“Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 NAS
Heaven and earth united for eternity. The Kingdom of God in all its fullness. If there is no resurrection, no future life after death, than have we been a fool in living this way? What assurance do we have that the plain teachings of the Bible are going to happen? What does the future hold?
We have all asked ourselves the above questions at one time or another. The answer of course always goes back to the beginning. Is there a God? If there is no God, than let’s party. Let’s live and let live. Anything goes. Who cares about anything but getting what’s best for us now. Anyhow, anyway, anywhere, anything and everything goes IF there is no God.
Or on the other hand, if there is a God, we better fear. We better seek out what He is all about. We better find out what He expects from each one of us. All these thoughts probably have entered most of our minds at one time or another. Thankfully, God reveals Himself through creation, through the Bible, through the lives of other people, and through life’s experiences.
If creation was a happen chance, so are we. But on the other hand, if creation was a planned activity, doesn’t that mean you and I are a part of that plan? Which is easier to believe? The bottom line is if creation was a planned activity, than it requires a planner. And that planner must be One Awesome Being to pull it all off. We believe that is what scares those who find it difficult to have faith in a Creator. Because if there is a Creator, than we all are one small dudes with someone larger than ourselves that we may be accountable to in life.
If the Bible is not God’s working manual for mankind, than it’s the second greatest con job of all time (Jesus’ resurrection would be the first). However when you read it, you find quotes from God Himself. And these quotes are challenging us to exercise trust in Him; quotes that are giving us a choice of lifestyle that would benefit us individually and collectively; quotes that are directed to us personally to prove Him. And when you take Him up on His challenge, you begin to experience radical changes in your life that is described throughout the Bible. You begin to realize that God uses the Bible to reveal Himself to us and to help us know Him better. It points us to having a relationship with the Greatest Dad of all; a heavenly Father that is good and wonderful to all; a God who reveals Himself as the Creator of all and cares about His creation.
Doesn’t the Bible already reveal all that we need to know at this time about our future? A future with Christ for all eternity. If there were no other people involved in this adventurous journey of transformation in Christ, than we could easily see doubts arise in our own walk with the Lord. However, when one is a witness to the internal, spiritual transformation in peoples’ lives, than it reassures us that what we are living through is for real. When we discuss the internal struggles with others and they understand us, than we find it reassuring that we are not going crazy. That this Christian life is for real, and the experiences, struggles, hopes, and joys are not something strange but the realization of walking with a living God. The bond and unity you experience in sharing yourself in a small group or in a congregational worship service reassures us that God is alive and living in the lives of those that have fully acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Likewise, when we read the classical writings of the saints from yesterday and thoroughly relate to their everyday struggles, hopes and faith, it again reassures us that our walk is not something new, but the way it has been from the very beginning. It is the way God reveals Himself to us and builds His masterpiece: the invisible, universal Church.
If our experiences through life were all disappointments, then we probably would question our walk with the Lord. However, there has been much joy in witnessing the power of God in one’s life. From answered prayer, to blessings of joy, God has extended His unmerited grace and favor upon us. Even if we didn’t live in America with all its physical trappings of abundance, we believe that God would have still showered upon us His grace and blessings that only a Believer really understands. Yet, we are very thankful that our earthly fore-parents came to live in America. It makes the Christian walk more challenging in many ways that our brothers and sisters in other countries can’t even phantom. For it allows us to experience facets of the good life and see the abundance of God’s wealth and leads us to a better comparison of the physical wealth with God’s spiritual riches. We are constantly tested to choose between the two. It allows us to practice self-control that people in other countries can’t even imagine.
The Christian in America does have a different challenge than many of our brothers and sisters in third-world countries can’t even imagine. We are privileged to learn how best to manage our wealth for the betterment of others. Many of us are challenged to learn how not to indulge ourselves at every meal. We eventually learn that blessings arc not just a physical matter. In many ways, physical blessing could become a curse. The real riches of life are found in the spiritual treasures that God gives to those who truly yield themselves in heartfelt obedience to Him. And to experience the Giver with all His riches is truly the greatest high this life has to offer. We are very thankful that He has included us to live a life as a disciple of His. Praise Be to God!
Our Awesome Heavenly Dad: All glory, honor, and worship belong to you. You are greater than we can even imagine. Our small glimpse of you makes us shudder in how awesome you truly are. You created everything that is in existence. You keep everything in order throughout the universe. You have a time table that you move history through its pages. You are One Awesome Being.
Let your greatness always be magnified in our life. Help us see your greatness in every aspect of this life. Hide nothing from us. Let us learn about you and teach you to others. Reveal your truths to us. Reveal your creation to us. Reveal your plan of salvation to us. Reveal your glory to us.
Help those who are searching for you. Help them find you. Open the doors to your kingdom for them. Let everyone enter. Let everyone see your awesomeness. Hide nothing from us but let you glory be praised throughout the nations.
Help us be your faithful child in the Lord. Let us be the apple of your eye. Grant us your favorite blessings. Shower upon us your richly treasures. Hold back nothing of you to us. In return, help us share you and your riches with others. Help us always to glorify you before others.
You are our God. You are our Creator. You are our Provider. Thank you for making all this possible Jesus. Amen.