His Work Embraces Eternity

I was at the Saturday session of our Stake Conference this evening. Every talk was uplifting. Each speaker left a lasting impression. All the talks had one focus – the saving of souls. These are some of the thoughts that made an impression on me.

One of the first brethren to speak reminded us of the times in the scriptures when there was a need for haste – when Noah was getting things onto the ark, when Moses led the Israelites to the Red Sea, when Lehi and his family departed for the wilderness, when Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled Herod’s bloody campaign against the innocent, when the Pioneers fled their persecutors for Salt Lake. The need for haste is upon us again. The need for our Heavenly Father’s family to come to a knowledge of His plan for them.

If we love our Father in Heaven, we will share His interest in the souls of men. Salvation is in the balance.

And how do we share His interest in the souls of men?

Another speaker answered that for us with a quote from Alma 31:34-35

O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

The time for inviting is over. It is now time to bring our less-actives and non-members to the Lord. We do this by being their friend. By being loyal and consistent in showing our love to them. By talking to them of eternal principles. By listening to and caring for them.

The wife of the Mission President shared her thoughts on how to prepare our children and grandchildren for missions. This had my attention because it’s one of my favorite things to learn about. She said there we many who can tell us about all the physical preparations that need to be made, like how many white shirts to buys, or what sorts of things to pack. There are so many spiritual things to be prepared well before the call arrives:

  1. Challenging them to read the Book of Mormon with a missionary perspective.
  2. Making the study of  Preach My Gospel a family experience.
  3. Getting a Returned Missionary to be a mentor.
  4. Being involved in experiences with sharing the gospel with others.
  5. Preparing to enter the temple worthily – it is a far more important thing to enter the temple worthily than it is to enter the Missionary Training Center.
  6. Helping them understand that growth requires change.
  7. Teaching them the value of exact obedience. Preparing them for the boundaries in the mission field so that they will be able to be a support to those who will struggle with keeping the commandments and missionary guidelines. Practice being exactly obedient from when they get their call.
  8. Be clean!

And finally, the last remarks were about temples and how they become the bridge between heaven and earth. We were reminded of the immense sacrifices made by the early saints to build these holy edifices, of the great love and urgency that the early saints had for temple ordinances. Then we were asked this question:

What did the early saints understand about the temple that we do not understand?

I have a great love for the temple. I love knowing that there is a welding link that holds generations together for eternity. But I realized tonight that there is so much more that I need to know and value about the temple to fully appreciate the value of having one so close to me.

I left the Stake Center with a renewed desire to prayerfully bring at least one soul unto the Lord in the next few weeks. I want to show my Heavenly Father that I love him by having an interest in His work, which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

 

Question: How are you helping to hasten the work?

Challenge: Bring someone to church this week, or to the next activity in your auxiliary.

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An Evening with Elder Russell M. Nelson

I was blessed to be able to attend a Leadership Training Meeting this week where Elder Russell M. Nelson, the visiting General Authority, was presiding.

Strictly speaking I wasn’t meant to be there, but I went, first of all to take notes for a friend who couldn’t go, and also because, who wouldn’t want to be there, really? 😉

Elder Nelson was the final speaker. He was preceded by the Area President, James J. Hamula and his wife, and Sister Wendy Nelson. I won’t share the preceding speakers’ remarks, at least not today.

It was such a privilege to hear an apostle of the Lord in the Latter Days. He is such an engaging and charming speaker.

*****

His address was basically based on this question:

What message represents the message from the Brethren?

And here it is, in four parts:

1. They pray that we may increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

That we not focus our attention on the programs, but on Him whose Church this is. That we make sure that He would be comfortable if he were present amongst us, in our meetings, in our homes.

That we recognize that the temple is a symbol of our membership, a sign that we believe in life after death, our link to eternity.

2. They pray that we will strengthen our families.

He urged us to understand that the family, the most essential part of the Plan of Happiness, is under attack in the sociology of the world. He emphasized that Satan is at war with God, and has been since the beginning.

“Heavenly Father wants us to choose to come home.”

He shared how since the Restoration, the kinds of adversities faced by the members have evolved. In the early days of the Restoration the attack was focused on Joseph Smith. Then the attack was on the Book of Mormon and the Book of Mormon ‘is irrefutable. Absolutely irrefutable!’. The focus of the attack was then turned to the leaders and prophets, and now, ‘they are going right for the heart of the Church – the family!’

“There is a plague on this Earth more destructive than any other the world has ever seen, and that is pornography.”

And how do we combat this plague? Elder Nelson reinforced the idea of a family with both the father and the mother, focused on the temple and the sacred ordinances performed therein. I thought about that for a while, and let me tell you, there is nothing vague about that statement at all.

3. What the Brethren are hoping will happen in this Church.

That the Ward Council will hold its proper place in the Church!

4. The Brethren hope that prospective Elders will be rescued, along with their prayerful wives and pleading children.

Elder Nelson stated the need for the work of reclamation, the need to rescue that army of prospective elders. He hopes that there will be focused, meaningful appointments everyday, in reaffirming our love and our need for these brethren. That to rescue one person could mean the rescue of a whole pyramid of posterity.

*****

In his closing remarks, Elder Nelson urged:

“Wherever your influence is greatest, focus on the Lord. Teach your children principles, don’t respond to behavioral issues with behavioral solutions.”

To say that that statement hit me like a ton of bricks would be an epic understatement! How badly I needed to hear that, no-one will ever understand!

He finished off his address by evoking an apostolic blessing (and this is my favorite part), that:

  • We would be faithful, devoted, devout disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • We would be blessed to feast on the words of Jesus Christ.
  • We would have love at home.
  • We would have the blessing of healing.
  • We would be blessed with his testimony.

This part in particular gave me goosebumps. I have been facing challenges lately that relate very specifically to the blessings he pronounced, and to hear these words uttered by the mouth of a prophet, seer and revelator was nothing short of miraculous for me.

I feel so blessed to have been in the presence of so wonderful a man, foreordained to help lead the people of the Lord in such perilous times. I left the meeting feeling the sweet, calming witness of the Spirit that the words I’d heard were truly from a loving Father in Heaven for the guidance and strengthening of His children.

How blessed we are to live in a world where prophets and apostles once again administer to the people of the world!