Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Who Wants Some Inspiration!

Here are two videos that have touched me in the last week. The first is a facebook link, so I could not embed the video. It's the beautiful message of man who passed away from cancer and wanted to be the last speaker at his own funeral. He recorded this video and surprised everyone!

The second video features new and inspiring and words and music about the Savior. As a songwriter myself, I appreciate beautiful, original Christian music. I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Power of An Open Mind

The most valuable wisdom I have learned on my life's journey is the importance of keeping an open  mind. You may have heard the saying, "When your heart is open, love will always find it's way in." - Jane Seymour. The same is true for knowledge, "When your mind is open, truth will always find it's way in." - Lindsey Rietzsch :)

While doing the dishes this morning in my kitchen, the Spirit impressed upon my mind the importance and urgency of writing a post about this topic today. I think this may be one of the most important blog posts I have ever written.

There is a real spiritual warfare going on right now and when we are ignorant to it, we become victims. I believe that Satan wants us to be ignorant to it. He wants us to become consumed by life and all the stress and distractions. He wants our eyes to be covered and our minds to be loud and busy. Because if we were in-tune enough to see, still enough to hear, and open enough to receive, then we would be filled with such truths and knowledge about the Spirit World, how Satan operates, and the Kingdom of Heaven, that we would would become powerful against the enemy. Knowledge is power, truth is light, and light is Jesus. The greatest weapon against the adversary is light, truth, and our Savior Jesus Christ.

Through the Holy Ghost, Christ dwells within us. When we are filled with light, truth, and love, we are filled with Jesus. When we are filled with Jesus we have His power within us. When His power is within us, there is nothing we should fear.

Doctrine and Covenants 93:36-37

36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.

37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.

"Faith in Jesus Christ propels us to do things we otherwise would not do. Faith that motivates us to action gives us more access to His power. When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you. And then you will understand the deep meaning of words we sing in the hymn “The Spirit of God”:

The Lord is extending the Saints’ understanding. …
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o’er the earth is beginning to burst."  - Russell M. Nelson

I truly believe that there are many members of the Church and many followers of Christ who have limited their own progression of light, truth, and knowledge because of their disbelief. Fear has caused them to doubt, and doubt has led to disbelief. They are closed off to further light and truth, and content with the basics. It's a safe zone. Truth and light will never be forced upon us by God. If we are not ready for it, open to it, and are not asking for it, then when it does cross our paths we will dismiss it or turn from it. We will doubt it, fear it, and disbelieve it.

You may have experienced this, what the Savior calls "cast(ing) pearls". You may have shared something beautiful, personal, and scared with someone only to find that they did not believe your words, thought you were deceived or that you were confused. When someone is not ready for, or open to truth, they will not feel touched by the Spirit. One person may read a scripture verse and find it boring, yet another may read that same scripture verse and be overcome by the Spirit and brought to tears. When we seek and we are ready, the Spirit will testify.

There is so much more to God's Kingdom than we understand. It is up to us to pursue Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and God the Father, and develop a personal relationship with each of them. They are the teachers of the beautiful Mysteries. There are many truths that have been sealed up and not revealed to the Church as a whole because as a whole they are not ready. However, if we seek with faith and an open and honest heart, there is nothing that the Lord will withhold from us. We can learn the sealed truths and mysteries if it is God's will for us to know them. I assure you, there is nothing more that delights God, than when we seek Him and we seek to truly know Him.

With our free agency we can choose to receive truth or repel it. However, each time we set aside fear and doubt and receive truth, we open ourselves up a little wider to receive more. Line upon line, precept upon precept until our belief and knowledge is so pure, and our faith is so strong that the veil can no longer separate us. Our belief leads to seeing, and when we see, we move from believing to knowing.

2 Nephi 9:28,42-43

28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

43 But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.

We learn from this scripture that even when we are knocking, when we are asking for answers, if we are not humble and do not realize that there is much we do not know or understand, then the Lord will not open. We will not find and we will not receive, because of our pride. We may refer to this as the Lord not answering our prayers. However, it is our own pride and disbelief that keeps us from receiving His answers.

Many view pride as strength and humility as weakness. If we admit that there is much we do not know, or that we have been wrong about some things, we fear that others may see us as weak and under-learned. That mindset is the very thing that closes us off to truth - further light and knowledge.

I can assure you from personal experience that there is nothing more liberating than letting go of all boundaries and paradigms, and just letting the Spirit be your guide. You may be guided to a book or article that you otherwise would have dismissed. In that article you may be led to a gem of truth pertinent to your purpose and mission. You may also come across error and deceit, yet with your gift of discernment you will know what to dismiss and what to grasp onto. The truth will fill you with warm light and exceeding joy, the error will leave you in a stupor of thought. Some truths you may feel are not for you to learn at this time.

Alma taught us how we can decipher: Alma 32:28

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

You may be guided to a person or teacher whose cultural background and beliefs differ greatly from yours, however there is something you are to learn from them that will will prepare you for the next gem of truth the Spirit would like to reveal. You will find that truth adds to your testimony of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. It never takes away from that. It fills you with peace, leaves you energized and with great clarity - it never leaves you confused or depleted.

You will find that all the people, places, books, videos, dreams, visions, etc. that you are led to, several years ago you would have ignored, dismissed, or overlooked. They may have appeared strange, unfamiliar, and out of your comfort zone. However, as you let down your guard and open yourself to the Spirit and all possibilities, you will find that the bits and pieces of truth that you learn here and there feel very familiar as if you had known all this before, and had just forgot.

There is truth spread all across this vast wilderness, and one day it will all be circumscribed into one great whole - but until then we have to seek it piece by piece, relying on our compass (the Holy Ghost) to be our guide. As you continue seeking, you'll soon find that you no longer approach truth with a sense of caution or fear. You are drawn to it like a magnet. You can feel it before it arrives. Someone or something who others might see as strange or different, you see at first glance as beautiful and highly valuable. You are eager to learn and open to truth in whatever form it may come. Because of the gift of discernment you have no reason to fear. Your relationship with the Holy Ghost is so solid that doubt has no room in your heart.

When we are quick to judge and criticize others, that is a red flag that we are not open minded people. We are not as little children. We are not humble. Little children love unconditionally, and they believe whatever their parents tell them to believe. They don't need proof, evidence, verification, references, or approval of others to believe - they just believe.

Mosiah 3:18

18 For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

We cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven if we do not believe. Our spirit remembers all truth and hungers for our physical mind to catch on. When our soul truly hungers, it will be fed. Our spirit jumps for joy each time we seek truth, receive it, and believe it. The veil slowly peels back as truth begins to feel familiar to us. When we close ourselves off to truth because we don't understand it, we cause damnation to our souls. Because when we are not moving forward and progressing, we are moving backwards and regressing. There is no standing still. We are always in motion - either forward or backward. Forward is life, and backward is death. Truth is life eternal.

When our body is filled with sickness and pain, when emotionally we feel like we are "dying" inside - the physical is evidence of the spiritual. Are we open to truth, are we seeking light and moving forward? Or are we stuck in sin and moving backward? Are we content with the basics and stuck in false beliefs that hinder our progression. Beliefs that we are not worthy of God's love, we are not worthy of healing and miracles - they may be possible for others but not for us. Beliefs that God is punishing us, is angry at us, or has chosen a life of pain for us because we are to learn from it, or we were not worthy enough to be blessed with a life of joy. From the bottom of my heart, and from personal experience, I truly believe that these beliefs are false!

I have yet to meet a doubter who has received a miraculous healing. When I talk to people who are suffering from severe pain or illness they often talk about putting their faith and hope into finding the right drug, doctor, or medication - but I never hear them mention hope in a miraculous healing from the Lord. They don't believe it's possible that they could wake up the next morning and be miraculously healed. I remember asking a blind woman once if she had ever asked for a special prayer or blessing for the Lord to heal her eyes. She told me that she did not have the faith to ask for such a miracle, so she chose to accept her blindness instead. However her Great Grandmother had the same blindness and asked for a blessing in which she was instantly healed. The woman was aware of this miracle but told me her Great Grandmother had faith and she did not. She along with many others believes that she must accept this trial and bear it all her life - coupled with an underlying fear that what if they ask for healing and it doesn't work? Will they lose their faith in God all together? They feel it's safer to just not ask at all. We have access to the most amazing gift - the healing power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, but many of us take it for granted.

In Doctrine and Covenants 29: 46-47 we learn that Satan has no power to tempt children until they reach the age of accountability. They are redeemed from the beginning through Jesus Christ.

46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;

Though Satan cannot tempt children (as they are not accountable), he certainly can torment and afflict them. He will jump at ever opportunity he gets. Devils and unclean spirits can and will attach to anyone who is vulnerable. Though Satan is given power to bruise our heel, we are given power to crush his head because of the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When you truly understand the Atonement and how to use it, you break the chains that Satan has bound you in. Chains of sickness, depression, fear, doubt, unforgiveness, pain, addiction, abuse, anger and so on. We don't have to tolerate Satan and his tormentors. We don't have to accept pain and live a life dependent on medications, surgeries, and therapists. We can be healed. We can be freed!

God needs us to be whole, He needs us to be powerful in His Kingdom. Healing, wholeness, and prosperity are a manifestation of His Glory and Power. They are the signs and wonders that lead others unto Him. The Lord does not desire for the body of His church to be filled with sickness, sadness, pain, and torment. He is a God of healing, of miracles, of wonders, and these testify of Him and His Power. It is the marvelous works, miracles, and manifestations of the Spirit that lead people to Christ. The examples led by His followers. The sad, downtrodden, afflicted and weary are looking for hope.That desire to be healed, to be freed, to be saved. The Lord wants His Church to reflect that. It is through our own disbelief that miracles cease.

Pain, disease, and sickness are not of God and are not of the Celestial world. You will not find it in His Kingdom. God is life. All things that promote life, happiness, joy, and love are of God. The City of Enoch bypassed death because they were already living a Celestial glory. They understood the Atonement and how to truly apply it. They understood the gospel of Jesus Christ and how to truly live it. Satan had no power over them. Death had no place among them.

Sickness, illness, disease, and pain promote death. Death is of Satan - it is of this fallen Telestial world. He is anti-life in any shape and form. Because of our agency, we sometimes make choices in our lives that result in pain, disease, and sickness. Whether we choose to harbor feelings that are negative and allow those feelings to take root in us, or we choose to watch or participate in activities that drive away the Spirit and invite darkness into our soul, this is all classified as sin because sin is anything that pulls us away from life and from God. We are always planting seeds in our soul. Good seeds fill us with life, and bad seeds corrupt us with death. Until we repent and give our pain, sorrows, afflictions and sins to our Savior, we cannot be healed.

The Jews of the New Testament referred to sickness as "devils" or "unclean spirits". We read of many accounts of the Savior casting out "devils". Often times we don't realized that much of our sickness can be healed from simply raising our right hand to the square and casting out evil. From simple headaches to terrible fevers, the sickness is a manifestation of the adversary. Through the Spirit we can learn how we became vulnerable to those afflictions (a negative song, a violent TV show, pornography, speaking curse words at someone), so that we can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Satan stands by waiting for an opportunity to torment us. Our choices can invite him into our homes to not only affect us but also our children. When the Spirit leaves, Satan moves in. If we are ignorant to his presence, we will not cast him out. In addition to casting him out, we should always be up to date on applying the Atonement. We should be repenting daily of sin, and casting our sorrows, negative thoughts, and feelings to the Savior. They don't leave on their own, we must take action through the Atonement.

I remember once hearing a woman complain about her family always being sick. Virus after virus from colds, to flues, to strep throat and pneumonia. For six months her family had been plagued and she was fatigued. Soon she learned that her husband had a pornography addiction. As he addressed the addiction and together they used the Atonement to heal and forgive, the sickness left their home.

Affliction and torment is not of God and He does not send it to us. When we sin or harbor negative feelings (which is also sin) we pull ourselves away from God and His protection, allowing Satan to have power over us. Because of free will and agency God allows this to happen. However we must remember that what Satan uses for our harm, God uses for our benefit. No negative experience in this life is wasted. We can choose to learn what we need to through a life of pain and affliction or through a life of miracles, joy, and healing.

Because we live in a Telestial world it does not mean that we have to live a Telestial glory in this mortal life. This is what is meant by the phrase be in the world but not of the world. (John 15:17) We can physically live in this Telesial world but live in a Celestial state/glory. By becoming purified, holy, and sanctified, we are not of this world. Satan has no power over us. Physically our bodies are here, but spiritually we operate from a higher realm.

Humility leads us beyond this world. An open mind allows us to find the truth and knowledge that will progress our soul. We are commanded to try and be like our Savior. Our Savior emulated everything that He saw the Father do. As we try to be like the Savior, we also become like our Father in Heaven as they are one in purpose. The goal of our existence is eternal life and to one day attain all that the Father has. Our Father in Heaven is glorified through His children. Our happiness, joy, progression and exaltation, glorifies Him.

John 17:10-11

And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

To illustrate the power of an open mind and heart, Jesus said in Matthew 13:15-17

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

The Lord teaches us in these verses that His word heals us! If we are not truly converted and born again of the Spirit, He cannot heal us. When our eyes and ears are closed to truth, we close ourselves off from His healing power. We close ourselves off from miracles.

A couple verses down, Jesus then gives us the parable of the sower in which we learn that when people are given truth and they don't understand it, Satan comes along and "catcheth away that which was sown in his(their) heart." He explains that this is why He spoke in parables. He was protecting the unbelievers from Satan. This is why He counseled us not to cast our pearls before unbelievers. He then tells us that "he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." Those who understand the mysteries of truth in the parables, are those who bring forth a bounteous harvest of fruit. By their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7). Marvelous signs and wonders follow those that believe (Moroni 9). These are believers who are converted to the Lord 100%. They have received a mighty change of heart. They are operating in a Celestial realm. Miracles follow them, and where they are - there is no place for sickness or pain.

Have you been truly converted to the Lord? Have you received that mighty change of heart in which you have no desire to do evil? Have you released all sin to the Savior, or are you currently suffering for your own sins? You will know this by the way you feel. The Atonement is for all! You do not have to reach a level of worthiness to use it or even be close to perfect. And don't fall for the lie that that there are certain sins you must carry and suffer for on your own because it's your purpose to endure those afflictions all the days of your life, or that you are being punished. Sin pulls you away from God and away from wholeness. It is not what He wants for you. But if you choose that path and change your mind later, He can and will use it all for your good because He loves you!

Our choices affect our lives, and our posterity. We may bring curses, illnesses, addictions, abuse etc. upon our lives that get passed down through the generations. But it doesn't have to be that way or stay that way. The Atonement doesn't just heal us, it heals our posterity, it heals generations! We can also pass on faith, belief, healing, prosperity, and miracles to our posterity.

In summary, it all comes down to our relationship with the Godhead, our understanding and use of the Atonement (even for feelings and emotions), and having an open mind and heart. How well do we know our Savior? Do we know Him as a God of Resurrection Power? What does that mean to us? Do we know that He can resurrect our dreams, our relationships, and our motivation? He is the Great Redeemer? What does that mean to us? He can redeem and restore lost blessings, lost opportunities, and our happiness. Do we know Him as the Savior? He saves us from sin, from pain, from sorrow and torment. He saves us from the Fall(death) and brings us towards life. Do you feel like you are full of life and zest and joy? Does passion for life and love burn within you? When you truly know the Savior you can't help but answer "yes"to all these questions.

We are not here to live mediocre. We are not here to stay inside our boxes and just learn the basics. Receiving the ordinances without receiving Christ in your heart doesn't do much good. Baptism without being born again of the Spirit is no different than baptizing a bag of sand. We have to open our minds and our hearts to the Spirit. We have to be changed from the natural man in order to experience the fullness. We have to be teachable and humble. We have to love unconditionally. And we must continue progressing this is part of "enduring".

Spiritual warfare is real. Are we doing all we can to cast out devils and unclean spirits every morning when we awake and every night before going to bed? Casting it out of our homes, our children, and our families? Casting out evil in all of its forms? Kicking it off of our property and calling on Heavenly protection to guard us? Blessing our homes and our families. Doing things to invite the Spirit into our bodies, our homes, and our lives? The battle is real and if we are ignorant to it we become victims rather than victors.

What we learn in this life will give us all the more advantage in the life to come.The greater truths that are going to help us progress, are not written about in books, or taught over the pulpit, they are taught by the Spirit. It is my hope and prayer that we allow the Spirit to become our guide and teacher. That we don't settle for mediocre, but instead set aside all fear, all doubt, and all disbelief and surrender ourselves to the Savior and all that He has for us. As we seek Him we will find Him and He will become our greatest teacher! We will have Divine experiences that we never thought possible. We will receive the mighty change of heart. I say this in Jesus' name amen.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Other Churches Teaching that Native Americans Originated from Israel!

This video popped up in my feed yesterday and I was delighted to see that leaders of other Christian faiths are teaching that Native Americans originated from Israel! For me, it’s another witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I was so happy, I left this as my comment below the video.

I love this! Amen :) It supports what I already believe as a fan of the Book of Mormon. A great history of the ancient tribes in America and their record of coming here from Jerusalem, as well as their incredible prophecies about America.

One of their ancient prophets in the Book of Mormon prophesied of the destruction and demise of their future generations in America because in his day they killed off the prophets on the land and turned from the word of God. He said that they would be scattered and smitten by the white Gentiles who would arrive on this land to colonize it. 

1 Nephi 13:12-15 

12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land. 

13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. 

14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten. 

15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain. 

But there was a prophecy given for their hope and salvation in our day. I love these verses:
 "And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are descendants of the Jews." 

“And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers.” (2 Ne. 30:4–5.) 

"And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.” (1 Ne. 14:1–2.)  

Beautiful scripture ❤️

After posting, I received some unkind comments towards my comment, even though it was from my heart. I did not respond, and I don't wish to expand on what was said.

I follow many different Christian leaders on social media because I am inspired by so many. Their testimonies are additional witnesses to what I already believe and I have even learned some things that were very helpful. I am so grateful for the diversity we have not only within the church but outside of it. 

It brings me so much joy to find common ground and share little bits and pieces of truths with each other that build us up rather than tear us down. Sometimes I find that many in the Christian community are not so kind or accepting towards my own beliefs when they find out I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I am always doing my best to love them anyways and respect their opinions about me. I am hopeful that one day they will see the good fruits of our members and notice the light and the service we freely offer – and give us a chance. A chance at just being friends without judgment or criticism. We can chat about our love for the Savior, our love for His gospel, miracles we have experienced…but as soon as they find out I am Mormon a wall goes up. We shouldn’t see labels on those around us, we should see everyone as a child of God. We are all equally loved by Him, therefore we should love each other just as much as we love Him. 

I am hopeful that one day others who are not favorable of Mormons will understand that our testimonies about what we believe are very real, personal, and sacred to us. If the Spirit had not born witness to our hearts, we would not have a testimony. This applies to members of all faiths. A testimony is a very personal thing. If the Spirit did not bear any witness to you of light and truth about your faith, you would not believe it. We all belong to the churches that we do, because the Spirit guided us to them. They are right for us because we have been guided to them. I cannot tell another person what is “right” for them just as another person cannot tell me what is “right” or “wrong” for me. The Lord knows us and knows our individual needs. He guides us to where we need to be. It is important to respect that. Our paths are all different, we are all at different places in our lives, different levels of light and knowledge, and we are all doing the best we can with what we know. All who follow the Savior Jesus Christ belong to the Church of the Lamb. Our doctrines may differ but our principals are still the same. We can surely unite on that.

Religion is good because it gives us standards to live by. It helps us rise to a higher potential. No matter what church we belong to, if our religion teaches peace and love – then we are in a good church! We all want to share what we believe because it has made us so happy! We want to share that happiness. When guided by the Spirit, I often share my beliefs with others if they seem interested or they ask, however I never force my opinions or beliefs on anyone. Even missionaries are taught to always serve and love all people first. If you have truth you want to share, others will not want to hear it if you are telling them their beliefs are wrong or evil or they have been deceived. Criticizing others for what brings them joy, is a sure sign of personal unhappiness. When someone is truly happy and truly has the Spirit with them, they are at peace and don’t feel the need to criticize others for their differences. The core of the gospel is treating others how you would want to be treated and loving everyone without conditions attached. I am hopeful that someday we’ll get there, or at least close to it!

Not all people in the Christian Community are critical towards Mormons, and yes, there are even some Mormon’s who don’t practice the Golden Rule themselves. Regardless of our experiences with people outside of our faiths, we should seek to give everyone we meet the benefit of the doubt. We should express gratitude that our Father in Heaven has given us free agency so that we can believe what feels right to us. We are all so blessed! 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Claim Your Blessings Today!

Several years ago I wanted to run a promotion for my skin care product that I had newly re-branded. I met with the owner of a popular coupon magazine that circulates monthly here in Utah. After receiving advice from a successful local business owner, I decided it would be a fantastic idea to offer my product for free in this magazine! A shipping fee of $9 would cover the cost of the manufacturing on each product as well as packaging, the cost to mail it, and hopefully the cost to place the ad. This same idea with this same shipping amount, offered in this same magazine, is what launched this certain business owner's success. I was so excited to follow suit!

Because my product had been an As Seen on TV product, I had that advantage over the other business owner. I was sure that I would have just as much, if not more success with this offer. I paid the large amount of money for my ad to be featured with fingers crossed that enough people would claim the free product to cover that cost. The ad was big, beautiful, had striking colors and font and my very best before and after pictures. The title of the ad was FREE!! The details explained the coupon was good for one free product (excluding shipping) and explained the benefits of the product with bullet points. I was very excited for it to run.

Without any doubt, I was certain that several hundred people or more would claim this free offer. It was an incredible deal because the product truly was free. The product sold for retail at $20 a jar. In fact, in order to be eligible to place the ad, I had to have 2,000 products made as the magazine owner told me I could expect to surely get half of that as a minimum claimed on my offer.

The day the magazine came in the mail, I opened it up to find my ad. I was so excited! I checked my online store several times a day to see the status. the hours, days, and weeks passed by...nothing. No one claimed my offer. I could not believe it! Towards the end of the month I was amazed to see that one person had claimed my offer. A couple years later when we moved, I became her neighbor and when she learned I was the owner of this product, she told me she had a jar that she had claimed on the free offer. She told me how much she loved it. She had no idea that she was the only one who had claimed the free offer.

For several months I could not wrap my mind around this. I could not believe that only one person saw the value of this offer and claimed it. There were so many people who saw the ad, saw what it could do for their feet, saw that it was free, and all they had to do was go to the link and enter the code. It was so simple! There would never be such a good deal offered again.

Years later, I ran a similar promotion on social media and again, this time, no one claimed the offer. Months passed and I ran another free promotion in which I went to the fan page of my product. I notified everyone on social media that all they had to do was like, share, or comment on the post, and they would be entered in a drawing in which I would pick several winners  to win free product with free shipping! They could enter as many times as they liked and the contest was only 24 hours.

Again, I was amazed. Only a handful of people responded and so every person who entered won. I could not believe how many loyal customers and fans did not make the easy effort to get the product they always purchase for free. I wondered if they doubted they would win, or doubted it was actually free, or just too busy to take the step.

Lastly, I recently held a promotion where I drew several winners who each won $50 of free product plus free shipping. The winners were very excited to have won, however to this day not one of them have claimed their prize. On the contrary, for the past several years, whenever I offer a discount such as buy 5 get 5 free or 50% off, my orders explode. I have learned that when something is free, people do not associate value with it. However, when something  is slightly discounted and the customer must also pay for shipping, they attach a value to that and jump on the opportunity.

As I have pondered this, I made a connection to the Plan of Salvation and our blessings that the Father has in store for us. Salvation is for everyone, you don't have to earn it or pay for it. Jesus already paid the price and His gift is free to all who will just accept it. As simple and incredible as it seems, many do not jump at the opportunity.

Spiritual gifts are also free, they are a gift to us. However, many of us do not claim them.

There are mountains of blessings being stored for each of us, all we have to do is claim them. However, many of us never make the simple effort to claim them. I imagine giant warehouses all over Heaven full of blessings, just sitting on the shelves, waiting to be claimed.

Maybe we are deceived to think that there is catch, nothing can really be free can it? Or, do we think if something is free, it must not be very valuable, so what's the point of checking it out? Or are we simply lazy, thinking it seems like work to have to claim an offer. You have go to the link, click on it, enter your information. Maybe we'll just wait until we have some free time or wait until the next offer comes around.

Living the gospel can seem like work at times. Going to church every Sunday, giving service, paying tithing, studying scriptures, praying, and the list goes on. Sure what's being offered sounds wonderful, but we'll get around to it when we have more time.

Are you claiming your gifts, your blessings, and your place in God's Kingdom? It's there for the taking, and you don't even have to pay for shipping. What are you waiting for? I know that when you claim all the Father has to give you, it is then you find your greatest peace and happiness! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.