Tag Archive for: Jesus Christ

Pens to the ready

What questions do you have for God?
– God – do you really exist?
– If you do, how can I feel closer to you?
– How can I learn truth in today’s confusing world?
– How can religion help me?
– Why are there so many churches?
– Why do I have so many challenges?
– How can the gospel help me overcome the challenges I face?
– How can I find peace in times of turmoil?
– How can I be happier?
– What am I doing that I need to stop doing?
– What am I not doing that I need to start doing?
– What is the purpose of life?
– How can I feel God’s peace and forgiveness, after I’ve made bad choices?
I know that the Lord Jesus Christ knows each of us personally.
And He wants to help you personally!
Consider these questions and all of your own ones too, then speak with a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ today.
You know them!
One of the thousands of missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
They’re the ones with the big smiles and nametags!
Don’t forget your pen and paper, they’ll have lots of answers to share!

Worn Out

After our missionary interviews in Apeldoorn on Thursday, we headed to our hotel room.
It was late afternoon, and I took my shoes off to settle down for a wee nap.
I was pretty tired that afternoon.
Whilst napping, Monic took this photo.
She captured my socks – perfectly!
Little did I know they were in such a threadbare way! ☹
Just like my socks, I admit, I’m starting to feel a little worn out.
My socks reminded me of my shoes from the last few weeks of my mission in the 1980’s.
Whilst serving in Cambridge, England in May of 1985, I remember cutting up cardboard from cereal boxes and putting it in my shoes.
Both shoes had a big, huge hole in them!
Let me the state the obvious, whilst serving a mission, things get 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒏 𝒐𝒖𝒕!
Especially, socks and shoes!

Definition

Worn out; “showing signs of wear, drained of energy, extremely tired; completely exhausted.”
I love this quote from Spencer W. Kimball, “My life is like my shoes – to be worn out in service.”
During His ministry on the earth, Jesus Christ spent His time serving and helping others.
True disciples of Christ do likewise.
Every missionary knows about the importance and value of rendering service and lifting others.
Alma 37:34 states: “Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.”
When I’m tired, I slow down, sit still, listen and pray.
Yet, growing old on a mission (or in life) is never easy.
There is so much more to endurance than just surviving to the end!
How we finish a mission, just like a marathon really matters.
Endurance is an important principle found within the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Enduring to the end, can be one of life’s most difficult challenges, but it can also be one of life’s greatest triumphs.
Enduring signifies “patient continuance in well doing” – Romans 2:7.
I know that it is the joy of being with the missionaries and many others that refreshes me. I also know that never being weary of good works, ultimately brings rest to anyone who may feel a little worn out.
How do you endure when you are feeling a little worn out?

Tartan

On their recent visit, family members brought a final new supply of tartan ties and scarfs.
All this tartan certainly keeps me grounded in my own heritage.
There are some very distinctive things about Scotland, including the highlands, castles, bagpipes, kilts, haggis, whisky, shortbread, plain bread, square sausage, thistles, tartan and of course the Loch Ness monster, Nessie!
I’m not quite certain what is it, but there is something about tartan, that so many people find so interesting.

Tartan defined

Tartan: “a woollen cloth woven in one of several patterns of coloured checks and intersecting lines, especially of a design associated with a particular Scottish clan.”
I guess there are some folks who are fascinated by the Scottish clan system and any potential ancestry connections.
Anyhow, it got me thinking about the many different cultures and traditions of all our missionaries in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission.
We have quite a mix of missionaries from all around the world, each with their own distinctive genealogy, customs and practices.
As each one of them departs for home, they receive a tartan gift from us. Although this transfer we may be giving out a few more!
I’m grateful too for my good friend Bryan at Kingdom Kilts who has looked after me well these last 3 years!

Embracing Differences

Just like the many colours, lines and patterns of a tartan scarf or tie, I thought about how we are all different, all unique and how each of us embrace those differences about one another in the mission field.
One thing is clear however, we just don’t accept these differences about one another, we love and embrace them.
I may wear a tartan tie, and occasionally my kilt too, but setting aside those cultural differences, we are after all brothers and sisters, each of us a child of a loving Father in Heaven.
In his memorable speech on Mars Hill, Paul declared to the Athenians that we are the “offspring” of God. (Acts 17:28.)
The Lord Jesus Christ, invites all to come unto Him, “black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ unites us together as one.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf said “The Saviour loves all of God’s children regardless of their socioeconomic circumstance, race, religion, language, political orientation, nationality, or any other grouping. And so should we!”
Lets embrace our differences!
I hope that we can gratefully acknowledge God as our creator and honour that unique heritage that unites each one of us.
What does it mean to be a child of God to you?

Be

Put your mobile down.
Set your tablet or laptop aside.
Turn the television off.
Put down your book.
Are you paying attention?
Just be here.

𝐁𝐞.

In a world filled with distractions it can be easy to get side-tracked and lose focus on the person or people that matter most of all.
In a recent coaching interview, one missionary asked me a question something like this…
“President, how can I improve my communication skills?”
Reflecting for a moment, as I observed the missionary and made eye contact, I asked a question that focused on being present and the unspoken dialogue I observed before me.
I asked, “Look at me and tell me what you observe?”
Hesitating the missionary responded… “I see you!”
“What else do you see?” I asked.
“You’re sitting comfortably”.
“Yes, I am sitting comfortably, but what else?” I said.
There were a few more interactions.
However, unable to see what I was driving at; I described my body language.
Then the missionary understood that I’d been delicately mirroring or matching the gesture’s, expressions, tone of voice and seating posture throughout our conversation.
What was I really saying?
I was indicating… “I am curious about you and making an effort to understand you.”
I had slowed down.
It was a moment of true bewilderment, to watch the reaction unfold.
Observing and listening, along with things we speak, are equally critical parts of communicating, that show you care.
“We must develop the capacity to see [others] not as they are at present but as they may become.” – Thomas S. Monson.
True disciples of Jesus Christ seek to follow His example in the ways they communicate.
I love this scripture from Ephesians 4:29 …“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
If you want to develop Christlike communication, then speak with a missionary today.

Koningsdag

The Dutch love a good party, and yesterday, King’s Day, may very well have been the best party in the Netherlands, despite the rain!
It was a national holiday to celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday with lots of music, dancing, street markets and fun fairs.
To me, it seemed like the entire country dressed in orange!
Our missionaries enjoyed the celebration too, by joining in the festive atmosphere and getting into the party spirit.
Throughout the Netherlands (and abroad), they all dressed up in as much orange as they possibly could!
You’ll find a few of my favourite images below.

Kingdom of the Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander became the reigning monarch of The Netherlands in 2013.
He represents the Kingdom of the Netherlands at home and abroad, holding a great deal of influence and earthly power.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honouring, and sustaining the law.” Article of Faith 12.

Kingdom of God

As the missionaries honoured the traditions of their mission culture, oftentimes they turn their thoughts to an unearthly reigning monarch, the 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬.
Gordon B. Hinckley explained…
“Jesus Christ, He, the Son of God, who by His matchless and eternal power overcame death. He is the Redeemer of the world. He gave His life for each of us. He took it up again and became the firstfruits of them that slept. He, as King of Kings, stands triumphant above all other kings. He, as the Omnipotent One, stands above all rulers. He is our comfort, our only true comfort, when the dark shroud of earthly night closes about us as the spirit departs the human form. He is our King, our Lord, our Master, the living Christ, who stands on the right hand of His Father. He lives! He lives, resplendent and wonderful, the living Son of the living God.”
His influence and power continue to change hearts, minds, and lives in deep, meaningful and an everlasting way.
His name is Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
We, too, can know in our hearts that Jesus is the Christ, and that He will come again to reign as 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬.
Speak with a missionary to find out more…
Is Jesus Christ a King to you?

Brolly to the ready

The Dutch love to talk about the weather.
I believe it to be one of their most beloved national pastimes. 😊
…At least that’s what it seems like to me!
And these last few weeks, one thing has dominated lots of conversations.
𝑹𝒂𝒊𝒏!
“April showers” is a well-used phrase that is engrained in our culture – there have been many of late.
It seems to have rained and rained and rained constantly this month.
As a Scot, I am all too familiar with it too!
Recently, my umbrella has been particularly useful.
The fact is, Dutch weather is indeed mild, damp, and windy.
It is comparable to my homeland.
Similarly, in life we have all experienced showers, or seasons of gloominess and sadness.
Sometimes I grumble a little about the rain. You probably do too.
What could be “right about rain?”
Yet, I love the hopeful phrase “right as rain” implying that everything is satisfactory.
Then, I remember that rain is essential for new growth.
April showers help much more than just May flowers.
Spring is a time of renewal and regeneration as things long thought dead, once again spring into a newness of life.
In a like manner, spring is also a time of reenergizing ourselves.
Rain brings 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆.
In Ezekiel 34:26 we read; “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing, and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing…”
Just like this scripture, we are reminded that even the most unpleasant of things, in this case the heavy rains of April, can bring forth great showers, even an abundance of blessings.
Because of Him, I know that the same God that gives us rain also gives us sunshine.
There are always intermittent rays of sunshine to brighten our days, they’re called missionaries! 😊
Watch carefully, the weather always changes.
Maybe it is time to change your outlook.
There is sunshine ahead!

Consecrated

I gave one of our missionaries a blessing this week and as we talked about consecrated oil, this story came back to mind.
… Some years ago, I was passing through airport security.
Like many times before, I put all my loose items in the security tray.
Picking up my keys, the security officer pointed to one item.
Uncustomarily, he asked “What’s this for?”
“Its an oil vial” I responded.
He looked puzzled.
Explaining further “It’s a religious item. It contains consecrated olive oil for blessings…”
He looked at me rather quizzically, placed them back in the tray and signalled me to move on.
With a large queue of people behind me, I regret that I didn’t take more time to explain.

Religious

What does it mean to 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒆𝒄𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆 something?
“To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes.”
Why olive oil?
Olive oil is used by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in blessing the sick and anointing in the temple.
The consecrated olive oil is then stored in a vial and used when required.

Parables

New Testament parables use oil as a symbol of healing, light, sacredness, purity and the Holy Ghost. (Luke 10:34)
In the New Testament, oil was used to anoint the sick (Mark 6:13; James 5:14). Just as I had done earlier this week.
In a similar manner, all of our missionaries make sacrifices of their time, as they consecrate their service by quietly going about doing good, just like our Saviour, Jesus Christ – see Acts 10:38.
It takes a great desire, dedication, endurance, and obedience to be a missionary.
Jesus Christ demonstrated that a consecrated life, is a life of service.
As they leave their fears behind, we have seen many of our missionaries in Belgium and the Netherlands make great sacrifices to become truly consecrated servants of the Lord.
For us, it is a real joy to be with such consecrated missionaries.
As they consecrate their efforts, the Lord always makes up the rest.
How can you consecrate your efforts to God?

Appetites

How is your appetite?
Appetite – “a natural desire to satisfy a bodily need, especially for food, or a strong desire or liking for something.”
If you have worked up an appetite, you usually have a desire to eat something!
This week, I had a feeling I hadn’t had in a while…
I lost my appetite for sweet foods!
Over 1 or 2 days, I overindulged a little too much.
I’d capitulated, and there had been a weakening of my will!
Then, something just really snapped in my brain.
I felt it!
This week I have been much more disciplined.
Like Aliyah, we may all lose our appetite at times too…

Your character…

Your reaction to your appetites can give you a good measure of your character.
Can you govern your appetites, or are you in bondage to something and forced to yield?
Jesus Christ referred to this duality as the spirit and the flesh.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16
Simply stated, as we walk in the Spirit, we can and will overcome the temptations of the flesh.
The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. See Galatians 5:22-23
Is there a gnawing emptiness in the pit of your stomach for the fruits of the spirit?
One way we can walk in the Spirit is to tune into the General Conference Sessions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this weekend.
Millions of people all around the world will be tuning in to hear from leaders of the church.
May I whet your appetite a little to tune in?
I know that General conference can help you find peace, hope, and joy through Jesus Christ.
You can learn how to strengthen your family by following Jesus Christ’s teachings, you’ll also gain a greater insight into temples and covenants.
In addition, you’ll discover how you can receive personal guidance and inspiration from God.
Simply click on the link below to follow along.
How would you describe your appetite to walk in the spirit?

New Arrivals

Last Friday, we welcomed 10 new missionaries to the Belgium Netherlands Mission.
Being with them was a real joy! 😍
Picture for a moment that you put your heart out in front of you, so that you can take a long look and carefully consider what is inside.
That is what each these young people will do for the next 18 or 24 months, exploring and sharing the feelings of their hearts.
They’ll consider…
– their hopes
– their dreams
– their feelings
– their faith
– their fears
– their desires
– their attitudes
– their opportunities
– their purpose in life
– their futures.
Along the way they will speak with thousands of people and help each of them to come to know Jesus Christ, better than they know Him now.
Look out for each one of them and ask them why they came to Belgium and the Netherlands – they’d love to speak with you!

Because of Him

Yesterday, I sat atop the stairwell.
Flooding my mind, were thoughts of days gone by.
Missionaries, family and dear friends, had all climbed these stairs.
Cradling our memory book, one by one, their names and faces flashed through my mind.

Gratitude

I was overwhelmed by feelings of love and gratitude.
Tears came easily…
It was a beautiful moment, I’ll cherish forever.
All of those missionaries in our book are home now.
“Will I meet them again?” I thought.
Rising to my feet, a swift and calming feeling came…
The answer was an emphatic and absolute “𝐲𝐞𝐬!”
I look forward to sweet reunions in the years ahead.

Easter

Today is 𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐲.
This morning, I’m mindful of other sweet reunions that I hope and long for…
My father, nana, gran, and many other family and friends who have already passed away.
Over the years, I have attended and spoken at many funerals.
Frequently, I witness tears of sadness over and over again.
Sometimes, I am asked about the whereabouts of their loved ones.

Scriptures

The scriptures clearly guide us to what the future holds.
Job asked the supreme question “If a man die, shall he live again?” – Job 14:14.
The answer is an emphatic and absolute “𝐲𝐞𝐬!”
Our Saviour Jesus Christ’s atonement and resurrection, enable us all to live again.
𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐇𝐢𝐦, each of us will overcome the ultimate obstacle of death.
𝐇𝐞 claimed the victory over death.
“But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.” – Mosiah 16:7-8.
In times ahead, as we each pass through the veil of death, I look forward to many sweet reunions, as we continue our journey towards the glorious day of our resurrection.
Come to church this Easter.
Speak with a missionary about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His plan of Happiness.