Ordinances and Covenants: Gifts of Power, Peace, and Healing

October 16, 2018

Randy Parkinson

Event Coordinator

Biography:

A native of Rexburg, Idaho, Randy Parkinson received an associate degree from Ricks College and a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from BYU in youth leadership and recreation management. He has worked at Ricks College and BYU-Idaho for 32 years.

Randy met his wife, Renee, while they were preparing for a month long survival course while attending BYU. They have been married for forty years, and they have five living children.

In addition to serving in the Northern States Mission from 1969 to 1971, Brother Parkinson has served in numerous church callings. His most cherished titles are husband, father, and grandfather.

Spiritual Preparation

Pre-Devotional Discussion:

Please respond to the question below on the devotional discussion board:

How have the ordinances and covenants you have received blessed you with power, peace, or healing?

My dear brothers and sisters, it is a pleasure to meet with you today. I hope and pray that the message I have felt inspired to give you will bring you a sense of peace, and a greater love and trust in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

 I would like to thank the Women’s Glee Choir, Sister Coates, and Sister Moulton for the beautiful rendition of one of my favorite hymns, “O My Father.” The last line of the hymn is a plea to Heavenly Father to let us return to dwell with Him. It is His desire that we will return to Him.

In his devotional talk last week, Brother Dan Christensen said:

You’ll be blessed as you put your trust in our Heavenly Father and deepen your personal relationship with deity. Think of the growth you’ve experienced from your infancy until now! Deeper growth is ahead of you! [1]

I testify that this is true. Heavenly Father wants us to trust Him and develop our personal relationships with Him. Receiving ordinances and entering into covenants with our Heavenly Father and staying on the covenant path deepens our trust and love for our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Ordinances are sacred and formal acts “performed by the authority of the priesthood.” [2] The ordinances essential to our receiving exaltation are baptism, confirmation, receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood (for men), the temple endowment, and entering into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the holy temple.

A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and man. “God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey those conditions.” [3] Ordinances and covenants bind us to God. President Russell M. Nelson said:

Our covenants bind us to Him and give us godly power. As faithful disciples, we repent and follow Him into the waters of baptism. We walk along the covenant path to receive other essential ordinances. [4]

 God is bound by our obedience to the law of the gospel and our adherence to the covenants we have made. [5] The Doctrine and Covenants tells us that the blessings we receive are predicated upon our obedience to God’s laws. 

I wonder if we understand the importance of ordinances and covenants in our lives. I was baptized at the age of eight. I was excited to get baptized, but I didn’t understand the covenant I was entering into. I was anxious to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, but I didn’t understand the oath and covenant of the priesthood. I was excited to receive my endowment, but I didn’t understand the associated covenants. I was really excited to get married in the temple. On August 25, 1978, I entered the Salt Lake Temple with my sweetheart and entered into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. I didn’t understand what that covenant entailed. After 40 years of marriage, I have a better understanding. Learning to live a covenant life is the adventure of a lifetime.

Our covenants help us in every aspect of our lives. We are good people. We do good things. We lift others even though, at times, we may need lifting ourselves. We have faith and stand as witnesses of God. We have patience and are kind. Yet, we can still grow in these Christlike characteristics. Faithfully living our covenants lifts us from being good people to being better people, and from better people to the best that we can be, even like our Heavenly Father. I would like to share with you questions I ask myself to keep focused on living my covenants:  

What would a covenant person do in this situation? 

What would a covenant person say in this situation?

If we ask searching questions, sincerely wanting to know, the Holy Ghost will teach us what a covenant person would do or say. The principle of asking searching questions fits any situation, small or very challenging. I asked six students to experiment with asking what a covenant person would do. Watch as they relate their experiences.

We receive at least three gifts when we receive ordinances and enter into covenants:

  1. the gift of power,
  2. the gift of peace, and
  3. the gift of healing.

Number 1: The Gift of Power

Living a covenant life gives us power to make our weaknesses strong, and to withstand the temptations, trials, and tribulations we will experience. I would like to share a personal experience where had I not been committed to living a covenant life, my life and the lives of my family would be quite different. One morning, while attending BYU, I awoke to a dark influence in my bedroom. Three thoughts entered my mind: leave the girl I was dating, leave BYU, and leave the Church. I was stunned. I had never experienced anything like this before. I didn’t have the spiritual strength or knowledge of how to deal with it. I am grateful for the power of the priesthood blessing I received from a worthy priesthood holder that helped comfort me.

I have often thought of what would have happened if I had not been committed to living a covenant life and acted upon those thoughts. As it turned out, my relationship with the girl I was dating ended on its own. That kind of thing happens. But what would have happened if I left BYU and left the Church? The biggest impact would have been on my future family. If I had left BYU and left the Church, I would not have met and married my amazing wife; I would not have had six awesome children; I would not have had a wonderful daughter-in-law and an amazing son-in-law; I would not have had five beautiful granddaughters. Everything that is important to me would not have happened if I had chosen to leave the covenant path.

As we faithfully continue on the covenant path, we will be blessed with the strength to endure the distractions, trials, and tribulations that we will face in our lives. We will be blessed with the greatest gift which is eternal life.

Entering the covenant path by baptism opens the gate to the gift of the Holy Ghost, to the totality of the blessings of the Atonement, and much, much more. Once you have entered into the covenant path, please stay on it. If you have not entered the covenant path through baptism, please accept this invitation and be baptized. Your life and the lives of your posterity will be greatly blessed by the covenants you will enter into. 

Elder Kent F. Richards said in the April 2016 general conference:

Our responsibility is to “receive” that which our Father offers. “For unto him that receiveth it shall be given more abundantly, even power”: power to receive all that He can and will give us—now and eternally; powerto become sons and daughters of God, to know “the powers of heaven,” to speak in His name, and to receive “the power of [His] Spirit.” These powers become available personally to each one of us through the ordinances and the covenants of the temple. [6]

Number 2: The Gift of Peace

Our Savior said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” [7]

In a BYU-Idaho devotional talk, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom said:

During our spiritual development, there is a significant point we can reach when we recognize that our covenants are a blessing, not a burden. This brings great peace, even in difficult times. It also provides protection. . . . I pray continually for the strength to live true to my covenants. . . . Living the life of a covenant keeper is of highest value, as that is the only way for us to fulfill our eternal purpose. [8]

Will you join me in following Elder Hallstrom’s example and continually pray that we will live true to our covenants?

Number 3: The Gift of Healing

Our Savior is the source of all healing. Each Sunday, when we partake of the sacrament, we recommit to take His name upon us, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments. As we prepare daily to partake of the sacrament, we can receive healing for our wounded souls and receive the strength and determination to carry on. On the discussion board, several of you alluded to the power you gain from partaking of the sacrament. I have asked Houston and Veronica Christiansen to experiment with preparing to partake of the sacrament all week, starting immediately after taking the sacrament. Please watch their response.

The Lord wants us to receive all the ordinances we can. Please listen to the invitation from Elder D. Todd Christofferson.

Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth his hand to you, saying, “Here am I.”

I testify that in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is found the priesthood authority to administer the ordinances by which we can enter into binding covenants with our Heavenly Father in the name of His Holy Son. I testify that God will keep His promises to you as you honor your covenants with Him. He will bless you in “good measure, pressed down, . . . shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38). He will strengthen and finish your faith. He will, by His Holy Spirit, fill you with godly power. I pray that you will always have His Spirit to be with you to guide you and deliver you from want, anxiety, and distress. I pray that through your covenants, you may become a powerful instrument for good in the hands of Him who is our Lord and Redeemer. [9]

Though we are invited to receive all the ordinances that we can, there may be some who, through no fault of their own, may not be able to receive all of the ordinances of salvation. President Nelson said:

But what of the many mature members of the Church who are not married? Through no failing of their own, they deal with the trials of life alone. Be we all reminded that, in the Lord’s own way and time, no blessings will be withheld from His faithful Saints. The Lord will judge and reward each individual according to heartfelt desire as well as deed. [10]

What marvelous promises. If we faithfully live the covenant life, we will receive all that our Heavenly Father has.

Brothers and sisters, the choice is ours. We can choose to stay on the covenant path and receive all the ordinances that we can. We can move toward Christ and receive His light and life. Or we can move away from Him. We can choose to always remember Christ. Speaking at a BYU fireside, then Elder Henry B. Eyring said, “Whether or not you choose to keep your covenant to always remember Him, He always remembers you.” [11]

With all the love in my heart—brothers and sisters, in your relationship with Jesus Christ, what direction are you going? If you find that you are turning away from Him, even a little, please act on Christ’s invitation: “will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?” [12] As we live true to our covenants, we will receive His power, His peace, and His healing in our lives. I am grateful for a Savior who loves us and will always remember us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


[1] Dan Christensen, “Innovation and Inspiration,” BYU-Idaho devotional, Oct. 9, 2018.

[2] “Ordinances,” True to the Faith, 2004, 109-110.

[3] “Covenant,” True to the Faith, 2004, 44.

[4] Russell M. Nelson, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2017.

[5] Doctrine and Covenants 82:10.

[6] Kent F. Richards, “The Power of Godliness,” Ensign, May 2016; emphasis added.

[7] John 14:27.

[8] Donald L. Hallstrom, “A Covenant Life,” BYU-Idaho devotional, May 10, 2011; emphasis added.

[9] D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign, May 2009.

[10] Russell M Nelson, “Celestial Marriage,” Ensign, Nov. 2008.

[11] Henry B. Eyring, “Always,” BYU devotional, Jan. 3, 1999.

[12] 3 Nephi 9:13.

 

 

Ordinances and Covenants: Gifts of Power, Peace, and Healing

Audio of Randy Parkinson's BYU-Idaho devotional speech, Fall 2018


BYU-Idaho Radio Interview

Audio of Randy Parkinson's BYU-Idaho Radio interview about his devotional speech, Fall 2018.