April 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering – Jacob 7 – Recognizing Eternal Truths

April 2024 Come Follow Me MinisteringThe April 2024 Come, Follow Me Ministering Printable ties together Elder John C. Pingree Jr.’s 2023 October General Conference talk “Eternal Truths” with “I can stand strong when others challenge my faith in Jesus Christ” in the April “Come, Follow Me” lesson from Jacob 7.

Our need to recognize truth has never been more important! Truth is critical for us to establish and strengthen our relationship with God, find peace and joy, and reach our divine potential. Elder Pingree

Download April 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable (4×6)

You can print these printables as 4×6 photo prints. My local drugstore prints them for just pennies. They are also a higher resolution if you want to enlarge them.

April 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering Message

Jacob 7 – Recognizing Eternal Truths

From June 2019 to January 2020, bushfires burned unchecked through Australia. The fires were unprecedented in scale and intensity, burning through 46 million acres and killing or displacing an estimated 3 billion animals. It is considered one of the worst wildfire disasters in recent history.

The fires were especially tragic because of the placement of Australia. It is an island that was cut off from the rest of the world for thousands of years. Because of this, about 45% of its birds and 80% of its animals aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Wildlife loss in Australia threatens many unique species with extinction.

Feral Cats

Fires were directly responsible for many of the deaths, but there was also another surprising culprit – feral cats. People first introduced cats to Australia around the 17th century. Since then the population has skyrocketed and wild cats inhabit most of Australia. Cats aren’t native to Australia, so the native animals haven’t had a chance to adapt, making them easy prey. Feral cats in Australia are credited with contributing to the extinction of 20 mammal species.

The cats are clever hunters who use the wildfires to their advantage. After the fire burns away any cover, the remaining injured and weakened animals are easy to hunt. Scientists believe that the cats use a combination of sight and smell to figure out where the bushfires have been. One cat even traveled 19 miles to a burn scar!

Cats are also surplus killers, which means they will kill just to kill. They often don’t even eat their prey. They are also meticulous. Rather than hunting and leaving, they will stay in an area until all the prey is gone.

Predatory Tactics

These feral cats remind me a lot of the adversary and his tactics. Like the cats, Satan looks for the burn spots in our lives and our communities. The spots where we are weakened, confused, traumatized, and vulnerable. He likes to use tactics we aren’t ready for or that we haven’t adapted to. And like the cats, he is a surplus killer. He does not care about his prey and will kill just for sport. The Lord is our shepherd who gathers us to safety. But Satan wants to separate us and abandon us. He seeks to destroy us and like the cats, he is a smart and meticulous predator.

Burn Scars in the Book of Jacob

In the Book of Jacob, we see a perfect example of a burn scar. During this time, Nephi passed away and under the new king, people were struggling with greed, materialism, pride, and chastity.

When Jacob addresses the people, he chastises the rich for thinking they are better than others. In addition, the people seek for riches rather than the Kingdom of God. They are selfish and don’t use their riches “to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.”

Furthermore, the men were committing whoredoms and seeking for many wives and concubines. And they were twisting scripture to justify their actions. It was so bad that Jacob refers to it as leading away the daughters of their people captive. Jacob says, “Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you” (Jacob 2:35).

Impacts of Spiritual Burn Scars

In this society, you see a burn scar that impacts both the sinners and the victims. The poor were suffering from a lack of food, clothing, and respect. Society treats them as if they are less than those who have money. You also see the women and children suffering because of the way they are treated by their fathers and husbands. Like the animals in the Australian bushfires, they are living with trauma and its effects. That is the hard part about sin – our sins and others. It can leave us pretty beat up and confused.

As for the sinners, they are living without the cover of their covenants. One of the reasons the feral cats like to hunt in the burn areas is that there is no place for prey to hide. The fire burns away all the trees, grass, and bushes. Much like the foliage protects the animals from the hunter, keeping the commandments and making covenants protects us from the adversary.

Jacob and Sherem

It is in Jacob 7 that we finally see the feral cat arrive at the burn scar. Sherem preaches to the people that there is no Christ. Sherem’s hunting tactics made him very successful and he succeeded in leading “away many hearts.” He understood how to use language and flattery to his advantage. We see those same tactics today with our “me-first society.”

In this chapter, Sherem is intent on meeting with Jacob. If he can shake Jacob’s testimony, it will shake the testimonies of others. This would also undermine their community, causing even more burn scars. When Sherem approaches Jacob, he disingenuously calls him brother. And Sherem accuses Jacob of twisting the scriptures. It is ironic because it is Sherem who is twisting the scriptures and he is not treating Jacob as a brother at all.

But Sherem’s tactics have no impact on Jacob. Jacob might be living in a burn spot, but he is not a victim of the fire. Jacob’s testimony stands firm. He trusts in his past spiritual experiences and manifestations. Jacob understands the scriptures because he has spent time studying them. He understands doctrine and how the atonement is necessary. He also lives worthy so that through the spirit he is able to confound Sherem “in all his words” (Jacob 7:8).

When Sherem is backed into a corner, he decides to demand a sign that these things are true. And Sherem gets his sign, he is struck down. After several days, Sherem knows he is going to die and asks to speak to the people. He tells them that the devil deceived him, and he has lied before God. He testifies of Christ before dying. As a result, many people saw the truth, turned back to God, and started to faithfully study the scriptures. Truth can be transformative.

Importance of Eternal Truths

In the October 2023 General Conference Elder John C. Pingree Jr. testifies of the importance of learning and recognizing eternal truths. Truth is eternal. It protects us, frees us, sanctifies us, and leads us to eternal life.

Elder Pingree teaches:

“God expects us to seek, recognize, and act on truth. Our ability to receive and apply truth is dependent on the strength of our relationship with the Father and the Son, our responsiveness to the influence of the Holy Ghost, and our alignment with latter-day prophets. We need to remember that Satan works to keep us from truth. He knows that without truth, we cannot gain eternal life. He weaves strands of truth with worldly philosophies to confuse us and distract us from what is communicated by God.”

Fortifying Our Testimonies

Jacob 7 is a perfect chance for us to examine our own burn spots. Who are the feral cats in our lives? Do we have areas in our lives that are weakened, injured, traumatized, or otherwise vulnerable to hunting? How do we put out fires to prevent more damage and how do we heal the damaged areas? Are there areas in our lives that need extra protection? What areas have we left bare? Are there parts of our testimonies that need fortifying? Are we working with the Lord to turn our weaknesses into strengths? Do we actively use the scriptures in our lives?

Elder Pingree asks:

“So, what is our understanding of truth in today’s world? We are constantly bombarded with strong opinions, biased reporting, and incomplete data. At the same time, the volume and sources of this information are proliferating. Our need to recognize truth has never been more important! Truth is critical for us to establish and strengthen our relationship with God, find peace and joy, and reach our divine potential.”

Ministering Handout

I was going to put a cat on my printables, but that seemed too creepy. So I decided to use the paradise parrot instead. The paradise parrot (Psephotus pulcherrimus) is one of the Australian birds that went extinct due to habitat destruction and the introduction of cats by humans. They are a vivid reminder of the consequences of predators in our own lives. I added these cute feather pens to go with them.

Did you like this April 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society, Sunday School, or Family Home Evening. I hope that these ministering printables will be a simple way to reach out to those we minister to.

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