I love Russell M. Nelson. He just… radiates the light of Christ. Not that the other apostles don’t do that (of course they do!) but his smile especially just makes me happy. Today’s talk comes from the Sunday Morning session of conference and is title Joy and Spiritual Service. Let’s get started shall we?
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“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.”
“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?”
“[…] a principle as revealed by the Lord: “Men are, that they might have joy.”6 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?”
“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, […] and Jesus Christ and His 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.”
“How, then, can we claim that joy? We can start by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”15 “in every thought.”16 We can give thanks for Him in our prayers and by keeping covenants we’ve made with Him and our Heavenly Father.”
“Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God’s power into our lives.”
“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?”
“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.”1”
“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.”
“Anything that opposes Christ or His doctrine will interrupt our joy. That includes the philosophies of men, so abundant online and in the blogosphere”
“f we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness,27 we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy!28 Joy is a gift for the faithful.29 It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.30”
“He taught us how to have joy. When we choose Heavenly Father to be our God31 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 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.”33 As this principle is embedded in our hearts, each and every day can be a day of joy and gladness.34 I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
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I feel like there ought to be a mic drop at this point or something. How awesome is this talk? So awesome. Maybe I just like it since I try to be a generally cheerful person, but I absolutely love what President Ballard says here. Have joy! Live joyfully! We are not meant to endure to the end of all things gloomily, hanging on like a waterlogged cat to whatever’s left of virtue in the world–no! We can live joyfully, seeking out the good and encouraging it, smiling at our neighbors and doing what we can to help. Live joyfully! After all, what’s the alternative? Despair? Fast happiness that leaves you feeling hollow? That doesn’t sound like any fun to me. I love you all, please know that! Have joy! And thanks for reading!