Saturday, March 14, 2015

Eternal Life-to Know Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ

by Elder Robert D. Hales

I just looked at the calendar and realized that in just three short weeks, it will be General Conference weekend again!  I can't wait to hear what words of wisdom will be shared, but first, let's get through last October's talks.

Elder Hales talk was on the importance of gaining a testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 
Why?  In Elder Hales words:

"I testify that when we do what is necessary to know Them and know Their love for one another, we will obtain "the greatest gift of all the the gifts of God--even eternal life."

"Brothers and sisters, I testify that our Heavenly Father wants us to seek this knowledge now.  The words of the prophet Helaman cry from the dust: 'Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation. . . ., a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.'  Indeed, we will not fail.

"That sure foundation is Jesus Christ.  He is 'the rock of Heaven.'  When we build our house upon Him, the rains of the latter days may descend, the floods may come, and the winds may blow, but we will not fall.  We will not fail, for our home and our family will be founded upon Christ.

"I testify that such a home is 'a house of glory.'  There we gather together to pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son.  There we glorify and give gratitude to Them.  There we receive the Holy Ghost and 'the promise which [He gives] unto [us] of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom."

Elder Hales teaches us that we gain our knowledge of the Father and His Son through personal revelation.
"How can this gift be ours?  It comes through a matter of personal revelation. . ."

How do we receive personal revelation?  It is through scripture study and prayer.  As we exercise faith and keep the commandments, the Holy Ghost will testify the truth to us.

1.  Scripture Study
"In this process, seeking for personal revelation is a key.  Nephi invites each of us to 'feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."

2.  Prayer
Elder Hales quotes from Moroni:
"I would exhort you that ye should ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10:4)

3.  Holy Ghost will Testify the Truth

"And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know [with a surety] the truth of all things."  (Moroni 10:5)

"You too can seek our Heavenly Father and 'this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have [testified]'. . .As you seek a personal witness--your personal revelation--you will discover that Heavenly Father has provided a special way for you to know the truth for yourself:  through the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit we know as the Holy Ghost."

"My own testimony grew as I learned about Heavenly Father and the Savior from the teachings and testimony of my parents, teachers, the scriptures-which I read diligently-and especially the Holy Ghost.  As I exercised faith and obeyed the commandments, the Holy Ghost testified that what I was learning was true.  This is how I came to know for myself."
This sign hangs in my home to remind me to continually seek a relationship with Christ, to make Him the center of my home and my life.

I've always been pretty consistent with personal scripture study,  I have studied several ways over the years- recently I've been following along with BofM365 and NewTestament365 on Instagram.  Each morning I wake up, look to see what verses are assigned for that day, read them, and then read the Instagram comments.  It's like Sunday School class everyday.  I've really learned a lot as others have shared their insights.

Personal prayer has been another story- I've really struggled.  This year one of my goals was to CONNECT (you can read more about that here) to Heavenly Father and His Spirit.  I knew that in order to do this I would have to have a relationship with Him through prayer.  I knew that my prayers needed to be a conversation not just a monologue.  So, first thing I did was set an alarm on my phone.  It goes off everyday at 8:55 am (right after I get home from taking the kids to school, and my house is quiet) to remind me to pray.  When that alarm goes off, I stop what I'm doing and go into my 'prayer closet' to talk with God.  I've found that if I think about (and even write down) what is on my mind.-What I'm thankful for that day and what I'm struggling with or what I have questions about, I'm more focused and I'm able to stop and listen for answers without feeling like I have to rush through my prayer so I don't forget something.
This has really helped me to have true meaningful prayer.  I have begun to feel God's presence and His love for me.  As I've received personal revelation, my testimony has been strengthened, and my relationship with Him has grown.

Elder Hales also points out in his talk an important doctrine- that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings. -". . .a Father and a Son - separate, distinct, individual beings who are wholly unified in Their purpose. " He also quotes 17 scriptures that testify this (I'll list them to make it convenient for you):

Moses 4:2
Moses 2:1
Luke 1:32
Luke 2:49
Matthew 3:17
Matthew 6:9-10
John 3:16
John 5:19, see also verse 17
John 17:1, 4
Matthew 26:39
Luke 23:34, 46
D&C 138:51
John 20:17
3 Nephi 11:7
3 Nephi 11:10-11
3 Nephi 11:32
3 Nephi 11:27

"Can we see a pattern in these scriptures that testifies of the Father and the Son as distinct individuals and beings?  How, then, are They one?  Not because They are the same person but because They are unified in purpose, equally dedicated to 'bring[ing] to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.'"

Can you remember the first time you knew there was a God and could feel His love?
What do you do to build your home and family around Christ?

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