Living in difficult times requires each of us to maintain a positive, hopeful perspective about the future.
"Today, more than in the past, I am asked about the signs of the times and if I think the end of the world is near. My answer is the same one Jesus gave two thousand years ago: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” (Mark 13:32–33.)
When Jesus was asked about the sign of His coming, he said, “Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
“All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matt. 24:6–8 )
Although the prophecies tell us that these things are to take place, more and more people are expressing great alarm at what appears to be an acceleration of worldwide calamity. As members of the Church, we must not forget the Savior’s admonition, “Be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass.” These are difficult times, when the forces of nature seem to be unleashing a flood of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”......
Elder M. Russell Ballard continues: "My message to you today, my brothers and sisters, is simply this: the Lord is in control. He knows the end from the beginning. He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis. His purposes will be fulfilled, and someday we will understand the eternal reasons for all of these events. Therefore, today we must be careful to not overreact, nor should we be caught up in extreme preparations; but what we must do is keep the commandments of God and never lose hope! "¹
This instruction was given in 1992. Today we are troubled by even greater concerns. This week Realty Trac reported that 2.9 million foreclosure notices were filed during 2010 and 1.2 million homes were repossessed, up 200,000 from 2009. Five million homeowners are behind on their mortgages by 2 or more months. Home prices have declined 29% from their highs. During the depression of 1929-1933 home prices dropped only 25%. Experts now believe prices will continue to fall for another three years.
Food commodity prices are soaring. Please remember that food prices and the price of essentials such as clothing are based on a world economy, not a national one. Food prices world wide are soaring and food supplies are decreasing.
Floods in Australia have devastated an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined, or in other terms, as big as both France and Germany. There are 11,000 homes underwater. Even the media is referring to this flood as "of Biblical proportions".
Oil is used in everything. According to the U.S. Department of transportation nearly 35 gallons of every 42-gallon barrel of crude oil is used for transportation fuel. The rest goes into the consumer products we use on a daily basis. What, you ask? Guitar strings, pantyhose, golf bags, backpacks, dentures, candles, hair coloring, aspirin, footballs, basketballs and soccer balls, food preservatives, shampoo, makeup, bedding, paint, bandages, dishes, flooring, even heart valves.
Oil prices are at $92.00 a barrel today. The all time high was $147.00 a barrel. Experts tell us if prices rise to that level again, and they are going up each day, we can expect consumer goods to go up by 60%. One year ago the price of oil was $74.00 per barrel.
We need to remember the counsel of Elder Ballard. "He knows the end from the beginning. He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis."
Our Heavenly Father has given us instruction - but notice that President Ballard adds the words "if followed" to his reassuring counsel. We must remember the Lord has established conditions on many of his promises. Paul warns: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
Are we following the counsel to become self reliant? As times continue to worsen, are we ready to care for the needs of our families?
The following are a few things to help you on your path:
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