TOUCH OF THE MASTERS HAND

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Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?” “A dollar, a dollar”; then two!” “Only
two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three..” But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make
it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not
quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch
of a master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
“mess of pottage,” a glass of wine; a game – and he travels on. “He is
going” once, and “going twice, He’s going and almost gone.” But the Master
comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.

Myra ‘Brooks’ Welch

The touch of the masters hand has long been one of my favorite poems. Do we ever feel that we are like the violin. Have we ever been auction cheep to a thoughtless crowd. Have we ever had times when we have had our life out of tune like the old violin. Have we been battered and scared by sin?

Like the old violin we all get battered and scared throughout life. We all sin and we all are affected by the sins of others. In God’s great wisdom he provided a way for us to be cleansed from sin through the atonement of Jesus Christ who is our master. But do we fully understand the significance of the atonement?

Dictionary.com defines atonement like this. 1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends. Christ in making his atonement is making amends for the wrongs that we have done. It is the single most important event in history and without it we could not return to live with God.

When God created this earth for us and placed us on the earth he knew that we would sin and make mistakes.”Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence”. Moses 6:57. (Pearl of great price)  If this being the case and we all sin, then an atonement is necessary in order for us to become clean again so that we may enter into the kingdom of God.

If we embrace the savior and allow him to touch us as the violin was touched by the masters hand we too can realized our worth. Our lives are worth more than we can imagine but we often can’t see that from the the scars and battering we take in this life. The cleansing power of the atonement has the ability to change a souls worth and bring you too Christ.

In my youth I did not live the gospel. For quite some time I lost my way and followed the ways of sin. I would go to bars and even went to a strip club or 2 as I indulged in ugly sinful behavior. I found my self addicted to cigarettes and was drinking quite a bit. These habits have a damaging affect on my health and spirit. I was lost, and spiritually dark and dead. I had a very low self worth and did not feel that God cared about me or what I did. I spent my spare times at bars and strip clubs. Nothing mattered to me not even myself. I was not suicidal but generally angry at life and what it had to offer.

It was thanks to my wife and some faithful Missionaries, Elder Sweeney and his companion, who one day I fatefully invited into my home, before we were married that changed everything. These missionaries soon learned that me and my Fiance at the time were while technically members of the church, were not active nor living a gospel centered life. More specifically I was not, while the worst my Fiance who is now my wife was doing was living with me or “living in sin”. I was still struggling very much with the life of sin I was living. After learning this the first thing Elder Sweeney did was invite me and my wife to the church corn bust, which is the annual fall meal around thanksgiving. We agreed to attend and spent a lot of time with Elder Sweeney. Soon he was visiting on a regular basis and invited us to church. We went one week and slowly but surely things began to change. We spent a lot of time with Elder Sweeney and had many conversations with him. His encouragement and love he showed guided us and me most especially back to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Sadly Elder Sweeney was transferred to another area of the mission but the Change in my soul by the touch of the masters hand had begun and I was on the slow path back to living a gospel centered life. Repentance was not easy but possible because of the atonement of Christ.

1 year after our marriage we were blessed to have Elder Sweeny, who witness our marriage, back in our area. He was able to receive permission from the Mission President to attend our sealing in the LDS temple 1 year after our civil marriage.

There have been many things and mistakes that I have made which I Regret to this day, As i’m sure we all have things that we wish we did not say or do. We still make mistakes and it is a lifelong pursuit to change our natures. Because of Christ’s Atonement we all can repent and feel his healing power and like the violin we can realize our worth through the touch of the masters hand.

Jeffrey R Holland related this story told by Orson F Whitney (1855-1931)

“One night I dreamed … that I was in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. … I stood behind a tree in the foreground. … Jesus, with Peter, James, and John, came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, He passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed … : ‘Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.’

“As He prayed the tears streamed down His face, which was [turned] toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I wept also, out of pure sympathy with His great sorrow. My whole heart went out to Him. I loved Him with all my soul and longed to be with Him as I longed for nothing else.

“Presently He arose and walked to where those Apostles were kneeling—fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, untinctured by the least show of anger or scolding, asked them if they could not watch with Him one hour. …

“Returning to His place, He prayed again and then went back and found them again sleeping. Again He awoke them, admonished them, and returned and prayed as before. Three times this happened, until I was perfectly familiar with His appearance—face, form, and movements. He was of noble stature and of majestic mien … the very God that He was and is, yet as meek and lowly as a little child.

“All at once the circumstance seemed to change. … Instead of before, it was after the Crucifixion, and the Savior, with those three Apostles, now stood together in a group at my left. They were about to depart and ascend into heaven. I could endure it no longer. I ran from behind the tree, fell at His feet, clasped Him around the knees, and begged Him to take me with Him.

“I shall never forget the kind and gentle manner in which He stooped and raised me up and embraced me. It was so vivid, so real that I felt the very warmth of His bosom against which I rested. Then He said: ‘No, my son; these have finished their work, and they may go with me; but you must stay and finish yours.’ Still I clung to Him. Gazing up into His face—for He was taller than I—I besought Him most earnestly: ‘Well, promise me that I will come to You at the last.’ He smiled sweetly and tenderly and replied: ‘That will depend entirely upon yourself.’ I awoke with a sob in my throat, and it was morning.”

As the savior said in this dream, weather we return to him will entirely depend on us. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We have to ask ourselves. Are we repenting of our wrong doings? Are we turning to Christ in our sins and asking for his forgiveness. Are we open to the Touch of the masters hand and his power to change our worth and become pure and perfected in our shortcomings?

The touch of the Masters hand can change the worth of any soul. There is not a soul that our savior Jesus Christ cannot heal and cleanse of sin which batters and scars our lives. The savior said in Mathew 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

What a great promise from Christ. If we just come unto him he will give us rest from our cares, sins and scars that so heavily burden us and he will give us rest. If we take upon us his name, his burden and yoke it will be easy for us and the burden will be light, he is offering to take our heavy load, our burdens, our cares in exchange for his that we might have rest. Christ is saying I will carry the burden of your sins and you can rest from your sorrows and strife.

Let us cast our burden upon the Lord, Let him heal us with the touch of the masters hand for the worth of souls is great in the eyes of God.

By Andrew McLean Posted in Orginals

A Visist From an Apostle

Elder Jeffrey R Holland 1841 BoM 3

Something remarkable happened today. Something that statistically will only happen once every 30 years give or take. It was truly a rare and exciting opportunity that I had this wonderful Sabbath day. Elder Jeffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ spoke at this weekends Stake conference. We get the opportunity to hear him and other apostles speak once every 6  months during the General Conference of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This event is held the first weekend in April and October every year. But today was unique opportunity during our stake conference, which is a regional conference for the area rather than the semi annual conference for the entire church. Jeffrey R Holland was at our Stake Conference in person to speak to the members in the Edmonton Area today. This is only the second time I have had the chance to meet a member of the quorum of the 12 Apostles. The last time was a few years ago before 2 of my 3 children were born, When Russell M Nelson made a visit to Edmonton. Prior to his visit then prophet and president of the church Gordon B Hinkley came to Edmonton to announce the Edmonton Temple but I did not have the chance to meet him amongst the crowd of several thousand who had gathered and the Shaw conference center to hear him speak.

I would like to share some things that Elder Holland talked about today in his address to the members of the church in my area. First however, I wish to emphasize that he is not an apostle just in name, but indeed has the very same priesthood authority that Christ gave his 12 apostles, and is as much an apostle as Peter, James and John of the New Testament. His authority comes straight from God himself and like Paul of the new testament has the same rights, privileges, authority, power and priesthood as the same apostles in Christs time.

Elder Holland had testified that the power of God has the ability to have an immediate impact on you, just as the man who spent 40 years on the steps of the temple, and when Christ apostles saw him there they told him, we have no money but what we do have we will give you, stand up and walk. A miracle was performed and had an immediate impact on this man who was lame from birth. No one is 2 far gone that the power of God cannot bring him back to the gospel and truth.

Elder Holland talked about his testimony of the Book of Mormon. He testified of its miraculous origin and defied anyone to come up with another explanation of its Existence by saying “If you don’t like the answer our missionaries give you then come up with your own explanation and start a church. But you don’t have another answer. What person would perpetuate a fraud and then tell you to pray about it.

Elder Holland talked about the possibility of the apostles losing there very lives while serving in there calling, as the scriptures make it clear that times of greater violence throughout the world is still yet to come. You can’t argue with the evidence.

Elder Holland testified “It is God’s truth and anyone who leaves it does so at the own peril and walks into oblivion”

Elder Hollands final remarks were a blessing. He left his apostolic blessing and sealed it with the priesthood authority that he has that we will be strengthened, we will have happiness and hope. We will come to more fully understand the calling and priesthood authority of the apostles. We are all part of the Holy order of God.

Elder Holland also stated that Women have been the flag bearers of truth throughout history and have kept men in the church. He thanked God for the women of the church and the women of this world. He stated that the world was not perfect till women were part of it, Women were the last that was created on this world, and only after women were created did God pronounce it good and perfect.

When the opportunity to hear and apostle speak I hope that we will take the time to listen. This weekend was a truly inspiring weekend and a rare opportunity. I thank God for such an opportunity and hope and pray that we will have such an opportunity again.