The light from the full moon illuminated the stone table which held his reed and scroll. The fingers on his right hand still ached despite a lengthy time of rest. But, he was driven by the Spirit's urgency to finish this letter. His eyes were weary, but the passion in his heart and the flowing thoughts kept him writing. It was the night watch so there were no distractions coming from town. His heart began to ache.
Oh how he loved these people! He witnessed first hand, their need to be reminded of the Good News. Oh how he wanted them to be set free from the captivity of sin! He knew he had to share what was on his heart before it was too late. This wonderful, yet mysterious truth had to be told. Would he be able to describe it in a way that would capture their hearts? In a way that would transform their thinking?
Then he got up from his bed and started walking over to the stone table. He felt the coolness of the dirt floor between his toes. As he lifted his legs across the old wooden bench, he experienced the all too familiar ache in his bones. Just as he was sitting down, a light warm breeze tickled his face. He closed his eyes for a moment and whispered, "Thank you Lord," then picked up his reed.
For a brief moment, he remembered the joy he felt after hearing about this wonderful mystery. It had overwhelmed him to the point of tears. It had filled his heart to overflowing!
He prayed again. He asked that the Spirit would reproduce this same joy in his friends. That the Spirit would birth new hope and transform the minds of those who had "ears to hear." After giving thanks, he began writing...
(*) "I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don't in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very "nature" is to die, so how could they 'naturally' end up in the Life kingdom?"
"But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:
'Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?'
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!"
"With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort." (*)
...he stopped writing because of a loud sound that was coming from a distant hill. Was the sound coming from a ram's horn? Or had he drifted off to sleep? His thoughts swirled around inside his head. The time was so long ago, but he remembered the piercing light. Who could forget that Voice? The feelings of despair resulting from his blindness filled his heart. But then...soon afterward...the feelings of hope rose up...the experience of redemption came! His thoughts were fast-forwarding through all of the teachings of the Master. Then, all of a sudden, he looked up...and blinked.
(*) 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 ~ The Message
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