Gospel of hope, peace and joy

Friday October 27, 2017 Written by Published in Church Talk

What a wonderful blessing it is to receive guidance and counsel from the scriptures and the words of prophets and apostles.

Following are some excerpts from the 187th Semi-Annual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held at the beginning of October 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. I have included some of the topics in my message today.

In the most difficult circumstances of life, there is often only one source of peace.

The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, extends His grace with the invitation “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

He further promises, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).

Lasting joy is found in focusing on our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and living the gospel as demonstrated and taught by Him. The more we learn about, have faith in, and emulate Jesus Christ, the more we come to understand that He is the source of all healing, peace, and eternal progress.

No matter what we have suffered, He is the source of healing. Those who have experienced any manner of abuse, devastating loss, chronic illness or disabling affliction, untrue accusations, vicious persecution, or spiritual damage from sin or misunderstandings can all be made whole by the Redeemer of the world. However, He will not enter without invitation. We must come to Him and allow Him to work His miracles.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

Are our testimonies built on the rock foundation of Jesus Christ and His gospel?

When the storms of life press upon us, do we frantically look for a how-to book or an internet post for help?

Taking the time to build and strengthen our knowledge and testimony of Jesus Christ will yield rich dividends in times of trial and adversity. Daily reading of scriptures and pondering the words of living prophets, engaging in meaningful personal prayer, mindfully partaking of the sacrament each week, giving service as the Saviour would - each of these simple activities becomes a building block for a joyful life.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31)

There will be times in our lives when we find ourselves on an unexpected path. How do we respond when events, often out of our control, alter the life we had planned or hoped for?

Although each “change” may be unique to our individual circumstances, there is a common element in the resulting trial or challenge. Hope and peace are always available through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides the ultimate corrective and healing measures to every wounded body, damaged spirit, and broken heart.

We cannot control all that happens to us, but we have absolute control over how we respond to the changes in our lives.

This does not imply that the challenges and trials we face are of no consequence and easily handled or dealt with. It does not imply that we will be free from pain or heartache. But it does mean that there is cause for hope and that due to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can move forward and find better days, even days full of joy, light, and happiness.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

(Isaiah 41:10)

Whatever change in life’s circumstance may come our way, and whatever unexpected path we may have to travel, how we respond is a choice. Turning to the Saviour and grasping His outstretched arm is always our best option.

Let me offer two reasons why we should turn to the Lord.

First, your life will be better.

Second, God will use you to make the lives of others better. …

Come, and trust in the Lord. Lend your talents to His wonderful work. Reach out, encourage, heal, and support all who desire to feel and heed the yearning to return and live with our Heavenly Father.

 

The gospel is an unequalled message of hope, happiness, and joy. It is the pathway that leads us to our heavenly home.

As we embrace the gospel in faith and deed, each day and every hour, we will draw a little closer to our God. Our lives will be better, and the Lord will use us in remarkable ways to bless those around us and bring about His eternal purposes.

Repentance Brings Happiness

Too often we think of repentance as something miserable and depressing. But God’s plan is the plan of happiness, not the plan of misery! Repentance is uplifting and ennobling. It’s sin that brings unhappiness. Repentance is our escape route!

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Elder D Todd Christofferson explained: “Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Repentance is always positive.

We can try to change our behaviour on our own, but only the Saviour can remove our stains and lift our burdens, enabling us to pursue the path of obedience with confidence and strength.

The joy of repentance is more than the joy of living a decent life. It’s the joy of forgiveness, of being clean again, and of drawing closer to God.”

Our Saviour Jesus Christ’s great love for each and every one of us was portrayed in his final days on earth in his mortal state.

As was so characteristic of His entire life, the Saviour submitted to His Father’s will and took the bitter cup and drank.

He suffered the pains of all men in Gethsemane so we would not have to suffer if we would repent.

He submitted Himself to humiliation and insults from His enemies without complaint or retaliation.

And, finally, He endured the whipping and brutal shame of the cross. Only then did He voluntarily submit to death. In His words:

“No man taketh it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:18.)

He is the Resurrection and the Life. (John 11:25.)

He is the Bread of Life. (John 6:35.)

He is the Prince of Peace—the ultimate Comforter. (Isaiah. 9:6.)

He is the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11.)

He is a Wonderful Counsellor. (Isaiah. 9:6.)

He is our Advocate, Mediator, and Judge.

I add my own personal testimony that I know God is our Heavenly Father and that His Son Jesus Christ is our Saviour and Redeemer and that He lives and I know this through the power of the Holy Ghost that bears witness of the truth of all things to man.

I pray for God’s continued guidance and help that I may endure all life has to offer, that I may have peace and joy and a quiet assurance that all will be well in the end, because of His love for me and for all mankind and His wonderful plan of happiness!

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” 

(Deuteronomy 31:6)

May God’s love embrace us and bless all, in the name of His Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

            John Mateara,

            The Church of Jesus Christ                 of Latter-day Saints

 

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