Monday, February 27, 2012

"When All of His goals were on the line...He prayed"........week 83

My dear family,

Well family, another week going by faster than the last. We have a lot of work to do. I am glad to hear that the family is well and that the projects are going well. I hope and pray that you all can continue to be blessed as you anxiously serve our Master and King.

This week we had our Zone Conference which was extraordinary. I was very impacted by one comment from President Spannaus. He mentioned, ¨Elders, the Lord´s school is rough. Realize that it has to be because it is the preparation for eternal life.¨ I was rather impacted by such comments.

Something that has really stood out to us this week has been the importance of setting and keeping goals. Let me try to explain how it I learned it. We set goals. Why do we set these goals? Well, to achieve them because they bring about our purpose. Ok, how is it then that we can set a goal, achieve it, and continue to become better? What we realized was that it requires a dedication to bring them about. How do we obtain that dedication? We learned that it has to do with the commandment to pray always. Why? Why would God ask us to pray always? Because He wants us to achieve every worthy goal. We began to ponder about the example of our Savior. Did He have difficult things to do? Yes. For example, 40 days of fast, the utter rejection of the Jews, and the Atonement. During these difficult times, there occurred something very important. The righteous goal or desire was put to the test in front of the desires of the flesh or our bodies. The spiritual was at war with the physical. And in these times of great trial, how is it that the Savior was capable of putting the spiritual above the physical? It is called prayer. I pondered of the Savior´s sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the most crucial moment of the life of the Savior, when all of His goals were on the line, when all of His work could be brought to an end, and when the mental, emotional, and physical pain was all but unbearable, what was the decision of the Savior of Mankind? He prayed. As the goal of the Atonement seemed to be impossible, the Savior prayed more fervently. As He continued in His trial and the final crucifixtion, He was able to focus in His goal. But when He reached the final moments of the crucifixtion, He felt utter despair. Why? What was the cause by which He would plead from the cross, ¨Father, why hast thou abandoned me?¨ It was in this moment that this faithful servant of the Father, as in previous times, needed to focus. But in this occasion, the Father had to leave it up to His Son. He had to focus Himself. He had to show His complete and total conversion to the goal of the Father. As Elder Holland explains it, "Christ walked totally alone so that we wouldn´t have to do so". As I reflected upon these truths, the Spirit bore testimony to my soul that there is nothing in which we, as sons and daughters of the living God, cannot accomplish. It depends nonetheless, upon our ability to focus, or put the spiritual above the enticings of the flesh. This was the lesson that I receive this week. I obtained a greater testimony of the power of the Gospel unto Salvation to all those who desire it and who are willing to focus.

This is the Church of God. I know it because God has revealed to me in my heart and in my mind by His Spirit. There is no going back. May we go forward in this great cause is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell