Our Father in heaven does the same thing to you and to me that I used to do to my father’s guitar. He allows our lives to play out and throughout the process trials, temptation, and tribulations come along, each of which turn the screws and wrench the stings of our hearts a little bit tighter. And on occasion this process continues until we are certain that we cannot take anymore and that the very next temptation or trial will cause us to snap and to break. But to our Father in Heaven this is not a game…..
You can hear the mocking tone of the people and I am trying with my family to hold on to my faith and it is being stretched tighter and tighter as first friends and then family begin to give up and join the unbelievers.
What do you think we would have done as a family sitting on our front porch watching sunset. Maybe today we would say as we watched the sun disappear behind the mountains and then the darkness would settle in. Maybe tomorrow we would say. And then the next day we would watch as the sun set and the darkness came. I believe that all of us in this room know what it is like to have hopes raised and dashed and raised and dashed? With every setting sun it seems like the strings of the heart would be tightened.
While none of us has ever had our life threatened because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we all know what it is like to have our faith stretched to the breaking point. We have had bills we can’t pay, children who wander, friends and loved ones pass away, and serious illness that won’t quit. When you have been at this point, when your faith has been stretched to the limit, what has kept you from giving up and joining the unbelievers?
Imagine this time. The sun is setting, the moon has risen and instead of getting darker it is getting lighter, as light as noonday. If you listen carefully you can hear that sound. It is the sound of rejoicing, of weeping, the sound of people falling to their knees, of song, of faith being stretched to the breaking point and then finally being released.
Wrenching the heartstrings
“On the morrow come I into the world…” Lesson 36
“God will feel afteryou, and He will takehold of yourheartstrings and hewill wrench them untilyou don’t feel you canbear it anymore. And ifyou cannot stand ityou will not be fit foran inheritance in theCelestial Kingdom ofGod.” (Journal of Discourses, 24:197)
Lesson 36 Objectives 1. Study the righteous Nephites and Lamanites as their faith is stretched to the breaking point. 2. Watch how Lachoneus and his people withstood the evil of their day 3. Learn 6 strategies to withstand temptation
Helaman 16:7-8 7 And as they went forth to lay their hands on him, behold, he did cast himself down from the wall, and did flee out of theirlands, yea, even unto his own country, and began to preach and to prophesy among his own people.8 And behold, he was never heard of more among the Nephites; and thus were the affairs of the people.
3 Nephi 1:2-3 And Nephi the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto hisson Nephi, who was his eldest son, concerning theplates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem. Then he departed out of the land, and whither he went, no man knoweth; and his son Nephi did keep the records in his stead, yea, the record of this people.
3 Nephi 1:5-7 But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel the Lamanite. And theybegan to rejoice over their brethren saying, “Behold the time is past and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faithconcerning this thing has been in vain. And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.
3 Nephi 1:8 But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night that they might know that their faith had not been in vain.
3 Nephi 1:9Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers,that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.
3 Nephi 1:15-17 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonishedbecause there was no darkness when the night came. And they began toknow that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the peopleupon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east both in the landland north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
3 Nephi 1: 26 “And thus the ninety and secondyear did pass away, bringing glad tidings unto the people because of the signs which did come to pass, according to the words of the prophecy of all the holy prophets.”
3 Nephi 2:1 And it came to pass that thus passed awaythe ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen—
3 Nephi 2:11And it came to pass in thethirteenth year there began tobe wars and contentionsthroughout all the land; for theGadianton robbers hadbecome so numerous and didslay so many of the people,and did spread so much deathand carnage throughout theland that it became expedientthat all the people, both theNephites and the Lamanitesshould take up arms againstthem.
3 Nephi 3:6-8Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you. Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite withus and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.And behold, I swear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed; but if ye will not do this, I swear unto you with an oath, that on the morrow month I will command that my armies shall come down against you, and they shallnot stay their hand and shall spare not, but shall slay you, and shall let fall the sword upon you even until ye shall become extinct.
6 ways to defendagainst temptationScripture Defense3 Nephi 3:12 Do not fear man
Do not fear man“The fear of man lays a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord issafe.” Proverbs 29:25How might fear causesomeone to give in to temptation?
Idolatry. When we care about what man thinks more than what Godthinks, we turn people into idols that we worship—seeking to please them in order to earn their approval or respect.Apathy. Fear man and you’ll quit taking risks because of the potential forembarrassment or failure. If an endeavor is unlikely to succeed, you’ll never take the chance. In other words, you’ll never do much of anything.Dishonesty. It’s tough to speak truth into someone’s life because the truth can be painful. If we fear somebody’s response, however, necessary words will remain unsaid because we care more about ourselves being likedthan we do about keeping the commandments or speaking the words of God. Decision Paralysis. When we live out of fear rather than out ofthe convictions God has given us, we spin in circles unable to move forward .
6 ways to defendagainst temptationScripture Defense3 Nephi 3:12 Do not fear3 Nephi 3:12 Pray
Phillip Brooks O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be the miracle. "Going up to Jerusalem", Twenty Sermons (1886), p. 330.
6 ways to defend against temptation Scripture Defense 3 Nephi 3:12 Do not fear 3 Nephi 3:12 Pray3 Nephi 3:13,22 Gather together
Because of ourimperfections, we needthe Lord’s Church. It isthere that Hisredemptive doctrinesare taught and Hissaving ordinances areadministered. TheChurch encouragesand motivates us to bea better and happierpeople.
6 ways to defendagainst temptation Scripture Defense3 Nephi 3:12 Do not fear3 Nephi 3:12 Pray3 Nephi 13,22 Gather together oft3 Nephi 3:14 Fortify ourselves
6 ways to defend against temptation Scripture Defense3 Nephi 3:12 Do not fear3 Nephi 3:12 Pray3 Nephi 13,22 Gather together oft3 Nephi 3:14 Fortify ourselves3 Nephi 3:16 Follow our inspired leaders
6 ways to defendagainst temptation Scripture Defense3 Nephi 3:12 Do not fear3 Nephi 3:12 Pray3 Nephi 13,22 Gather together oft3 Nephi 3:14 Fortify ourselves3 Nephi 3:16 Follow our inspired leaders3 Nephi 3:25 Repent of all our sins
“Wherefore,be faithful,praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oilwith you, that you maybe ready at the comingof the Bridegroom—For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly” (D&C 33:17–18).
Nephi the prophet1. God gave total power of the people2. Brought people to repentance through famine3. Predicted the murder and fingered the murderer of the chief judge4. Converted the entire Lamanite nation and ended 5 centuries of Nephite/Lamanite fighting
The reality is that sincethis is a gospel ofgrowth and life is aschool of experience,God, as a loving Fatherwill stretch our souls attimes. The soul is muchlike a violin string; itmakes music only whenit is stretched.