Last week, they asked me to speak in sacrament meeting. It's the first time Derek or I have spoke in the new ward and any speaking assignment makes me nervous. And I had to teach the sunday school lesson today. It was my turn. But I think everything went well. And Derek said I did a good job and I got a few compliments. They might have been saying it because they felt they had too, but I'm ok with that. Not the best talk I've given, but still good.
There are some improvisation that I made while speaking, so those aren't in here, but this is the general idea.
Applying the Words of the Prophets in Our Own Lives
I’d first like to start out with a scripture: D&C 21:4-5. (4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; 5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.)
Our prophets are a direct link to God. He speaks to us through them. We give heed unto his words, because they are the words of the Lord given to us. Also in Amos 3:7 it says: Surely the Lord God will do nothing, abut he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Derek and I teach Sunday School for the youth and a few weeks ago we had a lesson on Amos. And something interesting that was pointed out in the manual is the Joseph Smith Translation, as it changes the word “but” to “until”. Listen again to it (read again with word changes) It gives the verse a whole new meaning. It’s also an example of taking the Prophets words and applying them. I think one thing we can take from that scripture is that God tells his Prophets of what’s to come and to have them relay that message to us, in ancient times and now in Latter-Days. He gives us warnings and hope and faith and comfort through those appointed men. And they tell us, through General Conference, through the Friend, the Ensign, and the New Era, and many other ways as well. It’s up to us to apply the things he tells us. Which is faith. And as we know in James 2:20 it says 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Applying the words of the Prophets in our lives is the work we have to do to make the faith alive.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow the counsel given to us. In Early Lessons on Following the Prophet by Guy L. Dorius from the April 2001 Ensign it says: The cares of the world are very real to those who accept the message of a living prophet. Prophetic teachings often run counter to the popular notions and ideas of the day. It’s sometimes a challenge and a risk to go against the views of the world. Things can very easily disguised as something that’s “not that bad” when in truth it’s much more of a challenge and risk to heed the words and counsel of the Prophets. That same talk given by Guy L Dorius also says: Others found it more difficult to follow the Prophet, and their names have quickly faded from Church history. They gave heed, but only to a point, then something happened in their association with Joseph or he asked of them something they thought was beyond his purview. Their lukewarm obedience led to their separation from the kingdom of God. Many of these early members faced immense challenges, and we should be cautious not to make harsh judgments, yet the examples of these individuals who fell away from the gospel in the New York and Kirtland periods provide insights on following living prophets. We CANNOT be only “lukewarm obedient”. We have to have full trust in the Prophets and their words because those words come straight from God. We follow them to the best of our ability, whole-heartedly and without restraint! I know it is easier to do so during times like General Conference when we are immersed in their words for 2 days. And when their wonderful talks and insight are with us for some time after. But we must pursue their words and teachings always. We can do so by reading the church publications. They have a magazine for every stage in life. Childhood, youth, and adulthood. We can listen to our Bishopric, listen to our Sunday School teachers, our Seminary and Institute teachers, our Home and Visiting Teachers, our Relief Society and Elders Quorum and Young Womens and Primary Presidencies. What a lucky people we are to be able to have all these wonderful people in our lives to guide us and help show us the way. I think we can say it is rare in modern times as a people to receive such an incredible gift. They are an example of God’s love for us. To show us that he loves us and cares for us, he bring such amazing people to us.
I’ve taken some time talking about modern-day prophets and how we receive their words, but another way is through the ancient prophets in the scriptures. Sometimes it seems as you read them, it may be hard to apply their message to our latter-day lives and trials. But history repeats itself. And 1st Nephi 19:23 proves that they can help us, no matter the year or century or generation. It says: 23 And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning. And to quote the talk Likening the Scriptures to Our Personal Lives in the March 2009 Ensign: An institute teacher who helped his class liken the scriptures to themselves related the following: “I wanted my students to see that even though the scriptures were written long ago, they can provide inspiration for our modern-day dilemmas. I asked them to think about a current challenge they were facing. I then assigned them to read silently a chapter in Moroni, looking for something that could help them with their challenge. After they had studied quietly for 10 minutes, I asked them to raise their hand if they found a verse that helped them. I was pleased, and I think they were amazed, to see that almost everyone had. Likening the scriptures to our personal lives leads to inspiration about the questions or concerns we encounter today. If I had the chance to ask you as a congregation the same thing today I’m positive I would see a good show of hands from you.
I know I’ve received the answers for questions from the ancient prophets in the scriptures, and through the modern prophets today. I know that I need to have the faith to apply them in my life and make them come alive through works. I know that we all do our best and that’s all that has been asked of us. I love this ward and the spirit I feel here every week. I’m grateful to be in a place I can feel that and I hope to leave the same impact on you today.