Friday, October 23, 2009

"STRONG AND CORAGEOUS"



A Lesson Learned in Brazil
Jenny Phillips

I learned a lot of things on my trip to Brazil this year: Rio De Janeiro is one of the most beautiful places in the world (absolutely breathtaking); the Brazilian saints are incredible singers, and they amazingly beautiful on the outside and the inside. Some of the kindest and most Christ like people in the world live in Brazil. But I also learned something else--the hard way. You need a visa to go to Brazil.

My husband and I had planned our trip to Brazil for months. On the day of our departure, we packed up our kids and drove them to my mom's house. We said our goodbyes and went to the airport where we unloaded all of our flight cases full of sound equipment. After standing in the long line, we finally got up to the ticket counter. "Can I see your visa?" the man at the counter asked. My heart dropped. I had been to 27 countries and had never needed a visa. When I told them man that I didn't know I needed a visa, he said, "Didn't you read all the emails Delta sent you about getting a visa?" My heart dropped again. I had been too busy to read the emails Delta had sent me titled "Important Information about Your Flight." I figured I already knew all I needed to know about that flight. I was bugged by all the emails they were sending me. To make a long story short, we couldn't get on the plane. I had to call the leaders in Rio with the distressing news. I wouldn't be arriving that night for the fireside.

The feeling I had was absolutely terrible. I didn't have what was required to go where I had planned on going. The experience made me think of the day I will arrive, not at a ticket counter, but at the judgment bar. The "visa" I will need to present will be a life lived with "valiant" faith. Having lived good and "honorable" will not be enough. I can't imagine not having what I need on that day. I can't imagine the Lord saying: "Didn't you hear and heed those messages I sent you about what you needed to do for exaltation?" I do not want to reply: "I was too busy."

The thing is, I got to reschedule my trip to Rio after getting a visa. But if I pass through this life without living "valiantly," I won't be able to reschedule my life and try again. Ezra Taft Benson said: "Not to be valiant in one's testimony is a tragedy of eternal consequence." (Ensign, May 1982, p. 63).

Can you not feel Nephi's words: "But wo unto hiim that hath the law given . . . and that wasteth the days of his probation." (2 Nephi 6)

So how do you rate your life right now at this moment? A) Valiant B) Honorable and clean but not valiant C) Dishonorable and unclean? These categories represent the following: A) Celestial Kingdom B) Terrestrial Kingdom C) Telestial Kingdom

It's so important that we are constantly evaluating the way we are living. Consider this guideline from the Strength of Youth Pamphlet:
1) "Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable." How are you living this?
A. Valiantly B. Honorably C. Dishonorably

2)How would you rate yourself as having consistent and meaningful scripture study?
A. Valiantly B. Honorably C. Dishonorably

3. How are you doing your at you visiting/home teaching and other callings?
A. Valiantly B. Honorably C. Dishonorably

4. How hard are you working on gaining attributes of charity such as not being easily provoked, being kind, and seeking not your own?
A. Valiantly B. Honorably C. Dishonorably

"Valiant" has become the new measuring stick with which I am trying to measure my life. I'm trying to settle for nothing less than "valiant," because I want to be sure that when I meet the Savior I will have what I need to present to him. I don't want the feeling I had that day at the airport when I realized I couldn't get on the plane.

I'm very excited about the song "Valiant Faith" on the the 2010 CD "Strong and Courageous." Here is a quote I love that is included in the script for that program:

Bruce R. McConkie: "Members of the Church who have testimonies and who live clean and upright lives, but who are not courageous and valiant, do not gain the celestial kingdom. Theirs is a terrestrial inheritance . . . Now, what does it mean to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus? It is to be courageous and bold; to use all our strength, energy, and ability in the warfare with the world . . . To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to bridle our passions, control our appetites, and rise above carnal and evil things . . . To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to take the Lord's side on every issue . . . It is to think as he thinks, to believe what he believes, to say what he would say and do what he would do in the same situation. It is to have the mind of Christ and be one with him as he is one with his Father.” (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, pgs 362-363)

Valiant Faith
Jenny Phillips/Tyler Castleton

Too many people are just sliding by
Plugged into the world
But missing the meaning of life

But I was born to be a warrior of light
With faith to move mountains
And the power of God filling my life

I want to live my life with honor and faith
I want to return to His arms unashamed
It's not enough for me to live it half way
I'll follow him fearlessly all of my days
I will live with valiant faith

I lived for ages, I prepared for this life
I won't be confused
And cross to the enemy's side

I am girded with power and truth
I'm siding with God
And he's pouring out blessings in all that I do

Chorus

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