A Firm Foundation

ImageA couple Mondays ago we cruised over to the Edge Rock gym with Sister Draper, a military relations missionary for the church here at naval station Mayport.  We arrived at the gym still bearing the nametags of Him whom we love and serve, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we gladly expressed to the lady at the front desk our role as missionaries for the LDS church.  After getting our shoes and harnesses we hooked into the auto belay device, grabbed some chalk for our hands, and latched onto the wall, eager to be the first to the top.  At this point my photography instincts awakened my creativity and I grabbed my soft bound Book of Mormon, immediately recognizing the new perspective and analogy that I could get in these next shots.

The principle that I realized later that night as I looked through my camera is the fact that in order to reach new heights, physically, mentally, spiritually, one must have a firm foundation.  In order for an elevator to rise, it is firmly held and lifted by cables, of which have a firm foundation within the building where they found.  Hikers, mtn bikers, runners, etc., all gain elevation only if they follow firmly packed paths that lead them safely up the mountain.  Even airplanes are firmly held by the thrust of the engines and the aerodynamics of the design, and without being firmly held inside the plane itself, man would not be able to fly anyway! Whether the means by which we are rising is doing the work for us or not, airplanes being a good example, has no influence on the fact that in order to rise at all, we have to be firmly held to something, or else we will literally fall.  It is such a simple principle, but at the same time profound.  It applies to every aspect of our lives, whether we are physically rising or not.

Being a missionary, I have seen and felt first hand the firm foundations, or “rocks”, as portrayed in the picture, that missionaries must use in order to rise spiritually.  The Book of Mormon in my opinion is the most important, or most firm handhold, in ones progression to exaltation and life with our loving Heavenly Father.  We are even told by Isaiah in the Bible; “For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways than your ways…” (Isaiah 55:9).  The key word in that scripture is higher.  The Heavens are higher. We then can logically assume that spiritually we have to rise in stature and knowledge in order to return to the Heavens.  I love that.  Theres a scripture in the Book of Mormon by a prophet named Helaman that I also love…

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

We must build our foundations on Christ….and the Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ.  I can testify that as we read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We will literally rise in understanding His gospel and we can safely return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and I know it is true.

Christmas at mormon.org

Christmas at mormon.org

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints absolutely loves celebrating the birth of our Savior and as a Mormon, I am proud to say that I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that I know He lives.  For Mormons, Christmas time is time spent with Family, spent serving others, spent loving others, and spent thinking about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Our church is centered around families, and families are centered around Jesus Christ.

As we come to recognize Christ in our lives, and that His hand is always outstretched to us, we find comfort in knowing that He loves and cares about us.  Although this life is hard, and although we often feel abandoned, or lonely, or exhausted, or even helpless, the Savior is always there for us. Always. If you have not had the chance to check out Mormon.org, then I extend the invitation to all who want to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I invite all to learn about Jesus Christ, and to feel the happiness that being a member of this amazing church brings.  God Bless!

TIME

“Time, an object, idea, proved theory?

Possibly, the essence of being mortal.

For we as humans, walking and breathing, are programmed to know that everything,

has a beginning, and thus, an end.

Yet we find ourselves, often staring at the stars, and wondering, realizing,

That for us, there is no end to space.

The light we see from these stars,

Years old, when it reaches our eyes, goes in every direction.

Who else we wonder, could be seeing this light? Why do they shine?

Purpose, a product of time, then comes into play.

We realize, everything in this life has a purpose.

Every piece of matter, its own assignment.

Earth, being a very complex and organized object, must have a purpose.

As time continues, we advance and grow, studying the planet in which we thrive.

We progress, and innovate.

Studying objects with their own purpose, and creating new objects with a new purpose.

Birds, airplanes, a relationship so obvious, but why we wonder?

Evolution, a big bang, it doesn’t make sense.

For a world where everything has a purpose, to start by mistake, randomly?

We turn to the scriptures.

The plan of Salvation, a plan of happiness, a plan of purpose.

A higher power started this “evolution”, taught to us repeatedly.

We continue reading, He provided a world, He provided growth, and ultimately purpose.

Yet the question remains, what is our purpose?

Memories, another product of time, reveal to us, how we have grown.

The mistakes, even they, have purpose.

For we have grown.

However they also show happiness, and what’s better than happiness?

We turn to the scriptures again, “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.”

In that moment we realize, our purpose is to be here.

To be part of the plan of salvation.

To pursue pure happiness, which naturally all men seek.

However, this happiness will not be worldly, not found through money, but found through our choices.

Right from wrong, a gift at birth, developed through time, provides a path for He had a plan from the beginning.

And every path, leads somewhere.

One conclusion, we determine, can be made.

Everything happens for a reason.

Two years (or 18 months) of service, for example,

Time providing physical limits, but the results are eternal, a purpose for this life.

For reason itself, can only be found through purpose, and purpose, can only be found through time.”

– Elder Collin Francom

A New Perspective

Life is a blessing. The fact that we can live and breath on this beautiful Earth is a blessing.  Thanks to a loving God each of us has talents, and thanks to this mortal life we can find immense joy from using these talents.  We must use these God given talents, and in fact in the Bible we are taught to “neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy…” (1 Timothy 4:14).  To be honest, I love technology, and I feel blessed with the talent and ability to easily understand and use technology and social media.  It has always been a passion of mine, and 6 weeks ago when I was called to be an online missionary, I was beyond excited to find my niche within this cyber world of flowing information, opinions, etc..

Being a Missionary, this call to work online did not suddenly give me the freedom to surf my Facebook news feed or to get lost in the advertisements and distractions of the media, but instead gave me the privilege of helping others find happiness through Christ by using this miracle of social media as a tool and resource. Because of this technology, I can now share spiritual thoughts, videos, and insights at the click of a button, sharing with the world this amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think it is so amazing that I can fulfill my purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ through modern tools like Facebook and honestly it helps me recognize even more God’s hand in all things. I love the fact that I do not have to shy away from technology, but instead embrace it with a new perspective. Everything happens for a reason, technology, Facebook, the world of social media, and God intends for us to do amazing things with them, however it is up to us.

This is the inspiration and desire that I have for this blog. Everything is the way it is for a reason; trees grow towards the heavens with their roots firmly held, light chases dark no matter the environment, wind isn’t tangible even though we know its there. These undeniable truths are facts to the human mind, bound by the scientific laws of man, but what about the laws of God and Jesus Christ? “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Why do things really happen the way that they do? What is Christ trying to teach us through these analogies that are all around us, and how will changing our perspective help us recognize His message? I love photography and I have also been blessed with a keen eye while using a camera. Perspective is important to me, and in this life it truly correlates with joy as well as gives direction to every photographers hope for a picture. God has an all knowing perspective of love for us, while we have a limited perspective blurred by the effects of mortality. Christ is the lens on our camera and as we look through it, He guides our perspective, focuses our image, and then broadens our view. He is literally the perfect metaphorical lens and when we look through it, we more clearly understand God’s hand in all things.

My question to you, fellow photographer, reader, blogger, etc., is that if Christ looked through your camera and took pictures, what would He see and what would He take pictures of? How does He change our perspective?