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)

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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)

Till We Meet Again… At Jesus’ Feet!

I met Linda at church about thirteen years ago. Her deep love for God showed in both her words and her actions. The Holy Spirit gave Linda some amazing spiritual gifts and through these gifts she glorified her Lord with many works of love. I was drawn to Linda not only as my mentor, but also as my dear sister in Christ. Over the years she was there for me during times of trial as well as times of joy. Last May when she called to tell me she had terminal cancer, I knew I was going to miss her terribly. But both of us knew our parting would only be for a short time.

Throughout Linda’s illness her husband Rennie took wonderful care of her, showing his great faith and courage. Linda found out she had cancer the first week in May. From that time until she died, Rennie sent a weekly email giving a daily synopsis of Linda’s week. I’m so thankful that he kept all of us who loved her up to date with what she was going through.

Linda left this earth to be with the Lord on August 19th. As much as I miss her already, I can’t even begin to fathom how Rennie feels. Rennie and Linda were not only husband and wife, they were also best friends. They were married “till death do us part” (Matthew 22:27-30) but through faith in Christ, they will be together for eternity. I remember how surprised I was to discover that Christians believe they will spend eternity with loved ones who also have faith in Christ.

Three days before Linda died Rennie knew his time with her on this earth was coming to an end. In his weekly email update he included this little poem he had written, describing the emotions he was going through:

At times it is as if a heavy stone were sitting upon my chest.
At times I am as liberated as an eagle in flight.
I move from the darkest depths of an abyss to standing on a mountain top in the span of a heartbeat.
I am at once surrounded with warmth and love and alone in the universe.
We stand together at the threshold of forever knowing only one may cross it, for now.
For one, time will stop and it will be as an instant when the other joins.
There is only time, and there is time only for us.
Only the Lord knows when, and it will be the time that is best.

I could barely read his words to my husband Keith because I was crying so hard. Both of us were teary-eyed for quite a while, knowing how hard life would be for Rennie without Linda at his side. But we are also thankful that he has placed his trust in God’s will. We pray that he will find comfort in God’s amazing love and promises.

At church a few Sundays ago, we sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”. I had always thought this was a Mormon hymn, but years ago when we first sang it at my church, I did some research on it. I learned that it was written as a Christian good-bye in the 1880’s and was first sung in a First Congregational Church in Washington.

I love these words from the song, because I can’t wait:

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet.

It’s the Father’s Will to Save Believers!

Yesterday I received this Family Gem from lds.org:

“Family Prayer Should Be Practiced with Faith and Trust: The practice of Church members is to kneel in family prayer each morning and evening, plus having daily personal prayers and blessings on our food. President Monson said, ‘As we offer unto the Lord our family and our personal prayers, let us do so with faith and trust in Him.’ And so, in praying for temporal and spiritual blessings, we should all plead, as did Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Thy will be done.’ ” Russell M. Nelson, “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers,” Ensign, May 2009, 48

While family prayer was the intended focus of this Gem, my interest turned to the words of Christ’s prayer “Thy will be done.” Elder Nelson tells us that when we ask Heavenly Father for spiritual blessings, we should plead that HIS will be done. I pray this prayer for you every day! That you will place your trust in God’s will. There are so many things that He desires for you, but the most important is His will to give you everlasting life. It is the Father’s will to give everlasting life to those who believe in Jesus:

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)

That is the Father’s will!! God chose to save mankind through belief—not works; and not even by adding works to your faith. Scripture testifies that it is “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) But this message is foolishness to the world. All one has to do is look at all man-made religions. They claim that something must be done by you before you can go to heaven or live on in some kind of heaven-like afterlife. Only Christianity declares that God has done everything necessary for you to live eternally with Him. These words are foolishness to the wisdom of man:

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

To the world it is foolishness to “save them that believe”! But God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. He did so on a Cross over 2000 years ago. On the night Jesus died He “fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, it if be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as though wilt.” Despising the shame that the Cross would bring Him, Jesus chose to do the Father’s will. As much as the Father loved His Son, He knew it was not possible for man to be forgiven any other way. Because of His great love for us, the Father’s will was to punish His Son in our place!

I used to think it was foolishness to “save them that believe”. Whenever someone told me they didn’t have to do any works to be saved, I thought that meant they didn’t want to do any works for God. What I didn’t understand until I experienced it; was the depth of love and gratitude I would feel towards my Savior when I believed in Him. It was HIS blood that bought the forgiveness of my sins. The very moment I believed I gave my life and my love to Jesus! Every breath I take is for Him!

It is the Father’s will to spend eternity with those who simply place their “faith and trust in Him”. It takes faith to trust that what Jesus did for you was sufficient. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God? It was He who revealed these words, just a few passages after He proclaimed to us what the will of the Father is:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

Can Eternal Marriage Be Perfect?

When I was a young girl I dreamt of having an eternal marriage. One day I would be in the celestial room kneeling across the altar, looking at the love of my life. We would see each other in the reflection of the mirrors as we were sealed to each other for time and all eternity. This man would cherish me and love me unconditionally, as I would him. He would be my best friend—someone I could trust. We would share all our joys, our hurts and pains, and the desires of our hearts. Most importantly, he would be faithful and true to me forever.

As I said, this was my dream. But I really never thought it would come true. Before I was even old enough to know what it was, I had lost my most important possession—my virginity. For most of my childhood I had been sexually abused and I felt so much shame. I knew how unclean I was, how inadequate to be a man’s wife. Who could ever love me if they knew? I was a broken and unhealthy young woman.

I dated quite a bit. One young man was very special to me, but I never felt worthy enough for him. How could I ever tell him the truth? While he was on his mission, I made bad choices that confirmed I was not worthy. Getting drunk one night led to getting pregnant by a man who was not LDS. My dream of an eternal marriage was shattered by my sin.

We married and my husband was baptized our first year of marriage. We both desired to be married in the Temple and worked to become worthy. Our second daughter died of SIDS and we desperately wanted to be sealed together as a family. After we obtained our much sought after Temple recommend we were married in the Salt Lake Temple. As the years passed, my husband started questioning his faith in Mormonism. Much to my dismay, he left the Church. Then I found out he had been unfaithful to me. We separated and my girls and I moved to a new State and a new Ward. The desire of my heart was to be forgiven and cleansed of my sins. I clung to the words of my prophet Spencer Kimball about how to gain this forgiveness. (If you would like to read about this, read my post titled “God Doesn’t Lie—You Have Been Forgiven”)

After I left the Church, my husband and I reconciled. He promised he would be faithful and true to me and I trusted him. Over the next several years, he often broke this promise. My heart ached every time he cheated on me, but I always took him back. Deep inside I felt that the reason he was intimate with other women was because there was something wrong with me–because I had been sexually abused. Finally, after a rocky 14 years together, he left me for good. I vowed never to trust another man. I turned to other things I loved—my daughters, my artwork, college classes and gardening. But no matter what I did, I was still alone with the guilt and shame of my sins. I knew I was unworthy, unlovable and unfit.

Amazingly when I was 36, I met the man of my dreams! He knew everything about me—all my life of shame and sinfulness. Despite how unworthy I was, He still loved and cherished me! Nothing I had ever done mattered to Him. His love was unconditional. Even though I had vowed never to marry again, I was so in love with Him that I couldn’t help myself! His name was Jesus and in 1994 I was sealed to Him for time and all eternity by Heavenly Father Himself (2 Corinthians 1:20-22). He had already proved His love for me by giving His life for me—washing me of my sin and guilt and making me the virgin I never really had the chance to be! Because of this, I knew I could trust Him and that He would be faithful to me forever.

When He chose me as His bride, He showered me with so many undeserved gifts. But the gift I have treasured most is the forgiveness won for me by His shed blood. His blood has made me clean! My life of shame was taken away the moment He chose me to be His bride. He even gave me my wedding garments! I sing with joy the words of 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, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10) The gift of His robe of righteousness cleansed me of all sin so I can dwell in the very presence of God!!

Having been given this amazing gift has changed my life drastically. One of those changes has been my desire to study God’s Word. I pour over the pages of the Bible, discovering the things that God wants to teach me. When I did a study on whether a marriage between a man and a woman will last into eternity, I found God’s truth. The only marriage relationship that will last beyond the grave is one with Jesus. Jesus Himself testified of this truth “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” (Mark 12:25). This doesn’t mean that believing husbands and wives won’t be together for eternity. It just means that their relationship will not be as a man and wife. All believers will spend eternity together, in companionship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.

Another gift God gave me was the courage to marry again. Four years after I met Jesus, God brought into my life a wonderful Christian man of God who, amazingly, is also Christ’s bride. The Apostle John taught us in the book of Revelation that anyone who has been made righteous through Christ is His bride.

There is no earthly relationship that surpasses the love that Jesus has for you. He died for you and wants to shower you with His gift of righteousness. Please, join with the Apostle John as we shout “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7-9).

How Long Will Eternity Last?

How long is a long time? My grandson Bryson thinks thirty minutes is a long time. For two years I drove him back and forth to a Pre-school in Nampa, which is a 30 – 45 minute drive from where we live in Boise. We would try to make the time go faster by singing songs or playing “I spy” games. But 3 and 4 year olds just don’t like sitting still for that long. The reason I drove this distance is because I wanted him to attend a Pre-school run by our Church. Here I knew he would be taught not only his ABC’s but also the truth that he has full forgiveness through Christ’s blood.

Bryson’s Mom and Dad split up when he was just one, so my husband and I get to spend more time with him than the average grandparents. It has been a blessing to have him stay with us every Saturday evening and Sunday. Even though his mom and dad don’t attend Church, he has always gone with us. I absolutely love this little boy and am so thankful to have the opportunity to share my Savior with him. I love my own kids as much as I love my grandchildren. My hearts desire is to spend eternity with them—to be an eternal family. I pray every day that those I love will embrace their Savior so that they can be with me for eternity.

Eternity is a long, long time compared to how short our time is on this earth. When we read the words “eternal” or “everlasting” in the KJV New Testament, these words are most often translated from the Greek words “Aion, aionios, and aidios”. Whenever we read about the amazing blessings of eternal life with our Heavenly Father, we don’t question that “eternal” means forever. But did you realize that this same word is used to describe the length of time that someone will spend in hell? Those who go to hell and live eternally with Satan and his demons will be there as long as those who spend eternity with Heavenly Father—forever!

Eternity is a long, long time and that is one of the reasons I have this blog. I know that you have been misled into believing that there is no way you could possibly spend an eternity in Hell. You have been taught that even if you were bad enough to be sent to hell, you will only be there until Judgment Day. But this teaching is false!! If you don’t believe me, then trust the words of John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved! He described the lake of fire as a place where those who go “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10-15).

Forever is a long, long time. The Apostles Paul and Jude, along with Jesus, claimed that Hell will be a place of everlasting destruction, fire, punishment and chains (2 Thessalonians 1:8/Jude 7/Matthew 18:8, 25:41). Jude testified that those from Sodom and Gomorrh would suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah when he said that it is a place where “their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).

Doing this thorough Bible study about Hell has reinforced my desire to share God’s truth with you. I can’t bear the thought that so many deceived people will spend “eternity” in Hell. My last post declared God’s truth that sin, any sin, is the reason someone will be cast into Hell. But why will someone gain eternal life? Human logic tells us that since disobedience disqualifies us, obedience must be the way to qualify. Mormon prophets tell us that if we just try hard enough—if we can just be obedient enough, we can qualify for eternal life with our best effort.

But God has told us differently. Jesus himself testified that our best effort is not good enough–we must be perfect (Matthew 5:48). No one can meet God’s requirements to gain eternal life by their own obedience. Because of this truth God lovingly provided a way—a different plan. He sent His son Jesus to be obedient and fulfill His law for us.

Jesus came to be our substitute for the perfection required to dwell in God’s presence. His shed blood washes away all your sins. The truth—God’s truth, is that only through faith in His Son can you be declared perfect. The only way to gain eternal life is through faith in the fact that Jesus has already gained it for you!!!

The Bible is very clear that faith in Jesus is how to receive eternal and everlasting life. No one describes this truth more beautifully than the Apostle John. His testimony is that it is through belief in Jesus that a person escapes the fires of everlasting hell and gains eternal life. When we read his words describing eternal or everlasting life, he always uses the present or the past tense.

John wrote down the very words of his Savior when he declared boldly that for those with faith, gaining eternal life is a done deal! “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

I beg of you to listen to my words. The next time you think time is moving slowly, think about how long eternity will be. Re-read the story Jesus told us in Luke chapter sixteen about the rich man who was stuck in hell for eternity. “Forever” is a long, long time to spend in an everlasting fire, in the same domain as Satan.

But praise the Lord, you don’t have to be afraid! Jesus came to save you from this fate and He has cleansed you from all sin. Heavenly Father desires to spend eternity with you. It is His will that you believe and receive everlasting life: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)

Eternal life is guaranteed as long as you believe in the true Christ. If you don’t believe my words, believe the Apostle whom Jesus loved. The following passages are words the Holy Spirit inspired him to write, declaring that the way to gain eternal life is by belief in the Savior who earned it for you:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)

“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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:9-13)

Are You Afraid of Death?

I got a call recently from one of my dearest friends, telling me she has an aggressive and terminal cancer. It was amazing how calm and peaceful she was. In fact, she’s actually excited to die so she can finally be with her Savior Jesus. She teased me that she will get to be with Him before I do. My friend Linda and I are very similar in that we both love Jesus with all our hearts and souls. Our entire purpose in life is to praise our Savior and serve Him by bringing as many people to heaven with us as possible. Linda has worked for several years at a nursing home where her love for Jesus has shown brightly through her many acts of love. Many people, including some of her patients, have heard from her the wonderful message of free and full forgiveness through Jesus.

The only concern Linda has is for her daughter, whom she asked me to watch over for her after she dies. Speaking with her and hearing her concern for her daughter reminded me of a story found in Luke chapter sixteen. Here Jesus tells about a man who, like my friend Linda, was also concerned about the eternal destination of family members. The main difference between my friend Linda and the man in Jesus’ story is that this man did not believe in Jesus. He had died in his sins and was suffering the consequence of eternal torment in hell.

From hell he could actually see into heaven where he saw the beggar Lazarus who used to sit at his gates begging for crumbs from his table. He saw that while he was being tormented in hell; Lazarus was being comforted by the Prophet Abraham. In misery, he asked Abraham: “send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame”. Abraham told him that what he asked was impossible! His reason was because: “between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which could pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

These words of God are in complete disagreement with LDS teachings! Mormon prophets claim that after death all people go to a temporary place, either spirit prison or spirit paradise. Those who were not righteous will be given more time to repent and meet God’s demands for perfection. These false prophets testify that righteous Mormons who have gone to paradise will travel to spirit prison to preach the LDS gospel to the unrighteous. They claim that once these wicked people have repented and been baptized in proxy by someone on earth, they will be allowed into paradise.

In defining hell, they claim:
First, it is another name for spirit prison, a place in the postmortal spirit world for those who have “died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets” (D&C 138:32). This is a temporary state in which spirits will be taught the gospel and have the opportunity to repent and accept ordinances of salvation that are performed for them in temples (see D & C 138:30–35)” (True to the Faith, page 81).

But from Jesus’ story we read the important truth that at the moment of death, your fate is sealed! Your “time of grace” ends. You don’t have a second chance to come to faith; or a longer period of time to meet God’s demands for righteousness. The Holy Spirit revealed in scripture that: “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth” (Proverbs 11:7). The moment we die our spirits come into the very presence of God: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). No unclean person can dwell in the presence of God (Ephesians 5:5).

Talking about death and what happens to those who aren’t worthy to dwell in God’s presence is not easy, but it is necessary. My friend Linda is not the only one who will die soon. I warn you that you also have a terminal cancer. That cancer is sin. God is Merciful, but He is also Just. While He offers His mercy to all people, He extends His mercy ONLY to those who believe His Son’s blood covers their every sin. This Mercy is a full pardon, complete forgiveness, the bestowal of the perfect righteousness of His Son. And this Mercy is only offered to you during your time on earth. All who reject the Mercy God offers them through His Son will spend eternity in Hell with Satan.

You never know what day you will die, or when someone you love will die. I beg you to turn to these truths found in the Bible before it is too late. The man in hell was concerned for his brothers and asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn them “that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment“. The Prophet Abraham’s reply shows how important scripture study is; if you don’t believe God’s Words found in the Bible, you will not “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

If you are reading this you are alive and your hope has not yet perished! Trust that all your sins have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus! (Revelation 1:5) If you believe Jesus is the Christ that has removed your sin, you will no longer be in your sins (John 8:24). All who have faith in Christ’s Atonement for sins “have been perfected forever” (Hebrews 10:10-14).

I Can’t Wait To Get To Heaven!

My desire to share Jesus with you is much stronger than my ability right now and I apologize for the length of time between posts. I have many health concerns and for some reason the past few months have been more difficult than usual. My life is one of daily pain, sometimes to the point that I am not able to do much of anything but bask in God’s love. It’s times like this that I cling to God’s promises, and I share some of those promises with you today.

Very few days go by that I don’t feel some kind of longing for death. It isn’t that I don’t love my life; it’s just that through death I will actually receive many of the promises that right now, I can only long for. I can’t wait to throw my arms around my Savior Jesus and personally thank Him for saving me. When I die I will dwell forever in the presence of my Savior and the Almighty God of Heaven and earth. On this earth, God dwells in my heart, but when I die, I will live with Him eternally. This is not because of anything I have ever done, but because I trust that Jesus is my substitute! The moment I came to faith, Christ gave me His robe of righteousness and in God’s sight, I am as perfect as God himself. I know how often I sin so this gift is truly an undeserved one. The more I recognize the seriousness of my sin, the more I value the Gift of my Savior. It is only through faith in my Savior that I will dwell in the very presence of Heavenly Father and live with Him eternally.

John the Beloved, in the book of Revelation, tells us what eternal life will be like:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Wow, no more pain! Today, I especially long for the fulfillment of that promise from God! But, because I still live, I know that God desires for me to continue with what He has called me to do here on earth. My purpose, the reason I breathe; is to give all glory to my Savior Jesus and to share His Word with you. Another promise from God is one found in Isaiah 55: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” This promise assures me that whenever I share God’s Word with you, it will accomplish exactly what God desires. If you come to faith through the hearing of this Word of God, you also will live eternally with Him! But, if you reject your Savior, when you die you will still be in your sins and on Judgment Day, you will be without excuse.

If You Believe–Eternal Life is Guaranteed!

I subscribe to a service from lds.org called LDS Gems. According to the LDS Website, these Gems “offer inspiration and increased gospel knowledge for both members and nonmembers with quotes from Church leaders on a variety of subjects.” I was emailed a Gem a few months ago with a quote from General Conference about how to gain eternal life. I would like to reference this Gem today because of some comments to this blog stating that most Mormons don’t think they are saved by their obedience:

The scriptures teach us that once we have received the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, our task then is to ‘endure to the end’ (2 Nephi 31:20). . . .
“Enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout our life, is a fundamental requirement for salvation in the kingdom of God. This belief distinguishes Latter day Saints from many other Christian denominations that teach that salvation is given to all who simply believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ. The Lord clearly declared, ‘If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7).

These words are from a member of the First Presidency and clearly state the main difference between LDS and Christian beliefs. Mormon prophets and apostles testify that you must keep the commandments to be given the “gift” of eternal life. True to the Faith states: “If we use the word salvation to mean eternal life, none of us can say that we have been saved in mortality. That glorious gift can come only after the Final Judgment.

These words may distinguish LDS from Christians but they are none the less false! LDS leaders claim that “none of us can say” we have eternal life while in mortality and yet, John the Beloved did many times! His testimony is that all who believe in Jesus have eternal life! He wrote “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

The Apostle John’s message is that the moment you come to faith in Jesus you cross over from spiritual death to eternal life “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). John states “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him” (3:36). Notice that John always uses the “past” tense. Believers already have everlasting and eternal life with God!

The Bible clearly testifies that eternal life is a freely offered “gift” given to those with faith in Jesus. Eternal life isn’t something we earn through obedience. We can’t even qualify for it. It is given only to those who “simply believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ.” If you think you have to qualify for it through obedience, then you don’t have it. But, if you have faith that Jesus is all you need, then eternal life is guaranteed! Not because of anything that you have done or could ever do, but because of what Jesus has already done for you!

Link to LDS Gem:

Has Mormonism changed the meaning of the word “gift”?

This Christmas I would imagine you received at least one gift. But, did you receive any “conditional” gifts? Did anyone tell you that you had to do something for them before you could open their gift? How many gifts are under your tree, waiting to be opened until you meet the requirements of the giver?

It might sound absurd to talk like this or think of “gifts” that we gave or received in this manner. When we know the person that gives us a gift, we realize that we don’t have to “do” something before we open their gift. We trust that the giver of the gift loves us and has given us their gift unconditionally and freely. In fact, if you look up the word “gift” in a dictionary you will find it defined as “Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.”

But, when speaking of spiritual matters in Mormonism, the word “gift” has been redefined! There is really only one unconditionalgift” in Mormonism and that is the gift of immortality (bodily resurrection). All other “gifts” are “conditional”. One simple example can be found in True to the Faith, page 52. In referencing Eternal life, it states “Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, it requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” The “condition” attached to this “gift” from Heavenly Father is obedience. Do a search at lds.org in the gospel library and type in the words “conditional AND gift”. You will discover that even God’s love, mercy and grace are all “gifts” conditioned upon your worthiness.

But the truth is that your Savior has many unconditional gifts waiting for you! One is the gift of eternal life! Not only does He offer it to you unconditionally but it is also given voluntarily. This gift was made personally, just for you, and it wasn’t an easy gift to make. Jesus lovingly spent thirty three years working on this gift. Day after day, despite many temptations by Satan, Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s laws for you. His suffering on the night of His death was tremendous. It must have been excruciating to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world and be cursed by His Heavenly Father. His shed blood covered over every sin you will ever commit. He willingly lived and died to give you the gift of eternal life.

Now, imagine that Jesus comes to you and personally offers His gift to you—freely and unconditionally. But, instead of graciously and excitedly thanking Him for the gift He worked so hard to make for you, you tell Him you can improve on His gift by adding your own works to it. Or, maybe you tell Him you can’t accept His gift because you believe you must first qualify for it. Imagine His disappointment as you reject this loving gift He made just for you.

Please don’t do this to my Jesus! Don’t reject the gift of eternal life Jesus worked so hard to give you! Through His perfect works He has qualified you to live eternally with Heavenly Father. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Believe that Jesus gained this gift for you and you will receive it! Then, spend the rest of your life freely serving God. “Freely” because doing so is your voluntary and unconditional gift of love to Him!

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