Pat's Paragraphs

April 2017

Dear LLT Friends,

She told her story with deep feeling, this Muslim lady. Beloved Grandma, with whom she’d spent much of her childhood, lay dying. The family gathered for the final days. She sat by Granma’s bedside, overwhelmed with grief. And terrible fear. What would happen when Grandma died? Where would she go? The last hours passed, the end was imminent. She could bear it no longer. The fear drove her from the bedside and she dashed to the far side of the room, trying to get away. From there, in terror, she heard Grandma’s last slow breaths. She screamed, she cried, she fought. And she could never forget.

“It’s good we don’t know what happens,” she said later. “Then we would all want to go there.”

When pressed, she said, “We believe like you Christians do; we believe they go to the fires of hell forever.”

It was a great surprise to her, that eternally burning hell is not the belief of every Christian. She knew nothing of another, much more merciful, view.

Superstition and false ideas create both fear and fascination in the hearts of many, many people who are ignorant of God’s plan for those who have gone to sleep. This precious child of God has lived her whole life in terror of death. And so do many others who have not yet heard that the dead know nothing, or that God is willing to walk each of us through the valley of the shadow of death.

The enemy of souls capitalizes on fear, presenting his lies in books, music and movies, in supernatural manifestations and apparitions, and in near-death experiences. Most of the world lives in ignorance, at the mercy of lying spirits and doctrines of devils. 

But God loves this world so much that He sent His only Son to live Truth, that believers might be saved, and live forever. The truth is so much better than the lies! You and I are God’s mouthpieces. We who know the truth about what He’s like and what is to come, are to tell it.

Thank you for partnering with us in creating truth-filled materials for a world in need. May He multiply our energies and enlarge our influence. 
In Christ, 

Pat Arrabito

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A Common Railer and Brawler!

They handed him the letter as soon as he arrived. Thirty-seven citizens had put their hand to it. It warned him against lecturing “upon the dangerous and all-exciting subject of the immediate abolition of slavery in the Southern States.” Pittsfield, New Hampshire, was not ready for George Storrs.

It was March 31, 1836. Storrs had not come to town unbidden. He had invitations from the pastors of both the Baptist and Congregational churches, acting on behalf of the Pittsfield anti-slavery society.

Undeterred by the warning, he kept his morning appointment at the Baptist church. Lecture over, he and the pastor knelt by the pulpit for the closing prayer. A deputy sheriff burst through the door and rushed to the front, interrupting the prayer by announcing his intention to arrest Storrs.

Hauled in front of the local magistrate, Storrs was accused of being “a transient person” and “a common railer and brawler, against the peace and dignity of the State.” He plead “not guilty” and posted bail. The magistrate called an hour-and-a-half recess for dinner, but Storrs didn’t eat. Instead, he went to the Congregational church to find a large crowd gathered and waiting to hear him.

Back in court, Storrs gave no response to the prosecution witnesses. The next morning the verdict was announced and the sentence read: “That the said George Storrs be committed to the house of correction in said town of Pittsfield, there to be put to hard labor for the term of three months, and pay the costs of prosecution taxed at fifteen dollars and sixty-five cents.”

Storrs was used to this kind of trouble. In December of 1835 he had been arrested and tried “for his anticipated anti-slavery lecture.” That charge didn’t stick. As to the Pittsfield episode, Storrs appealed his conviction to a higher court. The Pittsfield prosecutor failed to appear when called, so the case was ultimately dismissed.

The history of America is scarred by notorious affronts to the principles of free speech and religious liberty. This has less to do with laws and institutions than it does with the mentality of individuals and groups that are willing to resort to threat and coercion in the interest of conformity. Such challenges to freedom are past, present…and future.

(Source of George Storrs story: Proceedings of the New Hampshire Historical Society, Volume 3 )

--Jim Wood

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