Joy and Thanksgiving: Connection – Joy and Thanksgiving!

Well, today is the last day of the Joy and Thanksgiving Study Series. I hope that you have enjoyed it. I have! It has been great to learn more about the true meaning of happiness, how to find it, and how it is related to gratitude. Studying these scriptures has inspired me to make positive changes so I can be happier.

Anyways…today’s scripture block is a connection – between Joy and Thanksgiving.

“And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared alive did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer.” – 3 Nephi 10:10

Okay…so the first part of this scripture assignment doesn’t seem very joyful, but I think that one of the biggest things I’ve been noticing about happiness is it’s relationship with pain. Sounds strange, I know, but happiness and misery, joy and pain, are related. They are related – especially in this life – as they are in opposition one to another.

My friend, “Curls” made the best observation…“I think for me the most important thing I’ve learned about happiness is that it is NOT constant. Because happiness comes from God and we are not yet in perfect unity with Him there will be times (sometimes short and sometimes long) where we don’t feel happy or joyful. These times are usually when I have the opportunity to experience serious growth since they try my character and my faith.

I think another important thing I’ve learned is that the world expects happiness ALL the time. So if something doesn’t make you happy constantly then you should let go of it and try something else. I think this is one of the selfish roots of the many problems of our day, divorce, broken families, entitlement, greed, etc.

And finally the scripture in 2 Nephi 2:11 stating that there is opposition in all things. No happiness without misery as they are a compound in one.” Don’t you think that’s great! I love this concept…

Once, I was teaching a class to a group of Young Women, and one of the girls asked me if God is happy. That question still comes to me all the time – is He happy? Will we be happy?

And, I think that the answer is YES! It doesn’t mean that he’s happy in the way the world has taught us to be happy. But He’s really happy. Does this mean that misery does not exist? No. He is perfect though, and as God, he is above sin and everything that misery causes.

So, as we learn to be like Him, we overcome the pains of misery. And, as taught in 3 Nephi 10:10, our overcoming misery and the pains of mortality is through Jesus Christ.

Jesus heals our broken hearts. He brings peace to our souls. He will turn our mourning into joy and our lamentations into thanksgiving. And here’s how it can be done…

“If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.” – Doctrine and Covenants 136:29

I have to admit, I don’t do this enough. Often, I go through, suffering pain or affliction, worrying, moping, whatever – I do this on my own. I don’t always call on God with supplication. Instead, I think that either 1) I have to suffer or 2) I have to figure it out on my own. or 3) I’m just crazy.

No!

The Lord wants to help our souls to be joyful. We need to turn to Him.

And when we do, our souls are joyful. We are happy, and this is how we should respond to such a blessing:

“If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving” – Doctrine and Covenants 136:28

We give thanks.

One thing I love about this scripture is that we give thanks through creative expression. We give thanks with praise and singing, music, dancing, and prayer! (Prayer – to supplicate the father; Prayer – to thank the father!)…so much prayer!

One thing I’ve noticed, when I’m taking the time to be grateful, I’m more aware of the world around me. I’m not taking it for granted. I’m listening better, observing more clearly. And, when I’m doing this, it is impossible not to be grateful – even for the ugly things. For it is the ugly things that make the beautiful things even more amazing.

So…be happy; be grateful. Be grateful; be happy!

I hope you have a good Thanksgiving. I have really enjoyed doing this scripture study series. I have learned a lot about thanksgiving and happiness. I’m grateful for the love I experience, daily, from my Heavenly Father. I’m grateful for the mercy and blessings He gives me.

What are you grateful for? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned as you’ve studied Joy and Thanksgiving?

Christ Prays for Us

One of my favorite accounts in the New Testament is when Christ offered the intercessory prayer. In this prayer, Christ prays for his disciples (the 12 apostles) – that they may be sanctified. He also prays for those who believe in the words of His servants – that we may be sanctified. I love this account because I know that it is according to Christ’s mercy and prayer that I have been blessed.

Now…one thing I love about the Book of Mormon is that we have another account of a prayer like the one Christ uttered that is mentioned in John.

For those of you who don’t know much about the Book of Mormon, here is a little re-cap: The Book of Mormon is a record of the people who inhabited the Americas anciently. They fled from Israel during the reign of King Zedekiah when the Babylonian empire conquered Israel. This group of people was led by God to the Americas. They were righteous. They received revelation and direction from God. They were members of the House of Israel: covenant people….Shortly after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, He appeared to the people on the American continent. He taught them, healed them, blessed them, and organized his church among them. You can read more about his visitation in 3 Nephi 11 (continuing on through the end of the book of 3 Nephi).

While Christ visited the people, he gave a prayer, similar to the intercessory prayer that he gave during his Mortal Ministry.

After organizing his gospel among the Nephites, They were baptized, and desired to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. Because of this desire, and because they earnestly prayed for the gift, they received the Holy Ghost. Like Peter, and the apostles of the old world, these apostles and disciples received the gift of the Holy Ghost in a fire from heaven. (See Acts 2:2-4 and 3 Nephi 19:13-14.) As this was taking place, the Savior appeared among them. He commanded the people to pray, then went a little way off and prayed himself.

The prayer is recorded:

“19 And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said:

20 Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.

21 Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.

22 Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.

23 And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.” – 3 Nephi 19:19-23

Isn’t this a humbling prayer? As in, doesn’t it make you feel grateful? Christ prayed for us. And it strikes me that because of Christ’s prayer, we are blessed. The gift of the Holy Ghost is central in our returning to Heavenly Father. The Holy Ghost testifies of Christ, teaches us the truth of all things, and sanctifies us. Without the gift of the Holy Ghost, we would never really gain knowledge, know the Savior, and we would never be made holy or able to reenter into the presence of the Lord.

After this prayer, Christ offers two more prayers in our behalf:

” 27 And he turned from them again, and went a little way off and bowed himself to the earth; and he prayed again unto the Father, saying:

28 Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me.

29 Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.” – 3 Nephi 19:27-29

“31 And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father;

32 And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed.

33 And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed.

34 Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man.” – 3 Nephi 19:31-33

Christ prays for us. (It’s a good thing, too!)

In and of myself, I am not worthy of a single blessing I have ever received. Often, when I approach Heavenly Father in prayer, I feel inadequate – and kind of like a spoiled brat. I’m always in need of help and blessings. While I do give prayers of gratitude, I still need His blessings. I need His help. For this reason, many of my prayers are filled with requests – for His mercy and strength, for others, for me.

And as I pray, I often have this thought, “Why should HE help me? I don’t really deserve it.” And this notion is true.

….but….(and this is a BIG but)…

I don’t really need to deserve it. I only need to deserve Christ’s grace. Then, I can trust that Christ will also pray for me. I know that if I approach Heavenly Father – with Christ – then I can ask for blessings in confidence – knowing that I “deserve” the blessing I desire – but only because Christ completes my inadequacy.

I want to testify that I have been blessed by Christ’s willingness to intercede on my behalf. I know that without Christ, I never would have experienced the blessings I have had in my life. Always, the first blessing I think of is meeting my husband. I know that it was the Lord who guided my path to meeting Pete. My marriage to Pete has been the best blessing I’ve ever experienced. I know that I didn’t deserve this blessing on my own accord. I’m so grateful for Christ’s mercy and grace.

I love the examples of the intercessory prayers given in John and 3 Nephi because they illustrate our true dependence on Christ. I am grateful to know that He loves us enough to intercede and pray for us. I am grateful to have the Book of Mormon – which so clearly illustrates this pattern. The Book of Mormon has brought me closer to Christ and helped me to feel and understand His love. If you haven’t read the Book of Mormon, I encourage you to. You can find it online here. You can also request a free copy of the Book of Mormon here.

How have you been blessed by Christ’s intercession on your behalf? Share if you would like. 🙂

  • "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:42.
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