Now Is the Time to Prepare - Russell M. Nelson
Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel, and because I will do unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.'' Amos 4: My fellow citizens. 32 For behold, this alife is the time for men to bprepare to meet God; yea, behold thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.). Or, would you find an increasing bitterness and resentment in your soul that your life is being so Now is the time to cry to God for mercy and to repent of sins.
We are not here for physical pleasures or worldly concerns. Is it okay to have fun and enjoy ourselves? But we must be sure that we are not damaging or neglecting our spiritual growth in the process. He raised a number of wonderful points, but the one that most intrigued me was this: As we obey the Lord, our faith increases.
But when we turn away from Him, even slightly, that faith not only ceases growing, it slowly decreases. We might have the greatest testimony of our Savior that ever was born — but if we neglect our prayer and scripture study, if we avoid our church meetings, if we turn away from opportunities to serve, that testimony will gradually give way under the strain of the world. When we turn away from those opportunities, not only do we lose ground, we lose the chance to increase it.
The spiritual power we feel in our lives is half of what it could have been if we but followed the teachings of the prophets. Our sins may not require us to counsel with the bishop, but they are still sins, and justifying them in any way is a danger. We must constantly take stock of what we are doing wrong, or are not doing right, and what changes we need to be making.
If none of us is perfect, then all of us have an opportunity to improve, and in so doing, grow closer to Christ. I am a child of God And He has sent me here, Has given me an earthly home, With parents kind and dear. I am a father and a grandfather, and just as I love and am mindful of each of our five daughters and our 12 grandchildren, so our Heavenly Father is aware of each one of us.
One Sunday when I was a stake president I was at home — a fairly rare occurrence. That day our oldest daughter had a meltdown, told us we were the worst parents in the world, went downstairs to her room, slammed the door and turned her music up to at least 2, decibels. After several minutes of the entire house rattling, I went downstairs to tell her to turn her music down.
As I approached her room, I heard the words of her music: In a few minutes, the music came down on its own. It has been many years since that Sunday, but I have never forgotten the message: We are children of a kind Heavenly Father and are, indeed, not alone.
The scriptures are filled with reassurances of our divine being and the fact that we are not alone. One of those in Hebrews reads: Now is, indeed, the time to prepare. Those things you learn here, whether of a spiritual or a temporal nature, will prepare you to better serve your family and the kingdom — wherever in the world the Lord sends you. Tom Brokaw was once quoted as saying: In addition to the substance of your major studies, learn to read critically, to write clearly, and to speak persuasively.
Take a foreign language. If I can, at my young age, be learning Russian and Swedish, you can learn a foreign language, too. Take seriously not only the studies of your major, but also your general education classes. This is not only a time for academic growth, but spiritual growth and setting spiritual patterns as well. And if ever there was a time when you need the Spirit of the Lord in your lives, it is now!
Second, respond to opportunities to serve in the Church. You might not have the time to serve that you will have at later stages in your life, but look for opportunities to serve in formal callings and otherwise. But he decided that every Fast Sunday, he would go to the Family History Library and work as hard as he could for an hour each month.
At the end of that hour, he would pack up his briefcase, knowing that he had at least done something.
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The third area in dealing with things of eternity is to strengthen home and family. If you are engaged, I offer my congratulations.
And if you are just not there yet, can I encourage you to seek diligently — and ye shall find — especially you young men! If you are concerned with rejection or fearful to take the first step, have faith! In all you do, prepare to be good husbands and fathers. Live the charge of the Hymn: Rise up, O men of God, Have done with lesser things, [including incessant computer games] Give heart and soul and mind and strength, To serve the King of Kings.
I pray for you in this great endeavor. And for you sisters who would give anything to be married and have a family, I honor you for who you are, and for the miraculous work you do — in developing your own talents and touching the lives of those around you.
As a father of five daughters, I am the product of good women, just like you — a wonderful, angel mother; a faithful and loving wife; and five beautiful daughters; and six granddaughters!
Thank you, each of you, for all you do! The fourth suggestion I have in your time of preparation is to live the standards in the For The Strength of Youth brochure.
- RS/EQ: The Time to Prepare to Meet God
I carry it with me wherever I go, and suggest that you do the same. These standards are not just for teenagers. When you have a moment of waiting, pull it out, read it and re-commit to living its standards. A number of years ago, a young woman just your age was out on a date with a young man. They had been out several times before.
This time they went for a ride — west of town. As they rode, it got darker and darker, until it was completely dark. It was at this time as they were on a deserted country road about seven miles from town that the young man pulled over to the side of the road, turned off the engine, took off his glasses, and moved over to the side of the car where this young woman sat.
I am not that kind of girl. Take me home — now — or I will walk. They arrived at her apartment on campus. He slammed on the brakes, she got out and he sped off — and she never saw him again.
Now Is The Time To Prepare To Meet Your Maker
I have often thought about the courage that must have taken for her on that lonely, dark country road — where none would have known what happened — none but she and that young man — and a kind Heavenly Father.
I am grateful for that simple decision made on that dark country road so many years ago — for it made all the difference — for that young woman became the mother of our five daughters. And it was natural for me, when I took each of them in my arms to give them a name and a blessing, to bless them that when they struggled, they needed only to look to the example of their mother. Four — live the standards in the For the Strength of Youth brochure.
There is a war going on that is normally not covered by any of the major media — a war not of guns and tanks, but a war for the lives and souls of our youth — including you, the young adults of the Church! In his final talk recorded in the book of Mosiah, King Benjamin taught the saints in his day: But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith…, even until the end of your lives, ye must perish.
And now, O man, remember, and perish not. No, the key is to learn responsible use of each medium and to learn how to control your thoughts. May I offer two simple suggestions: Or does it drag me down? And each of us will be different. In my study I have a picture of a banjo.
To me, as a banjo player, that is inspiring. You might even consider putting together your own personal Hall of Heroes, including a picture of each hero and a small paragraph of why he or she is a role model for you.
Surround yourselves with that which lifts and inspires you to be your better self.