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Glorious!

Glorious!
Friday was a long day of missionary interviews in Rotterdam.
Arriving back at the house late afternoon, the mission home was filled with missionaries busy transforming the living room into a film studio for a Christmas video.
Observing from a distance, my first tuneful thought was, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”
It wasn’t long before a beautiful Christmas Carol was sounding melodically through the mission home, filling it with love, peace and joy.
“𝑯𝒂𝒓𝒌 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒅 𝑨𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒍𝒔 𝑺𝒊𝒏𝒈, Glory to the new-born King…” they sang.
Many beautiful truths and countless Christmas traditions are even more powerful because they have been set to music.
We sing songs of praise, worship, and gladness as we recount the events of the glorious birth of Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Remember these inspiring Christmas carols…

“𝑱𝒐𝒚 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅, the Lord will come, and earth receive her King!”
“𝑶 𝑳𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐𝒘𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝑩𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒍𝒆𝒉𝒆𝒎, How still we see thee lie”
“𝑶𝒉 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒆 𝒇𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒇𝒖𝒍, Joyful and triumphant!”
“𝑨𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒍𝒔 𝒘𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒅 𝒐𝒏 𝒉𝒊𝒈𝒉, sweetly singing o’er the plains”
“𝑺𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕! 𝑯𝒐𝒍𝒚 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕! All is calm, all is bright”
“𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒊𝒏 𝒂 𝑴𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓, no crib for his bed”
“𝑭𝒂𝒓, 𝑭𝒂𝒓 𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒐𝒏 𝑱𝒖𝒅𝒆𝒂’𝒔 𝑷𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒔, Shepherds of old heard the joyous strains”
The Lord has said that the songs of the righteous are prayers unto Him and they should be answered with blessings upon the heads of those who sing them. (D&C 25:12)
The missionaries singing, brought greater peace and harmony into our home.
There was even more…
As their sweet voices, elegant music and sacred words passed through our ears, they penetrated deeply into our hearts, drawing each of us closer to God.
It was beautiful.
What is it that brings such love and joy into our lives?
It is the Spirit of Christmas.
Drop the last syllable and that becomes the Spirit of Christ.
His spirit had just entered our hearts once more.
One of the greatest glories of Christmas is the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who came to earth to help us get His glory into our lives.
Enjoy singing many carols this Christmas Season – they are truly 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬!
What is your favourite Christmas Carol?

A Pale Blue Dot

What is your 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞?
It is our turn on earth.
We live in troubled times.
Every day there are awful atrocities throughout our tiny planet.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Pale Blue Dot

Our posturing’s, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbour life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.
Put things into 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞…
Frequently I’m asked – “Is there a God, is there a creator?”
In answer to that question, consider this response…
“What are the odds that a tornado spinning through a junkyard would create a Boeing 747?” – Bruce C. Hafen.
Let us focus on those things that will sustain a lasting peace of mind and heart.
That is my 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞.
Where can you turn for peace?

Remembrance

Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK.
On the 11th it was also Veterans day in the USA.
It is an opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those that defended our freedoms and protected our way of life.
If I were at home, I’d be gathering at a local memorial service in town.
Earlier this morning, I recalled an experience from April this year, when I had a sobering reminder of the reality of the ravages of war and in particular the horrors of WW1 whilst visiting Ipres in Belgium with a group of missionaries.
We visited several museums, trenches, tunnels, including a gigantic crater site where a huge explosion took vast numbers of soldier’s lives.
Then on to the Christmas truce site – where we sang silent night from opposing trenches together in English and German. We then played football in memory of the game played on Christmas Day 1914.
Afterwards we travelled to Tyne Cot, where we reverently walked around a vast sprawling cemetery.

Remembrance

Then onto the Menin Gate where we laid a wreath on behalf of the church.
I was also invited to deliver the exhortation, known the world over.
“They shall grow not old,
As we that are left to grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning,
We will remember them.”
The last line was then repeated by the vast crowd in attendance.
It was a sobering moment at the end of a sobering day.
Today, our world is filled with conflict.
The scope of what needs to be done to increase peace, security, human dignity and to relieve suffering throughout the world leaves one wondering where to even start.
A good place to start would be to follow Jesus Christ.
He is indeed the “Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ speaks tenderly saying “Blessed are the peacemakers” – Matthew 5:9.
A peacemaker is someone who reconciles people with God and with one another.
I believe that He is the way, to long lasting peace.
We must actively seek peace in the world, in our communities and in our homes.
Turn to Christ.
𝐇𝐞 𝐈𝐬 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐚𝐲.
Follow His example.
Are you a peacemaker?

Where can you turn for peace?

𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰?
“There are… so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:10.
There are indeed so many voices –
Voices that cry and plead with us to follow them.
Voices that deceive, threaten, and spread terror.
Voices that lull us into a false sense of security.
Voices that gossip.
Voices online, in magazines and newspapers, clamouring for attention, offering a maelstrom of advice.
Voices that promise us the world and happiness – if we will but enslave ourselves by the bondage of debt for a generation and for some a lifetime.
𝐁𝐞𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐞 of all these voices that clamour for your attention.
Are you distressed, perplexed or even fearful of these voices?
Is it time to shun the screaming of the headlines for a season?

Where can you turn for peace and tranquillity?

 

First – sever contact with the constant throb of the next alert on your mobile device.
Second – stop scrolling and set your mobile device aside.
Third – take a break from the daily global headlines and crisis of the world, which is in constant commotion.
Fourth – take a walk, enjoy nature and temporarily retreat into a different world.
Soon you’ll realise, like I have, that the troubles of the world are made by man and inflated by man.
If we could live kindly and appreciatively of one another, in peace, then all other problems would resolve themselves in the due course of time.
Maybe my suggestion is too simplistic.
Maybe, after all, I am just too simple?
After your walk and break it’ll be time to return.
Fifthly – For some, there is one voice above them all.
“The sheep hear his voice: … and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, … for they know not the voice of stranger” John 10:3-5
From among the multitude of voices we hear during our mortal life, we must recognise the voice of the Good Shepherd, even Jesus Christ, who calls us to follow Him toward our heavenly home.
His voice is sweet and pure.
I hope you find Him.
#HearHim

Feet that bring peace!

As our missionaries walked into the mission home for Mission Leadership Council on Friday, one by one, they took off their shoes.
Immediately my mind raced to some scriptures in the Old & New Testament along with the Book of Mormon.
Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Romans 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Mosiah 15:17 “And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!”

Therefore what?

Elder Carlos E. Asay said “No one is more beautiful or more blessed than those who serve God by preaching and exemplifying the truth. It is the most sanctifying and beautifying labour of all…. The feet, the voices, the faces, and the whole being of those preachers who share saving truths will always be precious and beautiful…. In the eyes of those who have learned of Christ and of his power to save, there are few if any blemishes in the missionaries who walked long distances to bring the gospel message.”
Through all of their hard work and efforts, there may have been a few threadbare socks on show, nevertheless I know they will continue to publish peace as they move their feet onwards, forwards and upwards in their daily missionary efforts.
No matter the opposition or the terrain, o’er mountain or plain or sea, missionaries will share their testimonies and joy of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ – always and forever.
And no matter the season, through rain, wind, sun or snow, missionaries will publish glad tidings of peace every day, lifting, teaching, inspiring and bringing people to a knowledge of the truth.
I am so grateful for each and every one of them, for their tireless determination to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and preach His gospel of peace.
Do you want to have His peace in your life too?