Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Is For Joy

         Have you ever laughingly thought that Lehi must have excluded women in the following scripture because he knew they worried too much to have real joy?
   2 Nephi 2:25 "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
         Joke aside, women may be even more able to embrace joy. In the past I sometimes tried to save joy for later when my current worry was resolved. I have recently learned that joy can't be saved in a "good feelings" bank account. When it comes the road opens and a fork appears. This way, let the feeling flood me, engulf me, and witness the gift like water from a deep well. The other way, block it, deny it, and hope it is there when you feel more worthy.

     What is Lehi saying right before this message about joy? 
     2 Nephi 2:21 "And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh;"
     What does repentance have to do with joy? There is nothing that brings the Holy Ghost faster than repentance. When a child of God chooses to act and desires repentance, swoosh....divine help appears. There is an opportunity to feel the amazing love of God in the repentance process. I observed that when my son invited his girl friend to take the missionary lessons in our home. Each week the joy quotient rose in our family. I felt electrified, uplifted, and full of joy as she steadily came to the choice to be baptized.
     Now, what does Lehi say after the scripture about joy?
    2 Nephi 2:26 "And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given."
  There is no other way to have a fullness of joy. It is rooted, planted, and firmly embedded in our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the good news. His testifies of joy himself.
  3 Nephi 17:20 "And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full."
   I think His joy was full because these souls were choosing Him. They wanted alignment with his mission to bring them back to Heavenly Father. They were choosing at-one-ment. 
Truly the fullness of joy will come when we are in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again. Nevertheless, I have benefited from some small down payments that the Father has given me. These feelings are deep within my heart. Often I am compelled to tell whoever is close by that I am so happy. I can't seem to engineer these feelings so I know they are from a divine source. They don't seem to be connected to lack of adversity. In the middle of a trying, difficult scenario, I have been sent this joy. It is however my choice to receive. Just like a football player reaching, stretching, and running toward the ball, I find that the joy is cherished so much more when I am willing to receive. May we spend some time this July thinking on the choices we make that help us receive joy.

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