The Love of God

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.

How Do We Become True Disciples of Jesus Christ?

The Savior Himself provided the answer with this profound declaration: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”1 This is the essence of what it means to be a true disciple: those who receive Christ Jesus walk with Him.2

But this may present a problem for some because there are so many “shoulds” and “should nots” that merely keeping track of them can be a challenge. Sometimes, well-meaning amplifications of divine principles—many coming from uninspired sources—complicate matters further, diluting the purity of divine truth with man-made addenda. One person’s good idea—something that may work for him or her—takes root and becomes an expectation. And gradually, eternal principles can get lost within the labyrinth of “good ideas.”

This was one of the Savior’s criticisms of the religious “experts” of His day, whom He chastised for attending to the hundreds of minor details of the law while neglecting the weightier matters.3

So how do we stay aligned with these weightier matters? Is there a constant compass that can help us prioritize our lives, thoughts, and actions?

Once again the Savior revealed the way. When asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not hesitate. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” He said. “This is the first and great commandment.”4 Coupled with the second great commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves5—we have a compass that provides direction not only for our lives but also for the Lord’s Church on both sides of the veil.

Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.

When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden.

Why Should We Love God?

God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.

No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!

For what we love determines what we seek.

What we seek determines what we think and do.

What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.

We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage. What and how we love not only defines us as individuals; it also defines us as a church. Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ.

Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things.

And the greatest of all good things is God.

Our Father in Heaven has given us, His children, much more than any mortal mind can comprehend. Under His direction the Great Jehovah created this wondrous world we live in. God the Father watches over us, fills our hearts with breathtaking joy, brightens our darkest hours with blessed peace, distills upon our minds precious truths, shepherds us through times of distress, rejoices when we rejoice, and answers our righteous petitions.

He offers to His children the promise of a glorious and infinite existence and has provided a way for us to progress in knowledge and glory until we receive a fulness of joy. He has promised us all that He has.

If all that is not enough reason to love our Heavenly Father, perhaps we can learn from the words of the Apostle John, who said, “We love him, because he first loved us.”6

Why Does Heavenly Father Love Us?

Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.7

God does not look on the outward appearance.8 I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.9

How Can We Increase Our Love of God?

Since “God is love,”10 the closer we approach Him, the more profoundly we experience love.11 But because a veil separates this mortality from our heavenly home, we must seek in the Spirit that which is imperceptible to mortal eyes.

Heaven may seem distant at times, but the scriptures offer hope: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”12

However, seeking God with all our hearts implies much more than simply offering a prayer or pronouncing a few words inviting God into our lives. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”13 We can make a great production of saying that we know God. We can proclaim publicly that we love Him. Nevertheless, if we don’t obey Him, all is in vain, for “he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”14

We increase our love for our Heavenly Father and demonstrate that love by aligning our thoughts and actions with God’s word. His pure love directs and encourages us to become more pure and holy. It inspires us to walk in righteousness—not out of fear or obligation but out of an earnest desire to become even more like Him because we love Him. By doing so, we can become “born again … [and] cleansed by blood, even the blood of [the] Only Begotten; that [we] might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.”15

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible—and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.

How Can We Hear the Father’s Voice?

As you reach out to your Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you. He speaks to us everywhere.

As you read God’s word recorded in the scriptures, listen for His voice.

During this general conference and later as you study the words spoken here, listen for His voice.

As you visit the temple and attend Church meetings, listen for His voice.

Listen for the voice of the Father in the bounties and beauties of nature, in the gentle whisperings of the Spirit.

In your daily interactions with others, in the words of a hymn, in the laughter of a child, listen for His voice.

If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ.

As we draw near to Heavenly Father, we become more holy. And as we become more holy, we will overcome disbelief and our souls will be filled with His blessed light. As we align our lives with this supernal light, it leads us out of darkness and toward greater light. This greater light leads to the unspeakable ministerings of the Holy Spirit, and the veil between heaven and earth can become thin.

Why Is Love the Great Commandment?

Heavenly Father’s love for His children is the core message of the plan of happiness, which plan is made active through the Atonement of Jesus Christ—the greatest expression of love the world has ever known.16

How clearly the Savior spoke when He said that every other commandment hangs upon the principle of love.17 If we do not neglect the great laws—if we truly learn to love our Heavenly Father and our fellowman with all our heart, soul, and mind—all else will fall into place.

The divine love of God turns ordinary acts into extraordinary service. Divine love is the motive that transports simple words into sacred scripture. Divine love is the factor that transforms reluctant compliance with God’s commandments into blessed dedication and consecration.

Love is the guiding light that illuminates the disciple’s path and fills our daily walk with life, meaning, and wonder.

Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.

Love is the way of the disciple.

I testify that God is in His heaven. He lives. He knows and loves you. He is mindful of you. He hears your prayers and knows the desires of your heart. He is filled with infinite love for you.

This address is from a General Conference of the LDS church. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was the provider of these remarks. Minor edits to these remarks have been made to eliminate references to members of the LDS faith. Although this address was specifically made to members of the LDS faith, I believe that the remarks by President Uchtdorf are profound and that anyone can benefit.

As an experiencer of a near-death experience, I am aware of the complete and incredible love that both God the Father and His son Jesus Christ have for us. It is because of that knowledge, that I had a special desire to share this address by President Uchtdorf. I know that the words that are shared by President Uchtdorf are true and can and will help anyone know God better who seeks to do so. Maybe, more importantly, utilizing these words and making them a part of our lives will help each of us to know of the total and perfect love that God has for us. I testify that words alone cannot express the love that God has for each of us. Knowing Him in mortality takes work and effort…but every ounce of effort is more than worth it and brings unspeakable blessings!

The following link contains the full address: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/the-love-of-god?lang=eng

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Though We are Incomplete, God Loves Us Completely

Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. Dieter F. Uchtdord

His name was David, but most just called him “the street fiddler.” David was a disheveled, older man who was a regular fixture in popular places in our city, serenading passers-by with unusual skill at his violin. In exchange for his music, listeners would sometimes place a dollar in the open instrument case before them on the sidewalk. David would smile and nod his head in thanks as he continued to play.

When David died recently and his obituary appeared in a local paper, it was revealed that he spoke several languages, was the graduate of a prestigious university, and had even run for the state senate years ago. Some expressed surprise at the extent of his accomplishments, having assessed him on the basis of appearance alone.

Scripture tells us that “God created mankind in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). This reveals an inherent worth within each of us, regardless of how we look, what we have achieved, or what others may think of us. Even when we chose to turn from God in our sinfulness, God valued us so much that He sent His only Son to show us the way to salvation and eternity with Him.

We are loved by God, and all around us are those who are precious to Him. May we express our love for Him in return by sharing His love with others

Today’s story was written by James Banks and is shared from the following website: https://odb.org/2018/03/03/precious-to-god/

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God is There For You

God will meet you where you are in order to take you where He wants you to go Tony Evans

God, Jesus and Me

Sally jumped up as soon as she saw the Surgeon come out of the operating room. She said: “How is my little boy? Is he going to be O.K.? When can I see him?”

The Surgeon said, “I’m sorry, we did all we could.” Sally said, “Why do little children get cancer? Doesn’t GOD care any more? GOD, where were you when my son needed you?”

The Surgeon said, “One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes to let you spend time with your son’s remains before it’s transported to the university.” Sally asked that the nurse stay with her while she said good-bye to her son.

Sally ran her fingers through his thick red curly hair. The nurse said, “Would you like a lock of his hair?” Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of his hair and put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally. Sally said, “It was Jimmy’s idea to give his body to the university for study. He said it might help somebody else,” and that is what he wanted.

I said no at first, but Jimmy said, “Mom I won’t be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy to be able to spend one more day with his mother.” Sally said, “My Jimmy had a heart of gold, always thinking of someone else and always wanting to help others if he could.”

Sally walked out of the Children’s Hospital for the last time now after spending most of the last 6 months there. She sat the bag with Jimmy’s things in it on the seat beside her in the car. The drive home was hard and it was even harder to go into an empty house. She took the bag to Jimmy’s room and started placing the model cars and things back in his room exactly where he always kept them. She laid down across his bed and cried herself to sleep holding his pillow.

Sally woke up about midnight, and laying beside her on the bed was a letter folded up. She opened the letter and it said:

Dear Mom,

I know your going to miss me, but don’t think that I will ever forget you or stop loving you because I’m not around to say I LOVE YOU. I’ll think of you every day mom, and I’ll love you even more each day. Some day we will see each other again.

If you want to adopt a little boy so you won’t be so lonely, he can have my room and my old stuff to play with. If you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn’t like the same things as us boys do, so you will have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like.

Don’t be sad when you think about me. This is really a great place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything here. The angels are so friendly and I love to watch them fly.

Jesus doesn’t look like any of the pictures I saw of Him, but I knew it was Him as soon as I saw Him. He took me to see GOD! And guess what mom? I got to sit on GOD’S knee and talk to Him like I was somebody important. I told GOD that I wanted to write you a letter and tell you good-bye and everything, but I knew that wasn’t allowed.

God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter with. I think Gabriel is the name of the angel that is going to drop this letter off to you.

God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him about — where was He when I needed him? God said, “The same place He was when Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children.”

Oh, by the way Mom, nobody else can see what is written on this paper but you. To everyone else, it looks like a blank piece of paper.

I have to give God His pen back now. He has some more names to write in the Book Of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for Supper. I’m sure the food will be great.

I almost forgot to let you know — Now I don’t hurt anymore and the cancer is all gone. I’m glad because I couldn’t stand that pain anymore. And God couldn’t stand to see me suffer the pain either, so He sent The Angel of Mercy to get me. The Angel said I was Special Delivery!

Signed with love from:
God, Jesus and Me

– Author Unknown –

Today’s story is shared from the following website: http://godslittleacre.net/inspirationalstories/god_jesus_and_me.html

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God’s Love and Assistance

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. - Unknown

Poem that will give you goose bumps…………..

A drunk man in an Oldsmobile
They said had run the light
That caused the six-car pileup
On 109 that night.

When broken bodies lay about
And blood was everywhere,
The sirens screamed out eulogies,
For death was in the air.

A mother, trapped inside her car,
Was heard above the noise;
Her plaintive plea near split the air:
Oh, God, please spare my boys!”

She fought to loose her pinned hands;
She struggled to get free,
But mangled metal held her fast
In grim captivity.

Her frightened eyes then focused
On where the back seat once had been,
But all she saw was broken glass and
Two children’s seats crushed in.

Her twins were nowhere to be seen;
She did not hear them cry,
And then she prayed they’d been thrown free,
Oh, God, don’t let them die!”

Then firemen came and cut her loose,
But when they searched the back,
They found therein no little boys,
But the seat belts were intact.

They thought the woman had gone mad
And was travelling alone,
But when they turned to question her,
They discovered she was gone.

Policemen saw her running wild
And screaming above the noise
In beseeching supplication,
Please help me find my boys!

They’re four years old and wear blue shirts;
Their jeans are blue to match.”
One cop spoke up, “They’re in my car,
And they don’t have a scratch.

They said their daddy put them there
And gave them each a cone,
Then told them both to wait for Mom
To come and take them home.

I’ve searched the area high and low,
But I can’t find their dad.
He must have fled the scene,
I guess, and that is very bad.”

The mother hugged the twins and said,
While wiping at a tear,
He could not flee the scene, you see,
For he’s been dead a year.”

The cop just looked confused and asked,
Now, how can that be true?”
The boys said, “Mommy, Daddy came
And left a kiss for you.”

He told us not to worry
And that you would be all right,
And then he put us in this car with
The pretty, flashing light.

We wanted him to stay with us,
Because we miss him so,
But Mommy, he just hugged us tight
And said he had to go.

He said someday we’d understand
And told us not to fuss,
And he said to tell you, Mommy,
He’s watching over us.”

The mother knew without a doubt.
That what they spoke was true,
For she recalled their dad’s last words,
I will watch over you.”

The firemen’s notes could not explain
The twisted, mangled car,
And how the three of them escaped
Without a single scar.

But on the cop’s report was scribed,
In print so very fine,
An angel walked the beat tonight
on Hwy. 109

 Today’s poem was shared from the following website: https://boardofwisdom.com/togo/?viewid=1005&listname=Faith#.WsKuxmbMxBw

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19 Steps to Becoming Your Unique Self

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy John Mason

19 Steps to Becoming Your Unique Self

Being unique helps to give us a sense of self-worth and importance. I most certainly seek to maintain my individualism and try to hold on to anything that makes me…… well me!

Here are a few tips to help you find your point of difference……

  1. Know that you are already unique:  There are so many factors that contribute to making us who we are.  Your genetics, your experiences, personality and outlook can only be a result of you. Recognize what it is that makes you unique and embrace it.
  2. Don’t ‘try’ to be normal: Naturally as humans, we try to fit in with others.  This is often a natural reaction to avoid criticism or looking strange.  It’s generally a ‘stay safe’ reaction. Be mindful of your tendency to try fit in, and where it may be in face hindering your uniqueness.
  3. Don’t try to be ‘ab-normal’: This might be trying to ‘fake’ something that you’re not in order to stand out or be ‘better’ than those around you. Sometimes you might actually look ‘weird’.  Being unique is being your authentic, genuine self. Acknowledge and embrace it.
  4. Be confident: Confidence isn’t about proving yourself; it is about being content just the way you are. Being confident is trusting that you ‘good enough’ and reflecting that in the way you carry yourself.
  5. Be self-reliant: It is impossible to live your life without the assistance or interaction of those around you.  However there is a difference between enjoying the company of others, and relying on others to fulfil a certain personal outcome.  This might include depending on others for self-benefit; i.e. popularity, entertainment, comfort or money.  When you rely on others, you limit your true potential and find yourself confined to that person.  Being self-reliant can be hard to attain, yet is a valuable life-long skill.
  6. Reflect on what ‘being unique’ means to you: This inspires you to reflect on your values and what you feel is uniquely important to you.  This will help you to take action to embracing (and loving) your unique self.
  7. Identify your values: This is about discovering ‘who you are’.  Assess whether your current values match what being unique means to you.  This might include friends, relationships, human ethics or values.  This exercise will help you remember that your values are unique to you, and highlight areas that you might want to improve.
  8. Fight your insecurities: Sadly we often develop insecurities over what others think of us.  Our insecurities hinder our path to finding our true selves.  Being aware of them can help you to see that they are unnecessary obstacles and seek ways to overcome them.
  9. Determine your goals: Once you’ve identified your values, it’s important to determine your goals. This may be working towards what you value.  It will give you a direction to move forwards and start making necessary changes.
  10. Be aware of your emotions: This requires you to identify your emotions that are a result of you and not the people around you.  It can also help to be aware of how your emotions can cloud your judgement / perception of yourself, and find way to see things as they really are, or for the ‘greater good’.
  11. Be assertive, yet open-minded: Know your opinions yet be open to suggestion of others. It is important to be ‘mindful’ or conscientious of those around you and embracing each and everyone’s differences (including your own). Just as you are unique, so is everyone else.
  12. Have the power to think independently: Be mindful not to give in to ‘peer pressure’ when the influences are there.  Feel comfortable with forming your own opinions and opposing views to others, if you feel necessary.Being Unique - Image 3
  13. Dress for yourself: Avoid dressing to impress those around you.  Your clothing is an opportunity to reflect who you are.  By conforming to the fashions, you are not embracing who you are.  This may reflect on your values of self-love and highlight any potential insecurity you might have.
  14. Stand up for yourself: Standing up for yourself does not mean being opinionated or stubborn yet means you are being true to your values and defending your true self…. (when others question it).  Standing up for yourself is an important lifelong tool, and enables you to feel more self-confident when dealing with confronting situations.
  15. Ignore the haters: It is impossible to be liked by everyone and seeking that acceptance will only leave you disappointed. Just because someone doesn’t like you, doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.  If you truly love yourself, you won’t seek and rely on validation from others:
  16. Try new things: This involves being open minded to new activities. Overcoming fears and embracing new experiences can be empowering, help you lead a more ‘interesting life’ and develop into your best self.
  17. Educate yourself: Attempt to learn new things.  Expanding your knowledge is empowering and can help you to have enlightening intellectual conversations with people you usually wouldn’t interact with.  Have you heard the saying; ‘knowledge is power’?  Being knowledgeable, can help open many new doors for you, increase independence and gain a lot more respect from those around you.
  18. Embrace your uniqueness: This does not mean going out of your way to be different, yet this means making a point of trying to be your true self around people you would usually refrain from.  This will help build your confidence and may prove to you that others don’t really think about you as much as you think they do!
  19. Do things that you sincerely enjoy: Lastly, go out of your way to reward yourself.  You deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else. This will help you to remember your value and that you are, unique, special and worthy of being happy – just as is everyone else!

Today’s article was shared from the following website: http://www.yoursuccessprogram.com/blog/19-steps-to-becoming-your-unique-self/

 

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