entitled There is a God, and He loves You . . .
We shared an important message that we, missionaries and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, take to all the world.
God is our Heavenly Father. We are his children. He loves us.
Because of his great love for us, we are here in this mortal existence on earth to learn and grow through challenges that bring us closer to God and help us become stronger. Despite experiencing many challenges and trials in life, God's plan is a plan of happiness.
It is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
As we learn about Jesus Christ, we can discover lasting inner peace, great joy in this life, and a continuing eternal life of joy and happiness.
In the above referenced post we answered many questions such as, "Why it's important to know of God's existence", "How can I know that God exists?", and "Why do I need God and Jesus Christ in my life?"
If you are seeking answers to questions, you may want to start by reading this post first.
As an important part of God's eternal plan for his children, or our Heavenly Father's plan . . . it is important to understand that . . .
There is a God, and He Sent His Son . . .
As missionaries we share wonderful news that brings great comfort to many; that your life did not begin here on earth. Nor will it end when you leave this life.
In addition to our physical bodies, we are made up of a spiritual or immaterial being as well. This spiritual portion of our being is immortal. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other religions as well refer to this portion of our being as our spirit or soul. So we are essentially created with two very important parts . . . our physical bodies, and our spirits which during our earthly existence dwell within our physical bodies.
Before we were born on earth our spirits lived with our Heavenly Father who created us. Part of our Heavenly Father's plan for us was coming to earth to receive our physical bodies. Our bodies allowed us to experience both great joy . . . and pain . . . experiences necessary to strengthen us and allow us to progress.
Just as our own children cannot learn, grow and progress if they stay forever in our homes and under the watchful and nurturing eye of their parents . . . we like all children everywhere had to leave our Heavenly home to learn to grow through experience on our own through the ability to make great choices and decisions and experience the consequences that bring growth and change.
Heavenly Father Knew We Would Make Mistakes . . .
Heavenly Father knew we would make mistakes in our mortal life. Sometimes through our choices or decisions and the choices and decisions of others, He knew we would experience great pain, remorse, adversity, misery, shame or guilt.
In our earthy existence God has given us commandments, that through obedience we can learn to experience joy, and learn to make choices between right and wrong. We can read about the commandments in the scriptures . . . a favorite is found in John 14:15.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments".
But the scriptures also teach us that "no unclean thing can dwell with God". 1 Nephi 10:21.
Since all of us are mortal here, living in an imperfect and mortal world, try as hard as we can we all will make mistakes. We all will make choices that go against the commandments of our Heavenly Father, we all make some bad decisions, bad choices or act in ways contrary to the divine law of God.
So how can we as imperfect beings return to live again in a perfect world with God, our
God sent His son Jesus Christ . . .
God sent His son Jesus Christ to earth to give us a way to overcome our mortal sins and imperfections.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).
Our Heavenly Father sent His son Jesus Christ to take upon Him, by His suffering, the sins of all who would live upon the earth, and to overcome physical death. Jesus Christ, through His suffering became our Savior and our Redeemer, and made an infinite atoning sacrifice for us. He is the only way by which we can return to live with God, our Heavenly Father. The mortal ministry of Jesus Christ upon the earth ended through his suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection.
Resurrection, meaning through death, His physical body separated from His spirit. Then on the third day after His death, His Spirit and body were reunited again, for all eternity, never to be separated again. Thus, giving each of us, God's mortal children, the gift of repentance and forgiveness. Only through his mercy and grace can anyone be saved, and through the power of resurrection, overcome the physical death of our own bodies.
After His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared to many people, showing them the wounds in his hands, feet and sides, showing them that he had a physical immortal body of flesh and bones.
These events are called the Atonement.
Jesus Christ saves us from sin.
Jesus Christ saves us from death.
For that . . . he is very literally our Savior and Redeemer.
Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .
We will ALL be resurrected. We will all be resurrected regardless of whether we have done good or evil in this life. We will have a perfect immortal body of flesh and bones, that will never again be subject to death, pain or disease. The power of the resurrection makes it possible for us to return to God to be judged, but does not guarantee that we will be able to live in his presence. For that blessing we need to be free from sin.
Being made free from sin is possible through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and striving faithfully to keep his commandments throughout the rest of our lives.
Through continually evaluating and making changes to improve our lives, we may obtain forgiveness and be made free from sin, by the power of the Holy Ghost. We are relieved of our burdens of guilt, shame, doubt - through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and become worthy to live in the presence of God once again.
As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can also experience overcoming trials, challenges, grief, sickness and pain. We can find peace, joy, and consolation.
How can we follow the Savior and become like Him?
When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind ... And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37–39). Other ethical teachings of Jesus include loving one's enemies, refraining from hatred and lust, and turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:21–44).
In paying for our sins, grief, and pain through His Atonement, the Savior did not relieve us of our personal responsibility. We must show that we accept Him and will strive to follow his commandments.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, one of the twelve apostles on the earth today, tells us -
Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places.
We can learn of the Savior and follow him through studying his life as found in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and other scriptures.
- Jesus taught that baptism was necessary to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:5).
- Jesus began His preaching by inviting His listeners to repent (see Matthew 4:17).
- He affirmed that keeping His commandments would require His followers to leave what He called “that which is highly esteemed among men” (Luke 16:15) and “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8; see also verse 13).
- And the Apostle Peter later declared, the followers of Jesus were to be “a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9).
- Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1).
- In the familiar parable of the lost sheep, Jesus taught that we should go out of our way to seek after any of the flock who have strayed (see Matthew 18:11–14; Luke 15:3–7).
- Jesus taught that when we are wronged by persons, we should forgive them (see Matthew 18:21–35; Mark 11:25–26; Luke 6:37).
- Most Christians give to the poor and the needy, as Jesus taught (see Matthew 25:31–46; Mark 14:7).
- The Savior directed His followers to take His teachings to every nation and every creature. (see Mark 16:15)
Participate in Sacred Ordinances . . .
The Savior instituted the ordinance of the Sacrament, or communion as other Christian religions call it. He commanded His followers to participate in this sacred ordinance in remembrance of Him. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we follow that commandment each week by attending church services on the sabbath day where we partake of the bread and water in His name, and renew covenants to always remember Him and keep His commandments.
For members of the Church, the Sacrament meeting in the most sacred and holy of all the meetings of the Church. If we are to be His disciples and be committed members of His Church, we must remember and reverence the sacrament. By doing so we express our desire to follow the Savior, and allow His Atonement to work it's blessing in our lives. Participating in the sacrament increases our love and appreciation for our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ.
Be Ye Therefore Perfect . . .
The Savior taught in Matthew, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect". We understand that we become perfect only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and it is part of God the Father's plan for his children to return to him. By following the example of the Savior, we become "like" him . . . and become "joint-heirs with Christ". (Romans 8:16-17) Meaning we have the opportunity for eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
There is a God . . . and he loves us.
He sent His Son.
His son, even Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which we teach to all people everywhere . . . every missionary message that we share . . . is only an appendage to this testimony.
Indeed He Lives.
We express our great faith and confidence in Him, as we strive to live His gospel.