Note, I did not share all of these thoughts I had wrote down.
( Passing of the sacrament took twice as long a normal so my time had to be cut short :p )
Atonement of Jesus Christ; prepared for mission
This month’s topic is about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I would like to share with you my preparation to serve a mission by using his atonement.
Dallin H. Oaks said, “We understand that the Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us the opportunity to overcome the spiritual death that results from sin and, through making and keeping sacred covenant, to have the blessings of eternal life.”
[ What is ‘The Atonement’?
The word ‘atone’ means “to make amends,” or “to pay for.” ‘Ment’ simply means the action of something. Preach My Gospel defines it very well. It says,
“To atone is to suffer the penalty for an act of sin, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinners and allowing them to be reconciled to God.”
Who to made the Atonement?
Jesus Christ. He was the only one capable of making a perfect Atonement for all mankind.
What did happen or what did he do to make the Atonement?
He suffered for our sins in Gethsemane by feeling every pain and suffering by which he bled from every pore; what many know is he died on the cross. ]
The atonement is not there for show. We need to USE it. This is a time for us to take advantage of something without being criticized for it. Because taking advantage of someone else for your own benefit in this day is not looked upon as a positive thing. This IS a positive thing.
Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all of us. He loved his father AND us so much that he sacrificed himself for our sins, past, present and future. Our responsibility is to fully repent, follow the commandments and obey His gospel. What do we get in return? Not that we NEED a return, but he still gives us a gift. A beautiful gift of eternal life.
(#1) John 3:16-17
“For God so loved 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.”
I’m a story teller so enjoy my mission story. I want to tell you my Mission story of how I decided to serve a mission:
When President Monson announced the age change for able, and worthy, young men and woman now, 18 and 19 years old, to serve full-time mission for the Lord and Jesus Christ, I honestly, don’t remember my feelings about it. I’ve always thought, “what a great blessing. I think it would be very beneficial for the church, God’s children, and the missionaries that decide to serve!”
I would get asked if I would serve. Well I was only 15/16 at the time! I didn’t even know what I wanted to do as a career let alone make this important decision. Through the years, myself and my family experienced our ups and downs, like most. But to me, I felt like it was the end of the world. I might as well just lay down in bed and never wake up again. I didn’t care what happened with church. Sure, I enjoyed going. I didn’t not believe what I was taught.
I never took upon myself to find out if it were true.
· I wanted to know something.
· I wanted to feel something
· I wanted a testimony
· I asked those questions “Where’d I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?”
A very dear friend of mine, Shane, and his family, helped me learn of the great blessings that come from being active in the church and attentive in the gospel. The first time I met his family was a Monday night when they were doing family home evening! Something that my family rarely, close to never did. Whenever I would visit them in their home, we would have family prayer before I left. He was one of the big impacts in my life that brought me back to Heavenly Father’s true, restored church! My testimony grew immensely. I came to know for myself of the great blessing to follow Jesus Christ and take advantage of his Atonement that he made for me! I learned that I wasn’t alone. I had a constant companion, friend, and still have, of the spirit, the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ. To get me through these harsh times of the world.
Jesus Christ picked me up when I was down and near broken. I read his words of faith, love and strength to trudge through the struggle. His atonement was the biggest influence in bringing me back to his true gospel. Although, I am still learning about it today!
So clearly, a mission was not in the picture. I would kindly, say no to those that asked. Being only 15/16, I would comment, “well maybe when I get closer to age 19, I will decide for sure then.” That is a key comment people! Remember that I said that. [haha] Hint, prompting number one! Though I ignored it.
Why should you use the atonement??
It’s like a security blanket, or what I like to call a baby blanket. In times of sadness, anger, or sorrow, depression, or anxiety. Our brother, Jesus Christ, knows EXACTLY how we are feeling. He has felt it, every bit of it. Just feel him wrap his arms around you to hold you up!
(#2) Mosiah 3:7
“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.”
As I have prepared for my mission, I have read and studied Preach My Gospel like it is another set of scriptures. Well I guess you can say it’s a study guide for the scriptures. I recommend you to study it too. Even if you aren’t preparing for a mission. It is a great tool to better understand the gospel principles, to become better disciples of Christ, and most importantly to know how to use the gospel, the atonement, in our daily life’s.
It tells us why we rely on the atonement. “As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
It has taken me these past few years to understand why I should use the atonement. Honestly, I still am! I feel like an investigator trying to truly understand this most important blessing that was given to us by our loving heavenly Father! For example, I took advantage of Jesus Christ’s atonement while preparing and writing this very talk! The agony and anxiety that I get speaking in front of people. The perfectionist in me that wants this talk to be the best one I give. To make sure I teach ya’ll of the greatest, most valuable blessing we receive by living as a Latter-day Saint. Jesus Christ felt all of that with me!
In the book of Alma, Amulek testifies of the sole purpose of Christ’s atonement. He says,
(#3) Alma 34:8-10
9 “For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God…”
Why would God want to sacrifice his only begotten son?? That’s not love, is it?
He loved us so that he did exactly that! Can you think of anyone else who would sacrifice anything for you and to have eternal life? I know he loved his Son, Jesus Christ, so much that he gave him to us! It was in God’s plan! One key concept that I still learn, is to TRUST in God’s plan. Heck, serving a mission was NOT in my plan! [haha] I had prepped to attend BYU Idaho. I got to Rexburg in one piece! [I used the atonement during that whole process!] I was studying nursing. My dream is to be a nurse in pediatrics.
Yeah, things weren’t going as I wanted! I was failing 2 of my 5 classes I had. I was struggling financially. I was failing at making friends. It was a tough first semester of college. Heavenly Father knew all of this. Jesus felt my sadness and pain. Heavenly Father had decided to show me my new path in life.
“Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, each of us can become clean and the burden of our rebellion will be lifted.”
One of my favorite Apostles was Elder Richard G. Scott. He gave a talk that perfectly explains the use of the atonement with sin.
[Read Elder Scott’s talk] --> Click here to read!
(A.) Giving into temptation is never justified. But asking for forgivness, fully repenting, and using the Atonement in the process, can strengthen us, and bless us more than we could ever know.
(B.) So, Yeah. We don’t fight in today’s war of bloodshed like these people were. We have been blessed of those people that are standing up for us. I am blessed to have a brother, Matthew, to have served in the Air Force. But, think of your own weapons of burdens. Your own tribulations that could be pulling you away from Christ. And continue to hear what Elder Scott has to say.
I feel in my generation of youth and young adults, Satan finds his way to pry into our lives and get us at just the right moments for us to give into sin and temptation. I see it within my close circle of friends. I see in my family. I’ve seen it within myself. There are too many times that I have given in to temptations. At the moment, it seems totally okay. “There is no harm.” “I’ll be fine.” Until the end and we see and go through the consequence. The lesson I learned was to turn to Heavenly Father and Jesus in prayer, pick myself up and turn it all over to my Father in Heaven to guide me to the better path. Use Jesus’s atonement to give me strength to get through the hard times!
Elder Scott perfectly gives some steps to strength yourself against temptation.
[Read the end of talk]
While I was at school, I went through many trials dealing with my worrying, my anxiety, and many depressed moments. It was when I finally turned it all over to Heavenly Father to help me. I needed to really learn how to use the Atonement at this time.
It was a normal Sabbath Sunday. All my roommates but one was out of town. But we went about our day like normal. The lesson in relief society was kind of boring. Sorry, sometimes they can be! But I am thankful that it was boring. I was reading my scriptures, trying to understand what I was reading. I read D&C 6:5-6 over and over, trying to figure out what it meant.
5 “Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive;…”
I WAS ASKING..!!
I WAS ASKING..!!
“…if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.”
I WAS BANGING!
6 “Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.”
Right then and there, I was prompted to serve a mission. I was struck by a bolt of lightning. It was not what I was expecting to hear but it was what He needed me to hear.
The rest of church, I just prayed for confirmation. I could not deny this. I went home, crying my eyes out to my best friend, Haley. Finally called my Mom and told her. I thought the more people I told, the harder it would be to back out! Called my dad and told him.
Something that he told me made it so much clearer that serving a mission is what I truly needed to do to be okay! My so wonderful, loving father told me,
“You know? The lessons today were about missionary work. I thought to myself that you would really love to serve a mission.”
I can’t describe to you how strong the spirit was! I’ll let you in on a secret. I cry when I feel the spirit. Oh and I sleep! It’s true, the spirit puts me to sleep. I was CRYING and I slept darn good that night!
I didn’t mention, this all happened 6 days before I turned 19! Remember what I said earlier. Yeah, he had this planned from the very beginning. Since that moment He guided me to prepare for a mission when I didn’t even realize it. I went through trials and tribulation. Learned about the atonement and the plan he has. And learned to trust him!
While going through the process of submitting my papers and waiting for my call, I was in a very depressed time. I had left BYU Idaho, where I grew to love as a second home! I wasn’t saving enough for my mission. I had started to doubt whether serving a mission was truly the right path! Even though I knew it the whole time filling out my papers. My sweet sister, in New York counseled me to pray and to read my scriptures since I hadn’t done so in a while. Know, that my sister is not active in the church, so for her to say this to me meant so much to me! I knew I needed to turn my sorrows over to Jesus Christ and use his atonement to get through this bump.
Then the next day I checked the mail and lo and behold, my mission call was in there!! I was so gosh darn excited ((: I told my entire family so they would get onto skype for when I opened it.
Reading the words,
“Dear Sister Jensen,” was the moment I was reassured to serve a mission.
I have been blessed with the gospel in my life. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ and his Atonement. I am thankful for my family! Even through the moments I would really like to be an only child. I love each one of you. You are my ward family! I thank you now for the support you have and will give me as I serve my mission. It’s been a blessing to get to know many of you. All of you and these times have helped me strengthen my testimony. I have always prayed for a testimony, and I have one. Now, I get to share it with God’s children of Redlands California!
I am not perfect, and I know. I try really hard to be the best Child of God I can be. I pray that I will be the best missionary that I am called to be! I am so excited to head to California. I can’t even tell you. Although I will miss my family and friends so much, I know that I and them will be blessed for me serving The Lord.
I bear my testimony that I know Jesus Christ atoned for each one of our sins. That God so loved the earth that he gave his only son. Joseph Smith was a true prophet and died for the church as he restored it in God’s name. California was the last place I wanted to go! He knew that too! But he needs me there, and I know that is exactly where I need to go. I am so grateful to serve God’s children of Redlands.