Thursday, April 24, 2014

His Grace Is Sufficient

    So this was another pretty great week. We were able to have some great lessons, set a few baptismal dates, and help out a few of the families in our ward with a few different things! So I count it as a win! Now for my fathers questions. 1) Is it spring here? Idk. Its still hot....not really raining yet, but thats coming up really quick....not really flowers everywhere blooming....yah idk haha 2) People here normally get called to Mexico yah. There are a few exceptions...but not many. 3) No. People here are pretty soccer crazy, but they dont shut down almost anything. EVERYWHERE you go the game is on and when Mexico scores a goal you know haha cause wherever you are people are screaming. But not too crazy. 4) No, people dont barbeque and yes, it is depressing. 5) Actually, there are a lot of people that we meet here who arent literate and thus cant read the book of mormon. But the bigger challenge are the people who have severe learning disabilities (also common) and really dont understand anything we are teaching them even if we review it time and time again. Thats the hardest part. Its sad too. 6) And last, they celebrate different ways. They do lots of processions and walks with crosses and singing and they chant stuff, and they throw festivals and more. They have the entire week off from everything. On Thursday and Friday there are very few stores and things open like that and then they finish by actally crucifying someone on a cross. Its pretty intense.
       Okay, so now for the week summary. Well the highlights of the week would include a very spiritual lesson with a recent convert, having our investigator FINALLY reading and praying and having her say that she really feels the spirit more often, falling next to a irrigation trench and getting scraped up and wet, playing basketball in an indoor court with nets and breakaway rims! (thats unheard of here), and 
       So the spiritual thought for this week comes from something I was thinking about the other day during my personal study. I was reading Ether 12:27 about how Christ can take our weaknesses and make them strengths. I have read this scripture a hundred times, but this time I was really focusing on the HOW. Well, it says that "His grace is sufficient" that if we have faith in him then our weaknesses will grow to be our strengths. And as I read this....I came to a somewhat startling realization.....I dont really know what Grace is! How many times have i heard the song "Amazing Grace" or sung in church the words "...though hard to you this journey may appear, grace shall be as your day..." from the hymn "Come, Come ye Saints" and yet I have really NO idea what grace is! So I went to the Guide to the Scriptures and under Grace it reads - " The enabling power from God that allows men and women to obtain blessings in this life and to gain eternal life and exaltation after they have exercised faith, repented, and given their best effort to keep the commandments. Such divine help or strength is given through the mercy and love of God. Every mortal person needs divine grace because of Adam’s fall and also because of man’s weaknesses." So Grace is a divine help or strength that we get because of the Mercy and Love of God. In learning this, I realized that means that if someone hopes to turn their weaknesses into strengths, they have to ASK God for that enabling power. Without Grace we cannot overcome our weaknesses or withstand temptations. But what do we learn about Grace from 2 Nephi 25:23? That we are only saved by Grace, after all we can do. There was a talk given at BYU by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace is Sufficient" which I not only highly reccomend, but is probably in the top 3 talks I have ever read. In this talk Brother Wilcox explains that while that scripture is true in the sense that Grace requires the effort of our whole souls, he added a comforting insight as well. He said - "The Savior’s gift of grace to us is not necessarily limited in time to ‘after’ all we can do. We may receive his grace before, during and after the time when we expend our own efforts...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." Brothers and Sisters, what a gift we have from through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his blessed atonement. We will not ever be perfect in this life, but through Grace, we may learn to rely on our redeemer and thus inherit that glorious promise made by the Lord in Ether. May we continually pray for Grace, and thank our Father in Heaven for sending his son to suffer and die for us, so that we may have that influence in our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Josh Hamm

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