Tuesday, April 26, 2011


    Here is an interesting question that I found myself thinking about today... What was the first miracle that the Children of Israel saw performed by Moses?... Any answers? Most people I've asked that to say something along the lines of Aaron's rod becoming a serpent or cleansing his hand from leporsy.. But that's not exactly true. Yes, those were some of the first miracles that were performed, but the Children of Israel were not there witnessing what Moses and Aaron had been doing in Pharaoh's court. The first miracle that all of the Children of Israel witnessed was turning all the water in Egypt into blood for seven full days.

    Personally, that seems like a pretty big let down as far as a first miracle goes! If I was expecting God to deliver me from my enemies in some miraculous way, I would expect something a little less miserable for myself! But the children of Israel were "smitten" right along with the Egyptians.

    What was the second miracle performed by Moses? Frogs. Next? Lice. After that? Flies. The old testament tells us that these plauges were throughout "all the land of Egypt" (Ex. 8: 24). So how's that fair? The Lord is supposed to be helping His people and delivering them from their bondage and their afflictions.. Yet, it seems that from the story, that the Lord enjoys inflicting pain and suffering on both parties, regardless of lineage...

    Obviously, we know that the Lord doesn't want His children to suffer. He DOES, infact, love each and everyone of His children. He wants us to be happy and to prosper. You might be asking yourself, "ok Jake, what is the POINT?!!" Well, i'm gettin there! The Lord will sometimes bring us low through our trials, our afflictions, our pains, our weaknesses, and any other infirmities, that we may become the people He knows we can be. He wants us to learn and to grow and to progress in this life. He wants us to lean on Him and strive for His support. As we submit our will to His, we can continue through our struggles in life and not see them as a nuscience but as a time of self improvement... Even though I'm just a 20 year old kid, I KNOW that that's true. A mission has taught me this very difficult lesson to learn. But I know that as we all strive to endure our trials with our "eye single to the glory of God", we can learn the nessicarry lessons and become the followers of Jesus Christ that the Lord would have us be. Thanks for Reading! As always, I'd love feed back! God Bless Y'all!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning...

    I LOVE this hymn! The words really touch me personally. The Spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost is a gift that Jesus Christ promised his Apostles He would send after He had left them. He called him the comfortor. Christ promised "peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you..." The Holy Ghost brings us that peace. He IS the Comfortor.

Moses and the Burning Bush    What does it mean to have the Holy Ghost give us that peace? How do we know where it comes from? How do we know when we feel it? Why does the Holy Ghost do this for us? These are all somewhat difficult questions to just answer, because it can be different for EVERYONE!!!  But there are some ways to try to determine if the Spirit is influencing us..

    In Galatians 5, Paul clarifies the fruit of the spirit (or the evidence of it) as "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance..." Meaning, if we have these feelings as we pray or read our scriptures we can KNOW that this is the Spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost; and He is fulfilling his role as the comfortor and testifing of the truth of the word of God.

    As a missionary, I rely on the spirit to help me on a DAY-TO-DAY basis. Folks, I'm really just a 20 year old kid... I've NEVER done anything like a mission before.. This is the first time I've been a missionary!! Granted, I have been doing it for about 20 months.. but really, its NOT an easy thing.. I rely on the Holy Ghost to teach me how and what to do... So, i'd really like to hear from y'all now.. how have you relyed on the spirit? What are some personal experiences with the Comforter? I hope y'all enjoyed this! Have a Happy Easter! God Bless Y'all!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Who is God?

 The First Vision

 I like this picture because it CLEARLY depicts Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father as 2 seperate and distinct beings.

    Here is an AWESOME clip of one of my favorite speakers.. Jeffery R. Holland.

   I hope that y'all enjoyed that!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's Love Got to Do With It?

    You may be wondering why the Cheezey reference to an early '90's Tina Turner love song... Well, it was honestly just kind of a fluke.. I wanted to talk about charity today; and charity is ALL about love, right? Charity is, in my opinion, probably one of the most important Christ-like qualities that we can attempt to develop in this life time. Moroni describes charity as the "pure love of Christ". (http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/7.47?lang=eng#46) This means that when we have charity, we see others the way that the Savior sees them. We love them the way that our Father in Heaven loves them and the way that Jesus Christ loves them. In the same chapter, Moroni tells us that we should "pray unto the father with all energy of heart" to obtain this Christ-like love for all men.

    The reason that I think that Charity is so important is because if we have real true charity and we really love others, we won't want to do anything to hurt them or harm them. Take for example, the 10 commandments given by Moses after returning from Mt. Sinai; most of these commandments pertain to how we interact with and treat our fellow men. If we have true charity, we won't want to kill each other, or steal from our neighbor, or lie to each other, etc. Charity, as the bible says, "covereth a  multitude of sin", but that scripture can more accurately interpreted as "Charity preventeth a multitude of sin." If we have this pure love for one another, we will want to show each other the evidence of this love.

    Jesus Christ is a PERFECT example of this charity... obviously. He spent his ENTIRE ministry in the service of His fellow mortal beings. He healed the sick, raised the dead, provided food for those who were hungered, cast out unclean spirits, and a plethora of other miracles. Our Savior did nothing for himself, but only did what he could for others. As we strive to follow this example and emulate the Savior's love for eachother, we will improve our own lives and, in turn, the lives of those around us. God Bless Y'all!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Perfection. How and Why?!! [part 2]

    Thank you Sue for the comment! I can now give you my little "discourse" on how we can keep Christ's commandment to "be ye therefore perfect". We as people and individuals are, as you are well aware, very very VERY imperfect in our current states. The very idea of being perfect seems immensely difficult and overwhelming; but this is NOT as difficult as we make it.

    I strongly believe that the level of "perfection" that Christ has required of us in this life is more actually ontology. Ontology is not "true perfection" in the sense that God the Father has achieved, but is more of being all that we as individuals can be. Obviously, we all have weaknesses; one may have a certain susceptibility to pornography and another may have an addiction to theft...  Madeleine L'engle, in her book "A Circle of Quiet" gives us an example or idea of how this ontology applies to us personally. She talks about the burning bush that the Lord appeared to Moses in. The bush was doing all that it could to fulfill it's purpose to be a bush. Was it absolutely perfect? No. But it was perfectly content to be nothing but the bush. It was perfectly fulfilling it's purpose to the best of it's ability. That is what is required of us.

    Of course, none of us will attain true perfection in this life. We will all "fall short of the Glory of God" as Paul says. We all have weaknesses and strengths. One man's strength is another mans' weakness. But as we do our absolute best to follow God's commandments, repent of our sins, and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, we can all be held as "perfect" through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Perfection?!! HOW and WHY?!!

    I have been puttin off updating my blog because I've been waiting for a "special project" to be finished... but (unfortunately) it's not quite finished... it should be up tomorrow though.. :) i'm excited.

    Today, I wanted to talk about "perfection". I'd like to start by quoting a song that many of you probably won't be familiar with..

          "Perfection is my Direction. Even if that's all I had"
           It's not like I need no correction, I just know that
           Life's not so bad."

    ... Honestly, been thinking a lot about what it means to be "perfect". In the new testament, Jesus tells us to "...be ye therefore perfect..." How is that POSSIBLE?!! Being human is the definition of being IMPERFECT!! How is it that we can even be commanded to be perfect? Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, tells us that "the Lord giveth no commandments to the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."  (http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/3.7?lang=eng#6)

http://lds.org/gospellibrary/artbook/images/ArtBook__039_039__TheSermonOnTheMount_Sm___.jpg    Why then, would Jesus Christ, knowing that we are all human and imperfect beings, command us to be perfect? Kind of at a paradox here... I'm going to ask the world at this point to tell me how that is possible? I want people to give me their answers as to HOW and WHY Christ would command us to be perfect, knowing that none of us would be able to be perfect in this life... Please comment! And post this link to your facebook or send it to your friends, I wanna hear EVERYONE'S answers to this question.

    Now, I have an answer... But I'm not going to tell y'all until someone breaks the ice first!! I want COMMENTS!!! I will give y'all my answer soon! (hopefully) But it all depends on the rest of y'all.. God Bless Y'all!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

    So, last night, Elder Hyde and I got home from a hard day's work and lemme tell ya, it was HOT yesterday. We got home and we realized (of course) our AC is dead... With temperatures of low-80's with higher humidity, we were a couple of VERY unhappy campers. After a long day of sweating in the sun, the last thing we wanted was to come home and sweat in our apartment. Sitting in the living room last night, I was reflecting on the past couple of days; being in the state I was in, my thoughts were influenced by how absolutely dirty and gross I felt, covered in nasty sweat and feeling like I had just taken a bath salt water. I recalled an event that happened in the not too distant past while I was working at the library.

    I was sitting in the library the other day, working on another one of my blogs, and the gentleman next to me was watching something that I felt was VERY offensive and inappropriate! Of course, the only thing that one CAN do in that circumstance is to either ask the offender to cease such behavior or to do their best to ignore the lewd images. The Apostle Paul, from the New Testament, states that we should “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5: 16) And in Matthew, Christ also tels us,

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”

“These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”  (Matthew 5: 18-20) http://lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/15.18?lang=eng#17

    Here is an AWESOME video from Pres. Boyd K. Packer about purity and the moral cleanliness that the Lord Commands of us.

    We know from the scriptures that the Lord delights in the chastity of His people.(http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/jacob/2.28?lang=eng#27)  God has told us that our bodies are the temples of the Spirit, do defile it with harmful substances and acts is literally a sin in His sight. Just as the Children of Israel were not permitted to enter the Tabernacle if they were unclean, so we must also be forbidden to enter into His presence at the Day of Reckoning if we too are found unclean. I know that this world is a cesspool of temptation and of social decline, but God has asked that we remain clean and pure. He has promised that as we do this, our lives will be rich and happy. As we obey His commandments, God can bless us with all that we are in need of. I know that God lives and He loves His children. Thanks Y'all for reading. God Bless Y'all!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Come Unto Me

   This morning, I wasn't feeling the greatest, so I (admittedly) slept in just a little bit in an attempt to recover from some illness. I woke up, got out of bed, and I saw my companion, Elder Hyde, sitting in a chair in our apartment living room; just barley conscious and desperately trying to finish his personal study. He and I both haven't been feeling the greatest this week. So you might be asking at this point, "Ok, Elder Barnhart, what does this have to do with missionary work?"

   Well, seeing my companion desperately trying to stay awake reminded me of Christ's invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That sight really made me turn to my Savior today. Even as a missionary, we are CONSISTENTLY relying on Jesus Christ for constant support and strength. Seeing my companion in his desperate fight to remain faithful this morning, made me think of how many people out there are also desperately trying to "keep the faith" and "fight the good fight" as Paul would have put it. This world we live in is a CRAZY place... We as missionaries don't watch tv or keep up with the news, but even just BEING around other people, we hear bits and pieces of what is going on in the world. This place we live in seems to be getting worse and worse... Changing constantly for the worse. But one thing that doesn't change, is our Savior Jesus Christ. He is ALWAYS inviting us to repent, and come unto Him, so He can heal ALL our wounds and strengthen us in our darkest hours.

    I know that Jesus Christ can, and does heal our deepest and most painful wounds; if we will but let Him. As we learn of Him, Grow closer to Him, and Follow His teachings, Christ's ultimate Sacrifice and His Atonement can take effect in our lives. I love my Savior. I know He lives. I know that He loves each and every one of us. Thanks for Reading Y'all. Once again, please, please, please!!! What can I do to improve? Leave me a message, shoot me an email, leave a comment, just let me know what you think I can do to make this better. God Bless Y'all!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Time and Talents

  Today, I wanted to let y'all know how much I appreciate all that y'all do for us missionaries! Anything and EVEERYTHING that y'all do really helps us out. Recently, I've been trying to think of things that we can all do or give to each other to help one another out... So far, I think the most valuable gifts I've thought of, that anyone and everyone can give are our time, our gratitude, and our talents. Really, those are pretty much the only things that every person on this earth has available to them, regardless of circumstances. Yes, some of our circumstances may make it more difficult to sacrifice these precious commodities than others, but we all have a certain amount of time and particular talents given to us.

   In the New Testament, Jesus Christ gives us the parable of the talents. In it there were 3 servants; one recieved 1 talent, another recieved 2, and another received 5. The servants who received 2 and 5 took their talents and used them to gain their master more than what he had given them. The servant who only received one, hid his talent until his master returned, thinking it would be better not to use it. The master returned and was pleased with the servants who had used the talents given them to gain. However, he was very displeased with the servant who did not use his talents, calling him "slothful" and "unprofitable".

   Why has this been on my mind lately? Well, lately, I've been working on a little project that will hopefully help out the missionary work here in cyberspace. While I've been working on this, we have had an immense amount of help from one of the members here in the Cumberland Branch. I wanted to thank this brother for sacrificing his time and his talents to help us out. It's been SOOOO much help to have him working with us on this project... Hopefully, y'all will get to see his handiwork soon!

   Now, here's the question; how has someone offered their time or talents to help you lately? Tell us all about it! Leave us a comment so the world can hear! We're anxiously waiting!! Thank y'all so much for reading! God Bless Y'all!