Do you Have the Peace that “Passeth All Understanding”?

The Young Women Lesson a few weeks back taught about the “peace that surpasseth all understanding“. The Teacher’s Manual claims: “The blessed part of being a peacemaker is that those who are peacemakers and who live the gospel principles receive a testimony borne of the Holy Ghost. They enjoy the peace that surpasseth all understanding, relief from inner tensions, joy and happiness, contentment, growth, and development.” (page 36)

Do you enjoy the “peace that surpasseth all understanding?” Is your life full of “joy and happiness”? Do you have “relief from inner tensions”? Are you “content”? According to your LDS leaders, if you are a a peacemaker and live the gospel principles, then you should be enjoying these blessings.

If you aren’t, then I’m not surprised. I grew up LDS and attended classes where I learned what these Young Women are being taught. As an LDS woman, I knew that all blessing are predicated upon obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (D & C 130: 21). I so wanted to be at peace and full of joy and happiness, but I just couldn’t do enough to receive these blessings. It wasn’t until after the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in Jesus that I learned that true peace and joy could never be gained by my obedience.

The “peace of God that passeth all understanding” comes first and foremost from trusting in God for everything–especially the complete forgiveness of all your sins. This peace comes from the sure knowledge that in spite of how many times you sin, you have been reconciled to God through Christ. It was with His blood that Jesus made peace between God and man—we have been reconciled through His Atonement:

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:” (Unfortunately, these verses from Colossians 1:19-23 are not listed in the LDS KJV Topical Guide under “Peace” or “Peace of God”.)

Knowing you have been reconciled to God, you can live daily with the full assurance of God’s love and approval. Each day that you truly give all your worries and cares to Jesus (trust fully in Him) you will live in “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding:”

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

The Young Women Lesson brings up Jesus’ words: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Mathew 5:9). The teacher then asks the girls: “Why would peacemakers be called the children of God?” The answer given is: “a person who brings peace into the lives of others is becoming like God and so can truly be called a child of God.”

This answer is wrong! No one “is becoming like God” through their obedience. According to Jesus, no one is even good (Matthew 19:17). God alone is good!

Amazingly, every person with faith in Jesus can “truly be called a child of God”. It is through faith and faith alone that we become God’s dear children. And God’s children are peacemakers and do enjoy “the peace” that comes from faithful living. But they also know that their faithful works are merely God working through them. They are grateful that their own works have nothing to do with being found worthy before God.

Being a peacemaker is a fruit of faith–it comes as a result of the comfort and love you feel from God. It is only after you have been brought to faith that you can do anything to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Even then, it is God who works in you, enticing you to do His will:

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Unfortunately, these verses from Hebrews 13:20-21 are not listed in the LDS KJV Topical Guide under “Peace” or “Peace of God”.)

Only through the sure knowledge that God has you held in His capable hands, will you finally find true peace. As a Mormon, God’s peace eluded me because I knew how unworthy I was. The day I learned that all my sins had been forgiven at the Cross– I found the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding”.

God loves you so much that He punished His own Son in your place. The Holy Spirit is enticing you to trust solely in Jesus. The moment you do, He will “present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” (Colossians 1:19-23)

Believe it, and receive it!

Link to Young Women Lesson 9: https://www.lds.org/manual/young-women-manual-2/contributing-to-family-life/lesson-9-a-young-woman-as-a-peacemaker-in-her-home?lang=eng

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Do You Find it Difficult to Forgive Others?

For many years I struggled with God’s command to forgive others. I sincerely desired to forgive certain people in my life, but I just couldn’t do it. I would have days when I thought I had conquered my unforgiving feelings, but then something would happen and I was right back where I started.

My hearts desire was to gain forgiveness of my own sins. I knew that securing my forgiveness depended upon me freely forgiving others. After all, it was only fair that Heavenly Father withhold my forgiveness when I had not given it to others. There were many times that this knowledge drove me to despair. The burning question I lived with year after year was “how? How do I forgive them?”

Looking back, I realize that the reason it was so hard for me to forgive others was because I followed the example of my father. He was very unforgiving, especially towards his children. Whenever we did anything against his will, he gave us many requirements to follow before he would grant his forgiveness. He believed that working hard in all areas of our lives proved we were truly repentant of the wrong we had committed. He even kept a record of our mistakes; and whenever we repeated the same thing twice, he flung the previous sin back in our faces. Then, we had to start all over until we could prove we had really overcome that sin. Only then would our repentance be sincere.

I’m not actually talking about my earthly father—but about my Heavenly Father! At least the one I grew up with in the LDS church. This god truly is an unforgiving God! You can read about him on my blog page “The LDS Process of Repentance”. Here you will find pages of quotes by LDS prophets and apostles—defining the unforgiving LDS god and its savior. LDS scripture testifies that the Christ of Mormonism requires us to freely forgive everyone, even though he doesn’t hold himself to the same standard:

“Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D & C 64:9-10). In my late twenties I lost my faith in the unforgiving god of Mormonism, but my life became no better. I was so miserable that I would have committed suicide if I hadn’t had my children who needed me.

Amazingly, at the age of 36 a miracle happened! The Holy Ghost brought me to faith in the true Christ, and God adopted me into His eternal family. Through faith, I became God’s dear child and immediately received forgiveness of all my sins. I was so thankful to be God’s true child that I began pouring over all the love letters He had written for me, found in the Bible. Here, I learned much about my loving, merciful and forgiving Father in Heaven. This God’s love was so great that He sent His Son Jesus to take the punishment that I deserved for my sins. It was at Christ’s Atonement where all my sins had been forgiven—through the shedding of His life’s blood.

From the Apostle Peter I learned that LDS prophets are wrong—-forgiveness is not gained through obedience, but through faith: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

I was especially thrilled when I learned from God’s Word the key to forgiving others. It was the knowledge that all my sins had already been forgiven that unlocked my unforgiving heart. I realized I could afford to forgive others because I had been so richly blessed with forgiveness—first. All I had to do was follow the example of my Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ. After all, the unmerciful servant was expected to forgive those indebted to him only after his entire debt had first been canceled (Matthew 18).

It became easy to forgive others when I remembered that every one of my sins had already been forgiven. Now, whenever I have an unforgiving heart and want to cling to my bitterness; I turn to scripture to be reminded of my Heavenly Father’s example: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

And also, the example of my Savior: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13)

Is there someone you can’t seem to forgive, especially since they really don’t deserve it? The key is to see that all your sins have already been forgiven—even though you don’t deserve it! After all, forgiveness is an inherently “unfair” concept. Thank goodness the true Heavenly Father isn’t fair! Instead of punishing those who deserved it, He punished His Son Jesus instead.

The true Christ’s blood has covered your every sin: Trust in Him and you will immediately receive forgiveness! Once you do, you truly will be blessed: “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (The Apostle Paul in Romans 4:7-8; quoting Psalm 32:1-2)

Click here to read about the unforgiving natures of the god and savior of Mormonism:

Do You Have An Eternal Family?

I have a pretty awesome “little” brother. I love calling him my “baby” brother because it really irritates him. Even though he’s one year younger than me, he stands seven inches taller than me. He’s very hard-working and it seems that everything he touches turns to gold. I think one of the reasons he’s so successful is because he had to be responsible at a very young age. When we were both in middle school our father was seriously injured in an accident at the factory where he worked. He was unable to work for many years and as a result, my brother started working full-time at a local dairy at the age of 14. There were times when he helped my parents with the mortgage payment and gave them money for our older brothers while they were on their missions.

As far as his personality, my little brother can be intimidating when you first meet him. But, once you get to know him you find out how compassionate and awesome he is. If you have met my little brother, you would remember him, he’s just that kind of guy. One time when I lived on the east coast, nearly 3,000 miles away from our home town, I saw someone with an Idaho license plate at a gas station. When I started talking to him, I found out that he knew my little brother. As I said, if you have met him, you don’t easily forget him.

My brother and I have lived very similar lives. Both of us were sexually abused as children. Both of us committed sexual sins with our first spouses before we got married. Both of us desired to have an eternal family, so we became worthy to enter the temple and had our marriages sealed for time and eternity. Both of us, no matter how hard we tried, couldn’t hold our marriages together. Even though both of our spouses were unfaithful to us, we spent years trying to work things out. Looking back, it’s easy to see that we both simply made horrible choices for marriage partners. Even though we tried everything we could to make our marriages work, our spouses still abandoned us. For both my brother and I, we lived some very difficult years with lots of emotional pain and hurt. Both of us lost our testimony in LDS prophets and left the Church. We both spent several years without any church or religion.

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith over 14 years ago, I desperately wanted my little brother to know of the joy I had found in Jesus. I shared with him the news of forgiveness as often as he would let me, but he wasn’t interested. I never ceased praying for him. I always had this vision that when he came to faith, I would be the one that led him to the truth. But God, in His wisdom, had His own plan. My little brother’s second wife is a Christian. Like me, she has spent many years in prayer, asking God to bring him to faith. I praise the Lord that He has heard our prayers and brought my brother to faith!! It happened a few months ago when he felt something missing in his life and started attending a Christian Church.

My blood brother is now my spiritual brother and a member of Heavenly Father’s eternal family!!! When I was LDS I always dreamed of being worthy enough to have an eternal family. Both my brother and I were born under the covenant. Our four older siblings are faithful LDS members and believe they will live eternally with their families. But the LDS teaching about eternal families is a mirage. There is only one eternal family and that is God’s! You become worthy to enter His eternal family the moment the Holy Spirit brings you to faith! At that moment, you become a child of God and inherit ALL of His eternal blessings.

I praise my Lord and Savior for choosing to save the weak and base things of this world (1 Corinthians 1). Because of our sinfulness, my little brother and I were well aware that we desperately needed a Savior whose blood covered over our every sin. We knew we could not gain forgiveness with our own efforts. Our siblings, whose lives seem pretty “good” in comparison to ours, still reject the Savior who did everything for them. Even though it is impossible, they still believe they can be worthy enough to gain eternal life with their own faith and works.

Do you want to spend eternity with members of your family? Then turn to Jesus and trust that His blood covers over all of your sins. Teach your children the wonderful message that the gift of eternal life is granted solely through faith alone. Then, spend the rest of your life sharing Jesus with those who don’t know that His blood gained forgiveness for all their sins!