(Amber Garvin from Provo, Utah served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as 'Mormons') in the Richmond, Virginia area (Now called the "Virginia Chesapeake Mission"). 'Sister' Missionaries are able to serve at age 19 for a period of 18 months. They leave their homes, families and educational pursuits to love and serve their fellowman, and to teach about how families can be together forever. All are invited to follow her missionary experiences.)

*I have now returned home to Utah and will continue to share the experiences of being a returned missionary. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Talk: Recognizing Christ in Our Lives

                              4 Ways that I have learned to recognize Christ in my life:

1) Recognizing the Holy Ghost in our lives, or knowing what the Holy Ghost feels like to us.

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and is the way that we gain a witness that God is our Father, we are His children, and that Jesus Christ is the Savior and redeemer of all mankind.

Preach My Gospel teaches that “we receive the Spirit by the prayer of faith”(p.93)… and that “Effective prayer requires great effort.” (p.94)

We learn from Ephesians 5:9, and Galatians 5:22 that the “fruits of the Spirit” are goodness, righteousness, truth, love, peace, joy, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance. 

If these feelings are in your life, then the Holy Ghost is in your life. It’s as simple as that. If these feelings are missing from your life, you can invite them in through repentance, and living your life in harmony with the standards from “For The Strength of Youth” 
Learning to understand how the Spirit communicates with us is a skill that takes a lifetime to develop. But as we keep trying our very best to listen to the quiet whisperings, and promptings of the Spirit; and to act on them “line upon line, and precept upon precept” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:12) we will be trusted with more and more prompting, and more and more impressions that will lead us closer to Heavenly Father, and will strengthen our resolve to live the Gospel, and to treat the Gift of the Holy Ghost as sacred.

“Yea behold, I shall tell you in your mind, and in your heart, by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall dwell in your heart.” (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2)


How do I receive revelation?

I’ve often heard that when we serve others we find answers our own prayers. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.”(Mosiah 2:17) When we obey the commandment to “love one another, as [Christ] has loved [us]” John 13:34) we are entitled to receive divine guidance from the Holy Ghost.

Elder Bednar in a mission conference told the missionaries that the last time we marked something in our scriptures is the last time we received revelation. Revelation is the way that Heavenly Father talks to us. He does that through the scriptures, prayer, the prophets, the Holy Ghost, service, others, and many other ways. You can receive revelation every day. If it is hard to recognize revelation, then pray that you will be able to see it in your life daily. Your prayer will be answered “Line upon line, precept upon precept”(Doctrine and Covenants 98:12).

I see Christ in my life as I receive communication from Him through the Holy Ghost.

2) Being “Grateful in Any Circumstance”

Faith promoting experience:

While serving in my first area I was struggling in many ways. It was hard for me to have faith that the area would ever change, that the ward would ever change, that I would ever change, etc…

After much consideration I chose to do something that I had heard of, but had never tried. I decided for one week to only offer prayers of gratitude.

It was difficult at first. There were so many things that I thought that I needed help with. And I wanted to ask for that help. I had to direct myself to not ask for things, and to find ways to be grateful even if we had no documented success that day. I found that as I practiced thanking God for the blessings and miracles that I observed in my life, He blessed me with exactly what I needed. I became a better minister of the Savior, my testimony grew, I realized that we were doing good every day, that the Lord was pleased with our service, and that gratitude cultivates faith, love, and hope. Pres. Uchtdorf said, “Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes!”(Grateful In Any Circumstances, April 2014, General Conference) 

Gratitude in our prayers opens our hearts and minds to revelation.

“Another key element in sincere prayer is gratitude. When was the last time you said a prayer and only expressed gratitude? About learning to recognize answers to prayer, Elder Richard G. Scott said:

I have saved the most important part about prayer until the end. It is gratitude! Our sincere efforts to thank our beloved Father generate wondrous feelings of peace, self-worth, and love. No matter how challenging our circumstances, honest appreciation fills our mind to overflowing with gratitude. [“Learning to Recognize Answers,” 32] (Gordon Limb, Recognizing and Responding to the Promptings of the Spirit.)

I learned from President Uchtdorf’s talk that if I am only grateful for the things that I have, I will never be happy. True, eternal joy is never found in acquiring worldly “stuff.” My philosophy is that “stuff” is just a filler in our lives anyway, and contains no real substance. It’s like Ramen Noodles, or cake. You get full, but it doesn’t last.

True joy comes as we repent—are willing to change our attitude when circumstances are not ideal. Happily submit our lives, and will's to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ—trusting in Them. Letting go of things we do not have power to change, and cultivating Christlike attributes through an “attitude of Gratitude.

3) Holding to the “iron rod”, “pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ and a perfect brightness of hope.

None of us are perfect at doing everything all the time. The important thing is that we never give up trying. This principle is taught simply and powerfully in the Book of Mormon.

In 1 Nephi when speaking with his brothers about a vision of the tree of life Nephi was asked,

23) “…What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? 24) And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction. (I Nephi 15:24)

Please don’t let go of the iron rod. It’s possible to hold onto it until the end. You can make it.

Inspiring words from out beloved Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. In 1999 he said, “Don’t give up.. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it… You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”…

“..Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” (‘An High Priest of Good Things to Come’, Oct. General Conference)

4) Relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and making it part of each day.

Knowing that we are children of a LOVING, KIND, and MERCIFUL Heavenly Father makes a difference, and is part of who we each are. This is a truth that we each need to gain a testimony of. The very first thing that missionaries teach is that God is our loving Heavenly Father.

I know that is true, and that through His son Jesus Christ we can be made clean, change things in our lives, and none of us is ever so lost that we cannot be found.

In closing I wanted to share some about the Atonement, and the term “grace”. Which defined by the Bible Dictionary “…is divine means of help and strength given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Bednar in April 2012 Ensign taught that, “Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. We may mistakenly believe that we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities… Help from the Savior is available for the entire journey of mortality—from bad to good and to change our very nature.”(The Atonement and The Journey of Mortality, pp. 40-47)

And Brad Wilcox in a CES fireside“…grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel, but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road it is received right here, and right now. It is not a finishing touch; it is the Finisher’s touch.” (His Grace is Sufficient, BYU Devotional, July 2011)

I bear testimony that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth today through the Priesthood authority of God, or power to act in His name, and under His direction. Through the Priesthood, all saving ordinances required for each of us to return to live with our Heavenly Father again are available to all who will choose them. The Gospel is meant to help each of us improve the quality of our lives and find joy. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. The power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is ENABELING, and strengthening. I know of the Savior’s love. He will neither “fail, nor forsake” us. Joseph Smith was the first prophet called in this period of time. Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the earth today.