Friday, December 12, 2014

#4 I will not shrink, nor tarry, but press forward in Christ..

I thought I was done writing about the atonement but as I was praying this morning I had many thoughts come into my mind that I should write one more thing about the atonement.  These atonement posts have been hard for me, well, they’re all hard, but the atonement ones especially.  But, here is one more.
The atonement is an enabling and strengthening power.  Asking to have the atonement applied to strengthen you or enable you, to go beyond what you feel you can, is what we missionaries call, “Getting outside your comfort zone”.  Feeling the spirit prompt us is God’s messages of what He wants us to do; the spirit always invites us to act.  I wonder if that invitation to act is always slightly outside of our comfort zone.  For me I think it is. 
To really be able to obey the spirit and do what He invites can be difficult, causing us to shrink. Think: talking to a friend or stranger about the gospel, going back to school, quitting a job to stay home with the kids, exercising early, eating healthy, kneeling in the morning to pray instead of laying in bed to do it, paying tithing, reading scriptures when there is a million things to do, etc. etc.  This is when we tell the Lord, “I can’t do that, I am not able, I am too tired and What are you thinking Lord, there is no way that is happening.”  We shrink!  That’s because we think we have to do it by ourselves, we are right though; we aren’t able, not capable, not skilled enough, to tired, etc.  That’s why we shrink!
The key is to recognize, I can do easy by myself and when I shrink I am trying to do it by myself.  Doing the will of the Lord can be difficult.  To do all that He is asking of us we need to rely on His power; on Him.  How do we do that?   We call down the power of heaven to help us do what He would have us do! We ask!  Accessing the power of the atonement is literally there for the asking.  It sounds like this, “Please give me strength to get out of this bed and kneel to pray.  “Please enable me beyond my ability to talk right now to this friend about the gospel. “Please bless me with the desire to pay my tithing.
 “Please take this temptation away from me to…..”  “If you want me to do this Lord please make me less…..”   We ask for help in doing what the Lord is asking us to do.  Genius.  Love it.
Missionary work is the perfect example to talk about this principle.  Everything about missionary work is new and outside of the comfort zone for these young people.  They are asked to, study the gospel for 2 hours every day, talk to everyone, preach the gospel to strangers, weekly plan 10 days ahead and then nightly plan for the next day, be with a companion 24/7, act appropriately at all times, get up at 6:30am and exercise, forget yourself, work hard, eat healthy, love, serve, and be happy while you’re doing all of it!  Believe it or not I could go on!  You can see these young people are in a demanding position.  But the beauty of it is they are not alone.  They can call down the power of heaven to help them in all of it.  Some do and they flourish, some don’t and they, “tarry in the wilderness”. (I love that phrase, it’s the perfect way to describe not progressing.)
We have a natural man inside of us.  This natural man wants us to live by, “I can’t, I’m not able, I’m too tired.”  The natural man wants to live by fear and negativity.  But we also have a son/daughter of God inside of us.  To turn away from the pull of that natural man and embrace the child of God and feed him/her takes work, strength and confidence.  For me the biggest natural man pull is fear.  To turn to the daughter of God inside of me and live by that, takes the atonement.  I have to have the Lords help and power to make more of me than what I am.  I have to ask and turn and rely on Him, then I am able to do His work, have the strength for it and feel confident in doing it.
Feeding the natural man is easy.  See, I can do easy all by myself.  (I love that phrase also)  But if I want to do hard, then I need the power Jesus offers me.  The adversary wants us to believe we are alone, we aren’t capable.  Missionaries fall into this trap just like everyone else.  They struggle with working hard, talking to everyone, being organized in their plans, loving, etc.  Some can go through the motions of, “doing” it all, but they are doing it on their own so they don’t feel successful.  Accessing the power of God means you rely on Him to do it His way, not just go through the motions, doing it your way.
For those who ask for power to accomplish the work God invites them to do; relying on Him to strengthen them to work, carry them through the lesson, enable them to keep the schedule, speak for them when talking to strangers, and speak to them to know how to be appropriate at all times, will have God’s power given to them and develop a bond with Him from seeing his power working through them.  It’s awesome to see this kind of growth.  I love it!
Accessing the power of the atonement to do His will is done by having that prayer in your heart to be strengthened, lifted, enabled, and carried while you go forward getting outside of your comfort zone.
This blog is the perfect example for me of this.  I talked about this in my first post, “I am having a victory today.”  For two years I told the Lord I couldn’t do this, and kept receiving promptings I should.  After a strong spiritual experience where I woke up in the middle of the night and felt the words in my heart, “You are trading a mess of pottage for your birthright.”  What this meant to me was, I was giving in to comfort, (pottage) instead of being a fully consecrated missionary,(birthright). I know that sounds strong, but that isn’t even as strong as it shot into my heart. I decided I wanted the pain of writing a blog more than I wanted the pain of guilt of denying these strong impressions I had had.  I finally quit relying on myself to do it.  Duh.  If the Lord wants me to do something ask Him to make it happen.  So I started praying like crazy for Him to give me time, the words and the confidence to do it.  And He has. 
I am a not a writer but I write.  I am not a speaker but I speak.  I am not a runner but I run.  I am not so many things, but I can do what the Lord asks me to do, because He makes me capable.  And if there is anything good that comes because I write or speak I know it’s just Him making it good for me.  I’m not just saying that.  It really is true.  I rarely have much time to prepare my talks in stake conference or doctrine training, but I prepare myself through prayer and scriptures daily and then I listen to what my heart is telling me to say, and I just say it.  I can feel that it is good, because it’s Him not me.  I just have to get out of the way; my fear, my agenda, my thoughts, my concern, my worry and let Him do His work.
It is so easy to give in to the natural man and believe we can’t do what the spirit is inviting us to do.  I only know this because of my own experience.  I have been receiving a prompting that I need to widen my circle and ask people to share my link if they like something they read.  And I haven’t done it.  What prevents me is my usual fear, it is a very subtle voice that people will think I am prideful; that I think my blog is good so re-post my stuff.  It’s uncomfortable!  I need to trust the Lord and not fear. 
Rats…. Here goes:

My purpose in writing this post is to bring people closer to Christ.  This is a spiritual blog about my experience with spiritual things.  “Pray, Repent, Love, Repeat”, is really a metaphor for the gospel.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receive the Holy Ghost and Endure to the end. Faith is Prayer, Repent is Repent, Baptism and Receiving the Holy Ghost is Love of God and of man, and Repeat is Enduring to the End.  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ with all my heart.  It has made me into a better person than I could have ever been on my own.  Spiritual Work in our lives is living the gospel of Christ.  It makes bad men good and good men better.  I can’t thank the Lord enough for changing me.  Every change in my life is absolutely sacred to me because I realize the price that was paid by my Savior for me to be able to change. I love Him with all my heart. I am a missionary.  I want to do missionary work in the Lords way.  I feel prompted to ask you to be a missionary with me.  If you ever read anything I post and you think it’s good, please re-post it.  I know the Lord allows us to work with Him to touch His children.  I am trying in my imperfect way; I am not a writer but I write, to do the Lords work in the way He wants me to do it.  I am limited in who I reach.  I feel I need to widen my circle and would invite you to re-post or like anything you think is good, not just my blog, but anything on the internet.  Also thank you for reading!   I am grateful that you read because it shows me, once again, that God knows everything.  Also I love you.  I may not have ever met you but I still have a feeling of love for you.

6 comments:

  1. You have no idea how much your posts have blessed me, and the others I share them with!

    I do have one suggestion for helping me to share these wonderful messages: I have pinned several of your posts on Pinterest, but it would make it easier for me to pin them if each entry had just one photo.

    The Lord has really used your blog posts to help me through some very difficult things, and I am so grateful that you have heeded the promptings you have had to write. :-)

    Much love,
    Sister Rachel Keppner (Elder Keppner's mama)

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    1. Hi there Sister Keppner, I am not to savvy on the computer. Figuring out how to do a blog has made me feel so current! Maybe you could help me. What kind of pictures? And how do I get it on the blog?
      Thank you for reading and your kind comments and suggestions!

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    2. You can just google image a picture (For example: Google Greg Olson Christ, then when it shows results, click on "images" right under the search bar), choose an image, right click it and "copy image", then go back into your blog draft and right click to paste. Then under the picture give the credit (either link the website, or just state the author and title of the picture).

      If you ever have a question like that--like linking a website or whatever--just google the question ("how to create a link in blogger"). You'll find plenty of step by step tutorials.

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  2. Hi Sister Mullen. Now I know why my son always spoke so highly of you while he served there! I already printed out a few of your posts for him because they applied so perfectly to what he was going through at that time (he is in Brazil until May). I have been praying this week for the right way to help my other son understand the Atonement and I feel that your words say perfectly what I would like him to know. I am going to share them with him. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your testimony and I absolutely love your thoughts on the Atonement - you are blessing my life for sure!:)

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  3. This post was wonderful--this whole series has been wonderful. I've learned so much--I even bore my testimony about it this fast sunday and gave your blog a shout out. I've also been having a similar experience with stuff I write--feeling I need to be more transparent about it. It's hard though...I have atypical opinions in the church and I don't want to be scrutinized because of them. But....what can ya do.

    For my scripture blog I've had a draft about your blog for a while now. I just haven't gotten around to actually finishing it and posting it. This was the reminder I needed that I need to share the good things I find--this blog among them.

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