Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Forgiveness...... His Grace.....

“And what about those who believe they have sinned beyond Christ’s redeeming grace? They can take comfort in His promise: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Or perhaps there are some who believe their lives are shattered beyond repair. Can they not have renewed hope in these words of the Savior: “[I will] give unto them beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3)? There is no problem, no obstacle to our divine destiny, for which the Savior’s Atonement does not have a remedy of superior healing and lifting power. That is why Mormon said, “Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moroni 7:41).”

Our Identity and Our Destiny, Tad R. Callister, BYU, August 14, 2012


Mere Christianity—C.S. Lewis

I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald.  Imagine yourself as a living house.  God comes in to rebuild that house.  At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing.  He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on:  You knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.  But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense.  What on earth is He up to?  The explanation is He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.  You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage; but He is building a palace.  He intends to come and live in it Himself.

The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas.  Nor is it a command to do the impossible.  He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command.  He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words.  If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us all into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness.  The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for.  Nothing less.  He meant what He said.

HIS Grace........Is.....

Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to change the onward and downward course of his life, or should there be those who fail to resolve to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than the words of the Lord: “My grace,” said He, “is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them

Thomas S. Monson, “Your Eternal Voyage,” Ensign, May 2000, 46

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What If.......

One Day at a Time

“What if….”  How often we hear these words from those who live with an addicts problems.  Only two little words, but they’re heavy with dread, fear and anxiety.

“What if he doesn’t come home?”—What if she doesn’t take care of the children while I’m at work?”---What if he spends all his pay on drugs?”
What if he is living on the street?”---What if he goes to jail?”---What if…anything our desperate imaginings can project.

Granted, these things can happen, but when they don’t, we have put ourselves through needless suffering and made ourselves even less prepared to deal with them if they should come.


In ARP, the answer to “What if… is “Don’t project!  Don’t imagine the worst; deal with your problems as they arise.  Live one day at a time.”  I cannot do anything about things that haven’t happened; I will not let past experiences make me dread the unknown future.

“It is a vain and unprofitable thing to conceive either grief or joy for future things

which perhaps will never come about.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Continue in Patience..........

We must learn that in the Lord’s plan, our understanding comes “line upon line, precept upon precept.”6 In short, knowledge and understanding come at the price of patience.
Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Continue in Patience,” Ensign, May 2010, 56–59

Boundaries in Marriage......

“…loving God must be first.  He empowers us to change. He tells us how to change.  And, most of all, God becomes the one that keeps us from being ultimately in charge.  If we try to be in charge, we will do it our way, and then our own limitations become the limitations of the relationship as well.  We all need someone bigger to answer to so we will make the changes we need to make.

Love God first, with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Lose your life to Him, and you will gain it.”

Boundaries in Marriage,  Cloud and Townsend, p 118

Things Will Be Set Right In The Millennium.....

“The Lord has promised that in the eternities no blessing will be denied his sons and daughters who keep the commandments, are true to their covenants, and desire what is right.

“Many of the most important deprivations of mortality will be set right in the Millennium, which is the time for fulfilling all that is incomplete in the great plan of happiness for all of our Father’s worthy children. We know that will be true of temple ordinances. I believe it will also be true of family relationships and experiences.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 75.

Endure and Move On.....

Sometimes we spend so much time trying to determine what we did wrong in the past to deserve the unpleasant happenings of the moment that we fail to resolve the challenges of the present.  Og Mandino wrote in his book The Greatest Miracle in the World. “If we lock ourselves in a prison of failure and self-pity, we are the only jailers…we have the only key to our freedom.”  We can let ourselves out of such a prison by turning to the Lord for strength.  With His help we can use our trials as stepping stones.  The keys are in our hands. “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (D&C 82:10.) If we are offended and resentful, can we believe that He is bound to help us in our tragedies and disappointments?  This scripture does not tell us how or when this commitment will be effective or realized, but His promise is real and binding.  Our challenge is to endure (progress).  There will always be testing’s and trials along life’s paths.  Heartaches and tragedies need not defeat us if we remember God’s promise.  A worthwhile attitude for all of us could well be, “Help me O Lord, to remember thy love for us and help us to be fortified by thy strength when our eyes are blurred with tears of sorrow and our vision is limited.”  It is expedient for all of us, particularly those who may be weighed down by grief because of acts of misconduct or misfortune, to recall that even the Prophet Joseph Smith had hours of despair because of his very trying experiences in the Liberty Jail.  Perhaps he too was entitled to question, “What did I do wrong?  What have I done to displease Thee, O Lord?  Where have I failed?  Why are the answers to my prayers and pleas withheld?”  In response to the feelings of his heart and mind he cried out; “O God, where art Thou?  And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place:” D&C 121:1.)  The reassuring response came: “MY SON, PEACE BE UNTO THY SOUL; THINE ADVERSITY AND THINE AFFLICTIONS SHALL BE BUT A SMALL MOMENT; “AND THEN IF THOU ENDURE IT WELL, GOD SHALL EXALT THEE ON HIGH; THOU SHALT TRIUMPH OVER ALL THY FOES.” (d&c 121: 7-8.)

Marvin J. Ashton, “If thou Endure it well,” Ensign, Nov. 1988,69

Gaining Faith.....

You can learn to use faith more effectively by applying this principle taught by Moroni: “Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”  Thus, every time you try your faith, that is, act in worthiness on an impression, you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. Those feelings will fortify your faith. As you repeat that pattern, your faith will become stronger. The Lord knows your needs. When you ask with honesty and real intent, He will prompt you to do that which will increase your ability to act in faith. With consistent practice, faith will become a vibrant, powerful, uplifting, inspiring force in your life. As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise. I testify that I know that is true.

Richard G. Scott, “The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing,” Ensign, May 2003, 75

Friday, July 19, 2013

“God helps those who don’t try to take over His work.”

I have tried everything.  He won’t listen to reason.  I’ve yelled and complained, paid bills, threatened to leave—nothing works”.

Of course not.  This is you applying the force, and that never works.  I suggest you stop taking action.  The only force that can change the pattern is the pressure that builds up inside of him when the family refuses to react any longer.  When he can’t count on your helping him, when you won’t assuage his guilt by fighting with him and you refuse to get him out of trouble then he’ll be compelled to face up to things.  In other words, try inaction instead of constantly figuring out something to do about him.

It is not easy to restrain ourselves from reaction to what others do that seems to affect us.  A healthy detachment brings about the very changes we were powerless to make by continually fighting the problem.
“God helps those who don’t try to take over His work.I have tried everything.  He won’t listen to reason.  I’ve yelled and complained, paid bills, threatened to leave—nothing works”.

Of course not.  This is you applying the force, and that never works.  I suggest you stop taking action.  The only force that can change the pattern is the pressure that builds up inside of him when the family refuses to react any longer.  When he can’t count on your helping him, when you won’t assuage his guilt by fighting with him and you refuse to get him out of trouble then he’ll be compelled to face up to things.  In other words, try inaction instead of constantly figuring out something to do about him.

It is not easy to restrain ourselves from reaction to what others do that seems to affect us.  A healthy detachment brings about the very changes we were powerless to make by continually fighting the problem.
“God helps those who don’t try to take over His work.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Christ Center homes..

Clearly in the God/Christ centered home the atmosphere is one of love.  Love is kindness, patience, affirmation of the other person’s worth.  In saying this, however, we are not saying that love is permissiveness, softness, ‘nice-guyness.’  True love, divine love-charity, or the love of Christ-is ‘tough.’  It involves standards, expectations, requirements, and disciplines.  The criterion or essence of divine love is the growth and development of the person loved, not his temporary pleasure or one’s own popularity.  Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is to hold another to the responsible course while he is condemning us for doing so, or to allow natural and logical consequences to teach him accountability and responsibility.  This ‘tough love,’ as some call it communicates that we care more for and believe more in that person than he does in himself.  We are saying we know he can do it, and that we will neither give up on him nor give in to him.”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

No Bitterness.......

There are other significant keys for coping. “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23.) Wise self-denial shrinks our sense of entitlement.

Another cardinal key is to “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you.” (Alma 34:38.)

Another vital way of coping was exemplified by Jesus. Though He suffered all manner of temptations (see Alma 7:11), yet He “gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). Unlike some of us, He did not fantasize, reconsider, or replay temptations. How is it that you and I do not see that while initially we are stronger and the temptations weaker, dalliance turns things upside down?

Jesus’ marvelous meekness prevented any “root of bitterness” from “springing up” in Him. (Heb. 12:15.)

Ponder the Savior’s precious words about the Atonement after He passed through it. There is no mention of the vinegar. No mention of the scourging. No mention of having been struck. No mention of having been spat upon. He does declare that He “suffer[ed] both body and spirit” in an exquisiteness which we simply cannot comprehend. (D&C 19:18; see also D&C 19:15.)

Irony: The Crust on the Bread of Adversity, NEAL A. MAXWELL, ENSIGN, MAY, 1989

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I learned that patience was far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience required actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort.
There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!

Understanding the Atonement.....

“Until then, my understanding of the Atonement was limited to repentance and forgiveness. I had been an active member of the Church all of my life—graduating from seminary, participating in institute, serving in a variety of callings, and raising my family to live by gospel standards—but I had never really understood the healing power of the Atonement. I had no idea how personal and penetrating it could be, no idea that it could heal my broken heart and take away the pain and hurt and anger and bitterness that I had been feeling for so many years.
Oh, how I wish I had understood that principle sooner! It wasn’t until I could give my pain and anguish to the Lord and let go of the wounds that had been festering within me that I could also begin to forgive my father and my brother. Then the real healing could start to take place.
It took some time to work through the issues that I was dealing with, but I began to feel peace in my life. Through my understanding of the Atonement, I was able to move past the crippling image I had created of myself and develop relationships with my family.
It was at this point that I had the previously mentioned discussion with the counselor in the stake presidency. It left me wondering if I had taken full advantage of the Atonement. For many years I had blamed my youthful mistakes on the fact that I had been abused. There were some unresolved sins in my life that I knew I needed to repent of in order to be completely healed. Moreover, I felt that my own repentance process was hinging on whether or not I could finally and completely forgive my father and my brother.
After some intense prayer and scripture study, I came to understand what I had to do to be healed from the wounds that had been inflicted on me. I spent several weeks tracking down people from my past that I had wronged in some way and trying to make restitution as best I could. It was not easy, but I knew that I was moving in the right direction in correcting things in my life. Once I was able to own my sins and quit blaming them on those who had hurt me, I was able to really let them go, to turn them over to the Lord and fully repent. Once again, I was amazed at the power of the Atonement to heal my soul and give me the strength to come unto the Savior.
Possibly the most amazing thing about this process has been watching the Lord work in my life. He has consistently placed me in situations that have led me to stretch myself and grow closer to Him. After talking to my stake priesthood leader and hearing his counsel, after visiting with my bishop and confessing my own sins, after contacting people I had not seen in 20 years and begging forgiveness from them, how could I not forgive those who had hurt me? The process of repenting reminded me that the power of the Atonement is not just for me but also for those who have committed sins against me. It is for the abused and the abuser alike.
No one heals from this type of abuse overnight. In fact, getting to the point in my life where I felt I could forgive those who had sinned against me took more than 20 years—20 years of actively trying to understand why these things had taken place and how I could get past them. It has been a long process to learn how to “come unto Christ,” but through that process, I have finally been able to allow Him to become, quite literally, my Savior and His grace was sufficient for me (see Moroni 10:30, 32).
I still have days when I struggle and wonder why I have had to deal with these things in my life. Even though I never would have chosen these experiences, I am grateful for my understanding of the Atonement and for the healing I have felt.”

Thursday, July 11, 2013


“… While there are many things we must make judgments about, the sins of another or the state of our own souls in comparison to others seems not to be among them.…Our own sins, no matter how few or seemingly insignificant, disqualify us as judges of other people’s sins. I love the words in Susan Evans McCloud’s familiar hymn: ‘Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see. Who am I to judge another? Lord, I would follow thee.’ (‘Lord, I Would Follow Thee,’ Hymns, no. 220) So far as possible, we should judge circumstances rather than people. In all our judgments we should apply righteous standards. And, in all of this we must remember the command to forgive….May God bless us that we may have that love and that we may show it in refraining from making final judgments of our fellowman. In those intermediate judgments we are responsible to make, may we judge righteously and with love.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “’Judge Not’ and Judging”, Ensign, Aug, 1999

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Self Pity.......

Self-pity blocks effective action. The more I indulge in it, the more I feel that the answer to my problem is a change in others and in society, not in myself. Thus I become a hopeless case.

Exhaustion is the result when I use my energy in mulling over the past with regret, or in trying to figure
ways to escape a future that has yet to arrive. Projecting an image of the future and anxiously hovering
over it, for fear that it will or won’t come true, uses all of my energy and leaves me unable to live today.
Yet living today is the only way to have a life.

I will have no thought for the future actions of others, neither expecting them to be better or worse as time goes on, for in such expectations I am really trying to create. I will love and let be.

All people are always changing. If I try to judge them, I do so only on what I think I know of them, failing to realize there is much I do not know. I will give others credit for attempts at progress and for having had many victories which are unknown.

I, too, am always changing, and I can make that change a constructive one, if I am willing. I CAN
CHANGE MYSELF. Others, I can only love.” (Codependent’s guide to the Twelve Steps, p 192)

Healing Through Christ Workbook,. P 140

Monday, July 1, 2013

Atonement/ Abuse...

Know that the wicked choice of others cannot completely destroy your agency unless you permit it. Their acts may cause pain, anguish, even physical harm, but they cannot destroy your eternal possibilities in this brief but crucial life on earth. You must understand that you are free to determine to overcome the harmful results of abuse. Your attitude can control the change for good in your life. It allows you to have the help the Lord intends you to receive. No one can take away your ultimate opportunities when you understand and live eternal law. The laws of your Heavenly Father and the atonement of the Lord have made it possible that you will not be robbed of the opportunities which come to the children of God.

Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse, Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May, 1992

Understand and Love Other People.....

The paradox of this divine tutorial also includes afflictions of some kind. Because Elder Maxwell was such a faithful student of discipleship, I draw again from him: “The very act of choosing to be a disciple . . . can bring to us a certain special suffering,” because affliction and chastening are “a form of learning as it is administered at the hands of a loving Father.”47 He also said, “If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are most difficult for us to do.”48 And so, he said, “sometimes the best people . . . have the worst experiences . . . because they are the most ready to learn.”49

After Elder Maxwell learned he had the leukemia that eventually took his life, he said, “I should have seen it coming.” Why? Because ever since Okinawa he had wanted to become a fully consecrated follower of Jesus—no matter what the price. And the more he desired the gift of charity—to love as Christ loves—the more he sensed how dear the price might be. Christ’s love is so deep that He took upon Himself the sins and afflictions of all mankind. Only in that way could He both pay for our sins and empathize with us enough to truly succor us—that is, run to us—with so much empathy that we can have complete confidence that He fully understands our sorrows. So, to love as Christ loves means we will somehow taste suffering ourselves—for the love and the affliction are but two sides of the same coin. Only by experiencing both sides can we understand and love other people with a depth that even approaches Christ’s love.

A Disciple’s Journey, BRUCE C. HAFEN, BYU Devotional Address, 5 February 2008