Roots and Covenants 

As we chose to come to this Earth to progress, our Heavenly Father did not want to leave us without any guidance. Part of why we had to come here was so that we could choose to follow our Saviour Jesus Christ. We make promises to follow Him and try to live a life of His disciple. In return we are promised blessings which will help us to become more like our Heavenly Father and receive eternal life – the ultimate blessing of coming to Earth as part of this plan.

These promises (or covenants) make up a significant part of our life following Jesus Christ. They enable us to receive the strength to complete any challenges or overcome any trials that may come in our way. In 1 Nephi 17:3 we read “And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.” Often we can look at Lehi and his family’s journeyings through the wilderness as a parallel to our sojourn in mortality and in the same way we can receive strength from keeping our covenants.

Covenants as Foundations

In the same way, we can compare our covenants to foundations for our life. A well-known verse from Helaman 5:12 helps us to begin to make this link. It says “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” As was mentioned before, our covenants (if they are kept) provide us with a strong foundation which can help us continue through this life.

Roots as Foundations

However, it is important to recognise that we have other examples of covenants in the scriptures. In Jacob 5 we read of an extended parable of olive trees. These trees all had roots which we read relate to the covenants found in the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. An examples is found in verse 36 where it reads ” Nevertheless, I know that the roots are good, and for mine own purpose I have preserved them; and because of their much strength they have hitherto brought forth, from the wild branches, good fruit.” The roots of the Gospel, the covenants which channel the sustaining life of our Saviour, bring sustenance.

Lesson

However, something is important in considering these parables of covenants. Both of them highlight the life-giving elements of our covenants. On the other hand, they also teach us another valuable principle to those to minister to others in the Gospel – the strength of our covenants (of how much we are keeping them) are not visible to others. We can very easily go about our daily lives not strengthening our covenants and those around us may not notice. That it is why it is so important to look to support and strengthen as many as we can – not just those that ask for support or help. So reach out and ask for guidance for who to send that message to or ask how their day is, because you never know when that reaching out may make their day, whoever they are.

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Step by Step

I have been thinking a little bit recently about how the Lord guides our lives and paths step by step. He has a plan for us and He can guide us to fulfil this plan. An example of this was the Star of Bethlehem. It is unlikely that the Lord made a star appear out of nowhere. Our Heavenly Father has a perfect plan. As such, He was able to orchestrate the movements of the stars and planets in such a way that they aligned or manifested themselves in such a way that signalled the birth of our Saviour.

In our personal lives, we are given the opportunity to receive Patriarchal Blessings. These blessings provide an opportunity for us to be guided step by step. We are told on lds.org that “Those who follow the counsel in their patriarchal blessing will be less likely to go astray or be misled. Only by following the counsel in a patriarchal blessing can one receive the blessings contained therein.” We will only be able to be led step-by-step if we follow the guidance and instructions in those blessings.

I have also been studying Our Heritage, which catalogues the History of the Church. It explains what happened in the early life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. After it details the event of his operation, it makes one small mention of a significantly important detail. It says in Our Heritage “After Joseph’s operation, the Smith family moved to Norwich, Vermont, where they suffered three successive years of crop failure, and then moved to Palmyra, New York.” This is again another example of the Lord guiding His work. The Smith family moved to Norwich, Vermont – however this was not where the Lord needed them to be for Joseph to carry out his work to which he was going to be called. As such, a destination adjustment was needed and then the Smith’s moved. People may say it is simply a coincidence, however all the coincidences in the world can’t explain how Heavenly Father’s plan has worked to perfection thus far. He guides up step-by-step.