Sunday, September 9, 2012

Standing Alone for God

Here is a talk I gave a while ago about president Monson's talk Dare to Stand Alone:

As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. Has that happened to you?  Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone? As holders of the priesthood of God, it is essential that we are able to face—with courage—whatever challenges come our way. Remember the words of Tennyson: “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.”

Increasingly, some celebrities and others who—for one reason or another—are in the public eye have a tendency to ridicule religion in general and, at times, the Church in particular. If our testimonies are not firmly enough rooted, such criticisms can cause us to doubt our own beliefs or to waver in our resolves. - Pres. Monson

In Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, found in 1 Nephi 8, Lehi sees, among others, those who hold to the iron rod until they come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, which we know is a representation of the love of God. And then, sadly, after they partake of the fruit, some are ashamed because of those in the “great and spacious building,” who represent the pride of the children of men, who are pointing fingers at them and scoffing at them; and they fall away into forbidden paths and are lost. What a powerful tool of the adversary is ridicule and mockery! Again, brethren, do we have the courage to stand strong and firm in the face of such difficult opposition?

President Benson:

“In all ages, prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. …

“For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. Some individuals will fall away, but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its Head—even Jesus Christ.

“While this generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time: [it is that] God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest … children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly.”

Said President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“You cannot afford to do anything that would place a curtain between you and the ministering of angels in your behalf.

“You cannot be immoral in any sense. You cannot be dishonest. You cannot cheat or lie. You cannot take the name of God in vain or use filthy language and still have the right to the ministering of angels.”

“We are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven.”

There is a certain type of people that I call "fence sitters". They are at a place in their life spiritually where they consider themselves in the middle. Doing just enough to get by and justify that they are on good terms with the Lord. They go through the motions of attending church or reading scriptures but then talk bad about others or have poor integrity. 

Becoming casual in the gospel or doing things that you know are wrong outweigh the good and please Satan in more ways than one. You may despise Satan and all he stands for and would never dream of following him. However you are doing just that when you “ride the fence”.

Often times when we are not serving the Lord we are not doing it deliberately. We are not trying to rebel or purposely sin, or hurt the Lord. Most often we just aren’t thinking about the repercussions our choices have. We aren’t understanding the grand scheme of things or looking at our life with an eternal perspective. We are just living in the moment for the here and now.

I always say, “If only I knew then what I know now… I would have handled that situation better, chose differently.” Use that as the faith to avoid temptation and ride the fence. After this life, you will pass through the veil and remember everything! You will look back on your life….and possibly say “If only I knew then what I know now… I would have..” Avoid that sorrow and live your life so that instead you’ll rejoice and say, “I knew it! I knew it was true!” 

You see, that’s what a testimony is. It’s what we know to be true. If we really know the gospel to be true – all of it, our lives will reflect that. When we don’t understand the gospel to its fullest, our lives reflect that.

What is your attitude about the gospel? I love learning the doctrine. I love to read and study the deep subjects of the gospel. I want to know the mysteries of God. This is exciting to me. However, I can know the doctrine inside and out but it doesn’t do me any good if I don’t understand the basic principles of the gospel and apply them in my life. 

They go hand in hand. The more I study the doctrine the more I am reminded about the importance of the principals. The more, I am reminded the more I want to live them. The more I live them the more I am blessed and strengthened so that when the time comes to stand alone, I have the faith, strength and courage to do so.

In the hymn “Who’s on the Lord’s Side?” the chorus sings 

“Who’s on the Lord’s Side Who? Now is the time to show. We ask it fearlessly; who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?”

The battle of good and evil has been going on since the beginning of time. This battle is real and we are all in it whether we choose to be or not. We know from the scriptures that eventually the battle will end and good will prevail. We should all want to be on the Lord’s side and help fight the fight.
In any battle, a soldier that let’s down his guard our sits on the sidelines will eventually meet his fate. Don’t let that happen to you. Stand up for what you know is right. Live what you believe. Serve the Lord faithfully in all you do. Don’t sit on the sidelines, fly below the radar or ride the fence. You are not defending or serving the Lord when you do this. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in. When you are not strong you are weak. When you are weak you are vulnerable to the influence of the adversary. 

Many people knowingly serve Satan while others serve his purposes without understanding how they are doing so..

Ok, so why is this message so important and how can we make sure we are on the Lord's side?
In our time music and the media is Satan's biggest weapon. There are so many top 40 songs that contain lyrics that completely defy God and all He stands for. The melodies are catchy and popular and its so easy to want to tap your feet to the beat and get these songs stuck in your head. There are so many movies with great reviews from the critics, and they receive awards, praise and recognition by the world but they are full of questionable content that also defy God and all He stands for.
When we bring these "weapons" into our homes and minds we are unknowingly fighting against the Lord. lWe are serving Satan and supporting his purposes. Filthy language, pornography, premarital sex, vulgar talk , jokes and imagery are all things that even if we don't personally participate in them we are supporting them by watching them and laughing at them.

If they are offensive to Him they are offensive to me. We should be more careful that we do not become desensitized by all of this. We should find these things offensive.

Doing our best to stand up for righteousness even if it means standing alone, will bring us great blessings as we show our love and obedeince for the Lord and his commandments. I say this in the sacred name of Jesus Christ amen. 

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