“Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days.” (Perseus.tufts.edu, Jewish Antiquities xii. 7, § 7, #323; http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hWe live in a dark time and the future will only grow darker. In the midst of this darkness, we have been given light and hope. Joseph Smith came and outlined the correct principles to build Zion. We have the blueprint, we have the tools! We know the Lord will perform miracles for us, just as He did for our forefathers. Nephi said that in the last days even the humble followers of Christ would be led in some ways by the philosophies of men. (2 Nephi 28:14) All of us carry “baggage” inherited from our own “Greek”, humanistic and socialistic culture. Our understanding of education, our sensitivity to clean media, our methods for changing behavior, our solutions for healing, our understanding of the family, our diet, our music, our recreation, our priorities in life, our goals, our dreams and more has been polluted by a culture that once knew God, but has replaced Him with the arm of flesh.
Do we trust God enough to enact His plan to change? To redeem Israel and build Zion?In the Old Testament, there was another man of active faith who came to a sense of his own awful situation. Nehemiah was living in Babylon when he received word from his fellow brethren who had returned to Jerusalem, “The city lay in ruins, the wall was broken down.” His reaction? He fell on his face before God and “wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,” Nehemiah prayed:
5) And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: 6) Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. . . . 7) We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. 8) Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9) But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. 10) Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. 11) O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper. (Nehemiah 1:4-11)God hears the fervent, heartfelt, passionate prayers of His children. The story of Nehemiah can be summed up in his call to his fellow Israelites, “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build . . .” (Nehemiah 2:20) During this, the darkest time of the year we rejoice that in spite of the darkness around us, the light of the Lord has come to shatter the darkness. In the midst of challenge, we have no fear. This is a season of joy! This is a season in which we should praise the Lord and turn from our wicked ways. This is a period for sober reflection, of humble repentance and thanksgiving before God. We should remember the miracles that were performed for our fathers, purify ourselves and pray for the strength to accomplish great things for God in the upcoming year! Miracles, signs, and gifts of the spirit always follow them that believe. (Mormon 9, D&C 58:64, 84:65, Ether 4:18) The Lord has a lot in store for the year 2017 and He will prepare the way before us. (1 Nephi 17:13)
For the next week, before we begin a new year, I invite you to join myself & several other families as we rededicate ourselves to God.The Lord will pour out miracles and fruit if we turn to Him now. Let us recommit ourselves to accomplishing everything the Lord requires. All of us can do more. From this day forward, let us no longer compromise. Let us no longer halt between two opinions, but pour our full heart into the Lord’s work. Let our hands be strong and let us be valiant in our testimony of Jesus Christ. Let us arise and rebuild!
We covenant with our God that we will be His people and He will be our God.
Isaiah 60:1-4God bless you in the upcoming year!