Lord Jesus Christ
Summer is the opportune time for many high school and college students to seek employment. Some need a job so that they can save money to help pay their school expenses. Some may have aspirations of making a sizable purchase such as an automobile or a new computer. And others may go to work to earn money to build a little nest egg in a checking or savings account to be used for future necessities.
Working for a Higher Purpose
Still, there are others who have an even higher purpose for joining the workforce. There are those who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who spend their summers working in order to earn money to help finance their upcoming full-time missions.
The money that they earn will go towards new suits or dresses, sturdy footwear, and mission accounts. The jobs that they perform could range from washing cars to mowing lawns to teaching music lessons to babysitting. No job is considered insignificant, and no earned wages are considered too small. These future missionaries realize that their labors are not in vain. Soon they will be working in the Lord’s vineyard in various parts of the world teaching His gospel, and performing labors of love for the people they will serve.
Mission Funds are Sacred Funds
An 18-year-old recent high school graduate from South Jordan, Utah, Cole Byrd, commented, “I know the money that I’m making will go toward finding people to teach the gospel in my mission.” Byrd, who has received his mission call to serve in the Chile Santiago South Mission, gets up early each morning, checks the operability of his lawn equipment, and then goes to work at various landscaping jobs. He never misses a day of work because he realizes that he is earning money to help support him in an even greater work that he will soon be a part of.
For the past two years, Vanessa Palmer, a graduate of BYU-Idaho, has been teaching kindergarten students at Columbia Elementary in West Jordan, Utah. She has lived on her own for the past five years, and one of the things that she has learned is how to budget and manage the money that she earns. She admits that she had not always planned to serve a mission, and leaving a promising career behind for 18 months as she goes to serve in the Idaho Boise Mission was not an easy decision, “But after much prayer, I just felt like I needed to go,” she said. She further commented, “I just know there is someone in the Boise mission that I need to teach and share the gospel with.”
For God and Country
Living in Annapolis, Maryland, the home of the United States Naval Academy, I have been blessed over the years to see young men and young women from my ward who have a desire to serve their country, place their careers on hold for 18 months to two years to willingly serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ. They have to make the decision to serve a mission prior to the start of third year of school, and once they make the decision, they do so realizing that once they leave the Academy, getting back in is not necessarily an easy process. However, that process has become somewhat easier over the years, as those in charge at the Naval Academy have witnessed the quality of young officers that are found in returned missionaries.
Cathryn DeLong, a Pennsylvania native, and a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy for the past two years, will soon be leaving the Academy to serve an 18-month mission in the Russia Novosibirsk Mission. As a Midshipman, DeLong does not earn a large income, but she has stated that she is satisfied to know that the money that she does earn will help allow her to bring the saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. She also commented, “I’m excited to have this adventure. I will be meeting people in Russia and sharing the gospel with them.” She will spend a few weeks of naval training in Israel before reporting to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in August 2014.
On the Lord’s Errand
Christ commanded His Apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). As modern-day disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, many young men and women are anxiously engaged in preparing to answer the call to embark on the Lord’s errand wherever He needs them to go. Some may be at the start of a rewarding career, and some may already be well established in their career field. Nevertheless, each are willing to give of their time and service for the greater cause of bringing the world His Truth. With that higher purpose at the forefront, they know that the money that they earn from their labors during their summer employment will help enable them to do the work that the Lord has called them to do.
The crimson thread of redemption that reveals the infinite love that the Savior has for all humanity flows through the entirety of the scriptures. His story is the GREATEST story ever told. From Bethlehem cradle, to preaching in the temple, to the sermon on the mount, to His last hours with His disciples, to His intercessory prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and the ultimate betrayal by one of His own, to the mockery of trials that were illegal according to Jewish law and custom, to the cruel Roman cross on Golgotha Hill, to His glorious Resurrection – there was one central message written in RED. That message was simple, yet powerful. That message to us all is “I LOVE YOU!”
On this glorious Easter morning, as we celebrate His Glorious Resurrection, I share my personal witness and testimony:
I bear solemn witness and testimony of a loving Savior who loves all of us so much that he willingly gave His life for us as sin’s final sacrifice. With His very life, He paid a tremendous debt that He did not owe, a debt that none of us would ever be able to pay on our own. He took upon Himself all the sins of humanity – past, present and future. He who knew no sin became sin for us. When He cried “It is finished!” the plan of redemption was fully put into place and because of His vicarious death on that cruel Roman cross on Golgotha Hill, the gulf between sinful man and a loving Heavenly Father was finally bridged providing for each of us a way back home to the arms of a loving Heavenly Father who awaits us. The Good News is that His death upon that cross did not signify finality. Three days later He triumphed over the grave and arose and is alive forevermore seated at the right hand of God the Father. Because of His glorious Resurrection we too look forward to the day when we shall be resurrected and we shall see Him and know Him as He is. He is the Son of the Living God! He is the Christ! Of these things I do so testify and bear solemn witness, in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
For most of us, something deep down inside tells us there is a greater power. We sense there is something bigger than us. All that you have to do is look up at all the miraculous clusters of stars and galaxies. Look into the eyes of a baby. Look down into a microscope and watch as cells individually multiply and heal. So no, this isn’t about Atheism.
What or who is God? Philosophers and common men and women have pondered that thought since the beginning of time. Native Americans have called God the great spirit. Hindus believe in the plurality of gods in different shapes and forms. Ancient Egyptians believed God was the sun that was born in the day and died at night. All of these ideas are fascinating, but false. Even the idea of God isn’t true. Let me explain.
Many people view God as a power, a mist, a. . . .
Matt Lemmon is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is the author of the blog the8ways2.com. He is also a Nursing student, and is married to Kayla Lemmon, who has been writing a blog called “all our lemony things” since August 2013. Matt was featured on the cover of the October 2014 issue of LDS Life & Times. You can contact Matt at email@example.com.
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A shepherd may be referred to as one who leads, herds, guards, and tends sheep. A good shepherd is very protective of the flock which he has been entrusted to care for, and if necessary, in the act of caring for his fold, will give his life. Therefore, sheep are completely dependent on their shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection.
The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 100:3 to “Know (ye) that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Sheep are figurative of believers who follow their Shepherd. Jesus Christ is our Divine Shepherd and we are the sheep of His pasture. He provides for, guides, and protects us in the same manner as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his fold. In referring to the purpose and mission of the Divine Shepherd in each of our daily lives the late President James E. Faust, former Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught:
The Divine Shepherd has a message of hope, strength, and deliverance for all. If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless. (James E. Faust, “The Refiner’s Fire“, Ensign, May 1979)
In the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ), Nephi, the founding king and prophet of ancient inhabitants known as the Nephites taught:
And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture (1 Nephi 22:25).
Nephi also taught:
And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth (1 Nephi 13:41).
In describing the Lord as a shepherd, David wrote out of his own personal experiences from his early years of caring for sheep. Amidst the world, the Church is a sheepfold, exposed to deceivers and persecutors. The Divine Shepherd of the sheep knows all that are His individually by name, guards them by His providence, guides them by His Spirit and Word, and goes before them in the same way as Eastern shepherds go before their sheep, to set them in the way of His steps.
As ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints help to care for the sheep of the Divine Shepherd’s fold by tending to their spiritual needs and concerns through their Church callings and other acts of unselfish service. As they do so, the Spirit of Christ sets before them an open door.
His sheep know Him as: (1) the Good Shepherd – “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11); (2) the Great Shepherd – “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20,21); and (3) the Chief Shepherd – “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4). With this knowledge and understanding that He is the only True Shepherd and “he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (see John 10:1), the sheep of His fold will see their Shepherd, and be cautious and shy away from strangers who would attempt to draw them away from the fold.
Most Christians are familiar with the 23rd Psalm. The Psalm does not necessarily focus on the animal like qualities of sheep, but rather on the discipleship qualities of those who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. When a person recognizes the voice of the Divine Shepherd he should be willing to follow Him. When he allows Christ, his Shepherd, to lead and guide him, he will find peace, contentment, and safety for his soul. However, if he chooses to ignore the Shepherd’s voice and wander away from the fold, he will have no one to blame but himself when he falls into the snares of those who seek to destroy him.
Because of the subtle uncertainties of life, each of us should be willing to follow the Divine Shepherd who offers us eternal confidence. Even if we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need fear no evil: for our Shepherd is with us; His rod and His staff give us great comfort. (see Psalm 23:4). It is He alone who is able to walk us through the valley and bring us safely to the other side. Christ, the Divine Shepherd and Host, promises to guide and protect us through life and to bring us safely home to live in His presence forever (see Psalm 23:5, 6). He gives us the blessed assurance, “Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:44).
In the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ), Alma the Younger,a prophet and “chief judge” of the Nephites, as recorded in Alma 5:59-60, exhorted:
For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him. And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.
A few months ago founding author of this blog posted the following statement in several social media venues:
As expected, there were those who understood and appreciated the statement, and there were those who immediately rejected it. Be that as it may, Solomon, one of the wisest men that ever lived, phrased it right when he said, “A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring” (Proverbs 25:26).
In this brief article, I openly expresses my thoughts on what it means to live the tenets of our faith.
As part of its tenets, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) has 13 Articles of Faith. The one that really stands out to me is the 12th Article of Faith which states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”
What does that mean? In layman’s terms, that means that we are commanded by God to be obedient to the laws of the land in which we live, and we are to also respect those who have been appointed over us. It does not matter whether we agree with our leaders, or even if we like them, but we must respect the decisions that they make and not demean and degrade them at every turn. The Apostle Paul taught,
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation (Romans 13:1-2).
Scriptures also teach us that the Lord has the authority to appoint people to positions of power for a season, and He also has the authority to remove those same people from their positions of power. In Daniel 2:21 we read:
And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.
Those of you who will read this article know that President Barack Obama is not very popular at the moment with the American populace. I can’t help but wonder if the sole reason for the dislike is because of what people have deemed to be absurd political moves on his part, or because people are out of their comfort zones and have not fully accepted the idea of having a person of color as President of the United States. Perhaps it is a mixture of the two concepts.
In considering the issue of race, let us consider that prior to the last election, world-renowned Evangelist, Billy Graham, took the time to meet with Republican incumbent, Mitt Romney, but yet, President Obama has been in office for 6 years now, and Graham has not once tried to meet with him. Graham has met with several presidents over the years and has even given the invocation at the Inaugural Day ceremony of a few, so why has he never met with President Obama? I am not judging Billy Graham as being a racist or anything of the sort for I do not know his reasoning, but it does beg the question about why a well-known Evangelist who has spent his lifetime preaching the message of the gospel around the world to people of all races, has never had a conversation with President Obama. It clearly sends a very confused and mixed message.
What is even more alarming is that after meeting with Romney who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Graham made the instantaneous decision to remove the statement from his website that Mormonism is a cult. A statement which he has defended for decades, along with declaring Catholicism to be a cult as well. One can’t help but wonder, “Why the sudden “change of heart?””
As members of any faith or denomination, we must follow that which we profess to believe. Either we believe what our faith teaches, or we do not. We cannot straddle the fence and continue to switch sides every time the winds of adversity blow. We cannot pick and choose what parts of the gospel we believe or accept, or which parts make us feel the most comfortable. Either we believe and accept it all, or we believe and accept none of it.
Part of that faith – that believing – is accepting the fact that God appoints people to certain positions of authority when He needs them to fill those positions, and for the length of time that He so chooses. We must further realize that those who are appointed have their free moral agency, and so they set the tone of whether they are obedient to the Lord’s commands or not. Throughout scriptures there were good and faithful rulers, and there were wicked and unfaithful rulers. Nothing has changed. Either we respect God for His decisions or we don’t. If we do not, it begs the question of how true and loyal we are to the gospel. Something to definitely think about.
Karlyn Stebbins; 27 March 2014
Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:
Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.