Saturday, April 14, 2018

Consider the Lilies

I sure hope everyone has recovered at least a little bit from the different policy changes from General Conference. I think now we know what we need to do and how we need to do it. For me, school is coming to an end and we'll being going into summer. I certainly have a lot to think about this summer and have definitely been stressed from the plans that need to be made and the things that need to be done. In the words of Elder Christofferson, "Sometimes thinking to hard in ahead is damaging... We need to take each day one at a time."
With so many activities to accomplish, as I am sure all of you know, it is hard to stay focused and stay enthusiastic during these busy times. Am I going to have a job? Am I going to be able to pay for school? The list of questions that pass through our brains could be endless. This is why we have scriptures to know what type of words Jesus would say to us if we came with these questions. The twelve apostles came to Christ with these questions when He called them to be traveling disciples and witnesses of the Messiah. Where shall we sleep? Where shall we eat? How can we take all of our clothes with us? Christ's response to them is found in Matthew 6:28 "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin..." Do the beautiful flowers that grow ever ask, "Where am I going to receive water? What if the Sun doesn't come out?" If the the flowers never have to ask, why should we? Especially when we do what our Heavenly Parents say, we will be provided everything that we will need. I felt extreme gratitude this week as I saw the hand of the Lord in my life. As He provided me employment, as He gave me my daily bread for a while, I am at peace that even when trials come, God loves His Children. Even though, like any good parents, He wants to see us provide for ourselves, He will always extend the hand when we need it. 

I hope this will touch at least one of you.

Devan Alder    

Sunday, April 8, 2018

What A Week!

I sure hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! I loved this week! 1) Because, as I said last time, thinking about the Savior an entire week with what He did that week 2018 years ago is absolutely amazing! 2) General Conference was absolutely wonderful with a myriad of changes and revelation!

This week, I have been pondering a lot about Easter this week and what it means to me. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity of participating in a mock Passover (Mormon style). It was a wonderful experience and as I ponder on the Sacrament, Easter, and the Atonement, each mean so much more to me as I put them in the context of the Passover service that was done anciently and still done by Jews and Mormons who want to. Let me demonstrate what I mean, Exodus 12:8 "And they shall eat the flesh [of the lamb] in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." Since Jesus Christ, Himself, gave this law, it is no wonder the wonderful symbolism. Imagine putting a spoon of horseradish into your mouth, representing the bitter herbs, then the bread, and finally a small glass of grape juice (it was wine then). The foreshadowing of this simple process is amazing. When you feel disgusted and pained by the bitter herbs, then you take some bread and that disgust is absorbed in the bread and it no longer bothers you. After, you drink of red juice and are left a sweet taste on your tongue. The bitter herbs are sins. The bread of life absorbs all the effects of that nasty sin that you just partaken of. Then, so that we feel better, we drink of His blood and we are left feeling sweet. This symbol is so helpful for me to realize the important of the Sacrament and how I should view it. Without this experience, I may have not known such and experience and how it connects with the gospel. Try is sometime and you will see and feel why the Lord instituted the Passover and appreciate the Sacrament each week. I know as I learn more, I can feel more of that sweet taste of the Christ's redeeming blood.

Have a wonderful week!

Devan Alder

Friday, March 30, 2018


Happy Good Friday!

What a wonderful day to be writing! It can also be quite a solemn day for many. I have been so happy to focus this entire week to the last week of the Lord's mortal life. That is one of my favorite parts of Easter as well as, now that I have done a mock one, the Passover. Yesterday, we celebrated the Last Supper or Passover that Jesus Christ had with his apostles. Today, we commemorate the terrible pains that Christ suffered in the garden of Gethsemane as He started the Atonement for each and everyone of us. His suffering continued this morning as He was brought before the Gentile rulers to be accused by His peers, the Pharisees and scribes. There is one scene that I would like to share that we all know but has found new meaning for me recently. Matthew 27:21 "The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas." Barabbas as described in the scriptures was a robber, liar, and murderer. Most of us could say that we dislike Barabbas very much for all of his sins and for being let go when the Perfect Son could have been. Our teacher shared with us a thought that he received while pondering these verses. "Don't judge Barabbas, because Barabbas is you" We are the liars, the cheaters, the imperfect Barabbas that will be and have been released in stead of Jesus. We got released so not a single one of us has to suffer on the cross. As many sins that we have, we will not pay the price that we probably should because we are those who have been released. How much more appreciation that I feel when I finally put myself into the story. There is true power when we follow the example of Nephi and liken all scriptures unto ourselves. That is what I have learned this week. Scriptures are more than just old words on a page. They are lessons for each of us that we need daily. How power the scriptures are when we place ourself into them.

I hope this helps someone!

Devan Alder

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