Thursday, October 22, 2015

Gary E. Stevenson on our individual participation in God's work

Elder Gary E. Stevenson (b. 1955) was called as a Seventy in 2008, then as Presiding Bishop in 2012. He was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015.
"Our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jehovah, with a knowledge of the end from the beginning (see Abraham 2:8), opened the heavens and a new dispensation to offset the calamities that They knew would come. The Apostle Paul described the forthcoming calamities as 'perilous times' (2 Timothy 3:1). For me, this suggests that Heavenly Father's generous compensation for living in perilous times is that we also live in the fulness of times.
"As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can't do but rather on what I can do. I can testify of the plain and precious truths of the gospel.
"These are the words which I have shared hundreds of times with both those who belong to the Church and many who are not members: 'God is our [loving] Heavenly Father. We are His children.... He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer....
"'Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to... return to live in His presence.... Central to our [Heavenly] Father's plan is Jesus Christ's Atonement.' (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (2004), 31–32.)"
- Gary E. Stevenson, "Plain and Precious Truths," General Conference, October 2015, Sunday morning session
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Stevenson was the second of three newly-called apostles to offer his initial testimony in that calling during the October 2015 conference. His observation that " Heavenly Father's generous compensation for living in perilous times is that we also live in the fulness of times" was interesting to me; we do have challenges in our day, but we have SO many blessings and opportunities to compensate!

At the times when we seem overwhelmed and underqualified, this was a good reminder. There is always something we can contribute, and that's where our focus should be:

Elder Stevenson's testimony of the Savior, using language from Preach My Gospel, was very sincere and moving.

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