The Home of Daniel's Challenge
A friend and I were discussing food storage and emergency preparedness a few days ago. We spoke of "emergency preparedness" versus "provident living," or in other words, how to obtain your needs from providence as a way of life. Traditional "Emergency Preparedness" focuses upon a collection of "stuff" or "the squirreling away" of sufficient food, alternative shelter, and so forth to outlast prophesied storms. In our discussion we spoke of a higher form of "emergency preparedness" or true "providential living," which is coming to receive all temporal needs from God, rather than from Babylon's economy in which we live today. Why is this of concern to me and of importance to each of us? Isaiah and the apostle John prophesied of a day and hour when Babylon would utterly fail. By their descriptions, it appears that when this day and hour come, it will be impossible to buy or sell good further. It is possible and even likely, that when that day and hours arrives, that no matter how many millions of dollars one may have in various financial securities, they will forevermore not be worth the paper they are printed on.
When this day arrives, the wicked will destroy the wicked and those who have placed their "trust" in Babylon's socioeconomic system, rather than learning how to place "all" their faith in God, will perish with Babylon -- according to Isaiah. They will not perish because God condemns them; they will perish because they have absolutely no idea how to receive their temporal needs from God. The notion that we can store up sufficient in order to outlast these hard times is utterly false. Thieves will break through and steal, Tsunamis, earthquakes, pestilence and so forth will destroy that which we have saved and all who have not learned the laws by which one receives their temporal needs from God will indeed perish, just as Isaiah prophesied.
This issue then becomes one of trust. As we place "all" our trust in God and enable ourselves with his holy Spirit, we accomplish the following: "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important ability that can be acquired in this life." Julie Beck
Anciently, the Lord covenanted with Israel that if they would do certain things they would receive all they needed "temporally" from him. Crops, such as those depicted in this garden picture would always produce abundantly to those who kept His statutes and covenants.
The basis of true "Provident Living" is to receive all of one's temporal needs for food, shelter, and so forth from God or from providence. Well, there is probably not one of us alive today who does that. We don't know how to invoke the laws that enable such blessing to flow to us without compulsory means forever and ever, and there are no truly "bright" examples before us to teach us how. Rather, we all "earn money" and enter into Babylon's "exchange system." How then so we meet our temporal needs through the laws which govern heaven, rather than the laws of our present economic system -- which will utterly fail?
Marion G. Romney said in the late 70's that anyone who was willing to live by the "laws that govern Zion" could receive all of Zion's blessings today, even if they are the only soul on earth today to live according to those laws. Similarly, Brigham Young taught that as we choose to live by every law that governs heaven, therein is the millennium. Anyone who lives according to every law that governs of the Celestial Kingdom, by law will enjoy the blessings that are predicated upon those laws. What about those who live by every law that will govern the New Jerusalem? These teachings offer hope that as we come to understand the laws that govern the pure flow of temporal blessings, we can become best prepared for emergencies. While having certain items stored up for hard times is a matter of obedience and faith, it is also a matter of obedience and faith that enables temporal blessings to flow without compulsory means.
How then have blessings flowed from God to Israel throughout history? It is through covenant making. Israel entered sacred covenants with God and when they lived according to those covenants, temporal blessings flowed from God to them according to covenant. For example, Israel endured the plagues of Egypt and then according to commandment they escaped Egypt. When they were about to be destroyed God saved them through the power of the covenant. Then God sent Manna to them daily for forty years. Imagine receiving the food you need for forty years without paying even a penny for it. This is a form of providential living, or enabling temporal needs to flow from God to you. It is a shadow and type of how we can learn to live -- although this may seem more of a bedtime story to some rather than a promising way to live.
After forty years in the dessert or wilderness, God then enabled Israel to cross the river Jordan and to enter into the "Promised Land." He promised Israel, through covenant that rain and sunshine would be given in due season if they would but live according to the statutes and covenants that you can read about in Deuteronomy. These describe what Israel had to do if they wanted their temporal needs to be continually met by God. While "emergency preparedness" can help us to endure initial storms, only true "Provident Living" or truly living by the covenants enables blessings such as "Manna" or the ability to grow one's own food under any circumstances we might find ourselves in, whether it be a new land when a Latter-day covenant people will flee to escape from Babylon, or modern Egypt (type).
In that day we will need God's power to escape and God's power to survive. The escape from Egypt is a shadow and type of what we will also face; the best way to prepare is not by squirreling away too much or by going beyond the mark in these matters, but is to store adequately and to prepare spiritually by forsaking all sins and by becoming sufficiently pure to be able to obey all God's commandments and to be able to also hear and heed His voice--always. By so doing we come to know God and even to see His face quite literally.
Today most all temporal needs are met through Babylon's economy, which stands in direct opposition to Zion's economy. Babylon and Zion are enemies. Babylon teaches fear and what will become of us without money, without a stash of food, without power, without our homes, and so forth... or whispers to us that we can have anything we want for money, thereby encouraging us to place our trust in riches, rather than to place our trust keeping the Lord's Statutes and Covenants. By comparison, Zion teaches that all things temporal flow freely from God--as our bowels become filled with charity and we walk virtuously, and as we consecrate our lives and "all" that we are and have to God rather than to trust in Mammon (Hebrew word that denotes all financial transactions).
I sat in company of one of the greatest men of God I have ever known (Spencer W. Kimball) when he said that all who were present in his company (including me) would see the day when insurances, IRAs, stocks and bonds, and all other financial instruments would utterly fail. He said that the only thing that would save us would be righteousness and the blessings of the covenant that flow directly to us from Providence--just as manna from heaven.
There are few today who can even fathom or imagine receiving manna daily from Providence; or who can imagine entering into a special covenant, which if followed will enable all temporal needs to flow directly to us from God, as needed, including the food we need, the shelter we need, the protection we need, and so forth. True emergency preparedness then suggest that in addition to following the Lord's counsel regarding an adequate storage of foods and other items, we must also learn to live by each and every holy covenant that we have made and to take them literally and seriously and not put them off until a later time, or wait until we are commanded to keep the covenants we have already made--such as the consecration of all that we have.
Yes, we should store away some food, clothing, money, and so forth for emergencies. These are fine and practical and needed solutions, just as Lehi's family carried seed to the new world and those seeds became foundational seed stock that blessed their lives for generations. All things physical are also spiritual and they are a part of natural law; we should prepare ourselves to respect natural law, which includes having seeds to grow crops, having a certain supply of food,clothing, money, tent, etc., or we better be in a condition that we can call down the blessings we need from heaven.
Consecration is in effect today; it is a real law that certain people have covenanted to live now but to which few understand and truly follow. The blessings of Zion flow today to anyone who lives by the laws that govern Zion. All blessings are predicated upon law; therefore, as you live according to Zion's laws you can know for a certainty that your temporal needs will always be met and will flow from God to you, as needed. D&C 105: 34 -35 teaches that the call to Zion has already been given, but the instructions for living in such a manner are to occur after Zion is redeemed by those who are chosen. Becoming chosen of the Lord is a natural process of self-selection and it occurs as we put of the natural man through faith, repentance, and the continual remission of sins, and we become "new or chosen" creatures in Christ by exercising faith in the Lord's commandments and in his voice, as he expresses his daily will to us. As we exercise faith to do his will we grow in light and knowledge and begin to take on the virtues and attributes of Christ into our own lives. This is the self-selection process of becoming personally redeemed and chosen. Zion can only be redeemed by individuals who have previously become redeemed.
As we make and keep sacred covenants we enter into the gateway of "Providential Living." Once in that gateway, we remain in that path so long as we remain pure by forsaking all sin, coming unto the Lord, calling upon His name, keeping all of the Lord's commandments, and by heeding and acting according to His voice--always. By so doing the veil is rendered daily in our lives and His power, spirit, and influence enters directly into our physical world to help shape the outcome of events of our lives.
I teach dietary lifestyle for one reason only; for every degree of physical health we can attain unto, we enable our spiritual capacity "to hear, heed and act" according to the Lord's voice exponentially. Each time we act in obedience we render the veil to some degree to receive more light, knowledge, truth, and added faith. If you are too fat, sick or otherwise to act in obedience, you do not render the veil as readily and your faith grows dormant to the extent you do not "do" or "act" according to the Lord's will.
Only in obedience to the Lord's commandments and his voice lies true safety from the storms that are upon us. True "Emergency Preparedness" therefore includes enabling a strong and fit body through living according to our covenant to keep the Word of Wisdom--which in turn enables us to more fully "act" according the Lord's voice always and to keep all sacred covenants (marriage, baptism, the oath and covenant of the priesthood, etc). By keeping these sacred covenants we bind the Lord's blessings to us--from whom all blessings flow.
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