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  • Thank you, President Monson.

  • We love and sustain you.

  • My dear brothers and sisters, today I

  • would like to discuss a principle that is

  • key to our spiritual survival.

  • It is a principle that will only become

  • more important as the tragedies and travesties around us

  • increase.

  • These are the latter days, so none of us

  • should be surprised when we see prophecy fulfilled.

  • A host of prophets, including Isaiah, Paul, Nephi,

  • and Mormon, foresaw that perilous times would come,

  • that in our day the whole world would be in commotion,

  • that men would "be lovers of their own selves, . . .

  • without natural affection, . . . lovers of pleasures more than

  • lovers of God," and that many would become servants of Satan

  • who uphold the adversary's work.

  • Indeed, you and I "wrestle . . . against the rulers

  • of the darkness of this world, [and] against spiritual

  • wickedness in high places."

  • As conflicts between nations escalate,

  • as cowardly terrorists prey on the innocent,

  • and as corruption in everything from business to government

  • becomes increasingly commonplace, what can help us?

  • What can help each of us with our personal struggles

  • and with the rigorous challenge of living in these latter days?

  • The prophet Lehi taught a principle

  • for spiritual survival.

  • First, consider his circumstances:

  • He had been persecuted for preaching truth in Jerusalem

  • and had been commanded by the Lord to leave his possessions

  • and flee with his family into the wilderness.

  • He had lived in a tent and survived

  • on what food could be found on the way

  • to an unknown destination, and he

  • had watched two of his sons, Laman and Lemuel,

  • rebel against the teachings of the Lord

  • and attack their brothers Nephi and Sam.

  • Clearly, Lehi knew opposition, anxiety, heartache, pain,

  • disappointment, and sorrow.

  • Yet he declared boldly and without reservation a principle

  • as revealed by the Lord: "Men are, that they might have joy."

  • Imagine!

  • Of all the words he could have used

  • to describe the nature and purpose of our lives

  • here in mortality, he chose the word joy!

  • Life is filled with detours and dead ends, trials

  • and challenges of every kind.

  • Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish,

  • and despair almost consumed us.

  • Yet we are here to have joy?

  • Yes!

  • The answer is a resounding yes!

  • But how is that possible?

  • And what must we do to claim the joy that Heavenly Father has

  • in store for us?

  • Eliza R. Snow, second General President

  • of the Relief Society, offered a riveting answer.

  • Because of Missouri's infamous extermination order

  • issued at the onset of the grueling winter of 1838,

  • she and other Saints were forced to flee the state

  • that very winter.

  • One evening, Eliza's family spent the night

  • in a small log cabin used by refugee Saints.

  • Much of the chinking between the logs

  • had been extracted and burned for firewood

  • by those who preceded them, so there

  • were holes between the logs large enough for a cat

  • to crawl through.

  • It was bitter cold, and their food was frozen solid.

  • That night some 80 people huddled

  • inside that small cabin, only 20 feet square.

  • Most sat or stood all night trying to keep warm.

  • Outside, a group of men spent the night

  • gathered around a roaring fire, with some singing songs

  • and others roasting frozen potatoes.

  • Eliza recorded: "Not a complaint was heard--all were cheerful,

  • and judging from appearances, strangers would have taken us

  • to be pleasure excursionists rather than a band

  • of gubernatorial exiles."

  • Eliza's report of that exhausting, bone-chilling

  • evening was strikingly optimistic.

  • She declared: "That was a very merry night.

  • None but saints can be happy under every circumstance."

  • That's it!

  • Saints can be happy under every circumstance.

  • We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week,

  • or even a bad year!

  • My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel

  • has little to do with the circumstances of our lives

  • and everything to do with the focus of our lives.

  • When the focus of our lives is on God's plan of salvation that

  • President Monson just taught us and Jesus's gospel,

  • we can feel joy regardless of what is happening--or not

  • happening--in our lives.

  • Joy comes from and because of Him.

  • He is the source of all joy.

  • We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, "Joy to the world,

  • the Lord is come."

  • And we can feel it all year round.

  • For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!

  • That is why our missionaries leave their homes

  • to preach His gospel.

  • Their goal is not to increase the number of Church members.

  • Rather, our missionaries teach and baptize to bring joy

  • to the people of the world!

  • Just as the Savior offers peace that

  • "passeth all understanding," He also offers

  • an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy

  • that defy human logic or mortal comprehension.

  • For example, it doesn't seem possible to feel joy

  • when your child suffers with an incurable illness

  • or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you.

  • Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers.

  • His joy is constant, assuring us that our "afflictions

  • shall be but a small moment" and be consecrated to our gain.

  • How, then, can we claim that joy?

  • We can start by "looking unto Jesus the author

  • and finisher of our faith" "in every thought."

  • We can give thanks for Him in our prayers

  • and by keeping covenants we've made with Him and our Heavenly

  • Father.

  • As our Savior becomes more and more real to us,

  • and as we plead for His joy to be given to us,

  • our joy will increase.

  • Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy

  • brings God's power into our lives.

  • As in all things, Jesus Christ is our ultimate exemplar,

  • "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross."

  • Think of that!

  • In order for Him to endure the most excruciating experience

  • ever endured on earth, our Savior focused on joy!

  • And what was the joy that was set before Him?

  • Surely it included the joy of cleansing, healing,

  • and strengthening us; the joy of paying for the sins of all who

  • would repent; the joy of making it possible for you and me

  • to return home--clean and worthy--to live with

  • our Heavenly Parents and families.

  • If we focus on the joy that will come to us or to those we love,

  • what can we endure that presently

  • seems overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair,

  • or simply impossible?

  • One father in a spiritually precarious situation focused

  • on the joy of finally being clean and right with

  • the Lord--the joy of being freed from guilt and shame--and

  • the joy of having peace of mind.

  • That focus gave him the courage to confess

  • to his wife and bishop about his problem

  • with pornography and his subsequent infidelity.

  • He is now doing everything his bishop counsels him to do,

  • striving with all his heart to regain

  • the trust of his dear wife.

  • A young woman focused on the joy of staying sexually pure

  • to help her endure the mocking of friends

  • as she walked away from a popular and provocative

  • but spiritually dangerous situation.

  • A man who frequently demeaned his wife

  • and indulged in angry outbursts at his children

  • focused on the joy of being worthy to have the Holy Ghost

  • as his constant companion.

  • That focus motivated him to put off

  • the natural man, to which he had too often succumbed,

  • and make needed changes.

  • A dear colleague recently told me

  • of his past two decades of heavy trials.

  • He said, "I have learned to suffer--with joy.

  • My suffering was swallowed up in the joy of Christ."

  • What will you and I be able to endure

  • as we focus on the joy that is "set before" us?

  • What repenting will then be possible?

  • What weakness will become a strength?

  • What chastening will become a blessing?

  • What disappointments, even tragedies,

  • will turn to our good?

  • And what challenging service to the Lord

  • will we be able to give?

  • As we diligently focus on the Savior

  • and then follow His pattern of focusing on joy,

  • we need to avoid those things that can interrupt our joy.

  • Remember Korihor, the anti-Christ?

  • Spewing falsehoods about the Savior,

  • Korihor went from place to place until he

  • was brought before a high priest who asked him,

  • "Why do ye go about perverting the ways of the Lord?

  • Why do ye teach this people that there shall be no Christ,

  • to interrupt their rejoicings?"

  • Anything that opposes Christ or His doctrine

  • will interrupt our joy.

  • That includes the philosophies of men, so abundant online

  • and in the blogosphere, which do exactly what Korihor did.

  • If we look to the world and follow its formulas

  • for happiness, we will never know joy.

  • The unrighteous may experience any number

  • of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy!

  • Joy is a gift for the faithful.

  • It is the gift that comes from intentionally

  • trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.

  • He taught us how to have joy.

  • When we choose Heavenly Father to be our God

  • and when we can feel the Savior's Atonement

  • working in our lives, we will be filled with joy.

  • Every time we nurture our spouse and guide

  • our children, every time we forgive someone

  • or ask for their forgiveness, we can feel joy.

  • Every day that you and I choose to live celestial laws,

  • every day that we keep our covenants

  • and help others to do the same, joy will be ours.

  • Heed these words of the Psalmist:

  • "I have set the Lord always before me:

  • because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

  • . . .

  • In [His] presence is fulness of joy."

  • As this principle is embedded in our hearts, each and every day

  • can be a day of joy and gladness.

  • I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thank you, President Monson.

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B2 中高級 美國腔

喜樂與精神生存 (Joy and Spiritual Survival)

  • 37 1
    So Ling Lee 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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