Thursday, January 30, 2014

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

God is our loving Heavenly Father, He loves us and wants to communicate with us. He wants the very best for us in this life, and is always there to answer our prayers.

In recent months, I have really come to know exactly who God is, and what my true relationship with Him should be like. Through diligent seeking, faith in trials, and patience in afflictions; God will manifest His love and help us to recognize our true potential as divine beings in the making. I am a Child of God, and He has sent me here. Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear. Our potential as children of God, is to one day be like Him.

Seek through Prayer, Study & Faith

In the Bible dictionary of the Standard LDS works, it gives a brief explanation of what prayer can do for us, as we strive to find our Father in Heaven. 
"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship." -(BD: Prayer)
As we come to develop our knowledge and understanding of who God is, we will be able to more fully understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the purpose of the Plan of Salvation. We can begin to see the patterns between Heavenly and Earthly parents.

I was also born of goodly parents, they taught me what was right, and what was wrong. They taught me the Gospel and let me accept or reject it. I grew up learning that I had a loving Heavenly Father who wanted me to choose the right. Just like my Heavenly Father, Mum and Dad recognized that I wouldn't always make the right choices, but they still loved me unconditionally.

My Father: A Christlike Example

Over the past few months, I have been able to contemplate how my earthly Father has exemplified this pattern established by our Heavenly Father. I asked Him how He came to know for Himself that God is our loving Father in Heaven. He told me of His conversion story and how He knew that following our Heavenly Father brings more peace and happiness than any other thing in this earth can.

When Jason and Peter were small, your mother wasn't a member, and I hadn't set foot inside an LDS chapel for about 13 years I felt the need for the two boys the go to church (LDS naturally). I came up with what I thought at the time was the perfect solution: send them to church with Grandma and Grand Da. I guess that at around the same time I began to grow unhappy with my life and wondered where it was going and how I could change it: I felt there was something missing. I don't recall the exact timing but at some time, probably close to my 28th birthday, I collected my old seminary scriptures from Mum's, took them home and began reading the Book of Mormon. You must understand that at this time of our lives we were living far from a gospel centered life, at least on the outside.
 A weird thought began to creep into my mind: I began to realize that it was my responsibility to take my sons to church and that it was my responsibility to see that they had sufficiently received gospel teaching that they could "accept or reject the gospel for themselves".
This part of the story made me realize how much my Father loves me and my siblings. And then I try to imagine how much our Father in Heaven loves us and wants the best for us. As we strive to see that love, He will pour it out more abundantly. My Father continues in His letter:
Elder this experience cemented in my mind the fact that our kind, loving and tender Heavenly Father knows us individually and has a plan for us individually. This plan, I think, usually involves others coming to our aid. He wants us to return to Him: with as many of our family as we can muster. 
Sometimes I feel like father Lehi when he stood by the Tree of Life beckoning unto his family. Sariah and Sam and Nephi came and partook, but not all. Some of his seed chose an alternative path. I fear lest not all my seed shall be saved; I suspect they take for granted that which they have and are willing to trade it for that which is of far less value. I am not sure if they realise how much this hurts their earthly parents, and their heavenly parents. God lives and loves us! He, wants us to succeed and that includes returning to Him and becoming like Him.
I know that my Father has a testimony of Jesus Christ because He shows His Faith by the way He lives. I too know that God lives and loves us. He is our loving Heavenly Father and He wants us to be happy in this life, and be as a family for eternity. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Families can be together forever. I testify that God always answers prayers all because He loves us. And if you don't believe me, give it a go!

-Elder Ben Cullen

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