Striving and Falling… Happy Blogiversary to simplykenneth.faith
What a tough year!
This year has been one that is especially tough. Just in the past few weeks I’ve had my computer break, my tablet break, issues at work, and at home. It has been one helluva year. I don’t like the trials that me and my wife have undergone. Many times, I thought I would just throw up my hands and give up. I am very grateful to have this blog as it has been a sounding board for me to communicate my feelings and you the readers have been here for some very hairy moments. It’s not been easy for many of you. But I want to thank you for reading and being here. The reason this was posted on a Wednesday instead of Monday is because I wanted to celebrate the blogiversary with you.
Trials and God
This last Sunday I gave a talk in church based from Elder Gary G. Ellis talk this past conference “Do we Trust Him? Hard is Good.” And I thought I really had a handle on all the tough things that have happened as of recent. But stress and drama at work today seemed to throw my world upside down as more trials were placed in my life. Now I recognize that God did not cause the trial. I have a humongous part in it myself. But I got angry again thinking that God does not love me. Then I read this article on Patheos which talked about how God does not hate us. How he is the sort of God that would sit down and listen to us and love on us. Jesus Christ was a reflection of his father, and that’s how we must look at God.
How we should look at God.
The talk and the article on Patheos to me has made things make a little bit more sense to me. I am still undergoing correction of my feelings about God and I must check myself. I have to put forth the effort to repair my walk with God and my relationship with him. It’s like any other relationship that two humans share. We must work on our relationship with God on top of following him. Sometimes we get angry with him.
Sometimes he is disappointed with us. It’s like any relationship. So, it’s important to walk with Jesus Christ and God the father daily. And don’t expect your relationship with him to always be a fond one. There are times when there are strains on both sides. Now that brings me to what I had originally planned. Here are my talk notes for my talk this last Sunday. I hope you like them!
Hard is Good – Talk Notes
Do We Trust Him? Hard is Good!
By Stanley G Ellis
Talk by Kenneth Green
Mortal: What is a million years like to you?
God: Like one second.
Mortal: What is a million dollars like to you?
God: Like one penny.
Mortal: Can I have a million dollars?
God: Just a second.
Some Verses on Enduring Trials!
“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”
—1 Nephi 1:20
“For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
—1 Nephi 20:10
“And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my first-born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.
“Nevertheless, Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
—2 Nephi 2:1–2
From Elder Ellis Talk
He really does trust us in so many ways. He has given us the gospel of Jesus Christ and, in this dispensation, its fulness. He entrusts us with His priesthood authority, complete with the keys for its proper use. With that power we can bless, serve, receive ordinances, and make covenants. He trusts us with His Restored Church, including the holy temple. He trusts His servants with the sealing power—to bind on earth and have it bound in heaven! He even trusts us to be the earthly parents, teachers, and caregivers of His children.
After these years of General Authority service in many parts of the world, I declare with even more certainty: He trusts us.
Now the question for this conference is “Do we trust Him?”
Do we trust His commandments to be for our good? His leaders, though imperfect, to lead us well? His promises to be sure? Do we trust that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do know us and want to help us? Even during trials, challenges, and hard times, do we still trust Him?
The Hardest Times really refines us!
Looking back, I learned some of the best lessons during the hardest times—whether as a youth, on a mission, starting a new career, striving to magnify my callings, raising a large family, or struggling to be self-reliant. It seems clear that hard is good!
Hard makes us stronger, humbles us, and gives us a chance to prove ourselves. Our beloved handcart pioneers came to know God in their extremities. Why did it take two chapters for Nephi and his brothers to obtain the brass plates and only three verses to enlist Ishmael’s family to join them in the wilderness? (see 1 Nephi 3–4; 7:3–5).
Some Examples of Trials from the life of Nephi!
It seems the Lord wanted to strengthen Nephi through the struggle of obtaining the plates.
The hard things in our lives should come as no surprise. One of the earliest covenants we make with the Lord is to live the law of sacrifice. Sacrifice, by definition, involves giving up something desirable.
Under the direction of Joseph Smith, it was said that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”
Trials and Testimony, Ensign March 2010 by Elder Paul B. Pieper
“God’s plan is designed so that each of us will go through many trials in our lives. Trials are His way of stretching us and helping us become as He is. Our crises will differ in magnitude and frequency, but they will continue throughout our lives. As John learned, strength to overcome these trials and return to Heavenly Father is found in the word of our testimonies. I testify that as we turn to our testimony of Him in times of crisis, we can find the strength to overcome all that we are asked to endure.”
Refined in our Trials, President James E. Faust, February 2006 Liahona
Some are prone to feel that their afflictions are punishment. Roy W. Doxey writes:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that it is a false idea to believe that the saints will escape all the judgments—disease, pestilence, war, etc.—of the last days; consequently, it is an unhallowed principle to say that these adversities are due to transgression. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 162.)
“President Joseph F. Smith taught that it is a feeble thought to believe that the illness and affliction that come to us are attributable either to the mercy or the displeasure of God.” 13
Paul understood this perfectly. When referring to the Savior, he said,
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” 14
Some more verses on how God uses trials!
3:25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
D&C 121:8 –
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
Some Final words on Hardship
President Thomas S. Monson has pleaded, “May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”2 With regard to our temples, he stated that “no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive [temple] blessings.”3
In the world of nature, hard is part of the circle of life. It is hard for a baby chick to hatch out of that tough eggshell. But when someone tries to make it easier, the chick does not develop the strength necessary to live. In a similar way, the struggle of a butterfly to escape the cocoon strengthens it for the life it will live.
Through these examples, we see that hard is the constant! We all have challenges. The variable is our reaction to the hard.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
Do we have sufficient faith to trust that He will visit us in our afflictions (see Mosiah 24:14), that He will contend with those that contend with us (see Isaiah 49:25; 2 Nephi 6:17), and that He will consecrate our afflictions for our gain? (see 2 Nephi 2:2).
Some Final words from Elder Ellis
Will we exercise the faith necessary to keep His commandments, so He can bless us both temporally and spiritually? And will we continue faithful to the end so that He can receive us into His presence? (see Mosiah 2:41).
Brothers and sisters, we can have the faith to trust Him! He wants what is best for us (see Moses 1:39). He will answer our prayers (see D&C 112:10). He will keep His promises (see D&C 1:38). He has the power to keep those promises (see Alma 37:16). He knows everything! And most important, He knows what is best (see Isaiah 55:8–9).
In whatever we do, we should not decide nor act out of a spirit of fear. Truly, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7). (Do you realize the idea of “fear not” is emphasized throughout the scriptures?) The Lord has taught me that discouragement and fear are tools of the adversary. The Lord’s answer to hard times is to go forward with faith.
2nd Timothy 1:7
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
What is hard to you?
Each of us may have a different opinion about what is hard. Some may consider it hard to pay tithing when finances are tight. Leaders sometimes find it difficult to expect the poor to pay tithing. It may be hard for some of us to go forward with faith to marry or to have a family. There are those who find it hard “to be content with [what] the Lord hath allotted unto [them]” (Alma 29:3). It may be hard to be content with our current calling (see Alma 29:6). Church discipline may seem very hard, but for some it marks the beginning of the true repentance process.
Regardless of the issue, hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the Lord and His plan.
What’s next for Simply Kenneth
Again, I thank you for reading this rather long article for our blogiversary. Before I let you go I wanted to take a moment to let you know what might be next. We will continue our strategy of once a week posting articles. At simply kenneth we may change the day or the blogging prompt we use. As far as other social media we will try to do a once a month YouTube show which will be shared here. And finally we will keep being very blunt and we will keep being transparent. Hopefully experience tempers our thoughts and feelings and you only get the good from me, not the bad! Thank you for your time!
- Elder Ellis Talk can be found here!
- The Article from Patheos can be found here.
- Our Last Motivation Monday Article