Saturday, November 22, 2008

Save, save, save!

I like to save things.  No, it is worse than that.  I hoard things.  Oh no, I'm a hoarder!  OK, so what is wrong with me?  Why can't I throw things away?  I always hear myself saying that I might need it for school, or I could use this in scouts.  Those 5 gal. ice cream buckets are great when you need to take a meal into a family.  They are just the right size for a large pot of soup and the family does not have to worry about returning the container.  So is there a reason I need ten of those?

I decided it was time to clean my pantry.  I had to.  I couldn't get the door to close.  I really had to give myself a talking to.  "It is time to throw some things away," I told myself.  Let me see what can go?  The margarine containers!  The margarine containers?  Now why was I saving margarine containers?  Oh, yes, they are nice for leftovers.  Then you can just take it to work, heat it up, and throw away the container when you finish eating!  So why do I keep bringing them back home and washing them?  I call it recycling.  No, it is called hoarding!  At any rate I have talked myself into throwing way the old margarine containers.  One garbage can full of margarine containers later I can close the door.  You will never believe what else I threw away.  Oh that's right you will believe it, of course you would have thrown it away a long time ago, it is me that can't believe it.  I went through the dry goods.  Those #10 cans that you get in dry pack.  I threw away two cans of fruit drink, one chocolate pudding, one vanilla pudding, raspberry flavored dried apples, and part of a can of macaroni.  Why?  Old.  Really old.  Plus Joe can't have the sugar in the drink and the pudding.  Now I keep going back to the pantry and opening the door just so I can see it shut again.  Wow that is so cool.

Now as I type I am looking at the stack of phone books.  Why do I need 5 phone books in the kitchen?  It looks like something else needs to go.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yea Talk in Church

The other night when I got home from Cub Scouts I saw we had company.  It was the bishop with an invitation in his hand.  Wow, it was an invitation to talk in sacrament meeting.  

I have been thinking about talking about faith.  We need faith in these troubled times.  I thought I would use the talk by Neil L Andersen, "You Know Enough."  I really like Elder Joseph B Wirthlin's talk, "Come What May and Love it."  I had better get my act together if I am planning on taking on Sunday.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Being Valiant in a Testimony of Christ Part 2

Ezra Taft Benson said:

A most priceless blessing available to every member of the Church is a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His church. A testimony is one of the few possessions we may take with us when we leave this life.

To have a testimony of Jesus is to possess knowledge through the Holy Ghost of the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

A testimony of Jesus is to know the divine nature of our Lord’s birth—that He is indeed the Only Begotten Son in the flesh.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that He was the promised Messiah and that while He sojourned among men He accomplished many mighty miracles.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that the laws which He prescribed as His doctrine are true and then to abide by these laws and ordinances.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of all mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane, which caused Him to suffer in both body and spirit and to bleed from every pore. All this He did so that we would not have to suffer if we would repent. (See D&C 19:16, 18.)

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He came forth triumphantly from the grave with a physical, resurrected body. And because He lives, so shall all mankind.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that God the Father and Jesus Christ did indeed appear to the Prophet Joseph Smith to establish a new dispensation of His gospel so that salvation may be preached to all nations before He comes.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that the Church which He established in the meridian of time and restored in modern times is, as the Lord has declared, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.)

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to receive the words of His servants, the prophets, for as He has said, “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38.)

A testimony of Jesus means that you accept the divine mission of Jesus Christ, embrace His gospel, and do His works; it means you accept the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith and his successors.

Speaking of those who will eventually receive the blessings of the celestial kingdom, the Lord said to Joseph Smith: “They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given.” (D&C 76:51.) These are they who are valiant in their testimony of Jesus, who, as the Lord has declared “overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.” (D&C 76:53.)

“Those who are just and true”! What an apt expression for one valiant in the testimony of Jesus. They are courageous in defending truth and righteousness. These are members of the Church who magnify their callings in the Church (see D&C 84:33), pay their tithes and offerings, live morally clean lives, sustain their Church leaders by word and action, keep the Sabbath as a holy day, and obey all the commandments of God.

Ezra Taft Benson, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, May 1982, 62

Being Valiant in a Testimony of Christ

Here is what Bruce R McConkie had to say about being valiant.

Bruce R. McConkie, “Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith,” Ensign, Nov 1974, 33

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 fight the good fight of faith. “Be strong and of a good courage,” the Lord commanded Joshua, and then specified that this strength and courage consisted of meditating upon and observing to do all that is written in the law of the Lord. (See Josh. 1:6–9.) The great cornerstone of valiance in the cause of righteousness is obedience to the whole law of the whole gospel.

To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”; it is to deny ourselves “of all ungodliness,” and “love God” with all our “might, mind and strength.” (Moro. 10:32.)

To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to believe in Christ and his gospel with unshakable conviction. It is to know of the verity and divinity of the Lord’s work on earth.

But this is not all. It is more than believing and knowing. We must be doers of the word and not hearers only. It is more than lip service; it is not simply confessing with the mouth the divine Sonship of the Savior. It is obedience and conformity and personal righteousness. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21.)

To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” It is to “endure to the end.” (2 Ne. 31:20.) It is to live our religion, to practice what we preach, to keep the commandments. It is the manifestation of “pure religion” in the lives of men; it is visiting “the fatherless and widows in their affliction” and keeping ourselves “unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27.)

To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to bridle our passions, control our appetites, and rise above carnal and evil things. It is to overcome the world as did he who is our prototype and who himself was the most valiant of all our Father’s children. It is to be morally clean, to pay our tithes and offerings, to honor the Sabbath day, to pray with full purpose of heart, to lay our all upon the altar if called upon to do so.

To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to take the Lord’s side on every issue. It is to vote as he would vote. It is to think what 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.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Testimony of Jesus

I have been thinking about D&C 76 where it talks about the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial degrees of glory.  The phrase "the testimony of Jesus" is used about five times.  As I was reading these verses I was thinking about how many times we have been told that we will not be able to live on borrowed light.  That we must each have a testimony of our own.  

I thought of how often we are taught to bear a pure testimony in our meetings.  I thought of how often we give a travel log instead.  Yes, I am as guilty as the next of telling a story instead of bearing a pure testimony.  As of late I have been trying to do a better job of bearing my testimony.   

At any rate, back to my reading.  All of a sudden I came across an extra word.  It said, "valiant in the testimony of Christ."  That word valiant popped out at me.  It is not enough to be able to bear your testimony.  You must be valiant in that testimony!  Those people who enter the celestial kingdom are valiant in the testimony of Jesus.  Those who enter the other two kingdoms are not valiant.  

So here is my question:  What are the characteristics of a person who is "valiant in the testimony of Jesus?"  If you have an answer leave a comment.  As for me I think I will ponder the subject a little longer.