Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jesus my Savior

I have really loved getting to know Jesus better this semester by reading about Him in the New Testament. It's interesting to consider the different methods there are of getting to know people. I thought I knew my dad's parents pretty well- I've been at multiple family reunions with the them, visited more times than I can count, heard great puns from my grandpa, ate my grandma's homemade roles until my stomach wanted to burst, and so I thought I knew them pretty well. Then I started typing up their World War II letters that they wrote to each other, and I learned even more than I knew before-- my appreciation for them deepened and I felt closer to them the next time I talked to them.
So it has been with reading my New Testament. I pray to Heavenly Father through my Savior, I sing praises to Him, and I have felt His Holy Spirit numerous times. But as I've read more about Him, about the things He said, and about other's experiences with Him, I have gotten to know Him even better. I especially love reading Isaiah's words about my Savior: Christ was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3). When I read these words, I feel like I can identify with Jesus, with the Son of God! How often do we hear people say, "I just don't feel like I can access a god." But we have all, at one point, been like Jesus-- despised, rejected of men, esteemed as not. Jesus wants us to feel like we can come to Him, like we are like Him, through our sufferings. But in what other ways can we identify with Jesus? Do I feel like Jesus when I pray to the Father and say, "Thy will be done"? Do I feel like Jesus in my associations with others because I always let charity govern my actions? Jesus wants me to relate to Him not only because we've both suffered, but because we've both found strength by living the Father's plan for us.
Jesus was also mocked for not saving himself, for not being more grand. People sneered, "If you were really the Son of God, you'd be more impressive, you'd save yourself." But what makes Christ the Son of God is that "he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows," is that He didn't save himself-- He saved us (Isa. 53:4). He saved all of us. I love my Savior and I know He loves all of us individually. God be praised!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How Christ Gives

As I was reading in John 14:27, I found the phrase,"not as the world giveth, give I unto you" very interesting. How does the way Christ gives us things differ from the way the world gives things? And how do the very things themselves differ?
For the first question, I found at least part of the answer in 2 Nephi 9:50-51. Here, Jacob exhorts the people, "Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price." Christ gives without taking--all He really wants us to give to Him in return for His gifts is our obedience. It doesn't matter how much money we have (which is good news for us college students!). The world will give us respect and say we're worth something when we can show how many material things we possess--the world gives us stuff when it thinks we deserve it by paying up. Christ's love is a gift we don't have to do anything to deserve, and other gifts He has to give us can be ours through faithful living, which will make us happy anyway. What do we need to have to receive blessings from God? A lifestyle that does the things that bring joy. What do we need to have to receive things from the world? Money, which can't bring joy no matter how much of it you have. Isn't it neat that our lives get better from already living the good life? God has given us the gift of the commandments because He knows that those are the things that will bring us true joy--He doesn't ask us to follow the commandments so that He can punish us but so that He can bless us. God gives us gifts that last and He gives them to us freely, if we simply live life in the way He has prescribed.
So the next time you buy some bottled water from the vending machine, feeling ripped off that you have to pay a buck fifty and knowing that you'll be back again tomorrow, remember that Christ offers us living water at no cost, and water that will last forever. Isn't God good? I certainly think so!