Monday, October 12, 2009

Post 851

"I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." John 8:51

This morning I went to log onto my blog here, not knowing what I was going to blog about. I spent almost a week away from the computer, and I have to say, although I knew it, it's remarkable how much time I actually waste sitting here at this piece of technology. I definitely need to stay mindful of my computer time. I get so much more done every day when I am able to just back away from the computer screen. At the tail end of my week away, we spent the weekend away getting closer to God and what He has for us. One of the speakers said it best yesterday morning when he mentioned that some of us looked like we had taken in so much information in just a few days- it looked like our heads were about to pop. It's definitely going to cause me to dig deeply in the Word, because while I've read many of the things shared this weekend over and over, it was like they spoke with whole new meaning. I love that about the Bible. I love that about the Holy Spirit- it's Him who makes the words on the pages come alive every time I open up my Bible.

Anyway, when I logged on this morning, I learned that this post was going to be my 851st post at Heart & Soul. Just for kicks, I went through a few books of the Bible looking to see if any of them had a chapter 8, verse 51, and I found this one in John.

"I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." John 8:51

Wow! Is that a cool word for this morning or what? And here it is in the Amplified version:

"I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone observes My teaching [lives in accordance with My message, keeps My word], he will by no means ever see and experience death." John 8:51

As I think on these words that Jesus said, He was saying a whole lot with just a few words. I think we can all agree on the first sentence there, Jesus tells the truth. Jesus always told the truth, and every word He spoke and was written down for us to read 2000 years later is truth. It was truth then, it is truth today, and it will be truth tomorrow. I think if you have a discussion with any pastor or theologian, that is one area where everyone agrees- Jesus spoke the truth.

And yet, we all miss so much of what Jesus talked about.

The next part of the verse says that we need to keep His Word. I like the Amplified for, well, amplifying what Jesus says by saying observing His teachings, but it's the part that says "living in accordance with My message" that drives the point home. Jesus' message wasn't only that He was the way to salvation. Jesus' message was to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper and drive out demons.

"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:8

Why do we dismiss that part of what He shared? Why is it that we all accept the message of love and salvation, but we skip the fact that 90% of what Jesus did was miraculous- and He told us to do the same. In fact, He says that we will do greater works than He did! Jesus calmed the sea and rebuked the wind- and He says right in the Bible that I will do greater than that!

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12

Yet we mention these things... we share them with others because it's just so exciting! And we show them exactly where it is in God's Word, and we think that they will see it too, and they will understand and get excited with us. You know what happens? They see, they smile, they read the exact same thing, and then they tell you that you're crazy. That those things are not for today, and that you should stay away from anyone who thinks otherwise.


"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

My Jesus raised people from the dead. My Jesus let love and compassion steer him to the poor and the helpless- and then He commissioned ME to do the exact same thing. And if we go back to the verse we started with this morning, Jesus says that if I follow His teachings that I will never see or taste death. And I believe that too! Death will come to our physical bodies, to be sure, but that body is temporary! It's the spirit body and the soul underneath that will live on forever. Yet when I get to that moment- when it comes to me that it is my time to step out of this body, I want to be able to look Jesus in the eye and know that I followed ALL His teachings. Not just the ones that I was comfortable with- and not just the ones that are easy to follow. I want to be able to hold my head high and thank Him for using me in such a wonderful and mighty way.

The kids and I have been studying the story of Pocahontas. In the story, when Pocahontas sailed to England, an Indian went with her, sent by her father, to count the English. He was sent with a stick, and he was told to notch the stick every time he saw an Englishman. When the boat arrived in England, he saw the thousands of people at the harbor, took one look at his stick, and cast it away. I want to do the same. I want to have a spiritual stick that I notch each time I share the true nature of Jesus with someone- except that I want to be able to cast the stick away because I've shared with so many people that there isn't room on the stick for all the notches. I want to be filled with the same love that Jesus had for everyone He saw- the same compassion that caused Him to heal the lepers and set a woman free who was about to be stoned for adultery. Jesus was love, compassion, and full of God's glory... if I can keep that word and keep it in my heart and share it willingly with all who will listen, the rewards waiting will be well worth it.

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