I seek to do as my Savior did, He “went about doing good.” He wasn’t concerned about power or politics. He was concerned with lifting the hands that hung down, comforting the comfortless and elevating people out of their traps of self-deception. His acts and his teaching frequently flew in the face of popularity and prominence, but in the end his enemies could not refute that, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Jesus Christ was the epitome of this scripture. Today, I talk of Christ.
Recently, Neil L Andersen pointed to a general decline in the number of people who believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. He mentioned a study predicting that in the next 10-years, twice as many people will abandon faith in Christ as those who will receive Him.
He then asks us:
If the world is going to speak less of Him, who is going to speak more of Him? We are! Along with other devoted Christians!October 2020 General Conference
I pray that we will speak more of Him.
One of my favorite paintings of Christ hangs in a stairwell of the Bountiful Temple. It was done by Danish painter, Carl Bloch, and has been a great comfort to me over the years. The picture depicts a small child holding a branch, and he is being gently comforted by our Savior. A brother in the temple surprised me one day, saying the picture troubled him. “I feel like Christ is looking at me sternly and saying, ‘Why aren’t you taking care of my children?’” I replied, “I guess I’ve never thought of it that way. I’ve always felt I am the little child: a bit insecure, and holding onto my simple cares that are somehow important to him because they are important to me. And even when I’m unaware, he is standing there comforting me.”
Yes, I’ve often felt insecure and even hopeless. I have felt I just couldn’t make it, but I was wrong. Like so many others in my work in addiction recovery, I have found that Christ is the hope of the hopeless. It is only in and through him that any of us have hope.
I remember a woman named Kelly who spoke to us at an open addiction recovery meeting about her difficult struggles with drug addiction. She said, “And so there I was at rock bottom and my sister is telling me I need to let Christ in my life. I felt like screaming, ‘I have a real problem! I need real help! I can’t depend on an imaginary friend!’” Well, she gradually changed and let this real friend into her life. After the fireside her sister told me, “You know, I spent a lot of years trying to be a kind of savior to my sister, but until she turned to our Savior, there was nothing I could really do.” What was true for Kelly is true for each one of us. As I spoke with Kelly, I felt the deep love and converting power of one who has begun to come to know the Lord and my soul wept with joy.
One of my dearest friends, I really came to know after he was sent to prison. He had been one of my senior patrol leaders when I was an assistant scoutmaster. He was a pleasant young man, but a few months before he was to leave on a mission, I remember meeting him in a store and feeling that something was very wrong. He went on his mission, but that ‘something’ that was very wrong kept pricking his conscience. He was teaching people about repentance and faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and he knew he needed to make a confession. When he did, that confession placed him in jail for six-months, but choosing the harder path was exactly what he needed. See his story in my blog here “Friendship and Redemption”.
After that extremely trying time for him, he texted me the following:
I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast! I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past has been redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till he stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.My friend, “Don”
And here are Kelly’s words, from her blog, The Faith Seed, “Two years ago I was a full blown heroin and meth addict. I was near death. If the streets didn’t kill me, suicide or overdose was going to. For the first time in my life, I decided to surrender completely to the Lord. Bit by bit, with the help of Jesus Christ, I am slowly climbing out of the darkness. With the help of the Lord, I will make it. If the simple act of deciding to trust in the Lord can heal me, it can heal ANYONE from anything. Join me in my journey of new found faith.”
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.2 Nephi 25:26
Let us look to Him in every thought, and speak of Him, and prepare the hearts of our friends and family to meet Him!
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.John 14:27