The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

[The Atonement of Christ] is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them.

Elder Boyd K. Packer

The Mediator,” Ensign, May 1977, 54

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December 13, 2017

Healing, Hymns, Mercy

Comments Off on Earth Has No Sorrow That Heaven Cannot Heal

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot cure.”

Here see the Bread of Life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.

Come Ye Disconsolate, Hymn 115

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December 12, 2017

Christmas, Service

Comments Off on Serving Dios Niño on Christmas Day

Watch the video all the way through and you’ll feel the Christmas spirit.
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December 11, 2017

Christmas, General Authorities, Hunter

Comments Off on The Real Christmas – Taking Christ Into Our Lives

It is possible for Christ to be born in men’s lives, and when such an experience actually happens, a man is “in Christ”—Christ is “formed” in him. This presupposes that we take Christ into our hearts and make Him the living contemporary of our lives. He is not just a general truth or a fact in history, but the Savior of men everywhere and at all times. When we strive to be Christlike, He is “formed” in us; if we open the door, He will enter; if we seek His counsel, He will counsel us. For Christ to be “formed” in us, we must have a belief in Him and in His Atonement. Such a belief in Christ and the keeping of His commandments are not restraints upon us. By these, men are set free. This Prince of Peace waits to give peace of mind, which may make each of us a channel of that peace.

The real Christmas comes to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master. I continue with what the writer defines as the real spirit of Christmas:

“It is a desire to sacrifice for others, to render service, and to possess a feeling of universal brotherhood. It consists of a willingness to forget what you have done for others, and to remember only what others have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and think only of … your duties in the middle distance, and your chance to do good and aid your fellow-men in the foreground—to see that your fellow-men are just as good as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts—to close your book of grievances against the universe, and look about you for a place to sow a few seeds of happiness and go your way unobserved” [Improvement Era, Dec. 1919, 155].

President Howard W. Hunter

The Real Christmas,” Liahona, Dec 2005, 12

From a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on December 5, 1972


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December 10, 2017

Discipleship, General Authorities, Maxwell

Comments Off on The more we become like Jesus, the more we come to know Him

He who bore the atoning yoke has asked us to “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” (Matt. 11:29). So the taking of Jesus’ yoke upon us constitutes serious discipleship. There is no greater calling, no greater challenge, and no greater source of joy—both proximate joy and ultimate joy—than that which is found in the process of discipleship. This process brings its own joys and reassurances. We must not, however, expect the world to understand or to value our discipleship; they will not. In a way, they may admire us from afar, but they will be puzzled about the priorities resulting from our devotion.

Shouldering the yoke of discipleship greatly enhances both our adoration and knowledge of Jesus, because then we experience, firsthand, through our parallel but smaller-scaled experiences, a small but instructive portion of what the Savior experienced. In this precious process, the more we do what Jesus did—allow our wills to be “swallowed up in the will of the Father”—the more we will learn of Jesus (Mosiah 15:7). This emulation directly enhances our adoration of Jesus.

Simultaneously, in this same process, the more we become like Jesus, the more we come to know Him. There may even be, more than we now know, some literalness in His assertion, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). We lack deep understanding of the implications of that remark of Jesus. As with so many things, He is telling us more than we are now prepared to receive.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, Jun 1996, 12

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December 9, 2017

Grace, Gratitude, Humility, Lincoln

Comments Off on We have Forgotten the Gracious Hand

We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving Grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

Abraham Lincoln
Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day, 1863

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December 8, 2017

Christofferson, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, Justification, Sanctification

Comments Off on One Who is Justified is Pardoned, Without Sin, or Guiltless

Because of “the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice,” Jesus Christ can satisfy or “answer the ends of the law” on our behalf. Pardon comes by the grace of Him who has satisfied the demands of justice by His own suffering, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).  He removes our condemnation without removing the law. We are pardoned and placed in a condition of righteousness with Him. We become, like Him, without sin. We are sustained and protected by the law, by justice. We are, in a word, justified.

Thus, we may appropriately speak of one who is justified as pardoned, without sin, or guiltless. For example, “Whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world” (3 Nephi 27:16).”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, June 2001, 1

 

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December 7, 2017

Charity, Service

Comments Off on A Very Old New Commandment

When we come to understand how much our Savior has done for us through His Atonement, we develop an overwhelming desire to do something, no matter how inadequate, to take the tiniest step toward repaying Him for His infinite and eternal service to us.

The Lord instructs us as to what we should do when such feelings touch our souls in many different places in the scriptures.  Nowhere are his instructions clearer than in the Gospel of John.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:34

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December 6, 2017

C.S. Lewis, Light of Christ, Repentance, Sin

Comments Off on We have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people

C.S. Lewis didn’t know the term, “the light of Christ,” but he understood the concept very well. When we sin, we sin against light and truth. Depending upon our knowledge, we may enjoy a greater or lesser light, but all who are accountable receive some light.  Because we receive light, we are accountable for our actions.  We know when we are acting according to that light or contrary to it.

“The Light of Christ is the divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. The Light of Christ influences people for good and prepares them to receive the Holy Ghost. One manifestation of the Light of Christ is what we call a conscience.” (“Light of Christ,” Gospel Study, Topics, lds.org)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Acting contrary to the light, doing wrong, is a sin that separates us from Christ and makes us imperfect.  Sin requires repentance so Christ’s Atonement can cleanse us and bring us back to the sinless and perfect presence of Himself and that of His Father.

On to Brother Lewis:

Every one has heard people quarreling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kinds of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”–“That’s my seat, I was there first”–“Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”–“Why should you shove in first?”–“Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine”–“Come on, you promised.” People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.”

Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that some thing has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise.

It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word.

Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the “laws of nature” we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong “the Law of Nature,” they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law–with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.

. . . .

It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.

Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is this. None of us are really keeping the Law of Nature. If there are any exceptions among you, I apologize to them. They had much better read some other work, for nothing I am going to say concerns them. And now, turning to the ordinary human beings who are left:

I hope you will not misunderstand what I am going to say. I am not preaching, and Heaven knows I do not pretend to be better than anyone else. I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.

There may be all sorts of excuses for us. That time you were so unfair to the children was when you were very tired. That slightly shady business about the money–the one you have almost forgotten-came when you were very hard up. And what you promised to do for old So-and-so and have never done–well, you never would have promised if you had known how frightfully busy you were going to be. And as for your behavior to your wife (or husband) or sister (or brother) if I knew how irritating they could be, I would not wonder at it–and who the dickens am I, anyway?

I am just the same. That is to say, I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm. The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are one more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?

The truth is, we believe in decency so much–we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so–that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. For you notice that it is only for our bad behavior that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.

These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity, Book 1
(paragraph breaks inserted to enhance online readability)

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December 5, 2017

Faith, General Authorities, Hafen, Sacrifice, Tests

Comments Off on Part of the Sacrifice the Lord May Require

[P]art of the sacrifice the Lord may require is that we accept what He may inflict upon us without understanding to our rational satisfaction why we should be lost in some dark night of the soul. Eventually the light of Christ’s atoning power can pierce our darkness and bless us with understanding, but we may receive no such witness until after the trial of our faith.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen
Reason, Faith, and the Things of Eternity, FARMS Review: Volume 20, Issue 2, Pages: 15-35

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