Thursday, July 29, 2010

tough times and great promises

Luke 21:16-19 "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.  But not a hair of your head shall be lost.  By your patience possess your souls."
Jesus had some things to say to His disciples that pertained to them but that also pertained to generations after them.  Here He is talking about the times leading up to His coming again.  We could be drawing close to that time now, even though it is hard to fathom that reality.  The passage above is very difficult to read and to contemplate.  But there will come a time (as there has already come in history) when some of us will need to choose between important relationships on earth and more important relationships in Heaven.  It is amazing to consider that a parent might turn a child over to authorities because of the faith of the child in Jesus.  But because of this hard and cruel reality, Jesus makes a wonderful and supernatural promise.  Even though some will go to their deaths due to their unswerving faith in Jesus, they will not lose even a hair on their heads.  At first glance this seems contradictory.  If they die, don't they lose every hair...and everything else?  But the Believer has two for this life and this time and one for eternity.  The resurrection body actually cannot be used or inhabited until one has left behind life in this body.  And the resurrection body apparently will have a head with hair!  (perhaps those who are bald now might be pleased to have hair at all in the new body!)  But the key comes in the final sentence above: "By your patience possess your souls."  It is a little hard to grasp, but we have a life within our natural lives that has an eternal quality.  This is our soul.  I think it is what makes each of us distinct and it is how we recognize ourselves within our minds...the essence of self.  Our bodies carry our souls around, but our bodies are not the boundaries of our soul, just its temporary lodging place.  The body can be destroyed by forces outside of God but the soul cannot.   In Matthew 10, verse 28 Jesus tells us: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."  Our soul defines our life and our relationship with the Savior determines our destiny forever.
Rob Smith

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