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:
- Include Heavenly Father in the plan. As you are prayerful, opportunities and answers will present themselves to assure your success. “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7)
- Increase your efforts to obtain a three month supply of the foods you eat and a years supply of basic foods for survival. The price of food is going up every month. Once you have a three month supply you never have to purchase foods again except when they are on sale, always saving you money. Food storage will see you through the winter months until you can plant a garden and produce your own food. Food prices went up 9% in 2010. If you were spending $500.00 per month on food in January of 2010 you would now be spending $545.00 per month for the same food or an additional $540.00 per year. For $540.00 you could purchase a three week supply of all the foods you normally eat for four people. Make food storage a priority now, before prices increase further.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. The cost of medical care has also risen dramatically the past year. It is wise to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to avoid medical expenses. Do not forget good dental habits. Many illnesses and medical expenses are a result of poor dental hygiene.
- Stop accumulating debt, live within your means. Cut up or take your credit cards out of your wallet and leave them at home. Create a budget and live within it. If you have trouble with this, then take cash out the bank each payday, place it in an envelope, and when it is gone there is no more money for the month. This may take a little practice but if you have your food storage you will be able to enjoy great food while you learn a new habit.
- Stay current on your payments. A small late fee here and there may not seem like much, but over the course of the year by avoiding a late fee of $15.00 a month you could add another weeks worth of food to your “General Store” shelves. Not sure what a General Store is?
- Slow down. Do not make a purchase until you have really evaluated your need. Ask yourself, is this a need or a want? Is this purchase needed right now or can it wait until it goes on sale? Remember everything goes on sale. Wait three days before making a purchase.
If it is really a need you can buy it then without guilt.
- Sit down as a family and set some self reliance goals. Children know children whose dad’s have lost jobs, they see and hear about natural disasters. You are not protecting them when you fail to discuss challenges with them. They have attended Sacrament meetings and heard talks about self reliance. Include them
To actually write down a goal is a huge step toward attaining a goal
Begin with your goals for the year in several areas of self reliance: temporal, spiritual, educational, financial, and physical.
Once the family has agreed on the goals set shorter term goals, such as what you want to accomplish in 3 months. Now you are ready for shorter term goals, two weeks to one month.
- Create a plan you can follow, which all the family members have contributed to and can support.
- Plan to have at least one Family Home Evening each month devoted to one of your self reliance goals. Be sure to evaluate your progress at these meetings and if necessary, adjust your goals.
- Get extended family and friends on your team. Let them know this is important to your peace of mind and that you need and appreciate their support. Inform them that you have a list of items the family has decided to purchase, make or obtain during the next year and you would love to send them a copy of your list so they can consider the items as gifts or adopt some of your ideas for themselves.
Tell your friends and family that while you would love to take a trip with them this summer, you have decided to use your vacation money toward your goal. Tell them you have created a fund for specific, expensive items, such as a wheat grinder, tread mill, or emergency power generator, and tell them contributions toward these items would be as well appreciated as any other birthday gift. Remind them that “sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven”.²
- Don’t Panic! Remember no matter how bad the news gets the Lord is in charge and as Elder Ballard said: “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!”
Families who are recommitted to self reliance in uncertain times, will have peace of mind, as well as the essentials they require for health, happiness, and prosperity in a troubled world.
¹M. Russell Ballard, “The Joy of Hope Fulfilled,” Ensign, Nov 1992
² William W. Phelps “Praise to the Man”
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