Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Harry!!

Well, to celebrate the birthday of "The boy who lived" I thought I'd post a spiritual analogy from Harry Potter. This was one I used in Jeremiah 30 to help teach about the power of Christ.
What is the power of Christ? What can Jesus do for me? Why do I need a Savior?

Harry, in Year Two at Hogwarts, finds himself in the Chamber of Secrets facing almost certain death from a Basilisk. The huge snake-like creature that kills just with a look of its eyes is being commanded by a memory of Harry's nemesis Lord Voldemort. Harry it seems is alone with no way out, but then in comes Fawkes, Dumbledore's Phoenix, to poke out the eyes of the Basilisk. Now Harry has a chance. Fawkes also brought Harry the sorting hat, which gave Harry the sword of Godric Gryffindor, which he used to fight and kill the Basilisk. Although he killed the Basilisk, he didn't escape unscathed. He took a fang to his arm, which would have killed him, but swooping in again came that Phoenix. It shed a tear into his wound and completely healed him. Then, if that wasn't enough, this magnificent bird carried Harry, Ginny, Ron, and a loopy Lockhart out of the Chamber delivering them from being trapped.

Now, long before J.K. penned The Chamber of Secrets, the Phoenix bird has been a symbol of Jesus Christ. A Phoenix, as I'm sure you know, rises from its ashes, symbolic of the Resurrection. And like Fawkes, our Savior is there for us to fight our enemies, to give us the sword of truth (it's sharp--to the dividing asunder), to heal us, and to deliver us!

How was Harry able to access such a powerful ally? The answer will help us see how we can gain the power of Christ in our lives.

Dumbledore told Harry that the only way for him to have summoned Fawkes to his aid was (I'm summarizing here) if Harry had been loyal to him. Later in the series Scrimgeour tries to recruit Harry to the ministry. Harry declines and the new minister comments that Harry must be Dumbledore's boy through and through.

Jeremiah 30:22 "And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."

I testify that Jesus Christ, the Lord Jehovah, wants us to be His people. He wants to be our God so that He can fight for us, equip us with the weapons we need, heal us, and ultimately deliver us. I know that He will if we will be loyal to Him and keep His commandments.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"When the Lord commands, do it."

Obedience...what comes to mind? Well, to me, I think obedience is the first law of heaven. What does that mean?
Our Priesthood/Relief Society lesson today, Ch. 13 from the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, focused on this topic of obedience. The lesson began with a personal experience from the Prophet Joseph's life, where they had to up and move "in the middle of an especially severe winter." Although it was hard for them, did I mention they had to travel by sleigh and Emma was expecting twins, Joseph obeyed when the Lord commanded. A question was read in class, "How have you been blessed when you have obeyed...commands without hesitation?" My mind, with the help of a class comment, went to that phrase, "without hesitation." How do I get to where I can obey, without hesitation?

Why do we have commandments that we need to obey anyway? When we understand the doctrine it will help change our behavior. It will make it easier to obey and hopefully to obey without hesitation, so we can say with Joseph, "When the Lord commands, do it." Let's turn to section 82 of the Doctrine and Covenants to gain insight on why we have commandments:

8 And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;

9 Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.

I see two reasons in these verses. One, commandments are God's will. Two, commandments teach us how to act so that we can be saved.

Obedience, that's what should come first in our lives. When the Lord commands, do it!

I hope that understanding the why will improve my ability to obey. What are some other things that hinder our obedience?