Tag Archives: heaven

Death is not the end

There were many moments in my life while I was struggling with depression that I just did not want to exist anymore.  I wanted to be gone.  My mind was constantly thinking of ways that I could make this happen, ways to kill myself.  I didn’t want to deal with all of my sorrows and pain.  I felt like I was a burden to everyone and that it would be better for them if I were gone.

But I knew that death was not the end.  I had been taught that and I had received a witness that it is true.  Death is not the end.  We have life after death and we can  return to live with our Father in Heaven and our families again.

The summer before I started my freshman year of high school, a dear friend of mine passed away.  She had a very sweet spirit.  I will never forget her example of kindness and love to all of those around her.  I had my testimony reaffirmed as I attended her viewing and funeral.  Truly the Lord is great!  He has given us such a wonderful gift.  The gift of his atonement and resurrection allows it so that each of us will be resurrected and that each of us can return to live with our loved ones again.

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Remembering our Heavenly Father at Thanksgiving

Our Father in Heaven is the person responsible for all we have.  If it were not for Him, we would not even have our own lives.  How grateful I am to my Father in Heaven for the numerous blessings that I have received and that I will yet receive.  Mostly, I am grateful for His Son, Jesus Christ, who has made it possible for me to return back to my Father in Heaven washed clean from the things of the world.

God Loves You

Our Heavenly Father knows each of us perfectly.  He probably knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows our needs and our desires.  He know the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  He is a part of who we are.  And He loves us with a love that cannot adequately be described.

He sent His Son because He loves us.  He wanted us to be able to return to live with Him and to know more perfectly of His love.  But we can also know of and feel of His love while we are yet on earth.  We can do this through prayer and by accessing the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives.

As we awake and open our eyes to the things of the Lord and the blessings that He shares with us every day, we would be amazed at all of the tender mercies.  I am extremely grateful for the knowledge that I am a beloved daughter of God and that He loves me perfectly and completely.  As I follow Him and repent, He remembers my sins no more.  I love my Father in Heaven and His Son, my Savior, even Jesus Christ.  They love you.  Never forget that they love you, no matter what your station, occupation, or position in life.  They love you.

Preparation for eternity

Christ has prepared the way for us to return to our Father in Heaven through the atonement.

For a while now, I have been pondering on how we are to prepare in this life and how I personally can prepare for the future.  I recently started studying the Book of Mormon by marking every time it makes a reference to preparation or every time it mentions how some person prepares for something ahead of them.

I have found numerous times that the Lord prepares a way for us.  He prepares us for the trials that we face and the life that is ahead of us.  As we lean on Him and turn to Him, we are and will be prepared for what is ahead.

I like this quote about preparation from M. Russell Ballard.  He says:

“We prepare each day, right now, for eternal life.  If we are not preparing for eternal life, we are preparing for something else, perhaps something far less.”

We need to be preparing ourselves for those things that are eternal in life.  Those are the things of highest priority.  Are we preparing ourselves for eternal life?  Are we preparing ourselves to live with our Heavenly Father?  He has prepared the way for us.  Are we walking in that way?  Christ said in John 14:6:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The way to prepare, once again we see, is by coming to Christ and leaning on Him.  It is accepting Him as our Savior and Redeemer.

Ways to Prepare

The following is a list of ways we can prepare to live with our Father in Heaven and to come closer to Christ that I have found in my study of the Book of Mormon so far (I have a lot more to go):

  1. Being obedient (1 Nephi 2)
  2. Praying in Faith (1 Nephi 2; 15:11; 16:24; 18:21)
  3. (Nephi) took nothing with him save it were his family, provisions, and tents. (1 Nephi 2:4)
  4. He built an altar of stones (1 Nephi 2:7)
  5. Having great desires to know the mysteries of God (1 Nephi 2:16)
  6. Cry unto the Lord (1 Nephi 2:16,18)
  7. Keep the commandments (1 Nephi 2:20,22; 15:11; 17:13; 20:18)
  8. Pray for mercy (1 Nephi 8:8)
  9. I, (Lehi) cast my eyes round about; that perhaps I might discover my family. (1 Nephi 8:13)
  10. Press Forward through mist of darkness (1 Nephi 8:21,24,30)
  11. Cling to or hold fast to the rod of iron, or the word of God (1 Nephi 8:24; 15:24)
  12. Heed not the scorn and persecution of the world and the worldly (1 Nephi 8:33)
  13. Exhort others with all the feeling of a tender parent (1 Nephi 8:37)
  14. Rely on the Redeemer (1 Nephi 10:6)
  15. Prepare the way for the Lord (1 Nephi 10:7,8)
  16. Receive the fullness of the Gospel of Christ (1 Nephi 10:14)
  17. Have faith on the Son of God (1 Nephi 10:17; 12:10,11)
  18. Diligently seek Christ (1 Nephi 10:17,19)
  19. Repent and come unto Him (1 Nephi 10:18; 13:40; 14:5)
  20. Desire, ponder in your heart (1 Nephi 11:1)
  21. Believe in the Son of the most high God (1 Nephi 11:1,6; 15:11)
  22. Seek to bring forth the Lord’s Zion (1 Nephi 13:37)
  23. Endure to the end (1 Nephi 13:37)
  24. Publish peace and tidings of great joy (1 Nephi 13:37)
  25. Come unto Him according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb (1 Nephi 13:41)
  26. Hearken unto the Lamb of God (1 Nephi 14:1; 15:24)
  27. Harden not your hearts against the Lamb of God (1 Nephi 14:2; 15:11)
  28. Gather together (1 Nephi 14:13)
  29. Arm yourself with righteousness and with the power of God (1 Nephi 14:14)
  30. Humble yourselves (1 Nephi 16:24; 18:4)
  31. Bear your journeyings without murmuring (1 Nephi 17:2; 18:16)
And the list goes on… There are so many ways that we can be preparing ourselves for eternal life.  These are just some of the ways that I have found in the first 50 pages of the Book of Mormon.  The scriptures are full of ways to become better people and to fill our lives with joy and peace.  
I know that as we prepare ourselves to live with our Heavenly Father again, our lives are filled with more meaning, purpose, and joy.  As we do these things, we are filled with the Spirit of the Lord and able to recognize our true identity as sons and daughters of God.

The Keeper of the Gate

The Keeper of the Gate is the Holy One of Israel

Keeper of the Gate

In the Book of Mormon, I particularly like the scripture that talks about the keeper of the gate of heaven.  It is found in 2 Nephi 9:41-42.  It says:

“O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One.  remember that His paths are righteous.  Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and He employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for He cannot be deceived, for the Lord God  is His name.

And whoso knocketh, to him will He open.”

Aren’t those verses just wonderful?  Let’s look at it deeper.

1.  Come unto the Lord, the Holy One

We are invited in this scripture to come unto the Lord.  Some may ask how we can do this.  What are specific things that we can do to draw us nearer to the Lord?  In the Book of Mormon in Omni 1:25-26 it explains some things that help us to come unto the Lord:

“…Exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel, and believe in prophesying, and in revelations, and in the ministering of angels, and in the gift of speaking with tongues, and in the gift of interpreting languages, and in all things which are good; for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil cometh from the devil.

And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of His salvation, and the power of His redemption.  Yea, come unto Him and offer your whole souls as an offering unto Him, and continue in fasting and praying and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.”

As we come unto the Lord we are saved.  We are truly freed.

2.  His paths are righteous

Truly the paths and the example of our Lord and Savior is righteous and good.  He does not lead us astray.

3.  The way for man is narrow, but lies in a straight course in front of him.

So, the scriptures describes the way, but it does not explain what the way is.  This is further explained as to what the way is in 2 Nephi 31:20-21:

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of god and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father; Ye shall have eternal life.

And no, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God.  And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one god, without end.  Amen.”

So, the straight way that is in front of us is to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ and to feast upon His word by studying it.  The straight way that is before us leads us to eternal life.

4.  The Keeper of the Gate is the Holy One of Israel

There is none other except the Holy One of Israel who judges us and determines if we will or will not enter through the gate.  The gate is the only way, thus the straight and narrow way.  Have you entered through the gate?  Are you progressing to do this?  Are you on the straight and narrow path?  Or is your path curving all over the place?  What are you doing to get on or back on the path?

I know that as we seek the Lord and knock, He opens.  He is there to help us back to Him.  We are a happier people as we follow Him, and we can be assured of his righteous judgment as we approach the gate.  He loves us and wants what is best for us.

Mother-daughter, Father-son relationships

Mother-Daughter love

As a Child

I remember many times as a child doing extremely enjoyable activities with my family.  We did everything from rolling around in mud when setting up a new swing-set to going on vacations across the United States and taking walks on Easter with bunny ears on our heads.

Honestly, I remember more than anything the great love that my family shared with me and had for each other.  Yes, I do remember getting disciplined for acting up in church or for biting my sister, but overall, when I think of my family, I think of the feeling of love.

A Heavenly Family

This is how our heavenly family is.  Our Heavenly Father loves us dearly.  We are His spirit sons and daughters.  This is explained by Paul in Acts 17:27-28 in the New Testament.  It reads:

“They should seek the Lord if they are willing to find him, for He is not far from every one of us.

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.”

We are also His offspring.  We each have His spirit within us.  How are we treating it?

The relationships we have with our parents or that we nurture with our children are extremely important.  If your parent or parents have chosen to not treat you well, or to take advantage of you, think of your Heavenly parents as I talk.  They love you.  Ultimately, it is them who we are trying to please and make happy in our lives.

Mother-Daughter/ Father-Son bonding

Another thing that I remember vividly as a child is going on a mother/ daughter trip to Minneapolis when I turned a certain age.  It was very exciting.  On the trip, I was able to choose the activities that we did, everything from seeing Camelot at a dinner theatre to going to the Mall of America.  It was nice to spend some time with my mother, and I believed it strengthened our mother-daughter relationship.

My parents did the same thing with my siblings.  It was either a mother-daughter weekend or a father-son weekend.  I also remember going on mother-daughter dates and/or father-son dates for birthdays when we were younger.  We would go to restaurants or movies.

Sometimes I think of the time that I spent as a child with my Heavenly Father and it seems to dim in comparison.  I have since changed and found that my relationship with my Heavenly Father is most important and dear to me.  I would not survive this life without that relationship.

Confiding in Parents

I am grateful for my ability to talk with both my earthly parents and my Heavenly Father.  With them, I can discuss my desires and my struggles.  They help me to understand my own thoughts and get back on the right track.

Mother-daughter and father-son relationships are vital.  They are truly a gift from our Heavenly Father.  I love my mother and father so much and am extremely grateful for their constant love and sacrifice for me.  I am forever indebted to my Heavenly Father.  How do you show you love and care for your earthly parents and your Heavenly Father?

 

Even greater blessings..

How quickly do you satisfy your hunger?

Saving

When I was little, I remember saving whatever change I could find so that I could buy something special.  I remember that sometimes it would take a long time before I had enough to buy a new toy.  I also remember putting my change in a piggy bank for when we went on vacation.

One year we actually had a large jar that we used for our vacation fund as a family.  We had to put aside immediate wants for this greater desire or want to go on a vacation to see a different part of the United States.

Many times what we may want or think we need in the present is something far less than what we may need or want in the future.  We have to be willing to wait and move onward without satisfying present appetites.

Enduring

During this period of saving, we may not have as many things immediately as we would like to have.  We in essence live below a comfort level at times.  Some, in different circumstances, may look at this period of saving as a hard trial in their life that does not seem to go away.

In my life now, I have daily had to be patient with myself in my limited capabilities.  I recognize the things that I have to not rush into all of the time in order to stay mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy.

What helps us to endure through this period is keeping our focus on what we ultimately want.  It may be extremely hard at times to not give in to carnal appetites and satisfy our wants.  As we remember our purpose and ask for help when help is needed, we can make it to our desired goal.

While we endure, we are not just sitting.  We are moving forward towards our goal, by not giving in to appetites and by making steps forward towards our goal as we put money into our savings, or as we gain new skills or new qualities.

The Ultimate Blessing

The greatest blessing that we can each receive is to be able to live with Heavenly Father again.  We are able to do this as we obey His commandments and endure to the end.  As we follow the example of Christ, we become more fit for the kingdom of God.

This principle of waiting patiently and enduring is evident in many aspects of our lives, but the overarching reason for this is so that we can return to our home in heaven again.

What helps you to not lose your eternal perspective?  What helps you to remember to be diligent in enduring to the end?  Are you just sitting and waiting for something to happen?  Are you just not satisfying carnal desires?  Or are you saving and denying yourself of immediate gratifications?  Is what you are doing working?  How can you make it more effective?

I know that Heavenly Father helps us to achieve our righteous desires.  He helps us to realize that patience is indeed a virtue.  We are blessed so much greater when we are patient and endure well.  I have seen this in my life as I was able to live through depression with the help of many others.  Now, I can say that my joy is much deeper.  I appreciate life so much more.  By living with the contrast and exact opposite of that, I have been able to be filled with greater joy and happiness in my life.  My life is a gift from my Heavenly Father.

He waits to bless me and you with the ultimate blessing of eternal life.  Let us live worthy of receiving this great gift.