I was raised as a faithful Roman Catholic and completed many of her sacraments which are said to be channels for the church to dispense grace to her followers. Yet the hard truth is that they never did for I was dead in my trespasses in sins as my life and heart bore ample witness. But this was totally unknown to me and I would have fought tooth and nail against anyone who told me I was not on my way to heaven but rather God’s judgment and the lake of fire. For I had been taught from childhood that I was on my way to heaven for one reason alone; this being that I was a Catholic. And that if I continued to do all the church hierarchy told me to do, all would be well with me even if I had to go to purgatory for a few thousand years.

This I know is the belief of countless Catholics across the globe. And you are not in many ways to be blamed for believing this because it is all you have known from your youth. Today though I am challenging you even as I was challenged many years ago during my “crisis of faith.” A crisis that happened as I read the Bible and compared what it taught as the Word of God verses what the priests and nuns taught as the words/traditions of men. The difference being as stark as night and day as the Holy Spirit graciously opened up my blinded eyes.

I encourage all Catholics to watch this video and to pray the the Lord open your eyes and grant you the ability to clearly see his word and to understand what it teaches. You are also encouraged to email me if you have any questions or care to discuss further.

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Praying to Mary

The call is out to all Roman Catholics to contact their travel agents, pack their bags and head to the south of France to visit Lourdes. Here, you can not only escape the cold of winter that most in the northern hemisphere are experiencing now, but you can get the added benefit of “…be[ing] able to gain a Plenary Indulgence daily …which may also be applied, by way of suffrage, to the souls of the faithful in Purgatory.”(1)

That’s right. Take a trip to Lourdes between now and Dec 8, 2008, bow to a Marian image and you will receive a “get out of jail” pass from the Pope to lessen your days or years in the fires of purgatory.

And, if you cannot get to France worry not for you too can get in on the taking from the treasury of merit if between February 2-11 you “…visit a blessed image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes solemnly displayed for public veneration in any church, oratory, grotto or suitable place.”(2) But, please keep a close eye on your watch and the calendar because if you are a day early or a day late, sorry, no indulgences for you.

Tis true that I write with a tone of sarcasm and if my tone angers Catholics this may well be good. Because you must know that neither a trip taken to Lourdes or one to a local Marian shrine around the corner will not merit you anything from the Living God except his wrath and judgment. Wrath and judgment because first you are trusting in vain works of the flesh to remit sins and their penalty when no such work can ever do such a thing. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can remit sin and pay the price in full when applied in faith to the heart of a repentant sinner.

And second, you are looking to Mary and not Jesus as you worship the creature instead of the Creator. Mary is created, Jesus is Creator. Jesus is alive and lives forever more, Mary is dead and buried and she is not interceding for you contrary to all you have been taught. Praying the rosary, pilgrimages to idolatrous shrines, or bowing to statues in your home or church building will leave you dead in your sins.

Many a Catholic knows this because your conscience bears witness to the truth that for all your devotion to Mary and Rome your heart is still black with sin. You still are plagued by guilt, you still are in bondage to sin both in deed and thought, and you still are no different today than you were yesterday. Always believing that this pilgrimage, this recital of the rosary, this Mass, or whatever the work is will grant you the peace you so desperately are working towards achieving.

Yet none of these works will grant you what you seek for, and unless you repent, you will die in your sins. And no such cleansing from these sins will be found after death because “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Next stop after death is not purgatory as no such place exists, but rather the great white throne judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15 which you will appear before after you are resurrected from the dead (see John 5:28-29). And unless you are found in Christ you will be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.

This is why the Scriptures declare that “…now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2); today, not tomorrow and not when you die. The Scriptures also declare that there is a treasury of grace but it does not flow from Rome or any church but from the Father through Jesus Christ. A treasury where grace cannot be dispensed by the Pope or any man nor can one receive from this treasury per vain works such as pilgrimages to shrines. Instead, grace is given as a free gift from God per his will as he, not the Pope, is the giver of gifts unto men.

To this, the honest Catholic may ask the question in retort, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28) To this I will reply just as Jesus did unto those who asked him this very question where he said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29)

Believe on the Lord Jesus, repent from your sin, and turn to the Living God for salvation through Jesus and not Mary or “mother” Rome.

(1) http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/tribunals/apost_penit/documents/rc_trib_appen_doc_
20071121_decreto-lourdes_en.html
(2) Ibid.