Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"


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Spiritual Preparedness–November 2015

Be Ye Clean

cleanIn 1831, the early Saints wanted guidance to know how they should go about the immense work of the gathering of Israel and preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior. The Lord instructed them, “Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (D&C 133:5) In the scriptures, Babylon is a symbol of the world and all that the earthly has to offer. Those who choose to follow the Savior must ultimately reject the pleasures, riches and power of Babylon, as no one can serve both the gods of this world and the God of Eternity. As those Saints did in their time, we also have a sacred work to perform today. Whether we are spreading the Gospel, searching after our kindred dead and performing vicarious Temple work, raising the next generation, participating in the temporal salvation of our fellow-beings, publicly standing against the tide of wickedness threatening to engulf our culture, or participating in any other work the Lord has given us, our lives and hearts must be clean and right with Him.

There are practices which will help to keep us unspotted from the world and ready to do His work confident in our worthiness to do so.

Keep the Sabbath day holy. As we have been taught, this is a sign between us and the Lord that we remember Him and His essential Atonement. Sometimes Sabbath observance requires faith that the work we miss will be made up in other ways, showing a willingness to trust in the hand of the One who provides all. Sometimes this requires the sacrifice of activities, hobbies, and even sometimes family events which are not in accordance with the spirit of the Sabbath. It is a rejection of the world’s belief that happiness consists in doing whatever we want whenever we want to do it and instead trusting that joy comes through submitting our will to One whose vision is infinitely clearer.

Partake of the Sacrament worthily. Weekly, we are given the opportunity to review our lives, determine necessary course corrections and then repent and drop the burdens of sin and error at the feet of our Savior. What an amazing gift to be given this fresh, clean start every week!

Perform your duties. Jacob wrote that he and his brother Joseph “did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.” We also receive callings which we need to magnify to the Lord, otherwise we are still responsible for the work undone among those we should have served.

Live in the world but do not be of the world. We must use the precious gift of agency to choose the best amongst the myriad of options available to us. Our 13th Article of Faith reads, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” It seems, these days, that this often requires considerable work, but we cannot allow the filthy to crowd out the guidance of the still, small voice.

Observe the Word of Wisdom. Obey its precepts to keep free from addictive and damaging substances, so that your body can be clean and healthy and ready for any work to which the Lord may call you.

Be modest. Do not draw attention to yourself, but give glory to God and turn others to Christ.

 


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Spiritual Preparedness–October 2015

Finding Strength in the Words of the Prophets

President Monson“Perhaps you already know (but if you don’t you should) that with rare exception, no man or woman who speaks here is assigned a topic. Each is to fast and pray, study and seek, start and stop and start again until he or she is confident that for this conference, at this time, his or hers is the topic the Lord wishes that speaker to present regardless of personal wishes or private preferences. Every man and woman you have heard during the past 10 hours of general conference has tried to be true to that prompting. Each has wept, worried, and earnestly sought the Lord’s direction to guide his or her thoughts and expression. … If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you.” –Jeffrey R Holland

 

“As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. For example, you might yearn for direction and guidance by the Lord regarding challenges you are facing.

Answers to your specific prayers may come directly from a particular talk or from a specific phrase. At other times answers may come in a seemingly unrelated word, phrase, or song. A heart filled with gratitude for the blessings of life and an earnest desire to hear and follow the words of counsel will prepare the way for personal revelation.” –Dieter F Uchtdorf

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ideas-to-prepare?lang=eng

 

 


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Spiritual Preparedness–September 2015

Focus on the Savior

In the 14th chapter of Matthew we read the story of Peter walking on the water. The Lord had sent his disciples on ahead by boat, while he took some time apart to pray. In the middle of the night and in the middle of a storm, the men saw a figure walking toward them on the water. After their initial alarm, they recognized the Lord. Peter said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water”, and the Lord replied simply, “Come.” Peter stepped out in faith and began, successfully, miraculously, to walk on the water. But as he started to take notice of his surroundings, and as his focus changed, his faith wavered and he began to sink.

We too walk a perilous pathway. As those who follow Satan work to undermine, destabilize and destroy the peace and security of mankind, the ground beneath our feet may begin to seem unreliable and fraught with danger. When the darkness and winds of the latter-days claim our attention we might first find ourselves distracted, then sinking, and finally near-drowning in fear or despair. As in all things, the answer is the Savior. When we call out to Him, He hears, and assures us that we need not fear, that He has overcome this much-troubled world and bids us “Come.” As our focus becomes increasingly fixed on Him and on His work we grow to be sure and steadfast, “more than conquerors” and find that we can walk confidently over or through whatever may lie in our way. Truly, we will find that it matters very little the conditions of the world or the challenges of our particular pathway through it as long as it leads to Him.

 


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Spiritual Preparedness–August 2015

Stay With the Brethren

pioneersMy husband and children are blessed to have a couple of pioneer ancestors named Jonathan and Olive Boynton Hale. Jonathan and Olive were baptized in 1834 and gave their all in living the Gospel and helping to establish the Church in its early days. Jonathan served missions, assisted building both the Temples and served as a Bishop in Nauvoo, even helping to direct the exodus from that city when the Saints were driven away. Olive was his faithful companion and helpmeet in all that he did, bringing eight children into the world and keeping their home and family together through separations, moves and persecution. They were no strangers to the challenges that faced early members of the Church.

In the late summer of 1846 the Hales were camped with a group of Saints in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Jonathan was continuing his service as Bishop, assisting those who were arriving and preparing to travel westward and Olive had just given birth to their eighth child, when their camp was struck with malaria. Jonathan took ill first. Sensing that the end was close, he called his family around him and gave them these instructions, “Stand by the faith and continue with Brother Brigham and Brother Heber to the Rocky Mountains. It is God’s work and we must not fail. Do not be persuaded to turn back, even though our relatives insist upon it. Go with the Church and God will bless and preserve you.” Shortly hereafter, he passed away. Olive also caught malaria, and just four days later she also called their children to her bedside. She reiterated her husband’s counsel to stay with Brothers Brigham and Heber and to stay true to the faith, then she turned to her eldest son, just eighteen years old and asked him to see that this was done. When he promised, she smiled and said she could now “go with Jonathan” and she passed away.

This faithful couple fully knew what they were asking of their children. They had suffered with the Saints of their era and knew that their childrens’ earthly lives would likely be full of hardship and trial and yet they both counselled them to do whatever it took to stay with the leaders of the Church and with the faith. They recognized that in the Gospel of Jesus Christ there was an eternal value that could not be matched by all the security and ease the world might offer. Theirs is good counsel for us today as the world drifts ever farther and more rapidly away from the laws of God—stay with the brethren and stay true to the faith. I am grateful for His watchmen on the towers who were prepared and called by Him to lead His church in the latter days and for the legacy of faith given to us by the early pioneers.

 


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Spiritual Preparedness–July 2015

Feast Upon the Word of the Lord

scripturesWe live in the Last Days, Satan has been loosed upon the Earth, and we can no longer afford to be casual in our Gospel study. Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life was very clear in its lesson that those who let go of the iron rod (the word of God) would be lost in the mists of darkness. Following is the counsel of the Apostles and other Church leaders concerning personal scripture study:

“Testimony requires the nurturing by the prayer of faith, the hungering for the word of God in the scriptures, and the obedience to the truth we have received. There is danger in neglecting prayer. There is danger to our testimony in only casual study and reading of the scriptures. They are necessary nutrients for our testimony. You remember the warning from Alma: “But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out. Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.” 10 –Henry B Eyring, “A Living Testimony”, April 2011

“Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost. … If you are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, I urge you to do the one thing I know will get you back on track. Begin again to prayerfully study the Book of Mormon and live its teachings every day, every day, every day! I testify of the profound power in the Book of Mormon that will change your life and strengthen your resolve to follow Christ.” –Kevin W Pearson, “Stay by the Tree”, April 2015

“Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!” –Richard G Scott, “Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority”, October 2014

 


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Spiritual Preparedness–June 2015

Finding Peace in Troubled Times

dove3From Jeffrey R Holland (“This, the Greatest of All Dispensations”, Ensign, July 2007)

“I have just two things to say to you who are troubled about the future. I say them lovingly and from my heart.

First, we must never let fear and the father of fear (Satan himself) divert us from our faith and faithful living. Every person in every era has had to walk by faith into what has always been some uncertainty. This is the plan. Just be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward. God expects you to have enough faith, determination, and trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. He expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it, rejoice in it, and delight in your opportunities.

God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.”

From Thomas S Monson (“Until We Meet Again,” Ensign, May 2013)

“We live at a time in the world’s history when there are many difficult challenges but also great opportunities and reasons for rejoicing. There are, of course, those times when we experience disappointments, heartaches, and even tragedies in our lives. However, if we will put our trust in the Lord, He will help us through our difficulties, whatever they may be. The Psalmist provided this assurance: ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5).”

 


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Spiritual Preparedness–May 2015

Keep a Journal

journalPresident Wilford Woodruff had a great testimony of keeping a journal. He first began keeping a regular journal when he was 28 years old and wrote his final entry 63 years later, just two days before his death. His insights and testimony of this principle follow.

“It may be considered by some not important to write or keep a record of our work or the work of God, but I believe it is. Otherwise the prophets would not have been moved upon to exhort us to faithfulness upon this subject. The Lord has told us that what we seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven and what we record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and what is not sealed or recorded on earth is not sealed or recorded in heaven [see D&C 128:7–8]. Therefore it appears to be very important that we do keep a true and faithful record in all things.”

“Should we not have respect enough to God to make a record of those blessings which He pours out upon us and our official acts which we do in His name upon the face of the earth? I think we should.”

“If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.”

“While walking in a rapid stream we cannot tread twice in the same water. Neither can we spend twice the same time. When we pass out of that door, the work of this meeting will be closed to us forever. We shall never spend the time of this evening again. Then should we not keep a record of our work, teachings, and counsel which we give in this meeting? We should.”