Tuesday, March 20, 2018

John R. Moyle

I know that I'm posting this a lot earlier than I usually do and I know I should probably wait to write this so more people will notice it and actually read it but, I can't help but write it down right after my religion class today. I feel too grateful and full of the Spirit to not put this down in writing.
Today in class we talked about two events that are usually not discussed in grand detail: Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and cleansing of the temple on Palm Sunday. I would not do the class justice if I did not address both.
Matthew 21:9 "And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest."
I love how each story, no matter how long or short, becomes instantly beautiful when we are placed in the story. Where could we be placed in this story? Could we not be one of the disciples behind Jesus as we see the multitudes gathering to meet Jesus as He, like King Solomon, arrives to Jerusalem to be crowned King? Could we not be one in Jerusalem that finally sees Christ coming to take His throne as He will during the Second Coming, as we cry and shout: "Hosanna"? Or could we not be the donkey carrying Jesus on that very long, and steep journey from outside of Jerusalem till the temple? Do we ever feel like a donkey, wild and scared, on a very steep upward journey? May we ever let Jesus be the one to guide us the entire time and never be afraid.
Matthew 21:12,14 "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves... And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them."
It is very obvious that these money exchangers were doing so unfairly just because it was Passover and more people would be coming to the temple. Those who sold doves knew as well so they rose the prices. These devilish acts of greed and want represent the devil. Notice that no one opposed Jesus as he cleared them out of the temple. No one returned for the money or goods. These devils ran when true light came in. There is no need to fear the devil, as President Benson said, because he will always step down in the face of Light.
Also, how symbolic does this story become when we read Paul saying, "Know ye not that ye are temples of Lord?" Try as we might, we can not clear out all the evil that is found inside our temple. Only Jesus Christ has the power to clear out our entire temple of evil doers. He alone will also heal our blind and lame spots that reside in the temple as well.
If you can not tell, our 50 minute class was full of insight and information. To end the lesson, Brother Griffin said this: "I know that this is a lot of info and I do not want anyone to get lost in all the small details but take it as their story. So, in order to do that, I will tell a story." He continued to tell the story of my ancestor John Rowe Moyle. His story is of sacrifice and sanctification. As a stone mason, working on the temple of Salt Lake, he would walk from Alpine to Salt Lake each week. A journey, that I can tell each of you, is not easy even with roads and sidewalks. Until one day, he was tending a sick cow who kicked him in the leg. That leg was sawed off and it took a while for John to heal. John would not give up because of this. He carved his own wooden leg and learned to walk with it. Most of us would have just stayed home but, John, when back to his work on the temple walking on that wooden leg. We did not have time to discuss how this related to the scriptures above but I sure felt it. I sure walked that same path as John did and felt his triumphal entry into the Salt Lake Valley each week as John overcame all greed and evil inside his temple. I felt it as John was miraculously healed enough to continue his work on the temple of Lord. Luckily, his legacy is carved on the Temple, "Holiness to the Lord".
When will I ride into Jerusalem? When will I let Christ guide me to the temple? When will I let Christ clean me of all evil and heal all blind and lame parts of me? What legacy will I leave behind?

I sure love this gospel. I know that the Lord is watching over us every single day. He may not give us daily reminders as big as this one was for me, everyday. But He is our Father who loves us and wants to see us succeed.

For this I am ever grateful for my family, past, present, and future.

Have a wonderful week!

Devan Alder

Monday, March 19, 2018

When We Are Lost

Good week to all you friends, family, and people who stumble across this blog! (I figure you can say good week like you would say good morning or good day, right?)
This has certainly been a wonderful week for me and I have enjoyed the ups and downs and especially I have enjoyed the lessons learned.
In class this week we studied the Lord's parables in the book of Luke. Let me share a couple verse from them: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost...", "Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lost one piece...", and "And he said, A certain man had two sons..." Luke 15:4, 8, 11. Of course these verses are not the whole parable and I hope that you know the rest of each parable especially of the prodigal son. We know very well the beautiful lesson of repentance that each one of these parables teach and I am so grateful for the while range of application that parables in general have. May I offer another application of these parables that I learned this week. Take a look at the ratio of each parable as well as the manner of finding what is lost. According to the lost sheep, one out of hundred of the sheep (could we not say one of us) gets lost just by distraction. The lost coin says that one out of ten of us will be lost due to neglect of the owner. The prodigal son tells us that one of two of us will act out in rebellion against the father. What a beautiful metaphor when we find ourselves getting lost. We can always ask which of the three was the reason that we got lost. There is also the lesson on how we should treat people who get lost for each of these three reasons. When one is lost like a wandering sheep, we actively go find them and bring them back. When one is lost due to neglect, we sweep the entire house to make sure every corner is clean and the coin can be found. When the son acts out of rebellion against you or God, let him be. Let him come home on his own terms and repentance and, love him and celebrate him when he comes home. What would have happened if the father of the Prodigal son when searching for him like the lost sheep or the coin? Would the son not have attacked out in a more rebellious matter and maybe not have come back home? There are gems of truth that can be found in the scriptures and sometimes it can be very hard to find different perspectives in the scriptures on your own. That is why we are a church and are willing to listen to every principle taught by the spirit.

I hope this helps with one spiritual aspect in your life!

Devan Alder

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Blessing of Throwing Up

Yes, I know this is not the most spiritual title you have seen from me but, it got you to click on the link so: Mission Accomplished!

Happy Sabbath! I hope everyone had a wonderful spiritual time at church, or whatever your Sunday activities were. I felt the spirit today and really enjoyed all that I learned. Let's start with a scripture! (Don't worry the throwing up story will come right after)

This week we studied the parables of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. My favorite was from Matthew 25:14-15 "For the Kingdom of Heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey."
I loved what my teacher asked right as we finished reading this: "Now if you were to read this with 21st Century "political correctness", how would you respond?" Well any of us would say that the man was being unfair and did not give the same amount of talents to each of the servants. As wonderful as the fight of freedom is, I believe this scriptures teaches us that we are all free but we are not all the same. That is the way we are because "to every man [was given] according to his several ability". It is very easy to think of 'talents' as gifts or hobbies but this talent was actual weight. What if the first man was given 5 trials and the second 2 trials and the last one was only given 1 trial? Would that change the story? That means the first two servants went out and received more trials and then entered into the kingdom of God. The last servant received one talent because that was his ability and the Lord knew that he could handle it but he went and hid and called his master a "hard man" for giving him one talent. How often do we think the Lord is a "hard man" for giving us "talents" and expecting us to receive more? How often do we think that Lord gave us this talents because He knows that we can handle them and multiply them? With just a little change of perspective, we can take our trials and talents and make them into what the Lord attended. The secret is being grateful for a God would did not make us all the same. 

Now the Blessing of Throwing Up really has nothing to do with the scripture above except that sometimes we just need to change our perspective and that God cares and knows every small detail of our lives. Let's just say I got sick this week, we can debate the causes of getting sick but I'll leave it at that. I woke up early Friday morning terribly sick with a strong pain in my stomach (which parallels to the time I got sick from pizza on my mission) which kept me from having the strength to get up and move around. I knew I would have to miss class that day but I also had a test to take that very day, so sometime I would have to get up. Soon before my first class, I asked my roommate, Benson, to give me a priesthood blessing. The blessing was wonderful but as he was speaking, what I thought was the spirit at first, turned into the sweats that you get right before you throw up. He ended with "Amen" and I ran to the bathroom... Without explicit details, it was not very fun. As most know, after throwing up, you feel a lot better! I was able to go to my classes that day, take my test, and feel almost completely better the next day. The Lord knew what I needed to do that day and to me, the blessing, the throwing up, enabled me to do so. Small, strange, and gross miracle but it was a miracle nonetheless. I love the Lord and know that He loves you. He knows every small detail and if you do it His way, He will always provide.

Lots of Love,
Devan Alder 

Friday, March 2, 2018

All You Have

Another week down and ready for the new week!

I'm so glad that people like you are still looking at my blog, usually 140 of you! I'm humbled that you would take the time to read this. I know that most of the time you will read what I write and think, "That was nice". But my hope is that you will keep persistent and one day read something from here and think, "That's what I needed". That won't happen every time but I sure do love when the Spirit works through us in order to lift each other up. Writer and reader alike benefit with the touch of a master!

This week I dove into Matthew 14. This short chapter is full of sadness and great fulfillment. It begins with the devastating news of the plot and completion of the death of John the Baptist. Not only was it hard to lose a beloved family member, John was the Elias, the one to go before Jesus in all things. With John gone and preparing the way in the spirit world, Jesus would be soon to follow. It is easy to miss Jesus' reaction to this news. Matt 14:13 "When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart..." Yes, Christ was part mortal and thus needed some alone time in such a tragedy. He would receive no solitude at this time: "... and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities."
In a moment of sadness, Jesus was confronted with a mass of at least 5,000 people. We all know the story of the five loaves and two fishes. Have we ever considered that Christ performed this miracle while His mind was full of sadness from the the death of John? Have we ever tried to sympathize with our elder brother?
Have we ever wondered where the bread and fish came from? We read that the apostles, when asked to go get something to eat for the multitude, found one "lad" who had come prepared for this trek and had five loaves of bread and two fishes for the journey. I had never thought till this week: what kind of faith did that lad have to give all the food he had at the time to the Lord. Sometimes I have thought, "well it was the Lord", but it is not always that simple. The lad had no idea what he would get back in return. I love this beautiful imagery. "Jesus didn't ask the lad to feed the 5,000, all He asked from the lad was give Him all that he had" Christ doesn't ask you or me to feed 5,000, to solve all problems, to reach perfection tomorrow; He asks us to give Him all that we have, that's it, and He will take it and multiply it.
I believe it is easy to feel alone. I believe it is easy to feel unprepared. I believe it is easy to feel like we are not enough. But, if we take a step back and realize God's plan for us, if we realize that all we need to give the Lord is our heart, all of those negative feelings of fear and disappointment will be replaced by confidence and faith.
Is it hard to give up your 5 loaves and 2 fishes? Of course it is! Give it up though, and watch how many thousands you will feed!

-Devan Alder


Monday, February 26, 2018

Lord, If Thou Wilt

Hey friends (or if you happened to stumble upon this blog and don't know who I am, hello to you as well)

I hope you had a wonderful week as I did. I also hope that this blog isn't surrealistic and every time you read this you don't think: "Oh Devan just has a perfect spiritual life and never has a hard day in his life" Although I only highlight was I have learned during the week.  My life, just as well as yours, has ups and downs. There are hardships and disappointments. There are trials and roadblocks. I am positive that each of us are struggling in someway or another. What makes us different is what we do with each difficult moment and how we move foreword letting the Lord direct us.
Sometimes all we think we need is a miracle to make everything better. If I could just have this one thing in my life, all would be well, right? All of us could think of one thing that they wished they could have in their life or some event that they wish would happen right now. Have miracles ceased among the children of men? Of course not! We see left and right miracles that happen in others' lives but, why does that not happen to me? A scripture in Matthew this week helped me learn the principle of miracles, how they work and how I should seek them.
Matthew 8:2 "And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"
Now let me provide some context for this verse because I love it. This is right after Christ finishes His Sermon on the Mount. He has just taught His fellow Jews the real power and meaning behind the Law of Moses that most have not even thought about. So you can imagine Jesus walking off the mountain with this "multitude" behind him. All of the sudden, a leper appears and is walking towards them. Now, we all like to think if a diseased person walked toward us, we would have the compassion necessary to ask what they need. The truth is, most of us would probably feel disgust with an approaching leper that could possibly infect you. Not to mention the tradition of the Jews that if you touched a leper, you had to cleanse yourself in the temple not soon after. So traditionally and maybe just common sense says, "Do not touch the leper". You can almost feel the crowd behind Jesus gasp as He reaches out to heal this leper.
The point that I would like to make is in the words of the leper and how this shows us what we can really ask Jesus when we want a miracle. The truth is that many of our prayers remain unanswered and there is no way of knowing if we will ever receive our miracle. So what can we do? "Lord" we can worship. We can give thanks to the person that gave us life. We can worship the person that allowed us to become cleansed from sin and have the power to overcome it. "If thou wilt" As hard as it is too accept, we must be ready to not receive a miracle. His thoughts are not our thoughts; His timing is not our timing. "Thou canst make me clean" Despite of receiving a miracle or not, we must have full faith and full hope that whatever the miracle that the Lord can perform it. We must stray away from thinking that miracles just happen to other people. They can happen to us because we have faith that nothing is impossible with the Lord.
What does this mean for us today? When we kneel down to ask for a miracle, we can think of the begging leper. We can be full of faith that the Lord can perform this miracle but at the same time accept if we are not granted such a miracle. By so doing, our faith is increased in the glorious plan of our Heavenly Father. He is the master architect and maybe someday we will be a tool in His vast work.

I apologize that this was a little longer. I hope it brightens your day!

-Devan Alder


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