YE SHALL NOT FEAR

A few days after the Teton Dam disaster in June 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball addressed a group of Latter-day Saints at the dedication of the Deseret Mills in Kaysville, UT. This is what he said.

Teton Dam Disaster

The book, Pure Religion, can be purchased at any LDS distribution center or online at amazon.com.

Protection Through Spiritual Preparation

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:

• Rest.
• Worship.
• Offer up vows in righteousness.
• Confess sins.
• Partake of the sacrament.
• Prepare food with singleness of heart.
• Perfect fasting.
• Read good books.
• Contemplate.
• 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.
• Shopping.

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.

Want vs Need

quote-reeves-1173956-printIn the April 2009 General Conference, Elder Robert D. Hales asked, “What is a provident provider?”

He answered, “All of us are responsible to provide for ourselves and our families in both temporal and spiritual ways. To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies. When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.”

He continued, “Being provident providers, we must keep that most basic commandment, ‘Thou shalt not covet.'”

Whoa. What? Who knew that was part of it?

Has coveting our neighbor’s fancy new toys or perfectly decorated home caused us to lose focus? Do we have the latest electronic device, but have neglected to follow the commandment of having a year’s supply of food? Do we have 100 pairs of shoes in our closet, but don’t have any cash on hand? Do we have growing balance on our credit cards, but fail to find a way to help others in need? Do we find ourselves thinking more about what we “want” and less of what we “need”?

Elder Hales said, “Our world is fraught with feelings of entitlement. Some of us feel embarrassed, ashamed, less worthwhile if our family does not have everything the neighbors have. As a result, we go into debt to buy things we can’t afford—and things we do not really need. Whenever we do this, we become poor temporally and spiritually. We give away some of our precious, priceless agency and put ourselves in self-imposed servitude. Money we could have used to care for ourselves and others must now be used to pay our debts. What remains is often only enough to meet our most basic physical needs. Living at the subsistence level, we become depressed, our self-worth is affected, and our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and the Lord are weakened. We do not have the time, energy, or interest to seek spiritual things.”

Been there. Done that. And it wasn’t pretty. I thought it was. Until it wasn’t. Why did all of my pretty things not make me feel the way I thought they would? I thought I’d be happy when I had it all–the extravagent vacations, the house and the Pottery Barn furnishings. Pretty things weren’t the problem. The problem was that the pretty things began distracting me from the most important things.

It’s ok to enjoy the “wants” of life every once in a while, but we mustn’t forget our priorities.

So, what does that have to do with Provident Living? Be a provident provider requires us to get our priorities straight. Our #1 priority should always be to keep the commandments and follow the Savior. Our prophets have given us the commandment to set our houses in order and prepare every needful thing. We can’t do that when our sights are set on the things of the world. We need to turn to Him–to repent of our mistakes of the past, forgive ourselves and get to work.

“Our success is never measured by how strongly we are tempted but by how faithfully we respond. We must ask for help from our Heavenly Father and seek strength through the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ. In both temporal and spiritual things, obtaining this divine assistance enables us to become provident providers for ourselves and others” (Robert D. Hales, General Conference, April 2009).

As you begin or continue your journey toward provident living, remember these words: “Our success is never measured by how strongly we are tempted but by how faithfully we respond.” The best way to achieve our goal of living providently is with His divine assistance, and if we ask for it, we shall receive.