Tag Archives: Christianity

Faith Without Works is Dead…and Vice Versa!

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The relationship between faith/grace and works/good deeds/ordinances is a complex and intriguing facet of Christianity that has been the subject of intense debate throughout the centuries.  Indeed, entire religious denominations have been torn apart, with new ones being born, due to differences of beliefs concerning this topic (think Lutheranism vs. Catholicism for just one example).

There is more I wish to explore on this subject at a future time, but for now I’ll say that while the New Testament teaches that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20, 26), I would also go so far to say that works, without faith is likewise dead.

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1)  What do YOU think about the relationship between faith and works?

2)  How can you make sure your faith isn’t dead?

3)  What can you do to ensure that your works aren’t faithless?

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“In the course of justice,

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none of us should see salvation.”

-Portia (from Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’)

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Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him…

and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness,

and love God with all your might, mind and strength,

then is his grace sufficient for you

jj

      -Moroni 10:32

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Resilience is Brilliance; I will rise.

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Resilience is one of the most important characteristics of a true follower of Christ (in my opinion :)). Being resilient means not allowing yourself to be crippled by failure or paralyzed by fear.  It means choosing to be strong and carry on despite any previous disappointment.

I personally have had to be be resilient a lot in my life.  A lot.  It can be difficult to remain optimistic after being let down so many times.  But I try my best to accept hardship and/or criticism with grace, and just put one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward.  I don’t believe it’s healthy to try to smother or mask any feelings of frustration when things don’t go the way I planned or wanted, but still I retain some semblance of hope, some pocketful of sunshine, despite what rains may come.

The Savior is the ultimate example of someone who was resilient; He either vicariously experienced or felt himself every kind of sorrow, cruelty, sin, and abuse imaginable, and yet He still rose to the occasion (literally!) and reached His glorious potential.

I will rise out these ashes, rise.

From the stubble on the ground

and the trouble I have found

I will rise…

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 1.  When have YOU been resilient and risen out of the ashes?

2.  How can you be resilient to any challenges that you might encounter down the road?

Resilience is brilliance.

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A plow boy reading the scriptures?! That’s quite remarkable.

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William Tyndale, religious reformer best known for translating the Bible into English, said the following (when speaking to the sometimes snobbish clergy of his day):

“I will cause the boy who drives the plow

to know more of the scriptures than you do.”  

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.Um, does this not SCREAM of Joseph Smith?!  Wow!

In literature, we’d call this foreshadowing.

In the gospel, we call it a prophecy 🙂

Read more here about Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s thoughts on these issues.  His talk totez rocks my socks!

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…the boy who drives the plow

[will know] the scriptures…

plow boy knows the scriptures Joseph Smith

AWESOME!

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I used to think that most non-denominational Christians were not only church haters, but also were just a bunch of fence-sitting pansies who were too afraid to take a stand (mean-spirited and judgmental, I know!)…

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I do not think that anymore.

Still Christian!

Still Latter-day Saint/Mormon!

I do feel bad that I used to have this condescending attitude toward Christians who choose not to follow or participate in one certain denomination or religious sect.  But here’s the thing:

If my own faith is centered around Christ, with all other doctrines and details being merely peripheral (which is true of the Latter-day Saint theology), why should I doubt the sincerity and piety of others whose beliefs are essentially the same?

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“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

2nd Nephi 25:26

Yeppers, that pretty much says it all.  And even though that passage is Mormon specific, I’ll bet that pretty much all believers agree with its general message.  So sorry I ever thought the way I did, friends.

Hope you can forgive me…

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🙂

*Just a note:  I still do think that it is possible to be too general in moralism and even underly-dogmatic (is that even a word?).  Read Jewish NY Times writer David Brooks’s thoughts on this idea here,  as it specifically relates to the Book of Mormon Broadway musical.

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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

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Concerning the topic of AIDS/HIV:

Concerning the issue of HIV/ AIDS:  “We, with others, hope that discoveries will make possible both prevention and healing from this dread affliction. But regardless of such discoveries, the observance of one clearly understandable and divinely given rule would do more than all else to check this epidemic. That is chastity before marriage and total fidelity [in] marriage.” -Gordon Hinckley (said in 1987).

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“Having said this, I desire now to say with emphasis that our concern for the bitter fruit of sin is coupled with Christlike sympathy for its victims, innocent or culpable… We should reach out with kindness and comfort to the afflicted, ministering to their needs and assisting them with their problems.”

-Gordon B Hinckley (LDS Church President/Prophet 1995-2008).

Wow.

Can’t really add anymore to that.

The commandments are for our benefit.

Obey them please!

🙂

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Self-MASTERY

Masturbation is a topic that is highly sensitive, uncomfortable, and potentially embarrassing/ awkward.  Those things notwithstanding, I feel strongly enough about it that I created a short video to express my thoughts on the matter.  And let me reassure you that it is mature, tactful, and even appropriately and gently witty!

President Henry B. Eyring, or any of the LDS General Authorities, will never view this post.  But Justin Biebz and Jaden Smith remind me to “Never Say Never!”  So readers please know that if any apostle/ prophet/ Stake President/ Bishop/ employer/ long-lost cousin/WHOMEVER (!) ever did stumble (thanks Natasha B!) upon this video , I would not be uncomfortable.  In other words, IT’S CLEAN, YA’LL!  Check it stat:

and just a brief explanation of my outfit…

Recapture:

I don’t like this subject.

I am not a yucky girl.

I believe in agency.

I am fully aware that some will disagree with me.

I never intend to be preachy or judgmental.

But most importantly:

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I strongly express that, whatever your religious beliefs/ life philosophies,

avoiding this type of behavior will bless your life!

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Be Ye Clean…

(love this talk by President Gordon B. Hinckley by the way!)

Doctrine and Covenants 38:42

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Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings… in your own body.

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~For the Strength of Youth

🙂

Here is a landmark talk by Elder Boyd K. Packer on the matter:

(as it’s title explicates, the address was given for young men only,

but I feel comfortable including it since it is available on LDS.org)

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I love how President Packer is not obscene,

but is still very direct and doesn’t hold back

(boldness, but not overbearance…)

Alma 38:12

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To conclude this post, I wish to bear testimony that,

no matter your age, gender, religion, or beliefs

you will be happier if you keep your mind

and body free of this activity!

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And ask the Master for help if you need it.

🙂

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