Like Nephi. I will seek to:
- demonstrate what the tender mercies of the Lord are, and
- how one can benefit from the tender mercies of the Lord to become mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
The tender mercies are manifested in many different ways in the lives of those that seek God. They are all the many day-to-day miracles that the Lord performs in our lives. When one knows how to recognize those tender mercies even in the midst of afflictions, one can say much like the brother of Jared that he has seen the finger of the Lord.
In this time of great opportunities and also of great alarm, all the saints need to understand how these tender mercies will assist them to overcome and learn from their challenges. Without the tender mercies of the Lord, we would be like the Nephites in Helaman 4:24, “And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples”.
What are the Tender Mercies of the Lord?
Elder David A. Bednar, speaking of the tender mercies said, “The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ” (Bednar, 2005). I invite all of you to recall a time when you have identified the tender mercies of the lord in your life. Can we have them more often? Do we need them? The Lord said, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
Here is the invitation to recognize the need that we have of His help, and then to come unto Him to ask, with a humble heart so that we can receive His tender mercies. In other words, that His grace, or “the enabling power of God” may assist us that we may be made strong and able to accomplish what we need or for the happiness of our loved one. Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught, “Because of His atoning experience in mortality, our Savior is able to comfort, heal, and strengthen all men and women everywhere, but I believe He does so only for those who seek Him and ask for His help.” (Oaks, 2015)
Becoming Mighty Even Unto the Power of Deliverance:
In the Book of Mormon the story of the people of Alma and the people of Limhi can teach us an important principle regarding “Becoming mighty unto the power of deliverance.” Limhi and his people were in bondage and had tried several times to free themselves by going to war. Each time they lost the battle and were brought low by the Lamanites. They had to turn to the Lord and “…humble themselves even in the depth of humility, and they did cry mightily to God… that he would deliver them out of their afflictions. And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless, the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites…” (Mosiah 21:14-15, Emphasis added). Later they were inspired to give strong drinks to their guards and were able to escape.
Now let us contrast this story with that of Alma and his people. Amulon had placed heavy burdens over the people of Alma and they were guarded by task masters. They also began to pray mightily to God. Amulon forbade them to cry to the Lord and threatened to kill those that would be found praying. They continued to cry to the Lord in secret, “and the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me, and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage” (Mosiah 24:13). The Lord then miraculously brought a deep sleep on their guards and they were able to escape.
What can we learn from these accounts? With the people of Limhi the Lord eased their burdens but was slow to do so because of their lack of commitment to their own covenants. For the people of Alma, who had just been baptized and were faithful in honoring their covenants, the Lord demonstrated great power unto deliverance. Both were tested and had to use long suffering in their afflictions but one saw the tender mercies of the Lord come to their rescue with great might.
The obedience and manner with which we keep our covenants influences the power with which the Lord can intervene in our lives. Alma said to his son Shiblon, “I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles and afflictions…”(Alma 38:5).
The Title of Liberty:
The Caribbean Area Presidency just released the Vision for 2016 to invite all members to receive the blessings that the Lord intends to extend upon all his people.
Like the Title of Liberty, the Caribbean Area Vision is here to help us be unified in our efforts and bring deliverance to the people of the Caribbean. This will happen as all members and families seek to apply and align with the Vision. Why? Because the Area Vision invites us to better live our covenants so we may become “mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”
- Let us be more converted by keeping the Sabbath Day holy both at home and at church:
Honoring the Sabbath will demonstrate our willingness to keep and renew all of our covenants. Each of us should ask what we can do to better keep the Sabbath holy, as individuals, as a family, and as a Church.
- Let us be more converted through temple worship.
Making and keeping the sacred covenants of the temple will strengthen our families and increase our protection in these last days. Nephi said, “… I Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord… and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14, emphases added).
- Let us be responsible and self reliant.
The Lord has promised, “And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine” (D&C 104:15). The Self Reliance program inspired by the Lord comes to fulfill His promise as leaders and members work together to escape the financial bondage that prevails among the saints in the Caribbean. With faith and obedience to the principles taught, the tender mercies of the Lord will help the saints become mighty even unto their deliverance.
- Let us share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others:
As the saints in the Caribbean experience the tender mercies of the Lord and His power of deliverance, they can and will become mighty in bringing deliverance to their family members and non-member friends.
May we ponder on these things and, as Nephi, go to the Lord to ask for our own understanding (see 1 Nephi 10:17-22) of these principles taught. May the Lord bless you, He lives.
Elder David A. Bednar (2005) The Tender Mercies of the Lord, April General Conference, [Online]. Available at: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/the-tender-mercies-of-the-lord?lang=eng.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks (2015) Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, October General Conference, [Online]. Available at: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/strengthened-by-the-atonement-of-jesus-christ?cid=HP_TU_11-17-2015_dPFD_fGC_xLIDyL1-B_&lang=eng.