Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stand In Holy Places

This is the talk I prepared for Sunday March 11th.  I wanted to share it in case you missed it.
He prayed us there

While serving my mission in California I spent much of my time in Stockton.  Once, while out doing missionary work my companion and I felt the impression to go see Hermano Palacios, the ward mission leader.  We arrived and he was laying down in obvious pain.  That man of great faith had prayed that the missionaries would arrive and give him a blessing.  We were happy to do so and left feeling we had done the work of the Lord.  But the more important lesson is this, “and whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.”

The prayer of Hermano Palacios was answered because he, as a disciple of Christ, stands in holy places.

 Know where you stand

When we stand in holy places we keep the commandments no matter what.  We don’t sacrifice what matters most to us for a moment of pleasure or gratification.  Our vision is lifted up, we see afar off and realize what others view as a mountain is really a mole hill.

When we stand in holy places we follow the Father’s admonition given to Enoch.  “Behold my spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify.  And the mountains shall flee before you and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me and I in you; therefore walk with me.”

We cannot walk with the Savior if we are not willing to follow God’s commandments.  The Lord’s commandments have not changed, will not change.  God does not change.  He is an immovable anchor we can use to steady our ship even as the moral storm rages around us.

Don't value the  Super Shredder

We are responsible for our actions.  At the end of the test here in this life, however long our test may last, it is our own thoughts, words and deeds that will condemn us.  Or, if we have sought the Lord diligently, then we will find him at that day.  Don’t give up what you value most for a trivial momentary pleasure.

When I was about 10 years old I went to Toys R Us with my family.  It was about the time that one of the teenage mutant ninja turtles movies had come out.  I had watched it and there at the toy store, just like in the movie, was the villain the super shredder.  I had a little money in my wallet.  I also had a two dollar bill in crisp condition.  My grandmother had given it to me.  With that two dollar bill I had enough money to buy the super shredder.  I asked my parents what to do, they left it up to me.   I bought the toy.  A boy behind me in the checkout line said, “You spent a two dollar bill on that?  I would have given you 20 dollars for your two dollar bill.”  Don’t give up what is precious to you for some trivial thing.

Lifeguarding and restaurants

Temptations are all around us.  With advances in technology exposure to some of the filthiest things this world has to offer are inevitable.  Don’t look at it.  Turn away.  Keep your thoughts pure. 

In high school I worked as a lifeguard at a local pool during the Summer.  All day long I was exposed to women in swimsuits and bikinis.  I kept my thoughts pure by focusing on my wife, a woman I did not then know, and how I wanted to marry her while wearing white, in a temple of God.

When the swim season was over, I needed some extra money to save for a mission.  I got a job as a waiter at a Chinese restaurant.  The pay was good.  But in the kitchen where I often had to go, was a large poster of a naked woman.  I refused to look.  But the poster was always there.  I quit after a few days.  I decided that the money wasn’t worth it.  I didn’t want to risk  looking.  When you are exposed to such filth, you run away and you do it fast. 

Where did he go wrong?

My seminary teacher once asked me to point out the verse where King David made his life changing mistake.  My classmates and I pointed out verse after verse, finally Brother Anderson made his point, which I have never forgotten.  King David’s mistake was that he did not decide beforehand what he would do.  Decide now that you will always stand in holy places, that when life’s moral storms rage around you, you will be in a sea of calm.

Though the storms may rage...

Once before my mission I went to do some thinking on the grounds of the Mesa Arizona temple.  There is a spot between the visitor’s center and the temple where there is a reflecting pool, and a garden with a couple of rows of trees and flowers.  I was there praying while a monsoon raged around me but in my little spot the wind was calm, there was no rain.  If we will make sure that we are in communication with our Lord and that we can enter His holy temples, we will never be in doubt as to where we will end up.  The world’s moral compass may spin like a top but we will know.

How do I know if I will go to Heaven?

If you want to know where you are going, ask yourself one question, am I worthy to enter the temple?

Friday night as I entered the chapel of the Bountiful Temple I felt an immediate light, life, love and relief.  The Spirit poured out blessings, instruction, and comfort upon me.  I give you my witness that if we will stand in holy places, we will be in communication with Heavenly Father and shall receive the invitation, therefore walk with me.  This I testify in the name of the Redeemer, amen. 

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