Spiritual Fitness

"Spiritual fitness seeks to answer important questions in life, the big questions like 'What's my purpose, what do I believe,'" said Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas Fussell, 354th Fighter Wing protestant chaplain. "Questions like those operate our daily lives and our beliefs; those beliefs in our heart of hearts will come out in our behaviors naturally.....Life happens and all that stuff tends to sit on us and we have to get it out somehow," said Fussell. "When we get the concerns and cares off of us, then we can be more focused, we can be more efficient and effective at what we do."


Welcome to my blog. Yes this is all about me... and maybe about you and things in your life.I am new at this so I will teach you patience and endurance... hopefully a laugh along the way. I will try to make following me as easy as possible.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Faith and Struggles....The connection

Hi there readers, lurkers and stalkers.  If you don't follow under one of those categories I might not know you but you are welcome here anyway.  After all insanity is hereditary... you get it from your kids. BWAHAHAHA!!

The last few weeks have been filled with blessings and struggles.  Sounds like life to me.  As a person with mental illness depending how bad it is depends what I can do or what works for me to stay where I can be at peace with me and life.  People with this problem will understand that statement.

I finally reached a point where I was holding onto the cliff with my fingernails.  I tried everything humanly and spiritually possible.  Nothing was working and I was truly getting terrified.  My children suffer during this and of course that makes me feel worse.  They are very loving and caring and try hard to make me laugh but everyone has a point when they have had enough.  We are after all only human.  I adore these two angels that are still at home and the thought of my problems hurting them rips my heart into pieces.  I pray harder.  My answer came to read Joseph Smith's Lectures on Faith.  This is from the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.  It can be found as an app or on http://www.mormonbeliefs.com/lectures_on_faith.htm..  I want to share the First part and share what I saw.  The peace it gave me and inspiration God gave me by the example of a Young Man in our Ward ( church).  RED will be the actual words from the book.  White will be my remarks. I have read this little book many times but somehow it touched me differently this time.  And I may fail to be able to convey that well.

1 FAITH being the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness, necessarily claims the first place in a course of lectures which are designed to unfold to the understanding the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

This of course reminded me of an article of Faith.  " We believe the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are, First Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,.Second, Repentance, third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, fourth , the laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."  Then I felt that faith has to go deeper then just faith in Jesus Christ.  So I excitedly read on.
2 In presenting the subject of faith, we shall observe the following order:
3 First, Faith itself--what it is:
4 Secondly, The object on which it rests; and
S Thirdly, The effects which flow from it.
6 Agreeably to this order we have first to show what faith is.

Yes I agreed we need to understand exactly what faith is and it's depth.  My excitement, for some reason, was growing and peace was starting to wash over me.

7 The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, in the eleventh chapter of that epistle, and first verse, gives the following definition of the word faith:
8 Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
9 From this we learn, that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen; and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.

This is where my mind started racing and opening like a flare going off in the darkness.  Yes we all know faith is the belief in things not seen  but put as "hoped for, the evidence of things which they have not seen; AND THE PRINCIPLE OF ACTION IN ALL INTELLIGENT BEINGS.  I felt that with such a depth and saw how much that really really meant!
10 If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of
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their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.

I cannot even put into words what happened when I read this and thoughts came into my mind!  Without faith we would be robots just sitting there or less!!!  Everything, EVERYTHING!  It all means faith.   At this moment, and I do not wish to embarrass a Young Man but God put him in my mind as if he was there talking to me, So sorry Porter, complain to God!  We had time to talk to him at his house about his goals and plans.  These were not things he just wished for, these were things that would happen because you could just feel it spread from him.  Porter is a Triathlon participator and a great one at that.  At this point he has a problem with his foot but his goal is to go for the Iron man competition.  Not hopes or wishes... he will do it.

I next saw myself standing in church at the pulpit.  I am talking about this subject and I feel like I my heart is in flight as if I were reading either Alma 26 or 29 (find and read it yourself). I won't quote  everything but just share.  I said Porter runs.  Porter swims and he doesn't just sit there wondering if he can, he gets up and does it because he has faith in his body and mind that he can.  He has faith he can stand.  As this is going on my heart rejoices because I see how every little thing we do no matter how small happens because of faith.  EVERYTHING!!!  And faith is not a one level thing.  It grows and expands.  It strengthens and becomes trust without reservation because we exercise it by standing up, running, walking be it spiritually or temporally.

I have always loved primary and have taught/been every position in it.  And we are to become as little children.  Little children have a sweet simple faith.  No doubt just "yup, gotta do it".  And I have always loved that and being in the world with them.  Then I saw a baby... we will pretend it is little Eden.  Eden cries... totally helpless.  But that cry is faith.  She is talking.  Mom, I'm hungry and I know you will take care of me.  Mom, I am awake and I don't see you.  Mom, I can't roll over and want to see something else.  Mom, someone made a mess in my diaper and I am not touching it!  And this sweet innocent child whom I totally believe an angel is still with until the bond is made with her earthly parents, simply has faith that she will be helped.  Taught until she can do some things for herself.  I am balling by now at how wonderful my God is and needing to stop crying because there was more. I then continue reading this next part.  And I have to say Porter was jumping in my mind as I read this all.

11 We're this class to go back and reflect upon the history of their lives, from the period of their first recollection, and ask themselves, what principle excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activity, in all their lawful avocations, callings and pursuits, what would be the answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which we had of the existence of things which we had not seen, as yet? Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to obtain them? Are you not dependent your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them?

I am crying and yelling in my heart, YES! YES! YES!

 Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap?  OF COURSE WE WOULDN'T!!

 Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather?  NO!!!  And then the next words touched my heart so deeply as if the Savior was there hugging me and taking my hand.  Showing me my strength and his help and his love!
Would you have ever asked unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you?  At this time everything changed.  I don't know what was given to me but I do know God gave me something.  And even though I have always felt struggles and trials are truly blessings because God loves us.  This time it was personal.  It was His arms, His belief in me, how He saw me and how great my worth was in HIS eyes.  And how much he loved me for enduring what I have as Job.

 In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions, of every kind, dependent your faith? Or may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess, which you have not obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings, are they not all by reason of your faith? Reflect, and ask yourselves, if these things are not so. Turn your thoughts on
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your own minds, and see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and if the moving cause in you, it it not in all other intelligent beings?
Yup, balling again and I had raccoon eyes. Waterproof mascara, RIIIIIGHT!! No faith there!

12 An as faith is the moving cause of all action in temporal concerns, so it is in spiritual; for the Savior has said, and that truly, that he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved. Mark 16:16.
13 As we receive by faith, all temporal blessings that we do receive, so we, in like manner, receive by faith all spiritual blessings, that we do receive. But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power, also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven, or on earth. Thus says the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, 11:3:
14 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God: so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 
15 By this we understand that the principle of power, which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power, existing in the Deity, that all created things exist-so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, exist by reason of faith, as it existed in HIM. By now I can hardly stand to read I wish I can just wash the words over me and bathe in them.  They aren't coming fast enough!!  And now POWER!!!  I have always believed and tried to draw upon the powers of heaven but this was different....  I HAD IT!!!  I have Trust without reservation and with that comes POWER!!  I had to put the book down and breath and let this feeling flow through me.  It was like Nephi talking of being consumed!  Then I went on.

16 Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust--it is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal, as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute, (for it is an attribute) from the Deity and he would cease to exist.
17 Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And that if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all
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the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man.
18 The Savior says, Matthew 17:19,20, in explaining the reason why the disciples could not cast out the devil, that it was because of their unbelief: "For verily, I say unto you," said he, "if ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place! and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
19 Moroni, while abridging and compiling the record of his fathers, has given us the following account of faith as the principle of power: He says, page 563, that it was the faith of Alma and Amulek which caused the walls of the prison to be wrent, as recorded on the 264th page; that it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi which caused a change to be wrought upon the hearts of the Lamanites, when they were immersed with the Holy Spirit, and with fire, as seen on the 421st page, and that it was by faith that the mountain Zerin was removed, when the brother of Jared spake in the name of the Lord. See also 565th page.
20 In addition to this we are told in Hebrews, 11:32, 33, 34, 35, that Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens; and that women received their dead raised to life again. &c. &c.
21 Also, Joshua, in the sight of all Israel, bade the sun and moon to stand still, and it was done. Josh. 10:12.
22 We here understand, that the sacred writers say, that all these things were done by faith--It was by faith that the worlds were framed--God spake, chaos heard, and worlds came into order, by reason of the faith there was in HIM. So with man also--he spake
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by faith in the name of God, and the sun stood still, the moon obeyed, mountains removed, prisons fell, lions' mouths were closed, the human heart lost its enmity, fire its violence, armies their power, the sword its terror, and death its dominion; and all this by reason of the faith which was in them.
23 Had it not been for the faith which was in man, they might have spoken to the sun, the moon, the mountains, prisons, lions, the human heart, fire, armies, the sword, or to death in vain!
24 Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things: by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeably to the will of God. Without it, there is no power, and without power there could be no creation, nor existence!

I have read all the discourses as admonished by my first Stake President.  I have read Miracles of Forgiveness and I have read so many books on so many gospel subjects.  I have read this book 3 times and never once did it affect me as it did now.  I understood what it said before  but my heart was not ready nor was my need great enough.  I had just had Christmas.  I had just been told that my Father understands and adores me.  The greatest gift that can be given to any of his children while on this earth, was just given to me.  And I know it can be given to you.  Thank you Porter and all the Primary children I have had the blessings to know.  Some married with children of their own.  I was open to this blessing because you were in my life.  Amen.

I would ask for comments here as it gives me access later when I ponder.  Thank you!

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