I was confirmed in Church last Sunday. I love being an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In my confirmation blessing, the Bishop said I should study the Scriptures diligently (especially 3Nephi) and make this a time of preparation for what is to come.
The Bishop also said to me "Live in JOY". What a neat counsel! I'm sure that is what Jesus Christ would say to every one of us!
Online I found a great talk by Elder Jeffery Holland to new (and longtime) Church members,it has very wise counsel in sections titled "The Way of the Covenant", "The Sanctity of Service", "The Holy Temple", "Leaving the Past Behind" and "Everyday Victories". I wanted to share just a small part of the last section, since it's about blessings and it seems appropriate for this week of Thanksgiving. The whole talk can be found at the link below.
“What I Wish Every New Member Knew—and Every Longtime Member Remembered,”
By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
"We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more blessings than burdens—even if some days it doesn’t seem so. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and always will be.
Let me summarize only a few of those blessings. There are untold others.
Knowledge of the truth. In a world that wonders and speculates and drifts, we can be certain who our Father is, who we are, and what our destiny is if we follow the path that has been marked for us. We can enjoy the highest of all higher education—the learning that comes, in both spiritual and temporal affairs, when our spirits and our minds respond to the light that streams from heaven to the faithful.
Peace in daily living. We can walk our path day to day with comfort, hope, and direction despite the challenges and obstacles we meet along the way. We can have these blessings because of our source of strength—He who “descended below” all things and triumphed over all trials. When we center our faith in Him, we draw on His strength and our reward is, among other things, “peace in this world."
Strength in virtue and confidence in integrity. The world may wonder what the standard of moral behavior is, chasing here and there the driftwood of political correctness or the frivolous fashions of the day, but we have a sure rock on which to build and to which we cling, an absolute anchor to the certainty of our moral judgment. “Let virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly,” we are taught, and the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion. When our minds are so focused and our lives so directed, “then shall [our] confidence wax strong in the presence of God."
The fellowship of good people. Surely one of the greatest strengths and joys of membership in the Church is the fellowship of good men and women, new friends with whom we have so much in common. The Church is a community—a community of believers, a community of those striving to be faithful, a community of Saints. Association with people hoping for the same things we hope for brings strength for the journey and delight along the way. “A friend loveth at all times,” says the writer of Proverbs, and many of our dearest friends will inevitably be members of the Church.
Walk with us. Stay with us. We need your company and your unique strength. We welcome you to a fellowship based on covenants, with “a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable.” We pledge to be your friend, your brother or sister “through the grace of God in the bonds of love, to walk in all the commandments of God blameless, in thanksgiving, forever and ever."
Welcome to the Church. Welcome to the blessings. Welcome to the celestial journey. Take courage and take hope. You have help from heaven and on earth. As the Lord told the missionaries (including the missionaries who taught you), so He promised us all: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
And remember, the most significant sign of your progress on this journey is not so much your location on the path at the moment, but rather the direction in which you are moving. When you come to the end of your time in mortality, you will not yet have completed the process of perfection—none of us will have done so—but if you have loved and served, sacrificed and stayed faithful to the end, you will hear those glorious words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: … enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Your journey then will continue in unspeakable glory in the company of loved ones who have gone before you and the very angels of heaven themselves.
Welcome to “the way, the truth, and the life.”