Thursday, September 4, 2008

Revelation and Preparedness

January 21, 2007

I have a great interest in the United Kingdom, particularly England and Scotland. I think it’s because so many of my ancestors lived there. I love the age of the country. While the US is relatively young with the current civilization barely 400 years old, the UK is at least 1,000 years old and perhaps much, much older. Some of the buildings there are centuries old. So many have endured the centuries well, while other structures of the same time period have partially fallen or have just left hints of their previous life. So I have occasion to wonder why some magnificent edifices still stand just as grand as when they were erected. I also consider why others have fallen to the earth, or just leave one wall or a chimney to declare their once noble purpose.
What was the reason for their permanence, their decline, or their fall? What lessons can be gleaned from such thoughts? What parallels can be drawn from their existence and ours? What if we (as humans) were the buildings in this analogy? Then, what or who could be represented as the building’s foundation? Could it be that the buildings that still stand are on firmer foundations? And those that have fallen were not? We might be able to draw further conclusions as well. The buildings that have withstood the ravages of time may have been cared for continuously, and those that are now ruins have been abandoned at one time.
I’ve heard the phrase many times, “all things testify of Jesus Christ.” If we are the buildings, then it must be said that Christ is our foundation. So how do we make Christ our foundation? With the theme for this month the “Word of God”, it is fitting that we can make Christ our foundation by reading and studying the word of God and making the things we learned a part of who we are, who we become.
We have had several occasions this winter to, perhaps, discuss within our families just how prepared we are for disasters now and for the times ahead. How grounded is our foundation? Have we heeded the words of Christ to prepare now? Have we heeded the words of the prophets to be prepared for whatever conditions may appear in our lives? Isaiah 66:5 says, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word.” When I read this, I took it to mean that I treat it seriously, not with an apathetic attitude, or not with a yea, yea, I’ll get to that someday reaction. Of course we can learn line upon line, precept upon precept. We can do a little at a time, I get that and I do that. I think it’s about doing something. Proving ourselves, that we are listening and heeding His words.
I love the words of Alma in chapter 26, verses 8 – 13: Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever. Ammon said: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
Ammon rejoices in the words of God and in the power of His words. There is great power in His words. Ammon reminds us that many mighty miracles can happen when he heed His words and the words of all the prophets. Because we are currently studying President Spencer W. Kimball, I have taken portions of his teachings for portions of this talk. From the life of Spencer W. Kimball, we are counseled to be prepared. D & C 38:30 reads, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” President Kimball warned us to “practice the principles of personal and family preparedness in our daily lives, and preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.” I found that quote interesting. He said to practice this in our daily lives. He didn’t say to do it in starts and stops. For me I thought of it in athletic terms. Becoming prepared is not a sprint, but a marathon. We might all if needed sprint a far distance. Say if we are being chased by a snake or bear, we might run pretty fast for a short distance. But if we had to run a marathon tomorrow, how many of us could do that? We would need proper training and a special diet and a very particular mindset. The same could be said for being prepared. We need to be ready to live without the daily “necessities” or with much less. We may need to live on a specific diet. And we will definitely need to have the mindset to endure short or long term survival, maintaining our level of faith and gratitude.
After passing this test of being prepared and having lived it righteously and gratefully Alma promises in 32:42 “And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.” So for me this means after heeding the words to be prepared, we’re not just blessed with many mighty miracles, which will likely help us to survive, we’re also blessed with this fruit, which is the love of God and life with Him eternally.
President Kimball explains how we prepare daily. He said, “We have placed considerable emphasis on personal and family preparedness. I hope that each member of the Church is responding appropriately to this direction. I also hope that we are understanding and accentuating the positive and not the negative. I like the way the Relief Society teaches personal and family preparedness as “provident living.” This implies the prudent managing of our resources, the wise planning of financial matters, full provision for personal health, and adequate preparation for education and career development, giving appropriate attention to home [food] production and storage as well as the development of emotional resiliency.” He goes on to say, “The Lord has urged that His people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year’s supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the [ice] storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days.”
He scolds in a way by saying, “We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; and we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the thing which I say?” {Luke 6:46.] How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call Him by important names, but fail to do the things which he says.”
So, I didn’t want to just talk about these things without also giving you the words of counsel by our General Authorities and others who can help us make these things a reality. A talk given by Pam Taylor, “Taking the Bite Out of Food Storage,” Ensign, Mar. 1992, 72 gives us a four-step program to follow for beginning our food storage.
Step 1: Learn the basics of home storage. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort. An excellent primer is Essentials of Home Production & Storage (booklet, 1978), available at Church distribution centers.
Step 2: Acquire an emergency supply of life-sustaining foods and water and store them properly. (See Ensign, June 1989, pp. 39–42, for details.)
Step 3: Build up your storage gradually. It’s amazing how fast storage shelves can fill up when you buy commodities in double quantities—for example, one can of beans for regular use, the other for storage. I buy some sale items in quantities to cut costs and to add a variety of familiar foods to my storage. Bulk buying is a money-saver too, and you can get even better deals by sharing the cost with someone else and buying larger quantities. Be sure to check the expiration dates on bulk items so they won’t spoil before use.
Step 4: Eat what you store. You can become ill by eating foods you’re not used to eating. Give your body time to adjust to storage foods by supplementing your regular diet with recipes your families like.
Another aspect of being prepared involves helping and assisting one another. In the May 2005 Ensign, President Hinckley had this to say, “Those in need are expected to do all they can to provide for themselves. Then families are expected to assist in taking care of their less-fortunate members. And then the resources of the Church are made available. We believe in and take very seriously the words of our Lord: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matt. 25:34–36). This is the Lord’s way of caring for those in need which, He declared, “ye have … always with you” (see Matt. 26:11). Those who are able voluntarily work to provide for those who are not able. “
As we are preparing our Branch’s Emergency Response Plan, I know we all realize that we will need to respond. I have witnessed this giving spirit again and again. As we are personally preparing, I know many people agree that we need to think of those we may need to help during times of crisis and disaster. We will surely be called upon to share what little we may have with others who are not prepared at all, even with those who have been warned and have not heeded the warning. Even with those who live the worldly philosophy to eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. I think those individuals may not be running to death as they may so easily say, but will instead be fleeing from it, doing anything to survive. In Matthew’s account of Christ’s words, he said just that. It doesn’t matter during these times of emergency why people are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and imprisoned. It only matters that we help them. It seems to me that we could so easily be in that position of begging for help, but for the grace and mercy of God, we have been warned and have acted. It is also important to remember we are all beggars, and we are only saved by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We have already been bought with a price.
1 Nephi 15:24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.
We can use this verse as we ponder our preparedness. As we hearken unto the word of God and become prepared, then hold fast to our faith in Christ, we will not become separated from Him. We will also not be tempted to follow the blind, those not knowing what to do in those times, but will instead be following the wise, who have told us exactly what to do. In that case, we will not be lead to destruction, but toward life eternal.
To go back to my initial analogy. Which house will we inhabit, figuratively speaking? Is our foundation sure? Are we ready to withstand whatsoever may come our way? Are we prepared personally, spiritually, emotionally, temporally? Are we ready for the situations ahead? If we are doing our best, doing all we can to be prepared in all these ways, we are prepared. We are ready. We have one another to help become prepared and to help during those times ahead. We also have Jesus Christ, His gospel, His words, His foundation for which I am most grateful. Alma 37:44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss.

And I leave these thoughts with you in His name, even our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen


NanC said...

Welcome to the blogging world Alicia.

You said,
"Is our foundation sure? Are we ready to withstand whatsoever may come our way? Are we prepared personally, spiritually, emotionally, temporally? Are we ready for the situations ahead?"

I say,
Committment to the gospel and all it entails ie; prayer, fasting, family, spouse, repentance, good financial sense, being a full tithe payer, temple attendance,word of wisdom, the only way I know to be prepared for daily life as well as the coming days.

I don't know how folks live life without the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to guide them.

I enjoy reading your thoughts and comments.

Alicia C. Ferree said...

Thank you for your thoughtful true!