Arizona Mesa Mission Address

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 19, 2011

Hey Family,
I don't know exactly what time I will be calling on Sunday, but it will be after 1pm Eastern time.  We will only be able to talk for 40 minutes since that's what the white handbook says.  To tell you the truth, I love talking to you guys but for some reason it is always a nerve-racking experience for me!!!  I think it might be the fact that we can only talk twice a year, I don't know.  Are Chala and Stuart going to do their first Christmas alone this year or what??  I miss the snow so much, it doesn't feel like Christmas time at all.  :(   

Dad, can you send me the recipe for caramelized onion pizza again because I lost it and really want to make it.  I did get the Christmas package with the all of the candy.  I have already eaten everything except for the Toblerone bars and some Hi-Chews, which I am trying to save.

For the past two or three transfers I have really focused on scrutinizing the bible.  More specifically, the New Testament which I am really enjoying.  It is so amazing how many hidden treasures are found in the Bible that coincide perfectly with the Church's doctrine.  It is very interesting to study all of the writings of Paul and the many paradoxes which appear to be found in his various epistles.  One of the greatest is the importance of grace and works in the gospel of Christ.  One of the reasons I believe Paul focused a lot on being justified (or righteous) through faith and not works is due to his history as a Pharisee (Phil. 3:5-9*, Acts 23:6**) who followed the law meticulously but at the same time, overlooked completely the spirit of the law and thus nullifying any reward he would have received for being obedient.  How worthless and in vain is our faith if it be not manifest in our works!?!  Christ said, right after talking about the importance of producing good "fruit" or works said that only those who DO the will of the Father will enter into his Kingdom (Matt 7:21***).  And the "mansion" they will receive (because we know they are many) will be rewarded to them according their works. Peter understood perfectly the writings of Paul and concludes his 2nd Epistle by warning others not to twist or "wrest" the doctrine found therein and that those who do, do it unto their own destruction.  

The Book of Mormon is so awesome because it helps us understand these simple gospel truths.  It is by grace that we are saved after we have reconciled with God; reconciliation that can only be made by one who has a true and living faith (2 Nephi 10:24****).  If it weren't for the grace and incomprehensible mercy of Christ, not even our faith would save us because we all fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23*****).  Paul understood this and warned the Galations in chapter 6 verse 7:

 7 - Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Anyway, that is just something I never understood very well but have been able to grasp after extensive study.

I hope you guys have a merry Christmas with lots of snow.  I miss you guys a lot and can't wait to talk to you!!!!


Elder Kinney

*Phil. 3:5-9

 5 - Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
 6 - Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
 7 - But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
 8 - Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
 9 - And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

**Acts 23:6
 6 - But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

***Matt 7:21
21 - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

****2 Nephi 10:24
24 - Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

*****Romans 3:23
 23 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

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