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You Should Read "Between the    
Rock & a Hard Place" 
      "Between the Rock and a Hard Place" in only 180 pages introduces the reader to a man named Jesus who is claimed to be God. James S. Woodroof invites us to consider what Jesus did and said, including miracles many saw happen and claims many heard made. The book lists things which should cause every reader to realize that Jesus was indeed what He said He was. The book will remind each reader of what is important in life and in spiritual pursuits. The book is available from The Bible House, Inc. at P O Box 1108, Searcy AR 72143-1108. Telephone 501.268.9885 ($7.95). Or if you send me a gift of $10 and your mailing address and mention the book, I'll send you a "free" copy of the book plus printed material from Mission Outreach.

      On 5/21/00 I finished reading the book. I encourage everyone who reads this to send for a copy and read it as soon as possible. We should be majoring in majors. Many of us are majoring in minors. Woodroof points us to what is really important in this life. That's JESUS.

      And here's a Viewpoint Discussion sent out on 6/10/00 –Let me introduce some thoughts by quoting first from today's e-note from the John Stott web site–
June 10th,2000 – ROMANS – A Commentary by John Stott.

Romans 1:7-13. Paul and the Romans

      Having described himself (first his apostleship, then his message theme – the gospel of Jesus Christ), Paul now addresses himself to his readers: *To all in Rome who are beloved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ* (7).

      It is hard for us to imagine the sensations which the mere mention of the word "Rome" would arouse in first century people who lived far away in one of the provinces. For "she was the eternal city which had given them peace," wrote Bishop Stephen Neill, "the fount of law, the centre of civilisation, the Mecca of poets, and orators and artists," while being at the same time "a home of every kind of idolatrous worship." Yet God had his people there, whom the apostle describes in three ways.

   1) they are loved by God, being his own dear children.

   2) they are *called to be saints*, as also they are "called to belong to Jesus Christ" (6). "The saints" or "the holy people" was a regular Old Testament designation of Israel. Now, however, the Gentile Christians in Rome [Ray asks -- Was Paul writing only to Gentile Christians in Rome?] were God's "saints." For all Christians without exception are called by God to belong to Christ and to his holy people. [All are called. Some answer the call. All who have answered Christ's call become ONE body, without regard to former divisions, including the one between "Jew" and "Gentile."]

   3) the Roman Christians are the recipients of God's *grace and peace.* The Aaronic blessing in the Old Testament was a prayer that Yahweh would both "be gracious" to his people and give them "peace" (Numbers 6:25f.). As used by Paul, one could almost claim that these words epitomize two of his major purposes in writing this letter, "grace" emphasizing the freeness of God's justification of sinners, and "peace" the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles in the body of Christ. [Why do I suppose Paul's speaking of peace for all in Christ meant far more than ONLY relations between Jews and Gentiles?]

      Although he does not use the word "church" (perhaps because the Roman Christians met in several house groups), he nevertheless sends his greetings to them *all* (7) and gives thanks for them *all* (8), irrespective of their ethnic origin. [Question: Is there significance in Paul's mention of "church" in Romans 16:16, after he has NOT used it in this section of his letter? Could this signal to us that the disciples in Rome were not yet gathered into the congregational organizations already prevalent wherever Paul had gone and in most other places as well?]

      Since "beloved," "called" and "saints" were all Old Testament epithets for Israel, it seems probable that Paul deliberately uses them here to indicate that all believers in Christ, Gentiles as well as Jews, now belong to the covenant people of God (cf. Rom. 9:24ff). [Would it perhaps also signal that many of those Paul expected to read this letter were still Jews or Jewish Christians?]


      The apostle John tells in Revelation of hard times coming upon the earth when plagues and pestilence and strife will erupt throughout the world.

      I had quit reading the Joplin newspaper until Keith began bringing me their copy after he and Wandnetta had read it, so I missed seeing many good things happening locally. Since I also don't watch TV or listen to news radio, my sources of news are different from former years when I not only read timely newspaper editions but even took time to work cross-word puzzles IN them (the puzzles I'm doing again). And it's surprising how much news, both local and from far away is available on the internet!

      But I do read (courtesy of subscriber Keith Sigler who passes them on to me after they've been read at his house) U.S. News & World Report, and Christian World weekly newsmagazines, as well as a daily International Times sent by e-mail. I'm not isolated from world news. I read HORIZONS and CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE and learn about things happening in many places. Friends share news from their part of the world.

      And I observe that world peace, once established by Roman might (in Paul's day), once insured by the stability of the U.S. government and its allies (after World War II) is in our day seriously threatened.

      Our economy is fragile. Some suppose that stock prices, even for companies making no profit, can only rise. Some suppose that freedom, dearly bought and long maintained at considerable cost to many in this nation, now with the demise of godless Communism in the U.S.S.R., has been secured so that our vigilance and strivings can cease. [I wrote this prior to the election and antics of President Obama.]

      Yet in recent years, we've seen Iran citizens fall victim to radicals who bring no credit to a religion they claim is from the one God of this universe. Freedom there suddenly ceased for many. And the spread of such radical government is seen in widespread "revolts" in many lands today. Is this nation so isolated that we are safe? Is there no way free citizens of the U.S. can encourage and protect freedom throughout the world? Friday we were asked to become aware of what is happening in one African nation, and to pray especially for victims there, most of whom are Christians who are under attack by militant Moslems. The problem is now worldwide.

      A similar attack on civilization put down Rome many years ago. A similar attack was repulsed with bitter fighting in Europe nearly 1,000 years ago. Now WE are under attack. How shall we defend ourselves?

      I hope you will see that the best defense is a good offense. The godly response to which Jesus calls us is simply to do whatever it takes to get the gospel message into the hearts of enemies of freedom so that they will become friends instead of enemies. And many of those enemies are now sitting in seats of power in the U.S.A. Shall we not seek to win souls for Christ? I believe we need to sign up for crusades for Christ NOW to carry the gospel of Christ into cities throughout the world.

      Can we win this war with powerful destructive weapons? Why not rather seek to win by taking the message of peace to those who now are waging war? And the peace should begin in OUR hearts. Some are busy fighting fellow Christians. I've recently been hearing from a couple who imagine that only those who agree with their every opinion are Christians. We need to learn about the Way of Christ, which is a way of grace and peace and joy.

      It's to Christ's Way we need to win the world if we hope to ever find peace on earth. And first each of US must find and walk His Way. I recommend a book published in May of 2009 written by Ray Downen, with lengthy quotes from Bible sources and others. The title is RAISED INTO NEW LIFE. The book is available on the internet from