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Sifting

“Would you like a hot chocolate?”

That’s a favourite phrase I use when missionaries arrive at the mission home for an overnight stay.

Each cup of hot chocolate is made with all the usual ingredients, but above all, it is filled with lots of love.

The most delicate part of the process is the 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 of the chocolate powder, for the final touches, to make it perfect.

To 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭: “put a fine or loose substance through a sieve so as to remove lumps or large particles.”

“To make a close examination of all the parts of something in order to find something or to separate what is useful from what is not.”

At zone conferences last week, I commented on how we are all being “𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒅.”

In Luke 22:31-32, at the Last Supper, calling him by his given name, Jesus said…

31. “…Simon, Simon behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭 you as wheat.”

To 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭 as wheat means to sperate the good grain from the chaff.

In other words, “You’re going to be run through the 𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 Peter. Indeed, you’re going to find out what’s in you Peter.”

In essence, you’re going to be shaken up and bounced around and go through a tough ordeal.

Like Peter, that is especially true in the mission field, where we are all 𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒅 as wheat – daily!

The 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 is done to refine us, and, in the process, we find out what we are made of, by discovering our many weaknesses.

Before that night was out, Peter had denied Christ three times.

32. “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

As Christ prayed for Peter, likewise many, many others pray on our behalf every single day, “that thy faith fail not.”

For example – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, church members and leaders, missionary companions, and many others of other faiths too, pray every day for you.

Throughout life, all of us will be 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐝 and refined.

You will be shaken, stirred and cleansed to make the perfect you.

Yet, like Peter, I know that by following Jesus Christ, you will not fail.

How are you being 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐝?

Discouraged?

𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 – 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭?
Yet, sometimes life happens and it can be discouraging.
At times things we hope for and dream about just don’t turn out that way.
– the pay rise didn’t happen
– you didn’t get the expected exam grade
– the relationship you worked hard at didn’t work out
– you didn’t get the job
– the house purchase fell through
– redundancy became a reality
– ill health sets you back
– you just can’t understand that new language
– its just been a really tough day
When things don’t turn out the way you expected, then discouragement can settle into our minds and can make us feel sad.
None of us are immune from discouragement and especially in these difficult times, reality frequently does not conform to our wishes.
Discouragement does not have to mean defeat!
See it as it really is and don’t blow things up out of proportion.
Overcoming discouragement is absolutely critical for all of us if we are to bounce back and move forward in life.

So, what can you do?

First and foremost – you can change your attitude. Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do.
Secondly, find something that you are good at right away, get on with it and dispel any negative self-talk, feelings or emotions that may be impacting upon you.
Thirdly – don’t compare yourself with others, remember you are on your own unique path in life.
Fourthly – turn to a friend.
Fifthly – count your many blessings, name them one by one.
Finally – pray about it, to understand and find the lesson.
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am” (Isaiah 58:9).
To receive comfort and guidance from our Father, we simply need to reach out to Him. I know He is always listening.
It is through the experience of disappointment and discouragement that great treasures and pearls of wisdom in life frequently appear.
What do you do when you feel discouraged?

Prayer – an act of faith.

“𝐈𝐟 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝, 𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐥” said Gordon B. Hinckley.

Prayer itself is an act of faith.

One of my favourite verses of scripture on prayer is found in the Book of Mormon, when Alma the Younger, is counselling his son Helaman…

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 37:37)

What a powerful verse about prayer, isn’t it?

And even more so that it’s counsel from a father to his son.

People of integrity say what they mean and mean what they say.

Answers come by submissively aligning our will, to God’s will.

God does not give us what we can handle; He helps us handle what we are given.

Throughout the scriptures the term fasting is frequently combined with prayer.

Sometimes we can forget the power of fasting. Yet it is a precious tool that allows us to change lives.

Fasting magnifies our ability to pray.

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” asked Paul in the book of Acts.

We should persistently ask that question in our daily prayers, in order to know what to do.

An act of Faith

As a Christian and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am so thankful for the powerful gift of prayer and commend it to all.

Hymns 140, the closing verse reads;

“Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.”

I have found so much comfort and solace through prayer.

So can you.

Thomas S. Monson said, “Prayer is the passport to spiritual power.”

Why not commune with your Heavenly Father.

Remember, no one stands taller, than when they kneel in prayer…

Why not kneel in prayer to start your day – you won’t regret it!

Transfers

“𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫?”
It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot recently.
Transfers in the mission field come around every six weeks.
And they come ever so quickly!
They are always on my mind.
In our missionary service, this is already our 10th cycle, of 27.
Questions to consider include…
What area should they serve in?
Who should be their companion?
What do they need?
Will they bring out the best in each other?
You simply don’t know all the factors that determine who should serve with whom.
Preparing for and planning for transfers in the mission field is time consuming.
There are a lot of moving parts and factors to consider, but ultimately it is a spiritual process.
Prayer is a constant.
It is always the best solution.
Seeking the guidance of the Holy Ghost is critical.
Remembering that it is the Lord’s transfer of missionaries is vital.
I am comforted by a verse of scripture in Matthew 6:8 “ for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Considering the needs of each missionary and thinking about each of them, one by one, is also key.
Information precedes revelation.
Regular interviews and weekly communication really help.
Hence the question “𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫?”
Life moves so swiftly.
In the lasting things of life, do we help each other to be at our best?

What does it mean to commune with God?

Arising from my knees early this morning, I asked myself had I simply been “saying a prayer or had I 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒆𝒅 with God?”
I paused and reflected upon the question.
I slowed down.
I sunk deeply into my very comfortable chair.
I noticed all of the distractions around me.
The ticking of a clock.
The buzzing of an electric light.
The whistling and howling of the wind.
A car engine roaring into life.
The chirping of an early morning bird.
I noticed my breathing, in an out and the physical sensations of my breath.
I became much more 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕.
I became less concerned with time.
Consciously, I had moved from simply getting my prayer done, into a much deeper immersion and was now ready to “commune with God”
𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐞 – “to communicate intimately”
I returned to my knees.
I yielded myself to Him.
I began, slowly “Dear Heavenly Father…”
I expressed thanks and gratitude for a while.
I listened.
I listened some more.
I asked for guidance and help.
I trusted.
I communed with God.
I listened again.
Time was irrelevant.
I closed “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen”
I waited.
I waited some more.
I listened for a while.
I listened, quietly, paying attention, listening……
Answers came.
Are you simply getting your prayers done?
Or are you communing with God?