Saturday, 29 June 2013

SERMON: The Power of Faith

The Power of Faith
Jesus was once approached by a woman who had been ill for twelve years. Moved by faith in Christ’s healing power, she pressed through a crowd and touched the hem of his garment. “If I may touch but his cloths,” she said, “I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28). She was immediately healed, and Jesus, sensing that strength had gone from him, asked who had touched him. When the women fell at his feet, acknowledging his blessing, he said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole” (Mark 5:34 see Mark 5:25-34).

Although few of us have experienced as dramatic a healing as that of this woman, obedience to the Lord’s commandments and faith in him can also bring us a spiritual and physical “Wholeness”. Becoming whole is one of the gospel’s promised blessings, blessings that are dependent upon faith. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “every blessing which is obtained in relation to the plan of salvation is the effect of faith”.

Unwavering faith in Christ blesses our loves because it replaces fear and doubt with the conviction, confidence, and courage to press forward. Faith gives purpose and direction to our lives. Making gospel truths the foundation of our faith gives us hope for the future. Our daily efforts are more productive with faith, and our service is given more wholeheartedly.

We must remember that in our lives faith can heal the sick, can bring comfort to those who mourn, strengthen resolve against temptation and relieve us from harmful habits and most important  it can lend us strength to repent and change our lives by leading us too a sure knowledge of Christ. Christ promises that “If we will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33). When we consider the miracles and mighty works of the ancient prophets, we are impressed with their ability to use the Lord’s power in working righteousness. Equally Inspiring are our members today who continue to walk by faith in all their endeavours, this allows us to bless the lives of others.

Each member of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ can also exercise the power of faith in blessing the lives of others. Most of our individual accomplishments and miracles will be small, quiet ones, performed in our own homes and neighbourhoods, among family and friends. As we express faith through our righteous action, we can each receive power equal to our own tasks and then can bless the lives of others. As the gift of God, as Latter Day Mormons must keep in mind that faith is a gift we must constantly pray for. 

So let us remember that in exercising faith, don’t go out and try and move mountains, but rather go out and start small, do the things that you need to do in your life to get what you ought to have temporally and spiritually.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

SERMON: Run & Not be Weary

Run & Not be Weary

Run and not be weary, and walk and not faint
(D&C 89:20)

My fellow Brothers and Sisters of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ, the sermon today will not be a long one but it will be one that is of most importance to us today, in a world full of excess and want, it is ever more important that we listen to the Lord and to his promises to us laid out in the holy scriptures. Today the biggest threat to our lives is our physical well being. In a world full of avarice and greed there can sometimes seem to be no hope in sight or no way for us to keep to the commands of the scriptures, however let us remember what the Lord has promised, those who are faithful.

The Lord promises us that id we obey the principles of the Word of Wisdom, we “shall run and not be weary, and walk and not faint” (D&C 89:20). The ability to run without becoming weary requires more that proper eating habits. We must exercise our bodies and much as we exercise our spirit and do it properly in order to fully benefit from observing the Word of Wisdom.

It must be fully remembered by members of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ that a healthy body enhances our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. This idea is implied in Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-19 “All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walk in obedience to the commandments, shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.”

It needs to be remembered that this is a promise from our God and that we need not be embarrassed by partaking in strenuous physical activity, in fact, having a body that is strong and healthy is what the Lord wants for us, indeed it can make us feel more healthy and more attractive as well. In addition to this physical fitness can make us feel more alert, more able to cope with problems, and more spiritually aware.

Latter Day Mormons should look for any way in which the binds of family and relationships can be made stronger. Physical fitness can be that strengthening bond. Sharing swimming, bicycling, hiking, jogging, or tennis can give us a chance to do something with others as well as for them.

We do not need expensive equipment or great skill to improve our health and strength. For instance, hiking, gardening, jogging, or walking requires little special skill. Even as we perform regular activities around the home or at work we can improve our physical fitness. We can walk or bicycle short distances rather than riding on a bus or diving a car. If our work requires us to sit a great deal, we can do beneficial isometric exercises. Planning and taking the time to keep physically fit is important, not only for physical well being, but also for mental and spiritual well being.  Our main drive should be to keep ourselves not only spiritually fit but also physically fit, in order that we might for fill our duty to the Lord and also to our families and loved ones.

And so let is remember and always keep in mind and as we go about our daily and weekly lives, that those who make a conscious effort to maintain healthy bodies will find the word of wisdom’s promise more completely fulfilled.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

SERMON: Purity of Thought

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly”

Latter Day Mormons are keenly aware that if Satan could capture our minds, he would have won the battle and more importantly the war. Our minds are powerful and responsive and have the potential to acquire great wisdom and knowledge. Our minds are also susceptible to negative and evil influences. Members of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ indeed all men who search after Christ are blessed, however, in that evil, negative, or unclean thought cannot stay in our minds if we choose not to let them. We can exercise control over what we think about. However we must understand that this control is a constant battle because unseemly things are being emphasised by many people in the world we live in today. If we allow evil, unclean, or negative thoughts to stay in our minds, they can begin to dominate our actions and thus control and erode our lives. Perhaps at some time you have noticed the eroding effect of waves lapping at a steep, rocky coast, or washing away sand from the beaches. This action can e compared to the effect of unclean thoughts, they can erode our minds, making us insensitive to wholesome, affirmative influences or things of the Spirit.

So let us ask ourselves what we can do to avoid evil thoughts? For a start we can avoid, as far as possible, individuals and places that foster unseemly thoughts. We can make wise choices of television programmes, movies, books and magazines; indeed we might also keep in mind what kind of information we look at on the World Wide Web. We can be sure we have a planned, wholesome channel in to which our thoughts are directed, for our thoughts, like water, run continuously, and if not directed, will wander through paths of least resistance in to low places.

As Latter Day Mormons we might consider what else we can do to dismiss evil thoughts? Prayer can help. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). We might also consider choosing sacred music or a favourite hymn to listen to, ones with words that are uplifting to the soul. You might even memorise it and go over it in your mind so that its words and its meaning strike a spiritual cord within your own spirit. You might look upon these hymns or the sacred music you listen to as your emergency channel. Whenever you find that your mind is wondering then all you would have to do is dig around in side the music library in your mind and put on some inspiring music. As the music begins and the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully from your thoughts. Your mood will be changed and the whole mood of your mind will become uplifted.

What we must remember is that our minds learn to treasure what we feed them, and what the mind treasures sinks in to the heart and is manifest in our speech and actions. Our speech and our behaviour indicate the thoughts of our hearts (Proverbs 23:7).

We to often think that purity of thought is taught just for the youth and the young. Why is it important for us as adults to strengthen our defences against unclean thought? It is important because our own well-being is involved and because we influence others, husbands, wives, children and friends. Is it not wisdom, then, to strive always for purity of thought?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

SERMON: Search The Scriptures

“Ye ought to search the scriptures”
Alma 33:2
For centuries the Bible has been regarded as the only word of God. As Latter Day Mormons and members of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ we also look upon the Book of Mormon, The Book of Jeraneck and the Doctrine & Covenants as the word of God. Our range of scripture thus becomes larger than that of any other Christian people.

The Lord has asked indeed commanded saints in various ages to read and to study the scriptures. Jesus Christ told the leaders of the Jewish world to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39). Today in our time the Lord has said, “Study my words which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my words which shall come forth” (D&C 11:22). Clearly the word “Which hath gone forth” refers to the Bible, while the word “which shall come forth” refers to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Jeraneck.

As a guide for living, the scriptures are unsurpassed. They are the intimate, personal, and they touch our innermost life as well as our daily relationships and our attitudes towards God. They also form the basis of the civil and religious laws governing many groups. It must be remembered that the Ten Commandments form the foundation of secular governments in many civilised countries. In these hard trying times of disobedience and decadence there is a special need for sure guidance to righteous living, and this we can find in the scriptures.

The power of the scriptures is shown by the influence they have had in moulding the lives of men and nations in all ages. The change that the Saviours life and teachings work in people’s thoughts and acts is a continuing miracle that can only be wrought by the power of the Lord himself.

To be good Latter Day Mormons requires not only prayer and righteous living, but also requires study and prayer. Ideals and information are of little or no use unless we express them in our personal behaviour and human relations. Some people know the scriptures only in a vague, indefinite way, depending on what they hear in religious gatherings. That is not enough, not for Latter Day Mormons, indeed not for anyone. One must read and discover for themselves the truths that they contain. The custom of scripture reading in the Latter Day family should be a part of family life. Times can be found to do this if we have the will and the desire to do so.

As Latter Day Mormons living in a world in turmoil reading the scriptures daily can give balance to our lives. We can find the eternal principles that the scriptures contain can build and useful and expanding life. The scriptures are like a quite rock-girdled island in the midst of a wild flood. We must remember that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Jeraneck and the Doctrine & Covenants contain the words of eternal life for this generation, and they will stand in judgment against those that reject them, truly the Holy Scriptures have been given to us by the Lord for our instruction. Yet they cannot achieve their purpose to guide us throughout our lives unless we use them, we study them and put their teachings into action everyday of our lives. In doing this we shall see that the scriptures are our way to an abundant eternal life. We must take the counsel given by the apostle Matthew when he says “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God”. (Matthew 22:28).

So let us study those plain and precious truths contained within the scriptures, and in doing so learn and understand the very nature of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may stand blameless before him at the last day.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

SERMON: The individual and the Holy Ghost

“The Comforter…shall teach them all things that are expedient for them”
D&C 75:10

Our Saviour was very much aware of the void and the anguish men suffer when death parts them from a loved one. Prior to his crucifixion, in his last discourse with his ever loved apostles, he sought to soften the sorrow of his parting. The disciples seemed not to understand. He had been their guide, support, and constant companion for three long years. “Let not your heart be troubled” he said. “In my fathers house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2). However the apostles who had lived and served with the Saviour for so long still did not understand. They thought they needed nothing more while he was with them, but now he was leaving and they could not follow, at that time at least. In one of the most touching and inspiring utterances from the lips of Saviour came the words, “I will not leave you comfortless….if ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:18, 15-16)
Of course members of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ know that the one called the comforter, whom Christ promised that the Father would send, was the Holy Ghost, the third member of the great Godhead. The Holy Ghost was to bear witness of the Father and the Son, to lead the disciples to know the truth, and to be a source of reassurance to them as they preached the gospel to the entire world. To the Apostles and Disciples of Christ the Holy Ghost not only gave them consolation, but today he extends blessings of compassion to us when otherwise sorrow would be overwhelming.
Latter Day Mormons have come to understand that the Holy Ghost is a messenger of revelation. This has ever been his mission among the children of God. He gives us a surety that God is our Father and that Christ is our Redeemer.
Latter Day Mormons know that the influence of the Holy Ghost must be cultivated in our own lives and the lives of others. If we do not do this then how can we learn to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives more regularly. We must remember that we need to take the time to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. The answers to our prayers often come by a still small voice deep within our minds and souls and are discerned by our deepest, innermost feelings. We can and must be guided by the Holy Ghost in the decisions that we take in life, the influence of the Holy Ghost must be cultivated and our hearts prepared to receive the blessings of the Holy Ghost we need to remember that “if we enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye shall do” (2 Nephi 32:5).
The overwhelming lesson that members of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ must learn and understand is that the Holy Ghost is a testifier of Jesus Christ, he is a witness of all that Christ stands for and teaches and if we want to understand Christ then we must learn to understand the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives and with his help we can not only become better Latter Day Mormons but better people and closer to the throne of God the Father.

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