Monday, March 14, 2016

Being Spiritually Prepared

Putting it all together – Emily Turano
In Matthew 24 we see and learn of many of the signs of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to teach the Relief Society lesson in my ward.  It was helpful for me as I was reading so many signs ( in example: wars and rumors of wars, etc. ) to know that we have been and are given continual counsel on the ways that we can be prepared for the events that will unfold within our lifetimes.
It was a blessing for me to be asked to teach the specific Relief Society that I was asked to teach.
I was asked to teach from the recent G.C. address by Elder Bednar.
This address went perfectly with the parts in the New Testament that I was reading because Bednar’s address was about being spiritually  prepared for the last days, and helping our children be prepared through a system  that he calls “ The early warning system “ .
Here is the outline of the lesson that I was so blessed to write and teach with His help:
Based on concepts learned in “Watching with All Perseverance” – April 2010 – Elder Bednar
1.       A Spiritual early warning system is given to us all. Just as we have warnings for sickness – such as a fever, severe weather – such as alarms and news warnings, etc. We are also given spiritual warnings by God about what we should do to be prepared or to be safe in certain circumstances such as the last days even.

A.      Noah was alerted by God of things that he needed to do to be protected. ( Hebrew 11:7 )
B.      Lehi was warned to leave Jerusalem and take his family into the wilderness because of those who sought to kill him. ( 1 Nephi 2:1-2 )
C.      The Savior Himself was spared through Angelic warning, “ Behold the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying , “ Arise take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word. For Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” ( Matt.2:13 )

2.       What kind of warnings have we been given in our day to spiritually prepare us and our children?

A.      This very address that we are studying is a warning that we need to watch for instructions about what we should do to be prepared.

“Spiritual warnings should lead to increasingly vigilant watching. You and I live in a day of warning and because we have been warned, we need to be as the Apostle Paul admonished, “Watching with all perseverance “(Ephesians 6:18)

B.      On Feb. 28th 2016 Elder Ballard gave some warnings to Seminary Teachers that we should all be aware of and consider how we as Mothers should apply this instruction:
“Each of you needs to consider the changes that you should make in the way that you teach and prepare. Also consider what you teach if you are to build unwavering faith in the lives of our precious youth. Gone are the days when a child asked an honest question and we can respond don’t worry about it? Gone are the days when a child raised a sincere concern and we bore testimony in response to avoid the issue. Gone are the days our children will be protected from those who attack the church. “
C. Consider a warning of how we can be prepared and prepare our children through our Prophets last words to us in his General Conference address titled, “Be an Example and a Light.” :
“I reiterate what we have been told repeatedly that in order to gain and keep the faith that we need, it is essential that we read and ponder the scriptures. “
D.A Promise and warning was also given in his address with the outcome of following his “ Spiritual Warning System” that he recommends:
“ Parents who do these things faithfully will be blessed to recognize early signals of spiritual growth in , or challenges with their children and better prepared to receive inspiration to strengthen and help those children. “ – Bednar, Watching with all Perseverance
3.       What are the steps of the Early Warning System that Elder Bednar teaches?

A.      Reading and talking about the Book of Mormon with your children.

1.       What ways have you found work best for your family to hold scripture study together?
2.       Have you been able to discern your children’s spirituality strengths and weaknesses as you have done this?
3.       “ I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program of reading each day from the Book of Mormon there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the loving reality of the Son of God. These blessings are far more valuable than material possessions. “  - President Hinckley

B.      Bearing Spontaneous Testimony

1.       What blessings have your children gained as you bear testimony unplanned and anywhere – formal and informal?
2.       How has bearing spontaneous testimony blessed your life?
3.       In order to bear testimony spontaneously we must first have our own testimony.
4.       “ Testimony is as elusive as a moonbeam; it is as fragile as an orchid; you have to recapture it ever morning of your life. You have to hold on by study, and by faith and prayer. If you allow yourself to be angry, if you allow yourself to get into the wrong kind of company, you listen to the wrong kind of stories, you are studying the wrong kind of subjects, you are engaging in sinful practices, there is nothing that will be more deadening as to take away the spirit of the Lord from you. That which you possess in testimony is either going to increase or it is going to diminish, depending on you. “  - President Harold B. Lee ( Chapter 5 teachings of the Prophets )

C.      Inviting children as gospel learners to act and not be acted upon

1.       What does it mean to be an agent unto yourself?
2.       James Faust said, “Being acted upon means that someone else is pulling the strings.”
3.       In what ways does the adversary try to pull your strings which leaves room for his control in your life?
4.       How can we teach our children to only be influenced by themselves and the spirit of God?

Bear testimony and ask for additional experiences from students.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

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