Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/30/19

 

It’s sadly amusing to watch the long line of admirers in this video attempt to kiss Francis’ ring as he repeatedly pulls his hand away. We’ve seen previous examples of Francis’ strong distaste for slavish reverence directed towards him. This disdain for tradition and ceremony upsets Catholic conservatives to no end. It wasn’t all that long ago when visitors to the Vatican were required to kiss the pope’s toe. Francis may be toning down some of the blatant idolatry accorded to the pope, but the institution he heads still teaches a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Falwellian pastors, like Jeffress, do a tremendous disservice to the unpolitical Gospel of grace.

We’re seeing more and more of these mega-church hipster pastors and para-church leaders, like Chan, throwing doctrinal distinctives to the wind and associating with heterodox prosperity gospel and New Apostolic Reformation types. Chan also appeared at the ecumenical “Together 2016” event, which included a video from pope Francis.

Catholicism is a dichotomy. On the one hand it insists baptism and participation in its sacraments are essential in meriting salvation. On the other hand, it grants that those of other religions and even atheists can also merit Heaven if they “follow the light they are given” and are “good.” The Catholic layperson reasonably assumes they can safely stay home Sunday mornings rather than go to obligatory mass since their pope says even atheists have good a shot at Heaven. Catholicism is (c)hristianity without Christ.

This article provides some details on how the Catholic hierarchy covered up for abusive priests and the church’s “reputation” even when the predators died.

“Saint Death” is very popular throughout Latin America where superstitious paganism and superstitious Catholicism exist together, hand-in-hand.

My Lord, Jesus Christ, sits at the right hand of Father God, mediating for all those who trust in Him as Savior by faith alone. He is NOT a victim on Catholic altars or hanging from Catholic crucifixes. Hebrews 10: 12-14

I don’t have the statistics, but I think it’s safe to say that these days the VAST majority of Roman Catholic families choose not to have a “mass of Christian burial” as a part of the funeral services for their deceased loved one. Why not? They reason to themselves, “If even ‘good’ atheists are going to merit Heaven, as the pope has said, who needs to sit through all of that boring liturgical rigmarole?”

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Wait!!! Don’t touch the spindle wheel on that vault! Ach, too late.

My inbox is bursting at the seams with emails from readers asking when the next Legion installment will be posted (Not!), so without any further ado, let’s climb into our fictional time machine and travel to the 30th-Century for another adventure from DC Comics’ Silver Age with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…

“Mordru the Merciless!”
Adventure Comics #369, June, 1968
Writer and layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Curt Swan
Cover art: Neal Adams, Inker: Jack Abel

Plot

Our story begins with Legion members, Duo Damsel, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Superboy, desperately fleeing Legion headquarters and the 30th-century via a time-cube to 20th-century Smallville, home of Superboy. In a subsequent flashback, we learn that Shadow Lass had inadvertently helped release Mordru the Merciless from a vault in the Legion headquarters’ subbasement where he was being held prisoner. Mon-El explains that Mordru had mastered the ultimate mystic powers of his sorcerers’ world and was gradually subjugating planet after planet in the galaxy. When Mordru set his sights on Earth, the Legion opposed him and were eventually able to imprison him inside an airless steel block, where he remained until newcomer Shadow Lass’s rookie mistake.

Safe for the moment in circa 1930s Smallville, the quartet knows that Mordru will soon be searching for them and arrange to blend into the town’s woodwork as quickly as they can. Mon-El stays with Superboy’s adoptive parents, the Kents, as a brush salesman cousin. Shadow Lass, with make-up covering her blue skin, stays with Lana Lang (Clark’s girlfriend) and her family as an exchange student, and Duo Damsel fibs her way into staying with Police Chief Parker and his family, pretending to be a distant relative.

Mordru quickly traces the team to Smallville and conjures up an evil darkness that methodically searches every crevice of the town for the heroes. Shadow Lass is able to shield her comrades with a protective shadow, but Mordru’s darkness turns some of Smallville’s citizens into his obedient spies.

Several catastrophes seem to overtake the town, but turn out to be only illusions. The heroes correctly surmise Mordru was trying to force their hand. Then, several real emergencies do occur, but Superboy and the other Legionnaires continue to hide their identities. However, another emergency overtakes Smallville when gangster, King Carter, and his entourage of henchmen roll into town and the King decides to make it his base of operations. The heroes’ hands are tied as the crook extorts tribute money from the town’s small businesses, but Pa Kent organizes a rebellion and the citizens successfully overthrow Carter and his thugs. Inspired by the example of the brave townsfolk, the Legionnaires ditch their disguises and decide to return to the 30th-century to confront Mordru head-on. Little do the heroes know they are being spied upon by Lana Lang, who is under Mordru’s control. In a matter of seconds, the teens are confronted by the powerful and angry sorcerer himself.

How can the foursome possibly escape their most powerful foe? Is this the end of the Legion? Find out in a couple of weeks when we review “The Devil’s Jury!” in Adventure Comics #370.

Commentary

Once again, Shooter does the incredible by introducing Mordru the Merciless, one of the Legion franchise’s most formidable and enduring enemies. This was such a good story with a lot of personal interaction (always rare for a Legion tale), including Duo Damsel’s unrequited crush on Superboy. When Legion fans talk about the franchise’s top-ten tales, this is one that’s always in the mix and not just because of the plot-line. Neal Adam’s cover is probably the best in our 35-issue review series. Curt Swan’s pencil’s are top-notch as usual, but in this issue, Jack Abel, joins on as the Legion’s inker and the results are extraordinary! Wow! Abel’s use of “chiaroscuro” (the use of strong contrasts between light and dark) is masterful and strongly enhances this story of the sinister master sorcerer.

Trivia alert: Shooter identified Mordru’s home planet as “Xerox.” The same-named, Rochester-based, copier company was already successful by 1968, meaning that Shooter’s problematic designation somehow slipped by the editor.

Credibility alert: Would we really expect to find vaults with mechanical spindle wheel handles in the 30th-century?

Play ball, hang up the skates, and put away the basketball

Yup, I know it’s Throwback Thursday and I’ve already re-published a post from the past, but today is also Opening Day, so let’s shout out a loud…

Play ball!!!

Yes, today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball as the San Diego Padres begin a four-game homestand at Petco Park against their NL West rivals, the San Francisco Giants. This is a special year for the Padres as they will be celebrating their 50th season. Over the last decade, the Opening Day hopes of realistic Padres fans centered around a .500 season finish, but with the acquisition of 3rd base slugger, Manny Machado (photo left), on February 19th, the team and the fans are beginning to set their sights higher. But let’s not get carried away. Although the Padres have the best farm system in the Majors, it will take some time for the young blue chippers to mature. Look for the Padres to start competing for the NL West next season. But this year we can all cheer the slugging “El Ministro de Defensa”!

Below are the Padres’ expected Opening Day starters:

  • C – Austin Hedges or Francisco Mejia
  • 1B – Eric Hosmer
  • 2B – Ian Kinsler
  • 3B – Manny Machado
  • SS – Fernando Tatis, Jr. – a 20-year-old, blue chipper who has improbably been promoted from Double-A straight to the Majors based upon his outstanding Spring Training
  • LF – Wil Meyers
  • CF – Manuel Margot or Franchy Cordero
  • RF – Hunter Renfroe or Franmil Reyes
  • P – Eric Lauer

While the season ends for another team…

I had no interest in ice hockey for fifty-three years, although the sport is very popular here in Rochester. However, nine years ago on a whim I started following the Rochester Institute of Technology (my alma mater) Men’s Hockey Team. It’s the only Division I college team in Rochester and home games are broadcast on cable TV. This past season, Coach Wayne Wilson led the club to 15-14-4 overall and 13-11-4 Atlantic Conference records, certainly not a great year, but good enough for the #5 seed in the conference’s postseason tournament. Two weekends ago, the Tigers took the postseason quarterfinal series 2 games to 1 against #4 seed, Sacred Heart (Argh, what a name!). However, this past Friday night in the semi-finals, RIT lost to #6 seed, Niagara, 1-0, in overtime. Season over. Shout-out to graduating seniors, Abbot Girduckis, Mark Logan, Christian Short, Gabe Valenzuela, and Erik Brown (photo right), RIT’s all-time leading scorer at the Division I level.

…while this team limps to the finish line.

The hapless New York Knicks are at the tail-end of their season with a 14-60 record and 8 games left to play. The Knicks have a very good chance of beating the franchise record of least amount of wins in a season; 17. With tons of cap space after jettisoning Porzingis and Hardaway, can the lowly Knicks lure free agents, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, in the offseason?

Throwback Thursday: Sister Rita of Cascia – “She returned the maggots to the fetid sore.”

For our first Throwback Thursday installment, we’re going to take a look back at this post that was originally published July 19, 2015, with a few minor revisions.

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Many canonized Catholic saints of the past are admired and venerated for their “asceticism” (definition: a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals). However, some of those saints took their asceticism to an extreme level including self-harm. Bible Christians would rightly judge such practices as anti-Biblical and the practitioners as mentally disturbed and/or demonically influenced. Let’s examine one such “saint,” a nun, Margherita Lotti aka saint Rita of Cascia (1381-1451) using information from a Catholic source:

“On one occasion, a Franciscan friar named Blessed James of Mount Brandone, came to the church of St. Mary to preach on the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, focusing mostly on the Crown of Thorns. Rita wept as though her heart was broken. After the sermon was over, she went to her cell and prostrated herself before the Crucifix, meditating on the pains Christ suffered from the thorns. She asked Jesus to give her at least one of the 72 thorns which pierced His poor head, causing Him so much pain and suffering, that she might feel a part of that pain. Upon completion of that prayer, Rita’s Divine Spouse granted her wish, making of His Crown of Thorns, so to speak, a bow, and one of the thorns, an arrow. Jesus fired it at the forehead of St. Rita with such force, that it penetrated the flesh and bone, and remained fixed in the middle of her forehead, leaving a wound that lasted all her life, and even to this day, the scar of the wound remains plainly visible.

The pain was so intense that Rita fell into a swoon. She would have died right there had Jesus not preserved her life. The pain caused by the wound increased daily. It became so ugly, foul smelling and revolting, that Rita became an object of nausea to many who saw it. As a result, Rita asked permission to spend most of her time alone in her cell, but she was happy. Little worms fed themselves on the open wound, thus giving her new occasion to practice patience.

The year 1450 was proclaimed by Pope Nicholas V as a Jubilee Year, thus providing many indulgences for those who would go on pilgrimage to Rome. Several of the sisters were given permission to go. At the feet of her superior, St. Rita also asked permission to go. Fearful that those who might observe the ugly and foul smelling wound might be scandalized, the superioress denied her permission to go unless the wound would disappear.

Rushing to the feet of her Divine Spouse, Rita humbly sought God’s will, asking Him to take away the wound, but to continue to allow her to suffer the pain from the wound. The wound disappeared at once. Rita gave thanks and rushed to her superioress, who was surprised and astonished – and Rita was granted permission to accompany the other nuns to Rome.

The sisters visited the stational churches and the tombs of the martyrs. Many were touched by Rita’s devotion and piety. As they returned to the convent – just as Rita stepped over the threshold, the ugly wound reappeared on her forehead, and she suffered intense pains. The offensive odor and the worms reappeared also. When one of the worms fell to the floor, Rita picked it up with care, and placed it back in the wound. She called them “her little angels,” as they were instruments for testing her patience as they recalled to her the intense suffering of her Jesus. She once again retired to her cell so as not to inconvenience the other nuns.”

http://www.sacramentals.org/saintritaofcascia.htm

As with this story of saint Rita, many of the accounts of the nun mystics include thinly-veiled erotic inferences. Academics refer to this as “bridal mysticism.” In addition to other elements, the visionary is often pierced by some type of instrument or light. The phallic symbolism is fairly obvious. If this information upsets you, I can certainly understand why, but let’s not shy away from the facts.

Today, Margherita Lotti aka Sister Rita of Cascia would be properly diagnosed as mentally ill, but the Roman Catholic church venerates this 15th-century nun as a “saint.”

Roman Catholicism betrayed its demonic elements by exalting extreme asceticism including various forms of harmful self-mortification as well as subjective, anti-Biblical religious experientialism/hysteria aka mysticism. Praise God for the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone!

“28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Former Catholics for Christ Conference – May 17-19, Springfield, IL

I’m very excited to be able to pass along this information on the upcoming Former Catholics for Christ Conference scheduled for the weekend of May 17, 18, and 19 in Springfield, Illinois. The event will be hosted by Southern View Chapel at the address below:

Southern View Chapel
4500 S 2nd St.
Springfield, IL, 62703

Scheduled to speak at the conference are Rob Zins, Mike Gendron, Tim Kauffman, and Cecil Andrews. I’ve mentioned all of these faithful servants of Christ in my posts over the years. They have each labored for decades to reach lost Catholic souls with the Gospel of grace and to confront the spirit of compromising ecumenism that’s rampant in the Body of Christ. I’ve provided links to the speakers’ respective websites farther below.

Here’s the conference itinerary in brief:

Friday Evening
Session One – The Bible Alone – Cecil Andrews

Saturday Morning
Session Two – The Glorious Grace of God – Rob Zins
Session Three – Christ Alone – Mike Gendron

Saturday Afternoon
Session Four – Faith Alone – Tim Kauffman
Session Five – Contending Against the Ecumenical Movement and the New Gospel – Rob Zins

Saturday Evening
Session Six – Question and Answer

Sunday Morning
Session Seven – What Roman Catholics Are Really Taught: a Primer – Tim Kauffman and Cecil Andrews
Session Eight – Evangelizing Catholics – Mike Gendron

For more information about the conference, see here.

To register for the conference and for information on hotel accommodations, see here.

I’m very excited to know that this conference is being held and I’m grateful to Senior Pastor, Gary Gilley, and the brothers and sisters at Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois for hosting this event.


Rob Zins – A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics
https://www.cwrc-rz.org/

Mike Gendron – Proclaiming the Gospel
https://www.proclaimingthegospel.org/default.asp?sec_id=180014816

Tim Kauffman – Out of His Mouth/White Horse Blog
http://www.whitehorseblog.com/author/whitehorsepubyahoo-com/

Cecil Andrews – Take Heed Ministries
http://www.takeheed.info/

Brokeback Vatican

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy
By Frédéric Martel
Bloomsbury, 2019, 555 pages

I didn’t realize that many Catholic clerics were homosexual until I began attending a Catholic high school that was administered by the Irish Christian Brothers and became indirectly aware about such things. Several of the brothers were decidedly effeminate and one of my guidance counselors posited some inappropriate questions to me during one of our sessions. That was back in the early 70s. Over the last twenty-years, we’ve all witnessed headline after headline of Catholic priests sexually abusing children, especially boys. What are the reasons for that? I’ve stated for years that Catholicism’s rule of clerical celibacy was both a magnet for and an incubator of sexual deviancy. Sources both Catholic and non-Catholic are now coming forward examining the reasons why so many priests are sexually deviant. For some strange reason, this topic was “off-limits,” until now.

French investigative journalist, Frédéric Martel, has dropped this bombshell on the Catholic church and the effects will be iconoclastic. In interviews with numerous priests, bishops, and cardinals, Martel exposes the truth that the church has kept hidden for centuries; a large percentage of Catholic clerics are either practicing homosexuals or sympathetic homophile “fellow travelers.” The percentage of gay clerics grows larger the higher one goes up the hierarchy. Powerful prelates reward their “proteges” with important positions and the “parish” is perpetuated.

Martel confirms that Catholic seminaries with their rule of clerical celibacy attracted young men who were societal misfits and not agreeable to marriage. He closely examines the papacies of Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, both for their promotions of homosexuals to powerful positions and for their strong denunciations of homosexuality according to official church teaching. In an example of “The lady doth protest too much” Shakespearean hypocrisy, Martel shows that some of the most vocal critics of homosexuality were/are practicing homosexual clerics.

This book takes no prisoners. Martel is a homosexual and clearly has an axe to grind in chastising the church and propagating the LGBTQ agenda. But the Catholic church has no answers for the truths he reveals. Although I applaud this book for revealing the Vatican’s dark secrets, it was difficult to read because of the abundance of sordid details.

I’m not an anti-homosexual crusader as my old pastor was 35 years ago. Sin is sin. But the propagation of the LBGTQ agenda has had and will have alarming negative effects on the family and society in general.

The salient irony of this tempest that I don’t want you to miss is that a religion that teaches merited salvation is led to a sizeable degree by men who are either practicing homosexuals, pedophiles, or homophile “fellow travelers.” Every Roman Catholic and evangelical Vatican-watcher needs to read this book, as difficult as it may be.

“26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” – Romans 1:26-27

Answering the alleged “95* Catholic Verses” – #s 95, 96, 97, 98, & 99: Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Sinless Life?

Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five (actually one-hundred and four) Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

*I’m sure you’ve already noticed from today’s heading that we’re actually exceeding the ninety-five passages that Armstrong had advertised for this book. It was obviously important to Armstrong to cite ninety-five passages to match the number of theses that Martin Luther nailed to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Saxony in 1517, but there are actually five more passages in the book beyond the five we’re covering today for a total of one-hundred and four. What happened? Armstrong didn’t number each passage in his book, so 1) he either used some passages more than once, which I believe I would have caught in my analyses or 2) he lost count and his editor didn’t catch the error. That being said, we’ll continue.

Today, we will examine Armstrong’s arguments for Catholicism’s teaching of Mary’s alleged immaculate conception and sinless life and based almost entirely upon one, single verse:

#95) Luke 1:28: “And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one (Greek: kecharitomene) the Lord is with you!” (RSVCE – Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition). Armstrong notes that the RSVCE also translates kecharitomene (“favored one”) as “full of grace.”

The doctrine of the sinlessness of Mary cannot be found explicitly in the Bible, so as the Marian cult began attracting followers in the 4th-century, supporters had to struggle to find some kind of Scriptural evidence and focused on Luke 1:28. By translating kecharitomene as “full of grace,” Mariolaters conjectured the word meant Mary was sinless and extrapolated from that the doctrines of her immaculate conception, sinless life, assumption into heaven, and her ongoing role as spiritual mediator for Catholics.

In order to initially gain agreement with his Protestant readers, Armstrong presents the two hyperlinked verses below to show that grace is essential for salvation:

#96) Romans 6:14

#97) Ephesians 2:8-10

With that in mind, Armstrong then posits the following deductive argument:

  1. The Bible teaches that we are saved by God’s grace.
  2. To be “full of” God’s grace, then, is to be saved.
  3. Therefore, Mary is saved.
  4. The Bible teaches that we need God’s grace to live a holy life, free from sin.
  5. To be full of God’s grace is thus to be so holy that one is sinless.
  6. Therefore Mary is holy and sinless. (p.184)

Armstrong then offers the two hyperlinked verses below as “proof” that not all believers are “full of grace” as Mary was.

#98) 2 Peter 3:18

#99) Ephesians 4:7

Word-for-word, literal translations of the Bible such as the NASB and ESV translate kecharitomene in Luke 1:28 as “favored one.” Luke 1:26-38 simply tells the story of how the angel Gabriel visited Mary and informed her that God had chosen her to bear the Messiah. Building an entire Marian theology out of a fanciful interpretation of kecharitomene in Luke 3:18 is blatant eisegesis.

Jesus certainly loved his mother, but she was a sinner who also needed to repent of her sin and trust in the Savior, like everyone else. In the following two passages, Jesus confronts those who attempted to exalt Mary and accord to her a privileged status:

“While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” – Matthew 12:46-50

“As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” – Luke 11:27-28

I posted about Catholicism’s claims for Mary’s alleged sinlessness only two months ago. See here.

For more information on Catholicism’s purposeful misinterpretation of Luke 1:28 as the basis for the doctrine of Mary’s sinlessness and resulting Mariolatry, see the article below:

Mary, Full of Grace, and Luke 1:28
https://carm.org/catholic/mary-full-grace-and-luke-128

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/23/19

At last month’s Vatican “abuse summit,” pope Francis promised “concrete action” to stem sexual abuse by priests and subsequent cover-ups by the hierarchy, but the “concrete action” has turned out to be the same old song and dance.

Last October 28th, CBS’s “Sixty Minutes” exposed Buffalo Catholic bishop, Richard Malone, as a serial abuse-enabler, yet he still retains his position. Malone just sold his impressive mansion as a PR tactic, but has moved into an even larger home, although the neighborhood isn’t anywhere near as swanky. Prior to last Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Buffalo’s Catholics circulated a petition demanding that Malone not participate in the festivities. Malone reluctantly complied, but vowed to be back in the parade in 2020.

It’s getting hard to find a (c)hristian bookstore these days. Is that bad or good? I’m ambivalent about Lifeway and other (c)hristian bookstores. They sell Bibles, which is a good thing, but many of the other books they stock are doctrinally dangerous from TBN-types.

Any parent who allows their child to be in a situation where they are alone with a Catholic priest (such as an altar server) is credulously naive.

This objective article from Roman Catholic church historian, Massimo Faggioli, shows how the RCC canonization process is all PR and politics.

Cardinal Marx of Germany often serves as the vanguard for the progressives in the leadership of the Catholic church, including pope Francis. When Marx floats a trial balloon statement, you can be assured it’s already being discussed in the hallways of Brokeback Vatican.

Conservative and traditionalist Catholics rue the day when progressive Francis was elected pope. But whether Catholics are conservative or liberal, they still don’t know the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Excellent article by evangelical Vatican-watcher, Leonardo De Chirico.

I inadvertently stumbled across this article about a recently published book that focuses on the confrontation between Catholics and Protestants in Lakeville, Connecticut in 1882-1883. Notice that the book totes itself as “a tale of prejudice and nativism.” I take it this is yet another example of a book or article that focuses on Protestant “neuroticism” without taking into account Catholicism’s unbridled militancy wherever it had hegemony. Book ordered and review to follow.

This satire is funny, but also reveals some sad truth about our culture.

Thoughts on some high-profile mess-ups from a low-profile mess-up

If you’ve been paying attention to the news the last six weeks, you’re probably aware of the highly-publicized, embarrassing circumstances involving Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, San Francisco Giants manager, Larry Baer, and popular actress, Lori Loughlin (photos above). We don’t need to get into the details here, but suffice it to say these people made some very poor decisions, which led to consequences that the national media was more than happy to pounce on.

My knee-jerk reaction to those reports was, “Wow! These are obviously some very intelligent folks. How could they have done something so stupid and so damaging to themselves and their reputations?”

These news stories remind us that we’re all sinners, just as God’s Word says. The veneer we present to the public looks pretty good (most of the time), but behind closed doors and deep in our hearts and in the recesses of our minds is some real wickedness.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

The public is prone to venerate and envy people who are successful entrepreneurs, administrators, and entertainment celebrities, but, because of their wealth, those people have even greater opportunities and temptations to sin than the rest of us. In the flesh, I’m tempted to quietly celebrate when high-profile, wealthy folks “get caught up” in some messy scandal. I’m tempted to think I’m somehow better than those people and others like them who have been exposed in their sin. It makes me feel better, as if I’m morally superior. But the truth is, I’m just a sinner saved by the grace of God solely through faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve behaved similarly in my thoughts if not in deed EVEN AS A BELIEVER. I’m grateful to my Savior for saving a wretch like me. He gives me the grace to follow Him and picks me up when I inevitably fail.

It’s tempting for us believers to become “morality snobs” and place ourselves above THOSE sinners, when in reality, our ONLY plea is our Savior, Jesus Christ.

“9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:9-14

Throwback Thursdays?

I’ve been blessed by being a part of the Christian blogging community here at WordPress for the last 44 months. It’s been a joy to read inspirational and informative posts from my fellow bloggers each day (and form some friendships) as well as to write my humble contributions, some serious and some on the frivolous side. We all pray the Lord uses our meager efforts to reach souls with the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Seeing as I’ve accumulated over 1200 posts in the archives to this point, I thought it might be a good idea to use Thursdays to take a second look at messages from the blog’s first couple of years (including some revisions if needed). That would serve two purposes: 1) It would bring back to light some older posts that very few folks ever saw when they were first published and 2) it would give me another day off from writing. I used to write every day, but about a year ago, I gave myself Sundays off with the goal of eventually taking another day off as well.

Thanks for your support! Next Thursday, I’ll be queuing up a post from 2015.

 

Capture25
A scene from the intersection of Main Street and Clinton Avenue, the busy hub of downtown Rochester, N.Y., during the late 1960s. These days, all of the retail stores are long gone.