Monday, December 12, 2011

Well this week was very interesting. We had a lot of crazy stuff happen. Satan is most definitely real!  If we do not remove ourselves from the things and people that promote wicked living and the breaking of commandments, we will always falter and struggle. We need to seek the Holy Ghost.

All of the crazy stuff... begins with people permitting wickedness to dwell within their midst. Sometimes it comes disguised as a friend, a worldly possession, or even some "harmless" idea.  At times it is forced upon us; perhaps they have come upon hard times, or it surrounds us at work, or we were convinced that it was harmless, and unassumingly received it with open arms. Whatever the reason or means, Christ makes it clear that action is necessary.

Matt 5:29-30

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

In this parable Christ refers to the Eye (our desires, those things we look towards, goals, aspirations - even ones that began with righteous intentions) and the Hand (our works, talents, abilities) and instructs us that if it is corrupted, if it is leading us into temptation, causing us to stumble, etc... that we should pluck it out; cut it off. He even instructs us to cast it from thee.

I have seen the destructive truth of this parable many times, ESPECIALLY IN MY OWN LIFE, where people will strive to help friends by cleaving to them.  As they associate with these people whom they love, they are tempted by the lifestyle, actions, etc... and end up falling back into old temptations or even new ones, because they couldn't "pluck out" or "cut off" a "friend" even when that influence would mean their destruction.

Others I have seen were stuck in a bind. They were in a situation that was initially great, no bad influences, nothing that would beset them. However, something or someone entered into the environment. Sometimes its when a group of friends begins using foul language, living promiscuously, or even using drugs. Other times it could be where someone joins your work group and they are constantly inviting or encouraging you to become involved with their iniquity. Perhaps sometimes they are not doing it consciously... but instead the weak, carnally-natured side of you begins to long and lust after what they have.

Regardless of the situation - whether it means quitting your job, moving, changing schools, breaking up, severing communication entirely with an individual or group, finding new friends, going without friends, excluding yourself from specific activities or hobbies (video games), cutting the cable, changing your cell #, having to kick someone out, etc... (I have had to do most of these) - the counsel is clear; remove these stumbling blocks from your life at ALL COSTS.

In 1 Corinthians 10 God promises to always prepare a way for us to escape temptation because often escaping it is the only manner in which we can withstand or bear it.  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (v13)

But often it is our love towards man, things, or ideas, and not towards God, that dictates whether or not we actively flee from these temptations.  IS IT NOT CLEAR WHY Paul expressly instructs us to FLEE!!! in verse 14, Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry (essentially loving things or ideas more than God) but the command is clear.

In verses 7-10, Paul speaks concerning the people of Israel. He talks of how their wickedness and subsequent chastisement was an example for us to LEARN from. He expressly admonishes us NOT to, "Lust after evil things"(v6), "Neither be ye idolaters" (v7),  "Neither let us commit fornication" (premarital sexual relations) (v8), nor "Tempt Christ"(as did those who refused to look upon the bronze serpent to be healed) (v9), or finally, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer." (v10)

There it is - lusting after evil things, laziness, premarital sex, doubting Christ's power, and murmuring. We are told in verse 11 that the literal destruction these sins brought upon the people of Israel, "Happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." CRAZY!!! They are written for us in these latter-days!

Finally Paul warns us, (especially those who think they can "handle the temptations") that we must live righteously, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (v12) We must keep the commandments of God while living in a way that continues to build and promote our faith in Jesus Christ, avoid temptation, and flee from temptation when it rears its ugly head.

Joseph who was sold as a slave into Egypt faced unrighteous judgment and the death penalty when he chose to flee from, rather than commit adultery with, Potiphar's seductive wife. We must follow his bold and brave example of literally running away from temptation, before Satan binds us down with his strong chains of guilt, addiction, and torment; when we give into temptation we give into his will.

We are counseled to "Watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him." (3Nephi 18:15,18) We need to continuously watch where we are standing, and pray that we may continue to be led from holy place to holy place, that we may always have a holy place to stand and dwell safe from temptation. "Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved,"   (D&C 45:32) and if the place becomes unholy we must MOVE!!!  Through the Gospel and the teachings of the living prophets we can make our homes one such place. As we stand in holy places constantly, we will be filled with the light of the Gospel and we will be able to let our light shine unto all men.

Brothers, Mom, Dad, Friends, Strangers. Believe in Christ. Believe that He was and now is living. He has the power to change your life through His Grace, but only if you exercise your agency by choosing to follow Him and witnessing it through sincere repentance unto baptism by immersion by those who are authorized by Christ through His priesthood to perform this ordinance. It cannot be complete or binding in any other way. His promise to you is that by being baptized you qualify to be confirmed and receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to further help you live righteously and improve while upon this earth.

As Paul said, I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. (Cor. 10:15)

And as James said, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Judge ye my words according to the wisdom that will be granted to you by the Father, if you pray unto Him in the name of Christ.

Judge righteously lest ye be deceived.

I love ya family!!

THREE MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love ya!

Elder Britton Winterrose

PS Transfers calls are on Saturday.
PPS How much does Chan get for his allotment each month?

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