"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

23 October 2006

General Questions About Christian Bloggers

Do you think Christian bloggers represent well the actual beliefs of the Christian population overall?

Or do you think that there seems to be a majority of one extreme over another? Or just extremes in general?

Do you think that most of the bloggers who identify themselves as Christians are doctrinally sound? Mature in their walk with Christ?

And if you answer, give me your definition of “Christian” first.

19 October 2006

Dry Spells and Politics

I am in another cycle of being unsure whether or not I want to continue blogging.

My struggle is that I enjoy blogging but I really don’t have the time for it. These last few weeks not blogging have been nice, no pressure to write nor distractions in thinking about what to write. But it is hard to just walk away. I guess I enjoy having a creative outlet.

Lately my posts seem to get people riled up which is fine although the negative comments are a bit tiring. I am hard-lined in my opinions but I am not sure whether that is “proper” or not.

I’ve tried to liven things up in my every day conversations. Yesterday I stated that I don’t believe a Christian can be a Democrat. Only two people heard the statement and there weren’t many waves from them, but I know it was still a bit of a taboo thing to say.

But there, I said it. Politics and Christianity – I am mixing them. You could even call me legalistic with that comment. It's a double whammy of sorts.

So don’t forget, vote Republican in November.

That’s all I have!

09 October 2006

New Devotional Blog

Check out the new group devotional Blog Laced with Grace.

This blog was started by my friend Iris and also features my favorite commenter and friend, Ellen.

I know these women both love the Lord so I can imagine that there will be some great content there. Be sure to stop by and leave an encouraging comment.

Laced with Grace

05 October 2006

The Will to Blog

I think I've lost the will to blog. At least temporarily.

I'm tired and my mind is blank.

I think I will take a little blogging vacation.

28 September 2006

Chosen by God

I finished reading Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul this past week (recommended by Michele). It is a very basic introduction to Calvinism and is written in a very easy to read fashion.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I am not sure where exactly I stand on Calvinism as I haven’t found much reason to decide one way or the other. But I find the insight that Calvinism provides into the characteristics of God and man very interesting. I think I will need to read more on the subject.

One thing that has stood out clearly to me lately as I read scripture is the role of God in every part of salvation. There is so much talk in the scriptures of election, predestination, calling, choosing, etc. I understand that the Arminian and Calvinist have different approaches to these terms, but I tend to think our limited minds have trouble understanding the workings of God in this area.

On this note, I was reading a transcript from MacArthur (who is a Calvinist) last night on predestination and salvation based on this verse:

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:30

I like the way MacArthur handled this verse and showed not only the assurance of salvation through God’s stepwise plan for us, but also elaborated on how God’s plan basically works for each individual. We are predestined, then called, then justified, then glorified. What God has started, God will finish.

Anyway, MacArthur went on to talk about the elect and the non-elect and I like one thing he said because it dealt a bit with some of the common hang-ups on the non-elect idea (predestined for destruction?). He basically said the non-elect were condemned for their non-belief because that is what scripture says, despite the fact that there seems to be a dissymmetry with that idea as compared to the work in the elect (being chosen and given the ability to follow God).

How can that be? It is one of those mysteries that our puny brains can’t comprehend according to MacArthur. I think a lot of scripture is clear, definitely the Gospel message. But I think it is sometimes easy to go with an interpretation that is comfortable (like the complete free will of man) rather than accept what the scripture actually says. And I think Calvinism makes people uncomfortable.

But I diverge. Back to Sproul…I enjoyed the book and would like to read more by Sproul. I think the one idea that stuck with me from the Calvinist point of view is the idea of man choosing to turn to God. Sproul makes the argument that we do that which we desire. Our desires determine our choices. With that in mind, why would a fallen man ever choose Christ unless God first gave him the desire. That makes sense to me.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the interplay between a sovereign God and a fallen man. I’m not quite ready to fully embrace Calvinism yet, but the one thing I can really appreciate about their viewpoint is the emphasis on the sovereignty of God. I just don’t think that God’s sovereignty can ever be overemphasized.

18 September 2006

Young Assurance

My four-year-old daughter learns a new verse each month in her class at church. They usually paraphrase it, but I recognized it immediately when she told me yesterday after church:

“Nothing can separate us from the love of God”

My little girl is learning about assurance!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

16 September 2006

Great Quote on Righteousness

Ellen made a great comment in her post today, I had to share it:

Doing right does not equal being right. It’s progress; a step. But doing right, instead of making the heart change, only leads to morality, not righteousness. Following the right rules does not bring us closer to God. Coming closer to God brings us closer to following the right rules.

This difference should be understood by every believer!

10 September 2006

Christian Women Bloggers

Okay, I have my new template done.

I have also added to my website for Christian Women a list of Christian Women Bloggers (which right now is just me). My guess is that much of the traffic at my website are women not so familiar with the blog world, so this list will introduce some of the site visitors to Christian women who blog.

If you would like to join the list, send me an email and I'll send you the code to add the graphic below to your sidebar and then put you on the list.

07 September 2006


Okay, I'm leaning towards layout #2, especially since I made some modifcations to the template. What do you think?

Layout 2.

06 September 2006

A Note and A Vote

A Note: I am on vacation from work this week which means I am at home trying to get some stuff done around the house. We have a few outdoor projects to finish up, but since it's been raining almost everyday, we are getting nowhere fast. There are plenty of indoor things to do, but since I am a procrastinator I give you:

A Vote: I've decided to change my blog template again. Why?

1. Because I can.
2. Because it is more fun than cleaning out the attic.
3. Because I want to be like Michele, Michele, Michele when I grow up.
4. Because I have been coveting Ellen's newer template.
5. Because I have temporary access to Photoshop.
6. Because I am hoping a flower theme will scare off Tony and his purgatory references (just kidding, Tony).

BUT, I have two different headers made up and can't decide. So please take a look at my two new layouts and tell me which you like best (leave a comment here): Layout 1 or Layout 2.

Since I am concentrating on home projects this week, posting will be light to non-existent. Do what you can to get by without me.

03 September 2006

Home-brew Substitution

Moonshadow made a comment on Michele’s blog that I must make my own beer because I use the word “home-brew” so much. Well she’s wrong. I don’t even drink anymore so except for an occasional fruit or veggie that is rotting away in my fridge, there is no alcohol being made in my home.

But she is right that I have been stuck with my description of “home-brew God” to describe the God of some people that is a creation of their own thoughts and feelings (instead of the one true God revealed through the Bible). So I will try to come up with some new descriptions for the home-brew God.

All I have so far is “homemade God” and “al a carte God”. Not terribly original.

Any ideas?

01 September 2006


Since this “theology” is relatively new to me I thought I would share it.

From Wikipedia:

As noted above, in Christianity, Universalism, Universal reconciliation, or universal salvation, is the doctrine that all will be saved. Among theologians the doctrine is often referred to using the Greek word apocatastasis. The doctrine addresses the problem of Hell and notions of God's mercy and justice. Universalists contend that a loving God would not submit anyone, regardless of his or her sins or beliefs, to everlasting torment. Some also argue that eternal condemnation in Hell, an infinite punishment, is not proportionately just with any number of essentially finite sins.

This idea is obviously not biblical and a good example of extracting some verses out of the Bible and ignoring the rest. It separates salvation from faith in Jesus and denies that any will perish.

And yet we know:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:1-3

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matt 7:13-14

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' Mark 9:47-48

This idea of universal salvation is not all that much different that the home-brew God I described in The Gospel According to Me. The idea has just been reinforced with some out of context bible quoting making it in my mind more grievous than the home-brew God.

27 August 2006


I need to come up with a commenting policy but I am not in the mood for it right now. So let me just say this quickly.

I do not like to delete comments (unless there is foul language). If someone wants to disagree with me, that is fine, but I have lost my tolerance for personal attacks. This is what I need to define in a set of rules because it appears that some people don't understand what is an unfair personal comment.

That said, if you consider yourself a Christian, then act like one if you want to comment. Don't say things that may insult, hurt, or misrepresent a person because you are angry or frustrated with them.

If you are not a Christian, then please just try to be nice.

Going forward, I will delete any comments that I find overly insulting to me or to another commenter. No warnings. If you would like to make a point, keep out the personal stuff.

I am opening up comments on the most recent posts.

21 August 2006

What Will You Do With Jesus?

My friend at work is still “seeking” out the truth about God and asking good questions. She reminds me a lot of myself right before I was saved, having an almost insatiable curiosity about God. I feel very encouraged that God is working on her and it is a joy to talk with her about the Lord.

Being still at a intellectual/logical pursuit of faith, my friend has rightfully placed Jesus at the center of her quest. He is the one that can not be so easily dismissed. As C.S. Lewis so eloquently put it in his book Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Jesus’ claims to be God can not be extracted from his teachings. Ultimately everyone needs to determine what they are going to do with Jesus. His existence in history is undeniable, so every person needs to decide whether he is a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.

If Jesus is indeed Lord, then his teachings need to be taken to heart. And let’s not deny that Jesus said some tough things:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matt 7:13-14

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt 7:21

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matt 10:32-34

Jesus is the Lamb of God, the ultimate sacrifice. His death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins – he is our Savior because he has saved us from condemnation if only we will believe in him.

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” John 3:16-18

What will you do with Jesus?

20 August 2006

Sola Scriptura ala Ellen

I am really looking forward to doing some posts on Sola Scriptura as I think that topic is so important, but I have a few other posts to get to first. In the meantime, please visit Ellen's post on Sola Scriptura: The Authority of Scripture.

Challies also has a good article called Does Anyone Choose Hell?

When we speak of God's wrath coming on people rather than on the wicked, we invariably sense a oneness with them rather than with God. But this puts us in opposition to God and the righteousness of his ways.

Rectifying a Loving but Just God can be difficult for some people. This article helps explain the idea a bit better (the comment discussion is good also).

19 August 2006

The Gospel According to Me, Part 3

Okay, here is my nutshell explanation of God and his plan of salvation. I use this for someone who knows absolutely nothing about God or the Bible. Very simplistic, but it is a start.

An all-powerful, Holy, never-changing, perfect God created man. But man sinned against God (he violated God’s command – deliberate defiance) and caused a rift between himself and a Holy God. All men sin and fall short of the glory of God. Man has violated the commands of God and has incurred a penalty. This is because God is infinitely just. He could not just turn a blind eye to man’s sin (that would go against his nature), a price had to be paid.

But God knew that man could never pay the penalty for his sin. He knew that he would have to pay the penalty for man. So God sent his son, Jesus, to live a perfect, sin-free life and die in man’s place. Jesus took all the sins of men onto himself and died to pay the penalty for those sins. His sacrifice satisfied the wrath of a just God and was accepted as proven by his resurrection.

So all men have sinned and all deserve punishment, but Jesus has paid the debt for us. Salvation is Jesus saving us from the penalty of our own sin so that we can live eternally with God in heaven when we die. It is a free gift, we can not earn it ourselves, but we must accept the gift by believing and trusting in Jesus. We must repent of our sins and turn to God. If we do not accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, then we are still under the penalty of our sins.

There is a great analogy of the salvation plan and the justness of God in the book More than a Carpenter. Basically, a woman violates a traffic law and goes before the judge. The woman is found guilty of the violation and the judge fines her $100. But then the judge gets down from his bench, takes off his robe, and gives the woman $100 to pay for her fine. Why? Because the judge was her father. Because he is a judge, he had to fine his daughter for breaking the law. But as her father, he could pay the fine for her. Justice has been served and a father’s love for his daughter is revealed.

God IS a loving God. But he is more than just loving. He is also Holy and Just. Those attributes of God can not be excluded from our understanding of Him. Likewise, we are all sinners. We have all broken God's commands (check out just the 10 commandments) and our sins separate us from God. The only way to bridge the divide between our sinful nature and God's Holy nature is the cross of Christ.

To deny God’s salvation plan through Jesus is to either deny that you are a sinner before God and/or to deny that Jesus’ death was for a purpose. What are you going to do with Jesus?

17 August 2006

The Gospel According to Me, Part 2

I am always fascinated to hear non-believer’s description of “their God”. Often times these people have grown up in some sort of a church system, but have never met the one true God. Instead they have a God of their own creation who not so surprisingly, is a pretty easy-going guy. What I love to ask these people is “Where is your proof of that”?

Common sense should tell you that we can not all have our own made-up version of God. Certainly the various versions of “my God’ are going to conflict and how do you know who is right. There has to be some common source of the truth about God.

As I said previously, the version of the home-brew God that I see the most is a God who is all loving and lets all the good people into heaven. Sounds good, right? My questions is, where do you draw the line between good and bad? Hitler would be bad and Mother Theresa good, correct? Okay, that one was easy.

What about the person who cheats on their taxes? A career criminal who has stolen his whole life? How about the young man who got drunk at his 21st birthday party, drove himself home, and killed a family of four in a car accident along the way? How about the woman who after being beaten for 10 years by her husband, shot him so he would not beat her anymore? And what about her husband?

This is my issue. Deciding where the boundaries of good and bad are is not so easy. And the line would be drawn in different places depending on the person and the evidence presented (welcome to our judicial system). Now, maybe it is easy for God to decide knowing all the facts of a person’s life, but where does that leave us? How do we know when we have crossed the line then? Now we are playing by unknown rule-book – how is that fair?

I for one am happy that the decision between good and evil, between heaven or hell is not played out this way. What we have is a holy, righteous, just God who has a plan for the salvation of man (being saved from punishment) and has revealed that plan of salvation through the Bible (Jesus). We do not need to be confused as to what will happen to us when we die, we can KNOW how to have eternal life (be in heaven with God).

I will talk more about this plan in the next post.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

14 August 2006

The Gospel According to Me

For many years I believed in what I will call “The Gospel According to Me”. It was based on a general belief in a God with no real substance. He was the God of my own creation, a big teddy bear in the sky who let all the “good people” go to heaven. I believed that simply because it worked for me.

But during my late twenties I slowly became interested in the Bible. I bought a book from the bookstore bargain table which described some of the people in the Bible. At the same time TNT ran a few miniseries on some Bible stories while A&E had “Mysteries of the Bible” (which I don’t recommend now). As my interest continued to build (which was God calling me) I eventually attended church with my boyfriend at the time (now my husband) and we both accepted Christ as our Savior. The details are a bit blurry but I know that my transformation was sudden and dramatic, and I felt like a blind person who was suddenly given the gift of sight.

What I learned from the Bible those first few months after accepting Christ was that I now had a way to learn about God. He wasn’t that big teddy bear in the sky anymore, he was something much bigger and much better. He was the creator of the universe, yet he loved me and wanted to have a personal relationship with me. He was perfect and holy while I was sinner, yet he had a plan to take care of all that.

In my life I don’t run into too many atheists. Most of the people I know that aren’t believers have their own version of “The Gospel According to Me”. Usually their God is similar to what my God was before I was saved. The problem is, we can’t each have our own God. There either is a God or there isn’t. And if there is a God, then his characteristics can not be left to our own choosing. We must find the truth and not relying on what feels right.

So what I would like to do is share my knowledge of the one true God. The God that revealed himself to me through his Bible and has been faithful to me ever since. I think this will be a multi-part series, but I am sorta winging it right now.

I would like to start with my own version of what is God all about. Basically, what did Jesus do and why (a paraphrased version of the Gospel that I like to use to give people a starting point). From there I would like to move into the Gospel message directly from the Bible. And then I’m not sure where we will go from there – maybe talk about the Bible some more.

I have a lot of topics I would like to post on but as usual, time is a factor. I will eventually get to Sola Scriptura and also talk more about the doctrine of justification. And I would still like to do a post or two on Galatians. But for now I’d like to focus on the basics of the Gospel message and what it means to me. More to come.

Book Meme Followup

This was interesting. This website did a survey of the recent book meme and listed books that were mentioned multiple times.

I got this meme from Michele who didn’t mention the original rules which included excluding the Bible, so my list was not only boring, but a rule breaker. That Michele is a troublemaker I tell you.

Anyway, the list reminded me of some of my favorite secular books and also a book that I had remembered making me cry as a kid, but couldn’t remember the title before.

My favorite secular book is Pride and Prejudice. My favorite Christian book is The Hiding Place. And the book that made me cry was Where the Red Fern Grows.

Check out the link above for the general consensus on books.

12 August 2006

Book Meme

Michele tagged me for a book meme. I think she will be highly disappointed:

One book that changed your life: The Bible

One book that you've read more than once: The Bible

One book you'd want on a desert island: The Bible

One book that made you laugh: pass

One book that made you cry: pass

One book that you wish had been written: How to Blog for a Living

One book you wish had never been written: I’m too chicken to say it.

One book that you are currently reading: Way of the Master

One book you've been meaning to read: The Knowledge of the Holy

Sorry Michele, I am boring. Actually, I have trouble finding time to read with young kids running around. Blogging doesn’t help.

What I like to do is buy books and hope that I will get to them someday. I have a very large collection of books I haven't read.

08 August 2006

The Very Hairs of Your Head...

I mentioned a few posts ago that I would try to do something silly to lighten the mood. Perhaps this story will suffice.

As best I can tell, I think I have some chapstick in my hair. I noticed at the end of last week that the hair on the top of my head felt weird, a little waxy. Since I get up fairly early I figured maybe I zoned out and didn’t rinse the conditioner out well or something. The next day I noticed it again so I started to suspect my new shampoo. I still didn’t think much of it as I had other things on my mind.

The following day my husband figured out that my four year old had gotten chapstick all over the bathroom. We still haven’t pieced together the whole crime scene, but I believe that she was trying to clean out the cap of the chapstick with her finger (since she likely jams the cap on without retracting the chapstick) and then tried to get it off her fingers with whatever was nearby.

Being the sleuth that I am, I took that newfound info and checked my comb. It appeared to have a bit of a wax on it, so I washed it and thought the mystery was solved. No more waxy head.

But I was wrong, I still have waxy hair although it is subsiding. My newest theory is that chapstick and hair are quite fond of each other. This morning I tried every shampoo in our shower along with the bar soap, and behold, the waxy hair remaineth.

Being also a resourceful girl, I decided to google “remove chapstick from hair” but I came up empty-handed. It appears I am the first person in history to have such a mishap. Don’t I feel lucky.

So that is my story. What can I say, motherhood isn’t always pretty.

Since the waxy feeling seems to be slowly going away, I think I’ll just wait it out. Time has a way of taking care of things like this. If things aren’t looking better by this weekend, I’ll have to pull out the big guns and call the prayer chain.

Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." Luke 18:27

06 August 2006

A Hold on Discussions

I am going to keep the comments closed for another day or two on the previous posts. There are one or two posts I need to make first before I am ready to start discussing the differences between Protestant and Catholic beliefs again and I am not sure when I will have time to get those posts written up.

In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to read a post Ellen made about Blogging With Gentleness and Respect. I thought it was a fabulous post and rules that I would certainly like to follow on this blog.

Comments are open here but no debating or discussion about the previous topics allowed. If you just want to say Hey, compliment Ellen’s post, or just say something in general that is fine. Anything that tries to start up the discussion again will be deleted.

Blessed Assurance

Today at Church we sang Blessed Assurance by Fanny Crosby:

Bless├Ęd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;

Assurance = a state of mind in which one is free from doubt.

As I sang this song today, tears ran down my cheek. I was overcome with the enormity of the assurance I have in Jesus.

I am an heir of salvation, I am a purchase of God, I was born of His Spirit, I am washed in his blood.

Through my genuine faith in Jesus, I am justified before God. Jesus bore my sins on the cross and His righteousness has been imputed to me. God knew that I could never justify myself, so He did it for me, he paid the penalty once and for all.

I realize that there are many people who would be turned off by the debates this week on my blog. There were certainly parts which turned me off. But the truth is, after all of the discussion I am only clinging to the cross more and realizing how very blessed I am.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

04 August 2006

What A Long Strange Trip Its Been

If you have been reading along with some of the discussion on this blog, you will understand the title. I think the storm has passed.

Two days ago I had about 10 different posts swirling around in my head. Today my brain is fried. In fact, I'm so tired that I keep staring at the word "fried" and wondering if the spelling is right. You know how sometimes a word just doesn't "look right"? Oh well, I'm too lazy to look it up.

I'm gonna take a little break and figure out what I would like to talk about next. These last few days have revealed some new areas of interest for me and I hope to have enough neurons left to create some posts around these areas.

Okay, I won't leave you hanging (as if you didn't already know), I will still be doing some posts on Sola Scriptura (scripture alone)and Sola Fide (faith alone). And hopefully a post on the book of Galatians. In between I'll try to do something stupid or embarassing so I can have a funny post to mix things up a bit. No promises though.

03 August 2006

Who is Right? - Doctrine of Justification

Call me slow (which some have already insinuated) but I think I finally understand the great divide between Catholicism and Protestantism. It is the doctrine of justification by grace.

This quote from CRI explains the difference well:

Justification, to evangelicals, means that God declares us righteous the instant you or I repent and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior — and this, despite our sinfulness. Actually, it’s a singular event, something that is completed instantaneously. Catholics, on the other hand, understand justification to mean that God makes us righteous. It’s seen as a process whereby God gradually perfects us; and this is, incidentally, why Catholics believe that only in the end will believers be sure as to whether they’re truly justified or saved.

In addition, evangelicals believe in justification by faith alone. And by faith we mean not only knowledge and agreement, but also personal trust in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. In sharp distinction, Catholics see faith as nothing more than passive agreement, which again is why they don’t believe in justification by faith alone. Catholics actually consider human works as vital elements in the process of justification. This is because they are held to be the result of God’s grace working through and perfecting believers.

Well, in sharp contrast to the evangelical belief that works are the fruits of justification, Catholics say that justification results from a combination of faith and works made possible by God’s grace.

For Evangelicals, salvation and justification occurs simultaneously upon accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and we can be assured of our heavenly destination. For Catholics, there is no assurance of their eternal destination. Big difference.

So. Who is right?

We can’t both be right, correct?

Because if the Catholics are right, then we Evangelicals may be in trouble. But if the Evangelicals are right, where does that leave the Catholics?

These are questions to think about. I will continue with this topic later.

31 July 2006

A Sign for My Friend?

Continuing the saga of Circumstances Converge, I had an exciting day.

This morning I went to work with the packet of information I wrote up on Mary doctrines along with The Case for Christ for my friend. I wasn't sure how I was going to present the stuff to her since we had our discussion last week and was afraid she may have forgotten.

When my friend stopped by to say hello, we discussed our weekends. Then she asked me how church was on Sunday and what was the message about. I told her and she asked a few questions seeming more interested than ever before. She then said to me "I took your advice and prayed directly to God this weekend". I said that was great and then told her I had a little present for her and gave her the book and the packet.

Tears immediately started to well up in her eyes and she said "I prayed last night for God to reveal the Truth to me, but I said I was confused so I asked for a sign". She didn't say it outright, but based on her response I think she got at least a partial sign this morning.

She was very excited about the book as we had discussed it previously and she said that she had been thinking about it. She was also happy for the Mary information I had written up for her although she had already done a bit of internet research herself and seemed to be doubting her original stance already.

What also struck me was the sequence of events. See, our original discussion happened on Wednesday when she challenged me for bibilical verses to refute her beliefs with regards to Mary. That evening I really wanted to get all the information together but I just didn't have the time to devote to it that evening or for the rest of the week. I decided I would work on it over the weekend and I stayed up late last night to finish.

I usually order all my books online, but I really felt like I needed to take this opportunity to give her The Case for Christ along with the information I had written up. I made a special trip to the bookstore to pick up the book so I would have it for her. And it all came together this morning - she was open and I was ready. Only God could have orchestrated that one!

What can I say but that I am so encouraged by our interaction today. She didn't seem ready to accept Christ just yet, but she was definitely interested and asking the right questions. And I am so proud of her for asking God to reveal the truth to her, what a great start. I will continue to pray that she will come to know Jesus as her Savior and thank him for allowing me to be involved in his awesome work.

If you can say a quick prayer for her I would appreciate it!

30 July 2006

Sola Scriptura Prelude

I keep getting sidetracked from my Sola Scriptura post so I will point you over to Ellen who is posting on Sola Scriptura on her site: Sola Scriptura - A History Lesson. She is using a booklet I believe by Dr. W. Robert Godfrey who also has an Article on Sola Scripura available online.

I am really feeling burdened to get myself better versed in the idea of Sola Scriptura and will be doing more study I hope over the next few months. I look forward to sharing what I learn here.

Michele has posted about a book she likes called The Battle Belongs to the Lord: The Power of Scripture for Defending Our Faith. Here is part of the description:

"This is the book to give to Christians who know in their heart of hearts that they ought to be involved in the business of defending the faith, but do not know how to proceed or have been scared off by the complex philosophical nature of apologetics. Oliphint demonstrates what we have really known all along: God intends for the regular Christian to do apologetics...Oliphint begins with an analogy between the Christian’s task of apologetics and the fight between David and Goliath. David fought a giant with whom he was utterly unprepared to deal, at least from a purely human vantage point. But David defeated Goliath because he knew that the battle belonged to the Lord."

That book sounds right up my alley (thanks, Michelle)!

Something funny happened today also. The man sitting next to my husband at church had a book with him called Scripture Alone" by Sproul. My husband elbowed me to take a look. There is just no hiding from this topic for me!

I made a lot of progress on my "packet" for my friend with verses to oppose some of the Marian doctrines in her church (which she can't seem to let go of). Now I just want to add a few clarifying verses about the importance of relying solely on Jesus - not sure the best verses to use for that without overwhelming her with information. I also picked up The Case for Christ for her and hope she reads it.

28 July 2006

Circumstances Converge, Part 2

(If you haven’t read Part 1 of this story, go back and start there.)

Hopefully what you were able to see from Part 1 was how the topic of Catholicism came at me from a few angles and I didn’t duck. I found the sequence of events interesting but it got a bit more interesting when the same topic came up in my real life (as opposed to my fake blogging life).

One of my friends at work is a cradle Catholic. She is not terribly religious or devout as far as being Catholic, but it is all she has ever known. A few months back upon learning that I am a non-Catholic Christian, she asked me a few questions about what exactly I believed (knowing basically nothing about Protestantism). Sometime later she asked me what my “religion’s” viewpoint was on Mary and from there we talked more about our own beliefs.

I won’t go into all the details now, but let’s just say I think it is highly unlikely that she is saved. At one point she said that she did believe in Jesus, but later balked when I said Jesus was the only way to heaven. She gave me the old “but what about the good people, I can’t believe God would send good people to hell” routine (“her God wouldn’t do that”). I asked her how she thought she could be a believer in Jesus if she didn’t believe the things he spoke. We went through some other apologetics-type stuff then the conversation ended.

Since that time, talk of religion was pretty much non-existent and I didn’t push it. But this week while I was discussing my issues with Catholicism on this blog (which came up by the circle of events I described in Part 1), what does my friend at work bring up but Mary! Why don’t we (Protestants) revere Mary? We debated whether or not Mary was worth such a high standing in the church and discussed some other differences between Catholics and Protestants, but Mary was the big one for her. She actually admitted that she has some issues with the Catholic Church, but she just doesn’t think she could be part of the Protestant religion because we don’t hold Mary in high enough regard.

Finally after much discussion she challenged me to provide her with bible verses to back up my opinion that Mary is not to be revered the way the Catholics revere her. What she didn’t know is that I have been having discussions about this very topic in my secret, fake blogging life and was more than up to the challenge. I am going to work on a little packet for her this weekend and pray that the verses I provide her cut through to her heart as scripture can. She goes hot and cold on me with this stuff so I’m not holding my breath but it is progress.

So while I said previously that I am sometimes apprehensive about saying that God was orchestrating certain circumstances in my life, this situation seems to have his Name all over it. I don’t know what will happen with my friend, but I am excited to be able to share my faith with her and pray for her (will you say a quick prayer for her also?).

Being critical of another faith, especially when talking to a person of that faith, can be difficult and can make you seem unloving, judgemental, holier-than-thou, a troublemaker, arguementative, etc. Maybe some people think that I discuss these more controversial topics for less than honorable reasons. But in these last few posts I have spoken what I believe to be the truth about the topic/circumstances that came my way with the same goal as always in faith matters - seeing the lost saved. If I had worried about how others may view me, I would have missed out.

27 July 2006

Circumstances Converge, Part 1

Contrary to what I said in my last post, there are times in my life where I can see occurrences building on each other which just have to be more than a coincident. In this case, it has to do with my recent posts on Catholicism.

Let me take you back to when this all started. A few months back I wrote a post called 50 Things About Me where I mentioned in one of the bullet points that I was a “recovering Catholic”. Elena happened to read that post while visiting for the first time and asked: “what is a recovering Catholic?”. It was like the shot heard around the world. Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but it did cause me to write a second post describing my upbringing in the Catholic Church called something ingenious like My Version of A Recovering Catholic. There was some minor discussion in the comments section of that post, but it got quiet quickly.

A couple of months later I read a post at Challies about Rome and The Beast of Revelation. I made some comments on that post back and forth with what seemed to be a Catholic apologetic. It was that thread which inspired my True or False Test post (defending the Bible as God’s one and only authoritative Word). Around that same time I received an email from Beth who stumbled upon my Recovering Catholic post and had a few comments about it, resulting in the Dialogue with A Catholic Posts (okay, I’m tired of linking-you're on your own). Are you still with me? I promise, I’m almost there.

Following the comments on the Dialogue posts, I wrote another post replying back and also posted a chart (because I came across it and thought it was informative) which compared the non-biblical traditions of Catholics, Mormons, and JWs. I was just about to move on to another topic when Elena suddenly appeared on the scene to rebut some of my comments on Catholicism and defend Marian doctrines (remember: her question is what spurred the Recovering Catholic post, which spurred Beth’s email, which started the whole discussion up again months later) Okay, we have come full circle. But since this post is already so long, I will have to make this a two part-er.

Are you disappointed you came this far for nothing? Sorry, Part 2 should be better. Maybe I should have opened with a joke?

(Seriously, is this terribly boring? I hate these kind of stories from other people)

26 July 2006

Is it from God?

I am not one of those people that claims just about everything that happens in my life is some sort of a sign from God. As I figure it, there are things that come from God, things that come from Satan and things that come from the good ole wildcard we call a fallen world. I am not saying that God isn’t sovereign over everything, I just don’t think that everything that happens in my life has some sort of hidden meaning from God.

Now, when things happen that seem to be indicating something more than everyday life, I still tread lightly. I remember when I was a new Christian and we were going to a very small church. I can’t remember exactly what happen (hope you weren’t expecting a good story) but our church was trying to do something that would help it grow and things just weren’t happening as expected. The verdict? Satan must be blocking our efforts.

I remember at the time thinking, how do you know that? What if God is blocking our efforts because he’s not happy with our actions or it’s not part of his will. Are we suppose to chalk up everything that seems bad to us as Satan and everything that seems good to us to God? That seemed too easy.

That particular incident happened many years ago but I must admit, my ability to determine God’s will (or God’s nudging) is no better today. I hear so many people talking about God’s will in their lives and how this or this happened and they knew to do that. And I hope that what they are discerning really is God’s will all the time. But I tend to be suspicious. Certainly they must be befuddled once in awhile. Certainly they must have followed a few rabbit trails.

So while I admire the people who seem to have such a solid faith that they can deem the twists and turns in life as from God or not, I am not there. I try not to say that a set of circumstances in my life are happening because God wants me to do THIS. Because not only could I be mistaking the push of God for something else, but I could get the THIS wrong. So I walk tentatively, pray about things, and try not to rush into anything. That may not be the best way to do it, but that is what works for me at the moment.

But what is funny is that my whole point of starting this post was to tell a story about some things happening in my life (and related to my blog) that I felt have been orchestrated by God for a purpose. Somehow though, I ended up writing a very loosely related post without even touching on the content of the post I intended to write. While I can’t be certain, I am going to chalk up this occurrence to my wandering mind that likes to go tangential (i.e the fallen world category).

I guess I’ll be back later to write the post I intended to write here. Unless I was wrong and this was God’s will and I’m not suppose to write that other post. Hmmm.

25 July 2006

How to Increase Comment Counts

Note to Self:
Make a post about another post that has 0 comments. Explain how the lack of comments is proof in your mind that the post was so well done it left people speechless. Within a few days, watch the comments go from 0 to 27 and disprove your theory. Ponder whether you should enjoy the comments or whether you should feel sad that your theory was disproven and what it all means.

I mentioned in my last post that we had a good discussion going in the Response to Comments – Catholicism post. There is also some discussion going on under the Extra-Biblical post that I wanted to point people to also as it is an older post that everyone may have missed. That comment section is dealing more specifically with the Marian doctrines of the Catholic Church and I think it is very interesting to understand why Protestants and Catholics disagree on these issues.

I think it is important to think through why we believe what we believe and try to make sure that our views are consistent with God’s ultimate truth. Unfortunately, God does not have his own website where we can access his FAQ page. But we do have something just as good and that is His Word (the Bible). It may not seem quite as straightforward as a FAQ, but the answers are there if we will just look.

May God bless our discussions and grant us all the wisdom to recognize His truth.

24 July 2006

Still on the Horizon...

Okay, my ever-impending Sola Scriptura post is still coming. I know I shouldn't keep saying that because I could be causing an artificial suspense which is sure to end in disappointment when I finally do that post, but it is weighing heavy on my mind so I feel the need to keep mentioning it.

Right now I'm a little busy with the Response to Comments-Catholicism, trying to defend why that is such a catchy title. It took me hours to come up with that title and I'm not going down without a fight.

Seriously, we have a nice discussion going on in the comments section of that post and it only reaffirms the reasons that I would like to do the Sola Scritura post. But please, prepare to be disappointed by the Sola Scriptura post because it will not be some academic tackling of the topic, just Carrie's thoughts on the matter and well, that can only get so exciting.

22 July 2006

What I'm thinking about Today

I am one of those people that needs to tackle a thought right when I have it or else I either forget or lose momentum. After I wrote the True or False Test post I had a comment by Alma opposing my stance on the Bible alone. That's a great topic and I would like to post more on it, but it feels like such a huge topic that I just can't seem to get myself to start writing. But I will, I promise.

Not that I think anyone out in cyberspace is losing sleep over the fact that I still haven't written that post I promised previously, but I say these things as more of a promise to myself and a "to do" list (so I don't forget - see my first sentence). At least I got the last post done which I had on my list for a few days.

And obviously I hit the ball out of the park on my last post as everyone who read it was so overwhelmed by it, they couldn't even make a comment. That's right. No matter how much I don't want to admit it, I like to get comments. So since some of what I consider to be my better posts often have NO comments, I have convinced myself that those are the times when people couldn't think of anything more to add. Even a "good post" just wouldn't do. If the Apostle Paul blogged, he would get zero comments in my mind.

So what we have here is one of my goofy posts. They pop up once in awhile when I feel the need to just have some fun. I know that I'm not funny, so don't feel the need to tell me that in the comments.

Back to our regular programming soon.

20 July 2006

Response to Comments - Catholicism

As promised, I want to address two of Beth’s comments on my Dialogue with a Catholic post and my Can Christian Women Not Debate post.

For brevity I am just going to post some excerpts that I wanted to respond to - you can see the full comments in the comments sections of those posts:

“I am perplexed why you put Catholics in the same boat as Mormons.”

That’s a fair statement. I wouldn’t place Catholics and Mormons in the same boat overall, but they do share a few extra-biblical similarities (see this chart) and they would both disagree with sola scriptura. The extra-biblical teachings are where I have a problem.

“Why do you focus on your doctrinal differences with Catholics and not differences you have with other Christian denominations?”

Because I grew up Catholic and most of my family is still Catholic, so I am just sticking with what I know and what I encounter in my everyday life. There are some Protestant denominations I would never join, but usually the core biblical doctrines are in place (at least on paper) so the differences are minor.

“Can we agree that you and I both embrace the Nicene Creed as the core of our Christian faith? or do you not accept this?”

Well, this one made me think. I do agree with the Nicene Creed but I certainly would not call it the core of my faith. The core of my faith is God’s Word (The Bible) and God’s Word alone. I guess I am not a big fan of creeds, even though they are a nice summary of the basic belief system. However, although we may agree on the Nicene creed, we do not agree on the Bible alone as our authority and that is where we diverge.

“I find too often with Christians of your perspective who have already decided that a Catholic can not be a Christian that there is not much listening going on.”

I am trying to listen and to be perfectly honest, our interactions do give me hope that salvation can occur through the Catholic church (remember, I have family there). And I don’t want to say that a Catholic can’t be a Christian, I just find it hard to understand how a saved person could remain in the Catholic church. Being a Christian is being a follower of Jesus, but the sacraments, the Pope, the priests, exaltation of Mary, praying to saints, “the one true church” idea– they all get in the way of a sole reliance on Jesus. I don’t agree that tradition is on par with God’s Word and I think the tradition is distracting from the core message of the Gospel.

“And in fact many of you feel that any Christian who recognizes the presence of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church has sold out to something false.”

There seems to be a trend in some religious circles to accept everyone in a liberal sort of mindset. I think that is a cultural problem nowadays and I don’t agree with it.

“I also think at times we do need to set aside our doctrinal differences and try to "just get along", not because they are not important but because we fail to take a moment to recognize the presence of God in one another on our quest to filter out those who hold onto false doctrines.”

I agree, we should all try to get along. But I don’t think we can squelch the truth in such a process. If someone is holding to a false gospel, then what they have is not the presence of God, but something else. There is only one God, with one set of characteristics and one set of expectations of his children. I believe that the only way that we come to know the one true God is by the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Anything extra is distracting at a minimum, and damning at a maximum.

Along the way someone else commented that we shouldn’t judge other people’s salvation status. I disagree with that and was glad to read this article recently. Here's a quote from the post by Mark Dever:

"Sometimes I get the feeling that people think there's something wrong with questioning the reality of a profession of faith. It's legalistic, or judging, or holier than thou. Or something.

But if evangelists want to see lost sinners saved, and if evangelists know that we sinners can deceive ourselves, then it's not surprising that we want to try to make sure (with all appropriate qualifications about our limitedness) that conversions professed are conversions possessed."

I have a story to go along with that idea, but I’ll share that another time. I’m hoping to tackle my views on sola scriptura and some of the objections made by a Mormon commenter next.

Thanks again to Beth for all of her insightful comments!

18 July 2006

Christian Women Bloggers

I mentioned previously that I was looking for new blogs to read by Christian women. Now, there are lots of wonderful blogs written by Christian women out there, but I guess I have a certain type of content and personality in mind.

So far I have added just about anybody that comments here. My theory is, if you enjoy some of what I have to say then I’ll probably enjoy what you have to say. So if you read here but never comment, now is the time to say hello so I can visit your blog.

The second type of addition to my blogroll has been commenters on other sites that I enjoy. In a similar method to above, if we both like the same blog maybe we will like each other’s blog.

So, I thought I would share here some of the newer blogs that I am reading now. I use Bloglines to keep track of all my blogs. If you do not use Bloglines or some other type of aggregator to keep track of the blogs you read, you must. It saves a lot of time.

Let me first mention Michele as she has three separate blogs (she may even have more, but these are the ones I follow now). I also think she may qualify under my “feisty” category although she may not appreciate that:
Blogging Chicks
Reformed Chicks Blabbing
Life Under the Sun

The rest:
Reformed Mama
The Preacher’s Wife
Deo Volente
Reflections of the Times

My other reads are listed in my sidebar.

17 July 2006

Extra-Biblical Teaching

I recently discovered Carm.org, an apologetics website that has some great articles. As I mentioned in a previous post, a Mormon commenter on my Bible Alone post left some objections to the idea of Sola Scriptura and I would like to address some of those thoughts in the future. I have also exchanged some pleasant emails with this person and have tried to learn a bit more about Mormonism. While doing so I came across Carm.org.

This comparison grid from Carm.org is a nice summary in my opinion of the extra-biblical teachings of Mormonism, Catholicism, and the Jehovah's Witnesses. I thought I would link to it here as I hope to touch on some of these points in my future post.

I find it interesting that faiths that hold onto some biblical teachings but veer off from the Bible alone as their sole authority, tend to veer off in similar directions. Especially with being lead by an earthly authority and being the one true church.

I also still need to address some of Beth's comments to my posts on Catholicism (which were basically our email exchange). I appreciate Beth taking the time to email me and comment further on some of the things I have said on this blog about Catholicism. Not that my viewpoint of the faith has changed, but she has made me think about how to approach my oppositions as it is never my intent to unnecessarily upset or offend someone. Thanks Beth.

12 July 2006

Where Acknowledging Ends and Disowning Begins

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." Matt 10:32-33

I remember reading the verses above not long after I became a Christian and feeling a bit anxious. Frankly, those verses still scare me today. How do we know the boundaries of “acknowledge” and “disown”?

As I mentioned in my previous post on Christian women debating, there seems to be a large proportion of Christian women online who prefer not to tangle with the tougher issues and prefer others not tangle with the tougher issues. I for one am not afraid to debate, or to point out the issues I see with certain religions or denominations. But am I wrong? Is it better to know in my heart that there are issues but keep quiet so as not to offend?

I remember a few years ago I was eating lunch at work with a few women in my group who I didn’t know very well. These women were also scientists and for some reason the topic of Intelligent Design came up. One of my colleagues made the comment that she couldn’t believe that there are people who don’t believe in evolution.

Now, I could have just sat there and said nothing and the conversation would have moved on. There was no direct attack against God, nothing obvious to defend. But I couldn’t just be silent. I simply said, “I don’t believe in evolution” and said something else that made it clear I was a Christian. I don’t remember what exactly happened after that but the direction of the conversation quickly changed.

So why did I speak up? It certainly wasn’t pride because when you tell a table full of scientists you don’t believe in evolution you might as well tell them what size straight-jacket you wear.

Did I do it so I could brag to the people at my church about it (and years later blog about it)? Nope, other than my husband no one has ever heard this story.

I did it because when something is said that is out of line with the truth of God, I simply feel the need to speak up. To just sit quietly and say nothing FOR ME would be like disowning Jesus. If I didn’t say something it would be to avoid conflict, embarrassment, not call attention to myself – it would be all about me.

So where does acknowledgment end and disowning begin? Obviously if I say I am a follower of Christ then I acknowledge Him and if I say I am not a follower of Christ then I disown Him. But what happens in between those two extremes? Do my actions on a day to day basis acknowledge or disown?

If I sit quietly and say nothing when I know that God is being misrepresented, am I acknowledging him or disowning Him? I think that idea is what summarizes my actions in the blogosphere. It is not my intent here to judge others or throw stones or prove that I am Queen of the Mountain. I simply talk about whatever happens to be on my mind and in line with what I know about God’s truths.

I felt the need to share this because I want people to understand why I say the things I say here. I don’t think Christianity is a spectator sport. My goal in life is not to have friends on earth, but to make sure my friends will be in heaven. The only way I know how to do that is to speak His Truth as best I can.

Blogger Stinks, Take a Number

Okay, I just discovered some newer comments to some older posts because I happened to scroll down. Blogger is suppose to send me an email each time I have a new comment but that notification system stopped working for me a few months ago. I'm wondering if Wordpress would be better or if adding haloscan would help.

So I apologize to anyone who has made a comment and never heard back from me. Not that I respond to every comment, but if there is a question I try to respond.

Now, Beth has made 2 comments specifically about my posts on Catholicism that brought up some good points that I would like to address in a separate post. I'll do that when I can.

I also have meant to address some of Alma's comments on my Scripture alone post but haven't gotten to that yet.

I also exchanged an email with Alma that got more into Mormonism, I would like to talk about some of that also.

And, I am in the middle of a post (although I was interrupted and may have lost my steam and/or train of thought) which I would like to finish before I tackle any of the above.

Hence my title, take a number. If you have anything to say about moving to Wordpress or adding Haloscan, please leave me a comment. Eventually I'll see it :)

10 July 2006

Finding Christ

I'm on a mission to find some new blogs to read. I'm looking for women who love God and like to write about Him. Even better, women who are willing to get a bit fiesty in defending God and His Word.

So I've added a few new blogs to my bloglines account and will keep my fingers crossed. If you read here, please leave a comment so I can visit your own blog. If you have any suggestions for blogs that I may like, please leave a comment also.

09 July 2006

I Changed My Template...

...because I can.

And it's easier than moving furniture to get a new look.

And not as traumatizing for my husband as cutting my hair short.

I wasn't exactly looking for a fruit theme, but I liked the simplicity of this template - nice and crisp looking.

Came across this verse today:

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
Isa 9:2

I would love to have a template designed around that passage.

07 July 2006

Can Christian Women Not Debate?

I recently came upon a website for Christian women that was promoting a "blog carnival" (a carnival is a group of links to posts around a particular topic from various contributors), asking Christian women to submit posts on a particular subject. The submitted posts would be linked to from this website as long as the submission guidelines were met.

Sounded good until I came to the guidelines which basically stated that posts from blogs which tended toward controversy, slander or debate would not be accepted. Not just the carnival post itself, but the blog in general. That made my heart sink.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in blogging freedom and if someone wants to limit their carnival participants to red-haired Christian women with size 10 shoes, that is their choice. But having a carnival specifically for Christian women but not for Christian women who "debate" makes "debating" seem like a bad thing, especially when it's included with the word "slander". A Christian woman who slanders should be an oxymoron so I have to wonder what would be considered slander? Surely a Christian woman wouldn't knowingly slander someone. Has debating now reached the level of slander for Christian Women?

I guess I am a bit sensitive about this stuff as I tend to lean on the side of debate. I believe debate is a good thing and not something to be discouraged. Are any of us as Christian women so sure of our knowledge and opinions that there is no room for debate? Can we not discuss our differences and viewpoints without reaching the level of slander?

Okay, this rant may seem a little over the top based on one website's guidelines, but since I have been online this idea of debating being somehow taboo for Christian women seems to be quite prevalent. Too often with Christian women online I have seen truth hidden in the back room so as not to offend and all in the name of "grace". Grace is good, but not at the expense of truth.

It reminds me of Marla** (whose blog I can't even link to anymore because she has deleted it completely) who was pummeled when she dared to speak out about the issues of Mormons being considered as "Christians". This was a good Christian woman who brought important issues to the blogosphere but she no longer blogs. I think she has left a hole that I have yet to see filled by any other Christian woman. I miss Marla.

So, I guess I have pretty much disqualified myself from the carnival that doesn't accept debate. During my short time blogging I have had a few minor debates, but not because I had an intent to alienate or judge others. I simply speak the truth. And if I am in error, I hope my fellow Christian women will say so and not cower from a potential debate. There is no reason that debating in general should be a bad quality in a Christian woman. Has it come to that?

** As a side note, Marla's concern over Mormons identifying themselves as Christians was only further confirmed by some interesting posts and comments over at the ChoosingHome Blog.

04 July 2006

The True or False Test - What is the Key?

I would like to add some thoughts that I had after my email conversation with Beth (see Part 1 and Part 2) but I’m not in the mood right now. What was funny about the emails I received from Beth is that they came at the same time I had been exchanging some comments with a Catholic apologetic (which I didn’t even know existed before this) on this post at Challies. I then read this post and this post at Pyromaniacs, which really spoke to me.

I really have little interest in debating the issues I see In Roman Catholicism or Mormonism but yet I have managed to bring up both on this blog. I am not theologically-trained nor I am one of those people that can quote scripture well to make my points, so I feel like I’m not qualified to get into these debates. But I do have a good basis of biblical knowledge and (I think) the gift of discernment, so I know when something is amiss.

The issues I see with Mormonism, Catholicism, Jehovah Witness (ism?), and for the most any religion outside of biblical Christianity all boil down for the most part to The Bible. The latter groups do not consider the Bible the Word of God and former groups don’t believe the Bible is sufficient – they need to add to it (Book of Mormon, traditions, etc.).

Therefore, it seems to me there isn’t much point in arguing the small points. The argument needs to be around the sufficiency of scripture (Sola Scriptura). I can’t convince someone that their religion is incorrect because it does not keep with biblical truths if they either don’t believe in The Bible as the ultimate authority or they believe that they can add “truths” to the Bible based on things like tradition.

I find this idea comforting because I don’t want to spend my time researching other faiths so that I can argue against them. I want to know God’s Word so well that I can make a great argument for Him – the true Him. Which reminds me, Challies had another great post on identifying counterfeit money which ties in great with this idea of knowing the True to identify the False. I highly recommend it (be sure to read part 1 & 2) along with the posts I mentioned at Pyromaniacs.

02 July 2006

Dialogue with a Catholic, Part 2

This is the second part of my email conversation with Beth (see Part 1 below).

Here is Beth's reply to me:

Thank you for responding to my comment. You have difficult time believing that someone who knows the Word of God could be part of the Catholic Church and I have a difficult time understanding how someone who knows the Word of God could not be part of the Catholic Church

I went back and read the comments and was further saddened by the comment that made reference to "evangelicals who have sold out to ecumenism with Catholics". I have a great love for the Body Of Christ, all of it, everyone. Honestly, I hear it equally from both sides about who is right with God and who isn't. Should we only fellowship with someone who embraces every doctrine that we believe is biblical? Everyday a new denomination starts because Christians can not agree on doctrine, they believe they are interpreting scripture better than the last person.

I have always had a great love for unity in the Body of Christ and Jesus does too. In my state there is an Alliance of Christian churches that band together to pray and fight the evils of today (including the Catholic church) They embrace on statement of faith that they all agree on. When I was in college I lived in an evangelical household for 2 years, worked at a Baptist camp for 2 summers and even this week my kids will be going to Vacation Bible School at the local Christian Church. (We do have one at our own church also but the dates don’t work for us this year)

I am so sorry that when you were growing up being Catholic was a nominal thing for your family, it wasn't lived and embraced and the basic message of the gospel not heard. (From what you shared) The Catholic Church does not teach that you can punch in and out your time card every Sunday to get into Heaven, surely God knows the hearts of all. That type of attitude bothers me too. Faith is a grace and it is a mystery the way the Holy Spirit brings about conversion at different times in peoples lives, love your family and recognize God wherever He may be in their actions and lives and build on that and pray for them.

I grew up nominally Catholic too. My early faith formation did however lay a foundation that bore fruit when I became an adult and understood the gospel message. When I heard it I realized it had been what I was hearing every Sunday except now the veil was lifted, I recognized Jesus Christ present in Holy Communion.

I recently heard statistics that there is a high percentage of evangelical children not walking with the Lord when they leave home. It happens in all Christian denominations, kids growing up and not having the faith intimately lived and taught by their parents. As I have become more involved with other Christians I have come to realize that there are plenty of non-Catholic Christians (evangelicals, non-denominational etc) who have said their salvation prayer and may or may not go to church on Sunday and never get to know God either way. Initially this surprised me but now I understand that you can be a nominal evangelical too and never really know God, it is not just a Catholic thing.

It is most definitely not Catholic doctrine that no one can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. This is false. The Catechism states that in #818 to 821. "All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ: They therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."

I can share with you my experience of God as a Catholic but I would rather stay away from Apologetics or debating specific doctrines. Not because I do not think it is important but rather because I am the mom of 3 smalls kids and find that draining and usually fruitless. I am well aware of Chick publications and similar publishers and have read them all. Jeff Cavins was a evangelical minister for 12 years prior to being a Catholic. He has a couple of excellent books. Also,
www.catholic.com fully answers all questions/debates regarding the Catholic faith. No sense in repeating or hashing through what is already out there.

And here is my reply:

Thanks for your response and for sharing some of your background. I'm right there with you in not having the time or desire to debate apologetics when you have small children in the house. But I do enjoy talking and thinking about these kind of issues (in small doses) as I find it strengthens my own knowledge of the Word and my faith.

You are absolutely right, there are many nominal evangelicals also. I hope it doesn't appear that I am just picking on the Catholics as there are many Protestant denominations that have what I would consider major issues. But I do still disagree with many Catholic doctrines and have a "general distrust" based on my own upbringing and current experiences. It also seems that the Catholic doctrines change over time as I know that at some point in history the Catholic Church taught that no one could be saved outside the Church. When the doctrines seem to change over time, it is easy for someone who disagrees with Catholicism to bring up an issue with a particular doctrine that is quickly dismissed b/c the doctrine is no longer followed. That is where I tend to get frustrated.

I am glad that you have a relationship with the Lord and hope that your knowledge and love for the Lord can grow in the Church you are in. That would not have been possible for me in the Catholic Church but that is me. And thank you for sharing with me your opinions and experiences as a "mature" Catholic who has a different perspective than I have as a formally "nominal" Catholic. I still feel the same as when I wrote my original "Recovering Catholic" post but I am encouraged that there are women like you (and some others who commented previously) who are willing to discuss their faith without being defensive or antagonistic.

Beth gave me a few things to think about although as I said in my reply, my stance on the Catholic church is still the same. I will post some of my thoughts in another post.

Thanks to Beth for contacting me to give me her insight and for allowing me to post her emails!

30 June 2006

Dialogue with a Catholic, Part 1

Beth came across my post on being a Recovering Catholic recently and emailed me. She has been kind enough to allow me to post our conversation here:

Beth Said:

I was interested to read your recovering Catholic thread. I was saddened to see your conclusion that a Catholic can't possibly know Jesus Christ. In my travels I have found that there are as many nominal born again Christians as there are nominal Catholics.

I personally have found a depth and wisdom in the Catholic Church that I find no where else. It challenges me and leads me always to Jesus Christ. I am intrigued in recent years by hearing more and more testimonies of born again Christians who have embraced the Catholic Church. The "Surprised by Truth" book series documents many of these.

I have to admit though I hear plenty of Catholics who feel the need to place judgment on other Christian and their relationship with God. I get tired of hearing it from both sides. Let us recognize Jesus Christ where He is present.

Here was my reply to Beth:

Thank you for your comment. I had to go back and read my post to see what sentence you were referring to and maybe I could have stated my opinion better. It's not so much that I don't think a Catholic can know Jesus, but I have a difficult time believing that someone who knows the Word of God could be a part of the Catholic church. Maybe that is just semantics but I think that expresses how I feel just a bit better.

I have met a few Catholics since I've been blogging and am glad that there are at least a few who know biblical truths and understand their faith. My experience in general with Catholics (including my own family) is the type of attitude that going to church each Sunday is "good enough" to get you into heaven. That is the type of attitude that bothers me.

It breaks my heart that there may be people faithfully attending church each Sunday and yet never get to know God. I think it is abhorrent that people could be attending any church and not understand the Gospel message and that they will spend eternity in hell if they don't put their faith in Jesus (and that isn't just lip service, it's a total transformation). I see alot of that in the Catholic church but there are also some Protestant denominations that I am just as unhappy with.

You are right, we should be careful as Christians not to judge other people's relationship with God. But I would be neglecting my duties as a child of God if I did not try to correct others who I feel may not have a true relationship with Jesus and therefore are not saved. Besides, isn't part of the Catholic doctrine that no one can be saved outside of the Catholic church? Do you believe that? If so, that seems a more condemning statement against personal faith than anything I have said.

I will post Beth's followup reply and mine in my next post.

25 June 2006

New Blogroll

I decided to join some blogrolls for fun. Some of the blogging ladies out there make such cute graphics (like the one above).

I have zero artistic talent. My four year old already draws better than I can. Before she could draw she would ask me to draw pictures for her of certain people or animals. Stick people and unidentifiable blobs was about as good as it got.

I'm glad Proverbs 31 didn't mention some sort of artistic talent or I'd never be able to feel good about myself.

23 June 2006

Okay, I'm not funny...

Well I am afraid the humor in my last post was a flop. I tried to make a few jokes about my house and use some levity with regards to God’s will but it seems I came off badly. It was never my intention to say that the Lord has ever given me anything less than the best and far better than I ever deserve. Now I feel like a big whiny baby with an inappropriate sense of humor and an inability to communicate well in writing. Sorry!

I had alluded in a previous post that my humor was a tough blend with my faith and I think I have proven my point. Here is what I said:

“What am I trying to get at here? I don’t know! I feel like my funny side is struggling to get out but my humor is tough to blend with my faith. Humor is a big part of who I am, but it was cultivated before I knew Christ and is of the cynical - goof on other people - take-no prisoners kind of humor. I’m not sure I can find any middle ground.”

At least I get a few points for predicting the bad outcome.

Oh well, back to serious and opinionated.

20 June 2006

Divine Renovation

I took last week off from work to get some work done around the house. We bought our house about 10 months ago and I’m convinced that God pulled a fast one on us, somehow blinding us to the borderline dilapidation that we call a house. Okay, I’m exaggerating. It’s not dilapidated but it does need a lot of work.

Why would God have done this? I’m not sure but I think he wanted us in that house for some reason and as long as it was his will, I’m okay with it. I’d be better with it if he would miraculously part the wallpaper off my walls but so far no luck.

If I didn’t have two small kids, I think I could enjoy renovating our house. But I do have two small kids, so I’m not feeling the love. If having hatred in your heart is as good as murder, then I am guilty of murdering my kitchen. And my bathroom. And I’ve at least maimed by dining room.

There isn’t much I can do but just keep plugging along. But the chaos is making me a bit crazy. And with home renovation there is a lot of decision-making and money-spending, two things that aren’t even in the running for my top ten list of things I enjoy.

And to top it all off, my Dad is coming to visit for the weekend and nothing makes me more aware of the mess I live in then the presence of another person. But hey, why shouldn’t my Dad get to enjoy staring at the holes in the walls of my kitchen, or the partially-wallpapered/partially-bare-walled dining room, or the boxes of roman shades in the corner of the room that by the grace of God will someday be hung on the window? Who am I to deny him that pleasure?

So that is a little slice of my life today. Through the power of Christ living through me I am able to keep from pulling my hair out. Can I get an Amen?

07 June 2006

Questions in Heaven

We meet weekly with a smaller group from our church to fellowship and there is usually a topic for discussion led by someone in the group. Last night the icebreaker-type question was “What person from the Bible (other than Jesus) would you like to meet in heaven and what question would you ask them?"

Most of us could probably come up with a long list of questions for various people, so it was an interesting exercise. In fact, I like the question so much I think I may post some of my questions here from time to time when I’m low on content.

The question/person I thought of last night was Peter. I’ve written about Peter before and how I was touched that Paul records (1Cor 15:5) that Jesus visited Peter after his resurrection and prior to his appearance to the other disciples. This is just a few days after Peter’s denial of Jesus and the condemning call of the rooster.

So my question to Peter would be: “What did Jesus say to you in that private meeting after his resurrection?” After a major failure on Peter’s part and after so many failures in my own life, I’d love to know what Jesus had to say to Peter.

05 June 2006

I'm Back (I Think)

Well, I think I have decided to keep this blog going. I must admit though, it was nice to take a break. I had become too entrenched in the blogworld and was spending WAY too much time writing, reading, thinking about and commenting on blogs. It becomes a bit addictive and I’m glad I broke the cycle.

I haven’t decided what my format will be going forward as I really haven’t put much thought into it. I simply decided that I enjoy writing so I would like to continue. My posts will likely be more random and less frequent and be about whatever happens to be on my mind at the moment.

I feel like a heel now because I was contacted by Ciao My Bella (see my sidebar) for a free blog design, but I turned it down b/c I wasn’t sure at the time that I would continue this blog and didn’t want to waste the designer’s time. Oops. Perhaps I can still get something worked out. I'd love to have a design made up for my website for Christian women also.

During my absence I’ve been busy working around the house. We have a lot of fixing up to do around our place and at times it seems overwhelming, but I guess we’re slowly making progress. I’m taking a week off from work soon to get some more stuff done and can’t wait.

I’m sad to say that my walk with the Lord has not been the same for the past month or two. I seem to have stumbled at some point and now he seems somewhat distant. Perhaps there is some sin in my life that I need to uncover? I don’t know. I’m working on getting that figured out.

Glad to be back.

24 April 2006

Decisions, Decisions...

Well, after a few weeks off I still haven't decided whether to continue with this blog or not. I enjoy having a place to write down my thoughts, but I was spending way too much time on blogging (writing my own posts and reading others).

If I do continue to write here I think the format will be different. As much as I enjoy writing more devotional-like pieces, I'm just not a gifted writer than can bang those kinds of things out. So any future posts will be more random thoughts of a journaling sort.

Unfortunately, I just don't have the time right now in my life for blogging. But this blog does correlate nicely with my website which I am still committed to, so I hesitate to just walk away.

So the verdict is...I don't know.

(If I were better about seeking the Lord's guidance, maybe I would have an answer by now. )

27 March 2006

Taking a Break

After only 5 months of blogging I feel worn out. I started a blog to get some of my thoughts down in writing never realizing that the experience would take on a life of its own. I need to take a break and decide if and how I want blogging to fit into my life.

Marla has decided to quit blogging and most of her reasons for quitting are the same thoughts that have crossed my mind the last few days. Seeing those reasons written out so well by Marla has confirmed some things for me, so now I just need time to think those things through.

I'll be back once I've made some decisions.

24 March 2006

Thank You Lord

Things that I am thankful for today:

1. A Godly husband who loves the Lord as much as I do.
2. Beautiful, healthy children.
3. A bible-believing, spirit-filled Church where someone accepts Christ just about every week.
4. A job that pays the bills.
5. A Savior that died so I could be saved.

19 March 2006

Free Blogger Templates

Carol asked me about my blog template as she has a friend looked for something beyond the default template. Someone asked me this before so I thought I would just post a couple of sites that I have found that offer free blogger templates in case anyone else feels like redecorating.


Not an exhaustive list but these were some sites I had bookmarked. There are usually instructions on the sites. If you know nothing about html it may be a little daunting to make the change yourself but it's not terribly difficult.

Along those lines, I've been thinking of changing my template to a less feminine look. I don't want to turn off any potential male readers when they see the blog name and then the womanly design. Unfortunately, I'm not ready to pay for my own template so I'll have to look over the freebies again.

Of Posts to Come

Just a few random thoughts...

I changed the description of my blog from "The thoughts, struggles and opinions of one Christian woman" which had already been changed from my original " The thoughts of one Christian woman" to the new description of "One woman's walk with the Lord (stumbles included)".

I've been thinking a lot about why I blog and what purpose if any does it serve. Also, is the purpose worth the effort. Well, I don't have answers yet for all of those but I have come to realize that my purpose in writing here is to share my walk with the Lord. My first description sounded like it was too much about me when it's really about Him. As with anything on this blog, my description is subject to change without notice.

I'm hoping to add the remaining 49 points to my 99 Things About Me. My husband keeps asking me if I have finished this yet so clearly he would like to more about me also. I guess I really am an introvert.

I have some other post topics in mind including finishing my testimony but have been busy as usual. If only I could sleep less...

Which brings me back to organization. Still just a thought in progress but I will have to get there sooner or later or I'll lose what little sanity I have. I think I just came up with #51 for my list - I'm a procrastinator.

17 March 2006

My Version of A Recovering Catholic

I mentioned in my list of 50 Things About Me that I was a recovering Catholic. Someone asked me in the comments to that post what that term meant so I thought I would go ahead and make a full post since my answer is a bit too long for the comments section.

First, the commenter also mentioned reading the term “recovering Catholic” in a newspaper article so I can’t say my definition is necessarily the same as others. I would guess that there are people who grew up Catholic that now don’t believe in a God that may also call themselves “recovering Catholics”. That’s not my personal definition.

I grew up in a Catholic family. I went to church every Sunday with my parents, was baptized as a baby, did first communion, confirmation, CCD, etc. Once I went away to college I only went to mass maybe twice on my own (except summers when I was home with my family). After all those years of religion I knew nothing about God, other than he existed. I don’t even think my family owned a Bible. If we did I never saw it. The same goes for my extended family and all of my friends that were Catholic.

Around the age of 27 I started to get interested in the Bible. Not so much the book itself, but in some of the stories from the Old Testament. I won’t go into the details as I’m hoping to write up my testimony soon. Anyway, I decided to try going back to church but wanted to try a Protestant church as my boyfriend (now my husband) had grown up in a Protestant environment and his family seemed more in touch with the Bible. In that church I heard the Gospel and accepted Jesus as my Savior and my life changed in an instant.

I call myself a recovering Catholic because by the grace of God I was able to overcome my entrapment. I believe that Catholicism is a dead religion that fools people into thinking they are bound for heaven when most are not. I believe this because of my own experience growing up in the Catholic church and because of my continual interaction with my Catholic family members and friends.

Of course I’m speaking in very general terms here as I do not know anyone’s heart, but I’m going with the odds based on my experience. Of all my Catholic family and friends I don’t know one that could tell me the Gospel message. I don’t know one that reads their bible and most don’t even own one. But I know that they all think that they will be going to heaven upon death simply because they believe in the existence of God and attend mass weekly.

I really could go on and on but I’d rather stop here. If anyone would like to discuss this further or would like me to elaborate on something I’d be more than happy to do it in a separate post or in the comments. There are clear doctrinal problems with Catholicism beyond what I know in my heart to be true. I may bring that up in a later post.

If anyone reading this is Catholic, I hope I haven’t upset you too much by what I have said here, but I must be honest. I personally don’t believe that you can have a legitimate relationship with Jesus Christ and be a Catholic. There is too much disparity. That may sound harsh but I’m willing to say it because I believe it whole-heartedly and I don’t mess around when it comes to salvation.

It breaks my heart that there are people who seem to be trying to follow God and are being mislead into a false sense of security. Since I currently have family members lost in this trap, I tend to take a hard stance on this. This is also why I take a hard stance on other religions that are not pointing people to the one true God . I guess it’s part of my “recovery” program.

Here is an excellent resource that states this better than I have here: Are Some Roman Catholics Saved

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