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Holy Week, Passion Week, Easter and You

We want to remind you that our special series of Passion Week devotionals begins here this week -

For centuries, earnest believers have observed the “Stations of the Cross” as a devotional exercise to reflect on the importance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I can remember for years as a child atending St. Gerards Catholic School .. Holy Week was a special time and good Friday is indelliably printed on my mind and heart .. as we attended services and contemplated the Stations of The Cross - Jesus journey to Calvary where He laid Himself down .. and allowed Himself to be nailed to the Cross - for you and me.

It took a long time for me to understand what that meant - WHY would He do that for me, as sinful as I am? We believe a fuller and beter understanding of the sobering  events of Good Friday will lay the foundation for an even greater and more joyous celebration on Easter Sunday - for you and your loved ones.

So please visit and study .. read and pray .. and ASK GOD to receive and have eyes to see - and ears to hear whatever God has for you this year at Holy Week .. 

Give, and it will be given to you - Today is Your Day

Luke 6:38 (NIRV)
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good amount will be poured into your lap. It will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The same amount you give will be measured out to you.”

Our God is a God of abundance and blessings! He wants to pour out His blessings on you until you are so full that you are running over!

But, notice how today’s verse starts - It says, “Give and it will be given to you.” That’s because your giving sets in motion the blessings of God in your life. When you give, you plant a seed. If you were to plant an apple seed .. you wouldn’t just grow and harvest one single fruit .. that one seed grows into a tree that produces an abundance of apples - Mature apple trees typically produce 440 lb of apples each year. Trees grafted on dwarfing rootstocks will produce about 180 lb of fruit per year.

The keyword is "mature" .. That’s what happens when you obey God in your giving. You get an abundant harvest in return. You reap so much that you have to give it away, and the cycle just keeps repeating itself!

Is there something the Lord is telling you to give today? What do you have in your hand that you can bless someone else with? It can be financial or material, but take a step of faith today and open the door to His abundance in every area of your life!

Act of Contrition - Memories of my Catholic Youth

An Act of Contrition - Good Friday Prayer

O, my Lord Jesus, One with The Father .. I am heartily sorry for all the times I have offended thee .. 

I detest and repent of all my sins ...

Because of your sacrifice and punishment, which was borne by you ... and most of all because I know you paid the price for all my sins ...

Lord Jesus - I know you alone are all-good and deserving of all my love...

I resolve this day .. with the help of Your grace, to turn away from my sins and sin no more .. and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

Thanks You Jesus for dying on Calvary's Cross for me!

Don’t stop .. keep going .. never quit ..

Don’t stop, keep going, never quit .. a timely message today! April 10

For consider Him who has endured... so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. HEBREWS 12:3

From Today's Winning Walk message by Dr. Ed Young.

In the race of life, Jesus Christ is running with us. He is not only the starter of our race, He is our pacesetter, our encourager, and our partner. We live the Christian life not by our own effort, but by His strength. In Him, we are never alone. Without Him, we are easily discouraged, and tempted every day to quit. When I was a boy, I took piano lessons...but not by choice. My mother made me take them, and I quit as soon as I could. (Maybe you did, too.) But I remember a story about another boy who had real talent. His mother encouraged him to keep on playing when the scales got boring and the work was hard. When a world-renowned pianist came to their city, this mother took her son to see him play. She thought it would inspire him to continue. As the crowd gathered in the concert hall awaiting the performance, the boy wandered up to the stage to see the great, shiny, grand piano. Quietly, he made his way up to it, and very quietly started to play...chopsticks. The murmuring crowd quickly hushed, then began to protest. “Get that kid down. What is he doing up there?” The great pianist heard the commotion, and entered from the wings of the stage, putting his arms around the boy’s from behind. First, he joined in the boy’s simple song, then he began playing beautiful music, fabulous chords, part of a concerto...and it was wonderful. The whole time he played he whispered in the child’s ear, “Don’t stop, keep playing, never quit.” When you want to quit, remember, the Lord Jesus has His arms around you, and He is whispering in your ear: “Don’t stop, keep on, I believe in you.”

Catholic Church Catecism - Deception, Truth vs The Bible

I grew up as a Catholic, born in 1949 - and in my earliest days of school we were taught from something called the Baltimore Catecism - and my research and disputes for all Catholics is posted here for all to read and pray about .. my research says since its 1885 debut, the Catechism commissioned by the Third Council of Bishops in Baltimore has instructed generations of Catholic faithful - like myself growing up - may have supplied an easy to read question and answer format, but the Catechism combines a whole bunch of "Catholic doctrinal teachings" ( men's ideas, thoughts and organizationa guidelines ) ..  with little meaningful exposure to  Biblical Scriptural Truth .. yet a summation of many practical applications - not necessarilly backed up by what I read in my Bible.

Over time .. I hope to add some of the areas I have come to doubt .. and better understand .. through no help from The Catholic Church?  I recall times when I heard Catholics profess the thought - "if you are not Catholic then you are going to hell " ...  so in this blog .. I'll post and you decide ..

6. Q. Why did God make you? ...  A.. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

The Bible says:

Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Isaiah 43:7 - Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Ephesians 3:9-10 - And to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

The Term "Church" from Scripture .. 
The word translated "church" in the English Bible is ekklesia. This word is the Greek words kaleo (to call), with the prefix ek (out). Thus, the word means "the called out ones." However, the English word "church" does not come from ekklesia but from the word kuriakon, which means "dedicated to the Lord." This word was commonly used to refer to a holy place or temple. By the time of Jerome's translation of the New Testament from Greek to Latin, it was customary to use a derivative of kuriakon to translate ekklesia. Therefore, the word church is a poor translation of the word ekklesia since it implies a sacred building, or temple. A more accurate translation would be "assembly" because the term ekklesia was used to refer to a group of people who had been called out to a meeting. It was also used as a synonym for the word synagogue, which also means to "come together," i.e. a gathering. "Body of Christ" Since believers have been united with Christ through spiritual baptism, they are sometimes corporately referred to as the body of Christ. (Rom. l2:4-5; 1 Cor. l2:11,13,l8,27; Col. l:l8; Eph. 5:30) The idea seems to be that the group of Christians in the world constitute the physical representation of Christ on earth. It is also a metaphor which demonstrates the interdependence of members in the church, while at the same time demonstrating their diversity from one another. (Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:14-17)

If one goes to .. and does a "keyword search" for the term = Catholic - this is what you get - No results found.

9. Q. What must we do to save our souls? ( emphasis by me - Get To Heaven? )
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.

The Bible Says: ( Top Seven Answers )

Romans 10:9-10  Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9   For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 6:28-29   Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 3:16   “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:36   Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 14:6   Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Titus 3:5-6   He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy   Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

NOTE:  I could not find any answers related to - (a) recieving any sacraments? (b) confessing sins to any priest?

10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe? 
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

Note: I wonder what happened to God's Word?

11. Q. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches?
A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles' Creed.

NOTE:  The Apostles' Creed sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol". It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western tradition, including the Roman Catholic Church, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Western Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists.

Sounds like the Roman Catholic Church is still saying what it has always professed in my lifetime - The Church has all the answers

.. and their "priests" ( sinners just like us ) .. they have the right answers - and NOT THE BIBLE? I remember my mother telling me that they could not read and interpret God's Word - but that they needed the "priest" to explain and interpret God's Word from Scripture - seems to me the Roman Catholic Church is still trying to tell us that today?  .. they have the answer and everyone else is WRONG!  

The Catholic Church teaches that the 7 sacraments are signs of grace, instituted by Jesus Christ and entrusted to the Church ( NO ONE ELSE? .. Only The Roman Catholic Church? ) , by which divine life is dispensed to us .. and the visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions... whatever that really means? .. and by whose interpretation? Men? God?
The Catholic Church "lays claim" of and by itself ...
that it alone is the universal sacrament of salvation, the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church in the strict sense are seven sacraments that "touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith". The Roman Catholic Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for "salvation" ( No Where To Be Found In The Bible ) .. and although according to The Roman Catholic Church - not all are necessary for every individual, and has placed under anathema those who deny it: "If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification; though all (the sacraments) are not ineed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema."

NOW FOR THOSE OF YOU IN RIO LINDA ... "anathema"  means .. a formal curse by a pope or a council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine.
The Church further teaches that the effect of a sacrament comes ex opere operato, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. ( If that were Satan Himself .. I guess this means it's "all good"? ) However, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block the effectiveness of the sacrament in that person. The sacraments pre suppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists the sacraments as follows: The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

Personally, I like what Paul says in Philippians 3:4-11 (NIRV) ..
4 I have many reasons to trust in my human nature. Others may think they have reasons to trust in theirs. But I have even more. 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day. I am part of the people of Israel. I am from the tribe of Benjamin. I am a pure Hebrew. As far as the law is concerned, I am a Pharisee. 6 As far as being committed is concerned, I opposed and attacked the church. As far as keeping the Law is concerned, I kept it perfectly. 7 I thought things like that were for my benefit. But now I consider them to be nothing because of Christ. 8 Even more, I consider everything to be nothing compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. To know him is the best thing of all. Because of him I have lost everything. But I consider all of it to be garbage so I can get to know Christ. 9 I want to be joined to him. For me, being right with God does not come from the law. It comes because I believe in Christ. It comes from God. It is received by faith. 10 I want to know Christ better. I want to know the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings. I want to become like him by sharing in his death. 11 Then by God’s grace I will rise from the dead.

Who Is Jesus? .. Good man or GOD?

Who Is Jesus?

Jesus was a good man .. but He was more than a Good Man. If you are searching and want to know more about Jesus .. or hear about who He really is, then it is our belief .. you have come to the right place - and We Believe God Brought You Here!

If you are "seeking truth" and trying to find more about why people say that "Jesus Saves" .. we trust God that you can find theat truth and the right answer - Here. Every church known to mankind has some answer to the question - Who is Jesus? The Baptists, The Catholics. The Muslims, The Budists, The Evangelicals, The Hindu's - they all have some answer.

In Islam, Jesus is known as Isa and is one of God's highest-ranked and most-beloved prophets. The Bahá'í Faith consider Jesus to be a manifestation of God, who are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world. Judaism considers Jesus to have been simply a man and not the Messiah. Other world religions such as Buddhism have no particular view on Jesus, and have but a minor intersection with Christianity.

The real Question is this - Who do you say that Jesus is? It was with that brief question that Jesus Christ confronted His own followers. The most important question and issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. They actually witnessed many "miraculous events" .. the blind gaining new sight, the lame began walking, the dead raised to new life .. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teaching - and He asked them - Who do you say I AM .. Who Do YOU SAY Jesus is? Your response to Jesus call will determine your values and lifestyle, but YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY .. as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Jesus .. 

JESUS IS GOD - While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn't decide or didn't care. But Jesus said, "I and the Father are one" ( John 10:30 ). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh. Many people today don't understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They're content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to be the Great "I AM" .. That's why they tried to stone Him to death ( John 5:18; 10:33 ) and eventually had Him crucified ( John 19:7 ).
C.S. Lewis observed, "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 up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to" (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41). You decide for yourself - If the biblical claims of Jesus Christ are true, then He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY - God is absolutely and perfectly holy ( Isaiah 6:3 ), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil ( James 1:13 ). As God, Jesus embodied every element of God's character. Colossians 2:9 says, "In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form." He was perfectly holy ( Hebrews 4:15 ). Even His enemies couldn't prove any accusation against Him ( John 8:46 ) God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
JESUS IS THE SAVIOR - Our failure to obey God .. to turn from our sin and to be holy and righteous through His Blood - places us in danger of eternal punishment ( 2 Thessalonians 1:9 ). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God ( Ephesians 2:1-3 ). The Bible calls our rebellion "sin." According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: "There is no man who does not sin" ( 1 Kings 8:46 ). "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ( Romans 3:23 ). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil." That doesn't mean we're incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we're utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one" ( Romans 3:10-12 ).
God's holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: "The soul who sins will die" ( Ezekiel 18:4 ). That's hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That's why simply changing our patterns of behavior can't solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy - Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" ( Acts 4:12 ).
Even though God's justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: "Christ ... died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God" ( 1 Peter 3:18 ) . Christ's death satisfied the demands of God's justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him ( Romans 3:26 ). John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." He alone is "our great God and Savior" ( Titus 2:13 ).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH - Some people think it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless. If you take poison - thinking it's medicine - all the faith in the world won't restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you're trusting in someone else -- anyone or anything else - for your salvation, your faith is useless. Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" ( John 14:6 ). He didn't claim to be "one of many equally legitimate paths" .. to God, or the way to God for His "day and time only" -- Jesus claimed to be "the only way" to God, then and forever.
JESUS IS LORD - modern day thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything ( John 1:3; Colossians 1:16 ). Therefore He also owns and rules everything ( Psalm 103:19 ). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship. Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority ( Philippians 2:10-11 ). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son ( Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31 ).
True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness ( Isaiah 55:7 ). Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" ( John 14:15 ); and "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine" ( John 8:31 ). It isn't enough to believe certain facts about Jesus Christ .. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God ( James 2:19 ), but they don't love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True "saving faith" always responds in obedience  ( Ephesians 2:10 ). Jesus is the "Sovereign Lord" of All - When you obey Him you are acknowledging His "Lordship" and submitting to His authority. That doesn't mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.
JESUS IS THE JUDGE - All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: "God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" ( Acts 17:30-31 ). Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of Our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."
HOW WILL YOU RESPOND? - This Is The Only Question You Face of "eternal consequence" ..  Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge. Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you by His Blood and free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose.

Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Thought Conditioners - a Goldmine of Gems, Pearls and Wisdom

Years ago I received a little booklet entitled - THOUGHT CONDITIONERS - by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I must admit, I was excited to recieve it because I was a salesman and was well familiar that Mr. peale was a formidable author of "positive thinking" ideals .. goal setting, as I was familiar with his book - The Power of Positive Thinking. This booklet turned out to be a goldmine full of nuggets of Wisdom .. exactly what I needed at this point in my life - as I was going through one of the darkest and gloomiest times of my life - getting a divorce, starting a new career and so much more. Bottom Line - God Used This Booklet over and over again in my life for the past 35 years!

Back in the day I would struggle to read articles by people like Og Mandino who wrote The Greatest Miracle in the World .. The Greatest Salesman In The World .. David J. Schwartz who authored The Magic of Thinking Big .. and others from past years like Art Linkletter, Robert Schuller, Paul Harvey,  Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and others who periodically wrote articles for Success Magazine or other publications to which I subscribed. In recent years people like Joel Osteen, John MacArthur, Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Ed Young, Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D. have all helped in my day to day struggles - because they all directed me to the ONE BOOK I could never get away from .. because everything seemed to turn me back to the single-most positive thinking publication I had ever held in my hands - THE BIBLE .. authored by and through The One Who Spoke The Whole Universe Into Existence - Almighty God!

The fact is that God is The Most "prolific writer" of positive thinking ever! God is "well known" .. and is by far the most positive thinking motivational speaker one could ever listen to. God goes beyond positive thinking in ways we cannot comprehend. God is also the very best and most positive motivator - and promises success through His Word - The Holy Scriptures and through The Word Made Flesh - Jesus Christ, His Son!

See The Light - Move away from Darkness


John 1 says ..

9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10 The Word was in the world that was made through him. But the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to what was his own. But his own people did not accept him.  12 Some people did accept him. They believed in his name..

When we are in the "dark" .. nothing is more satisfying than "light" .. and according to scripture - God is "unnapproachable light" ... 1 Timothy 6:16 says - God is the only one who can’t die. He lives in light that no one can get close to. No one has seen him. No one can see him.

We know that Jesus came to reveal the Father to us .. John 14:8-17 clearly says this ..  .

We use many names for Jesus—the Christ, Teacher, Messiah, Prophet, and King, among other Names .. But one name stands out as a comprehensive description of the Lord’s purpose - the Lamb of God. His miracles and teachings were all remarkable, but even greater was His death on the cross... for through his death and resurrection of our Lord,  .. and through our relationship with Him .. we can call God OUR FATHER ..

According to Romans 8:14-16 (NIRV) 14 Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit that makes you a slave to fear once again. Instead you received the Holy Spirit, who makes you God’s child. By the Spirit’s power we call God “Abba.” Abba means Father. 16 The Spirit himself joins with our spirits. Together they give witness that we are God’s children.


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