Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sand and the Savior

Every once in a while an artist down at the beach decides to make a sand creation, some of which can be quite amazing. To illustrate this post I'm going to use some of those, although I'm sad I didn't get a picture of "Homer Simpson" on a couch with his dog and I can't remember what all else around him.
On second thought, given the subject of this post, that's probably to the best.  Because this last week was the Tri-Zone conference, for the Malaga, Granada, and LaMancha Zones of the Spain Malaga Mission, and it was totally awesome! I wish I had pictures. The Ayudantes taught how to extend commitments (during practice I played an investigator, and was a total pushover because I knew if I said "no" that would lead to a lot more talking, and my Spanish still has much to be desired. I did manage one really good sentence though!).
Hermana Deere taught on how to stay happy (and had the President down doing pushups and up doing burpies, etc., much to the missionarys' delight!), and the President taught on understanding the Atonement. And what was even better for me is that he and Hermana Deere spoke in English ( a rarity during a conference)!
The subject of the atonement has been a focus of my study of late, and is very near and dear to my heart. I listened to a GREAT talk on the subject by Brad Wilcox ( since I can't give you a copy of the President's message).
And President Deere frosted the cake for me. The atonement is the POWER that can change us - and the friends that we may introduce to the church. It is the fundamental building block of this church, the thing upon which all else is built. It is the "price paid" for our sins, a price willingly and lovingly paid, and is payment in FULL. As Bro. Wilcox says, he doesn't make UP the difference between what we can do and what is required, he makes ALL the difference.
President Deere went through four points - First, to understand the atonement, we have to acknowledge that we are in a lost and fallen state, living in a mortal, fallen world. That is vital for understanding the need for the atonement. Second, through the atonement the Savior not only saves us, but sanctifies us and makes us more like him. Third, without the Grace of Jesus Christ we remain unclean and unprepared to dwell with God and Jesus Christ. And fourth and finallly, our works of righteousness, our ordinances, and our obedience etc. while they are necessary, they are not enough. Without the atonement, all would be lost and in vain.
My "take away" was a deep sense of gratitude for the Savior and his atonement. He paid a price, the depth of which I can't even imagine. And he did it for love of me, and for each of you. And all he asks is that we do those things which will bring us closer to him - the things that will bring us closer to having more love, more joy, more true LIFE than we can possibly imagine.

One last thought - how much do you trust God?  Do you really, deep down to the core of your being, know that his individual, personal plan for you really is what will lead to your greatest joy and happiness?  For me, it has been a journey. At first I pretty much followed what I thought was best (keeping in mind God's advice of coarse). Then I started trying out the path he set - as long as it didn't go too far, ask too much, or ....  you get the picture. Just recently the last "caveat"  has fallen away - I've finally come to realize that even those things that were hard in my life are things for which I am grateful for - God's plan really has been for the best after all!  Wow what a concept. So while I still am not anywhere near perfect at it, I'm really trying to follow his plan for my life, no matter where it takes me. And that will be a grand adventure!

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