Sunday, August 20, 2017

Splitting the Sky

The Lord once encountered a particular young man, a man who had kept the commandments throughout his life and wondered what he lacked yet to be saved in the kingdom of the Father. Christ told this young man that he needed to sell all that he had and give it to the poor (Luke18:18). To follow Christ, we must show that we put Him first in our lives. 

This couple showed an incredible caliber of faith as they chose to follow Christ. Can you imagine the heart-wrenching nature of their sacrifice for the Savior? How do your personal sacrifices compare?

I won't be surprised if I get some flack for posting this, but these women are an amazing example to me.

What are you willing to surrender to the Lord?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Make Me Whole

For as long as I can remember, I have felt that I was broken, defective, unfit for the kingdom.  I'm sure that I was not alone in this; I don't know if I've met anyone experiencing same-sex attraction who hasn't struggled with this thought-process before. I have begged our Father in heaven to heal me countless times.  Frankly, I still do, but I know that the Atonement of His Only Begotten Son is real.  I have felt its healing warmth coursing through my veins and lifting the suffocating weight from my chest.  I know that as He healed His brothers and sisters amidst His mortal ministry, Christ can heal us.  He can heal you.  No pain, no guilt, no addiction, no damning shame is beyond His reach.  And, as unbelievable as it may seem, He wants to.  He wants to bear your cross.  He gave His life in case you decided to follow and accept Him.  He has more faith in us than we have in ourselves, because He knew us before our birth, before the separation of the land from the sea and light from the darkness.

I know you're probably growing tired of songs, but, as I've said before, music is an avenue through which the Spirit most effectively communicates to my soul.

Yea Lord,
I believe that thou art the Christ which should come -
The Son of God!
But I do not understand...

Touch my eyes
and bid them see
that my gaze might pierce the veil
and behold the wondrous scene
that in dreams I've long beheld!
Oh touch my heart
and bid it know
that every sorrow here is but a moments tear,
and thou wilt make me whole again!

Touch my ears
and bid them hear
all the glory of thy truth,
that my hope might come of faith
and no more require proof!
Oh touch my heart and bid it know
that while in darkness here
the Lord is ever near,
and thou wilt make me whole again

Then touch my lips
and bid them sing
songs of everlasting praise,
that my soul might then believe
and give thanks through all my days!
Oh touch my heart, 
and bid it know
that every breath I take 
is by thy tender grace,
and thou wilt make me whole -
and thou wilt make me whole - 
Oh thou wilt make me whole again!

In Mark 2, the Savior heals a man sick with palsy. Many times I have skimmed over this miracle and appreciating that the Lord gave this man a functional body. However, as I have been traveling and teaching, I've started to understand a deeper truth and significance to this occurrence. I've included the Church's Bible video depiction of this miracle to illustrate:

Those who lowered the ill man showed utmost faith by going through the trouble of lowering him through the roof! I'm the video, they didn't keep their ends of the rope with them, either. They knew that Christ could and would heal their loved one if they could only get to Him. 

The true miracle was not that the man was able to take up his bed and walk. Truly, the Messiah proved His divine mission by forgiving the man of his sins first. He shows what is truly important. Of course He could remove all of the pains of this mortal stranger, but to show that He truly was the Redeemer of Israel, the Lord risked accusation of blasphemy to make this man whole. 

What's the difference between being healed and being made whole? I would describe being healed as having a limitation or an uncomfortable stimulus removed, at least for a time.

To be whole, on the other hand, is to be brought back into good graces with God, to gain a stronger appreciation for one's purpose and relationship with Jesus. It is reconciliation with the Father. It is a return to dignity and spiritual homeostasis. 

While my chronic illnesses have yet to be removed from my own bitter cup and my attractions often bring me pain, the Lord is making me whole. I'd rather be whole than healed. The Savior's atoning sacrifice gives me opportunities to become whole with my same-set attraction, to become the man I was meant to be. It makes me grateful for adversity and plot twists. I rest assured that there is a reason for all things. 

How is Christ making you whole?