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Posts Tagged ‘Death’

It’s the 3rd week of the month again, which means it’s time for the CSFF Blog tour reviews.  The book for March is “The Resurrection”, by Mike Duran.

So due to many events, including a road trip to Reno for a wedding and having guests from out of state, not to mention a lot of  lost sleep (which I am now mentioning) I was not able to finish the book in time for a full review.  I also missed out on an opportunity to get a review copy of next month’s book, so I will probably not be participating in the April tour.

However, I did read the 1st 1/3rd of March’s “The Resurrection”. 

The beginning of the book was hard for me to get past, mostly because I thought the book would just be furthering the false idea that the miraculous gifts, those given to the apostles & to the people they passed them on to, have not yet passed into a thing of history.  However I know that one does not have to believe that doctrine in order to write a fiction novel utilizing these gifts, so I read on.

As I read on I found that the book was slowly drawing me in.  More and more mysterious elements are slowly added, and they gave me reason to try to guess what was coming next.  The more I wonder, the further I’m being drawn into the book.

About 1/3 of the way into the book there seems to be a shift in the pace of the plot starting up.  It appears like there is going to be more action happening, a few more mysteries, and some of the answers are finally beginning to be revealed.  There are, however, plenty of questions to be answered.

I’m looking forward to finishing the book.  However, considering some of the elements so far, I don’t know yet who I would or would not recommend the book to.

To get more information about the book visit one of these book/author sites, or check out some reviews from other members of the blog tour:

*Book link – http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/161638204X

Author’s web site – http://mikeduran.com/

Blog tour participants:

Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Red Bissell
Book Reviews By Molly
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Wanda Costinak
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Janey DeMeo
Cynthia Dyer
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McNear
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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A passive listening to this song will leave one thinking a couple things.  One, that’s the epitome of 80’s music.  And two, that it’s just a song about doing good things and not bad things.

I’m not a fan of the 80’s sound, nor of pop music.  That’s why it took me a little while to stop skipping this song (let alone pay attention to it).  And once that happened, I found I was influenced, inspired, convicted, compelled.  Not by the music itself, sadly I can’t say it’s likely that I’ll ever get into the “groove” of this one.  It’s upbeat, so a sense of action is about all I feel from it (which I guess is part of the point).  But the lyrics of this song are ones I can honestly say I always hope to strive to live up to.

When Rich says live right in this song he’s not saying “don’t do bad things”, except maybe in that not living is a bad thing.  He’s talking about living life, and what life is about.  We sit around and waste time, or we busy ourselves with a whole lot of nothing.  But Rich opens this song with

So much life is slipping past you
You better sink in and take a hold

Then in the chorus he says:

So don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by
Here’s your life, you’re gonna get it right
Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

While working on this post I noticed the verse of the day on my blog, and it speaks the same message as this song… 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

God is at every moment giving us so many chances at true life.  If we could count them up then we could likely count the descendants of Abraham.  And one day we’ll give an account for each and every opportunity to truly live.  What’s God going to say to us?

One day we’ll run out of them here on earth.  But the ones we live out now my very well live on beyond our journey here, enabling others to truly live.

So don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by…

Live Right- Rich Mullins (Rich Mullins- 1986)

Live Right- Rich Mullins

So much life is slipping past you
You better sink in and take a hold
So many things you say you think you’d like to do
About the things you think you know
Well, that road that’s paved with good intentions
May never reach the streets of gold
No, no, no

So much love is on the inside
Better give in and let it out
Any fool could tell you why
But let the Spirit show you how
Speak your heart and maybe you could shed light
On the shadow of someone’s doubt
Yeah, yeah, yeah

So don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by
Here’s your life, you’re gonna get it right
Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

The things you grab will never last you
Once they get you in their hold
What once were your slaves become your masters
They burn you up and leave you cold
Can you tell me what you have to profit
If you gain the world and lose your soul
Oh, no, no

But don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by
Here’s your life, you’re gonna get it right
Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

You gotta live

Don’t pull away from what’s ahead of you and don’t you look back
Look forward in faith and hope will pull you through
To a love that will last

Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

(Live right, you gotta live)

Live like you’ll die tomorrow (live like you’re living right)
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

(Live right, you gotta live)

Live like you’ll die tomorrow (live like you’re living right)
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

(You gotta live right, you gotta live)
(Live like you’re living right)
(Live right)
(Believing that love will last)
(Live right, you gotta live right)
(You gotta live)

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I don’t think any other song (save those written in the Bible) has ever affected me as much as this one has.  This song literally changed my life, by the God whom the songwriter serves.  I pray your heart’s true desire is Him, and that no desire for this world will bind to your heart.

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The hour had now come for Jesus to be glorified.  The Jews said their Hosannas, and now even the Greeks who came to worship God wanted to see Jesus.

And in this hour of glory Jesus states that He must die.

It may be hard to think of this as glorious, but remember that His life was not taken from Him.  He laid it down willingly for his people.

We too shall be honored by God when we lay down our own lives; when we go where He goes, and live as servants of Christ.  It may trouble our hearts to go through the hardships He calls us to, but remember it troubled Jesus’ heart too (v27).

But shall we say “Father, save me from this hour?”  Jesus didn’t.  It was for this very reason that He came to the hour of glory, the hour of death.  If God brings us to a place that requires a cross, then we must remember that He brought us there for that very reason.  If we love our life we will lose it.

If we can lose our life… we will find it.  And it will be something better than we could have ever imagined!

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After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Sanhedrin got really worked up.  They knew that things had gone too far.  They said “If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him”.

While they weren’t inspired when they said this, I can’t help but think that there was some truth in their statement.  If Jesus were to keep on doing His work today, then a lot of people would believe in Him…

So did His body stay in the grave?  No, we know He resurrected.  And we also know that His body remains on this Earth.  That is, the Church remains on Earth.

And His body continues to raise the dead.  His body continues to heal the blind.  But we could do much better.  Obviously not in the physical sense.  But then our call isn’t to fix the temporary.  We are called to the deeper things.

If we were truly living as Christ called us to live, there would be a drastic difference in the world.  There would likely be more persecution of Christians, but more importantly there would be more people freed from the bondage of death.  We do so many good things by His power now, it shouldn’t be hard for us to believe in His power.

Caiaphas told the Sanhedrin in that meeting… “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”  He didn’t say this because of some craftiness of his own.  He said it because it was a prophesy directly from God.  And I can’t help but think about His body at this point.  While it’s not a prophesy telling us to kill our physical bodies, it was a prophecy about Christ dying for our sins.  And we are His body.

We can’t die for the sins of others.  But in dying to ourselves we can have an impact on this world that continues to shake it as Christ shook it by His death.

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On the last post we considered the blind man who was healed by Jesus and who was thrown out by the Pharisees.  The same story goes on in chapter 10 as Jesus continues his response to the Pharisees who were with Him.

And I don’t think that before now I had ever considered the fact that chapter 10 was doing just that, continuing Jesus’ response to the Pharisees.  So a new thought came to mind as I read today, specifically I thought about who Jesus was talking to (and why He was talking to them) when He said in verse 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

(An interesting note here, the word kill in verse 10 is specifically used of sacrifice.  It is not the common word for killing)

The Pharisees were angry with Jesus because He healed this blind man on the Sabbath.  The great keepers of the Law, as John pointed out earlier in this book, thought that by Scripture they possessed eternal life.  They built their empire of the Law and Jesus was a threat.  Not because He transgressed the Law, but because He transgressed their “law”.

Jesus wasn’t concerned with serving their misconceptions and lies.  He was concerned with saving people, and He knew that the Law kills.  It’s a righteous law, and that is exactly why it kills.  It kills rightfully.  People deserve eternal condemnation for sin… every one of us, who have turned away from God.  And there’s nothing we can do about it.

These Pharisees though, they thought they found life in the Law, and they were going to do whatever it took to slay their own people with this “life”.  And with that misuse of the Law, which claims to impart life to the sinner instead of death, they were able to do only three things… steal men’s hearts from God, sacrifice the people, and destroy them.

Lately brother Hugh Barton has been doing studies on Wednesdays that contrast the Law of the Letter with the Law of Grace.  He’s been pointing out the biblical truth that there is indeed life, but it is not found in the Law.

We, every person, need to remember that the Law holds no promise for us as sinners.  It is good, and serves as a tutor to show us our need for forgiveness and our need for righteousness.  But it cannot impart those things upon the transgressor, nor does it ever claim to.  We can never be good enough.

Do not believe the lie.  A man cannot work his way to heaven.  Salvation by works was the lie that the Pharisees pushed, but God called them thieves for it.  “Salvation by works” is a lie that ONLY steals, sacrifices and destroys…

Don’t believe the lie…

But know that there is hope…

There is a Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep…

There is Christ!

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There were a lot of tests that people threw at Jesus.  And there were some big plots made against Him.  All of these were said, that is by their perpetrators, to be in an effort to uphold the law of Moses.

But when one takes that statement and stops to consider the reality of who upheld the Law and who didn’t, they run into a problem.  It doesn’t add up that these people would have been so focused on killing Christ and not on killing others.

They had to try with all of their might, for years, to find something they could hold against Jesus.  And they never did find any legit grounds to punish Him.

But all of the other people broke the law of Moses.  There was no debate about that.  Even the leaders broke the Law, though they would have likely debated any particular instances of this.  But they knew the truth of the matter themselves.

So why were they trying to kill the man who they could find no dirt on?  The man they could find no fault in no matter how hard they looked?  And why did they let everyone else off the hook?  All the others who had clearly broken the Law?

John 7:16-19

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not My own. It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own.  He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.  Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill Me?”

And it still happens today.  It is quite obvious that people are wicked.  Some try to argue against this.  But when faced with the truths of human nature, when shown specific cases (which are available in numbers likely beyond what any man could ever count), the supporters of human goodness are left speechless.  They have no answers that stand the test of reality.

Our sinfulness is undeniable.

Yet today’s world is still doing what it did 2,000 years ago.  It is still persecuting Christ, the only one in which it cannot find any fault.  The only man who never partook in sin, and the only man who could die to save us. 

The only man who is capable of bringing us love, goodness and true life.

We as humans need to toss away our lenses of foolish self righteousness, and we need to observe the truth around us… the truth of what’s within us.  We need to stop trying to twist reality into something that fits our limited understanding and the delusions we desire, and start excepting the way things really are.

Man is sinful… selfish… full of death. 

Christ is good… 

Christ is love…

Christ is life…

Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.

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