LastGenReport: Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible (BPT)

Part of the issue is Sermons itself rather than a study: There are Sermons now with Lots of Theology, but little Interaction of a Personal God with a genuine person.

If we say God is alive, why do we act like He doesn’t speak?-

-Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity Journalist

Falling on Deaf Ears? - Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible

By Albert Mohler
AlbertMohler.com

"It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out." That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity - an impatience with the Word of God.

The sentence above comes from Mark Galli, senior managing editor ofChristianity Today in an essay entitled "Yawning at the Word." In just a few hundred words, he captures the tragedy of a church increasingly impatient with and resistant to the reading and preaching of the Bible. We may wince when we read him relate his recent experiences, but we also recognize the ring of truth.

In one which, Galli was told to cut down on the biblical references in his sermon. "You'll lose people," the staff member warned. In a Bible study session on creation, the teacher was requested to come back the next Sunday prepared to take questions at the expense of reading the relevant scriptural texts on the doctrine. Cutting down on the number of Bible verses "would save time and, it was strongly implied, would better hold people's interest."

As Galli reflected, "Anyone who's been in the preaching and teaching business knows these are not isolated examples but represent the larger reality."

Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading of the Bible in worship and sermons are marked by attention to the congregation's concerns, but not by any adequate attention to the biblical text. The exposition of the Bible has given way to the concerns, real or perceived, of the listeners. The authority of the Bible is swallowed up in the imposed authority of congregational concerns.

As Mark Galli notes:

It has been said to the point of boredom that we live in a narcissistic age, where we are wont to fixate on our needs, our wants, our wishes, and our hopes - at the expense of others and certainly at the expense of God. We do not like it when a teacher uses up the whole class time presenting her material, even if it is material from the Word of God. We want to be able to ask our questions about our concerns, otherwise we feel talked down to, or we feel the class is not relevant to our lives.

It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out. Don't spend a lot of time in the Bible, we tell our preachers, but be sure to get to personal illustrations, examples from daily life, and most importantly, an application that we can use.

The fixation on our own sense of need and interest looms as the most significant factor in this marginalization and silencing of the Word. Individually, each human being in the room is an amalgam of wants, needs, intuitions, interests, and distractions. Corporately, the congregation is a mass of expectations, desperate hopes, consuming fears, and impatient urges. All of this adds up, unless unchecked by the authentic reading and preaching of the Word of God, to a form of group therapy, entertainment, and wasted time - if not worse.

Galli has this situation clearly in his sights when he asserts that many congregations expect the preacher to start from some text in the Bible, but then quickly move on "to things that really interest us." Like . . . ourselves?

One of the earliest examples of what we would call the preaching of the Bible may well be found in Nehemiah 8:1-8:

And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading with their faces to the ground. [English Standard Version]

Ezra and his companions stood on a platform before the congregation. They read the scriptural text clearly, and then explained the meaning of the Scripture to the people. The congregation received the Word humbly, while standing. The pattern is profoundly easy to understand - the Bible was read and explained and received.

As Hughes Oliphant Old comments, "This account of the reading of the Law indicates that already at the time of the writing of this text there was a considerable amount of ceremonial framing of the public reading of Scripture. This ceremonial framing is a witness to the authority of the Bible." The reading and exposition took place in a context of worship as the people listened to the Word of God. The point of the sermon was simple - "to make clear the reading of the Scriptures."

In many churches, there is almost no public reading of the Word of God. Worship is filled with music, but congregations seem disinterested in listening to the reading of the Bible. We are called to sing in worship, but the congregation cannot live only on the portions of Scripture that are woven into songs and hymns. Christians need the ministry of the Word as the Bible is read before the congregation and God's people - young and old, rich and poor, married and unmarried, sick and well - hear it together. The sermon is to consist of the exposition of the Word of God, powerfully and faithfully read, explained, and applied. It is not enough that the sermon take a biblical text as its starting point.

How can so many of today's churches demonstrate what can only be described as an impatience with the Word of God? The biblical formula is clear - the neglect of the Word can only lead to disaster, disobedience, and death. God rescues his church from error, preserves his church in truth, and propels his church in witness only by his Word - not by congregational self-study.

In the end, an impatience with the Word of God can be explained only by an impatience with God. We - both individually and congregationally - neglect God's Word to our own ruin.

As Jesus himself declared, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Related Links


 Words From the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the 10 Commandments - R. Albert Mohler (Book)
 Following Jesus Christ without the Bible - Let Us Reason Ministries
 The Last Days Apostasy of the Church (Part 1) - Bible Prophecy Today (Andy Woods)
 The NKJV Daily Bible: Read the Entire Bible in One Year
 The Nature of the Bible - Ariel Ministries (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)


Michael James Stone

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Last Call

‘Your Devotion with Emotion’

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

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Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity Journalist

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LastCall: looking forward, not dwelling on the things of the past, -Raul Ries

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Do we truly understand what the Apostle Paul is telling us in this verse? He is looking forward, not dwelling on the things of the past, but always looking forward to what God has in store for us. I believe President Lincoln had no doubt what Paul is referring to in this verse.

President Lincoln led our country during a very dark and troublesome time in history. We were not in a war against an outside aggressor; we were at war with ourselves. We were divided as a nation, and Lincoln had many issues to face: ending slavery, ending a war, uniting a nation and rebuilding a struggling economy.

Many men would have thrown up their hands or tried to accomplish these goals in an aggressive manner. As a man of God, he took on Christian principles to work through the problems of our nation and heal the wounds of war.

President Lincoln pressed toward the upward call of God. He showed grace and mercy towards his enemies and brought unity to our nation. He fulfilled the call God put on his life, in spite of the many obstacles, and became a great example to generations to come.

Let us each press toward the goal to fulfill our individual calling, looking forward to what God has in store for our lives.

With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to
bind up the nation’s wounds.
-Abraham Lincoln-

Michael James Stone

Fair Use Notice

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Last Call

‘Your Devotion with Emotion’

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

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Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do. mrnetbizness@gmail.com

Last Days of the Last Generation                                                           “Last Generation”

                                      The simple format                                                                                      “the prophecy site just about prophecy”

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity Journalist

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.

The material is being made available in an effort to understand scripture, news, technology and society especially as it relates to God and Jesus. It is specifically for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. This is a completely non-commercial site for private personal use. No fee is charged, and no money is made off of the operation of this site. Nor is any implied reciprocal gratuities implied or construed.

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LastCall: we find He is there -My Utmost for His Highest

Taking the Initiative Against Drudgery

Arise, shine . . . —Isaiah 60:1

When it comes to taking the initiative against drudgery, we have to take the first step as though there were no God. There is no point in waiting for God to help us— He will not.

But once we arise, immediately we find He is there.

Whenever God gives us His inspiration, suddenly taking the initiative becomes a moral issue— a matter of obedience. Then we must act to be obedient and not continue to lie down doing nothing. If we will arise and shine, drudgery will be divinely transformed.

Drudgery is one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character. Drudgery is work that is far removed from anything we think of as ideal work. It is the utterly hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty work. And when we experience it, our spirituality is instantly tested and we will know whether or not we are spiritually genuine.

Read John 13. In this chapter, we see the Incarnate God performing the greatest example of drudgery— washing fishermen’s feet.

He then says to them, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet" (John 13:14 ). The inspiration of God is required if drudgery is to shine with the light of God upon it. In some cases the way a person does a task makes that work sanctified and holy forever. It may be a very common everyday task, but after we have seen it done, it becomes different.

When the Lord does something through us, He always transforms it. Our Lord takes our human flesh and transforms it, and now every believer’s body has become "the temple of the Holy Spirit"

Michael James Stone

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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work herein is archived under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only.

Last Call

‘Your Devotion with Emotion’

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

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Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do. mrnetbizness@gmail.com

Last Days of the Last Generation                                                           “Last Generation”

                                      The simple format                                                                                      “the prophecy site just about prophecy”

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity Journalist

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.

The material is being made available in an effort to understand scripture, news, technology and society especially as it relates to God and Jesus. It is specifically for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. This is a completely non-commercial site for private personal use. No fee is charged, and no money is made off of the operation of this site. Nor is any implied reciprocal gratuities implied or construed.

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LastCall: Prayer is the forerunner of mercy -Spurgeon

"Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them."   Ezekiel 36:37

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favour, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you.

When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much, and earnestly interceding with God that He would remove your doubts, and deliver you from your distresses. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and rapturous joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles, and mighty helps in great dangers, you have been able to say, 'I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.'

Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing's shadow. When the sunlight of God's mercies rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies, He Himself shines behind them, and He casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest certain, if we are much in prayer, our pleadings are the shadows of mercy.

Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly.

'Prayer makes the darken'd cloud withdraw;
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Gives exercise to faith and love;
Brings every blessing from above.'

"He first findeth his own brother Simon."   John 1:41

This case is an excellent pattern of all cases where spiritual life is vigorous. As soon as a man has found Christ, he begins to find others. I will not believe that thou hast tasted of the honey of the gospel if thou canst eat it all thyself. True grace puts an end to all spiritual monopoly. Andrew first found his own brother Simon, and then others. Relationship has a very strong demand upon our first individual efforts.

Andrew, thou didst well to begin with Simon. I doubt whether there are not some Christians giving away tracts at other people's houses who would do well to give away a tract at their own-whether there are not some engaged in works of usefulness abroad who are neglecting their special sphere of usefulness at home. Thou mayst or thou mayst not be called to evangelize the people in any particular locality, but certainly thou art called to see after thine own servants, thine own kinsfolk and acquaintance.

Let thy religion begin at home. Many tradesmen export their best commodities-the Christian should not. He should have all his conversation everywhere of the best savour; but let him have a care to put forth the sweetest fruit of spiritual life and testimony in his own family. When Andrew went to find his brother, he little imagined how eminent Simon would become. Simon Peter was worth ten Andrews so far as we can gather from sacred history, and yet Andrew was instrumental in bringing him to Jesus.

You may be very deficient in talent yourself, and yet you may be the means of drawing to Christ one who shall become eminent in grace and service. Ah! dear friend, you little know the possibilities which are in you. You may but speak a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian church in years to come. Andrew has only two talents, but he finds Peter. Go thou and do likewise.

Michael James Stone

Fair Use Notice

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work herein is archived under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only.

Last Call

‘Your Devotion with Emotion’

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Call Digest

“the simple format”

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do. mrnetbizness@gmail.com

Last Days of the Last Generation                                                           “Last Generation”

                                      The simple format                                                                                      “the prophecy site just about prophecy”

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity Journalist

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.

The material is being made available in an effort to understand scripture, news, technology and society especially as it relates to God and Jesus. It is specifically for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. This is a completely non-commercial site for private personal use. No fee is charged, and no money is made off of the operation of this site. Nor is any implied reciprocal gratuities implied or construed.

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LastCall: lean not unto thine own under-standing -Daily Light


The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own under-standing. - If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbradeth not; and it shall be given him. - The fool-ishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. - God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. That no flesh should glory in his presence.

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. - Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.

All bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. - Never man spake like this man. - Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanc-tification, and redemption.

PROV. 2:6. Prov. 3:5. -Jas. 1:5. -I Cor. 1:25. -I Cor. 1:27,29. Psa. 119:130. Psa. 119:11. Luke 4:22. -John 7:46. I Cor. 1:30.


evening

The year of my redeemed is come.

Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, ... and unto his family.

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast out the dead. 

The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.

Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name.

ISA. 63:4. Lev. 25:10. Isa. 26:19. I Thes. 4:16,17. Hos. 13:14. Jer. 50:34.

Michael James Stone

Fair Use Notice

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work herein is archived under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only.

Last Call

‘Your Devotion with Emotion’

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Call Digest

“the simple format”

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do. mrnetbizness@gmail.com

Last Days of the Last Generation                                                           “Last Generation”

                                      The simple format                                                                                      “the prophecy site just about prophecy”

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity Journalist

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.

The material is being made available in an effort to understand scripture, news, technology and society especially as it relates to God and Jesus. It is specifically for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. This is a completely non-commercial site for private personal use. No fee is charged, and no money is made off of the operation of this site. Nor is any implied reciprocal gratuities implied or construed.

Posted via email from The Last Call Digest

One Thousand Years: Genesage " My Wife" (Chp 4:4)

One Thousand Years

Genesage

" My Wife"

(Chp 4:4)

It wasn’t the torture that broke Toms’ mind.

It wasn’t segregation or separation. It wasn’t deprivation or starvation. Those you could fade into shock and live like a zombie. Bereft of emotion one could be soul less remaining impertinent to suffering, pain, anguish.

No, this was worse than those.

  It started with the overwhelming onslaught of information. Too much input that inoculated the sensibility but overloaded the responsibility. Too much too quick too soon and there was no time to assimilate. The “flood” to his soul, his mind, what was left of his spirit.  

It was the hopelessness of it all that finally “got to” Tom.

He just didn't care anymore.

The only thing he “cared” about now were the nightmares. They just wouldn't leave him alone anymore. They had reduced themselves in number. But every night at this time before darkness really fell, the nightmares hit again.

Nightmares he would always remember, never forget. Nightmares he couldn’t run from or flee. Nightmares replayed in his mind. The Nightmares were real and everyday each one branded his soul and seared his mind.

The ‘nightmares’ that were his reality.

First would come the whimpering. The cowering; the crying; sometimes a man; sometimes a woman.

Oh sure, they would be quoting one thing or another. Quoting a song or a scripture. Trying hard to brave, trying to dispel the pathos.

It never worked, never.

They were brave till the sound of hope was replaced with the tearing sounds. The shreddings. The abject realization of skinning a human being by pulling the outer layer from their body.

Epidermal Exorcism, the Screams matched the tearing sounds.

The choir of slaughter was accompanied by wails. Moans and long terror screams. A piercing scream, a moan, the whimpers, then the piercing scream again….and again….and again.

Over and over and over again, never a release, never a sudden accidental dying, just a long drawn out nightmare.

Daily, hourly, weekly, minute by minute, second by second, eternity was that time had ended and this was all that was left.

Dante’s Purgatory.

He really didn't know if it was a nightmare again or if in fact it was what he suspected. Recently the number of "nightmares" were reduced. Reduced because they were still killing Christians, Jews, people in general.

But the reduced "dreams"  was more people not accepting torture. Choosing rather to live. Not choosing to see loved ones die, but accepting the marks. The “vaccinations”, innoculations.

Marks of Evil. Marks of condemnation and damnation. The one way ticket to hell.

The “Nightmare on Hell Street” became the “Tragedy of Heaven’s Gate” as The “Born Again”, became the “GenoMan, grafted into the New Mankind.

Genomen.

Thomas knew his nightmares and dreams were real. He just couldn't face life. Not like that and his mind had flipped.

No one could deal with the nightmare on Thomas street that had come real.

This was more than a movie. It was life. It was his life. It was his world. Since it was his story it had taken it's toll on his psyche.

He couldn't get up and leave the movie screen behind. Not when He was the main character. No intermission, no listing of credits, nothing ending except the final curtain of death. 

But It hadn't ended there either. His time had not come yet.

Since the last Plagues and Curses had fallen there was really no light anymore and now no one was dying.

Death was not swallowed in victory it was simply taken away.

There was no death now because it had been removed by the author of life himself.

No one could die even if they wanted to.

No matter how hard they tried. It was impossible that they could live and yet the impossible was that they could not die.

The sheer ignominy of it all, when death would have been such a welcome release, and now it was missing in action. No one died.  No one. 

No matter the reason, no matter the cause, death was removed from the earth.

What kind of a God would put his people through this?

"Please Tom…,"

his wife had begged and pleaded,            

"…please just kill me and get it over with."

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LastCall: who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness. -Bob Hoekstra

I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith…For certain men have crept in unnoticed…ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness. (Jude 3-4)

From the early days of the Lord's church, a constant threat has been posed by those who want to change God's grace into something it is not. The attempted changes always relate to either licentiousness orlegalism.

Jude addressed this problem in his powerful letter of warning. He called all followers of Christ to engage in a zealous battle for the integrity of the word of God. "I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith." Such contending is essential, because carnal religious people desire to alter grace, as they quietly operate within churches. "For certain men have crept inunnoticed…ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God intolicentiousness." Their intended modifications involved turning grace into a license to sin. Grace is God's means of forgiving our sins, as well as transforming the sinner that he might sin less and less. Grace is not God's sanction by which we plan and excuse our personal indulgence.

This issue also appears in Romans, as some took God's grace in the same unwarranted direction. They started with a glorious truth. "Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" (Romans 5:20). What agrand actuality this is! No matter how atrocious the extent of our sins, the grace of God unto forgiveness and transformation is far greater. Yet, how heinous is the licentious thought that more indulgence in sin would be a good thing, since such would only present further opportunities for more abounding grace. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" (Romans 6:1). The answer is a resounding negation. "Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:2). Anticipated grace is never anexcuse for planning to sin.

In Galatians, the converse problem of legalism is confronted. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in thegrace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ"(Galatians 1:6-7). Here, some were trying to add law requirements to the good news of God's grace. This attempt to turn grace into a performance standard is described as a perversion, a grievous twisting, of grace. Whether license or legalism, both change and undermine the grace of God.

Dear gracious Master, I repent of any times I have used grace as an excuse for carnal indulgence or have treated Your grace as a call to religious performance. Thank You for Your forgiving and transforming grace. Grant me discernment and courage to earnestly contend for true grace, through Christ, my Lord, Amen.

Michael James Stone

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