Monday, February 19, 2018

Strength in Prayer

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines!
This week was wonderful! It was filled to the brim with work and activities which can make it exciting and stressful at the same time. Sometimes, since we all get busy, the activities pile up and we seem to want to take a break or rest for a little bit. Of course rest is necessary and I do not think resting is bad but, sometimes it's a distraction, right? I certainly felt that many times this week. One particular night I was feeling tired and knew that I still needed to study for and take a test before the night was over. I studied for a small time and found myself not concentrating because I was so exhausted from the day's activities. The thought came to my mind: "Just rest for a little and then you can take your test." This was tempting but then another thought entered my mind, "You haven't studied the scriptures today." The spirit was right; I hadn't studied yet. I grabbed my Book of Mormon and started to read and suddenly I had enough energy to complete the task at hand!
The scripture that we studied this week in class came to my mind: "Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6. This means, at least to me, that if our focus is on doing the right, the Lord will fill that desire. I am well aware that the Spirit can tell you to take a nap, so take it! But managing my time that day was what I was searching for and the Lord helped me. He can help each of us if our daily focus is on Him and on the Kingdom. As we strive to do what is right, we will be filled. Filled doesn't mean that we will be happy all the time. It means satisfied that the Lord approves of what we are doing. I sure do love this gospel and pray that I may serve even better.

Devan Alder 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hearts of the Fathers and Sons

Was this week a good week? Yes, it was an amazing week and I can hardly wait to get it down on "paper". I hope I can contain my excitement for all the many wonderful things that happened this week and this is an enjoyable reading experience and not just a waste of time for those who happen to  click here. I almost do not know where to start.
Saturday morning I had the pleasure to attend the temple with immediate and extended family. After our time their, this scripture came to my mind, which I am sure comes to many minds when they attend the temple. Malachi 4:6 "And he call turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" This gorgeous scripture, for those who don't know, is about how that in these times before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, all of us have the duty to look back at our ancestors and remember them. This remembrance can help us to be better people now because of what and who they were. This also means that we can help them by doing saving ordinances on their behalf. We can also turn our hearts to our children (present or future, depending where you are in life) and strive to serve them or vis versa with children serving their parents. There is a special spirit around this type of service and this is what I felt in the temple. Although it may be personal what occurs in the temple, this must be written down. I felt a warm spirit being baptized by my father and right after baptizing him and addressing him as "Brother". Later, I baptized my dear cousin whose mother's name (my aunt) is Charlotte. The last person's name that my cousin was baptized for was named "Charlotte Haslam". The spirit testified to me that this work was true and that every person has significance in the sight of God. He knows us and loves us each individually and He loves us as families. The perspective that we gain looking back at our ancestors can be helpful in our every day-life decisions. There is no better feeling than being in a family.
I am well aware that no one has a perfect family but I believe we have many families. Just today, I gathered with my Stake Family at our Stake Conference. We laughed and cried together as we learned from the spirit that no matter who we are or where we are at, the Lord expects us to be lights to this world and grow brighter and brighter. We learned the only way we get ourself into trouble is through our thoughts and that the only way to get ourselves OUT of trouble is through our thoughts.

Life is rough, but it was meant to be that way and we were never supposed to do it alone.

Love you and more importantly Heavenly Father loves you.
-Devan Alder

Monday, February 5, 2018

Obedience equals happiness

If you haven't seen in the past couple posts, this year's theme for me is obedience. As I study the scriptures this year, I come across common themes that the Lord is really wants me to hear. This is week's personal study brought me to study Ephesians chapter six. One of the footnotes took me to 2 Corinthians 10:5 which says:"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." I really loved this scripture as soon as I read it. I believe this is a wonderful parallel with our premortal life. It was Satan that tried to exalt himself over God the Father. Jesus Christ was the one that gave the glory to His Father. Satan was then cast down and out of the presence of the Premortal world. As so should be the thoughts that we have. If we find a thought that is raising itself above the Lord, it should be cast out. If a thought is bringing glory to God, keep it and cherish it. What a wonderful way to fight against temptations of this world. The root of temptation is thought and if we can "Look unto [him], doubt not, fear not", we can overcome the root of sin. I personally believe this is why the prophets have told us to read the Book of Mormon everyday so that we may have control of our thoughts. 

You've got to love the gospel and the scriptures. 

Have a wonderful week!  

Monday, January 29, 2018

Willing to Keep the Commandments

I guess I need to apologize for not posting this last week. It just skipped my mind but I did post something, just not on Facebook. 
Well I certainly had a wonderful week! Personally I learned that spirituality is like a motivational force; the more you have, the more you can do!
I was reading and studying this week about Adam and Eve (I'm pretty sure that most of the church has been studying this around the same time). I came across Moses 5:6 "And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me." We have heard this scripture a lot in the church as an object lesson for obedience. I also believe that that this is a principle that we all experience during our life times. There is always one, or some, commandments that are either tedious to keep or come with no apparent reason behind the commandment. This is happened to me but, I always find comfort knowing that in the future (most likely not by an angel) we will find out the "why" we are keeping that particular commandment. It is nice to note that in the scripture is says, "after many days". I may not know the reason I should keep a commandment but, if I do, I will find out in the near future and receive blessings for keeping it. Does not this lesson remind you of John 7:17? If I want to know if a teaching is from God, all I need to do is act and I will know by the Holy Ghost that it is from God. I hope we may all keep the small commandments so we can see the big blessings that follow.

Have a wonderful week!

Devan Alder

Monday, January 22, 2018

Just Do It

No this isn't an advertisement for Nike. Although, anything can happen on the internet right? So Nike if you see this and feel gracious enough to pay me- I probably won't refuse. All joking aside, this week has been a great one. We've got a new prophet, we've got more traveling brethren now, and priests and laurels can do more in the temple. I've certainly been uplifted from daily scripture study and weekly "Monson study". This semester, I've decided to study the talks of former Prophet Thomas S. Monson. I started with his most earlier talks to hear the well known phrases like: "When we are on the Lord's errand, we have a right to His help" and "whom the Lord calls, He qualifies". I have testimony of our prophet but I guess it's time to receive a personal witness.
This week in my religion class, we were of course talking about the role of Jesus Christ before He came to this earth. Since the beginning, we were taught "the gospel of Jesus Christ". We do not know all that we learned but we get a taste from the scriptures we read. Like 3 Nephi 27:21: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even shall ye do". It is evident that this gospel is to have faith, repent, be baptized in His name, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. I believe that this verse also means that we were taught what we were to do in the church long before we came to this earth. We received our "first lessons" before coming to this earth and I believe that this gospel was one of the big topics that were taught. When we are struggling with a decision, action, or trial, we can look to our beginnings with comfort. We "know the things that [we] must do in [His] church". We already know and all we need to do is find our connection with Our Savior to find the answer or comfort. All we have to do is "do it". Where do we find the power to do so though? As prophets of old and new have declared, we have the Atonement of Jesus Christ to give us power beyond our ability to "just do it". This is easier said than done but it's possible through Him.

I hope and prayer that all may continue to have spiritual filled weeks.

Devan Alder

Monday, January 15, 2018

Mission Over?

I'm not sure why it took me this long to figure this out but, the mission didn't end when I was released as a missionary. Was not Christ a missionary after He left this Earth? Being a missionary is just a volunteer of time in order to grow spiritually while bring others along the journey. Why does it have to stop? I still have spiritual experiences weekly! Why not continue to Light The World? I've decided to keep my weekly letter of spirituality going for myself and those who may need it. Most of my experiences happen in my religious classes studying the scriptures but hopefully that won't be the end of my experiences.

This past week, I began to study Jesus Christ and His Everlasting Gospel. I have a wonderful professor who allows the spirit to be present every class. We opened up to Moses 1 to talk about the differences between God, Satan, and us in this chapter. The irony is that this was the topic in last week's Sunday School. My first thought was: "What more can I take from this chapter?" That thought was turned on its head immediately. My favorite verse was Moses 1:21 "And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan." There is much to learn from this one verse. I first thought that the only way to beat Satan was through Jesus Christ. Although that is true, there is more to the story. Moses had just seen God and had a wonderful spiritual experience. Of course, Satan comes tempting right after a spiritual high. Moses resists three times saying "depart, Satan" but he never leaves. On the fourth try, Moses uses the name of Jesus Christ and Satan finally departs. The lesson for life is that God never intended that we beat Satan alone. Of course we need courage on our own part. We need to show our strength in the side of adversity but, the plan never meant for us to fight alone. We must always call upon the Lord when we are tempted. Without Him, we may tire and give up fighting the fiery darts but, He is there. "Where shall I find Him? Where shall I seek? He is here and now. Jesus YOUR Savior" I definitely needed this scripture this week. I hope you do too.

Devan Alder

Monday, July 24, 2017

God be with you till we meet again Ecuador

I have been saying bye to a lot of people recently (what a surprise right?) and a lot of times I have been speechless. That is the only way I can describe how I am feeling right now. Speechless. Humbled. Grateful. Ready. Happy. Sad. Inspired. 

In the pictures you will see a couple of the many good bye pictures. With missionaries, members. It is amazing how quick people get so close to each other in a matter of weeks. (for example EFY) I feel like other role of the Holy Ghost is unify people, their thoughts, actions. Until two very different people end up getting along very well. Why? Becuase that´s the Lord´s will for us. And it is VERY hard to let those people go. I didn´t know that written behind the words in D&C 4 it says: "and faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory to God, (will bring you and your heart so close to those that you serve that it will so hard to let them go) I love these people. They are so loving and it doesn´t matter if I am really wierd or don´t speak like they do, they listen. And when they feel the Spirit, they change their lives. They are challenged as we all are. But this is a special place with so many special people. I am not sure if it is for my accent but I now consider myself part Ecuadorian. "Ama la vida" 

I apologize for not writing a lot. I hope all those who can come on Sunday( I don´t have the address but maybe my parents can send y´all the info) so I can give you a BIG HUG for all you have done for me. It is more than you know. Many people will probably ask what was the most important lesson from the mission. There is A LOT that I can respond but maybe it comes down to this: " I am a disciple of Jesus Christ" and that means that EVERYDAY I can change my very being to become more and more like Him. He lives. He loves us (especially His daughters) and He wants us to come back to our Heavenly Home. The best part is we don´t have to do it alone. We have Christ pushing with us. I also have my eternally sealed family in South Jordan pushing with me as well. 
Thank you and see you (not all of you) soon! 

Elder Devan Alder (I hope this isn´t the last time I will be able to use this name)