prepare for Christ
Week 27 is scheduled for study June 28-July 4, 2021. While it is true that Christ will not allow any weapon or plot used against his Church to prosper, this week’s lessons are more about how we can each prepare for Christ and his coming.

Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 71 – The Lord will confound critics of His work in His own time.

Elder Quentin L. Cook taught, “The influence of the Holy Ghost most often accompanies individual scripture study and prayer in the home.”

One of the big problems we all face in mortality is immediacy. We tend to only be able to focus on what is right in front of us. Looking ahead with an eternal perspective is difficult to do. This inability to see into the future and base our decisions on the future is one of the main reasons why whatever is happening right now, and in front of us, is all we can think about.

When someone criticizes the Church or its leaders, especially if they are well spoken, smooth, and seem to have great logic and research behind them, it can be intimidating and cause us to lose focus on the long gospel game. In Joseph Smith’s day people who had lost their faith were criticizing Joseph, the man. They had lost their faith in the prophet and were only focusing on Joseph’s human frailties. This tainted their whole view of the gospel’s big picture.

The Lord understands that we tend to be short sighted in our thinking and outlook. He assures us in verse 10 that we don’t need to worry about our standing with Him, because those who speak out against His Saints will be proven wrong (confounded) at some point. I think it is important to note that He didn’t say they would all be confounded the day we try to talk to them about the gospel. He only promises that at some point His prophets will be vindicated and proven right.

10 And if any man lift his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time.

This is why missionary work requires faith. We can’t always prove our point today, especially when someone is arguing some minor point or some point that is out in left field. We just need to focus on bearing our testimony as we know the truth, and the Holy Ghost will do the rest. We won’t always know the answer to every question. Many things will have to sit on the proverbial shelf until they are ready to be taken down and addressed with new information. So when someone seems to be more eloquent and better informed than we might be, that’s okay. We know what we know, and that is enough for today. As we continue to study the gospel and live its principles, more will be revealed to each of us, and we might handle the same encounter much better in another five or ten years than we did today. Here are the Lord’s words of encouragement to the Saints who face opposition to their message.

Wherefore, labor ye in my vineyard. Call upon the inhabitants of the earth, and bear record, and prepare the way for the commandments and revelations which are to come.

Now, behold this is wisdom; whoso readeth, let him understand and receive also;

For unto him that receiveth it shall be given more abundantly, even power.

He tells us that if we receive what He has already given us, He will give us “more abundantly, even power.” Isn’t it comforting to know that the Lord is okay with us not being perfect today, as long as we are willing to receive what we have already been given and act on it? He isn’t concerned with present perfection, that is what repentance and practice will achieve. His grace is sufficient to carry us through any trials that may come our way because of dissenting voices when we are obedient to our current knowledge.

Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 72 – Bishops are stewards over the spiritual and temporal affairs of the Lord’s kingdom.

Elder Quentin L. Cook taught, “The influence of the Holy Ghost most often accompanies individual scripture study and prayer in the home.”

There once was a king who ruled over a mighty kingdom. His subjects were spread far and wide, too far apart across the land for one Steward to watch over them all, so the king appointed many Stewards. Each Stewards was to make sure his assigned people had food, clothing, were working, and doing all things that would help them be happy in the kingdom. The citizens of the kingdom reported to their Steward and made an accounting of the responsibilities they had been given, and each Steward, in turn, reported on the happiness, needs, and progress of their area to those they answered to. This is how the king kept track of all his subjects and made sure they were cared for.

Bishops are just such Stewards. We may sometimes feel like we operate in life completely independently of the Bishop, for we may hardly ever need to go in and see him, but through the leaders of the ward the Bishop should be aware of each family and person in the ward boundaries, and how they are faring physically and spiritually. That is a big task, especially in areas where the ward extends for miles and miles. Some Bishops may have only a few hundred to try to keep track of, but others may have millions in their boundaries, especially where the church is small and the church units very large.

We sometimes forget that Bishops are not just responsible for the covenant makers in his ward, but also all of God’s children within his area. Being called as a Bishop is a heavy responsibility. This is why the Bishop relies on his counselors, the quorum and auxiliary leaders, and the support of the members to fulfill his calling. All within the boundaries of the ward are God’s children, and the Bishop’s call is to watch over all of them, not just those who have been baptized.

Days 3 & 4

Doctrine and Covenants 73 – I can seek opportunities to share the gospel.

Doctrine and Covenants 75:1-12 – The Lord blesses those who faithfully proclaim His gospel.

Elder Quentin L. Cook taught, “The influence of the Holy Ghost most often accompanies individual scripture study and prayer in the home.”

The manual keeps using the word “preaching” when referring to sharing the gospel. Is preaching, as you think of that word, the only way to share the gospel? Grab a pen and paper and jot down at least 10 ways you can share the gospel with those around you. It doesn’t matter if they are in the church or outside of the church. I am referring to ways you can demonstrate the lifestyle of the gospel of Christ to others. How can others look at your behavior, your attitudes, and your everyday talk and see Christ’s influence in your life?

Some reading this will say, but I don’t see very many people each day. Or they might think that because they are shut in they don’t have any influence or opportunity to share with others. Let’s say that is true. Can you think of how being kept physically apart from others can still provide you with opportunities to demonstrate Christlike behavior, talk, and examples to those whose life touches or intersects with your own?

What tools do we have to work with when it comes to sharing the gospel of Christ with others? We have our mouth, our eyes, our mind, our ears, our nose (I would have said our smell, but that is too easily misunderstood – 😉 .) When I speak to others my manner of communication is immediately evident to those who hear me. Am I coarse in my conversation? Do I uplift and speak well of others? Am I considerate and reverent, or rude and brusk? What about what I see? Do I look for what is best, what is kind, or what assumes the best? Do I look for ways to be offended or to offend? Am I seeing things that are uplifting or degrading, and am I acknowledging what is wholesome and promoting kindness and goodness in all that I recognize around me and see in others?

Are you sensing the pattern in the last couple of paragraphs? What we see, hear, speak, notice, etc. is a reflexion of what what is going on inside of our own life. The influence we have on others is largely due, not from power and control, but from our position of love and our disposition to do and find the good in all that we participate in, whether it is behavior, speech, etc. This is how others will see Christ in our life. Those 10 things I recommended you right down? – they should be easy peasy now that you have a reference point for making your list.

As you write your list of 10 things, don’t forget that actually talking about the gospel of Christ should always be in every list. We should never be ashamed or embarrassed to share something that brings such joy into our life. We don’t have to be “preachy” to preach the gospel, the good news, of Christ. We can talk in general terms about the things we do that bring us joy, the things we are studying in our scripture study, Home Evening meetings, our Church meetings, or in our personal prayers that are changing our outlook on life. And service, which should always be at the heart of all we do during the day, should be easy to share with others. Isn’t this the way Christ lived his life?

As an aside, I once asked my Stake President how to get rid of a sin that plagues your life and you can’t seem to rid yourself of it. His response was enlightening. He said to fill your life with goodness to the point that you don’t have time for the sin. Be so busy doing good that you no longer think about doing what used to bog down your spiritual life. Good advice, and approved of God.


I included day 4’s lesson with day 3 because they both talk about something very similar.

Below, I have listed four verses from section 75. The manual asks us to look for the Lord’s instructions that apply to us and to find the blessings the Lord promises those who “proclaim” the gospel. Please note that I have not put these verses in order. I have arranged them so that they list all of our instructions first, followed by the promises made to us if we follow those instructions. So read them as though this is all you need to know about what the Lord wants of us in the latter days.

Behold, I say unto you that it is my will that you should go forth and not tarry, neither be idle but labor with your might—

Lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, proclaiming the truth according to the revelations and commandments which I have given you.

11 Praying always that [you] faint not; and inasmuch as [you] do this, I will be with [you] even unto the end.

And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.

To make it read more smoothly, I changed the “they” and “them” in verse 11 to “you.” Read through that set of verses a couple of times. Is there really anything else required of each of us from the Lord than what is listed here? Doesn’t the Lord say over and over again in the modern scriptures that we are to preach nothing but repentance to this generation?

Now consider the material for the day 3 lesson. How does this material fit with it? Doesn’t this describe all of our Church work? This includes Temple work, weekly Church callings, daily interactions with those around us, our behavior at work and in our homes, and what we do to entertain ourselves. In short, being witnesses of the truth, in any form that may present itself, is how we fulfill our covenants with God. It is manifested in how we interact with our family members, our friends, strangers, our bosses, customers, literally anyone with whom we come into contact. When you are on social media are you promoting goodness, truth, soundness of behavior, and all those things that bring lasting happiness? Or are you participating in social media like the world teaches others to? Are you self promoting, painting a picture of yourself that is unreal, or are you looking for ways to lift others and encourage wholesome dialog and mutual respect? Are you a peacemaker in a time of turmoil? There are endless ways to fulfill our command to go out and preach the gospel of Christ. We only stop doing it when we stop thinking about it. Only then are our avenues to influence for good restricted. This is part of the reason our sacramental prayer states that if we always remember him we will have his Spirit to be with us.

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and Covenants 71 – Prepare the way

Today’s lesson is a continuation of day 3 and day 4’s material. I would like you to consider something vague for a moment. If you seriously do this exercise, I think the Spirit will help you see and understand things in the future that will be of benefit to your understanding of the gospel for the rest of your life.

How do you prepare for someone’s arrival? Who is coming, and why they are coming, make a big difference in what you need to do to prepare for them, right? If you are preparing for a meeting, you may just need to do something simple like booking a room, scheduling who is supposed to be there, getting handouts copied off, arranging for any needed refreshments, electronics, etc., that are needed by the person who is coming. These are all checklist kinds of things. They are easy to do once you have learned how to think through the kinds of things needed to make the preparations for someone’s arrival.

What if you are hosting someone? You may need to book flights, transportation, hotel rooms, arrange for meetings, like in the last paragraph, and coordinate who is supposed to be there at particular times and places to make sure your guest is taken care of. You spend time communicating with that visitor and getting to know their needs and find our their plans and desires, so you can work them into what you need to do to prepare. Again, these are kind of checkmark lists that can be learned.

Now consider how you prepare for God to come to you. This is no longer just a matter of checklists, though some checklists may help. Now we need to consider what it is that God wants from us when He comes. Does He want to come just to visit or to live here? As His servant, what does He expect from each of us? Is He only and employer who doles out wages at the end of our performance and the execution of our duties? Hmmm. In this situation we must look beyond things we would do to prepare for an earthly visitor.

When Christ comes again it will be to rule and reign on earth for more than a thousand years. We are not personally responsible for his accommodations, his flights, hotels, or meetings. He is taking care of all that himself. So how are we expected to “make his paths straight?” What is he expecting from each of us, since he is in charge of everything? What is our personal responsibility for which he will hold us accountable when he comes? How can I personally prepare for having Christ as my earthly ruler?

Has Christ ever commanded us to make checklists of duties and behaviors? Does he ever require us to serve him in personal ways? Are his commandments ever for his own benefit? What exactly is Christ telling us through the commandments and covenants he has given us that he wants from us? What is the preparation he expects from us? I don’t know everything, but I know that it has to do with the condition and state of our souls. How can God bless a soul who is unrepentant or noncompliant to His commandments, the laws of happiness? When Christ comes again it will be to rid the world of the wicked, those who refuse to obey the laws of God, their literal king. Only those who are willing to obey Christ will be left. What do each of us have to do to prepare to be one of those left to enjoy his reign with him when he comes?

The answers to all these questions can only be answered between you and the Lord. As you pray, live, and learn more about the gospel, the Lord will show you what you, personally, need to do to prepare for his return. For any of us who want to live with him one day, all of us need to go through the same preparation whether we see him in mortality or in the eternities.

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No Weapon That Is Formed Against You Shall Prosper

Week 27