adversity

Maybe I happened to be in just the right mode to receive what I heard. More likely the Spirit enlightened my mind and directed my thoughts. Either way, as the talks progressed I became more enthralled. In the very first talk we were given in the 183rd Semi Annual General Conference on Saturday October 5 I noted something of importance that I had never before considered.

Elder Robert D. Hales said, “In recent decades the Church has largely been spared the terrible misunderstandings and persecutions experienced by the early Saints. It will not always be so.

The world is moving away from the Lord faster and farther than ever before. The adversary has been loosed upon the earth. We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected.

For example, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was given long before we experienced the challenges now facing the family. “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” was prepared in advance of when we will need it most.

We may not know all the reasons why the prophets and conference speakers address us with certain topics in conference, but the Lord does.”

A small bit of enlightenment glowed as I absorbed the message. The Lord through His prophets, seers and revelators is preparing His children in advance through general conferences. What is the Lord preparing us for this time?! As I continued to listen to each presenter I noticed a few patterns.

And so I decided to combine them. Yes, this is long!! It took me ‘forever’!!!! And yet there are other themes to consider that I haven’t included for example ‘reaching out’ was mention at least three times and ‘conversion’, besides being a whole topic was mentioned by more than one speaker.

Had you noticed these same themes? Are they more prevalent this time than in past conferences? Have I missed anything that you noticed in particular? Share your thoughts.

Last Days, Hasten my Work,

Voice of Warning, the Time is Now

“And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days.” Robert D Hales

“I testify that as we follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and raise our hands to the square with action in sustaining our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, we will find peace, comfort, and joy, and we “shall eat the good of the land … in these last days”  Edward Dube

“Behold, I will hasten my work in its time” …Brothers and sisters, that time is now! I feel it, and I’m sure you do also.” Elder S Gifford Nielson

“My message this afternoon is that the Lord is hastening His work.” M. Russell Ballard

“I will compare some circumstances of our day with those in the days of Jeremiah before the downfall of Jerusalem. In presenting this voice of warning, I am grateful…” Quentin L. Cook  

“Given the urgent need for spiritual preparation in a time of such peril, I want to extend a word of warning about one very strong sign of the times.”  Adrian Ochoa

Perilous Times, Adversity, Trials

“Paul and others warned about the trials of our time and the days yet to come.”   President Boyd K Packer

“The Apostle Paul prophesied and warned that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” President Boyd K Packer

Perilous Times

“We can review each of these prophecies and put a checkmark by them as being present and of concern in the world today: Perilous times—present. We live in very precarious times.” President Boyd K Packer

“The descriptions Paul and Moroni give of our day are so accurate that they cannot be dismissed.” President Boyd K Packer

“We live in perilous times; nevertheless, we can find hope and peace for ourselves and for our families.” President Boyd K Packer

“He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity…Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us.” President Thomas S. Monson 

“As we continually hold fast to the rod by keeping our covenants, we will be strengthened to resist the temptations and perils of the world.” Kevin S. Hamilton

“But the perilous times are now upon us. Today is the time to look to the Source of truth and ensure that our testimonies are strong.”  Adrian Ochoa

“We live in the stormy, perilous days that Paul described” Adrian Ochoa

Strengthen, Protection, Safety

“We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected.” Robert D. Hales

“And if we listen and obey the prophets now, including those who will speak in this very conference, we will be strengthened and protected.”  Robert D. Hales

“And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days.” Robert D. Hales

“…The only safety we have as members of this church is to … give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through His prophet.” Robert D. Hales

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:

and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:32

“I testify that those who put their trust in the Lord and heed this counsel in faith will gain great strength to bless themselves and their families for generations to come.” Robert D. Hales

“Anytime, anywhere, we can enlarge our knowledge, strengthen our faith and testimony, protect our families, and lead them safely home.” Robert D. Hales

“On LDS.org you will find resources to help you study the gospel, strengthen your home and family, and serve in your calling.” Robert D. Hales

protection-shield…a knight in armor to teach me about putting on the whole armor of God and the spiritual protection it brings. Robert D. Hales

“The scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection.”  President Boyd K Packer

“But peace can be settled in the heart of each who turns to the scriptures and unlocks the promises of protection and redemption that are taught therein.” President Boyd K. Packer

“I bear certain witness of the scriptures as a key to our spiritual protection.”  President Boyd K. Packer

“In Paul’s revelation, in addition to the list of challenges and problems, he also tells us what we can do to protect ourselves” President Boyd K. Packer

“I promise you in His name that if you pray with a sincere desire to hear your Heavenly Father’s voice in the messages of this conference, you will discover that He has spoken to you to help you, to strengthen you, and to lead you home into His presence.” Robert D. Hales

“The stripling warriors…prayed earnestly that God would strengthen and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.” David A. Bednar 

“Opposition, rather, is the indispensable element of mortality and strengthens our will and refines our choices.” Timothy J Dyches

“Do not run faster than you have strength. Whatever else you may or may not be able to provide, you can offer your prayers and you can give “love unfeigned.” Jeffrey R. Holland

“The Savior taught Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Bonnie L Oscarson

“…it is important to remember that the spiritual strength we develop will help us successfully endure all the challenges we face in life.” Richard J. Maynes

“Our ability to endure to the end in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion.” Richard J. Maynes

“Being spiritually prepared means we have developed spiritual stamina or strength—we will be in good shape spiritually.” Richard J. Maynes

“So whatever challenges you wake up to each morning, remember—with the spiritual strength you develop, coupled with the Lord’s help…” Richard J. Maynes

“May the Spirit of the Lord inspire us all to develop within ourselves the strength to endure.” Richard J. Maynes

“We need strong testimonies that will lead to true conversion, and as a result we will find within ourselves the inner peace and strength needed to endure whatever challenges we may face.” Richard J. Maynes

“Today I expound on one aspect of that power, which is the personal strength we can receive through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” Richard G. Scott

“…because of their obedience to the counsel of their priesthood leader, the Savior was able to protect them from their weaknesses and strengthen them. Their humble, lifelong commitment to forsaking their sins did more to protect their families than anything they could have done on the battlefield. Their submission did not deprive them of blessings. It strengthened them and blessed them and blessed future generations.” Richard G. Scott

“Their families were blessed, protected, and strengthened.” Richard G. Scott

“…each of you can feel the elevating power of the Lord’s forgiveness, mercy, and strength. I have felt it, and I testify that it is available to each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Richard G. Scott

“…because of their obedience to the counsel of their priesthood leader, the Savior was able to protect them from their weaknesses and strengthen them. Their humble, lifelong commitment to forsaking their sins did more to protect their families than anything they could have done on the battlefield.” Richard G. Scott

“The spiritual protections built around the Ammonite fathers blessed and strengthened themselves, their families, their country, and future generations. The same can be true with us.” Richard G. Scott

strength“The more the storm, the more the strength.” President Thomas S Monson

“Let us be at the forefront in protecting time for family.” Quentin L. Cook

“Our primary emphasis, however, should always be to make any necessary sacrifices to protect our own family and the rising generation.” Quentin L. Cook 

“…we can live every hour “blessed by the strength of priesthood power,” whatever our circumstance.”  Neil L. Anderson

“Whatever your situation, your home will be “blessed by the strength of priesthood power” and those close to you will more fully desire these blessings for themselves.” Neil L Anderson

“Through the ordinances of the priesthood, this young couple and all of us receive comfort, strength, protection, peace, and eternal promises.” Neil L Anderson

“I testify that as you worthily participate in the ordinances of the priesthood, the Lord will give you greater strength, peace, and eternal perspective.” Neil L Anderson

“Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.” David M. McConkie

“Your own testimony will grow, your conversion will be deepened, and you will be strengthened to meet the challenges of life.” David M. McConkie

“As we continually hold fast to the rod by keeping our covenants, we will be strengthened to resist the temptations and perils of the world.” Kevin S. Hamilton

“God’s promise to us in return is His Spirit as a guide and protection.Kevin S. Hamilton

“May we choose to be diligent and gain the great blessings and protections that come from gathering together and keeping covenants.” Kevin S. Hamilton

“Let us cherish and strengthen our testimonies every day.” Adrian Ochoa

“May you constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of the adversary.” President Thomas S. Monson

Faith, Patience

“Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened.” Elder Robert D Hales 

“There will be some things that take patience and faith.” Robert D Hales

“But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; … and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” Robert D Hales

“Meekness is the quality of those who are “Godfearing, righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering.” Ulisses Soares

“At these moments and in other difficult situations, we must learn to control our temper and convey our feelings with patience and gentle persuasion” Ulisses Soares

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient…” Ulisses Soares

“Assurance, peace, faith, and hope initially might not seem like the blessings warriors in battle might want, but they were precisely the blessings these valiant young men needed to press forward and prevail physically and spiritually.” David A. Bednar

“Your faith strengthens my faith.” David A. Bednar

“We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience.” David A. Bednar

“Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

hourglass“Have faith and patience in the Savior’s timing and purposes for you.”  Timothy J Dyches

“If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient. Dozens of times in the scriptures, the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait. Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education.” Jeffrey R Holland

“…let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Richard J. Maynes 

“…the heavenly virtue of patience is required President” President Thomas S Monson

“Job kept the faith. Will we do likewise as we face those challenges which will be ours?” President Thomas S Monson

“It is a pleasure, and it is a satisfaction and joy to know that men lay down their lives in righteousness, in the faith, true to the faith.” Richard J. Maynes

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faithRichard J. Maynes

“The sons were fortified by the faith of their mothers” Richard G. Scott

“They were faithful and spiritually stronger when they returned home” Richard G. Scott

“Father in Heaven has provided us tools that help to build the fortifications between our vulnerabilities and our faithfulness.” Richard G. Scott

“Serve faithfully in all Church callings…” Richard G. Scott

“We should not need to experience difficulties for us to remember Him, and we should not be driven to humility before giving Him our faith and trust.” President Thomas S. Monson

“We know that the power of the holy priesthood does not work independently of faith, the Holy Ghost, and spiritual gifts.” Neil L. Anderson

“Our faith is strengthened as we study the scriptures and learn more about the restored gospel.” Kevin S. Hamilton

“Nourish your faith and testimony with the word of God.” Adrian Ochoa

“They (faithful people) love God as a close friend, and He takes care of them.” Terence M. Vinson

“…the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems and trust Him.” Terence M. Vinson

“He said, “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; … for if they humble themselves … and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”  Russell M. Nelson

“Nourish your faith and testimony with the word of God.” Adrian Ochoa

 Study

“…I have found in my own life that I gain even more from these inspired sermons when I study them in greater depth.” Robert D. Hales

“In addition to inviting us to hold personal and family scripture study, Heavenly Father wants us to regularly study and apply what we have learned in conference.” Robert D. Hales

“On LDS.org you will find resources to help you study the gospel, strengthen your home and family, and serve in your calling.” Robert D. Hales

“We need to study and learn the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ” Richard J. Maynes 

“Our faith is strengthened as we study the scriptures and learn more about the restored gospel.” Kevin S. Hamilton

“Continually holding fast to the rod means that we strive to keep all of God’s commandments, to have daily personal and family prayer, and to study the scriptures daily.” Kevin S. Hamilton

“His doctrine is ours to study, understand, and uphold.” Russell M Nelson

Repeated Scripturesstudy

“The Apostle Paul prophesied and warned that “in the last days perilous times shall come.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”” President Boyd K. Packer

 

“We live in the stormy, perilous days that Paul described: “Men shall be lovers of their own selves, … disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, … false accusers, incontinent, … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2–4).” Adrian Ochoa

***********************

“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

“And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” S. Gifford Nielson

 

“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

“And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” (D&C 18:15–16). Arnulfo Valenzuela

I. AM. NOT. A. GARDENER. I dream of moving onto a property where all the landscaping has been perfectly designed, and ALL the work is done. And I get to lounge on a garden swing slurping on freshly plucked fruit all the while enjoying nature in all its glory (AKA paradise).

Tomato plants taller than my sister

Tomato plants taller than my sister

Two years ago, this wannabe gardener removed sod and planted a garden in a raised 5’ X 10’ box.

On top of the rock hard clay I filled my box with the perfect garden soil including three types of manure just to be sure.

And it was beautiful! It thrived and produced lots of awesome veggies and herbs. I was super delighted to show it off and share with my friends.

Second year, not so. For the life of me, last summer I could not keep my garden watered enough.

Some obnoxious weed had taken over and the previously rich soil behaved very much like a bound potted plant. It did not thrive at all and the cucumbers barely survived. Greens didn’t grow to their full potential. We had a problem.

After a couple of hours of effort in the fall, too overwhelmed with the task of digging, pulling and uprooting the tangled mess I put that job off until this spring.

I did approach one nursery and was assured that what was there was dead and all I need do was to dig it up real good. I truly had no idea what sort of task I was in for!

Two hours one day, another three hours digging another day and still I was not even half completed. The third try I began at the opposite end. And immediately came across good size branches creeping under the boards at the clay level. What in the world!!! That’s some serious ‘weed’!003

For six more hours I dug, chopped, pulled and sifted. I moved every inch of that soil digging deep into the clay in some places to loosen those stubborn crawling tendrils.

At first I was pretty upbeat thinking about all the positives of this experience. Yep, I was grateful for sunshine, adding to my tan, vitamin D, exercise, fresh air and rejoiced that I was physically able to do this tough work (at my age). Oh! And did you know that an hour of digging burns 415 calories!! (That equals a meal, LOL.)

011I had many hours to ponder analogies for weeds. Our heart condition, hardened like the compacted weedy soil or soft like the fresh earth? Our thoughts-how often do ‘weeds’ enter? The parable of the sower. The wheat and the tares. The meaning of subduing the earth.

 

“And God said unto them,

Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” Genesis 1:28

About two hours before I got done I hit a wall. Exhaustion and discouragement set in. I felt like quitting. FOREVER. Forget this crazy gardening idea.

I couldn’t stand the look of another clumpy wooden mess.  The handle on my shovel had become cracked and I was concerned it would bust any minute.

I imagined the satisfaction of Christ’s second coming burning all the weeds-voila! Gone forever.

Definitely time to take a break. More water, an indulgent snack and half an hour later I pushed through those feelings and resumed.

“And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,

and the lusts of  other things entering in,

choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:19

And wouldn’t you know the last 2 feet were the absolute worst and most difficult to dig yet! The mess of wood and weed could not have been any thicker. No wonder my cucumbers had shrivelled as though they were in a drought.016

By now I was quite a wuss with the shovel, my arms felt like noodles and I was like a little kid, barely able to make a dent in the redundant clay.

My favorite analogy? Endurance.

You know that saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” or something like that?

Well, I’ve always considered myself a pretty tough cookie. Mixing concrete with my Dad is not even a close comparison to this for toughness. Man o man, it was tempting to quit!

Basically, I’d love to move into paradise and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. Let someone else do it!

However. I’m learning that enduring–sticking to the most difficult task gives great opportunities to acquire lessons, even in gardening, not learned any other way.

Too, I’m sure my satisfaction will be even greater during the harvest. The fruit will be much sweeter, I’m sure!

There’s reason that we are exhorted in the scriptures to “Endure to the end”, to remain firm in our commitment to be true to the commandments of God despite opposition, temptations, and adversity.

Many have set out to follow Jesus Christ, to read and study scriptures, obey the commandments, and pray with faith but give up when the going gets tough with trials, persecution, or hardship-the weeds of life.

For those who endure to the end, how sweet will be the fruit of our labour when we meet our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ face to face!

Endure

Finally, the end of it: Ready for planting 🙂

As a Christian, what makes you want to quit? What do you find most discouraging or difficult?

What keeps you going when it feels impossible to keep moving-when you hit that wall? What lessons have you learned in your struggles?