Many live day to day without an awareness of God and His goodness. How much better it would be if all could be more aware of God's love and express gratitude to Him, said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Speaking Sunday morning, the apostle declared that God is the "Father of our spirits" and "when He created us physically, we were created in the image of God," each with a personal body.
"Think of our physical sustenance," he said. "It is truly heaven-sent. The necessities of air, food and water all come to us gifts from a loving Heavenly Father. The earth was created to support our brief sojourn in mortality. We were born with a capacity to grow, love, marry and form families."
Marriage and family, he added, are ordained of God, and the family is the most important social unit in time and eternity.
Central to God's eternal plan is the mission of His Son Jesus Christ. "He came to redeem God's children. Because of the Lord's Atonement, resurrection (or immortality) became a reality. Because of the Atonement, eternal life became a possibility for all who would qualify."
Elder Nelson said a loving God has provided His children with physical and spiritual gifts. Each organ of the body is a wondrous gift from God — from the eyes to the heart and to the body's remarkable ability to heal and renew itself.
"Yet some people erroneously think that these marvelous physical attributes happened by chance or resulted from a big bang somewhere," he said. "Ask yourself, 'Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?' The likelihood is most remote. But if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer editions."
Death, like birth, is part of life. "To return to God through the gateway we call death is a joy for those who love Him and are prepared to meet Him."
As important as is the body, it serves as a tabernacle for one's eternal spirit, he said. "Our spirits existed in the premortal realm and will continue to live after the body dies. The spirit provides the body with animation and personality. In this life and in the next, spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth."
Elder Nelson then spoke of the eternal importance of the spirit. "The attributes by which we shall be judged one day are all spiritual. These include love, virtue, integrity, compassion and service to others. Your spirit, coupled with and housed in your body, is able to develop and manifest these attributes in ways that are vital to you eternal progression.
"Spiritual progress is attained through steps of faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, including the endowment and sealing ordinances of the holy temple."
It is one's challenge to access the power of the Atonement each day to become more Christlike and live eternally with God, Jesus Christ and the family, Elder Nelson said.