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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Talk - Heavenly Father Loves Us & We Love Him

Here's a talk that I gave in Sacrament Meeting while I was serving in the Young Women organization and several of us leaders were asked to speak that day. I usually write my talk out word for word but I don't read it when I am up there speaking. But this way I can keep a record of my thoughts.

TALK TOPIC - “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him.”

Good Morning

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today. The Bishopric allowed us to choose our topics for our talks (which could have been dangerous).

We will be talking today about the YW Theme and how it relates to the three-fold Mission of the Church.

The 3 fold mission of the church is:
Proclaim the Gospel
Perfect the Saints
Redeem the Dead

Our YW theme begins with the statement:
“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him.”

It then goes on to say:
“We will stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things and in all places…”
which supports “Proclaiming the Gospel”

It continues:
“…as we strive to live the YW Values which are: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works and Integrity.”
This portion supports “Perfecting the Saints”

In ends by stating:
“We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”
Which supports “Redeeming the Dead”

I believe that the principles in the YW Theme can be helpful to everyone (not just to the young women). We can all improve ourselves by learning and living this theme.

I will be concentrating today on the part of the theme that reminds us that we are children of our Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him.

I am so grateful to be the YW President and to be able to work with the young women in the ward. Each of the girls are wonderful and special in their own unique way. I really do love and care for each of what I call “my girls.”

As I started preparing my talk earlier this week, I was sitting in my sons’ room while my boys were playing. I looked up and on the wall we have a poster that says “My Gospel Standards” –
One of the statements on the poster said:
“I am a child of God. I know Heavenly Father loves me and I love Him. I can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere. I am trying to follow Jesus.”

I am grateful for the weekly reminder I have in YW every time we say the YW Theme and for the visual reminder I have on Zach’s poster that reminds me that I am a child of God and that He cares about me and loves me and also that I love Him.

One of our church leaders stated “That man is a child of God is the most important knowledge available to mortals.”

Joseph Smith said “All men and women are… literally the sons and daughters of Deity… Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal (or physical) body.”

We were not all alike in the pre-existence just like we’re not all alike here. We were each given different talents and abilities and were called to do different things on earth. Each of us has a special purpose and our own lessons to be learned. But Heavenly Father will never force us to do anything. We must learn to obey him because we want to. For a long time I had a note up in my room that said “I choose to be obedient because of my love for Heavenly Father.” Brother Stapley said “Keeping the commandments of God is not a difficult burden when we do it out of love of him who has so graciously blessed us.”

Our heavenly parents provided us with a happy and celestial home in the pre-existence. However, our heavenly parents knew that we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left their presence for a time. He presented us with a plan. In order to become more like Heavenly Father we needed to be tested and to gain experience. We needed to learn how to choose good over evil on our own. Our spirits needed to receive a physical body. After passing all of our tests, we could be able to receive the fullness of joy that our Heavenly parents have received. We learned that some of us might lose our way on earth. Some of us would have terrible trials, but these experiences would only be for our good if we would allow ourselves to be purified instead of defeated.

We also learned that because of our weaknesses we would all sin. We learned that a Savior would be provided for us so that we could overcome our sins and overcome death with resurrection. If we learn to obey his word and follow his example, we can be exalted and truly happy like our heavenly parents. My Patriarchal Blessing reminds me that as I make mistakes, I should get back on track quickly by repenting, constantly doing those things that will perfect my life and make it a worthy life in the eyes of the Lord.

The other day I was driving my son to preschool in Oakley. I always take the same route to school because I am not that familiar with the Oakley area. As I was driving my normal path, I came to a large DETOUR sign blocking the road. I was forced to turn right. After I turned, I noticed there were no signs telling me where to go next. I felt nervous because I was away from the road that I knew would get me to the school. I said a silent prayer and then started heading in the general direction toward the school, hoping for the best. I was determined to make it to the school and not get lost. I finally did make it to the school (and I wasn’t even very late). This experience reminded me of life. We have been taught what path will lead us to our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we may take a detour in our life due to circumstances or choices. When we find ourselves lost and looking for the way back, we need to pray for guidance and pray that the Spirit will help us know what to do. The most important thing is to remember how much we are loved and how much happiness is there for us if we stay on the straight and narrow path.

Heavenly Father knew that we would make mistakes and that we all have weaknesses. That is why it is so wonderful that He loved us enough to provide a Savior for us. Jesus knows our struggles and understands them. Even though He was perfect, he suffered pains and afflictions of every kind so that he would know how we would feel. Our Savior chose to suffer for us because of His love for us and because of His obedience to His Father.

Our Heavenly Father does indeed love us more than we can imagine. I’m sure we would cry tears of joy if we could remember with clarity the love we shared before we left his presence to come to earth. Heavenly Father has given us everything we have and everything we are. We can show our love for Him by choosing the right and following the teachings of His Son.

Heavenly Father has given us the Gospel to teach us. We can confide and counsel with our Father thru prayer…. That we can learn by studying his word in the scriptures, by listening to the prophets and by listening after we pray. We can show our love for Heavenly Father by keeping His commandments and by serving others.

David B. Haight said “Love is a gift of God, and as we obey His laws and genuinely learn to serve others, we develop God’s love in our lives. Love of God is the means of unlocking divine powers which help us to live worthily and to overcome the world.”

Heavenly Father values each of His children very much. We are all brothers and sisters here on earth and we are to serve each other prepare to return to meet our Savior. We need to love and look out for one another.

I was reminded by the example of a child of this. My friend’s daughter Katie was a kindergartener and she saw a little lonely girl just standing there by herself on the playground. Katie’s heart ached for this little child and she went and asked the little girl to play with her. I was so proud of Katie for being so perceptive and for having the courage and desire to comfort the lonely child.

Each of us at some time has felt like the little child alone on the playground. And at some point each of us may feel more settled and secure. If we really strive to have an attitude like Katie, then there would be fewer incidents of loneliness and sad feelings. We would all feel more loved and valued.

We are all here together to learn and to be tested and prove ourselves worthy to re-enter the presence of our Heavenly Father.

I challenge each of you to say to yourselves again and again that you are a child of God and that He loves you and you love Him. By doing this I pray that we can live our lives more worthily and be happier because we truly know who we are.

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