-zephon are both mountains found near the Red Sea, one to the north and one to the west of Pi-hahiroth, with the Red Sea to the East, leaving one way in and one way out.

For 400 years, the children of Israel had lived in bondage to Egypt. Why were they there so long? Joseph had saved all of Egypt, yet they were put into bondage. How often do you have the feeling that you are in control of your fears, just to be forced to face them and be ruled by them again? Once bound by the fears once thought tamed, you begin to feel comfortable in knowing that you will be afraid of commitment, of opening your mouth, or of any other thing.

The Lord always wants to deliver you, but you must face your fears. It doesn't matter if you are afraid to open your mouth, it matters that you face that fear and trust God. When the Lord delivers you, He will bring you to your Pi-hahiroth, where there is no escape, and you are faced with a choice: either you can let your fears take you back to Egypt or you can face them.

In facing your fears, the Lord does not leave you unaided. He does not require that you face your Pharoah alone. As Pharoah comes and leaves you trapped, He will send His spirit. It will not be anything miraculous, it will be a gentle nudge towards the path you did not see. He will lead you to the edge of the Red Sea, and He will open your way.

Your fears will follow you, there is no doubt about that. New anxieties may arise from having the walls of water on both sides of you, and you're sure that it will collapse and destroy you, but you press on, trusting in God. When you arrive on Sinai's shores, you have escaped your fears, but a lingering thought may come thinking that the sea is still parted, but at that point, the Lord will allow you to see "the waters cover...[your] enemies: there was not one of them left" (Psalms 106:11).

Remember what the Lord has done for you, and never look back at your fears: never allow them to enslave you again.