Today has been a very unplanned, hectic day. Once the dust finally settled and I could start thinking to myself again, I realized that today marks ten years of membership for me in the Church. On May 12, 2007 at 12pm Pacific time, I was baptized. My life was changed for good, forever.
So since my realization I’ve been reflecting on some important things I’ve learned during my first decade in the Church. This isn’t a novel of everything, but just a top five. These are things that always come up again and again as I strive to live righteously and continue in my relationship with God and my Savior, Jesus Christ. No, I’m not perfect at these things, but they are things I always remember.
Prayer is important
Prayer is honestly one of the hardest things for me to be consistent at, but when I am consistent with it, even for just a small period of time, I notice a difference in my life. I feel closer to God, and I feel happier. Prayer is our ultimate connection with God, and it’s so easy. I think that’s why it can be taken for granted. All we have to do is make time. It can even be just twenty seconds. And even if it is, that’s twenty seconds well spent.
“And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.” – 1 Nephi 18:3
Scripture study makes you stronger
Scripture reading is another case of making time with the little extra you have left each day. Recently, my wife and I have started working on a habit of reading a chapter together after dinner before we do anything else. For us that seems to be the best time. It’s refreshing to read together and point out the different things that stood out to us. I’ve learned a lot by doing that and always look forward to reading with her, and I also look forward to our children being able to read with us when they’re older.
“For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.” – Mormon 7:9
Even just being on the temple grounds brings you closer to God
The temple is one of my favorite places to be. When the weather is good, we pick a temple to visit on Sundays after church. I enjoy taking pictures, especially of the temples. As I walk around each of the temple’s grounds and take pictures, I’m literally focused (no camera pun intended) on the House of the Lord. I can feel the difference as soon as I’m on that property. I can feel that He is there. It is His house. These are special places, and the best part is that you don’t even need to go inside to feel that. You just have to be there.
“And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them.” – Doctrine and Covenants 109:22
All God wants is for you to keep trying and keep going
One of the first things Christianity teaches you is that you are not perfect. However, one of the other first lessons of Christianity is that God loves you enough to have sent His Son. We have mercy on our side. All we have to do is our best to be better. Be better at keeping the commandments, saying our prayers, serving others. God knows that we are not perfect because He created us that way. Our life mission is a walk by faith to learn more of our Savior and strive to be like Him. It’s His atoning sacrifice that allows us to keep going and to stay on the straight and narrow path. In the end, it will be more than worth our efforts.
“For God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” – John 3:16-17
God always keeps His promises
There is never a promise offered that God won’t keep. Ten years ago today I made a covenant with Him to take upon myself the name of Christ, always remember the Savior, and to keep His commandments. In turn, God’s end of the promise is that I would always have His guiding Spirit to be with me, so long as I fulfill my end of that promise. As I’ve strived to do that I can say that God’s promises have been kept. And his promises are sure for each of the commandments that are ours to follow. If there is a blessing attached to a commandment, you can be sure than when you do your part, God will do his. I’ll never doubt that.
“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” – Mosiah 2:41
Over the last 10 years I’ve seen and experienced many great blessings, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all that I have.
Here’s to another ten years.