Monday, April 16, 2012

Making and Keeping Covenants........week 90

My dear family,

Well this past week was great. We have been working really good. We had the baptism of Alma Saturday afternoon. It was really special. I forgot my camera at our department so I will send you the photos next week. I felt so blessed to be a part of that baptism.

I would like to share something with you that I learned last week that was a pivotal lesson in my mission. It has to do with the importance of making and keeping covenants. I have been studying much of Doctrine and Covenants the past week alongside the history of the church. While reading across some old articles in the Ensign, I read a talk by Elder Bednar that talked about the importance of holding a name and a standing in the temple of God. I learned something so very true: those who make and keep covenants are those who are willing to sacrifice for the Lord. As it mentions in True to the Faith: those who make and keep covenants willingly bring fruits unto God. You don´t have to convince them of nothing. You don´t have to remind them to do what they know they should do. If they are keeping the covenants that they have made with the Lord, when they are asked to sacrifice, they do it. And not only do they do it, they do it well and without complaint. This topic was brought about because we have been working really hard to better help the members of the church to participate in the work of the Lord. All that we ask of them is that they make and keep their covenants. And as Elder Bednar puts it, ¨there is a difference between church attending, tithe paying members who occasionally rush to the temple to go through a session and those members who faithfully and consistently worship in the temple.¨ We came to realize that those who work to establish Zion are those who faithfully and consistently worship in the temple. The first group you have to call them, remind them, pass by, help them out, etc. so that they can participate in the work of salvation. The second, when you ask for their sacrifice in behalf of others, they take responsibility and the do their work well. The exact quote from the True to the faith is, ¨always remember and honor the covenants you make with the Lord. Then you will not need to be commanded in everything you do.¨ We cannot live a Celestial Law if we do not make and keep covenants with the Lord. And we cannot establish Zion unless we live the Celestial Law.

Why was this so impactful to me? When we talk to members and say to them, ¨invite someone to our next appointment,¨ those who do not consistently go to the temple or do not understand their covenants fight it. They try to get around the sacrifice that missionary work is. However, those who faithfully hold a name and a place in the temple of God not only invite but take charge of the spiritual progress of such person. There is a huge difference. I reflected on my own life and it caused me to better understand, appreciate, and live the covenants that I have made with the Lord. If I don´t keep my covenants, I am of little benefit to others or the Church of Jesus Christ. I cannot establish Zion unless I live the Celestial Law. And I cannot call others to help me unless they too are living such law. It was a lesson so simple yet one of the greatest lessons that I have received in my life. The salt of the earth are those who make and keep their covenants. They are the strength of the Lord: those who will establish Zion in the last days. The Lord requires discipleship, complete and total. As John Taylor said, ¨the kingdom of God or nothing.¨

I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have entered into the new and everlasting covenant of His Restored Gospel. I make and keep my covenants. I am here on this earth to prepare it for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My dear family, I prayerfully invite you to sit down and evaluate your lives. Write down your priorities and what order they have in your day and in your week. Write down each one of the covenants which you have made with God. Look at where you covenants fall in this list of priorities. I promise you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ and as one of His representatives that if you put your covenants first and foremost in your list and you do something everyday to bring them about, your life will become full of peace, fruits, satisfaction, and your purpose here on earth and the reason for the challenges of life will become simple and clear to you. We satisfy EVERY true desire of our hearts as we make and keep our covenants with the Lord. Family, I pray that you may ALWAYS make and keep your covenants. Be consistent and faithful in keeping them. By so doing you will find yourself as you lose yourself in the service of your fellow man. And you will be able to stand before God and he will say unto you, ¨thou good and faithful servant, enter into my rest.¨ That is my goal and my desire for you my dear family and those whom you know. May we do so is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell