Feed My Sheep

03/25/2011

 

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:15-17

After His resurrection, Jesus Christ ate dinner with his disciples. They’ve passed around the bread and the fish – they’re dining together. Our redeemer speaks to Peter, telling him to feed his sheep three times. Three times the Savior told Peter to teach His people, to bring them unto His fold. What does this mean? Repetition signifies importance. In the scriptures, in life, in school, if something is repeated it is important to understand. Jesus Christ wants all of His brothers to know of the opportunity they have to rise above the filth of the world, the temptations of the devil, the crass nature of the “natural man,” and return to their initial state as creatures of light and of goodness through the redeeming power of His atonement. This is the message that Jesus Christ felt was important enough to repeat to His disciple Peter three times. This is the message that we, as His disciples, must bring to all of His children.

So… how?

We follow the example of Lehi in his vision in 1 Nephi 8:12. We learn of the message ourselves via the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and modern revelation through prophets and apostles called of God to direct us in these latter-days. It is vital that we ourselves understand His gospel if we are to teach others and provide means for God’s Spirit to convert them.

21 Seek not to adeclare my word, but first seek to bobtain my cword, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my dSpirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the econvincing of men.

Doctrine and Covenants 11:21

We invite the spirit into our lives. We do this by being baptized by water and by fire, or by being baptized by full-immersion by one holding the authority to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then by seeking to keep ourselves worthy of The Spirit’s presence by seeking to be Christ-like and by keeping His commandments. If we wish to teach Christ’s gospel, we must have the presence of the spirit. If we study and learn the doctrine of Christ and seek out the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then it is promised that we shall know what to say while teaching the very moment we need to say it, and “you shall not be confounded before men.

8 aOpen your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as bNephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.

9 Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with asheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.

10 Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, arepent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the bkingdom of heaven is at hand;

11 Yea, arepent and be baptized, every one of you, for a bremission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

Doctrine and Covenants 33:8-11

I know of the importance of this great work. I know that it is because our Heavenly Father loves us that he sent His Only Begotten Son to take upon himself the sins of the world and be trodden under foot and crucified by His brothers in thanks. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ, commenced in the Garden of Gethsemane and finished in His resurrection, provides for us the opportunity to repent of our transgressions, to forsake our faults, be forgiven, progress, and receive eternal salvation. I know that He wants us to take His word and spread it abroad. I invite you to follow the invitation he extended to Paul, and “feed [his] sheep.” These things I say in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Blog-a-thon

03/18/2011

Today, I logged into facebook to find a pleasant surprise. An event has been created, called “Mormon Missionary Blog-a-thon”, which invites all to read the thoughts and testimonies of people currently called by a prophet to serve the Lord, in preparation to hear the words of the apostles and our prophet himself at General Conference. I think this is a wonderful idea, maybe because I’m presently such a missionary, but also because I’ve read some very inspiring words in the blogs of other missionaries. Because I have seen some witty analogies, passionate testimonies, and delicate gospel principles unraveled and expounded upon, I would like to take this post opportunity to share with you all a few of my favorite blogs among my fellow missionaries. Please, take a moment and read a post or two from some of the best blogs I’ve read.

http://mysemispiritualblog.com/
http://elderdearborn.blogspot.com/
http://elderholbrook.blogspot.com/
http://phoenixtomontana.blogspot.com/
http://whitadams.blogspot.com/
http://rhwixom.blogspot.com/

You may also peruse the list of blogs of the other online missionaries in the Montana Billings Mission:
https://elderjacobhamblin.wordpress.com/online-missionaries/

Mormon Missionary Blog-a-thon event:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=133314106741097

“Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” – 2 Nephi 32:3

Prayer

03/05/2011

A few days ago I posted about the need for us to be more grateful in our lives, mentioning that everything we have to be grateful for is derived from God. How do we show our gratitude to God? We pray!

God is literally our father in heaven, as He is the father of our spirits. Just like we have our father here on earth, we have a heavenly father, our God. He loves us, just like our parents love us. He wants us to grow and become the very best we can be.

He wants to hear from us! He wants us to seak him out in prayer, to tell him our thoughts and feelings… what we are concerned about in our life. If we pray for the strength to overcome the problems we face in our lives, then we will be blessed with strength. “Ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” is recorded in many places throughout the scriptures, and when I see repetition in the scriptures, I associate it with importance.

If we have faith that we will receive the blessing, and so long as it is the will of our Heavenly Father, we will receive it. Jesus Christ demonstrated this concept in the Garden of Gethsemane before commencing the Atonement. He understood the severity of the pain he would feel as he would suffer the pains and the sins of all mankind. He understood this and became a little weary; he asked to not go through with the intense suffering that was before him. However, he understood the importance of what was going to take place, and he qualified his request, asking for the burden to be lifted from his back only if it be according to the Father’s will.

We also learn of this concept in 3 Nephi 18:19-21. Our request must be aligned with the will of our Father who is in heaven. This scripture also emphasizes the blessings that will come to our families as we pray together as a body united. Our children will learn to whom they can turn for support and love in their lives when trials befall them. Their foundation in Christ’s doctrine and love will be a source of happiness for them throughout their lives.

I really enjoyed the story told by Sister Ugando regarding her experience with prayer, and think you might as well.

I testify of the power that we all have available to us at every moment of every day – the power to ask our Heavenly Father to bless us with whatever it is that we need that is good. I testify that this power is holy, is sacred, is necessary for our happiness and eternal salvation, and I challenge you to use it.

Gratitude

03/02/2011

How often do we consider the beauty of the world around us, or the blessings we’ve received in our lives? How often do we show our appreciation for such things? I just watched an inspiring message on youtube, reminding me to be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life.

Here on earth, we’ve been blessed with loving families who support us daily in our lives. Brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, nieces, nephews, sons, daughters… all of whom build us up and support us in our daily life. I have been blessed with a wonderful family that I love with all of my heart. My parents have raised me seeking to instill in me all values of righteous living – for which I feel eternally endebted. I’ve been born in a time of great technological advances and much modern convenience. I’ve been born into a country with the freedom necessary for worshiping the way one desires to – a country full of opportunity for growth.

I love my family and all the other magnificent things I have been so abundantly blessed with in my life. I think that acknowledging our blessings and showing our gratitude will help us to be happier, more pleasant people to be around. Multiple scriptures support this idea, as there are many records of people giving thanks for their blessings and singing praises. The savior himself thanked His Heavenly Father before partaking of the sacrament.

I’d like to challenge you to think of things that you are grateful today. If that something involves someone in your life, let them know of your appreciation for them and what they’ve done for you. No matter what the thing is that you are grateful for, I can promise that God is in someway responsible, so expressing your thankfulness through prayer is always good. I promise that expressing your appreciation for others will brighten their day, as well as your own. You’ll be a happier person because of your increase of gratitude. It is my hope and prayer that we can all learn to be a little more grateful for our blessings.

Companionship

02/24/2011

As a missionary, I often go 1 1/2 to 3 months living and working with the same person. I don’t know the person beforehand, but the assignment will come and from that time forward we’re attached at the hip. How do we survive being unable to leave sight or sound of a stranger for 2 years? It’s not easy, but it really comes down to our purpose. We’re both representatives of Christ, seeking to bring His light to others.

Of course, sometimes there are compatibility issues or personality conflicts. We often resolve these through coming closer to Christ. We study His doctrine, seeking to acquire for ourselves His attributes and through our diligent effort to draw nearer to Jesus Christ, we draw nearer to each other. Here’s a cheesy image I made in openoffice.org on a library computer rather hastily.

cheesy image made in openoffice.org on library computer
What also helps two inseparable strangers to get along is to focus on the things you like about them rather than their faults. Focusing on their good qualities will help you to love them, to serve them, and be charitable, while holding onto their faults is counter-productive. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus Christ warns His followers not to seek out others’ faults, simply because other than Christ Himself, all are imperfect. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye.” Repent! Work to perfect yourself as Christ has done. He simplifies it, saying, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” (Matthew 7:1).

Whoever you are stuck with, whether it be your missionary companion, your spouse, your room mate, or a sibling, if you will seek to better yourself and draw closer to Christ, then your companion will be all the better. Let us love our neighbor, as we have been commanded.

Charity

02/17/2011

One of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon is Ether 12:33-34.

“And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast aloved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men.

And now I know that this alove which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father.”

God loves us so much that He layed down His life on our behalf. He layed down His life and “took it again” or arose from the dead through resurrection, “to prepare a place for the children of men.” In verse 34 we learn that unless we have charity like Christ’s we can’t return to our Heavenly Father’s presence in heaven. Multiple scriptures support this daunting notion.

Paul tells us in Corinthians that unless he has charity, he is nothing. Nephi spoke the same, saying that unless men have charity they are nothing. What I feel sheds a little light on the subject of the importance of charity comes from the words of King Benjamin as he addresses his people from a tower. He teaches them that to serve your fellow men is to serve God. We are charitable just by seeking to show our love for others through service, and through this service, we serve God.

While teaching in Jerusalem, Jesus Christ is asked which of all the commandments is greatest. In response, he tells them to love God. He says the great commandment is to love God, and the second greatest commandment is to love each other. I imagine that the lawyer sought to entangle Christ in His words, provoking Him to name a specific and/or situational commandment as greatest, to which the lawyer could offer up the question of another commandment equally as important in another situation. However, the apostle Peter teaches that charity will prevent one from sinning. This declaration is verified by Jesus Christ himself in the records of John the Beloved, where He says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Which states plainly the desire of our Savior for us to do as He has asked us to do. Simple.

I know that if we truly have love for each other, we won’t have the desire to commit any since because we will know that our choosing to make wrong decisions will hurt our relationships with each other, as well as with God. As we have love for God and each other and follow Him faithfully, I know that we will always abound in good works. Let us show our love for Him by keeping His commandments and loving each other.

Hey There

02/11/2011

I’m Elder Jacob Hamblin, and I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love Jesus Christ, for I know there is no other way for us to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence than by loving Him and consequently doing what He has asked us to do. I am on a mission because I love my fellow men and want them to have the same joy in their lives that I seek for in my own. I seek to help others to repent and follow the example of Christ. I admire the Sons of Mosiah, who were regarded with such high esteem in Mosiah 28:3:

“Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.”

I know that we are God’s children. I know he has a plan for us. I know that happiness in this life comes from preparing for the next, through faith in Christ.

I will be using this blog to invite others to join with me in seeking the happiness that comes through adherence to the gospel principles.

Let us follow Him.