In preparation for a talk, I was givien the General Conferance address: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/valiant-in-the-testimony-of-jesus?lang=eng&clang=ase (Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus.
When thinking about the stumbling blocks mentioned in the talk, I thought of an experience that illustrates stumbling blocks. A Priesthood Request
I remembered this talk in October and took notes on it that I wanted to get into this site. points that I made were:
- The philosophies of men. I thought about how men believe they do not need God, or that we find ourselves thinking that it was just me doing all that, or it was my degree, or my own knowledge. I love this scripture in 1 Cor 15: 10
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
I love that! This is how I feel, anything I do, because of God...
- There is a belief that our God will not punish us for our sin. We even see or know of people who sin and keep, what we see, being blessed, either with what looks like happiness or with monetary value and success.
I think this is a dangerous stumbling block for the sinner is never brought to a situation where he or she might be compelled to repent do to humble circumstances. I believe we must watch the way we view other's success for do not know the heart nor the story people hold inside, the hurt or the sadness that could or may be present even though we see something different.
- Looking beyond the mark. What does this mean? Since Christ is the "mark" we must focus on his simple doctrine, not what the world is demanding at this time. We must not demand that our church leaders change policy or even doctrine based on the latest "cause" or latest political agenda. We must keep our eye single to God.
- Another one I see is what we think others will think of us if we are not following the crowd. Or if I'm not different enough instead of keeping our focus on the what the Lord would have us do. Examples of this are giving into the Word of Wisdom because everyone else is doing it. Having a filthy mouth because everyone else does it. Watching shows/movies because the ratings or the reviews are excellent.
Heber C. Kimball warned: "The time is coming when … it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God. Then … look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall." He concluded that there is "a TEST coming." Will we past this test? We will be an enemy to our Father who gives us all?
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said in 1982: "Much sifting will occur because of lapses in righteous behavior which go unrepented of. A few will give up instead of holding out to the end. A few will be deceived by defectors. Likewise, others will be offended, for sufficient unto each dispensation are the stumbling blocks thereof!"
Speaking in a general sense of heaven and who would not make it there, D&C 76:79 states: "These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God."
These were some of the stumbling blocks that I got out of the talk and some of my own thoughts. Now I thought about what are some ways we avoid these stumbling blocks, for sometimes it's hard to stand up, stand alone sometimes when good friends start to do things that are against what the Lord wants. How do we stay strong? How do we look beyond what a family no longer believes the way you do and introduces anti-mormon rhetoric and ideology?
- Pray, may sound too simple, but pray for strength, have faith that prayer will work. If I believe it's going to work, it will work. This is faith. I heard someone once told me that prayer doesn't work, I said with an attitude like that it never will...
- Be strictly obedient. Don't even get close to the line, never cross that line. Be obedient. "It is by obedience that we gather light into our souls." President Uchtdorf
- Be a missionary. We have Brother and Sister Wade who introduced and has made more of an impact than they will ever know on my family. Sister Wade would ask my mother to go to relief society on Thursday nights, which she did on occasions. Missionaries taught our family and we joined the church.
- Study the scriptures, really study, pray to enjoy them, pray to understand, have faith the Lord will deliver.
How do we apply these principles into our daily lives? To me it’s simple, it's coming and participating in Sunday worship. Really, I mean, really taking the sacrament. Asking questions in Sunday school, coming prepared to learn, coming with a thankful heart, a forgiving heart, leaving church and keeping the rest of the day holy. This is a start. If we worship the way we all know how and should, we can avoid the stumbling blocks and show are valiency to our testimony, or obedience to our Lord and our happiness... I know this is something I need to always work on. But I'm happy, I choose to be happy, I choose to be thankful. I pray we all can try a little harder...