Have You Ever Felt Like You Were In A Dark and Dreary Wasteland?

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A Book of Mormon Parable

And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream….
I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.
And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies…
And after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field…
And I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
I did go forth and partake of the fruit; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted….
And as I partook of the fruit it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also….
And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.
And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and [there] I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.
And I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit…
And they did come… and partook of the fruit also….
And I beheld a rod of iron, which extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.
I also beheld a path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.
And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain their path which leads unto the tree by which I stood.
And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
And then there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that those who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost…
I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.
But after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
And… [some at the tree] because of those that were scoffing at them; fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.
And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father.
But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.
And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths…; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.


And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God (to each heart), which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 8, 11

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Why Do The Righteous Suffer?

Job-camel-copyRighteous living does tend to bring its own rewards, but it doesn’t protect people from suffering or hardship.

The story of Job is a fantastical poem of God making a bet with Satan, but it was written in the Bible to teach a real-life lesson.

Job is a rich man living with his large family and extensive flocks.

Job is “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil.

Yet, Job receives news that his livestock, servants, and ten children have all died due to marauding invaders or natural catastrophes. He goes on to lose his health, looks, and friends.

Job is miserable, but can now better empathize with other people’s pain.

Despite accusations of sin, Job begins to understand that bad things happen to good people. That being “good” doesn’t protect you from tragedy. He learns that horrible things happen to innocent people all the time. He sees it in his own story and in the world. He realizes that it is an illusion to believe that if you do good you will always be “blessed” with good fortune.

He realizes that justice in this world does not exist in terms of suffering and ease. The world is filled with injustice. It is erroneous to believe that people always bring upon themselves their own suffering, or that their suffering is equal to the exactness of what they deserve.

Job’s friends suggest he must be a sinner and his children must have brought their deaths upon themselves through their own erroneous actions, but Job knows it isn’t true.

This teaches us that our sufferings or ease in life are not the point and we shouldn’t get too attached and reliant upon our current conditions.  We also shouldn’t judge others, assuming they have brought their own hardships or misery upon themselves through bad decisions because we don’t know their whole story.

We learn from Job that meaning needs to come from something other than how well we are prospering.

“Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return,” states Job.

Job continues to praise God because that is all that really matters in the end- our relationship with God and His love.

Job learns that we can’t fully understand or comprehend God, but Job decides to persist in pursuing wisdom by staying loyal to God and avoiding evil. Besides some confusion and lamenting, he decides to fully accept whatever circumstances he finds himself in.

In the story- Job is materially rewarded in the end by God, perhaps to symbolize an eternal reward, but this may or may not be someone else’s story. Whether or not we prosper or suffer, God’s love, comfort, and sustenance are always there if we tune into His presence and work to show that love to others.

  • The Story of Job/Old Testament

 

How Can I Recognize The Spirit?

rainbow2Miracles heal because they deny body-identification and affirm spirit-identification.

The children of God are holy and perfect spirits.

By recognizing your spirit, your perception and perspective is corrected.

Spirit is at the center of life.

Miracles are God’s intercession through the Holy Spirit to your spirit or Christ within.

The Holy Spirit is the mechanism of miracles. It separates the light from the darkness.

Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.

Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God’s forgiveness by extending it to others. Miracles are expressions of love.

A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking.

The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement.

Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with Christ for the salvation or release of all of God’s creations.

Spirit is in a state of grace forever.

Your reality is only spirit.

Therefore you are in a state of grace forever. 

You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive, so shall you behave.

You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.

The Atonement itself is one, uniting all creation with their Creator.

A Course in Miracles

 

 

How Can I Let My Light Shine?

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13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?..
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine!..

What are some ways to let your light shine?

  • New Testament (Mathew 5)

How Do I Find God?

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And when [Jesus] was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

  • New Testament  (Luke 17: 20-21)

True Miracles

Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.

The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense, everything that comes from love is a miracle….

Miracles are healing because they supply a lack… All expressions of love bring more love to both the giver and the receiver.

Through prayer, love is received, and through miracles, love is expressed.

Each day should be devoted to miracles… Use time constructively…

Learn that it is as blessed to give as to receive.

Miracles transcend the body. They are sudden shifts…. That is why they heal…

A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service you can render to another… You recognize your own and your neighbor’s worth simultaneously.

Miracles awaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body is the altar of truth.

  • A Course In Miracles