Who’s On the Lord’s Side? – Part 4

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Everything comes down to a choice. We can choose to fight with the Lord or fight against Him. The Lord’s victory is imminent and sure. “High on a mountain top, a banner is unfurled.” (Hymns, #5). Who will carry that banner? Who will rally to the flag of Truth and the army of the Lord? “Hope of Israel, Zion’s army, Children of the promised day, See, the Chieftain signals onward, And the battle’s in array” (Hymns, #259). “We a war ‘gainst sin are waging; We’re contending for the right. Ev’ry day the battle’s raging; Help us, Lord, to win the fight. Gather round the standard bearer” (Hymns, #258). “The truths and values we embrace are mocked on ev’ry hand. Yet as we listen and obey we know we can withstand” (Hymns, #256).

I think of the recent attacks the Church and members of the Church have withstood because of their support of marriage amendments, especially Prop. 8 in California. Many church members chose to stand for truth and right and have been mocked. They chose to stand on the Lord’s side, even as many people ridiculed from the great and spacious building. “Don’t stand idly looking on; the fight with sin is real. It will be long but must go on; put your shoulder to the wheel” (Hymns, #252). “Oh, when the war is ended, when strife and conflicts cease, when all are safely gathered within the vale of peace, before the King eternal, that vast and mighty throng shall praise his name forever, and this shall be their song: Victory, victory, thru him who redeemed us! Victory…thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!” (Hymns, #251).

“Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage…and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad…let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers! Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand; and who can abide the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (D&C; 128:22-24).

So, onward, Christian soldiers! Let us choose the Lord. Let us fight His battles and strive for His reward. Let us serve our royal Father and defend truth and right. Let us march on to victory, through the thronging foes; let us sing our Savior’s praises and bask in His light. We march on to glory, shielded by the strength of God; we will be victorious and dwell with God on high.

Who’s On the Lord’s Side? – Part 3

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Where will your path of life lead? What choice will you make? What is your goal? Are you willing to sacrifice the eternities for an ephemeral trinket or bauble? Always choose the Lord’s way. It leads to exalted heights and rises above the thick, choking smoke of the mists of darkness. There is no time for indecisiveness; the time to choose is now. We cannot afford to remain undecided.

The great leader of the host of Israel, Joshua, told his followers that it was time to stop lusting after the gods of Egypt. It was time to follow and serve the one and true living God. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers serve that were in the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

In these last days, the time for planting is past. It is the time of the harvest. “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the [vats] overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:13-14). We are all in the valley of decision. We have two choices: we can serve the Lord or not. There is no middle ground in this valley. It’s one or the other. The Lord is coming again to the earth. The wicked shall burn as stubble. Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Great upheavals of all forms abound on the earth; things will only become more tumultuous over time.

There are some frightening times ahead: “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” But there is comfort: “But the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel…. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim” (Joel 3:16,18). If we choose the Lord, we will find hope and strength in Him. We need not fear in these troubled times.

Who’s On the Lord’s Side? – Part 2

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Throughout history, in life, in literature, and in dreams the theme of making a binary choice is very common. The prophet Lehi saw in vision the tree of life. Leading up to this tree was a path by an iron rod. The choice had to be made to grasp the rod of iron and follow the path to the tree of life or not hold on to the iron rod and wander, lost in the midst of darkness, eventually finding the way to the great and spacious building, the river of filthiness, or the iron rod and tree of life. There are only two choices: hold on or not hold on.

Robert Frost wrote these words about choosing one’s path:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

As an LDS missionary in the Southern States mission in the late 1800s, John Morgan was on his way one day to preach in a town. He had an appointment to preach there at a particular time. As he walked down the road, it split off by a large tree into two roads, one heading towards his destination and the other heading to some other place. In this moment he recalled a dream he had some years ago when he was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was staying at a boarding house in Salt Lake City.

One night he dreamed that he was walking down a forested road. He was in a hurry, on his way to something important. In his dream he came to a fork in the road. Next to a large tree, Brigham Young stood waiting for John. Seeing the prophet, John stopped. Brother Brigham said, “Don’t go right; take the road to the left.” John woke up and was perplexed about the meaning of his dream. He asked the woman he was staying with if she could help him interpret his dream. Like Joseph did for Pharaoh, she interpreted his dream. “One day you will be a missionary for the Church. You will walk down that road and come to that fork and that tree. Pres. Young will not be there but you make sure you take the road he indicated.”

Sure enough, the time came that John was a missionary on that road, at that fork, and by that tree. Brigham Young was not there but John took the road to the left, even though his appointment was down the other road. He came upon a village. As he knocked on doors people let him in, feeding him and giving him a place to stay. Then a remarkable thing happened. John preached to the people. As he went house to house the response was the same. Almost all of the people had a stranger visit their homes a few days before. This stranger had taught them the gospel and marked various passages in their scriptures. He explained that shortly another man would be there who would explain more about the scriptures. This man then left – no one saw him again. John was able to teach and baptize nearly the whole town. They were prepared and John made the choice to follow spiritual promptings (and the wise inspiration of others); because of this, he was able to share the gospel with many people. Two roads diverged and John took the one that made all the difference.

Who’s On the Lord’s Side? – Part 1

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On occasion in sacrament meeting we sing a hymn with words by Hannah Cornaby:

“Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show. We ask it fearlessly: Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?…We serve the living God, And want his foes to know that, if but few, we’re great; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? We’re going on to win; No fear must blanch the brow. The Lord of Hosts is ours; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?… The stone cut without hands to fill the earth must grow. Who’ll help to roll it on? Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Our ensign to the world is floating proudly now. No coward bears our flag; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?… The powers of earth and hell in rage direct the blow that’s aimed to crush the work; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Truth, life, and liberty, Freedom from death and woe, are stakes we’re fighting for; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?… We ask it fearlessly: Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?” (Hymns, 1985, no. 260).

That is one of the purposes of life – to see who is willing to be on the Lord’s side, even though we do not remember our life with Him before our mortal births.

“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good…. And there stood one among them that was ilke unto God, and he said unto those who were with him…we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them…. And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.” (Abraham 3:22-28).

We are part of that war that started many years ago. This war of words, ideals, and truth started in the pre-earth life. We were all there at that grand council. We had to make a choice – we always have been given the choice. We had to speak for one or the other. We were given two choices: God’s plan as put forth by Jesus Christ or Lucifer’s plan. We had to choose to be on either the Lord’s side or on Lucifer’s side, there was no middle ground. Some people probably were not engaged in their choice and support of a plan but they had to choose.

There is no middle ground in this life either. We need to stand up for the Lord’s Church and unflinchingly stand against those who fight against the Lord. We don’t need to go on the offensive but we need to be willing to stand strong and tall, fearless in our faith, against the onslaughts of the enemy.