The Word in an Email
This morning a good friend emailed me about the Word of God and included this verse.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. ~ John 14:20 (NIV)
She went on to tell me that she had always wondered about John 14:20 and the idea that Jesus is “in us” and how that happens exactly. Lately, she said, she has come to understand that it is through His Word.
I sensed the hand of God in that email. Not because my friend quoted scripture necessarily. But because she talked about the Word. I sensed the hand of God because the new Bible study (The Self Study Bible Course by the late Derek Prince) I’d begun just the night before began with the Word.
Like many Christians, Prince believed that the Bible is the Living Word of God and that sharing the Word as provided in the Bible is something that all Christians are called to do. So while it wasn’t surprising that he would lead with the Word, I found it interesting that I had stumbled over the same topic twice.
To me, however, it was actually two topics. The idea that the Bible is the Living Word and the Christian imperative to share it. And so, in this post, I feel called to talk about both.
I’ll start with the idea of the Bible as the Living Word of God.
The Bible as the Living Word
To me, believing that the Bible is the Living Word of God means that whenever I read the Bible, God is speaking directly to me. Such a belief allows me to turn to the Bible for guidance in any situation. It means that verses from the Bible can double as proclamations that add substance and conviction to my prayers. It means that as long as I have a Bible or have committed verses to memory I have a resource that is available whenever I’m in need.
I will admit that the idea of the Bible as the Living Word is a deep concept. I will even go so far as to say that I can’t really explain it, except by example. In my relatively short walk with Jesus, however, I’ve been giving quite a few examples.
They include times when a friend mentions the perfect passage at the perfect time. Times when the Bible seems to miraculously fall open to answer THE question that was uppermost on my mind. Times when the Bible speaks to me directly as it did last night when I opened my Bible at random and Isaiah 56:7 caught my eye.
Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. ~ Isaiah 56:7 (NKJV)
And I mention this example in particular because it isn’t just an example. It is part of this story.
This is how.
The Isaiah 56:7 Connection
Last night, when I first read Isaiah 56:7, I was struck by how perfect the verse would be for my first attempt at Bible journaling. I could even illustrate the last line with a little house, I thought, which would not be hard to draw. Because I want my first Bible journal drawing to be meaningful, as well as well as pretty, I took a few minutes to think about what Isaiah 56:7 really meant.
That’s when I realized something I probably should have known all along – Jesus was quoting Isaiah 56:7 when he drove the money changers from the temple in Matthew 21:13.
He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” ~ Matthew 21:13 (NLT)
To me this was huge. Driving the money changers from the temple, after all, wasn’t just any New Testament event. It was a turning point for Jesus, maybe even the turning point that led to his arrest and crucifixion – and ultimately our salvation.
Then, while I was thinking about all of that and everything it meant, a Derek Prince YouTube video popped into my head. The one where Prince pointed out that Jesus said He will not return until AFTER the gospel is preached in all nations.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. ~ Matthew 24:14
I remembered how Prince also said that this was the entire point of his own ministry, to hasten the day of God by proclaiming His Word, and that if we don’t do that too we delay the coming of the day of His return.
When I realized that this one verse was connected to Jesus leaving this world AND his return, I felt the Word come to life. And as it did I was impressed with a new understand of how important sharing the Word with others really is.
Which brings me to the second point of this article.
Sharing God’s Word
For Derek Prince and countless other brave missionaries sharing the Word means traveling to the darkest corners of the world to be met with hostility and hardship and sometimes death. For most of us, it may involve nothing more than sharing the Word of God in an email or a blog post or a conversation with a co-worker. And I am in the last group for sure.
For me, sharing the Word of God happens mostly through my computer as represented in my blog articles and podcasts and the book I say I’m going to write but never really get to. So this morning, because of the Living Word and the email from my friend and the hand of God, I gave all of that some thought.
I thought about other things I could do for God and what my actual gifts really were and how I could be most effective. And when I was done thinking I wrote the first 1000 words of the manuscript I’ve been running from for the last six months, and then I wrote this blog post.
It is NOT a mission outpost in Mozambique. Or even anywhere close. Instead it is easy and it is safe but it does ask me to step out of my comfort zone from time to time. In a small way it is my way of trying to give others the same exact chance that was given to me – through His grace and through His Word.
And I guess the truth is that it’s my way of trying to give something to myself as well. Because when I got to the end of this article I understood something I didn’t fully understand before. Thanks to my friend and the Word and the process of writing it all out, I understood that, however big or small our efforts seem, knowing and sharing the Word truly is how we are in Him and He is in us.
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” ~ Matthew 13:33 (NIV)