During the 185th Semi-annual General Conference, Elder Richard J. Maynes taught about centering our life on Christ. He reminded us that Nephi was able to live after the manner of happiness because he lived a Christ-centered life. Not only will we live after the manner of happiness when we center our life on Christ, but we will find protection from many of the troubles of the world.
Elder Quentin L. Cook taught that we are expected to plan & prepare. He said that, “This is the time to prepare to meet God.” One of the best ways to prepare and strengthen our spirit is by observing the Sabbath day. Elder Cook said that, “Honoring the Sabbath is a form of righteousness that will bless and strengthen families, connect us with our Creator, and increase happiness.” He also taught that divine protections are provided when we are righteous, and that truly keeping the Sabbath day holy will provide for us a refuge from the storm.
The Sabbath is a gift from God. The Lord counseled the Church more than 165 years ago to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world” by properly observing the Sabbath day (D&C 59:9). When God created the earth, He set apart the seventh day as a day of rest. Since Adam’s day, the divine law of the Sabbath has been emphasized repeatedly over the centuries more than any other commandment. Elder James E. Faust said that “this long emphasis alone is an indication of its importance.” Elder Faust taught about the Sabbath in detail:
“In biblical times this commandment to rest and worship was so strict that a violation of it called for the death penalty. Even the earth was given a sabbath rest: ‘But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.’
“The Sabbath was referred to in the Old Testament days as a blessed and hallowed day, as a symbol of a perpetual covenant of faithfulness, as a holy convocation, as a day of spiritual celebration.”
Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-13, gives us more detail about the Sabbath Day:
“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
“For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
“Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
“But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
“And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.”
We know that keeping the Sabbath day holy is of utmost importance– so important that prophets throughout the ages have emphasized this principle over and over again.
President James E. Faust said, “In this day of increasing access to and preoccupation with materialism, there is a sure protection for ourselves and our children against the plagues of our day. The key to that sure protection surprisingly can be found in Sabbath observance: ‘And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.’ (D&C 59:9.)
“Who can question but that sincere Sabbath observance will help keep ourselves unspotted from the world? The injunction to keep the Sabbath day holy is a continuing covenant between God and his elect. The Lord told Moses and the children of Israel, “Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations … for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever.” (Ex. 31:13, 16–17.)
According to lds.org, Sunday is a day to:
• Offer up vows in righteousness.
• Confess sins.
• Partake of the sacrament.
• Prepare food with singleness of heart.
• Perfect fasting.
• Read good books.
• Study the scriptures and prepare talks.
• Visit the sick.
• Preach the gospel.
• Do good.
• Visit quietly with family members.
• Seek forgiveness of sin.
• Write in a journal
• Fellowship members and nonmembers.
• Enjoy uplifting music.
President Ezra Taft Benson said the Sabbath should not be used for:
• Gardening and housework.
• Taking trips to recreational areas or resorts.
• Wasting time.
• Making up for sleep lost on Saturday.
• Refueling the car.
• Being so busy there is no time for prayer or meditation.
• Engaging in sports or hunting.
• Reading material that does not spiritually uplift us.
There are many things we can do to make the Sabbath a delight. If we are confused about whether or not an activity is appropriate for the Sabbath, we can pray for guidance from the Holy Ghost. The Spirit can reveal to us the truth of all things and prompt us to know how to better observe this special day.
Keeping the Sabbath day holy, truly is a protection from the storm. In the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, Jeremiah prophesies that Jerusalem will be destroyed. The last principles he taught to the children of Israel were repentance and keeping the Sabbath day holy.
“But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 17:27)
Unfortunately, the children of Israel did not heed the warnings given by their prophet. The city of Jerusalem was taken captive and destroyed, and the remnants of their people were scattered.
Often the scriptures repeat themselves. A people disregards the council of their prophet. That people is destroyed. Let’s hope that this isn’t a type of things to come.
In chapter 6, verses 16-17, Jeremiah wrote, “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also, I set a watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not walk therein.”
The Lord has not left us alone in our day. He has set watchmen over us. These watchmen are the modern-day prophets and apostles. There are many who surround us, that choose to disregard the counsel of the Lord and walk in different paths. However, if we center our lives on Christ and heed the prophets’ counsel to keep the Sabbath day holy, the Spirit will guide us, and we will find safety and peace.