Dear family and friends. It's probably been close to a month since I've felt an impression to write something. So much has happened. In 3 more days, I will enter the ranks of the Officially "Retired". Definitely a new chapter in my life.
This past month I had my last living Uncle pass away. He was a true disciple of Christ. All of my life I saw and heard of him always assisting and helping others. He loved his family and sweet wife with all his heart. He passed on the Love of Christ to everyone. He will be missed.
We just finished the Thanksgiving Holiday. Spent time with family and friends over the past week or so. Debbie and I were blessed to go to our Granddaughter's home and have a Thanksgiving celebration with her husband, our daughter and her family, and our other granddaughter and her family (husband and little on the way? Missing was our son and his family. His 2 1/2-year-old son was sick and suffering from an ear infection. And missing our 2 stepgrandchildren. But it was a good time together with everyone.
On Thanksgiving Debbie and I drove to Hurricane. We spent a few hours with a good friend, didn't want her to be alone on this day until her daughter from Indiana could arrive and spend time with her. We were then blessed to spend a couple of hours with some other friends who use to live near us and who are aging a few years ahead of us. It was so good to spend time with them. Then on Friday, we were able to spend a few hours with some other friends, who recently moved from Santaquin to Hurricane. It was very rewarding to spend time with each of these special people in our lives.
Earlier this month I was reading a post from a group that I subscribe to on FaceBook. I was struck by the following comment.
"We here in this group have often spoken of the great value of tribulation, especially as a purifier, a refiner, a teacher, and as a qualifier for blessings and responsibilities. How the terrible things we experience on the road of the Refiner’s Fire result in experience, knowledge, and blessings, and even more. These things happen to us for a purpose and have meaning, especially as we reach the point in our trials where we are so weary that our handcarts begin pushing us. “In our extremity, we came to know God” ought to be embroidered upon a wall in our homes as one of the most important truths we can come to the knowledge of in this life. Through tribulation we learn about enduring to the end, and how it’s only through that process that the greatest blessings can come to us.
The other day a good friend of mine and I were discussing this topic, in particular regarding the trials and tribulations now coming to the Kingdom of God upon the earth. He pointed out something which hadn’t occurred to me - that all we have said about the purposes and benefits of tribulation are true not only of individuals but are now about to be true of the Gentiles as a people - or in other words, the tribe of Ephraim.
Ephraim, the Gentiles, is the birthright tribe in Israel. The prophecies are many regarding the gathering beginning first with the birthright tribe (which has been in process since 1820) and then after that is completed, Ephraim taking the fullness of the Gospel to the rest of the house of Israel. That’s been the plan all along. So some two hundred years ago the Lord and Joseph began the process, in fulfillment of prophecy, of gathering Ephraim and preparing them for that work. Somewhere along the way, though, we encountered a big problem - Ephraim largely rejected the fullness of the Gospel, as the Lord knew we would, and is at present unwilling and unqualified to fulfill its foreordination.
But the work must go on and fortunately since the Lord knew that such would happen, a plan had been put in place to rectify the situation - a two-fold plan, in fact. First, the preparation and bringing forth of the 144,000. The unfaithful condition of the Ephraimites is the reason for them in the first place. They are Part 1 of the backup plan. They will begin the work of gathering Israel (or more accurately, first be gathered themselves) while part two of the plan is simultaneously enacted.
Part 2 is quite simple: Ephraim is to be brought into tribulation in order to prepare it to fulfill its foreordination. Tribulation, as most of us know it can, will bring to their knees those of Ephraim willing to take up their cross and be remade and reborn in Christ. This is the reason that the Times of the Gentiles has ended - the rejection has been completed, and now the tribulation prophecies must begin to be fulfilled in order to humble proud Ephraim and qualify it for the work which it must do.
I think it’s important to understand that what is now, and what will yet be, is not vengeance - it’s a plan to humble and refine a people, much as the Lord did with the people of Limhi. The tribulation will be real and more than uncomfortable for Ephraim, but the blessings will eventually come, and the tribulations have an end when His people have learned and are prepared for their work - just as happened with Limhi’s people. This is preparation, not vengeance.
And His protecting blessings are promised to those of Ephraim who have already humbled themselves and learned how to take the Spirit as their guide. Because they have already learned to call upon His name and to hear His voice, He will be able to walk them through the stony places and keep them in the hollow of His hands.
Just some thoughts my friend inspired. I feel that it’s helpful to understand why things are happening, and their purpose and what is to be accomplished through them. Perspective helps with endurance and faith, in my experience."
Yes, we know that things are starting to get a little rough.
Our Prophet Pres Nelson said:
“Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son,” President Nelson told his worldwide audience during the April 2020 general conference. “Because when we seek to hear — truly hear — His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance."
A year designated to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the First Vision and onset of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, 2020 has also been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic hardship, social issues, political turmoil, and uncertainty.
“In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting and constant influence of the Holy Ghost,” President Nelson said during his first general conference as President of the Church.
President Nelson’s emphatic invitation to “Hear Him” — first issued on social media in February and repeated in subsequent general conference addresses — is an echoed plea of his counsel to Latter-day Saints to do “whatever it takes” to increase spiritual capacity to receive revelation.
It is imperative that we follow the counsel of our Living Prophet. Think back he gave this warning to us shortly after Covid made its appearance. We were just being told about all the life-altering changes that were to soon take place in our lives. We were warned by a Prophet of God.
Jesus Christ offers relief and peace from heartache and turmoil, a special kind of rest that comes through a covenant relationship with God, President Russell M. Nelson said Sunday morning to a worldwide international conference.
“My message to you today is that because Jesus Christ overcame this fallen world and because he atoned for each of us, you too can overcome this sin-saturated, self-centered and often exhausting world,” President Nelson said during the penultimate session of the faith’s 192nd Semiannual General Conference.
The leader Latter-day Saints revere as the church’s 17th prophet said the current age is the most complicated in world history, a time when “complexities and challenges leave many people feeling overwhelmed and exhausted,” he said.
He said peace from “the spiritually and emotionally exhausting plagues of the world, including arrogance, pride, anger, immorality, hatred, greed, jealousy, and fear” comes by overcoming the world, which “means growing to love God and his beloved Son more than you love anyone or anything else.”
President Nelson said a “covenant relationship with God binds us to him in a way that makes everything about life easier.” He said that these covenant relationships and choosing to follow the doctrine of Christ are the keys to overcoming.
As he often does at conference, he issued invitations to listeners to act.
“Let him know,” he said, “through your prayers and your actions that you are serious about overcoming the world:
Ask Him to enlighten your mind and send the help you need. Each day, record the thoughts that come to you as you pray; then follow through diligently. Spend more time in the temple and seek to understand how the temple teaches you to rise above this fallen world.
He also asked listeners to follow the same charge he gave the church’s young adults in May, to take charge of their own testimonies.
Work for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Feed it truth. Don’t pollute it with false philosophies of unbelieving men and women. As you make the continual strengthening of your testimony of Jesus Christ your highest priority, watch for miracles to happen in your life.
He promised that if they let God prevail in their lives, they would find “greater peace, confidence, joy and, yes, rest.”
President Nelson also issued additional promises.
“My dear brothers and sisters, so many wonderful things are ahead,” he said. “In coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior’s power that the world has ever seen. Between now and the time he returns ‘with power and great glory,’ he will bestow countless privileges, blessings, and miracles upon the faithful.”
So, with things about to really get tough, we have a promise of so many wonderful things are ahead,” he said. “In coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior’s power that the world has ever seen. Between now and the time he returns ‘with power and great glory,’ he will bestow countless privileges, blessings and miracles upon the faithful.”
I'm reminded of the quote: "Don't give up before the miracle arrives."
Our thoughts and prayers go out to each of you. Stay close to the Lord. He knows you, He loves you, and He knows how to bring you home. Little by little he will guide you to safety if you let Him.
I testify that Jesus is the Christ. He is in control, the adversary can only go so far as he is allowed. Enough to put us through the refiner's fire. Listen closely to Hear HIm so you and I can withstand the heat. God loves each of you and we pray that His blessings will be with each.
Even in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.