What an absolutely fantastic week it has been! I have never felt so busy in my life, but It has never been better. Today at church was great. We had Ward Conference with the Stake. I was enjoining myself so much I took a few notes. I felt the overall theme was, endure and be happy! Here are a few notes of some points that were made that I really enjoyed and wanted to think more about:
-Righteous living brings true eternal happiness
-show gratitude (attitude of gratitude)
-forgive others, and yourself
-Don't let opportunities pass us by to not say thank you to others. Take the time to write thank you cards and express gratitude. (this is one I really wanted to focus more of my efforts on)
-having a bad day? write down 3 things you are grateful for that day
-the only way to real happiness is to live the gospel
-study diligently, pray vividly, serve others
-learn to draw nearer to the Lord
-be carefully about being distracted
-stand in the light of our faith
-live our covenants and claim the blessings
-don't forget who we are, and where we came from
-take one day at a time
-come what may, and love it -Elder Wirthlin
There were many fantastic things said. These were a few of the highlights for me from Sacrament meeting and Relief Society. In Sunday school we learned about Isaiah, and started diving into the first few chapters. We learned that you can find refuge and peace in your homes, in the church, and the temple. Listening to all the talks and the messages shared today, it made me really grateful I got to talk in church a few weeks ago. My sister Hayley wrote an awesome talk on Endurance when she spoke in her ward in Ohio on Pioneer Day. My dad sent me a copy of Hayley's talk. I knew I was assigned to speak in church on Sept 26th for about a month. Reading Hayley's talk, I felt like I should talk about endurance as well. The thing that's interesting to me as I think about all this is, we never know whats coming in life, but I think its like what was talked about in my ward today, that we need to be positive, stay focused, and live the gospel, because that is what is going to bring true happiness. I have had so many amazing examples of people that do this every day. I feel we are so lucky to be living in the time period we are, and there are so many exciting times ahead of us.
Hayley, I told you I would get you a copy of my talk, so until then, here it is till I send you one! Thanks for all your help! Your talk, blessed my life.I love you!
Have you ever met someone, and when you met them, you wanted to be just like them because there was something so vibrant and amazing that stuck out about this person? Well, this is how I felt about a man named EMA. I got the blessing of being able to meet Ema, while I was at his house for dinner in France. Ema used to live in Africa, and was scouted out to play soccer for a French team. He was a large man in stature, and looked like a large American football player. Ema had been in a car accident about 9 years ago, that changed his entire life. Ema is now in a wheel chair, and has part of a crippled arm. When the family I was with arrived to Emas, I felt the largest welcome into his home. This man by himself, cooked us a huge, multi-course dinner, and shared the sweetest stories with us. I do not speak French, but just hearing Emas voice made me so happy. From someone translating Emas French into English, I was able to learn about him. I learned of his conversion story to the gospel, how he got in a car accident and became crippled, and how he owned his own fish market and it got burned down. Ema had many life changing stories. Hearing these drastic events to me was devastating, and to see this man talk about them with the hugest smile on his face was so touching. During dinner I felt the strongest spirit from Ema, and he was just beaming. I thought, how could he be so happy, and so positive about life, when many crazy things had happened to him?
After leaving Emas house, I couldn't stop thinking about what a huge impact this short hour experience had made in my life. To me, Ema is the absolute perfect example, of what I would like to speak to you all about today.
In James 5:11, it reads, "Behold, we count them happy which endure." Even despite the many trials Ema was going threw, he truly was the happiest man I have ever met. So, how is it even possible to be HAPPY and ENDURE all at the same time, and what does "endure" even mean?
President Uchdorf said in the November 2007, "Enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout our life, is a fundamental requirement for salvation in the kingdom of God. This belief distinguishes Latter-day Saints from many other Christian denominations that teach that salvation is given to all who simply believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ. The Lord clearly declared, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God”
We hear the word endure or endurance used quite often in the church. That's because the scriptures tell us that it is essential for us to endure to the end. Elder Robert D. Hales said, "We were not sent by Heavenly Father just to be born. We were sent to endure and return to Him with Honor."
I like the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 136:31 when the Lord tells us, "My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion."
I feel in these collage years we all have many things going on in our lives. We have many important decisions to make. Many choices that will determine where our life goes. I think this scripture is so neat because it is a promise from our Heavenly Father that that if we endure, we will be able to have eternal life, live with our Heavenly Father, and receive the glory he has for us! This is so amazing!
Reading this scripture makes me feel that, if it means enduring through afflictions, opposition, problems, trials, or whatever it is...no matter what..enduring to the end will be WORTH IT!
My talk isn't to depress us though about exciting hardships we can have in life, but its purpose is to bring the GOOD NEWS. Like Ema, in our trials, how can we be happy, and positive?
The answer is CHRIST! The good news is Christ! How wonderful is it that there is someone who knows exactly how we feel. Someone we can pray to. Someone who truly is our best friend, and someone that cares for us so much. Someone who wants to talk to us. We do not have to go through a single trial by ourselves. Christ is here for us, and is wanting to help us. I learned from Ema that his best friend was Christ. Because of this, it made Ema, the happiest, richest man alive.
A powerful example in the Book of Mormon is in Mosiah Chapter 24. This is when Alma and his people were in bondage of the Laminates. Verse 10 reads, "And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God."
The part of this example that stood out to me was when I read it was in verse 14 when the Lord answers their prayers, but maybe not the way they were expecting...and the Lord says, "And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders that even you cannot feel them upon your backs. And now it came to pass that their burdens were made light; yea the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
Having Christ in your life is true Joy. Christ is happiness. I truly feel that if we have Christ in our lives, we find true happiness in life.
Elder Marion D. Hanks , assistant to the council of the 12 gave a story in the ensign, "When I was a boy growing up in a home with a widowed mother, I heard a story that touched me and that has had a lot more meaning since I have had the blessing of having a son of my own. A youngster was assigned by his father to see to the moving of a large rock. He tugged and pushed, and he lifted and struggled without avail. Some friends were enlisted, but together they could not move it. Reluctantly he reported to his father that he could not budge the rock.
“Have you done all you could?” asked the father.
“Yes,” said the little boy.
“Have you tried everything?” persisted the father.
“Yes,” said the boy. “I’ve tried everything.”
“No, son, you haven’t,” said his dad. “You haven’t asked me.”
Why do so many of us, “heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ,” fail to go to him, to keep in touch with our Father? He is anxious to help. But he wants us to learn our need for him, to open the door to him."
I have found the best way for me in my life, to turn to Christ, and learn to ask Him for his help, is to do what Charles Didier of the Seventy said ,"One of the real purposes of life is to become a friend of the Mediator, our Savior and Redeemer, and not only understand his mission but also support it and then qualify to be called his friend, his disciple, and to enter into the presence of his Father."
"One of my all time favorite scriptures is found in Doctrine and covenants 84:77, "And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you my friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power."
That scripture is so good! I love that it says it is a commandment to be friends with Christ. I think that is so special and so neat.Christ loves us so much that he wants to be our friend.
Marion D. Hanks beautifully said, "Men without God and the living Christ in their lives lack center, and thus lack joy they could have.
That leads me to the scripture I would like to close with Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son on God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
I challenge us all, especially myself to truly build a foundation upon Christ, and to build a strong, loving relationship with him.
The answer is ALWAYS Christ.I know that if we do build a strong relationship with Christ, and make him our best friend that not only will we be able to endure all things, that we will be able to endure them with a positive attitude and joy in our hearts. Christ is happiness, and threw Him, I know that we will each be able to make it back home to the Celestial Kingdom to live with Him and our Heavenly Father.
I would like to bear my testimony.....In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen! :)