In my associations with people it is rare to find a person who does not profess a belief in God. However, many of these people do not see God personally concerned with them. They see God as the creator of this universe and as an all-powerful entity, but do not make a personal connection to themselves. They do not see God as their father. Yet the Scriptures are clear that we have a heavenly father who is God.
I would like to reflect on God as our heavenly father. From our Spiritual beginnings prior to this earth life we have recognized God as the father of our spirits and that he loves us and wants the best for us. Ancient prophets speak about this in Jeremiah 1:5. It reads, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." In Matthew 6:31-32 we read, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ... for your heavenly father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." These Scriptures help us know God as our father.
As our father, God provides his children with a great deal of help. He has provided prophets whose words are recorded as Scripture and provide us with direction in how to live our lives so that we can be happy and enjoy all that this earth life has to give. The "Ten Commandments" are a good example of directions in living this life so that we avoid a great deal of pain and grief. The Scriptures also provide us with a perspective of life that helps us learn how best to help one another, to develop charity toward all mankind.
God also provides us with a way to communicate with him. Through prayer we have the opportunity to express our concerns to our father in heaven and the ability to express gratitude for the blessings we have in life. Our father in heaven does hear and answer prayers, although it may not seem like it sometimes. Like our earthly parents, he knows that just because we want something it may not be best for us and so does not give it to us. When we truly need his blessings they come in one form or another.
The greatest gift from our father in heaven comes from his recognition that his children are growing and in that process we make mistakes that could cost us the chance of returning to him. Knowing this, he has asked his only begotten son to give his life for us in atoning for our sins, if we will recognize him and his role and then work to keep his commandments. The Savior also broke the bands of death and that allows each of us to one day be resurrected and live forever. This plan was set up by God prior to the creation of this earth and it was done by a loving father who wanted us to grow and develop to be the best we can be.
It is wonderful that God, our heavenly father, has provided this earth and the opportunity for each of us to come to this earth and develop as individuals through the experiences we have. It is wonderful that he provides us with directions on the expectations of this earth life and most of all that he has prepared a way for us to gain forgiveness for our mistakes as we learn to be better people. As our father, he loves us enough to let us grow and learn through the experiences of life, but he is always there with all that we truly need to be able to return to him. He loves us as his children and is wise beyond our comprehension.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
President Neil Nordquist is president of Minot 2nd Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2025-9th St. NW, Minot.