Excerpts from "Face the Future with Faith", Russell M. Nelson, April 2011
"It is true. We live to die, and we die to live again. From an eternal perspective, the only death that is truly premature is the death of one who is not prepared to meet God."
I love this quote about death. It's so true! It doesn't matter when you die as long as you are prepared to meet God. If you die as a child or young adult and are prepared to meet God, then if He calls you home, your death is not premature. On the other hand, if you live until you're 100 years old, yet die having lived a life contrary to God's commandments and die not being prepared to meet God, then your death is still premature. Because the reason we are here on earth is to prepare to meet God. Well one of the reasons. The prophet Alma stated such in The Book of Mormon.
"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God..."If you are doing your best to follow Him and keep His commandments, then you are prepared to meet God and there is no need to fear death. Being prepared to meet God requires a lifetime of dedicated devotion and service. It is not a one-time deal. Once you're baptized and have all your ordinances in order you can't just stop and think your preparation is done. Line upon line precept by precept. That is the Lord's way.
I heard a funny story the other day where the speaker was illustrating this point. He said that when you get to the pearly gates you cannot slip Saint Peter a $20 bill and have him look the other way while you slip into heaven unnoticed. No, it doesn't work that way. And honestly, if you are not prepared to meet God, you will be uncomfortable in heaven in the presence of God. And you will be saying, "Get me out of here!"
I hope we are all spending our precious short time here on earth preparing to meet God.
Okay here's the next quote from President Nelson.
"Each individual will make his or her way in a constantly changing world—a world of competing ideologies. The forces of evil will ever be in opposition to the forces of good. Satan constantly strives to influence us to follow his ways and make us miserable, even as he is. And the normal risks of life, such as illness, injury, and accident, will ever be present.
"We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith."We certainly do live in a world whose ideologies are growing farther and farther apart from the truth. God's laws are constantly being attacked and mocked. As the Lord hastens His work, so does Satan. Faith is under attack. Families are under attack. People are dropping like flies to Satan's lies. Families are disintegrating faster than ever. As a consequence people are becoming miserable like Satan. Unfortunately Satan may win the battle against many weak people. But, Satan will not win the war. We can protect ourselves from Satan's attacks by strengthening our faith. How do we strengthen our faith? President Nelson will answer this question in the following quotes.
"Obedience allows God’s blessings to flow without constraint. He will bless His obedient children with freedom from bondage and misery. And He will bless them with more light."
"Unfailing faith is fortified through prayer. Your heartfelt pleadings are important to Him."Obedience and prayer are two ways we strengthen our faith. Many people think obedience is restrictive when in actuality it is very freeing. Obedience frees us from the bondage and misery that come from disobeying God's commandments and following Satan. As an example, look at addiction. Drugs, alcohol, pornography are all things the Lord commands us to refrain from. Yet those who partake of such things may, at first, feel free from the Lord's commandments. But quickly becoming slaves to the bondage and misery of addiction.
"Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution.” That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives."Not only did the Apostle Paul warn that in the latter days those who diligently follow the Lord will suffer persecution. One of our current 12 Apostles also said so. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, in an April 2014 General conference address said the following:
"I say to all and especially the youth of the Church that if you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."I testify that this is true. I personally have suffered persecution because of my faith and diligence in defending The Gospel of Jesus Christ. To those of you facing the same, don't let persecution "crush you into silent weakness". Remain strong and courageous and always defend the faith. In doing so you will become stronger and your faith will increase.
"How you deal with life’s trials is part of the development of your faith. Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people. As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto His people."
"Available to each of you brethren and sisters are blessings obtained through the power of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood. These blessings can change the circumstances of your lives, in matters such as health, companionship of the Holy Ghost, personal relationships, and opportunities for the future. The power and authority of this priesthood holds the keys to all spiritual blessings of the Church. And most remarkably, the Lord has declared that He will sustain those blessings, according to His will."Remember your divine nature. Remember who you are -- a child of God. As such you are lawful heirs to all of the Lord's choicest blessings.
"Our beloved President Thomas S. Monson has given us his prophetic witness. He said: “I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments.”"
"President Monson continued: “My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”"
"To President Monson’s powerful declaration I add my own. I testify that God is our Father. Jesus is the Christ. His Church has been restored to the earth. His truth, covenants, and ordinances enable us to overcome fear and face the future with faith! I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."I add my witness to that of President Nelson and President Monson. Our future is as bright as our faith. Though many trials will certainly rain down upon us, we can weather the storm and be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the gospel, by walking uprightly and keeping God's commandments.We have no need to fear the future when we face it with faith!
That's my two cents.