Monday, October 22, 2018

We are Children of a Heavenly Father who Loves us

We all know well the primary song lyric: "I am a child of God, and he has sent me here"

The relationship between God the Father, and myself is one that I have often pondered .  Are we literally his offspring? Are we each individually important to him? Does he know me personally and is he invested in my successes and failures?

Its not hard to realize the awesomeness of God through observing nature. The amount of detail and beauty in everything around us.  The complexity of the human body and all of its perfectly balanced systems and organs each playing a role to give us life.  The uniqueness of each kind of animal and the variety within them. Evidence of God is everywhere as the Divine creator.

Science explains away the creation as a simple act of randomness.  An explosion which created this world with all of its complexities in a dice roll, all totally random and by chance. Then impossible odds on top of impossible odds created life... one in a billion dice rolls and eventually we came evolving from single cell organisms.  The probabilities are far too great.

If you filled a jar with cut out letters, and few pictures, then dumped it all onto a blank book... what are the chances that all of the letters and pictures would perfectly fall into place and become a copy of "Hop on Pop" by Dr suess? Not very likely... I would conclude that it is impossible... yet the chances of this happening are greater than the complexities and probabilities the scientific scholars and intellectuals presents to us as evidence for creation.  It takes just as much, if not more faith to believe these theories as it does to believe in God and the creation.  Their faith is just placed in scientists taking their word for it because they hold a degree, have written a few books, perhaps made a few small discoveries, and are widely accepted by the secular world.

Most of them I believe are just intertwined in crowd thinking or "mob psychology" and popular belief.  Christians today are made to look like naive uneducated bottom of the totem pole human beings. A friend of mine once said to me, "The great war in heaven never ended, it just changed places" I tend to agree.

in the scientific world, Giant conclusions are drawn from small discoveries and a handful of evidence.  A lot of science is the philosophies of men mingled with science.

For me its not hard to believe in the existence of God.

now lets make this more personal...

How can I know and love God?
How does God show me that he knows and loves me?

and Are these things important? Jesus taught

"...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Joseph Smith taught that in order to have Faith in something you needed to have a belief and understanding of their characteristics.

We can learn more about God through reading the scriptures and discovering those characteristics.  Through learning his Characteristics we start to better understand Him, and get to know him by being able to recognize him and realize his presence.  Here are some of the things the scriptures teach us on the Characteristics and Attributes of God.

He is the Creator.  He is our Father.  He is merciful gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness.  He does not change, neither is there any variables with him.  He is the same forever.  He cannot Lie.  He is no respecter of persons.  (Every person of every race nation position or class has an equal privilege) He that fears God (fears disappointing him or not having his approval) and works righteousness is accepted of him.  God IS Love.

Some of his attributes are Knowledge, Faith, Justice, Judgment (he is Justice, Just), Mercy, and Truth.
(4 mins)

I feel like a lot of us have faith in a God that has a handful of these qualities but sometimes tend to falter in faith on the others.  For example, I can believe that God knows all and does good, but maybe I dont think he is patient with me because I often struggle with sin.  Or maybe I believe he is Just like a judge in court but that he is a little cold and disconnected.  Maybe I believe he is most of these things but I dont believe he is the creator of the world...

where doubt is faith has no power

We must work on developing a belief and having faith in ALL of his characteristics.

In the lectures on faith, it states the question:

What object had the God of heaven in revealing his attributes to men?
and answers it:
That through an acquaintance with his attributes they might be enabled to exercise faith in him so as to gain eternal life.
Q. Could men exercise faith in God without an acquaintance with his attributes so as to be enabled to lay hold of eternal life?
They could not

I remember as a teenager I used to get a pimple here and there.  I used to believe that it was God who was punishing me for falling short and sinning.  I used to beat myself up and tell myself God was upset with me, or disappointed in me.  I believed in God, but didnt understand his characteristics.  Had I had a better understanding I would have realized that God is Love and was not punishing me for falling short, but knew my struggles and knew I would sometimes fall short.

In a talk by Joy Jones from the October 2017 conference she shared the following:
Let me point out the need to differentiate between two critical words: worth and worthiness. They are not the same. Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth. “God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever.”3
On the other hand, worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less! We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact.
learning the characteristics of God and applying your faith in him accordingly is something I am still learning and understanding, and part of why reading the scriptures regularly is so important.  Its a process.

It seams to be human nature to blame God for all of the bad things that go on in our lives.  Its not really fair though... especially when we neglect to give him credit for all of the amazing and good things that we have and enjoy every day.  For example, you dont really appreciate how much of a blessing it is to be healthy until you are sick.  When we get sick, should we blame God? Or should we use the occasion to realize how blessed we are most of the time with a healthy body and thank Him.

In Moroni chapter 7 verse 12 it reads "Wherefore, all things which are agood cometh of God"

Do we realize the truth and magnitude of this statement?

If God is Love- and God Gives all good...  Might I assume that every time you give a heartfelt hug and feel that love an joy, that God is the author of those feelings.  And as such, he is part of that hug, too?

Some of the most emotional feelings of joy I have ever felt have been at the births of my 6 children.  That Joy was God.  God was present at those moments.  He was there making me feel good when I was proud of something I accomplished, he was there at a concert when my favorite band played my favorite song and I was filled with joy.  He is always there. Recognizing these feelings are God manifesting in your life is what it means to know God.  The more you are able to recognize and appreciate and thank him for his influence the better your relationship with him becomes.

It is important to pray often and to thank him for his influence in your life.  When you pray
"Talk like you are addressing your most intimate friend and have nothing to hide. Tell Him about your regrets, hopes, frustrations, concerns, fears, and confusion. Before long you will discover that whatever you care about God also cares about. He can give perspective that changes everything. Prayer should not recognize the distance between us and God, but should become the way we close that distance."

God is the still small voice... but to me being a visual and a literal learner, I dont think voice is the right word.  I think still small Influence is a better word.  Ive never heard an audible voice, but am constantly bombarded with thoughts, ideas, and influences, both good and bad. God Persuades men to do good while the devil persuades men to do the opposite.  The adversary is the one mixing up words like worth and worthiness in our minds and telling us we arent lovable or important.  If thoughts are coming to your mind that are not lifting you up but pushing you down, you can rest assured that that is not coming from God, and dismiss them.  Easier said than done... but it is a true principle.  We will be better off the quicker we learn and apply it.

Its hard to distinguish my own ideas between Gods influence... sometimes we debate with the voices, or justify a way to do a portion of both ideas.  This is something we must work on in our lifetimes.  We show God that we love him by following HIS voice, or influence.  This is what it means to keep his commandments, in addition to following the commandments in the scriptures.  If God tells you to help up a man who fell down with the thought of "I should help this person" is this not a commandment?  The consequences are less severe if we ignore them or justify with "but he looks drunk" or "I dont want to get dirty" and brush it off.  Sometimes the only consequence is lack of progression.. but God will never give up on us and will continue to give us opportunities to serve him and follow him.

I once read a story, I dont remember what it was or what the source was, but there was a man who was looking for a great treasure.

He searched the tops of the mountains, crossed oceans, and valleys, swam to the depths of the seas, but returned empty handed.  He vented to a wise man of his journies and returning empty handed, and the wise man said you have done all of this searching, but have failed to search within. It is there where the greatest treasure is found.

I feel like this applies to our relationship with God.  God is so good to us, and loves us more than we understand.  We have been given so much, more than we can comprehend.  Whatever questions we have that damper our relationship with him, I challenge you to study and ponder and resolve them.

We are Children of a Heavenly Father who Loves us.

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