I Can’t Believe That Heavenly Father Loves Me!

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A number of years ago Bonnie D. Parkin said:

“Our Heavenly Father loved us before we came to this earth. I know that He loves us…as does His Son, Jesus Christ.That love will never change—it is constant. You can rely on it. We can trust it…

I know of a young mother with five little children who called an older sister, her valued mentor, and asked, “Can we go on a hike?” Her friend knew that meant she needed to talk. Halfway through an eight-mile loop, the young mother finally said, “I just can’t believe that Heavenly Father loves me; I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life. I can’t feel that I’m worthy of His love; how can He possibly love me?”…The older sister quickly responded, “Of course He loves you. You’re His daughter.”

Do we frequently reject the Lord’s love that He pours out upon us in much more abundance than we are willing to receive? Do we think we have to be perfect in order to deserve His love?…We must acknowledge that perfection is a process. This is a gospel of eternal progress, and we must remember to appreciate the journey. Eternal means “without beginning or end,” so the encircling of His love is there for us every day. Remember, it’s constant—even when we don’t recognize it.” (GC, October 2006)

One of the great tools of Satan is discouragement and making us feel as if we are unworthy of Heavenly Father’s love. Sometimes we feel, or are made to feel, that we must be perfect in order to gain His love. This is a false doctrine that has led to much unhappiness.  The sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ was to atone for our mistakes and sins,  provided we come unto him. If we have faith in His atonement we should understand that sin is a part of the process in becoming like Him.

Understanding that the Lord loves us is fundamental to finding happiness in this life and the next.  My faith and testimony is that He does love us despite our weaknesses and faults. Let us exercise our faith in the atonement and accept in our hearts that we are loved and watched over by a loving God.

 

Till You Find Your Dream!

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In March of 1965 a movie was released that later became the favorite theatrical release of my future wife. Little did I know that as my Mom, brothers and sisters and I drove to the outskirts of Washington D.C. to meet my Dad, that I would be enjoying the sights and sounds of “The Sound of Music” for the first of many times.

Last week as my wife and I lay in bed watching something of little importance I got up and surprised her by putting this great musical movie in our DVD. I put it on for her, as I know it is her favorite. As we watched it together I couldn’t help but be inspired by the overall message. As a young boy of eight I had enjoyed it as we watched it together as a family. Last week,  as the movie played, more profound messages came to my mind. Among the messages I got out of the movie was one captured by the Reverend Mother in a song she sang to Maria, who was in the midst of great personal turmoil:

Climb every mountain, search high and low

Follow every byway, every path you know.

Climb every mountain, ford every stream,

Follow every rainbow, ’til you find your dream!

 

A dream that will need

all the love you can give,

Every day of your life

for as long as you live.

 

Climb every mountain, ford every stream,

Follow every rainbow, ’til you find your dream!

(From the Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein)

We all have dreams! Sometimes we will need to climb mountains and ford streams in order to make them come true. There are many righteous dreams to have for this life and many for the life to come. Sometimes following every rainbow till we find that dream, requires all the love we can give for as long as we live.  If we give all the love we have to the Savior,  He can make our most important dreams come true.  I expect your dream, like mine, is to be together with my loved ones for the eternities! May the Lord bless us all to its fulfillment is my hope!

 

A Knowledge Of Truth Is Of Little Value Unless…

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A few years ago, I had some blood tests run. My doctor called me to tell me that everything was fine, except my cholesterol was a little high. He said we would need to keep an eye on it. I kept an “eye” on it but did nothing more. Six months later I returned for additional testing and my cholesterol level was higher. He put me on some daily medication. Most of the time I take it, but sometimes I get lazy and forget. My wife (who is a registered nurse) tells me I’m being foolish and that someday soon, if I don’t listen to the doctor, she will be changing my Depends diapers! She tells me I need to follow my physician’s instructions of watching what I eat and making sure I take the medication as prescribed. “I’m still young,” I think. Then I laugh and brush it off. But I won’t be laughing when the consequences of my inaction actually arrives in my life.

My lack of common sense on this matter reminds me of some remarks given by Richard G. Scott. A few years ago he spoke about making decisions based on truth. In his talk he explained that there are two ways to find truth. He taught that the first way is the scientific method and then described its limitations. He then taught that revelation is the second and trustworthier. However, he made this point

“A knowledge of truth is of little value unless we apply it in making correct decisions. Consider for a moment a man, heavily overweight, approaching a bakery display. In his mind are these thoughts: The doctor told you not to eat any more of that. It’s not good for you. It just gives momentary gratification of appetite. You’ll feel uncomfortable the rest of the day after it. You’ve decided not to have any more. But then he hears himself say, “I’ll have two of those almond twists and a couple of those chocolate doughnuts. One more time won’t hurt. I’ll do it just once more, and this will be the last time.” (“Truth: The Foundation of Correct Decisions”)

All of us are spiritually “sick” to some degree. The Savior said, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(Mark 2:17) All of us are in need of healing!

The Lord has called on others to be spiritual “healers.” We recognize them as modern apostles and prophets. May we not only listen to their counsel, but also follow it. Ignoring the advice of the doctors of our physical bodies can lead to unwanted heath issues, but of much greater consequence is ignoring the counsel of our spiritual physicians. Our eternal heath and happiness “depends” on it!

 

Are We Caught Shoeless?

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Leo  was a teammate on my high school baseball team. He was not a particularly good baseball player like the rest of the team. He didn’t hit well, so the whole year he never got up to bat. He didn’t field that well so he never played in the field. In fact he sat on the bench game after game watching and I’m sure wishing he was playing. Why then did our baseball coach have him on the team when he couldn’t hit or field? He had lightening speed and was held in reserve only to be used as a “pinch” runner.

We were about half way through the season when our coach saw fit to put him in the game.  We were winning late in a game when the coach yelled down from his third base box for Leo to pinch run for our slow running catcher. As I glanced down the bench I could see Leo sitting with his feet up against the fence, cleats off, stockings gleaming. He seemed to be in a dream world so I yelled down to him, “Leo, Coach wants you to pinch run!” He was startled and scrambled about looking for his cleats. It was clear that he didn’t know where they were. The coach was now yelling louder and louder for him to go to first base and pinch run. Leo continued his frantic but unsuccessful search for his allusive cleats. By now our coach was out of his box walking towards us and yelling at the panic-stricken Leo. As he neared he saw that Leo was in stockings and yelled at him “Leo, sit down!” His moment had come and his moment had just gone. Our coach walked back to the third base box with a disgusted look on his face. Leo sat red-faced on the bench never to be asked to enter a game for the rest of the season.  It was clear that when Leo’s time arrived to showcase his talent, he had been caught “without his shoes on.”

And so Leo never got to shine or show his talent because he was caught unprepared. Over the years I have seen many wonderful opportunities for service presented to church members who were in reserve and waiting on the bench for their time. Most often the member was ready,  but others were caught sleeping on the bench without their shoes on,  and the opportunity for service, which brings with it great blessings, passed them by, never to return.

Christ said, regarding his coming:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36)

May we live our lives such that,  when the call comes from our coach above, we are ready and available to serve and showcase the talents that the Lord has given to each of us.  May we be found with our “shoes on” at the day of His coming!

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