(to reader: everything that is in parenthesis wasn’t written in the talk)
(Note to self: think of your tone while you read, read calmly and with power. annunciate. Relax, pause or take a breath at every bit of punctuation.)
(Well) As we all know Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, and redeemer. Suffered, bled, and died for every single soul, who has ever lived on this earth. That we might be able to be forgiven, and repent of our sins. So that one day we will be able to return to live with him, and our Father in Heaven again. Theres a scripture In John chapter 3 that i’d like to share, In the chapter Christ is teaching Nicodemus, a Pharisee on how all of this is possible, (and how these things might be accomplished) and in verse 3-6 it says: (read John 3:3-7, I felt like I needed to add 7 in there as well)
So when we depart from this life into the next, all of the things that are “of the flesh” or things that are temporal, will not be able to come with us into the next life. So in verse six when it says that, that which is flesh is flesh, and that which is spirit is spirit, it means that, that the things of the flesh will pass away just like flesh, but things that are of the spirit are everlasting, they cannot be removed from us with the passing away of the flesh. Now in Matthew chapter 16 Christ comes unto his disciples and gives unto Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven because (Christ) knows that he will be crucified, and that his disciples will not be able to continue his work without these keys in which he possesses. So in verse 18 and 19 it says: (read Matthew 16:18-19)
So Peter is given the power and Authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood to bind things according to the spirit, that the Apostles might be able to perform ordinances among all of the people that will be ever-lasting. That they might be able to return to live with him again. So at this point the church is able to continue growing and performing Christ's work upon the earth without Christ. But Before the Chapter ends, Christ gives a principal for them to live by. In verse 24 it says (read V.24)
Now when Christ is asking for all of those who are baptized and follow him to deny themselves and to take up his cross. Christ is asking for them to give up all of their ungodliness, all of their worldly desires, all of the things that might hinder his work. And he asks them to take up his cross and to make following Christ most important above all else.
Now sadly after the death of Christ people persecuted the Apostles and killed them and all who Christ had given this Power and Authority, died, and they took the powers of binding the ordinances of baptism in heaven with them. The Authority to use the Priesthood was taken away from the Earth.
But, in the spring of 1829 The Melchizedek Priesthood Authority and Power was restored to the earth! Peter, James, and John came as Heavenly beings to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, to bestow upon them the same Authority and Power which Christ gave to them. And since then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been continuing to perform Christs work upon the earth.
Now, The advice Christ gave unto his disciples in Matthew chapter 16 verse 24 applies to all of us today. Since we are of the same order, and work, and perform in the same way that Christ and his disciples did while they lived on the earth. Christ has asked all of us to deny ourselves, and to take up his cross and follow him. He wants all of us to put him and his work first above all else, and consecrate our all to helping his work press forward in these latter-days. But how does one “put Christ first” in their lives?
There is no real instruction manual of what to do to put Christ first in our life, (or even example sto look up in the topical guide). (But) I believe that in order to know how to put Christ first in your life you first need to put yourself in his shoes and think, what does he want most above all else?...
He desires that all might be able to return to live with him again, and that his followers are Obedient to the commandments that have been given them.
Now, I have a few questions that I think everyone needs to sit down and think about for themselves. When you are alone and if this comes to your mind ask yourself this. What stops me from having the spirit around me at all times? What things do I put before the Lord that prevents me to learn and grow in the way he wants me to? What might I have to sacrifice to be a better servant to the Lord?
These are all questions that I believe that we should ask ourselves frequently, that we might be a better tool in the Lords hands, so that we might be used to build his kingdom here upon the earth. The Foundation is set! Christ already Atoned for our sins and did all that man needs to be able to return to live with him again. It’s now our part to build off of that foundation to commence his glorious work to make something spectacular of all men, and help bring them all home to live with our Father again.
(Now, even though this has already been read today,) I’d now like to read to you Doctrine and Covenants section 20:77 to show you some of the ways we covenant to put Christ first in our life, It says (read D&C 20:77)
As it says in the prayer, There is a few key things that we covenant to do when we take the sacrament;
· We declare that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ, That we might all be examples of him who was perfect.
· We covenant that we will always remember Christ and the things he has done for us, and the things he wants us to do.
· And we tell him that we will keep his commandments which he has given us, and that we will be obedient to his will.
The sacrament is a ordinance that enables the Saviors grace to be upon us that we might be forgiven of our sins, But in doing so we also have to covenant to him that we will put the Lord first.
(One way that I’ve been trying to put Christ first in my life is ever) Since last November I have gone to the temple twice a week every week, to go and feel the spirit, to learn, and to do ordinances for those on the other side, who is waiting for us to go and help them open the doors that bind them. And as i continually went to the temple and helped the many souls progress and open those doors, I came to realize that the Lord greatly blesses those who do his work and will. I have had hundreds of tender mercies and sweet experiences in these past few months that i’ve been doing this, just because I have been faithfully coming to help people come unto Christ. I have come to know that the Lord rejoices when we do his work, and he will help us, guide us, and bless us greatly.
I know that if we listen to the commandments that has been given us and follow the teachings of Christ then not only you will be blessed, but the people you serve, and everyone around you will be blessed by the good example that you are through the way you live your life.
(I didn’t intend for this next part to be in this talk, it was originally in my first farewell talk, but I awoke around 2 am and shot straight out of my bed, I realized this needed to be in my talk, I fell back asleep almost immediately after I put it in)
As some of you may know I trained with my good friend Will in Brazilian Ju jitsu for a while. And I worked up to gaining my first stripe for my white belt. I'm nothing to special at it, and hardly be considered a teacher on the subject. But I do remember the words of my gym leader and coach, who was well qualified to be a teacher and knew what seems to me everything about the sport. (He is ranked number 4 in the world for his weight division, and people travel from way far away just to learn from him.) I am nothing compared to the man in the ways he knows how to fight, but when I listened to his advise and I tried my hardest to preform in the way he wanted me to, I would end up learning a lot and become better at it. Now in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, when you are fighting with your opponent it is common to go into a position called closed guard. It's a position where your opponent is laying on their back with their legs wrapped around you. while you are kneeling.
Their objective is to puuulllll you down, or trick you, and sweep you into a different position where they will be more dominant, or submit you to finish the fight. Now I know some people that when their opponent would get them into this position they would think to themselves “I don't need to use the techniques my coach has been teaching me, I can muscle out of it” and they wouldn't listen to the great words of advise from someone who knows what seems like everything. They then would struggle and pull and waste their energy until their opponent could do what ever they wanted to them. They were very easily captivated, and they would be put in the same situation many times because their opponent knew, they wouldn't listen to the advise, which would cause them to slip, and fall, and be defeated.
I learned that it was best though to be obedient and listen to all the words that my coach would give me, because in the end he knew better anyways. Now this is not some unbeatable position I am talking about. It can actually be passed pretty easily if you defend yourself, and you do not move into places that you should avoid. There is three basic steps you take, in just about every possible way you pass their guard. These steps are very relateable to obeying the commandments of God. The first step you should take when passing your opponents guard , is to anchor yourself to the mat by sitting on your ankles with the top of your feet against the mat. For me this hurt a lot at first! I thought it was almost as bad as being choked! It was difficult to get used to, but the more diligently you anchor yourself to this foundation and work at gaining better technique, the better off you are when your opponent tries to pull you down.
It's just like the gospel. If you work at gaining a testimony and obeying the commandments of God, you might feel as though it is difficult at first and some of the things you have to give up could be quite painful. But the more you work at gaining a testimony and anchoring yourself to the savior Jesus Christ, the pain will go away and you will be able to better protect yourself, and become stronger. The next step to passing your opponents guard, is to posture up, and move your hands to stop them from coming any closer. You stand your ground! Which keeps you away from their attacks. You stay away from the temptations and the manner in which they are trying to trap you. Now we have heard many times that the best place to be is as far away from sin and temptation as possible. Even if you have to say no to your friends, or turn off what ever electronic, or device you are being trapped with. You fight against any struggle that might make you loose what you believe in, you stand your ground and and keep your self anchored to the foundation, which you know, it cannot fail!
And the last step is to look up at the ceiling, and follow the technique. Looking up is imperative to passing the guard, and there is a great difference in the strength of those who look up and those who don't. It is said you tend to go where your eyes are pointed. And when doing this small act of just looking up it strengthens the power you have in your core, it can help straighten your arms to help fend of your opponent. You then follow the teachings you have been given to help you get out of this position, so you can fight back and win.
There are many people who look up and pray to our Father in Heaven when they get caught in adversity, or they have great trails they seem to be trapped in, and because of their faith and knowing which direction to look they are strengthened and are helped, and sometimes delivered from the adversity that is besetting them. But like I said there is many who don't look up, they don't pour their souls unto prayer for help, for deliverance, for guidance, and they trudge through the storm with only the strength that is quickly accessible. Yes they might make it through the storm, but they will be much more weary and beaten then those who looked up and prayed for help and guidance. And the last thing you do that gets you out of the opponents guard is by following the techniques that has been given and taught to you.
We have been given many ways of guidance through our lives, we have the scriptures that we can read almost any where now, we have prophets teaching us and giving us instruction, we have sunday school teachers, home teachers, bishop and his counselors, stake presidents, and missionaries. All of which has been sent by our Father in Heaven who knows all things, to teach and educate us on the techniques we need to learn and obey, to reach our full potential and to help us through life. And all we have to do, to get through adversity, to help other people, to return to live with him, and help others come to him, all we have to do is be obedient to the words which he is giving his servents, to teach to us. And now just because the Coach or Father in Heaven isn't physically infrount of us teaching us, does not mean that he isn't sending people infrount of us, to teach us and to educate us in all the techniques we need to return to live with him.
But never forget you can always speak to this worlds gym leader or coach to get help. All you have to do is look up and follow the teaching that he gives us!)
(I know that this church is true, I know that we have a Father in Heaven who loves, cares, guides, and protects us. And we can all come to a knowledge and gain a testimony and know that he is there if we put Christ first in our lives, if we read our scriptures, if we do work in the temple and if we are obedient to the commandments that the Lord sends his servants to teach us. It is said that your testimony is like unto a seed and I know that as you do these things your testimony will rise up and grow stronger and become a immovable tree if you continually do these things. I know the Adversary is real, and he is lying in wait to deceive us and to make us doubt our faith, But I know personally that we can over come him, because even I have been trapped by his deception and have doubted at times. But even as I have over come his temptations and came to know of a sureity that the Church is the True Church of Jesus Christ on the earth and all of the teachings are true and if you continue on faithfully and act of the teachings your path will become lighted even in the darkest hours. I love all of you and I am so Grateful for all that you guys have done for me because I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for all of your love, help and influence in my life. Thanks! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.)