Saturday, June 12, 2021

Elder Russell M. Nelson on facing the challenges of our time

President Russell M. Nelson (b. Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984, and was serving in that quorum when he shared this message. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015, and then as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"I share comforting counsel with you today. It comes from section 68 of the Doctrine and Covenants, where we read this commandment from our Master: 'Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come' (D&C 68:6). 
"Lovingly we cling to that promise. Difficult days are ahead for all mankind. Sin is on the increase. We live in a time of wars and rumors of wars. The Church and its members will come under attack and endure persecution. (See 2 Timothy 3:1–13; D&C 112:24.) 
"Jesus descended below all things in order to rise above all things. He expects us to follow His example. Yoked with Him, we can rise above all challenges, no matter how difficult they may be. (See Matt 11:29-30.) Peter offered this counsel: 'If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf' (1 Peter 4:16). 
"The time is coming when those who do not obey the Lord will be separated from those who do. Our safest insurance is to continue to be worthy of admission to His holy house. How blessed we are to have temples available. The greatest gift you could give to the Lord at this or any other time of year is to keep yourself unspotted from the world, worthy to attend His holy house. His gift to you will be the peace and security of knowing that you are worthy to meet Him, whenever that time shall come." 
- Russell M. Nelson, "Christ the Savior is Born," BYU Devotional, 10 December 2002
Click here to read the full address

The injunction to "be of good cheer" seems reasonable, until one is found in the proverbial "depths of despair." Those are the times when the only hope is to remember the Lord's promise that he will ever be with us, standing by us. As Elder Nelson counsels, we must lovingly cling to that promise. During the times of relative peace, we develop the ability to cling to it in the times when we need it most.

And I appreciate the emphasis Elder Nelson provides related to the temples and our need to stay worthy of regular attendance. Living up to that standard of worthiness is an indication to God that we are seeking His help; we are promised blessings of peace and security.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
February 9, 2015

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