“Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,”

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Step 9 - Wherever possible, make direct restitution to all persons you have harmed.

This week the focus is on making restitution to all persons you have harmed. So far, I think this might possibly be the most challenging step of the 12 step program. This means that you contact individuals you have hurt with your addictions or behaviors and let them know how sorry you are about what you did to them, and ask for their forgiveness.

In this past Sunday nights Addiction Recovery meeting, an LCSW from out of State visited the meeting my husband and I were missionaries for. During the sharing portion of the meeting, he described this step in a way that everyone could understand. He said that taking this step is like falling on the gravel and rocks on the round and scraping up your knees really bad. He said that we have two choices... ONE is that we can sit there on the ground, with the rocks in our bleeding and pretty banged up knee feeling sorry for ourselves and let the wound fester until it is infected and much worse and causing us more pain, OR... we could pull out the rocks in our knees, clean up the wound and then watch the healing proceed. In other words, we can either hang on to all of the hurts we have caused for the rest of our lives and let them fester causing ourselves and others long term grief and pain , OR we can repent and clean up (get rid of the rocks and gravel) the mess we have made. We do this through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and all those pieces of gravel that had caused ourselves and others pain, can be made clean, and right again.

I loved this analogy because everyone in the room knew what he was talking about and understood what they needed to do. I share this with you to encourage you to get rid of the hurts that weigh you down and keep you festering. Take the opportunity to make restitution to the Lord, and to those you have harmed in the past. You may not always get the desired outcome, but at least you will have taken the steps to let the healing begin. Your new addiction free life can be the example to those you have made restitution to, that you have really changed and you are no longer the person who desires to hurt others.

The Atonement has made this possible. I coin the phrase from a friend of mine who said to me one day... "The Lord made our shoulders round so that things could roll off of them." If our shoulders were squared, things would just stack up until they weighed ourselves down. They aren't and I urge you to lighten the burdens that you carry buy taking this step today. It will take some time, but once you have made amends to everyone, your burdens will be lighter, and your soul will feel cleansed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good advice from the Scriptures & church leaders

"Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you His, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life." Mosiah 5:15
"Pray in faith for help. Go to your Father in Heaven. He wants to help you, but because of your agency you need to take the first step. Important lessons will be learned as you are on your knees. Some will distill in your mind and heart as you seek to establish the right balance in your life. Powerful personal development will come through urgent prayer offered in faith from a foundation of righteousness.

When all the challenges pour down on you, you will have a quiet inner feeling of support. You will be prompted to know what to do. You can live in a world of turmoil and great challenge and be at peace. You will be inspired to know what to do and to have the power or capacity to do it. Remember this promise of the Lord as clarified by President Harold B. Lee: “Ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves [that is, keep my commandments] and ye shall be endowed with power.” D&C 43:16" Richard G. Scott, “Making the Right Decisions,” Ensign, May 1991, 34
"Our personal conversion comes as we begin to live the way the Lord wants us to live—steadfast and immovable in keeping all of the commandments, not just those that are convenient. This then becomes a process of refinement as we strive to make each day a little better than the last" ("Righteous Traditions," Cheryl C. Lant, Primary general president Liahona and Ensign, May 2008, 14).
I love to create and I decided to do a pictorial of the life of Jesus. I call it "The Savior of the World." I wish this was a bigger world so I could be able to fit in the miracles he performed, walking on water, Sermons, and so many other wonderful parts of his life. HE is truly the Savior of the world!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Step 7 Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove all your Short comings.

Sunday evening, we had a great Addiction recovery meeting. We focused on Step 7. In this step, there are some scriptures in Moroni where the Sacrament prayers are found. The Addiction Recovery Program manual suggests that you read through these prayers and personalize them as if they were being said for you. It was interesting that also on Sunday in our Sunday School class, that we discussed these very scriptural references. A point was brought out by the teacher that when we worthily partake of the sacrament, it is as if we are being rebaptized each week as we promise to keep our baptismal covenants. I had never really thought about it that way though I realize that I do renew my baptismal covenants as I partake of the bread and the water.

Partaking of the sacrament for a recovering addict is such a huge step and a blessing. It is something to be taken very seriously as we are repromising Heavenly Father that we will do our very best to stay on track. We should look foreword to partaking the sacrament each week as an affirmation to ourselves, that we promise to stay clean and sober and free from our addictions. It can be a great motivator!

Partaking of the Sacrament is another way besides coming to an Addiction Recovery meeting, and working the program that can help us resist temptation to indulge in our addiction.

I would encourage you to read step 7, study the scriptural references and quotes, and write down your thoughts in the study portion of the ARP manual. When you feel tempted to slip, pull out your book and read what you have written. This journaling will help you to not only see your addiciton for what it is, but to see your progress, and be a motivation to not go backwards.

Are you aware that there is an LDS Addiction Recovery website that you can participate in with others who are in the program? Go to

Monday, December 8, 2008

Recognizing the spirit

In our meeting last Sunday as we were teaching the participants about "Changing the heart" I began to have thoughts about what makes a change of heart. I began to think about the fact that when we are able to recognize the spirit in our lives, we can differentiate between the good thoughts that come from the spirit and the bad thoughts that come from Satan. The Spirit would NEVER direct us to do anything that could hurt us in any way. The spirit of the Lord works from the inside... inside our heart, inside our mind and inside our soul. When Satan tempts us he is working on our physical needs. He entices individuals to satisfy their need for drugs, alcohol, tobacco etc. The spirit would never want us to hurt out body or our spirits.

It is important that we place ourselves where we can get promptings from the spirit. In the Addiction Recovery meetings, the Spirit of the Lord is so strong that even those who have never felt the Spirit, can feel something. They may not know what it is that they are feeling, but they know that they are feeling something good that brings them to tears. When we attend our Church meetings, study the scriptures and pray we can't help but invite the spirit of the Lord to be with us. It just feels good to know that you can have the spirit of the Lord as your constant companion, but we have to be ready to receive it.

In one ARP meeting that my husband and I were the missionaries for, a brand new participant came, and in his sharing, he expressed that he felt something at the meeting, that he had not ever felt before. He said it was a feeling that made him feel warm and peaceful. Of course as missionaries, we knew that he was feeling the Spirit, but that spirit of peace and love and warmth was what gave him the strength to stay clean and sober for that following week. Whenever he felt like he wanted to drink, he remembered that feeling in the meeting and was able to resist temptation.

I urge you to find a meeting in your area to help you with your addiction. Attend, and participate, and listen. You will be able to feel what I have been talking about. Feeding the spirit will get you closer to Heavenly Father, and that is what we all need to do in our lives. Have a good, clean and sober week!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This week we are on Step 6

Step 6 - A Change of Heart - Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses.

What does it really mean to have a change of heart? I guess if you think about this literally, to change ones heart means that whatever was in it up to the point needs to be gone and something new put in it's place. The step says, that you will replace pride with humility. You resist old patterns of behavior and replace them with an open mind as the spirit suggests a better way of living. The Prophet Ezekiel said in Exekiel 36:26 ( get out your scriptures and mark this one ) " A new heart... will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh.

I love the quote in the Manuel from President Ezra Taft Benson that says, "The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take the people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people and then they can take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.... May we be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, choose to follow Him, be changed for Him, captained by Him, consumed in Him, and be born again."

So I go back to the original question... What is a changed heart? I suggest that a change of heart happens to a person who is truly converted and only desires to do the things that the gospel teaches. A changed heart is one that looks to the example of Jesus Christ in how He lived his life, and the changed heart desire to walk in his foot steps.

I think as everyone grows up, and I mean as we mature and get older, we tend to look at things from a different perspective. It isn't so much as to what makes us happy but how we can contribute to the happiness in others. This is exactly the example that Christ gave to us. He was always doing things to help other people. He of course had Godly powers and was able to perform miracles, but as you become willing to be changed by Him, you will learn of His power to heal you.

Once you have a change of heart, you no longer desire to do what you did in the past. It feels so good to feel again and a natural consequence of this change is to the desire to keep this new feeling alive and moving fore ward.

I hope that you can make this change of heart in yourself. I know that you can do it, because you are not alone in this addiction struggle. So many really good people fall prey to addictive behaviors, and ultimately it leads to the desire to change. You can change, just like others. I urge you to attend Addiction Recovery meetings as often as you can, because the others that I have just spoken about are there at the meetings and can help lift you and strengthen you through their own experience in working the steps. Attending your meeting can give you what you need to make the positive changes in your life. Like the little quote says..." There is no time like the present!"

Hope ya know we had a hard time

This is a great video for everyone to view. There isn't anyone who gets out of this life with out experiencing some challenges, hurts, sorrows, and all manner of adversities.

Beautiful and inspiring video of Hope - music "Broken" by Kenneth Cope

Kenneth Cope - Broken

[via FoxyTunes / Kenneth Cope]

Broken by Kenneth Cope - Broken clouds give rain. Broken soil grows grain. Broken bread feeds man for one more day. Broken storms yield light. Break of day heals night. Broken pride turns blindness into sight. Broken souls that need His mending. Broken hearts for offering. Could it be that God loves broken things? Broken chains set free. Broken swords bring peace. Broken walls make friends of you and me. To break the ranks of sin. To break the news of Him. To put on Christ ‘til his name feels broken in. Broken souls that need His mending. Broken hearts for offering. I believe that God loves broken things. And yet our broken faith, our broken promises Sent love to the cross. And still that broken flesh, that broken heart of His Offers us a trace and mercy, covers us with love undeserving.

Come to Jesus and Live - Kenneth Cope

Come to Jesus by Kenneth Cope

[via FoxyTunes / Kenneth Cope]

Do you need some inspiration to get clean and sober?

Please view this very inspirational video clip of Nick (below), who from his outward appearance seems to have nothing to offer or live for. BUT.. when you watch it you will see that his positive attitude and outlook on what he has been given to deal with in life, should inspire you to want to make your life better.

Quoting from the video, Nick says that with trials, "It is not the end, it matters how you finnish... are you going to finnish strong? You will find the strength to get back up".

I hope you will find the hope to help yourself with your addiction, because as you look around, there is always someone who has it worse off than you . Is the way you are currently dealing with your life life the way that God meant for you to liv? Nick has learned from his challenges, and is making something out of his life. How about you? Pick yourself up by your boot straps and conquer your addiction. You can do it and must do it because living with addiction isn't the quality of life that God planned for you. Heavenly Father wants you to be happy and you can be just as happy as you choose to be.

This clip is not a part of the Addiction Recovery Program but one that I found that I felt personally could touch your heart.
I also don't know what the language is that is shown at the bottom of the video clip, so disregard it, just listen to the inspirational message that Nick offers. ... Also you may need to have some tissue handy.

So you have fallen? Well get back up! Enjoy this inspirational video.