Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016

This week might have been the fastest in my entire mission... wait... did I say that last week too?? I don’t know, but time is going SO SO fast with Elder Johnson! I guess it has been a little crazy with earthquake stuff. Gratefully, Vinces is so protected. We did feel the other earthquakes... when one passed I was taking a shower, right for bed! Haha! I thought for sure I was gonna fall through the floor and end up in the neighbors house in an unpleasant way! Elder Johnson and I had a good laugh at that thought. But I am glad it stopped shaking after a short time ;) It indeed was an incredible week! Too many miracles to put down on paper...

I think one of my favorite things that happened this week was to see the change in a particular family. We are teaching a little, cute, old couple. They are so amazing. They have quite a few children with some grandchildren too! They have progressed so much and have changed so so much. The changes are so so beautiful. They have learned how to pray and are teaching their little grandchildren how to do it too! We had not even talked to the little grandchildren and one day the grandma gave us some fried bananas just as a snack... so Elder Johnson and I went to town on it... but before I knew it I heard a little voice say... “Querido Padre Celestial”... (Dear Heavenly Father)... I looked up only to see a little adorable 3 year old girl saying the prayer with her older brothers and sisters... all younger than 10... to bless their fried bananas. How humbling this moment was. How amazing the change in this family is. I was nearly brought to tears at the miracle that the Lord blessed us with in that moment. So that was something super neat this week... and I am sure we will continue to see some incredible things as time goes on!

It’s that time again!!! Time for a spiritual thought.
My dad and I basically lived in the weight room as I grew up... and our bread and butter always has been and always will be the bench press. We always had a certain number of sets and repetitions, but when those were complete we were always brought to the “death-set.” The most growth is always seen during this last set. It hurts the most, burns the most, and drains you the most. It is done by doing as many repetitions as humanly possible until you physically cannot do any more. There comes a point in this set where muscle fatigue kicks in after lifting the bar as many times as you possibly can and your muscles collapse and it becomes humanly impossible to continue lifting. The weight of the heavy bar leaves you pinned... helpless and hopeless.

Have you ever experimented “spiritual fatigue?” Perhaps you’ve lifted the bar of life as many times as you possible can, but now it has collapsed. Have you ever felt helpless, hopeless, or “pinned” by who you were, who you are, or who you are becoming? Do you feel the pain of this “death-set” that makes us feel like continuing is impossible? I felt the pain and failure that came from this death-set every single time I did it... and every time I did it I eventually got pinned by the bar... without hope... without help... until I heard a voice... EVERY SINGLE TIME. It was a proud voice.

“Nice job”... and then the bar was taken off of my chest by my father who was always right behind me.

I can testify with all of my heart that God’s grace is real. It is visible, it is palpable, and it is available to all that do all they possibly can just as my dad was ALWAYS available to lift weight off of my chest after doing all that I possibly could. “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all that we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). What is all that we can do? What do you need to do to feel your nu-liftable bar lifted off your chest? What gives you hope? What will give you help? The following 2 verses give us the answer!

“And notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and we look forward with a steadfastness unto Cristo, until the law shall be fulfilled.” It teaches us that belief is required. Believe in your spotter, who is the Savior. He is ALWAYS there! He will not leave your side. We must also be obedient to have this spotter always there. Each time we disobey, the reaction of our Savior to our “spiritual-fatigue” is delayed... leaving the weight on our chest. We not only have to believe in Christ, our spotter... but we must look unto Him, and know His grace will save us. “...wherefore the law hath become dead unto us...” just as my muscles had become dead unto me and just as our ability to lift our doubts, troubles, and worries becomes dead to us, “...and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith...,” just as I was made alive by my father lifting the bar after doing all that I could, and just as our Savior will lift our bar after we do all that we can though faith in Him.

I bear my witness just as the prophet Moroni did that we are sanctified and purified in, through, by, and of the shedding of the blood of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by His grace. I testify just as Jacob did that the Lord shows us our weakness to make us KNOW that His grace is real and that it is saving.

Do all that you can, Brothers and Sisters. You will hear the voice of our Savior just as I heard the voice of my father... “Nice job”... and then you will feel the weight of the world be lifted off of your chest. You will feel the doubts that you have erased from your mind. You will feel the sins on your shoulders purified by the Lord’s blood. Permit His grace. Rejoice in His grace.

He is the Savior of the world. He is your Redeemer. He is your Spotter... full of grace and of truth to save you after all that you can do.

Elder Noll

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