protection

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

“Don’t touch that!” “Be careful!” “Don’t climb up there.” “Don’t eat that plant!” “Stay where I can see you.” “Don’t bite her!”  “Be kind.”

Isn’t it interesting how parents universally have expectations for their children? Even before they can express themselves and begin to crawl rules and guidelines are set in place to ensure their safety. If those rules are obeyed life is much simpler—for everybody!

No good parent would leave his two year old to run on the road, or let him touch a hot stove. And we would not think much of a parent who didn’t love and care enough to protect and keep their children safe and happy.disciplining-children

I read the following on Facebook some days ago.

“Religion says you need to straighten up and serve their church and pay tithes to be saved. God says you need to accept his free gift of salvation and told his church to SERVE YOU until you accept. I’m sorry that the church isn’t fully obedient and for some reason they expect you to be, but just ignore them, don’t believe the lie you need to serve them and obey their rules to be saved. Just accept the free gift.”

I didn’t feel inclined to comment on my young friend’s post that day. Perhaps I was too tempted to pick it totally apart. However my thoughts keep returning to his sentiments. I do find it interesting that he included a phrase to ponder– “for some reason they expect you to be (obedient)”.

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” Doctrines and Covenants 130:20-21

So many people’s hackles go up when confronted by rules. Especially the laws and commandments taught as part of religion. It truly is a testing ground for some. My way? Or God’s way?

Perhaps it’s our pride or rebellion. Perhaps it’s the belief that we are powerful and able to rule our own world. We want to change the rules to make them comfy and palatable-to match our desires. Maybe in the same way that children think they know better than their elders and fight to be independent, we fight being obedient to Heavenly Father’s plan.

“Today we find ourselves in …a war of thoughts, words and deeds. It is a war with sin, and more than ever we need to be reminded of the commandments. Secularism is becoming the norm, and many of its beliefs and practices are in direct conflict with those that were instituted by the Lord Himself for the benefit of His children.” L. Tom Perry

Because I had never considered them closely in light of today’s practices, I was fascinated with a portion of a General Conference talk, “Obedience to Law is Liberty” given by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the Ten Commandments. He said:

“One way to measure ourselves and compare us to previous generations is by one of the oldest standards known to man—the Ten Commandments. For much of the civilized world, particularly the Judeo-Christian world, the Ten Commandments have been the most accepted and enduring delineation between good and evil.

In my judgement, four of the Ten Commandments are taken as seriously today as ever. As a culture we disdain and condemn murder, stealing, and lying, and we still believe in the responsibility of children to their parents.

But as a larger society we routinely dismiss the other six commandments:

–  If worldly priorities are any indication, we certainly have “other gods” we put before the true God.

–  We make idols of celebrities, of lifestyles, of wealth, and yes, sometimes of graven images or objects.

–  We use the name of God in all kinds of profane ways, including our exclamations and our swearing.

–  We use the Sabbath day for our biggest games, our most serious recreation, our heaviest shopping, and virtually everything else but worship.

–  We treat sexual relations outside marriage as recreation and entertainment.

–  And coveting has become a far too common way of life. (see Exodus 20:3-17)

…A useful way to think about the commandments is they are loving counsel from a wise, all-knowing Heavenly Father. His goal is our eternal happiness, and His commandments are the road map He has given us to return to Him, which is the only way we will be eternally happy.”

I am grateful to be a member of a church that teaches the importance of obeying all of Heavenly Father’s commandments. For many years I admired the writer of Psalms and marvelled at his expressions of deep praise, love and gratitude for the laws and commandments of God. Psalm 119 comes to mind.

We admire Abraham for his faith and obedience. “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou has obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:18) and other great ancients-Enoch, Noah, Joseph, Moses and many others- because they heard the voice of the Lord and obeyed.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ set us a perfect example of obedience. “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him. John 8:28-29

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:10-11

We parents plan to protect our children from all dangers. And we have desires and aspirations for them to be filled with happiness and well being. Would not a Heavenly Parent even more so  plan for the protection and happiness of His sons and daughters?

“In the universe, too, where God is in command,

there is law—universal, eternal …law—

with certain blessings and immutable penalties.”

It makes us sad to watch a child deliberately shatter a guideline and hurt himself. I wonder how it makes our Father in Heaven feel when we use our agency to completely disregard His guidelines. We miss out on the countless blessings He might have showered upon us.

“The Lord will not force himself upon people; and if they do not believe, they will receive no visitation. If they are content to depend upon their own limited calculations and interpretations, then, of course, the Lord will leave them to their chosen fate. . . . 

“The Almighty is with this people. We shall have all the revelations that we shall need if we will do our duty and keep the commandments of God. If men could just realize that there may be sound even though few ears hear it. There are revelations even though most minds be materialistic and most hearts impenetrable” The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 454

Over the years, I’ve often wondered why the predicated blessings are not listed with each commandment to answer my ‘whys’. Several times I’ve been enlightened with the reasons for a particular commandment after I have determined to keep it.

It may take years to recognize the promises and blessings attached to Heavenly Father’s commandments but when they are received, they are sweet indeed.

How have you been greatly blessed for keeping one of God’s commandments?

“Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.”, www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

“Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.”,
www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

Last weekend, at a friend’s funeral our stake president warmly and sincerely addressed her family promising them that whenever they faced struggles and endured difficult times, their beautiful wife and mother would be nearby.

“Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us”  E. T. Benson

And then in our Sunday lesson (The Restoration of the Priesthood) we discussed the authority and blessings that have been restored with the Aaronic Priesthood, one of which is ‘the keys of the ministering of angels’.

So, I’ve pondered some this week about the role of angels in our lives.

Here are a few quotes that may give you some insight about these special beings who minister to those on the earth.

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ” 2 Nephi 32:3

“When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow-beings and fellow-servants.

The ancient prophets who died were those who came to visit their fellow creatures upon the earth. They came to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; it was such beings—holy beings if you please—who waited upon the Savior and administered to him on the Mount. The angel that visited John, when an exile, and unfolded to his vision future events in the history of man upon the earth, was one who had been here, who had toiled and suffered in common with the people of God.

… In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” Joseph F. Smith (Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1970, pp. 435–36.)

“That means, as I interpret it, that if you live worthy of the priesthood, you have the right to receive and enjoy the very power of heavenly beings to guide you, to protect you, to bless you”. Gordon B. Hinckley

President Brigham Young taught that the postmortal spirit world is on the earth, around us. (Teachings: Brigham Young [1997], 279).”

The ministering of angels, available to all church members, can occur through personal appearances and can also be unseen. “Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind…Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen”. Dallin H. Oaks

“If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates” (Teachings: Joseph Smith [1977], 226).

“And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.” Moroni 7:35-37

Aren’t you deeply grateful that Heavenly Father has provided so much for our protection, guidance, comfort and to bless us with confidence in His tender mercies as we travel this mortal plane?! I am! I believe very  harsh times are coming soon and we will need all the help we can get.

What do you believe?