How to be Changed by Grace

This is our Beautiful artwork that caused "problems" a few weeks ago

Fall is coming...

Some random dog jumped in our car...

Family & Friends,

Remember the 'complete life turn around' I talked about?
Last week I posed the question....What changed?

We saw that this man received a card, researched a website, met with missionaries, went to church, took lessons, read scriptures, became a happier, kinder human soul.  And these are each great things but did a card change him? Did a website change him? Did the missionaries change him? Did church change him?

What really CHANGED him is the Grace of Jesus Christ.
And His grace is what changes each and every one of us.

So... What is Grace?

A summary definition of the word Grace might be: Divine means of help or strength given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. (Bible Dictionary; lds.org)

We know from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, that Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, died on the cross and was resurrected. And he did this to offer up an Infinite and Eternal Sacrifice, to 'Atone' for our sins. We reference these acts Jesus Christ performed as 'The Atonement.'

His Atonement is what makes it possible for us to receive forgiveness for our mistakes. Strength for our weaknesses, comfort when we feel alone. His atonement and His Grace is what provides sufficient means for us to 'Change' and to 'Become.'

"And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people;..that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." -Alma 7:12

Because Jesus Christ took upon himself our infirmities... And our trials and tribulations and sicknesses and weaknesses and heartaches and pains and stubbed toes and failures... 
He knows exactly how we feel! Each of us, all the time. He's been there before. He's walked
our path. He knows how to 'succor' us, his people, and we are never alone. It is through his Infinite Atonement that we can receive mercy, strength, help, guidance and ultimately... 
His Grace.

Because of Christ's grace we know we never walk alone (see previous blogpost 'not alone 2.0' for more info) we know he is always there, and we know it's never too late to become anything we desire to become. So how do we use, or feel, or apply his grace?

Brad Wilcox gave a CES BYU devotional a while back, that has stuck with me forever. It is called 'His Grace is Sufficient' (full length talk on BYU.edu.org) he starts off his devotional with a story about a young woman who didn't "get" Grace.

She said, “I know I need to do my best, and then Jesus does the rest, 
but I can’t even do my best.”

He replied “The truth is, Jesus paid our debt in full. 
He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.”

She said, “Right! Like I don’t have to do anything?”

To which he responded:

“Oh, no, you have plenty to do, but it is not to pay that debt. 
We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence to be 
judged. What is left to be determined by our obedience is how comfortable 
we plan to be in God’s presence."

That was a thought provoking response that hit me. How comfortable will we be in Gods presence? How comfortable would you be in Gods presence right now? Are you doing all that you can with all that you have been given? I realize that's vague, but think about it. Think
about the things you've been blessed with.  Are you utilizing them in your life? Are you utilizing the greatest gift of all that we've been given, Christ's atonement? Everyday? And are we using it to progress and become better? Or do we have the attitude of..

"like, I don't have to do anything?"

We have plenty to "do" beginning with using the Atonement for what it is there for. 
And using this life for what He originally intended us to do.... to change.

(And by "Change", according to previous blog posts, I'm suggesting the terms of improvement, growth, learning & gaining knowledge, Becoming a more Christlike person... Day to day.)

This past weekend in General Conference, Jorge Kliegobit had great insight when he said, "repent quickly and thoroughly. Use the Atonement Daily. It never runs out!" He rejoices when we apply his atonement!

"Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. 
Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. 
What is it? Practice!
Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No.
Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No.
Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used--seeing her child
improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice."

"If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with Mom’s
eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane."

"In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19); “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask, maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us." (Wilcox)

The Miracle of the Atonement isn't just that we can receive forgiveness as a sinner, so that we can feel good about ourselves and start over every day on square one just to make those same mistakes again. Sure it happens. But the Miracle of the Atonement is that when we make these mistakes or when we discover our weaknesses, we CAN actually receive "Divine Means" of Grace not only to start over, BUT TO CHANGE.

"The Miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled... 
but that we can be transformed.'

So the question we ever so often hear is
"Have you been saved by grace?"
Which we can confidently respond, Yes! Absolutely.

But today the question we can each be pondering is
"Have you been CHANGED by grace?"

That's a big question in simple terms. I feel like I need to take a pause break and just think about it for a solid hour because when I think of it that way it makes me really wonder. Have I been changed by Grace? I have a confident assurance that I have been saved by His Grace, that there is more to this life and I will see him again. No doubt! But will I be comfortable there? Have I given my best shot in following Him and doing what he has asked of me?

It makes me really think. I know there is room for CONSTANT improvement, but am I making a conscious effort to improve? Or am I laying back saying "I don't have to do anything."

In my mind what it ultimately comes down to is letting Grace change us, and change our HEARTS. So when we stand before Our Savior at that great day, we can honestly say that the desires of our HEARTS was TO FOLLOW HIM. And that Yes, we had weaknesses, we made mistakes. But we learned from them, and we were constantly striving to Become
Better. To Follow His will. To Use His gift. To Rely on His grace. To change!

Brad Wilcox has another depiction which I find incredibly interesting to think about. 
He says..

"I had a picture in my mind of what the Final Judgement would be like. And it went something like this. Jesus standing with a clipboard, and Brad standing on the other side of the room looking at Jesus. Jesus checks the clipboard and says "Oh shoot Brad, you missed it by two points." Brad begs "please check the essay question! There must be two points you can squeeze in there! Please let me stay!"

"That's how I always saw it. But the older I get, the more I understand, the Wonderful Plan of Redemption. The more I realize.. I understand that in the Final Judgement it won't be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus "let me stay"

"Knowing Christs character, I believe if anyone will be begging on this occasion, it will probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner "please choose to stay. Please use my Atonement, not only to be cleansed but to be changed. So you will want to stay."

"The Miracle of the Atonement isn't just so we can Make it Home, but to Feel at Home
To desire to be there. To begin now living on that higher plane."

"To begin now with trying to abandon sin 
and become more comfortable with God and His presence. 
Rather than trying to abandon God 
and become more comfortable with sin."

"Like the mother asking her child to practice to become a pianist...
if Jesus didn’t require "practice," then we would never become Saints."

"And fortunately for us it's never to late to begin."

"However late you think you are,
however many chances you think you have missed,
however many mistakes you feel you have made
or talents you think you don’t have,
or however far from home
and family
and God
you feel you have traveled,
I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love.
It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of
Christ’s Atonement shines."
(Elder Jeffery R Holland. The Laborers in the Vineyard April 2012 Gen Con)

We are not expected to be perfect.
We will never reach perfection here, in this life.
But we are expected to try.

We WILL slip up, we WILL make mistakes. And that's OKAY because the purpose of this life is to Learn and Grow. But if were constantly making mistakes, not to learn from them but to just "have fun" because "we don't have to DO anything" what are we going to become? Where is your heart going to be?

So often in life we say or read or hear.. Or post Pinterest quotes that say things such as...
"Actions speak louder than words"

So why does this somehow become superfluous or redundant when it comes to living Christ's gospel? He asks us to obey Him, He asks us to change, He asks us to have faith, to repent, to reach out to FOLLOW HIM and DO AS WE HAVE SEEN HIM DO.

So.... Why don't we?

When you're ninety years old looking back on YOUR life, what do you want to have become? You have your agency and Christs grace, you can become


Take responsibility for your spiritual well being! 
(-Jorge Kliegobit, favorite gencon quote 2014)

I know when I see him again I want to have become changed. and to honestly say I've used His sacrifice, His atonement, His infinite love and His grace to improve, to change the desires of My Heart and to become what God intended for ME to become.

"Christs grace is sufficient. Sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, sufficient to help us as that transformation takes place. We then realize that Christ doesn't expect nothing of us, rather we discover the reason he expects so much from us and the reason he gives us that strength to do all he asks. Grace is not the absence of Gods high expectations rather the presence of Gods power...

...God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus’s grace is sufficient. It is enough. It is all we need. Don’t quit. Keep trying. Don’t look for escapes and excuses. Look for the Lord and His perfect strength. Don’t search for someone to blame. Search for someone to help you. 
Seek Christ, and, as you do, you will feel the enabling power and divine help we call 
His amazing grace."  (Wilcox)

If I've learned only one thing these past ten months as I've been out here serving, I've learned this. That His grace is sufficient. That His work is done. That no matter who we are where we are or what we've become... It's okay... We can begin again . I've seen the effects of
Christs grace in my own life, in my families life, in my friends lives and I've been so fortunate to have seen Christ grace completely change the lives of those I have been blessed enough to meet and teach since coming out into the mission field.

I've seen complete lives turn a round. I've seen little day to day improvements and each are so important and beautiful and amazing to watch as people change. And change their desires to match Gods.

Like Elder Christofferson said in General Conference
"We are not Gods puppets.
He will not make us become something we choose not to become.
It's up to us, to consciously choose to follow him."

I know, that my Savior lives.
That he loves me.
That he cares and he knows all about me.

I know we came here for a reason, this isn't random, this isn't unfulfilling.
We are here for a purpose
And we can find that purpose in Christ.

I know he makes all the difference in our lives.
If your struggling, if your hurt, if your confused

And we make the choice whether to open the door to him and welcome him into our lives. But he is always there. His grace is there, it is sufficient, it is enough.

And we can ALWAYS change

To become better,
To become Saints.

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Love you guys!
S. Stucki

Readers: If you are interested in reading further the sources I referenced throughout this post, I highly recommend you download the "Gospel Library" app on your smart phones, tablets, etc. It is a free app that has all the information I have used downloaded into a
library of scriptures, talks, speeches and highlights from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

If an App Store is not available to you, you can also use the websites lds.org
Contact Your local Missionaries

Or message me on Facebook :)

If you have questions, comments, criticisms, compliments, complaints
or concerns I would love to talk about them with you when I get a spare

Message me at Sister-Madison Stucki on Facebook 
or email me at madison.stucki@myldsmail.net and we can talk. I love hearing your
ideas, insights or questions and implementing your improvement
techniques into this blog. Thank you!

Sent from my iPad
(October 6, 2014)

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