About twenty years ago, the Lord led me to an old conference talk by then Elder Ezra Taft Benson. It changed my life. It was from April 1965 entitled, “Not Commanded In All Things.” It struck me at a time when I really needed that message to look beyond myself and get anxiously engaged in some important things. In this talk, which has been re-posted on many websites, these lines really struck me.
“The devil knows that if the elders of Israel should ever wake up, they could step forth and help preserve freedom and extend the gospel. Therefore the devil has concentrated, and to a large extent successfully, in neutralizing much of the priesthood. He has reduced them to sleeping giants.“
I was asleep. I knew I had a mission to perform but I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to do. In retrospect, I know the Lord led me to that talk at that time in my life to wake me up.
I prayed and asked the Lord for guidance and little by little the Lord opened up things in front of me to learn and do that put me on a path I never would have consciously chosen at that time. Some time later, I found this quote by President Henry B. Erying which I now have printed out and taped by my computer so I can ponder its message frequently.
“Your life is carefully watched over, as was mine. The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know. He is kind and He is all-knowing. So you can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn in preparation for the service you will give. You will not recognize those opportunities perfectly, as I did not. But when you put the spiritual things first in your life, you will be blessed to feel directed toward certain learning, and you will be motivated to work harder. You will recognize later that your power to serve was increased, and you will be grateful.”
You may want to read that a few times.
The Lord expects us to be involved and active, but he has also sent us here with different assignments. There is so much spiritual preparation work to do to prepare for Zion! World events show just how close we are. Things may never return to how they were just a year ago. The times have changed rapidly and we are seeing the fulfillment of prophesy and the warnings from the Book of Mormon.
For example, reading in Helaman and 3 Nephi right now with the “Come Follow Me” program shows how devastating secret combinations are to our lives and government. Mormon was inspired to include those things in his writings. One thing in action right now is this verse.
3 Nephi 2:11. And it came to pass in the thirteenth year there began to be wars and contentions throughout all the land; for the Gadianton robbers had become so numerous, and did slay so many of the people, and did lay waste so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land, that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them.
I do not know where everything is headed, but some of the great cities of America will never be the same as politicians who are part of these secret combinations allow their cities to be destroyed. The Book of Mormon has never been more relevant.
Returning to President Erying’s quote, when we ask the Lord how we should be involved, and we commit ourselves to a path of involvement, the Lord will open certain doors for us. The most important thing we can do is become spiritually in tune with the Holy Spirit so we obtain the mind and will of God. From the Lectures on Faith, 5th lecture, 2nd paragraph, we read this:
“And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit…”
There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit. Click the link for a more comprehensive look at it, but in short, the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead that testifies of truth and teaches us. The Holy Spirit is the light of Christ, which is implanted in us and inspires us to do things. Another way of looking at it is that the Holy Spirit is a medium of transmission, used by the Gods to communicate their mind and will to all of creation.
When we put ourselves in tune with the Holy Spirit, we are opening ourselves up to “feel directed toward certain learning, and [we] will be motivated to work harder.” (From President Erying’s quote above). This is the first and obvious step to spiritual preparation.
If you feel like you don’t know what to do, get in tune and start asking the Lord. Your preparations for service will look different than someone else’s. You may be instructed to learn a skill or stock up on something you don’t immediately see the need for (though we all know toilet paper is a good one to stock up on, but maybe it’s time to install a bidet? :)).
As I shared a couple weeks ago in the article titled, “The New Family Prayer Circle,” gathering as a family and discussing questions of importance and asking the Lord for answers is a wonderful activity.
Start a revelation journal. This could be a paper and pen system, or even inside Scripture Notes you could start a series of Collection Notes to accommodate this and attach scriptures to your experiences and revelations. I have a friend that started this process on his mission of asking the Lord and writing down the impressions that came to him and it grew to an exceedingly large amount of personal revelation. Volumes…
When Joseph was in Egypt and the Lord had him interpret Pharaoh’s dream to understand there would be 7 years of plenty and then 7 years of famine, those 7 years of plenty were critical to the survival of the people during the lean years. We know from that and the parable of the 10 virgins that there comes a time when our opportunity to prepare is over and the time for action has arrived. President Nelson has been asking us to get more revelation or we will not spiritually survive. The famine is coming. We need to obtain the mind and will of God for ourselves and our families or we will not make it. The time of serious spiritual preparation is here. Those who have dawdled in the past can wait no longer. Pray, write, act. Then write the results of your actions and watch your testimony grow as you take note how the Lord is guiding your life.
(Featured Image by Ed Sweetman @ 123rf.com)