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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sabbath Day Observance

                I enjoyed the Saturday “adult” session of our recent stake conference.  The theme of the conference was “Developing faith in Jesus Christ through Sabbath Day observance at church and at home.”  Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the First Quorum of Seventy presided over the conference and gave great insight into making the Sabbath a delight. 

                The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been emphasizing the Sabbath Day for some months.  The Brethren of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sent word down through proper priesthood channels to the ward level counseling bishops and other leaders to bring more reverence into our sacrament meetings and to encourage families to improve their Sabbath observance. We have listened to talks in our sacrament meetings, and now we have been taught by a General Authority about Sabbath observance.

                We first had a talk by the bishop of one of the wards who shared with us how his ward council implemented some changes in that ward.  Then the ward council came forward to answer questions from the audience.  They were followed by a family – father, mother, teenage son and teenage daughter – who spoke of how they implemented different Sabbath observance in their home and the results.  Again, they answered questions from the audience.

                We enjoyed other speakers about Sabbath Day observance and then listened to Elder Johnson.  He reminded us that the Lord is able to do His own work; He does not need us to do His work, but He allows us to work with Him for our benefit.  He stated that the Lord is hastening His work and quoted two questions from Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Those questions are:  (1) Will we keep pace with the Lord?  (2) Will we teach and learn the Savior’s way?  If we always do what we always did, we will always get what we always got.

                Then Elder Johnson asked us two questions:  (1) What changes are you willing to implement to make sacrament meeting a more spiritual experience for everyone?  (2) What changes will you implement at home as a sign of your feelings toward Heavenly Father?  Numerous people in the audience spoke about the changes they would make in their homes.

                In thinking about what changes I would implement in my life and home to make the Sabbath Day more delightsome, a question came to my mind about studying on the Sabbath Day.  I have long determined that I would not study on Sunday, but I learned something new this weekend:  the Lord is very specific about what He wants us to do on the Sabbath.  I have about five Ensign articles – talks by Apostles and Prophets – that I need to read for my classes this week.  I previously thought I could read them on Sunday; I justified doing so because they are counsel from the Brethren.

                Through prayer and pondering, I came to the understanding that I can read any Ensign articles that I want to read – except those that are part of assignments.  I then questioned my scripture study.  Could I study the assigned scripture block and still honor the Sabbath?  I came to the understanding that I can study the scriptures but not work on any particular assignment concerning them. The Lord’s line appears to be the assignments.   I realized that I will have to be very alert as I implement this change in my life because the Lord’s line is a very fine line.

                Then I began to wonder about writing essays for my blog.  Is this an acceptable activity for the Sabbath?  I understand it is as long as I write about things I could teach in Relief Society or speak about in sacrament meeting.  Again, the Lord has a very fine line about what is acceptable to Him for me to do on His day.

                I know that I can keep the Sabbath Day holy in my home if I will follow the promptings of the Spirit.  I also know that it will not always be easy but it will be better.  What changes are you willing to implement in your home to make your Sabbath Day a delight? 

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