Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lesson: Covenants

One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant. It is a sacred promise with God. He fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. If one accepts the terms of the covenant and obeys God's law, he or she receives the blessings associated with the covenant.

"And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."
Doctrine & Covenants 130:21

Through the ages, God has made covenants with His children. The covenant God made with Abraham and later reaffirmed with Isaac and Jacob is of transcendent significance. It contained several promises including:

*Jesus the Christ would be born through Abraham's lineage.
*Abraham's posterity would be numerous, entitled to an eternal increase, and also entitled to bear the priesthood.
*Abraham would become a father of many nations.
*Certain lands would be inherited by his posterity.
*All nations of the earth would be blessed by his seed.
*And that covenant would be everlasting.

Some of us are the literal seed of Abraham; others are gathered into his family by adoption. The Lord makes no distinction. Together we receive these promised blessings--if we seek the Lord and obey His commandments.

Ours is the seed foreordained to help fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. Ours is the seed foreordained and prepared to bless all people of the world. That is why priesthood duty includes missionary work.
The Book of Mormon is a tangible sign that the Lord has commenced to gather His children of covenant Israel.

When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts. He is our God and we are His people. Committed children of the covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. When that doctrine is deeply implanted in our hearts, even the sting of death is soothed and our spiritual stamina is strengthened.

The pioneers are a great example of people who were committed children of the covenant, remaining steadfast even in the midst of adversity.
Clip from Legacy start at 38:50 to 42:49
This quote captures the spirit of those who make and keep sacred covenants.

"In the book Daughters in My Kingdom, we read about Sister Hedwig Biereichel, a woman in Germany who suffered much sorrow and deprivation during World War II. Because of her love and charitable nature, and even in her own great need, she willingly shared her food with starving prisoners of war. Later, when asked how she was able to "keep a testimony during all [those] trials," she replied in effect, "I didn't keep a testimony through those times--the testimony kept me."
Personal Revelation and Testimony, Barbara Thompson, Ensign November 2011

Just like the pioneers and Sister Biereichel, we will be blessed and strengthened to face the challenges of this mortal life as we keep our sacred covenants.

Teachings for our Times:
Covenants, Russell M. Nelson, Ensign November 2011

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