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Cover image: Washing Feet by Aaron Spong.
Jesus said: “As my Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” (John 15:9). What does it mean to ‘continue in my love’? Jesus showed us the example of how to love others. His way was to minister to them. He was always ministering. Even on the night when He would fulfill the Atonement for us, He spent the evening serving His disciples. He washed their feet and fed them, both physically and spiritually. He was focused outward. So to ‘continue in his love’ would, at least in part, mean to minister as He ministered and to focus outwardly.
Focusing outward may not be easy for some of us. We may have challenges that make it difficult to see beyond our own troubles. We may not know how to help others. We may feel inadequate or shy. But there are many ways we can minister to show love for others in our sphere of influence. It boils down to kindness, friendship and even gratitude. Whether it is through a call, a visit, or a text, we can acknowledge, and have conversations with others that build confidence and increase their feeling of being loved. We don’t need to spend all our time and efforts trying to change the world, but we can devout ourselves to having positive interactions with those whom we come in contact. Albert Schweitzer said “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
We need more compassion in our world today. Showing compassion doesn’t mean we have to agree with everyone’s ideas and philosophies. But we accept them, as Jesus accepted people. Where they are, how they are and with whatever foibles and challenges they endure. We don’t have to change them. That is the job of the Holy Ghost. We get to just love them.
Heavenly Father wants to bless all His children because He loves all of us. He will send impressions to those who ask about how to help others and to minister to them. If we ask, God can bless us with a portion of His love for others that can help us to see beyond the physical world. One of my favorite quotes is by C.S. Lewis.
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Ponder that when you interact with others as you go about your day. It is powerful. When we show compassion we help others toward their eternal possibilities of everlasting splendors.
If we take time to look around us, to focus outward, we can find ways to share compassion and minister to everyone we meet. Prayer can help and produces miraculous results. Moroni admonishes us to pray for charity, which is the pure love of Christ: ‘pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love. . .(Moroni 7:48). One particular day I had an eye-opening experience with a sister serving a mission in our area with her husband. It made a lasting impression on me and has changed how I look at charity.
She came into my home bringing a meal after the birth of one of my children. She expressed such love and gratitude that I would allow her the honor of serving me. She didn’t really know me. We had conversed on a few occasions. But the way she spoke to me, with humility and a deep abiding love, could only have come through much prayer and a sincere desire to feel and express the love of Christ like Moroni admonished. I think that anyone who interacted with this lovely sister felt the love of Jesus Christ through her. She is one of my role models. I am nowhere near her level of compassion, but I am still working on this characteristic.
Praying is powerful. Prayer brings strength into our lives. It can open our hearts, increasing our capacity to love and accept others. Through prayer we can gain insight from the Holy Ghost. When we sincerely ask who we can help, sincerely planning to follow through on whatever impression we receive, then impressions will come, and lives will be blessed. God will guide us when we allow Him to be a part of our life.
Guide us, O thou great Jehovah,
We are weak but thou art able;
Hold us with thy powerful hand.
Holy spirit, Feed us till the Savior comes.
Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah, Hymn 83
Now let me report on our continuing adventures with our Come, Follow Me studies. I am grateful for repentance and the ability to change. What we thought was a great idea was really a flop. We were going to have someone find videos and share them each week. Guess how many videos we shared. Zero. It didn’t work. We had some good discussions about the doctrine and experiences of Jesus. But. no. videos. Oh well, we’re moving on. We had a council, yet again, and determined that this month we will assign someone to facilitate our discussions each week. They will get to determine where we spend our time in the reading sections and what we will do to make the gospel come alive in each of us.
Here are some ideas of activities you can do throughout the week:
John 13-15 Show love for Jesus Christ by keeping commandments to love.
- How many times does Jesus tells his disciples to love one another in these chapters? Why do you think he tells them so many times? Is there something He says specifically with each reiteration of His direction to love others? How does this apply to you personally?
- ”God’s commandments are a manifestation of His love for us, and obedience to His commandments is an expression of our love for Him”. For more on this theme, check out this talk by Carole Stephens. If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments, General Conference, October, 2015
- If you have younger children you can emphasize ‘keep my commandments’ by cutting out footprints and placing them in a path around the house, leading, of course, to a surprise. Make sure to have them cross over themselves many times so that a person really has to pay attention to get to the end destination. Take time to discuss how this relates to keeping God’s commandments as you partake of a snack at the end. Sometimes following the commandments is hard work and snacks help.
John 14-16 Holy Ghost helps me fulfill my purpose
*As you read through the assigned reading this week, take time to note the various jobs and responsibilities of the Holy Ghost? Which assignment do you think is the most important? Can you think of an experience you have had with each of the roles of the Holy Ghost? If you haven’t done so already, write them down for your posterity.
John 15 : 1-8 As I abide in Christ, I will bring forth good fruit
*D. Todd Christofferson, Abide in My Love, General Conference, October, 2016
*Define what it means to you to “abide in Christ”? How are you trying to do this in your life today? What can you do to increase your ability to ‘Abide in Christ’?
*Jesus Christ is the True vine–how do you think Jesus is like a vine for us? What does it take to grow prolific, tasty grapes? Click here for some information. What are the steps involved? How do these steps relate to our growth and dependance on Christ as the True Vine?
John 17 Intercessory Prayer, a prayer for His apostles
*Replace the disciples’ names with your individual names or your family name. Does this make a difference as you read the words of Jesus Christ? How would you feel if you knew Jesus Christ prayed for you?
Obtained from https://www.godisreal.today/pictures-of-jesus/
I love this painting! Visit the site to see many beautiful paintings and pictures of Jesus Christ.
John 17: 11, 21-23 Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are one
*What can you personally do to increase the unity of your family? Your branch or ward family? Your neighbors and friends? Your co workers? Your classmates?
*John 17:3– This is life eternal: that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
Cross-reference this verse with the following verses. What do you learn about Eternal Life?
2 Nephi 9: 39
Doctrine & Covenants 6:7 & 11:7
Doctrine & Covenants 14 :7
Doctrine & Covenants 45:8
Doctrine & Covenants 132: 24
* This is Life Eternal: C. Scott Grow spoke especially to the youth of the church in the April 2017 General Conference.
*In your quest to become like Jesus Christ a good resource is a book by Virginia A. Pearce, A Heart Like His
* One liners– Pick one and make a sign or poster. If you are creative you can even paint it on a board or use vinyl.
* If We Love Him — 2019 Mutual Theme
* If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments –The beautiful choral piece is written by Thomas Tallis published by Poirot 1900 on January 20, 2010.
*Love one Another –From Gospel Media Library at lds.org.
*Love One another Lullaby A nice song for children published by Dakota Pyle on January 2, 2014.
* Light of the World–a fun song by Hillsong Kids with lyrics, subtitles and actions you can do with your children. Published by ILoveJesus227 on April 20, 2014.
* Why Does God Give us Commandments? There are no words in this one and it’s only 36 seconds from the Gospel Media Library.
* Going to Grandma’s A 4-minute video that teaches the importance of obeying commandments from the Gospel Media Library.
* The Last Supper –The Life of Jesus Christ bible Videos at lds.org
* The Last Supper Cartoon published by Joseph Yousef on May 1, 2013. This is a great video for children, but it does have some staticky sound issues.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson