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'Upon a rock'

"Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." — Matthew 7:24-27

In this great teaching from the Sermon on the Mount the Savior warned what would happen if our homes, or our very lives, are not built upon the sure foundation of His gospel, His teachings and His example.

Certain parameters help assure that a house is constructed on a site that will be conducive to laying a good foundation, on ground that will not flood during rainy seasons or where its foundation will not be undercut.

Laying a home's foundation on a rock-solid base requires much care. A home is made up of people — individuals and family members — whose needs range from simple to complex and whose lives are filled, at times, with joy and sorrow, peace and turmoil. It would be a foolish person, indeed, who would attempt to establish his or her home, or life, on anything other than the "Rock of our salvation," Jesus Christ.

That foundation is laid bit by bit, over a lifetime. From the time individuals first learn of the Savior and His gospel and start employing His teachings, they begin building their lives — and eventually the lives of their families — on a sure foundation. They learn, then they do: they pray, study, seek forgiveness, repent, work, serve, worship, give thanks, obey, watch. In essence, they do all that the Savior has taught them to do.

Then they teach their children. By watching and listening to parents who strive to live righteously, children learn how to build their own houses — their own lives — "upon a rock."

A man in the construction business learned in his youth from his father, a builder, how to use a hammer, measure and cut boards, lay a plumb line, and every other detail of the trade. By the time he reached adulthood, he knew how to build a house from the ground up.

Is it really any different with the spiritual aspects of life? Don't children learn from their mothers and fathers those things that give meaning to and lead to eternal life, that nurture testimonies, that help them grow closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and know the influence of the Holy Ghost?

Where will children be if the rains wash away their houses built upon sand, the shifting values — or the lack of values — of the world? Homes built on sure foundations provide children fortifications against the world's enticing lures. From every side come pressures to follow worldly paths that lead away from the Savior and His teachings. From lyrics of popular songs, movies and television programs, magazines, ads and commercials, the Internet and peer pressure, from these and many other sources come the destroying rains. And it's pouring!

In addition to the many Church programs that help strengthen the individual and the family, the Lord has provided the tool of family home evening to help parents build their homes upon "the rock." Teaching and learning don't begin and end in that once-a-week family gathering, however. It is an ongoing process.

Nephi counseled his sons to 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" (Helaman 5:12).

May we all find our homes, our lives, have been built upon such a foundation.