IF YOU’RE GOING TO BELIEVE HIM, YOU MIGHT AS WELL TRUST HIM

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Would a God who made such a beautiful world let you down? Would he allow you to suffer needlessly? No, he would allow you to suffer needfully. You, however, can reject the purpose in your suffering and render it needless all by yourself. The simplest way to do this is to require understanding of the purpose before you accept it. As for me, I want credit for the suffering. I’m going to suffer anyway; I might as well suffer with a purpose. The simplest way to do that is to believe there is a purpose to the suffering even if you don’t understand it.

Like all roads in the ancient world led to Rome, all lessons in the modern world lead to Job.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”

Continue reading “IF YOU’RE GOING TO BELIEVE HIM, YOU MIGHT AS WELL TRUST HIM”

WHEN GOD SHOWS YOU WHAT THE TARGET ISN’T

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I can’t remember if I’ve shared my theory about Structural Obstacles, but it bears repeating even if I have.

Structural obstacles are situations in life where you have no choice but to change course. I’m not talking about the kind of course change where your doctor says, “If you don’t give up the Krispy Kremes and the Diet Pepsi, you’ll go to an early grave.” That course change was brought about by your own choices. No, I’m talking about the kind of course change that nothing you did, do, or could do would matter.

For example, your plane can’t take off because of bad weather and you miss your connecting flight; the City informs you they’re removing all the old growth trees in front of your house to make a sidewalk; you’re one of fifty people let go on the job; the love of your life marries someone else; you’re not able to have children; the list is really endless.  Continue reading “WHEN GOD SHOWS YOU WHAT THE TARGET ISN’T”

IF YOU WERE GOD FOR A DAY

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If you were God for a day, what three things would you do? Don’t worry about that pesky agency of others thing. Since it’s only for a day, you’re technically not co-opting anyone’s agency. Everything will revert back to the way it was before your God day; the only thing that will linger is whatever spiritual enlightenment the experience brought someone. Feel free to be as controlling as you wish.

I would: Continue reading “IF YOU WERE GOD FOR A DAY”

ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF

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To believe in the Second Coming is to believe we get one day closer to it every day. No matter who is tweeting what about whom at what hour of the night or day, we know how the story ends: Christ comes back. There’s no footnote in the Bible that says he comes back unless. There’s no footnote that says he comes back sooner if or later if.

But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. – Mark 13:32

The truth is, we have no flipping idea when he’s coming. We do know that God prepares his children for the hard things he requires of us. So let’s assume that, since Christ isn’t back yet, our Father in Heaven is preparing us to handle the event.

I personally have never wanted to be here when it happens because it sounds sooooo hard. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all in—but it has always felt like it would be such a relief to miss that particular cataclysm.

Until now. Continue reading “ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF”

WHOEVER IS RIGHTEOUS, STAND UP

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There are so many ways we hold ourselves back from God, some of them kinda on purpose because it’s easier, some of them sincerely misguided. Misunderstanding or misapplying the word “righteous” might be a little of both.

Righteous – characterized by uprightness or morality; morally right or justifiable.

We’re commanded to be righteous, but the word is off-putting, because who is arrogant enough to consider themselves righteous? At least in the way we normally think of righteous. So that can’t be the way God means it. He doesn’t command us to strive after something that renders us prideful.

Alternatively, who wants to be righteous? That doesn’t sound like any fun. At least in the way we normally think of righteous. Continue reading “WHOEVER IS RIGHTEOUS, STAND UP”

LET’S REMEMBER OUR ALLIES FROM THE WAR IN HEAVEN

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And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels – Revelation 12:7

 

War in Heaven is a term in the LDS Bible Dictionary.

This term arises out of Rev. 12:7 and refers to the conflict that took place in the premortal existence among the spirit children of God. The war was primarily over how and in what manner the plan of salvation would be administered to the forthcoming human family upon the earth. The issues involved such things as agency, how to gain salvation, and who should be the Redeemer. The war broke out because one-third of the spirits refused to accept the appointment of Jesus Christ as the Savior. Such a refusal was a rebellion against the Father’s plan of redemption. It was evident that if given agency, some persons would fall short of complete salvation; Lucifer and his followers wanted salvation to come automatically to all who passed through mortality, without regard to individual preference, agency, or voluntary dedication (see Isa. 14:12–20; Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:4–13; D&C 29:36–38; Moses 4:1–4). The spirits who thus rebelled and persisted were thrust out of heaven and cast down to the earth without mortal bodies, “and thus came the devil and his angels” (D&C 29:37; see also Rev. 12:9; Abr. 3:24–28).

The spirits who rebelled are referred to in the New Testament as “angels who kept not their first estate.”

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. – Jude 1:6 Continue reading “LET’S REMEMBER OUR ALLIES FROM THE WAR IN HEAVEN”

INVITE THE LIGHT

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Whether you call them angels or spirits or energies or something else, we’re surrounded all the time by light and dark. The light, obviously, is from God and is spiritual light, intelligence, and knowledge. We experience it as peace, hope, clarity, gratitude, meekness, love, and joy (if we’re lucky).

The dark is from whatever you want to call it that works against God. A lot of people call that the devil. I like the word Adversary because it perfectly captures how he works against God, and against us. We experience it as anxiety, grumpiness, ingratitude, bitterness, negativity, pessimism, and fatigue.

As with everything in life, our agency is the determining factor in how much light and dark surround us. The dark has no respect for our agency and crowds in on us incessantly. The light, on the other hand, is from God and cannot violate our agency. It can’t come in unless it’s invited. Just like the Savior stands at the door and knocks, but we have to be the ones who open the door to let him in.

The cool thing about light is that even one drop of it can dispel the darkest gloom. One drop of light changes everything.

Invite the light.

JOB DIDN’T CURSE GOD, BUT HE HAD A HECKUVA MELTDOWN

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There’s nothing like the Old Testament for a little light reading, especially Job with his painful boils. If nothing else, it ought to make you grateful you’re not him. But you are him in a way, and so am I. Most of us don’t relate to his station in life—he was in the 1 percent of his day—but we all relate to his meltdown.

Satan has killed his animals, his servants who were with the animals, and all of his sons and daughters. Satan has afflicted him with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown, and his wife has urged him to curse God and die. He doesn’t, and that’s why he has his own book in the Bible. But he sure has a heckuva meltdown.

The entirety of chapter three is his curse of the day he was born, a curse that literally goes on and on and on. It’s nothing but curse for 26 verses. In the first 26 verses of Genesis, God creates the heavens and earth, day and night, the vegetable and animal kingdoms, and Adam. Job doesn’t even finish a thought.  Continue reading “JOB DIDN’T CURSE GOD, BUT HE HAD A HECKUVA MELTDOWN”

WHAT DOES GOD’S LOVE LOOK LIKE?

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It looks like whatever you see in front of you, because God’s love is unconditional. No matter what we do, we can’t make him stop loving us. Just like we earthly parents can’t stop loving our children no matter what they do (at least in theory). Unconditional love is his free gift to all.

Peace and happiness, on the other hand, are conditional. They arise from living in harmony with God’s will, which is conditional upon our asking, seeking, and finding Him.

The highest expression of unconditional love is the Resurrection. It doesn’t matter what we do, none of us can lose the Resurrection. It’s Christ’s free gift to all.

The deepest experience of peace and happiness is the Atonement, whose sweet cleansing from sin and pain and fear transforms our mind and renews our body. Unlike the resurrection, the Atonement requires effort on our part to make it real. Without our whole heart, it’s just doctrine. Continue reading “WHAT DOES GOD’S LOVE LOOK LIKE?”