To Die For!

 

I just stepped off a cruise ship yesterday after spending 7 days on stormy seas with over three thousand people all swimming in overindulgence at its best.   While I cannot speak for others, I can say for meself mateys, learning how to sacrifice one’s self, one’s means and one’s spirit is the greatest blessing in life….ok Red Cross, giving blood, too.

What makes something so important, one is willing to die for it?  I’m not talking about the chocolate mousse at the dessert bar…though conceivable.   I think this is a very difficult question to ask anyone who has never had to go without….like most of us.  In our modern comforts of life, we have many luxuries, desires, passions and appetites we are constantly feeding into.  Today in my blog, I will share how the wisdom from Old Testament prophets coupled with modern revelation has taught me why sacrifice is essential for our spiritual and eternal progression and why we MUST learn to overcome our natural man instincts….and yes, pass up the chocolate fondue bar more often on the cruise ship.

As company sub-captain of over 100 persons seeking religious freedom while traveling by handcart across the great plains, Levi Savage exemplifies today what sacrifice really means as a true leader who was willing to die for something greater than himself.”Brethren and sisters, what I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help you all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, will suffer with you, and, if necessary, I will die with you.  May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.” Levi Savage Willie company Journal 20 October, 1856.  It is fare to say, most of our ancestors came to America to satiate a hunger rooted deep inside their souls. They were looking to find religious freedom and weren’t afraid to die for it!  Many gave up all their earthly possessions to purchase a one-way ticket aboard a cruise ship to America.  These ships weren’t as luxurious as those we have today, in fact, the sea became the graveyard to many a traveler and that was only the beginning of their sacrifice.

While building the first modern temple in Kirtland Ohio, the early Saints sacrificed all their time, physical labor and material goods, even crushing their finest china and cutting their hair to be built within the very walls.  “For thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation; and out of our poverty we have given of our substance to build a house to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people.” D&C 109:5   These people knew the ancient teachings found in the Old Testament Bible heavily taught the law of sacrifice.Jeremiah 31:31-34    Modern revelation teaches the law of consecration and sacrifice, too.  Through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, we are saved, but it is through our sacred covenants and ordinances we make with God that we find the promises of peace, protection and ultimately, eternal salvation. Moroni 10:33

Temples are the most holy places on mother earth because it is where we make sacred covenants with our Lord and Savior and where he instructs his people.  A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people. God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey those conditions. When we choose not to keep covenants, we cannot receive the blessings, and in some instances we suffer a penalty as a consequence of our disobedience.—See True to the Faith (2004), 44   This two way promise, or covenant, begins with faith and sacrifice to God and ends with the Lord our God bound to us with his part of the agreement.  Doctrine and Covenants 82:10; 97:8; 98:13-15 1I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

An example of the blessings God promises us comes from the Kirtland Temple Dedicatory Prayer March 27, 1836: “That thy glory may rest down upon thy people: Thy holy presence may be continually in this house:  All people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord’s house may feel thy power:  All those who worship in this house may be taught words of wisdom out of the best books, and that they may seek learning even by study, and also by faith: That they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost, and be organized according to thy laws, and be prepared to obtain every needful thing:  That all incomings and outgoings of thy people may be done in the name of the Lord:  That all their salutations be in the name of the Lord:  That no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into thy house to pollute it:  And when thy people transgress, any of them, they may speedily repent and return unto thee, and find favor in thy sight, and be restored to the blessings which thou hast ordained to be poured out upon those who shall reverence thee in thy house:  Servants armed with power…glory round about them, and thine angels have charge over them:   That they may bear exceedingly great and glorious tidings, in truth, unto the ends of the earth:  That no weapon formed against them shall prosper; that he who diggeth a pit for them shall fall into the same himself; that no combination of wickedness shall have power to rise up and prevail over thy people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house;  And if any people shall rise against this people, that thine anger be kindled against them; And if they shall smite this people thou wilt smite them; thou wilt fight for thy people as thou didst in the day of battle, that they may be delivered from the hands of all their enemies. D&C 109: 12-28

As much as I love sailing on a luxury cruise ship on stormy waters, I have come to know there is a better ship sailing on smoother waters and is written on the canvas of life by Jesus Christ who is willing to offer passage freely to any traveler.  I offer my testimony of these truths through song and word….and death if necessary.  I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ONLY church on mother earth that holds all the sacred keys of the priesthood that enables all mankind to make and keep sacred ordinances and covenants.  It is within this church, members learn the law of sacrifice by first becoming baptized members, following in faith, paying tithes and offerings, serving in church callings without payment, spending years away from family and friends while serving missions and preaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and especially in redeeming the dead by performing sacred ordinances and covenants they could not do themselves in mortality.   It is within these covenants made by and through the Holy Order of God that the Lord is BOUND to help and protect us and offer us passage to his kingdom in paradise.

Well, it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me

It’s not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me

Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Fantasy, it gets the best of me
When I’m sailing
All caught up in the reverie, every word is a symphony
Won’t you believe me?

Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Well it’s not far back to sanity, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me

Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free  Christopher Cross

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