Find Lasting Peace in Troubled Times

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Peace comes and goes for most of us, day to day, possibly several times a day, but there is a peace that lasts. It doesn’t go away unless we choose to go away from it. It’s a peace that “passeth all understanding” (see Philippians 4:7), a peace from God. Because we come from God, it’s not surprising that abiding peace comes from Him too.

My hope is to share a few things that have given me a peace that endures in troubled times.

You’ll probably read or hear these angelic words more than once this Christmas season:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14.)

The sentiment is familiar, but the King James rendition might not have captured the original meaning.

Consider several other translations of Luke 2:14 (emphasis mine). Let’s start with the Wycliffe Bible, translated under the direction of John Wycliffe in the late 1300s:

Glory be in the highest things to God, and in earth peace be to men of good will.

Here’s how the New International Version (1970s) renders it:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

And here’s yet another sense from The Message, Edward Peterson’s translation completed in 2002.

Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

There’s a theme here: Peace will come to those who please God, to men and women of good will, on whom His favor rests.

Just before He entered the garden of Gethsemane, Christ said:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27.)

That’s not situational peace. He was about to suffer more than anyone was capable of suffering (see D&C 19:15–20), but His understanding rested on what would result from that suffering. In spite of betrayal, tribulation, or torture, in spite of what the world was saying or doing, he found a peace that was not of this world:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33.)

The religious establishment of the day could harm His body and inflict on Him unimaginable pain, but they could not take His peace.

He told us in this dispensation where to find that peace:

But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come. (D&C 59:23; emphasis mine).

I love this verse about Enoch. It’s not often cited, but it describes to me one of the greatest sources of peace:

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5; emphasis added).

To walk the path our Heavenly Father intends us walk,  and to remain on that path, can lead us to the testimony that our course pleases Him—a lasting source of peace. If we do our best to follow our heart and conscience, imperfect as we may be, we can have faith and not be troubled about the future.

That’s my wish for you this Christmas season: A testimony of your standing before Him, and peace of mind in this world and real hope in the world to come.

[This post was first published in Decemeber 2016.]

The Wexford Carol by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Here is a beautiful arrangement of an English carol that dates from the 16th century. Listen. I promise you’ll feel better when you do. Lyrics follow.

Good people all, this Christmastime,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest Messiah born.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
“Prepare and go”, the angels said,
“To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you’ll find, this happy morn,
A princely Babe, sweet Jesus born.”

[This post was first published in December 2016.]

Free Audio Recording of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

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I’ve discovered a free, dramatic reading of one of my favorite books, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. (I wrote about A Christmas Carol in a previous post.) The award-winning Carol was produced by Mormon Channel and is narrated wonderfully by Bruce Newbold, with Bryce Chamberlain playing a convincing Scrooge (Chamberlain plays the father in the original 1964 version of Man’s Search for Happiness).

I listened to the whole thing in one day (it’s 3 1/2 hours long). It’s downloadable by the way. I laugh out loud and cry every time I read or hear this book read. It’s an undeniable classic.

[This post was first published in December 2017.]

“What Child Is This?”—from the Heart

At a prison worship service today, I heard an inmate sing “What Child Is This?” Not a performance by a trained artist but sung from the heart, if not from an even deeper place. And yes, it was on key too. An act of pure worship by one of the most serene men I know.

This inmate spent nearly 20 years “in the hole” (solitary confinement), but now he’s a man of presence and peace. He’s redeemed. An expert of the soul. And he’s about to be released prison. I cherish the performance I witnessed today.

Here’s another beautiful performance of the song, followed by lyrics.

What Child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come peasant king to own Him,
The King of kings, salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Conference Special: In the Last Days and The Law of Attraction and the Scriptures, Both Free on Kindle, October 6–7, 2018

Kindle CoverToday, October 6 and tomorrow, October 7, 2018, you can download for free the Kindle version of In the Last Days: A Brief Guide to Christ’s Second Coming for Latter-day Saints and of The Law of Attraction and the Scriptures, Second Edition.

In the Last Days is a basic guide for newcomers to the topic of the Second Coming of Christ, those who want to look at a wide variety of scriptural passages that also cast light on the Last Days, the Millennium, and the end of the world. Students of the Second Coming won’t find anything sensational, highly speculative, or particularly new or groundbreaking in this book, but rather a simple, scriptural foundation for the doctrine surrounding this sacred season.

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Write Your Book in 24 Hours! Free on Kindle, August 23–25, 2018

Write Your Book in 24 Hours!Write your book quickly with tips and ideas from Write Your Book in 24 Hours!, free on Kindle, August 23–25, 2018.

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