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You Are Important in Preparing for the Second Coming of Christ, Brother Bill W., June 28, 2023

Updated: Feb 25

Bishop Hadley asked me to express what new things the spirit has taught me during the last 6 months in “Come Follow Me”

· I’m not sure I can parse out what things that I learned from the scriptures, or from podcasts, or Sunday school classes OR were they revealed to me by the Holy Ghost. I only pray that the Spirit will guide me in my comments.

I’ll begin with Parable of the 10 Virgins. The spirit has strongly impressed on me a sense of urgency in my personal preparation. for the 2nd coming..

The bridegroom tarried and ALL slumbered. At midnight the call went out “the bridegroom cometh!” 5 Virgins were wise and had oil in their lamps were ready to go out and meet the Lord.

BUT 5 were foolish and did not have oil in their lamps. They had to try to go buy some at midnight. “OH OH!” The stores were probably all closed.

When the 2nd coming happens, Will I have oil in my lamp?

I am so grateful to Sister Knowles for singing that Seminary Song. I like that song because it clearly shows us how we get oil into our lamps; one drop at a time AND illustrates how we obtain each drop.

Elder Bednar spoke in October 2012.

· “Were the five wise virgins selfish and unwilling to share, or were they indicating correctly that: the oil of conversion cannot be borrowed?

· Can the spiritual strength that results from consistent obedience to the commandments be given to another person?

· Can the knowledge obtained through diligent study and pondering of the scriptures be conveyed to one who is in need?

· Can the peace the gospel brings to a faithful Latter-day Saint be transferred to an individual experiencing adversity or great challenge?

The clear answer to each of these questions is no.”

· In the same way the wise virgins prepared for the Bridegroom. We need to Prepare and watch and pray. The scriptures tell us the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

· Also, Do not be deceived by Satan. We absolutely need to Study the scriptures and also the words of the Prophets to be able to decern truth from error.

· My wife is constantly watchful that our cars are full of gas in case of emergency.

· Let us all strive to keep the oil in our lamps full.

Next, may I for a moment address our feelings of inadequacy

Have you ever just felt inadequate in accepting a calling from the Bishop?

· Maybe we feel we are not smart enough,

· We are not a capable as someone else

· maybe don’t think we are righteous enough,

· Or, we don’t know the scriptures well enough.

Most of us have felt that way at one time or another

There is a terrific sub heading in the CFM Manual. In fact, this is my favorite quote from the CFM manual (so far). It should alleviate our fear about our abilities in serving the Lord.

The Lord can magnify my humble offerings to accomplish His purposes

The first two major impressions I have had during the first 6 months of this years CFM study.

1) Preparation for the 2nd coming is Personal and Individual and the Urgency is great.

2) If we are trying our humble best, the Lord will make up our shortcomings.

3)

Draw many other lessons from the stories and parables of Jesus:

1) The sheep know their shepherd. BUT the Shephard knows all his sheep too.

2) Did you know there are two men named Lazarus in the Gospels. Luke 16:19-25 I feel this year has helped me better understand how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us. He knows us by name. Lazarus the poor one God knows by name. The rich guy’s name is not mentioned.

3) God knows YOU and ME by our names and he cares about each of us

4) Can we ever fully comprehend how much our Savior, Jesus Christ loves us?

5) Can we even comprehend how patient and forgiving the Savior is? His hand is always outstretched to us.

· try to understand how much the Father is involved in our success. Moses 1:39 This is my work and my Glory…

· Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God….. D&C 18:10-15

I served my mission in Southern Germany. There we taught and baptized Ana Pfaender. She was 76 years old. She came to the church late in life. The last time I saw her She and Sister Metzger were leaving for Switzerland to go to the temple in Zolikofen near Bern.

The fact that anyone comes to the church late in life or perhaps wandered off like the prodigal son did but later returned. I believe that Their reward is the same as if they had grown up in the church and stayed active their entire lives. Matt 20:1-6 Housholder -- Vinyard- Penny for days work…

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From Mark chapeter 9 you remember the account of the man who had a son possessed by an evil spirit since birth. He would throw himself into the fire or into the waters. He foamed at the mouth. The man brought his son to the Lord. Can you do anything for him? Jesus replied, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”.

Straightway the father of the child cried out, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!

I find this to be a most interesting response. I believe, but Help my unbelief.

Aren’t we all a little like this man.

Most of us recognize that our faith is lacking. We want the Lord to “Help our unbelief!!!!”

Now hasn’t The Lord shown us clearly how to strengthen our unbelief?

Help my unbelief…get a little bit daily: Study, Pray, Serve, Witness.

2 stories about D&C 1 37-38 “Search these commandments…they are true and faithful and the promises and prophecies will all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken and I excuse not myself…

Dave Ranney was my best friend in High School. He had many of the same standards that I had and we liked to do a lot of the same things together. Besides me he had a number of friends in the church and he and his wife had even met with the missionaries for a time.

About 5 or 6 years ago I invited him to read the Book of Mormon and give the church another look. He said “Bill when I try to read the scriptures I cannot remember what I read and lot of it I do not understandHe would not. I have worried and pondered a lot on his challenge; because Dave was a really good guy.

---contrast that with this story---

About 25 years ago I was teaching seminary. There was a young man in the class who was not a member. His name was Joel Crawford. Joel was also dyslexic. Reading the Book of Mormon was particularly tough for him. But the Lord provided a way. This was before cell phones and even before CDs. So we got him the Book of Mormon on cassette tapes. He would listen to the tapes while following along in his scriptures. I reconnected with Joel just yesterday. He remembered those tapes said he really liked reading the scriptures that way.

The spirit revealed to him that this book is true. He did join the church, served a mission, and was married in the temple. (He is now a Director of movies for Dream Works) If it is hard for you to read, Never give up. There is a way.

I invite you to read for 20 or 30 minutes a day. Use a recording if that helps. A little bit each day will allow the Lord to Help your unbelief. Stay with it, day after day week after week, month after month.

I know the reading the scriptures is challenging for many. My personal philosophy is simple: Read anyway. Fervently ask our Father in Heaven to help you understand. If all you can do is let your eyes go over the words, open the scriptures and start reading. Turn off the news or sports and listened to the scriptures on your phone while your eyes go over the words. Develop this discipline. You will finally begin to be comfortable in the scriptures. And I promise you the Lord will speak to you.

Joel told me yesterday that at his job he spends lots of his time reading and revising scripts for movies. The dyslexia never went away but he has found a way to make it work and to complete his work. He never gave up. =)

We need to Prepare and watch and pray.

For my personal studies I like the paper plates because I can mark them easier and even write my ideas in them.

I have read the Book of Mormon many times since my mission. I do not remember all that I have read. But my faith has grown and my trust the Lord has increased.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance

Do not be deceived. Search the scriptures daily.

Another item I would recommend for your checklist is Prayer.

President Brad Ward formerly in the stake presidency, made a comment in stake conference years ago. “When we get out of bed in the morning, the first things that should hit the floor should be our knees”

Brigham Young is reported to have said “Work as if everything depended on you, Pray as if everything depended on the Lord”

Jesus often got away regularly to pray to the Father. I believe He prayed because he needed to communicate with Heavenly Father.

You and I probably need that communication a lot worse than the Savior did.

Today we renewed a promise when we partook of the sacrament “…we are willing…to remember him always”

I finish today where I started, with the 10 virgins.

Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. If a thief is working in our neighborhood Should we not watch and prepare

For that reason May I invite you to scoot up to the edge of you seat like you are waiting for the recess bell at school. Are we that anxious and prepared for the second coming?

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Stuff I had prepared but I had to leave out.

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Presiden Dalin Oaks recently gave to the YSAs

These are stressful times for all of us, but the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us ample reason to be of good cheer. Through His prophet, God has given us the challenge to persist through adversity, and the teachings of Jesus Christ outline the path to prevail toward our divine destiny of eternal life.

President Russell M. Nelson gave this important prescription: “As the world grows more and more secular and less spiritual, your growth should be more and more spiritual and less secular. Strive to stand for principle instead of popularity.”

We who have the gift of the Holy Ghost and the illumination of modern revelation are blessed with many insights. For example, the Book of Mormon promises that those who diligently seek “shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”3 I pray that all I love—and that includes all the children of God within the sound of my voice—will act upon that invitation to find and know the truth.

My Testimony of the Divinity of the Father and the Son. They live. They love us. They want to bless us in so many ways.

Shortly after my mission I enrolled at BYU. The next year, In 1967, President Hugh B. Brown came to BYU and spoke to a six-stake fireside. , At the time President Brown was First Counselor in the first presidency to president David O McKay.

President Brown was a delightful story teller. Many of you may have heard his story about the “Current Bush”. It has been mentioned in General conference on several occasions. The story I wish to relate occurred when President Brown was living in Canada and was drilling oil wells. He said he was thinking that he might become a millionaire. Maybe nothing could save him from becoming a millionaire. He didn’t want to be saved.

It revealed to me something about his character when he told us that He prayer to Heavenly Father was that “if this would not be good for him or for his family, don’t let it happen!” He struggled over that question for some time.

His story goes on…Remember they are living in Canada. One Saturday night he was taking his bath. He told us that a bath is what and Englishman takes once a week. A bath is what an American takes every day. “I was taking my bath. I heard the phone ring. My wife called me, “Salt Lake City was on the phone.” He grumbled, Who the Dickins was calling me at this time of night. I got out of the tub and put on my robe and slippers and I went to the phone, I picked up the phone and said, “Hello!” “I heard a voice.” The voice said, ‘Brother Brown, this is David O McKay’. “Yes, president McKay, what can I do for you?” “Brother Brown, The Lord wants you to give the balance of your life to the church. Tomorrow is the closing session of General Conference. Can you get here?”

I share the Hugh B. Brown story because it has given me cause to ponder his preparation.

I have often thought about how Did President Brown become prepared for that Call?

Finally, how could I, or any of us, become better prepared for a calling in the kingdom of God? What would it would take for me to drop all I am doing and really turn my life over to the Lord? To let the Lord prevail.

How then do we get to where Elder Hugh B. Brown was; being both willing and able to completely turn his life over to the Church because the Lord calls?


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