Impressions from the Temple
Aug 11, 2018
Dear Bishops, with smoke filling our valley, we seem to be more aware of the fires that rage, not just in Utah, but across the entire west. We read the news and hear of fires in California, but it is not until they come closer to home and we actually smell the smoke, that we begin to realize how fragile and vulnerable we really are. The heat and lack of rain have been unusual and uncomfortable, but then you add fires and it becomes more real and evident that maybe the Lord is trying to tell us something!
In the temple this morning, I was directed to the Old Testament story of Elijah and the Children of Israel. (1 Kings 17-18). They were undecisive of whom they loved and worshipped– The God of Israel or Baal (the world). Their sins of omission and commission “provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities”. The Lord sealed the heavens through Elijah and many were dying and yet they failed to turn to the Lord God of Israel. The priests (prophets) of Baal has become very numerous, (think of the media, news, celebrities, politicians, etc.) and in many ways distracted and contaminated the faith of the children of Israel. (what is happening today in our Baal world?) So the Lord called upon Elijah to call the children of Israel together to demonstrate his power. The question posed by Elijah is reveling and maybe prophetic of our day, “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word”. (1 Kings 18:21). With so many opinions and voices in the world, so many options shaking the faith of our members, how many of us “halt” or “say nothing” - and in saying nothing, we not only deny the power of God in our lives, but we offend God. We muscle through droughts, fires, trials, and calamities, and really never turn, trust, lean, and give ourselves completely to God. We rely upon the arm of flesh, more than His arm. In a dramatic way, the Lord challenged the fake pretense and power of Baal. Read 1 Kings 18:22-39. I wish every family would read this chapter… Their petitions, cuttings, yelling, and false priesthood was unheard and unanswered. To demonstrate the power of God, Elijah asked the offering to be drowned with water, and then in his humble petition, said, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again”. (v37). The Lord did answer in a way that when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, “The Lord, he is the God; The Lord, he is the God.” It was not until after this turning of their hearts, that the Lord sent rain upon the land.
As a stake presidency, we have felt the invitation from the Lord to really take inventory of our hearts, our attention, and the opinions that may be distracting our true and full worship of the Lord. We would like to invite the stake family to have a special fast and a specific and special family prayer to “turn our hearts” and petitions to the God of Israel for His mercy upon us. We would invite the stake family to specifically pray for the families of those affected by the fires and the fire fighters risking their lives, to pray for our homes, children and families – that we might be protected and preserved, and especially to pray for greater faith and focus in our families in the God of Israel and His son Jesus Christ. To increase our faith and attention to the eternal, not the worldly. In doing so, the Lord will send rain upon the land and will watch over us.
If you feel impressed and have the same confirmation of the spirit, would you please send this invitation out to your ward families through your emergency communication network. To utilize the quorum and relief society presidents and districts to reach every family. Would you also prayerful consider how to share this with your ward family – through your testimony and in our worship tomorrow. We have been desiring to prepare ourselves and every needful thing to communicate to our families in times of emergency, We would like to be able to communicate this quickly to every family before tomorrow so that our worship and our prayers can be united across the Stake.
We love you and offer our witness that the Lord is speaking and will lead and guide us as we turn to Him and listen carefully to His spirit and his servants the Prophets.
Love, the Salem Stake Presidency