I Teach With Power and Authority of God!

Have you ever had a doctor give you a diagnosis, only to discover later that the doctor was wrong? Two years ago I was finally given the correct diagnosis for all the medical problems I had been having for several years. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was not a good one. I have a mitochondrial cytopothy; which is a very serious, humanly incurable and untreatable disease. One day while praying to God, I received a personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. My eyes were opened so I could see the similarities between this new disease and a spiritual disease that I used to have. Both are humanly incurable and untreatable.

Even though I am mostly bedridden, my Heavenly Father has called me as a Missionary! For several years now, I have taught with Power and Authority of God. Both God and my church have ordained me to share my faith with Mormons. Today the desire of my heart is to warn you that you have the same incurable and untreatable spiritual disease that I used to have.

If you’r scratching your head it’s probably because this is the first time you’ve heard of your illness. But the reason you don’t know you have this disease is because you trust the words of LDS prophets—not God’s prophets! The words I have to tell you are so important that your eternal life depends upon it. I beg you to read this Post so that like me, you can be miraculously cured.

The diagnosis of my physical disease came from a muscle biopsy over two years ago. When my doctor told me the results, he said: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you aren’t crazy–you are very sick. The bad news is that you have a very serious, incurable and untreatable muscle disease.” It reduces the ability of the mitochondria in each cell to produce energy. This drastically affects my energy level. As well it causes constant muscle pain all over my body.

When my muscular dystrophy doctor found out that one of my other doctors had me going to a Physical Therapist to build up my strength, he said that was the worst thing I could possibly do. The reason is because whenever I do any kind of physical exercise, my muscles are permanently damaged. When I heard that, I thought about all the other doctors who had given me the wrong diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Because these doctors didn’t know what was really wrong with me, they gave me the worst prescription ever. They told me the best thing I could do was to exercise daily. Their treatment plan actually caused my body permanent damage!

So how does all of this information regarding my physical condition tie in with the spiritual disease you now have and that I once had? About 18 years ago, my Savior who is the “Great Physician”, gave me the diagnosis for all of the spiritual problems I had been suffering from for all my life. And, just like the physical diagnosis I now have, there was both good news and bad news.

First, let me tell you the bad news. I found out that I was completely evil, through and through. And so are you!

My physical doctor came up with his diagnosis by taking a sample of my muscle tissue. Heavenly Father came up with the diagnosis that we are all unrighteous in a similar way–by looking at a sampling of our efforts at being obedient to His commands. He calls our spiritual disease by many different names: “unrighteous, unworthy, sinful, evil, unclean…” But the disease all boils down to the same cause—–sin.

If you trust in what your church teaches, then you probably don’t know just how spiritually sick you are. Because LDS leaders give a false diagnosis of just how sinful we all are, they claim that you can be “worthy” through your obedience. In fact, this weeks Book of Mormon Lesson teaches that you can actually become like Christ:

“Referring to Alma 22:15, 18, President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Each of us must surrender our sins if we are to really know Christ. For we do not know Him until we become like Him.” (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 25: They Taught with Power and Authority of God, p. 115)

LDS leaders testify that you can actually overcome your sin problem with hard work—by keeping God’s commands. But they are wrong! Just like the doctors who were wrong when they told me that I could help myself by working out everyday, you will permanently damage your spiritual life if you attempt to be worthy through your obedience. To believe this false prescription is to trust that your works can overcome your unrighteousness. But Heavenly Father has declared that no one can be righteous by keeping His commands—because no one can truly do what He asks of them.

Now that I’ve told you the bad news, as your missionary let me proclaim to you the Good News—the Gospel of Christ! Jesus came to this earth and died for you because He knew you could not be worthy through obedience to God’s laws! The Apostle Paul testified:

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Christ’s death was not in vain! Righteousness will never come by trying to be obedient to God’s commands. Every person who tries to be worthy through obedience is still unrighteous! Jesus claimed that no one but God is even “good”! (Matthew 19:17)

But miraculously, Jesus cured you of your spiritual disease by being worthy for you—in your place. He is your Substitute for the righteousness that God demands from you. The only way to be found righteous in God’s sight is through faith in what Jesus did for you!

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3)

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied of your Substitute Savior, who would heal you with His stripes:

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (53:5)

Believe it, and receive it. Then bask in your righteousness before God and devote your life to Him! Rejoice with both me and the Prophet Isaiah:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…”

Advertisements

God Himself — Shall Redeem His People: Did Christ Fulfill His Purpse and Mission?

I knew for over a year that it was going to happen. Somehow, that didn’t make it any easier the day the mobile butcher arrived and slaughtered our steer. When we bought this adorably cute miniature Angus I was fully aware that his purpose in life was to provide meat for our family. My husband, understanding how attached I get to all my critters, named him “Sir Tender Loin”. He did this so that every day I would have a reminder that one day Tender-Loin would be slaughtered to fulfill his purpose in life.

I’m sure glad my purpose in life isn’t that of Tender-Loin’s. Thinking about his purpose in life reminded me of when I was LDS. I used to believe that my purpose in life was to prove myself worthy. I thought this way because that was what my church leaders had taught me. They claimed that Heavenly Father sent people to earth for the purpose of proving whether or not they would be obedient to His commandments:

“We lived in the presence of God our Holy Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in a premortal existence. There we gained an understanding of the Father’s plan of salvation and the promise of help when we would be born as mortals on earth. The primary purpose of life was explained. We were told: “We will make an earth whereon these may dwell; “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; “And they who keep their first estate [that is to be obedient in the premortal existence] shall be added upon; … and they who keep their second estate [that is, to be obedient during mortal life] shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.”

Those words express the most fundamental purpose of your being on earth. That purpose is to prove yourself obedient to the commandments of the Lord and thereby grow in understanding, capacity, and every worthy trait.” Richard G. Scott, “Truth Restored,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 78.

Every time I looked inside my heart, I felt like a complete failure. I knew how unworthy I was. And, I thought I was the only person that was so sinful. When I looked at others in my Ward, I believed everyone else was worthy except me. Can you imagine the peace I found the day I learned that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with obedience? It was actually the Holy Ghost that revealed this news to me, through God’s Prophets and Apostles. Their testimony declared His truth to me: No one can be worthy or righteous by their obedience. In fact, no one can even be “good”!

The LDS Apostle Scott taught that God sent us to earth to prove ourselves worthy. But in the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul testified he had “proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin”. He then quotes Psalm 14 as evidence: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

LDS scripture claims that men must prove themselves worthy through their obedience; but God’s Word testifies that “there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Jesus joined His testimony to this truth when He claimed “none is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19). The Prophet Isaiah clearly told of the sad condition of all humans: “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (64:6).

In one of Isaiah’s Messianic prophesies, he reveals: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-12). Read those words again: “and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Here we see our Savior’s purpose for coming to earth. He came to take our sins upon Himself, as if He Himself had committed each and every one. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “brought, as a lamb to slaughter” and that He would give “his soul an offering for sin”.

Jesus came to earth to be slaughtered! He fulfilled His purpose at the cross, when “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” We are healed through Christ’s sacrificial death, where every sin was paid for and forgiven. The Apostle Peter testified that all who believe it, receive it (Acts 10:43).

Do you still believe that the “fundamental purpose of… being on earth… is to prove yourself obedient to the commandments of the Lord”? On Judgment Day every person will stand before God. Many will be given the opportunity to prove whether they were obedient to God’s commands. All who point to their own works as proof they should be allowed entrance into God’s Kingdom will be turned away (Matthew 7:22-23).

My Angus steer was slaughtered to feed my family. My Savior Jesus was slaughtered to redeem His people and pay for our sins with His blood. I gave my life to Him the moment I believed in His free and full forgiveness. I now know that my purpose in life is to give all glory to my God, by all that I do. He alone is worthy!!!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

_________________________________
**This week, the Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Lesson focuses on Christ’s Atonement. A reference is given to Mosiah 14 in which the prophet Abinadi quotes the above passages from Isaiah 53: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.” (p. 81)

God Himself truly did redeem His people!

Can Feeling Unworthy be a Blessing?

My oldest daughter Jenifer was born three months early, weighing only two and a half pounds! We couldn’t take her home from the hospital until she weighed four pounds, which seemed like an eternity. My second daughter Laura was born just two days before Jenifer turned one. I had my hands full with two small babies but it was mostly fun. Laura was often colicky and it was hard getting her to sleep at nights.

One of those nights has been etched in my memory forever. It was my Dad’s birthday. He loved cinnamon rolls so I had baked him a pan for his birthday gift. It was late when we got home from my parents house and I put the kids to bed and went to bed myself. Laura started crying so I got up to see what she needed. She wasn’t hungry or wet, and so I rocked her for several hours. I tried everything I could think of to get her to sleep, but nothing worked. I stayed up with her till after four, but finally just left her crying in her crib and went to bed. When I woke up around 8:00 am I immediately knew something was wrong because she always woke up before 7:00. I ran into her room and to my horror, she was dead!

I had never been through anything so traumatic and devastating in my life. The Paramedics who came said she probably died from SIDS. For days everything was a blur but I remember a few things very clearly. My parents and my little brother came as well as the Bishop. And then a few days later I remember running into a teenager from our Ward who occasionally babysat. She said, “Where is Laura?” I remember thinking “How do you tell a teenager that your baby is dead?” I also remember that the whole thing was very hard for my Grandma who had also lost a baby at about the same age.

When her casket was placed in the ground I realized that I would never have the opportunity to try and rock her to sleep again. I learned that death is not negotiable and that life goes on. A few weeks later I went to see my Bishop to get a Temple Recommend. We talked about Laura’s death and he promised me that if I was worthy, I would get to raise her during the Millennium. He also promised me that if I was worthy, Laura would appear to me when I was in the Temple. As the day approached to go to Salt Lake I was filled with nervous anticipation as well as excitement. After Laura’s death I had become consumed with guilt because I had left her to cry in her crib. I desperately wanted to tell her how much I loved her and that I was sorry for leaving her alone to die.

The day came for us to go through the Temple. Laura did not appear to me. I knew the reason why! My Bishop had told me that she would appear to me IF I was worthy. I knew she didn’t come to me because I was unworthy! The pain that this added to a life already full of pain, was unbearable. I didn’t speak of it to anyone. Every LDS person I knew was worthy and I felt like I was the only one who wasn’t. How could I tell anyone else what I was going through? I didn’t know any one as unworthy as I was.

Many years later I still wish my daughter hadn’t died. But looking back, I trust God’s promise that everything will work out. I now know that my feelings of unworthiness when Laura didn’t appear to me in the Temple were a blessing! This major event in my life became one very heavy weight added to many hundreds telling me how unworthy I was! These weights led me to seek a solution outside of myself–my Savior. Now, I realize what a blessing it is to know the truth! No one is worthy!! Every single person is unrighteous! Jesus Himself declared that no one but God is even good.

But in Mormonism, there is a façade that you can somehow be worthy based upon your own actions. LDS Bishops determine that some people are more worthy than others. To determine your worthiness, you are asked a handful of questions based upon a false man-made grading of sins. Certainly Jesus did not grade sins in this way. Simply read the Sermon on the Mount and you will see that the questions your Bishop asks are very different than what Jesus would ask to determine your worthiness. Along with many other questions, He would ask you if you were as perfect as Heavenly Father Himself! (Matthew 5:48)

Have you ever wondered why Jesus commanded you to be as perfect as Heavenly Father? He gave you this command, knowing that you couldn’t do it. The reason is because He loves you and knows that unless you are one hundred percent perfect, you can’t dwell in God’s presence! Jesus testifies that no one will ever be found worthy through obedience. He knows that the only way for you to be worthy is through faith that He was worthy for you–as your Substitute! Jesus wants you to give up trying to be worthy through obedience.

Heavenly Father wants you to realize that you can never be as worthy as He demands. The main purpose of God’s laws — His commands, is to show you just how unworthy you are. God’s law is like a mirror for us to look into and see how often we fail. Only when we know just how much we need a Savior will we turn to Christ and be saved!

It was in 1994 that I learned that all my sins had been forgiven. I gave my life to Jesus and have dedicated my life to sharing my Savior with everyone I meet. One blessing that I never even knew exhisted is attending a Christian Church where everyone knows that everyone else is equally sinful. At my Church everyone freely admits that they struggle with sin constantly. Nobody pretends to be something they aren’t.

In fact, every Christian I know believes what Christ said:

“..there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17)

At the same time, Christians also know that they have been credited with Christ’s righteousenss–through faith! In God’s sight, believers are as pure as Christ. That’s why true believers live their lives dedicated to their Savior Jesus.

If you feel unworthy, realize what a blessing it is to know the truth! Christ came to save the unworthy and it is through His Atoning Sacrifice that you have been made worthy (perfect) forever! (Hebrews 10:10-14) Because of what He has done for you, spend the rest of your life praising your Savior! He is the One who made you worthy by perfectly following God’s commands all of His life. And He did this for you, as your substitute!

I pray that you will turn to God’s holy Word and read what the Apostle Paul wrote about these truths: Galatians 3:21-24/Romans 7:7-8/Romans 3:19-20.

No One Can Be Worthy Through Obedience! Mormonism’s Wrong Diagnosis Leads You Away From Your Savior — the Only Cure!

Have you ever had a doctor give you a diagnosis, only to discover later that the doctor was wrong? Last week I was finally given the correct diagnosis for all the medical problems I’ve been having for over five years. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was not a good one. Amazingly, as I have been struggling to accept the news that I have a serious, humanly incurable and untreatable disease—I received a personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. My physical disease is just like the spiritual disease that I used to have and that you still have—it is humanly incurable and untreatable.

I praise my Lord that even though I can only be out of bed for very short periods of time, my Heavenly Father has given me a calling. He has ordained me to share my faith with all Mormons. And, to warn you that you have the same incurable and untreatable spiritual disease that I used to have.

I’m sure you are scratching your head, because this is probably the first time you’ve heard of your illness. But the reason you don’t know you have this disease is because you believe the words of Mormon prophets—not God’s prophets! I beg you to read this post so that like me, you can be miraculously cured. The words I need to tell you are so important that your eternal life depends upon it.

The diagnosis of my physical disease came from a muscle biopsy that a surgeon took from my thigh a few months ago. When my doctor told me the results, he said: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you aren’t crazy–you are very sick. The bad news is that you have a very serious, incurable and untreatable muscle disease.” The disease causes constant pain in my muscles all over my body. It also drastically affects my energy level. It takes me about two days to recuperate from just going to church for a few hours.

When the muscle doctor found out that one of my other doctors had me going to a Physical Therapist to build up my strength, he said that was the worst thing I could possibly do. The reason, he said, is because whenever I do any kind of physical exercise, my muscles are permanently damaged. When I heard that, I thought about all the other doctors who had given me the wrong diagnosis of fibromyalgia. These doctors gave me a false diagnosis. Then, they gave me a false prescription. They told me the best thing I could do was to exercise daily. Their treatment plan actually caused my body permanent damage!

So how does all of this information regarding my physical condition tie in with the spiritual disease you now have and that I once had? About 15 years ago God’s prophets and apostles—along with Jesus who is the “Great Physician”, gave me the diagnosis for all of the spiritual problems I had been suffering from for all my life. And, just like the physical diagnosis I’ve just received, there was both good news and bad news.

First, let me tell you the bad news. I found out that I was completely evil, through and through. And so are you!

My physical doctor came up with his diagnosis by taking a sample of my muscle tissue. God came up with His diagnosis that we are all unrighteous by looking at a sampling of our failures at keeping His commands. He calls our spiritual disease by many different names: “unworthy” unrighteous” “sinful” “evil” “unclean”… But the disease all boils down to the same cause—sin.

If you have placed your faith in false Mormon prophets, then you probably don’t know just how spiritually sick you are. Because Mormon leaders give a false diagnosis, they claim that you can be “worthy” through your obedience. They testify that you can actually overcome your sin problem with hard work—by keeping God’s commands. But they are wrong! Just like the doctors who were wrong when they told me that I could help myself by working out everyday, you will permanently damage yourself if you attempt to be worthy through your obedience. To believe this false prescription is to trust that your works can overcome your unrighteousness. But Heavenly Father has declared that no one can be righteous by keeping His commands—because no one can truly do what He asks of them.

Now that I’ve told you the bad news, let me proclaim to you the “Good News”! Jesus came to this earth and died for you because He knew you could not be worthy through obedience to God’s laws! The Apostle Paul testified:

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Christ’s death was not in vain! Righteousness can never come by trying to be obedient to God’s laws. Every person who tries to be worthy through obedience is unrighteous! Jesus claimed that no one but God is even “good“! (Matthew 19:17)

But miraculously, Jesus cured you of your spiritual disease by being worthy for you—in your place. He is your Substitute for the righteousness that God demands from you. The only way to be found righteous in God’s sight is through faith in what Jesus did for you, through His Atonement!

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied of your Substitute Savior, and that you would be healed through His stripes:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (53:5)

Believe it, and receive it. Then, bask in your righteousness before God and rejoice with both me and the Prophet Isaiah:

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness

Are Fathers Evil?

The first time I attended a non-Mormon Church service was when I lived in Arkansas. A neighbor invited me to attend church with her and out of curiosity I decided to check it out. Talk about culture shock!!! This was my first experience of hearing a Preacher give a Sermon, and his preaching was that of a “fire and brimstone” Southern Baptist.

My neighbor must have warned him that a Mormon would be attending because he spent about five minutes attacking the Mormon Church and all who follow its teachings. From my Mormon ears, all I heard was that I was a horrible sinner and I had better repent or else I was going to hell. By the time the service was finished I had a horrible headache. I ran away from there as fast as I could, never to return.

Sermons are one thing many Mormons aren’t familiar with. Sacrament Meetings entail a few people who have been asked to give talks for that Sunday. These talks are nothing like a Sermon given by a Pastor. During my fifteen years as a Christian, thankfully I have heard many wonderful Sermons from many different Pastors. Each Pastor tends to have his own style of preaching, but I have discovered that his message testifies of a few simple truths:

1) Every human is evil and can never come even close to meeting God’s demands
2) Heavenly Father gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe that Jesus met God’s demands for them.

It took me awhile before I realized that these basic truths were being taught by every Preacher I heard. The first time I recognized this was when a Preacher I know was giving a Sermon about prayer. He boldly stated that all the fathers listening to Him were “evil”! When I heard that, I was a little uncomfortable. I know that our earthly fathers aren’t perfect, but calling them “evil” seemed to be a bit harsh. I wondered why the Preacher hadn’t chosen to use a softer word like “weak” or maybe even “sinful”. Then, I noticed a little later in His Sermon where He even commanded us to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father!

In reality, this Preacher was Jesus giving His Sermon on the Mount. His actual words were: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Talk about being blunt!! When I read His Sermon in context there was no indication that those listening to His Sermon were particularly evil. I remembered that Jesus had told the rich young ruler “there is none good but one, that is, God”. But saying Fathers are “evil” seems so much worse than saying someone is “not good”.

I soon discovered that Jesus talked about man’s evil deeds several other times during His Ministry. In the book of Mark, Jesus tells us where evil comes from: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts”. In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Jesus asked a question of those who thought that God wasn’t being fair: “Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”

Jesus proclaimed God’s eternal consequences for all who do evil: “for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5).

Reading Jesus’ words enticed me to dig deeper into scripture. By the time I finished my study there was no doubt in my mind: all humans are evil. I discovered that the reason it’s difficult for us to see ourselves as evil is because our definition of what “evil” is differs from God’s definition. We like to categorize our sins, claiming that some are worse than others. We certainly don’t think that anything we do ourselves is actually “evil”.

I wasn’t surprised when I read that God considered murder and adultery evil; but the prophet Nehemiah preached that not keeping the Sabbath day holy was evil. He also testified that Israelites who married outside the faith committed a “great evil” (13:27). The writer of the book of Hebrews testified that “unbelief” is evil. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy that it is evil to not give money to a poor man in need. In Genesis, he taught the same message about man as what Jesus had taught:
for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”.

Everything I’ve mentioned so far is only part of what Biblical Preachers name as “evil”. (The word “evil” appears 624 times in the Bible.) The Apostle Paul understood that God sees all sin as evil when he lamented “but the evil which I would not, that I do” and “when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Romans 7) In Timothy he wrote that the love of money is the root of all evil.

To the Galatians, he wrote God’s consequence for not following every single command: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” James solidified Paul’s curse when he proclaimed: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” He then gave examples of evil:

“the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” and: “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work”.

Studying God’s Words leaves no doubt that our holy God considers any sin as evil. The writer of Proverbs tells us that “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” On Judgment Day “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

The inescapable conclusion is that everyone who sins is evil! I am so amazed every time I read words from these same Preachers saying that God loves us in spite of our evil! It’s hard to believe, but His mercy is shown to evil sinners! In Galatians, Paul gives us the only reason why:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

To the Ephesians Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” It’s through Christ’s Atonement that our evil hearts are “sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10)

The very same Jesus that proclaimed the dire consequences of evil, shares our only means of escape—it’s through faith alone that we are saved and gain eternal life:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:14-16)

Are You on Earth to Prove Your Worthiness?

I’ve known for over a year that it was going to happen. Somehow, that didn’t make it any easier when the mobile butcher arrived and slaughtered our steer. When we bought this adorably cute miniature Angus I was fully aware that his purpose in life was to provide meat for our family. My husband, understanding how attached I get to all my critters, named him “Sir Tender Loin”. He did this so that every day I would have a reminder that one day Tender-Loin would be slaughtered and fulfill his purpose in life.

I’m sure glad my purpose in life isn’t that of Tender-Loin’s. Thinking about his purpose in life reminded me of when I was LDS. I used to believe that my purpose in life was to prove myself worthy. The reason I thought this was because that was what my church leaders had taught me. They claimed that Heavenly Father sent people to earth for the purpose of proving whether or not they would be obedient to His commandments:

“We lived in the presence of God our Holy Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in a premortal existence. There we gained an understanding of the Father’s plan of salvation and the promise of help when we would be born as mortals on earth. The primary purpose of life was explained. We were told: “We will make an earth whereon these may dwell; “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; “And they who keep their first estate [that is to be obedient in the premortal existence] shall be added upon; … and they who keep their second estate [that is, to be obedient during mortal life] shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” Those words express the most fundamental purpose of your being on earth. That purpose is to prove yourself obedient to the commandments of the Lord and thereby grow in understanding, capacity, and every worthy trait.” Richard G. Scott, “Truth Restored,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 78.

Every time I looked inside my heart, I felt like a complete failure. I knew how unworthy I was. And, I thought I was the only person that was so sinful. When I looked at others in my Ward, I thought everyone else was worthy except me. Can you imagine the peace I found the day I learned that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with being obedient? It was actually the Holy Ghost that revealed this news to me, through God’s prophets and apostles. Their testimony declared His truth to me: No one can be worthy or righteous by their obedience. In fact, no one can even be “good”.

The LDS Apostle Scott taught that God sent us to earth to prove ourselves worthy. But in the book of Romans, Jesus’ Apostle Paul testified he had “proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin”. He then quotes Psalm 14 as evidence: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

LDS scripture claims that men must prove themselves worthy through their obedience; but God’s Word testifies that “there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Jesus joined His testimony to this truth when He claimed “none is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19). The Prophet Isaiah clearly told of the sad condition of all humans: “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (64:6). In one of Isaiah’s Messianic prophesies, he declares: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-12).

Notice that last verse in Isaiah “and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Here we see our Savior’s purpose for coming to earth. He came to take our sins upon Himself—as if He Himself had committed each and every one. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “brought, as a lamb to slaughter” and that He would give “his soul an offering for sin”. Jesus came to earth to be slaughtered! He fulfilled His purpose at the cross, when “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” We are healed through Christ’s sacrificial death, where every sin was paid for and forgiven. The Apostle Peter testified that all who believe it, receive it (Acts 10:43).

Do you still believe that the “fundamental purpose of… being on earth… is to prove yourself obedient to the commandments of the Lord”? On Judgment Day every person will stand before God. Many will be given the opportunity to prove whether they were obedient to God’s commands. All who point to their own works as proof they should be allowed entrance into God’s Kingdom will be turned away (Matthew 7:22-23).

My Angus steer was slaughtered to feed my family. My Savior Jesus was slaughtered to pay for my sins with His blood. I gave my life to Him the moment I believed in His free and full forgiveness. I now know that my purpose in life is to give all glory to my God, by all that I do. He alone is worthy!!!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Can You Be Saved by Faith and Works?

The Epistle to the Romans is my very favorite book in the Bible. The essence of the book of Romans is this: by God’s grace, eternal life is granted through faith in Christ, and only through faith in Christ.

A commenter recently asked the question “Why is it that if I believe in works I cannot believe in faith, or the grace of God? Why must these things remain separate?” I responded by taking him to the eleventh chapter of Romans where the Apostle Paul boldly testifies: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

In response, the commenter has written: “IF you care to examine the entire chapter of Roman’s 11 you will notice that Paul is not talking about salvation or eternal life. He is talking about being born into the covenant line of Israel, or the church. This is a blessing given by the grace of God that we have done nothing in this life to earn. It is by grace, and not by works.

To examine the eleventh chapter of Romans we must first examine the tenth chapter, and all those before it. When someone writes a letter it is expected that whoever reads it will start at the beginning and read it through to the end. By the time Paul gets to chapter eleven, he has already stated multiple times that salvation is a freely offered gift granted ONLY to those who believe. In fact, through the entire Epistle, Paul has never stopped talking about salvation and eternal life. He hasn’t changed his message or theme: by God’s grace, eternal life is granted through faith in Christ, and only through faith in Christ. Because Paul is so sure of this grace, he tells his readers not to give up on the unbelieving Israelite’s. He gives the example of the remnant saved by grace during Elijah’s time, as it was also true for Christian Jews during Paul’s time. All people are saved the same way–only through God’s grace and not through works.

Paul begins his testimony in chapter one: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (verse 16). The salvation he speaks of is eternal life: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:23).

The reason salvation is granted solely through faith is because that is the only way a person can meet God’s requirement to be righteous!! One must be perfect to enter into God’s presence. Jesus came to earth and was perfect for us, in our place. It is only through faith in Him, as our substitute, that we are declared righteous!! This was true for Abraham and as well as for us: “And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;” (4:21-24).

It is impossible to gain eternal life by being obedient to God’s law, or by trying to add your works to your faith. Paul explains, using Old Testament scripture: “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one ” (3:11-12). no one will be declared righteous by trying to follow God’s law: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (verse 20). Notice the important words “in his sight”. Heavenly Father has demanded we be as perfect as Him (Matthew 5:48). In HIS sight, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (verse 23).

The unbelieving Jews were sincere, but they were sincerely wrong! They earnestly sought righteousness, but they tried to acquire it in the wrong way. They thought they had to gain eternal life through obedience. They believed they could be righteous through their own works. They had a zeal for God, but they were ignorant of the truth! (9:30-10:4)

What is God’s truth? Eternal life is purely a gift of God, received by faith, without any works!!! In fact, if you bring works into the picture you ruin God’s free gift and you loose His favor!! That’s what Paul meant when he wrote: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Turn to your Savior who grants you His righteousness through faith: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (10:9-10).

Jesus Has Delivered You From Your Sins!

After I came to faith, I had a burning desire to share my faith with my Father. He was dying of cancer and I lived 3000 miles away. I had gone back to college as an older student at the College of William and Mary. During the summer before my senior year I grabbed an opportunity to take a few classes at Boise State. My daughters and I stayed with my folks and I took every opportunity I could to share my new-found faith with my Dad. I felt that the Lord was leading me to stay in Idaho to witness to my father, so I gave up my last year at William and Mary and stayed with my parents. The Lord gave me a full year with my father before he died and I cherished every moment with him. We had different faiths, but the Bible was our common ground and I read it to him often as he lay in bed. I must have read the book of Romans to him a hundred times. The message of free and full forgiveness seemed so clear to me and I couldn’t understand how my family couldn’t see the truth.

My father’s health deteriorated as the months went by. I believe that through his physical limitations, God was giving him the opportunity to become humble and see his need for a Savior who did everything for him. One day, about three months before he died, I heard him ask my uncle this question: “Bob, how is it possible that we can become gods?” My uncle replied “It’s possible, just believe it.” My dad said: “But we are so far from it!” My heart sang when I heard his words! My father had taught the false LDS doctrine that man could become a god for many years. His words were the words of someone who was truly seeing himself as the sinful man that he was. He was being humbled by God.

Humility is one characteristic of every person who has a living faith in Jesus. Humble sinners know that they are nothing in comparison to God’s perfection. They know that if their eternal destination depended upon anything they had to do, they would be doomed to hell. They know that God loves them so much He sent a Savior to rescue them from their depravity. In Corinthians, the Apostle Paul described the criteria God uses to choose His followers and why: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Today’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson talks about humility and pride. It asks: “What is pride?” President Benson gives the LDS answer: “Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. “The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’”

While pride certainly has an element of enmity towards God, that is not the heart or core of it. The Tyndale Bible Dictionary explains: “The ten Hebrew and two Greek words generally used for pride refer to being high or exalted in attitude, the opposite of the virtue of humility, which is so often praised and rewarded by God. One other Greek word refers to a person’s being puffed up or inflated with pride or egotism. The idea is that one gives the impression of substance but is really filled only with air… Pride is basically a sin of attitude and of the heart and spirit.

The very essence of Mormon doctrine leads a person away from humility and towards pride by claiming that man is good enough to one day progress to godhood! In God’s eyes, this is blasphemous and the epitome of arrogance! He has claimed that even your righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). When you believe that you can become a God, to be God’s equal; it shows that you are inflated with pride and egotism. As my father had come to know, you are so far from God’s holiness that you could NEVER become a god!

The Apostle Paul knew how sinful he was: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Do you know how utterly sinful you are? If so, count yourself blessed!!! Turn to Jesus who has delivered you! Then, live your life in thankfulness to Him, as I do!

No One is Good but God!

Mormon prophets testify that to gain eternal life we must obey the commandments. Recently I received a comment pointing me to the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 as proof that LDS prophets speak God’s truth. The commenter writes: “Christ is asked point blank: What must I do to gain eternal life? And Christ’s response? Keep the commandments.”

I absolutely love this story because when you read it carefully it actually shows that a person can’t gain eternal life with their works! This story gives Christians a great example of how we should share the gospel with someone who thinks they can be “good” enough at obeying God’s commands. This story shows that Jesus understood God’s intended purpose of His law. (Read my recent Post from February 11th titled: “Why did Heavenly Father Give Us Commandments?” for more information.)

This young man was someone who thought he didn’t sin very often. Here we read about an arrogant man who truly believed that he was “good”. We can see his arrogance in his response to what Jesus says to him. His first words to Jesus were “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Before he even begins his conversation with Jesus, he already believes that he must “do something good” to gain eternal life. Notice that he doesn’t ask Jesus how to gain eternal life, he already thinks he knows. Jesus responds to this by saying “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God” Jesus tells the rich man that only God is good! This gives the young man the opportunity to come to the realization that he (the rich man) is not good.

In response to his question Jesus tells the rich man “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” He does this because Jesus knows the purpose of God’s law!! Jesus understands that this man has to recognize how sinful he is, before he will seek a Savior! Jesus gives this man God’s laws, and He comes down very hard on him. He first gives him the do not commandments:
1) Do not murder 2) Do not commit adultery 3) Do not steal 4) Do not bear false witness.
And then Jesus tells him the do commands:
5) Honour your Father and Mother 6) Love your neighbor as yourself.

And how does the rich man respond? He tells Jesus that he has kept all these commandments from his youth up. This man believed that he wasgood and possibly only lacked “one good thing”. But, do you think that Jesus believed him? In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus had already taught that we must be as perfect as our Heavenly Father! Jesus taught that looking on a woman and lusting after her is the same as committing adultery. Do you think Jesus believed the rich man’s claim that he had always loved his neighbor as himself?

At this point in his life this man sees no need for a Savior. Why would he? He truly believes that he is good enough to gain eternal life with his own works. He had already rejected the message Jesus first gave him—that “only God is good”, and boldly claimed that he was good. So, in response: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”

Think about the commandment that Jesus gave to the young man. This would be a very hard thing to do, to sell all you have and follow Jesus. But, Jesus lovingly told him the one thing that would cause this man to look into his heart and see that he was sinful–that he was not good. This is the purpose of the law. God’s law is a mirror for us to look into God’s Word and see that we are sinful and that only God is good! We do not hear anything more about this rich man, but possibly he came to faith later as a direct result of Jesus’ pointing out his sin to him.

God’s Law was given to you as a way to cause you to despair of saving yourself through you’re own works–and then to cling to the perfect works of Jesus! Through faith in Jesus you will be credited with His righteousness! All praise and glory to our Savior Jesus!

First Presidency Message: The Best Christmas Ever

In December’s First Presidency Message, President McKay is quoted as saying: “If we are to have the best Christmas ever, we must follow in the Savior’s footsteps”. What would it look like if someone really “followed in the Savior’s footsteps”?

Jesus never sinned, not even once. How closely are you following in the Savior’s footsteps of obedience? Examining specific commands one begins to understand the extent of what it means to “follow” in the footsteps of Jesus. In the entire 33 years of the Savior’s life He never told a lie. Are you following the Savior’s example? Jesus perfectly kept himself morally clean. Are you following in his footprints? Have you ever lusted after a woman you were not married to? Jesus never worried, he always trusted his Father. Are your feet always in his footprints? If you ever worry, they are not. What about gossiping or being jealous of someone? I haven’t even mentioned the good things you are commanded to do that Jesus did perfectly–like praying continually and visiting the sick. Can you follow in the Saviors steps by giving up every material possession except the clothes on your back? Do you perfectly follow the Greatest Command to love God with all your heart, mind and soul? How about the second greatest to love your neighbor as yourself?

Are you prepared to follow his footsteps into the desert?

Are you prepared to follow his footsteps into the desert?

Christ endured 40 days of temptation from Satan – in the desert – without any food. Are you prepared to follow his footsteps into the desert? Let’s follow the Savior’s path to the Garden of Gethsemane where the turmoil He suffered caused sweat like drops of blood. Or, see those feet stumble on the path to Golgotha, bruised, beaten and carrying the cross He would be crucified on. Are you able to forgive every person who ever hurt you, as Jesus forgave his betrayers and executioners at the cross?

The Savior’s footprints walk a path of perfection that leads to a sacrificial death on the cross. You cannot “follow in the Savior’s footsteps” as President McKay testifies you must! You can’t even come close. You can only convince yourself that you are “righteous” by hiding your sins from yourself or by comparing yourself to others. Maybe giving yourself a gold star every time you do a good thing helps to discount all the bad things you’ve done. Jesus told the rich young ruler “No one is good but God”! If you truly want to have the best Christmas ever, you must recognize that your Savior’s footsteps are too big to follow!! Quit trying and simply trust that your Savior walked every step perfectly—in your place.

Now, take a closer look at the Saviors “bare” footprints. They bear the nail marks which paid the price for every time you failed to follow in His footprints. Those beautiful feet did the work that gained you forgiveness for all your sins by personally paying your debt to sin. His scars are proof that He took your guilt upon Himself and atoned for it. His willing steps led him to be your perfect substitute, your perfect sacrifice for sin on God’s ultimate altar! Believe it and a miracle will happen. When Heavenly Father looks at your sinful path through life it will be covered over by the Savior’s perfect footprints! Through faith, you get the credit for every perfect step Jesus took. Believe in this miracle and trust me, you will have the best Christmas ever!