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

27 August 2006

Commenting

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.

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