Blessed Easter to you all…. This year I am especially grateful for sweet children who did not make a peep about the absence of baskets this morning! I was asked to speak at church and I cannot think of a more intimidating Sunday… but as I prepared for the talk, I had so many witnesses of the reality of Christ’s love for me.
I know he lives.
This evening I shared a little devotional with the kids using my Christ Centered Easter set.
They love to help tell the story to their little sister using the paintings. We sang some of our favorite hymns like “There is a Green Hill Far Away” and “Beautiful Savior” then finished our day with a sunset egg hunt.
Here are some of the thoughts I shared in my talk today:
I am humbled to be able to testify of the life, mission, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have been asked to speak on how we can access the Power of Jesus Christ in our lives.
What is the Power of Jesus Christ? Deliverance, Love, Comfort, Freedom, Healing, Joy, Salvation…..
Several years ago, a lost pregnancy broke me. I managed to keep our family running is the loosest sense. But inside, I was utterly broken. In my state of despair, I chose to lay blame on God, instead of giving him my burdens. I felt a spiritual disconnect from Christ as I tried to go about my days on my own. I pushed aside my scriptures, tuned out at Church and would often refuse to pray. I felt that it would be easier to be numb, than really mourn what I had experienced. After almost of year of trying to live like this, I remember finally making that choice to open my heart to Christ again. I could physically and spiritually feel the hardness and distance melt away. The bitterness and anger I was experiencing was transformed into perspective and I could see his hand in my life as I had tried to go about life on my own.
When we are faced with illness, hurt, loss, anger or disappointment, we can run to the Savior or distance ourselves from him. The miraculous thing, is that what is required of us is so small compared to what Christ can give us. I love the imagery of the woman in the Bible who suffered for years as reached to touch the clothes of the Savior to be healed. She exclaimed “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”
Russel M Nelson said, “This faithful, focused woman needed to stretch as far as she could to access His power. Her physical stretching was symbolic of her spiritual stretching.
Many of us have cried out from the depths of our hearts a variation of this woman’s words: “If I could spiritually stretch enough to draw the Savior’s power into my life, I would know how to handle my heart-wrenching situation. I would know what to do. And I would have the power to do it.”
When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.21
When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you.”
When I read this, that reaching gesture really stuck out in my mind. So often, the things that I desire with that intensity are worldly.
I have struggled with a heavy addiction to Diet Coke for many years. For many people, this is not an issue- but I want you to think of your “Diet Coke”.
Throughout my day I am often bombarded with one stressor after another. Whether it is the worry of bills to pay, work deadlines, a child who is struggling, mounds of laundry, the list goes on. Whenever I feel that stress, my first reaction is to reach for a sip of fizzy happiness. More than the caffeine or cancer causing aspartame, I have realized that the real tragedy is that I use this addiction to try to deal with life on my own. Now, I am a pretty capable person, but I am not enough to do and be everything I need to. At least not without Christ supporting me in every action. We can start small- what is one thing we can push aside so that we can more fully depend on Christ?
What are ways that we can physically reach for the Savior?
When we reach for our scriptures, or a conference talk before checking Facebook or the news we are physically reaching for the Savior.
Covenant-keeping men and women seek for ways to keep themselves unspotted from the world so there will be nothing blocking their access to the Savior’s power. One faithful wife and mother wrote this recently: “These are troubled and perilous times. How blessed we are to have the increased knowledge of the plan of salvation and the inspired guidance from loving prophets, apostles, and leaders to help us sail these stormy seas safely. We stopped our habit of turning on the radio in the morning. Instead, we now listen to a general conference talk on our mobile phones every morning as we prepare ourselves for another day.”
When we reach within and find the courage to stand up for the Savior’s teachings we are physically reaching for the Savior.
Russel M Nelson said, “As we invest time in learning about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice, we are drawn to participate in another key element to accessing His power: we choose to have faith in Him and follow Him.
True disciples of Jesus Christ are willing to stand out, speak up, and be different from the people of the world. They are undaunted, devoted, and courageous.”
Faith in Jesus Christ propels us to do things we otherwise would not do. Faith that motivates us to action gives us more access to His power.
When we reach out to others to comfort, serve and bless, just as the Savior did.
When we are feeling that spiritual reaching, that intense yearning for Christ’s presence, let us not let it pass. Let his presence and love move us toward action, aligning ourselves with him.
It can be difficult to not get hung up on the days or moments that we have spent away from his presence. We can never get the time back that was lost to misspent time, poor choices or not really understanding how to make that “connection” happen. This is where I was this week. I was able to look over how I have been spending my time lately and recognized soberly how often I am not reaching towards Christ. I felt like I needed an extra week to be righteous enough to give this talk. The beauty of Easter and the breathtaking joy of Christ’s sacrifice for us is that each month, day and moment is a new opportunity for us to choose to draw near unto him, to pray for help, to learn of him, to be healed and to serve as he did. It is not too late for any of us!
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.