September 2014

Its beginning to look like winter....WHAT?  in September?

Personal Relationship with God

Dear Missionary, 
I found this article on line when I was searching topics to help my children and thought you might be able to use it in your missionary work, in your own personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, or in loving those that you serve.  Have a wonderful week! 

One of the interesting implications of our belief in a God who is the
literal Heavenly Father of our spirits is that we can actually think of
him as a parent and try to emulate what we know of how he parents us.
Think for a moment about some of the things we know, and ponder how you might follow the divine parenting example:

1. Complete, unconditional love.
We know that God has a deep and unconditional love for each of us and
that his love is individual rather than collective. And he tells us of
his love in countless ways.

It is not enough to assume that our children know we love them. To do
so makes us a little like Alf from the old country whose wife, Anna,
used to plead, "You never tell me you love me!" Alf would reply, "Anna, I
told you that on the day we were married. If anything ever changes,
you'll be the first to know!"

2. God sees (and treats) each child as a unique and eternal individual.
Have you heard the parenting advice, "Be fair, treat all of your kids the same?"
That's not Heavenly Father's method. He has lovingly put us each into
a body, a situation and a series of circumstances tailored to what each
of us needs. He knows each of us perfectly and loves the uniqueness
that makes us each who we are.

We need to try to give each child the kind of love he or she needs as
a unique, one-of-a-kind spirit on whom only you and your spouse are the

3. God gives clear, simple laws with well-announced consequences, rewards and punishments.
Our Heavenly Father has never been subtle or ambiguous about his
rules. He wrote them in stone. He gave them to prophets. He wrote them
in scripture, and he often states the reward or the punishment right
with the law.

It is by having immutable laws that God gives us the boundaries in
which he expects us to operate. He gives us agency, but he also makes
clear his laws, along with the rewards for compliance and the penalties
for deviance.

We can try to do the same with our children.

4. God allows his children the chance to repent.
Heavenly Father wants none of us to fail. His laws are not
negotiable, and he knows we will fall short, so there is a provision for
repentance. And with the repentance comes complete forgiveness.
Our discipline should not be "instant punishment." We should give our kids the chance to apologize and make amends.

5. God taught us and trained us and held us close throughout the premortal life; then he gave us choices and let us go.

God, in his marvelous model for parenting, held us close, kept us
with him in his home and taught us all he could for eons. And then,
when further progress required the responsibility, choice-making,
independence and families of our own that could not happen in his
presence, he gave us our agency and let us go.

Once our children leave for college or for missions or for their own life, we should back off and let them have their agency.

6. God trusts his children.
God trusts us mightily! And he entrusts us.
He trusts us enough to send us into this dangerous mortality. He
entrusts us with determining our own salvation and even with the
stewardship of others of his spirit children.
Generally, our children are ready for more
choices and challenges than we think they are. But they need to start
getting this independence in thoughtful and organized ways, not by just
giving them free rein to do whatever they want.

7. God is completely trustworthy.
He always does exactly what he says he will
do, and this allows us to trust him and his word absolutely. And he
makes covenants and pacts with us.
Likewise, we can strive to be totally
trustworthy with our children. We can absolutely pledge ourselves to do
what we say we will do and not to say we will do anything that we may
not be able to do. And we can make pacts with them about the
commandments we will keep.

8. God gives us stewardships.
Heavenly Father, who owns all in his
universe, gives us stewardships. First of our agency, then of so much
more, and he does it all within his Divine Economy, which rewards us for
what we do and assures us that we can someday own that which we learn
to steward.

We can set up our own "family economies"
where everyone has certain responsibilities (for the common areas of the
house, for the dishes, etc.) and where kids keep track of their
stewardships and have a "payday" at the end of the week where how much
they receive is based on how many of their responsibilities they
remembered and got done.

9. God has a plan of happiness for his children.
One of the most marvelous and awesome things
that we know about God is that he has a magnificent and comprehensive
plan for the ultimate happiness of his children. We sometimes call it
the plan of salvation.

We should have plans and goals for our own
families. We can brainstorm as couples (or if you are a single parent,
with one of your parents) about what your goals are for your children
and how you think you can better facilitate their long-term happiness.
We can create family mission statements and slogans and mottos that
guide us.

10. God gives us written advice and assurance.
Heavenly Father knows and values the written
word, as do his prophets. Lehi sent his boys back, at the peril of
their lives, to get written records. The full word of our Heavenly
Father is written in his scriptures. Language and writing lend clarity
and permanence to the laws and wisdom of God.
We can also work on better use of the
written word by doing special Mother's Day or Father's Day notes to our
children, by keeping a journal to record our testimonies for our kids
and their posterity, and perhaps with a birthday advice letter each

12 Purposes of Life

Dear Missionaries,
One of my favorite books is 12 Purposes of Life by Jay A Parry.  The first two chapters are "To Gain mastery in a temporal world" and "To be tested".  I've summarized it a little for you.

Before we came to earth we lived in heaven as spiritual sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.  We came to earth to become like our Heavenly Parents. To obtain a body which would be a tabernacle, a temple for our spirits.  On earth we would gain experiences for our good, to further our understanding and knowledge. 
On earth our brother Lucifer has set out to spoil our Fathers plan.  He knows how important our bodies are and how important it is we learn to communicate spirit to spirit with our Heavenly Father.  If only Lucifer could get us to harm our tabernacles, to harm our bodies or to distract our thinking pattern, so that we forget about God.
To help us remember Him, God has given us commandments to keep.  He has promised us that if we keep these commandments we will be able to return to Him one day. 

Heavenly Father knew we were not perfect and he knew we would make mistakes or give into the temptations of our brother Lucifer. God gave His children another gift.  Through our Savior Jesus Christ we have the Atonement.  We are able to repent of our sins and be forgiven.  Christ showed us by example how to live and then took all of our sins upon him and was crucified for us.  We must use that gift in our daily lives.
The spirit of Christ is given to all men to lead and guide them.  To be our conscience.  To help us decide right from wrong.  Another gift was given to the children of men.  The gift of the Holy Ghost.    When we are baptized and take upon us the name of Christ and become a member of Christs church all our sins are washed away.  A second baptism often referred to a baptism by fire is the gift of the Holy Ghost.  It is a gift that would enable our spirits to further communicate with our Heavenly Father.  A tool to gain more light and knowledge to help our spirits grow and learn to be compatible with our body of flesh.
Because our brother Lucifer knows us personally he and his followers use our personal weaknesses against us.  He whispers lies and tries to get us to harm our bodies and to harm our mind, our thinking process.  He tries to get us to harm others bodies and minds.
Some of Satan's lies are
There is no God
There is no devil 
This temptation is no sin 
Even though this temptation is a sin it’s not that bad 
You can ponder this temptation – you’re strong enough to resist
It will be easy enough to repent later 
If you do wrong God will punish you lightly and then forgive 
A loving God would not keep you out of heaven 
You are a failure  You are weak.
You’ve gone too far to go back
Satan wants to distract us from being close to God.  He will attack us by telling us lies.
He will often try to get us to harm our bodies with bad habits or distract our thoughts with worldly ways. We can become distracted by our busy lifestyle.  Television, Telephones, Music, Reading material,Our hobbies, Work and even vacations.

Emotions like anger, resentment and being unforgiving can block the the spiritual wave lengths.
Our bodies are tabernacles given to us to house our spirits. These mortal frames are constructed to be nothing less than temples.  If our bodies become unclean or defiled through sin, we must repent if we hope to receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
We have been given commandments as guidelines on how we should behave and act.  It is to our own well being to heed to the commandments and be obedient.  When we are righteous we have his promise and the blessing of revelation and inspiration.  When we are disobedient we do not have that promise.
When we rebel or sin we lose the ability to hear and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. 
The holy ghost can be our constant companion.  It means ever faithful steady and true. It is ever present
Become mindful of the tactics that are keeping you from thinking and becoming more like God.  Use the power of Prayer to receive guidance and to become an instrument in Heavenly Fathers handsPrayer is one of the most powerful gifts of God.  Answers to prayer are among the most promised blessings from heaven.  The answer might be yes or no or not yet.  He may tell us to choose for ourselves.  He may instruct us to inquire about something else first. Or he may give us a blessing we need more than what we asked for.  The answer may not come immediately or in the form we expect but the answer always comes.  Whatever the answer we can feel the presence of the spirit as we pray.  One of the greatest blessings of prayer is Spiritual Presence.
Revelation and Inspiration comes straight from the source.  Our Father in Heaven.  It can be channeled in different ways.  The Holy Ghost whispers and prompts to us.  At times it may come as peace of mind or a quiet confirmation. At other times it might come as a sharp warning.  I have heard it to be described as such a wonderful feeling of excitement, happiness and ready to burst and at other times a feeling that is humbling and gentle and makes you want to cry from gratitude.
When we are obedient we open up the channels to receive heavenly guidance, revelation and inspiration. This can be channeled directly to us from the Holy Ghost,or through prophets, Leaders,  parents, a neighbor, a friend, or even a stranger.  It is not enough to be good and do good.  We must think of our God and our Savior at all times in all things and in all places
President Monson wrote:
Thinking of the Savior fills us with gratitude.
It more powerfully increases the ability of the Holy Ghost to direct our lives.
It changes our behavior.
It opens our eyes to the needs of others.
It helps us to resist temptation and to repent.
Each of us has the ability to train and discipline our minds to more frequently remember Him.

In the Sacrament Prayers we read:
 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ,
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ,
to bless and sanctify this bread
to bless and sanctify this wine
to the souls of all those who partake of it,
to the souls of all those who drink of it,
that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son,
that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them;
and witness unto thee,
that they may witness unto thee,
O God, the Eternal Father,
O God, the Eternal Father,
that they are willing to take upon them
the name of thy son,

and always remember him
that they do always remember him,
and keep his commandments which he has given them,
that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.
that they may have his Spirit to be with them.

When we keep our sacramental covenants we are promised that we will always have his spirit to be with us.
We repent of our sins and we partake of the Sacrament in remembrance.  We are witnesses of Him and we are willing to take upon his name and always remember him, to keep His commandments that we may always have his spirit to be with us.
Every living thing has a spirit.  It was created and given a name and then “it was watched over to see that it was obedient.”  Our Father in Heaven watches over us to see that we are obedient.  He gives us trials that are experiences for our good.  To help us learn and grow and to become obedient..  He is watching over each and every one of us.   I bear my testimony that God loves you.  He knows your heart.  He knows your desires.  He knows what you are in need of before you even ask.  But you must ask and you must pray and you must seek his guidance.  Use the gifts that a loving Heavenly Father has given you.  Be aware of Satan's tactics.  Keep the Holy Ghost as your constant companion.  Seek for further light and knowledge.
Mathew 5:16 
 Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.