Written Upon Our Hearts

FSS-180421_SheboyganSunrise_537-Edit.jpg

Have you ever wondered what it will be like to return to Heavenly Father’s presence or considered what might occur once we finish our mortal mission?

Though we don’t know much about life after death, we do know that there will be a final judgment when all will come to stand before God. I wish I could sit down with you and watch some of my favorite general conference talks about this, but for now, let’s save it for a rainy day. 

My message today isn’t so much about what may occur while standing in God’s presence, but more so about what we are doing now, so that when that day finally does come, Heaven will feel like home to us. 

FSS_180509_NeenahSunset141.jpg

During the April 2018 General Conference, President Nelson counseled members and non-members alike that, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”

After hearing such divine council, it should cause us to wonder what could possibly lie ahead?

In Mosiah 5 of the Book of Mormon, the saints were taught by King Benjamin, who’s divinely inspired sermon caused all of those who could hear his words exclaim in one voice, “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us...”

Though King Benjamin’s words did invite the Spirit into their lives, the greater miracle that we read occurs only a few words later, “because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” 

We don’t know much about this large gathering of saints other than what we read from the scriptures, however, I would like to think this experience was probably one of the first spiritual awakenings that would forever change their lives. 

From their experience, we learn that one of the greatest miracles that we will ever witness in our own lives, happens within the confines of our own hearts. 

Perhaps this is why King Benjamin, in only a few verses later, says, “I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you [italics added for emphasis].” 

FSS-HeIsRisen-GreatSaltLake_1555-Edit.jpg

It is from this verse that I wish to emphasis the question, “What are we doing now to prepare for Heaven? Or in other words, is His message written in our hearts?

For when that glorious day shall come, when you and I shall stand before the judgement bar of God, will we recognize Christ?

Earlier this month I, along with other returned missionaries, had the opportunity to share stories with the young men in our ward about how my mission to Ecuador changed my life. 

For me, the most life changing lesson that would forever shape who I am today, is knowing that Christ lives!  

I told the youth the most important person that you will ever convert is yourself, and if you can do that, it will have all been worth it. While sitting on the plane home, I was in tears because I came to realize that Christ is EVERYTHING to me.

FSS-HeIsRisen-GreatSaltLake_1530.jpg

I know that I am not perfect, but putting that aside, I know that He loves me despite every mistake I’ve ever made. If that isn’t life changing, I don’t know what is... because He still loves you, and I, regardless of the things that we don’t want anyone else to know. He still loves us and ALWAYS will. 

If I hadn’t dedicated two years of my life to serving God and coming to know Him, I don’t know if I would be the same person I am today. It is because of those long nights, early risings to catch a bus, and the countless hours of fasting that have allowed me to draw closer to the Lord in ways that I never would have imagined otherwise. 

Such a conviction and testimony of His divinity has indeed written His words upon my heart and mind. 

It is because of that testimony that I’ve decided to spend my life photographing the Savior, in the hopes of creating images that not only help me to keep moving forward, but the rest of the world. 

If you, like me, often find it hard to sing the songs of redeeming love, or find it difficult to feel His message of hope and forgiveness in your life, I would invite you to consider the following: 

While Christ was on the Earth He spent His time healing, teaching and ministering to those who needed Him. 

FSS-HeIsRisen-GreatSaltLake_1479.jpg

However, have you noticed that when Christ placed His hand on something, it was healed? 

There are countless stories in the scriptures that teach us of the miracles He performed, the vision He restored to the blind, and even the forgiveness of sin. 

However, do we believe that such miracles can happen in our lives? Do we believe that He can heal us? 

Do we believe that He can forgive us? 

I firmly believe and know that whatever the Lord touches in our lives, whether that be our marriage, family, or weakness we are trying to overcome, it WILL be healed. 

I also know that whatever He says He WILL DO, it shall be done. 

Once we start believing these things, we will see miracles in our lives because our change of heart (believing in Him full heartedly) is indeed the greatest miracle of all. 

We are the miracle (thanks to the Atonement).