In these challenging times, when there are so many spiritual crocodiles in the world in the form of drugs, alcohol, rampant immorality, pornography, bullying (the list could go on for a long time), many parents ask themselves, "Is there a safe place anywhere to raise my children?"
The answer to that question, of course, is a resounding yes! Where is such a place? Safety is found in raising children in a home centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A Map For Our Lives
How can the gospel of Jesus Christ help? It provides a road map for our lives. As we move forward, the teachings of Christ, as taught by both ancient and modern prophets and apostles, serve as guideposts along the road of life, which if we follow them, will help us stay on the correct path. All of us desires to be happy. The prophet Joseph Smith taught:
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God”
Christ's gospel helps us in pursuing and staying on the path of happiness. His commandments help us understand how to conduct ourselves so that He can bless us. Speaking to Joseph Smith, the Savior taught, "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise," (D&C 82:10). As we live virtuous lives and are faithful in keeping God's commandments, we will be directed by the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, in all that we do. As we diligently strive to to learn and follow God's will, we will be inspired as parents, knowing how to navigate through the minefields of sin that surround us, and being able to teach our children how to do the same.
Comfort In Times of Challenge
Yes, the gospel can help us and our children to navigate the minefields of sin. Does that mean we will always come through unscathed? No. What it does mean, however, on those occasions when there are wounds, is that as we understand and follow Christ's teachings, He will be there with healing balm to lift us up in our time of need. I know from my own experience that this is true.
On the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2005 I had taken the day off to repair a broken stair. As I was preparing to work on the stair, we received a phone call from my mother-in-law letting us know that Mike, my wife's step-father, had had a massive heart attack that morning while on a business trip and had passed away. It came as a total shock to us. I had just talked to Mike two days before. We had just had a dinner with my brothers and sisters-in-law the night before and been planning activities for the week, which included dinner with Mom and Dad. My dear wife broke down and cried on the phone along with my precious mother-in-law. I cried along with them.
As you might imagine, it was a rough week. We made it through the funeral on Friday. Then, on Saturday morning, the day after Mike's funeral, I received a call from my older sister telling me that my father, who had been ill for quite some time, had passed away that morning. Talk about a punch in the stomach!
How did I make it through that week? How did my wife's family make it through that week? We made it the only way we could--by putting our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, relying upon His goodness, trusting in His timing, holding fast to the belief and knowledge, that through His tender mercies, provided by His death and resurrection, we would someday be with Mike and my father again. With that assurance, we were able to reach out in love and give comfort to those who came to reach out in love and give comfort to us. In doing so, we felt Christ's warm embrace as He carried us though our time of challenge.
The Gospel is True
Through this experience and a multitude of others, I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and wholesome doctrine. I know that Christ lives. I know that He directs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. How grateful I am for this knowledge. It has guided me, my wife, and my children and all that we do. Has everything been easy? No. But life was never meant to be easy. It has however been worth it!
To those of you who know and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and are striving to live it, I commend you and urge you to keep moving forward and to share the joy of the gospel with everyone you can. To those of you who don't know of the gospel of Jesus Christ, or who know of it but don't understand it, or who know it but are not now living it, I invite you to come and see! Come and see what the gospel of Jesus Christ can do for you and your family. Come and feast at the table of the Lord and sweet refreshment find! As you do, I can make this promise, your life will never be the same! You will find greater joy and happiness than you have ever known.
Randy McNeely is a father of five, an aspiring author as well as a singer/songwriter. He has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs and multiple religious hymns, including Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind, which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest.
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