Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Treasures in my Life

I was born into a family of analytical thinkers. I know Heavenly Father planned this purposefully. If I had not been searching and seeking for answers to important questions, I would not be the person I am today. I realize each person has different questions that are important to them. We are each unique and have our own lenses through which we see life. Last night I was looking over my brother's blog and something he wrote really got me thinking. {I am sure you are happy about this little bro! :)} Honestly I could not thoroughly understand what the point he was trying to make. I e-mailed him & asked him what his main point was. I have not yet heard back from him. I am sure I will soon. But this morning as I mowed the lawn I was deep in thought of what he wrote. He has his own questions he has been searching to find answers for.

You might assume that most of this is about spiritual matters. It was June of 1992 when I finally found the answers to my most burning questions in life. What happens after we die? Where will I go? What is my purpose in this life?...along with many others. According to my brother, he does not share these same questions...which is okay, it is not wrong. His are very different. His analytical upbringing has brought him to different questions. I have to admit, that I don't understand exactly why others, not just my brother, would not want to know the same answers I wanted to know. If I understand correctly, (forgive me if I am wrong, bro) instead he longs to understand why people believe things the way they do. He is looking at things from more of a intellectual/brain side of things. That is where he & I are very different, not that it is right or wrong...we are who we are - unique, one of a kind. I love my brother very much and have high respect for him. He is a wonderful listener...what an awesome strength! I am analytical, but more so, I pay attention to how I FEEL. I am extremely sensitive. I recently took a personality test and it said I have "a strong inner spiritual focus." This is very true.

You may be wondering how I know the answers to my questions are true or correct. This is the main point I would like to make. It was only by the Spirit manifested to me that I knew the answers were true and correct. To be more specific the feeling I felt. When I was taught about where my soul would go after this life, I knew it to be right or true; because I had a very warm "sparkly" feeling in my chest. This happened almost every time I would learn of Christ and his teachings up until this time. It also would happen when I would pray to God. I have never doubted the existence of God or Christ; because to me, they have always been a part of me. Now I realize this is not the case for everyone. So I am sharing how I FEEL and what I know... the world through my eyes and experiences. I do want to add that not only did these answers appeal to my feelings, but also to my common sense or, to me, my intelligence/brain. All of the answers seemed to make sense to me; almost as if I was recalling something deep inside me, memories from long ago. In addition, my "teachers" encouraged me to test what they were teaching. They asked me to inquire of God for myself, to pray. This impressed me a great deal. If they were trying to "brain wash" me why would they encourage me to find out for myself instead of taking their word for it. Each time I was taught a principle I would pray to find out if it was true. Sometimes I would instantly know as the Spirit would rush through me like I was on fire inside. Other times it took careful study of scriptures before I would pray. Each time I prayed I would feel the Spirit testify and confirm these answers, long awaited answers, as truth. I felt joy and relief...it was exhilarating! To this day I thank my Father in Heaven for hearing my pleadings and leading me to the knowledge of what I need to do to live with Him again after this life is through. I want to know that what I do and say matter. There is a purpose for each of us on this earth. Our trials and experiences help us, refine us.

I want you to know that through the above mentioned process, I know for myself that Jesus is the Christ. He is not some ordinary person who lived on this earth. He is not a magician by any sort of the word. He was not "just" a prophet who lived long ago. I know through every part of me: mind, body & soul that Jesus Christ was God's son sent to redeem us so we may return and live with God again. God has a master plan. He gave us our free agency to choose for ourselves what we will do in this life. Along with our power to choose, He gave us rules or commandments to follow. We can choose to live by those commandments or we can choose not to. If we decide one day to break a rule/commandment, and we will because we are human. (God knew this because He created us) He provided a way for us to start over. Through Christ we can repent, or in other words, ask God to forgive us for choosing to break a rule. Each time we make a choice whether it be good or bad consequences follow. Sometimes these consequences will be desirable and other times not. Either way, we learn through our choices. I know Christ experienced all of our pain & sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane. (I do not expect my human mind to comprehend the ability for Him to do this. I do know & accept it indeed took place.) And by so doing, Christ can truly "walk in our shoes." He understands all we go through and endure in this life. Then by sacrificing His life on the cross, he fulfilled God's plan and will: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. In other words, we will all eventually become immortal, but we choose to live that immortality with Him & Christ. God does not make us return to live with Him. We are free to choose for ourselves whether we want to do what it takes to live with Him again. Unfortunately, I realize that not everyone will choose or want that outcome. Nevertheless, it is up to us.

There is definite good versus evil in this world. You choose every day by what you do and say, how you live your life, to what side you are on. Look at plots in almost every book or movie. It is good versus evil. (I always prefer happy endings :) ) Speaking for myself, doing something good makes me feel happy. Likewise, when I do bad, I feel the opposite...a myriad of feelings like frustration, anger, sadness. Nobody has taught me this, I have experienced this first hand. Therefore, I know the consequences of living God's commandments and the consequences when I don't. I know that when I do good I am blessed, either by receiving talents, skills, spiritual understandings or monetary gain...there are endless ways you can be blessed! I know that when I do bad, not only do I feel bad, I have to accept the consequences of my actions; which sometimes not only effect me, but others around me.

As a Christian, a follower of Christ, I believe The Bible to be the word of God as long as it is translated correctly. I would like to quote from the book of James in the New Testament. Some scholars believe that this author, James, was the actual half brother of Jesus. The epistle of James is a general letter and was not sent to a specific branch of Christ's church unlike other epistles written specifically at the time to certain groups of people. Although I believe, as many other Christians, that the books of the Bible were written for people of "our day" also; which is why we study them.

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep … unspotted from the vices of the world.” (James 1:27.)

In addition to this scripture, I would like to quote from a spiritual leader, Marvin J. Ashton, on this particular verse. He said:

"One who practices pure religion soon discovers it is more rewarding to lift a man up than to hold him down. Happiness is bound up with helpfulness. Those who fail to protect someone’s good name, who take advantage of the innocent or uninformed, who build a fortune by pretending godliness to manipulate others, are missing the joy of practicing pure religion."

Well, I did not intend to spend time on my blog speaking of such precious truths today. (boy, my house shows it!) I seized the moment and decided to write. Times like these are special treasures in my life. I hope you, too, experience the joy and satisfaction answers to your burning questions can bring; especially ones related to your happiness in the present & the future.

With much sincerity, Shan

1 comment:

  1. Shannon, this is excellent writing! I appreciate your open mindedness with what I write, as I do with yours.
    I LOVE YOU!

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