Thursday, November 18, 2010

Necessary preparation


D&C 38:30 says among other things "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

Alma in the book of Mormon in Alma 5 addresses a group of church members and he tells them they are not prepared to meet God unless they have undergone various changes. Examples are "being stripped of pride and envy" (Alma 5: 29) "being spiritually born of God" (Alma 5: 14), a mighty change of heart etc.. He informs them that meeting God is not going to be an enjoyable experience unless they wake up and remember the Word of God and prepare. That is a bit of a frightening statement. But it can also be extremely helpful.

A funny quote I heard the other day went like this. "When getting a job these days it's not what you know but who you know." He then went on to say "Something similar applies to getting to heaven, it's not what you know, it's WHO you know". His obvious reference was Christ. Thought his way of phrasing that was interesting.  Knowing facts about Christ is different from knowing Him. One is personal, the other can be just lifeless trivia.

Temporal preparation is great, but it gets almost all the focus.  Alma redirects our focus, and the type of preparation important to our eternal welfare towards spiritual things.  We should all heed modern council to have financial reserves for rainy days, food storage, minimal debt, etc....  however there is also a day of judgment awaiting all of us.

Spiritual preparation often goes unmentioned when talking about preparation in our day.  Food storage and the like will not be all that helpful during that evaluation. I just saw a news clip of a flight instructor and student down in Payson Utah who for whatever reason were involved in a plane crash killing both. They get to face the day of judgment before the day when their temporal preparation would have been helpful. The families will no doubt be grateful if there have previously been financial preparations made.  However what matters for their soul, is not their food storage.  My heart goes out to them. For the two who passed, their second estate, the day to prepare to meet God just ended. "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear"  is the often quoted scripture on preparation.  Implicit in that is that the absence of fear is related to what you are prepared for. Are you prepared to survive an earthquake? Or to survive the day of judgment? Hopefully both.

My point is how short and precious is life? It can be very short, or long, we don't know. There is no substitute for matters of the soul and preparation.

The spiritual companions to temporal preparation are probably very personal, these are just ideas intended to compliment aspects of temporal preparation.

Am I out of debt?
Am I out of Spiritual Debt? Do I know God or just know facts.... and trust in other's for my assurance? Do I have a burning testimony of Jesus Christ and faith in the Atonement and it's reality with regard to my own soul and sins. Or was the last time I thought about it because I was at church.

Do I own my home?
Do I possess charity? Do I gather light and intelligence from the scriptures all that often? To quote Alma, "have I spiritually been born of God"? Do I rely on the scriptures at all for guidance?

Do I have a year supply of food (and where possible, fuel)?
Do I have oil in my lamp? 5 foolish virgins in Christs parable had on the wedding "garment" yet no oil in their lamps and were unrecognized by the Master. (strongly connecting to "being recognized" is having received Christ's image in your countenance Alma 5: 14 )
Question is, what is the average oil (symbolic of the Holy Spirit) level in my lamp?

Do I have an emergency fund (at least a few months' worth)?
Do I notice fruits of the Spirit in my personal life? Do I know what Spiritual gift(s) are the ones God gave me? Is it largely dormant, or active and developing?

To the extent possible, am Self sufficient?
Do I have a personal relationship with the divine? What are the predominant thoughts and intents of my heart dwelling upon? Christ said many people "draw near to me with their lips, but hearts are far from me". Lord, is it I?

I hope this has been worth reading. No use having food storage, and financial reserves only to arrive at the place appointed after death confused and not quite prepared, wishing more had been done with the time allotted on earth. I personally think these thoughts are worthwhile things to think about during those quiet moments when it's not necessary to be focused on the temporal affairs.

We bottle or can foods and fruits to "seal" them and preserve them for times of need. The sealing power of God also is intended to preserve a soul, such things are good preparation come the day of reckoning.

We should do as Alma councils, seek the Lord now while his arms of mercy are extended towards us. What good prophetic council. (Alma 5: 33)

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