Personal letter

Dear Elders and Sisters I have limited time on the Internet so I am sharing a personal letter I wrote to another missionary.

Dear Elder,
You asked for it.  A personal letter.  This is one you do not want to put up on the billboard for everyone to read, because, I want to tell you 2 things that may or may not upset you.  First of all I cannot pull the mote from your eye because I have a huge beam in my own.  But this is what I have noticed from your letters…
1.    It does not matter a hill of beans how long you are out on your mission, how long you’ve got left to go, or where you serve. 
2.    It is not a contest to see how many baptisms you can do.  You are still thinking about the police force and you are in a hurry to get back to it.

I understand that the Police is largely important to you and it is a huge part of your life but what I want to know is – How has the spirit touched your life as a missionary?  Do you teach with the spirit?  Do you pray and invite the spirit to be with you at all times, in all places, in all things?  Have you been practicing your Home teaching skills with members of the ward?  Having a genuine concern for their spiritual welfare?  It sounds like the members could use a few missionary discussions.
Now I sound like a hypocrite.  But what am I to do to boldly yet carefully express my concern for a dear friend.  I want you to have the best 2 years of your life.  2 years that will change your heart, increase your understanding and compassion and give you the basic tools you need for the rest of your life.  I pray that you are following the mission rules and living worthy to have the spirit with you at all times – so that you are ready for any situation you might find yourself in.

I am thinking of a time when I had strayed from what I knew to be true and was testing limits and acting out of rebellion.  Letting anger and past grudges get in the way.  It had got me into a lot of trouble.  I found that becoming a true disciple of Christ has a lot to do with my testimony. I realized that the things I was doing wasn’t just hurting me – that what I was doing was giving the church a bad name.  People all around me knew that I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  My behavior was contrary of its teachings.  I was not being a true disciple – taking the name of Christ upon me.  Instead I destroyed the integrity of the church to people that knew me.  Part of the repentance process is to restore what was taken or damaged.  I had to ask people for their forgiveness and bear my testimony to them.  It was not easy but better than the way I felt when I realized that I was denying Christ and everything I
knew to
be true.
Our lesson in class today was being a true disciple.  Here are a few things that others came up with. Prayer. Testimony. Service.  How do these things affect our true discipleship?

Mathew 26: 69-75
Peter is sitting outside the palace.  A damsel accused him of being with Jesus.  Peter denied them saying “I know not what thou sayest”.  Peter moved himself out to the porch and another maid said “this fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Peter denied it with an oath.  “I do not know the man.”  Some time passes and the people accuse Peter of being one of Christ’s because his speech “bewrayeth” him.  Peter cursed and swore and said “I know not the man”.
In what ways are we like Peter?  What can I sacrifice or give up to come closer to my Savior and strengthening my testimony of him?  What can you do?  When we are baptized we enter into the covenant of talking on ourselves the name of Christ.  As a missionary you have been given the authority to teach the gospel for His sake.  The apostles are given yet more responsibility to take His name upon them and they hold precious keys to the kingdom and power of God.  What are your responsibilities as a missionary?  What are my responsibilities as a member of His Church?

I understand that the church has 3 missions.  To preach the gospel, redeem their dead and perfect the saints – what an awesome responsibility!

Mathew 20
Jesus goes out in the first hours of the day to hire laborers to work and they agree for a penny.  Jesus goes out again a few hours later to again hire laborers for the day for a penny and a few hours later he does the same until the last hour of the day he again hires laborers to work for a penny.  When it comes time to be paid – the laborers that had been there all day assumed they would be paid more than the ones that had only worked an hour.  Jesus said unto them “the first shall be last and the last first.

A father asks his two sons to work in his field.  The first son says “no I will not” but then repents and goes to work.  The second son says “Yes father I will” but then does not go.  What is the parable Jesus is teaching?

During the time of my rebellion a young man of 12 saw me in the hallway of the church on a weekday.  He was tired and bored while waiting for his mom and he struck up conversation with me.  “Are you a missionary?  He asked.  “You look like a missionary.”  At the time I did not feel like a missionary.  Far from it.  But it reminded me that Christ’s true disciples will have His name engraved in their foreheads.  I want Christ to look at me and see that I have His name engraved into the very depths of my entire being and soul.  And I want to know Him and His teachings that I may be able to recognize Him when he comes again.

You are an ordained disciple of Christ.  You have taken His name upon you and have placed a tag on your suit that says you are a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  So “what think ye of Christ?”  “What manner of men ought ye be?”  I’m excited for you on your mission.  “How great shall be your joy if you bring but one soul onto me” and “how great shall be your joy if ye should bring many souls onto me”.  When you are out there teaching and proclaiming the gospel – remember who you are – who they are – and that the good news is the fact that Jesus lived and was crucified for our sins so that justice could prevail and we could become like our Heavenly Parents.   Not everyone understands how important this is and I forget sometimes when I let the things of the world get the best of me.  I love you to pieces.  I hope you are choosing the right every day and I want you to know that I really do
care for your
spiritual welfare.  I’d like to support your mission in any way that helps.  Be Good!

October 2014

Think about God

Dear Missionary,
I have had lots of time at work to listen to the sermons on the Christian radio stations.  Lately the sermons are focused on our minds and the way we think.  It was suggested that if we don't think about God and His ways and His commandments that we shouldn't expect to feel his presence in our lives.  Here are some of my notes.

Thinking in the negative is one of the most useless of all human endeavors. It is not only unproductive, it is self-defeating.

Negative thinking prevents us from achieving the possible while positive thinking can help us to achieve what looks impossible.

By replacing the negative things that we say to ourselves such as, "I cant do that", "That problem is just too big for me to overcome"
or...worst of all..."I'm just dumb" with positive things such as, "I can do that", "Its a big problem but I can find a way around it", or "I have handled bigger problems, I can handle this one".

What we need is some self-confidence....a big healthy dose. A person who is self-confident thinks in positive ways which make success a sure

In an experiment on animal behavior at the University of Wisconsin about 20 years ago, the scientist would put a mouse with its front feet tied together into the cage of another mouse.

The mouse whose area was being trespassed would then easily beat up the poor mouse with the feet tied together.

After a number of victories,the scientist started to put mice in the cage without their feet tied.  But our mouse was so confident that he would take on and defeat mice even larger than himself.

Normally he would have run away from these larger mice, but he felt he just couldn't lose. And he didn't.

The moment you believe you can do something, things begin to change.

The Scriptures reminds us that we should not only think about God and good things but that we should ponder, wonder, and marvel.

Why must you think?  He commands us to intentionally ponder the good stuff.  Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is trustworthy, lovely, commendable, any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think of these things. 

Think about good things.     Evaluate, consider, ponder,  don’t just look at the pretty flower but consider it, ponder it marvel at it.  Who made it?  How does it grow?  All good things and thoughts lead us back to God – consider that you are commanded by God to think.   

The promise that God's peace will be with you - THAT is contingent of you doing something.   It is a "If you do this then I will do this" promise
between you and God.  He is saying -   IF you think of me and all that is good and Holy-  THEN I will bless you with my peace.

If you want to feel Gods presence, his peace... it starts in your mind and in your thinking process. 

I hope your days are filled with God and His peace,

Receive what you need from God

Dear Missionary!
It's General Conference Weekend.  Thousands will gather to hear a prophets voice.  Some will be looking for answers to their heartfelt prayers.  But you and I know that God's revelation is available anytime, anywhere, to anyone.  Including you and I.  I pray that you are opening up your hearts and mind to all that God has to offer you.

How to Receive What You Need from God

by Joyce Meyer
One time at a conference, I had a group of children come up on the stage to demonstrate a point. I gave each of them a gift, and each child gladly took what I handed them without hesitation. Several of them excitedly thanked me and a few even told me they love me.
These kids freely received my gifts. Not one of them said, “I don’t deserve this. I haven’t been good this week, and I can’t take it.” And none of them looked at me suspiciously, wondering why I gave them something. They just received it with joy!
The same way these children received my gifts to them is the way God wants us to receive from Him – freely and with joy. John 16:24 AMP says, “…Ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.”
If you’re struggling with life, chances are you haven’t freely received God’s gifts, such as His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, so you can have the life Jesus died to give you.

Getting vs. Receiving

We tend to have a mentality of getting things, not receiving them. To get means “to obtain by struggle and effort.” If everything in life is a struggle and effort, you won’t enjoy much of it and you’ll be frustrated a lot. 
Getting things puts the burden on us because we have to figure out how to manipulate circumstances to make them work out the way we want them to. But the Bible talks about receiving, not getting. We receive by faith, not through works. This is difficult for most people because we’re taught in the world that we have to earn what we get.
But God is not for sale. We can’t buy, earn or deserve Him. His gifts – forgiveness, mercy, grace, favor, salvation – are free. And we could never do enough to earn them or deserve them. Jesus paid the price that we could never pay to provide these gifts for us. We simply have to receive them!

The Fur Coat Blessing

I used to have a religious attitude and believed that my good works made me deserving of God’s goodness. This actually kept me from receiving God’s blessings because I was trying to earn them. I was judgmental and critical of others, too, and would get frustrated when someone who didn’t seem deserving of it in my eyes was blessed.
I remember a long time ago I had a neighbor who was also a friend, but I didn’t think she was as spiritual as me. She didn’t go to church as much as I did; she didn’t pray as much as I did; she didn’t give as much as I did. Well, at the time, I was praying for God to give me a fur coat. I wanted one so badly. Then one day she came over with a huge box in her hands. She was so excited! She said, “You won’t believe what God gave me!” She opened that box and there was my fur coat! A woman we both knew had just delivered it to her, saying God told her to give her the coat.
Immediately, I was so angry and jealous. But I responded the way a good Christian would, saying, “Praise the Lord! I’m so happy for you!” At the same time I was thinking, God, You’ve got to get her out of my house. How could You possibly give her that coat? It’s not fair. What about me?!
My heart wasn’t right. My motives were selfish. God wanted to bless me with His gifts, but I couldn’t receive them if I kept trying to earn them or deserve them. I had to learn to just receive.
We all need to ask God for His love, forgiveness, mercy, grace… Just say, “God, please bless me. I receive Your blessings in my life, not because I’m good and have earned them, but because You are good!” Then your joy will be full.