Monday, September 16, 2013

Look In a Person's Eye Long Enough......

“When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we will not sin. We will be filled with wisdom, and we will be able to have the fruits to heal the wounds of the afflicted and to build a community of Saints. It is also obvious that without constant efforts, it will be very difficult to always be focused on our most righteous desires. Therefore, I want to share with you a vehicle, an instrument, that I developed some time ago for myself and for my family. It can assist us to reach our focus as we read the suggested vision of true discipleship as a Latter-day Saint. It helps when, from time to time, we ponder and seek identification with the following thoughts:
* When you cannot love someone, look into that person's eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in him. “

Unleashing the Dormant Spirit,  F. ENZIO BUSCHE,  BYU May, 1996

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Making Sense of Suffering, Plan A......?

Making Sense of Suffering

Facing a major loss, one faithful man asked, “So is that the end of plan A?”  In other words, had the Lord for some reason canceled the main event, the highest blessings?  Of course not.  Our Father leads us into valleys, but ahead of us are even greater elevations than we have known before.  The greatest days are yet to come.  With each passing mile, plan A gets closer all the time.

What is man…that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?  And…visit him every morning, and try him every moment?
Job, for one, may have felt God had too many plans for him! Why all this close trying and training all the starting over again?  God was not following Job’s plan, he was changing Job into a grand and holy being!  He placed Job below the angels and monitored him incessantly.  God’s attention to us comes not from too little love for us but from what C. S. Lewis called “the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Before we accomplish plan A, we face ironies—humble preliminaries that seem unrelated to the main event.  In the tedious cultivation, in the rambling route of agency, in the time-consuming preparations, even the faithful seldom notice God’s hand moving them toward plan A.  Jesus himself had to descend before ascending.  Surely we are no greater than he.

He raiseth up the poor…to set them among princes,…to make them inherit the throne of glory.
But later comes the good kind of irony: wondrous reversals.  Plan A. the main event, emerges.  For example, countless people have gone through a whole mortal existence without basic blessings—health, sanity, happiness, parents, spouse, children—or have lost them along the way.  But there awaits, perhaps in the world of spirits, a stunning harvest after all that hoping and hoeing, thanks to the God of perfect reversals.
Thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Timing is everything.  God unfolds his deliverance in customized ways that a less comprehending being could never attempt.

Each trial in life is tailored to the individual’s capacities and needs.

We need more, not less, irony in our diets.  We need God’s careful planning, his watchful eye, his miraculous tailoring of our trials.  Whatever other crying we do, we must cry unto him for all our support.  With that support, we will see the puzzle come together and the main event at last unfold.  We are each getting closer, even now


“When my spirit is in turmoil and my troubled thoughts race round and round, and I try to reason myself out of this frame of mind, it may be well to stop reasoning and hold fast to a single idea that speaks of quiet and serenity.  One such is: Keep it Simple.
Probably there is nothing I can do now-this minute, this hour, today-to solve the problem that is gnawing at my peace of mind.  Then to what purpose do I torment myself?
I will stop trying to figure out ways and means.  I will not rehash, over and over, thoughts so bitter that they can make me feel physically ill.  I sill empty my mind of all this perplexity and hold to just one simple thought while I wait for God’s guidance.
Today’s Reminder:
The things that trouble me are often too complex to yield to human reasoning.  Indeed their only reality may be in my confused thoughts.  When I reach such an impasse and I remind myself to Keep it Simple I will find myself being restored to composure.
‘Under the shadow of Thy wing shall be my refuge until this tyranny be overpast.’ (Book of Common Prayer.)

ODAT in Alanon, p 205

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Now is the time To Repent......

Now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.  For behold, this live is the time for men to prepare to meet God.  (Alma 34:31-32

In a sense, every day is a day of decision.  We must decide whether we will continue faithful, remain open to spiritual promptings and keep our covenants.  We must decide whether we will continue to pause on our present spiritual plateau or choose instead to fight the inertia and climb higher.  Every thought, every feeling, every action contributes to who we are and what we are becoming, and thus either adds or detracts from the eventual realization of our salvation.  Thus today is “The time for men to prepare to meet God.”  There is nothing we can do about the past, except to repent, and the future doesn’t belong to us yet.  We have only now.  If we are striving to keep the commandments and cultivate the spirit of revelation, then it could be said of us.  As it was said of former-day Saints, that “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans13:11)

Timing and Faith!

“So what should be done in the meantime? Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares us for whatever life brings. This kind of faith prepares us to deal with life's opportunities--to take advantage of those that are received and to persist through the disappointments of those that are lost. In the exercise of that faith we should commit ourselves to the priorities and standards we will follow on matters we do not control and persist faithfully in those commitments whatever happens to us because of the agency of others or the timing of the Lord. When we do this, we will have a constancy in our lives that will give us direction and peace. Whatever the circumstances beyond our control, our commitments and standards can be constant.”
Timing, DALLIN H. OAKS, BYU, 29 January 2002

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Marriage and Timing.........

This has helped us. Perhaps it will be of help to you.  Allen and Linda
Someone has said that life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. Because of things over which we have no control, we cannot plan and bring to pass everything we desire in our lives. Many important things will occur in our lives that we have not planned, and not all of them will be welcome….Even our most righteous desires may elude us, or come in different ways or at different times than we have sought to plan.
For example, we cannot be sure that we will marry as soon as we desire. A marriage that is timely in our view may be our blessing or it may not…
The timing of marriage is perhaps the best example of an extremely important event in our lives that is almost impossible to plan. Like other important mortal events that depend on the agency of others or the will and timing of the Lord, marriage cannot be anticipated or planned with certainty. We can and should work for and pray for our righteous desires, but, despite this, many will remain single well beyond their desired time for marriage.
Timing, DALLIN H. OAKS, BYU, 29 January 2002
* God knows better than you what you need. He always attempts to speak to you. Listen, and follow the uncomfortable suggestions that he makes to us--everything will fall into its place. “
Unleashing the Dormant Spirit,  F. ENZIO BUSCHE,  BYU May, 1996

Monday, September 9, 2013

Do nothing to alleviate the pain.......

“Love is often difficult to show, especially when it results in pain.  When someone we love abuses alcohol or other drugs that are harmful, choose behaviors that are wrong, our tendency is to help him out of his problems because we love him…The problem drinker [and other addicts] must experience for himself the consequences of his drinking [or addiction]…The object is not to be vengeful, but rather to motivate him to receive the help he needs to overcome his problem.  By showing “tough-love,” we do what is best for him.  Circumstances and inescapable choices motivate change.  Threats only cause a problem drinker [or other addicts] to make promises that he seldom keeps. (Resource Manual for Helping Families with Alcohol Problems, LDS Church, 1984 pg 99.)

A general rule for those wishing to be helpful is:  Do nothing to alleviate the pain of an addict!  (Hold On To Hope., P 102.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Ultimately, the responsibility to learn by faith and apply spiritual truth rests upon each of us individually. This is an increasingly serious and important responsibility in the world in which we do now and will yet live. What, how, and when we learn is supported by—but is not dependent upon—an instructor, a method of presentation, or a specific topic or lesson format.

Truly, one of the great challenges of mortality is to seek learning by faith. The Prophet Joseph Smith best summarizes the learning process and outcomes I am attempting to describe. In response to a request by
the Twelve Apostles for instruction, Joseph taught, “The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching” (History of the Church, 4:425).

And on another occasion, the Prophet Joseph explained that “reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God” (History of the Church, 6:50).

SEEK LEARNING BY FAITH, Elder David A. Bednar, Address to CES Religious Educators • February 3, 2006

Saturday, September 7, 2013


The power of hope expressed in these examples is sometimes rewarded with repentance and reformation, but sometimes it is not. Personal circumstances vary greatly. We cannot control and we are not responsible for the choices of others, even when they impact us so painfully. I am sure the Lord loves and blesses husbands and wives who lovingly try to help spouses struggling with such deep problems as pornography or other addictive behavior or with the long-term consequences of childhood abuse.
Whatever the outcome and no matter how difficult your experiences, you have the promise that you will not be denied the blessings of eternal family relationships if you love the Lord, keep His commandments, and just do the best you can. When young Jacob “suffered afflictions and much sorrow” from the actions of other family members, Father Lehi assured him, “Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain” (2 Nephi 2:1–2). Similarly, the Apostle Paul assured us that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).

Dallin H. Oaks, “Divorce,” Liahona, May 2007, 70–73

Friday, September 6, 2013


“When it comes to the question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different.  It is the same because, here also, forgiving does not mean excusing.  Many people seem to think it does.  They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that that there was really no cheating or no bullying.  But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive.  They keep on replying, “But I tell you the man broke a most solemn promise. “ Exactly: that is precisely what you have to forgive. (This doesn’t mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise.  It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart-every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.) The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God’s forgiveness is this.  In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.  As regards my own sins it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men’s sins against me it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are better than I think. One must therefore begin by attending to everything which may show that the other man was not so much to blame as we thought. But even if he is absolutely fully to blame we still have to forgive him; and even if ninety-nine percent of his apparent guilt can be explained away by really good excuses, the problem of forgiveness begins with the one percent of guilt which is left over.  To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life-to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son-how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.”  We are offered forgiveness on no other terms.  To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.”

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Falsely Measure Our Fortunes.....

How easy it is to falsely measure our fortunes.  When we have more money, health, honor, or pleasure, are we winning?  Not necessarily, for our ills and fortunes are tests, not grades.
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things…And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.  But…he rebuked Peter, saying…
Thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
Even the chief apostle, Peter, early in his growth, found it hard to savor or value what was best.  To savor the wrong things guarantees unhappiness.  Suffering is a time to reeducate our hopes, our savoring reflexes.  It offers us an elevated spot above the landscape, a rare view, a chance at real wisdom.  But haste and self-pity can deny us the solemn and sweet fruit of wisdom, just when it is ripe.  In haste, we forget to reflect.  In self-pity, we ask the wrong questions.
To ask, Why does this have to happen to me?...will lead you into blind alleys,…Rather ask, What am I to do?  What am I to learn from this experience?
What am I to change?  Whom am I to help?
To learn from adversity, we need to slow down, kneel down, listen carefully, and consult the sacred books.  We even make our own sacred record, a book of remembrances and reflections.  We can consider the suffering of those around us.  We can think about him who bore all burdens.
In the day of adversity consider.
If we consider well, without haste and self-pity, the Father’s mind will at length whisper to ours.  We will see past the outward, we will be settled, even in the smallest holdings and poorest fortunes.  We will know that an outward loss opens the door to inner gain.
The emergency in your life may invite my life into action.  You will then be like the blind man who helped others to see.  If we consider well, we may see the mission in our submission.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.

Not far from our life’s lessons is the Teacher.  We endure his lessons well by considering them well, by trusting him, and living what he teaches.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Blessings of God.....

If I believe that it is hopeless to expect any improvement in my life, I am doubting the power of God.  If I believe I have reason for despair, I am confessing personal failure, for I DO have the power to change myself, and nothing can prevent it but my own unwillingness.

Never let me imagine that my satisfaction with life depends on what someone else may do.  This is a thinking error I can get rid of in ARP.  I can learn to avail myself of the immense, inexhaustible power of God, if I am willing to be continually conscious of God’s nearness.

Today’s Reminder
   I am not at the mercy of a cruel or capricious fate, for I have the power to determine what my life will be.  I am not alone.  I have the power to determine what my life will be.  I am not alone.  I have the confidence and faith of all ARP to support my efforts, as it is expressed in the loving concern and help of the friends in my group.  I am not alone, because God is with me whenever I make myself aware of Him.

       “To be without hope is to deny the wonderful possibilities of the future and the blessings of God”

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Parents Love.........

Although we bring personal weaknesses to our parenting that may provide real opposition for our children, we do not need to feel that all is lost. We remember that our Heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning. (See Abr. 2:8.) He knew beforehand the ignorance, the failings, the confusion, and the spiritual infirmities of each of his children— including those who would become parents. Knowing all these things, the Lord prepared the gospel plan and allowed us the experiences of mortality, with certain compensations and blessings and talents available within the child or along life’s path that would help the child as he or she struggled with opposition. God provides ample opportunity to learn and recover from the opposition (for us and our loved ones). (See 2 Ne. 2:11, 15; Ether 12:27, 37.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Elder Holland...Personal Faith..............

“My appeal is that you nurture your own physical and spiritual strength so that you have a deep reservoir of faith to call upon when tasks or challenges or demands of one kind or another come. Pray a little more, study a little more, shut out the noise and shut down the clamor, enjoy nature, call down personal revelation, search your soul, and search the heavens for the testimony that led our pioneer parents. Then, when you need to reach down inside a little deeper and a little farther to face life and do your work, you will be sure there is something down there to call upon.
When you have your own faith, you are prepared to bless your family.

Faith to Answer the Call,  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, July, 2011