Mar 9, 2014

Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Good Morning!  Don't you just love Daylight Savings Time?
Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ
by Elder Richard G. Scott

Elder Scott suggests one of the most important things we should learn to do is to
recognize the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives.
I love the example of the faithful Ammonites Elder Scott uses to demonstrate this power.  Whenever I read this story I often ponder if I would have enough belief, enough faith to make and keep such a covenant especially when it comes to protecting their families, and watching their young sons fight in their place because of past mistakes they had made.

"How must they have felt to know that the rebellious actions of their past prevented them from protecting their wives and children at that moment of need?  These faithful fathers had long sinch repented of their sins and become clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, so why were they counseled not to defend their families?" 

One Word:  Consequences
"Sometimes our poor choices leave us with long-term consequences.  One of the vital steps to complete repentance is to bear the short- and long-term consequences of our past sins."
When we repent, we are essentially making a covenant with the Lord that if He will forgive us, we will never commit the sin again.

Satan knows how important keeping covenants is, and he tires everything to get us to break them.  One thing Satan will try is "to use our memory of any previous guilt to lure us back into his influence."  He wants us to still feel bad about things we've already fully repented of.  He wants us to focus so much on the things we regret about our past that we can't focus on the present and definitely not the future.  He uses this to break down our self-esteem, feel we are worthless, and that since we've already messed up once, why bother even trying.

Elder Scott warns us, "We must be ever vigilant to avoid his enticements. . .It [is] imperative for [us] to protect [our]selves spiritually from any attraction to the memory of past sin."

If you desire to be rid of the consequences of past sin, there is Good News!
"The Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion.  Whereas the Lord warns that unrepented rebellion will bring punishment, when the Lord speaks of weakness, it is always with mercy."

Like the Ammonites, we need to fortify our weak areas to create strength in us.
We need "taller and wider fortifications between [our] faithful lives and the unrighteous behavior of [our] past.. . .We, like the Ammonites, can build spiritual fortifications between ourselves and any past mistakes that Satan attempts to exploit."

Elder Scott lists several tools we can use to build spiritual fortifications between our vulnerabilities and our faithfulness:

1. Make and covenants for yourself and then work to provide ordinances in the temple for others.

2. Share the gospel with others! "Sharing these truths can bring a renewed enthusiasm into your life."

3. Serve faithfully in all Church callings, especially home teaching and visiting teaching.  Get to know them personally.  Be a real friend to them.  Serve them.  Don't be just a 15-minutes-a-month home or visiting teacher!

4. Serve your family.  "Make the spiritual development of your spouse and children a very high priory."

"In each of these suggestions, there is a common theme:  
Fill your life with service to others.  As you lose your life in the service of Father in Heaven's children, Satan's temptations lose power in your life."

And might I add:
Surround yourself with goodness!  
Surround yourself with people, places, and things that uplift you and encourage you to be obedient and to do good.

Next Week's Talk:
by Bonnie L. Oscarson