OBEY, COVENANT, ESTABLISH.
During an Area Presidency broadcast in May 2016, we were reminded of how important it is for each family and individual to set specific goals to help them Obey, Covenant and Establish.
Elder Ian Ardern wisely taught us that “we show our love to God by obeying his commandments”, that when “we are true to our covenants our lives will be blessed” and that “we establish the Church by sharing the gospel and building strong, self-reliant, multi-generational families.”
Elder Allen Haynie instructed us in how to set goals for families and individuals that will make a true difference in our lives. He said, “as we set goals, we need to be wise. The goals we set should make us stretch and require an exercise of our faith without comparing our goals to the goals of others.”
President Shayne Bowen gave inspired counsel in how each member can personalize their goals and make them more effective. “To further personalize their goals, each individual is encouraged to break down the family goal into action items they can do on their own. Every member or family should take their goals seriously and prayerfully ponder on what specific things they can do to help achieve their family goals.”
We are grateful for the wonderful response we have seen from our wards, branches and members. We are just beginning to see the flowering of the Church in the Philippines and the gathering of the saints to the temples as they progress along the covenant pathway. We must continue to improve. We must find and bring family and friends to the covenant path. There is yet much to do!
I bear witness this is the work of the Lord. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)
With all our hearts we confirm and testify that as families and individuals follow the Area Plan, setting family and individual goals to
Show our love of God through keeping the Sabbath Day holy, paying a full tithe and a generous fast offering, and submitting ancestor names for temple ordinances,
Make, honor and renew sacred covenants by holding a current temple recommend, being sealed in the temple, and increasing the number of Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and
Establish the Kingdom of God by preparing young men to receive the priesthood at the right age, increase the number of young men serving missions, and increase the number of convert baptisms,
we will see the blessings of Heaven poured out on the Filipino people, both upon the members of the restored Church and upon the entire nation.
As we begin a new year, as leaders, parents and individuals we each should ask ourselves two questions:
How did we do in 2016?
What will we do to make 2017 an even more fruitful year for the Church in the Philippines, for our own families and for each of us, individually?
May we invite you to make this a priority in your lives? May we suggest that you prayerfully ponder each of the action words - Obey, Covenant and Establish – and set goals as a family and as individuals to progress and improve in each area? You may find inspiration if you will set your eyes on the temple and make it the center of your efforts, wisely setting goals that will require you to stretch, will be personalized to your own situation, and will be specific in order that you can measure your performance.
As you seek to obtain and keep current your temple recommend, you will receive impressions to set specific family and individual goals that will help you Obey, Covenant and Establish.
President Thomas S. Monson has counseled:
“If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your [goal] may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing. Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is.” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple-a Beacon to the World,” April 2011)
Our heartfelt prayer for each member of the Church in the Philippines and for all that come to Jesus Christ through faith in His Name and in His Atonement, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, is the same as was offered by Ammon for all those he had taught and loved:
“But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.” (Alma 26:7)
As we continue in the covenant path to Obey, Covenant and Establish, we will be in the hands of the Lord of the harvest and he will raise us up at the last day to enjoy with our families, loved ones and friends the joy of the Lord in the Kingdom of God.
I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.