Not Easy, But Worth It – 6-6-22

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of First Corinthians chapter 15 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Risen Christ, Faith’s Reality

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by [a]Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have [b]fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Risen Christ, Our Hope

12 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? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have [c]fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

The Last Enemy Destroyed

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have [d]fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Effects of Denying the Resurrection

29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in [e]jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

A Glorious Body

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind [f]of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

40 There are also [g]celestial bodies and [h]terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made[i] of dust; the second Man is [j]the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the [k]man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we[l] shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Our Final Victory

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a [m]mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O[n] Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:5 Peter
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:6 Died
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:18 Died
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:20 Died
  5. 1 Corinthians 15:30 danger
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:39 NU, M omit of flesh
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:40 heavenly
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:40 earthly
  9. 1 Corinthians 15:47 earthy
  10. 1 Corinthians 15:47 NU omits the Lord
  11. 1 Corinthians 15:48 earthy
  12. 1 Corinthians 15:49 M let us also bear
  13. 1 Corinthians 15:51 hidden truth
  14. 1 Corinthians 15:55 NU O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

I LOVE a good Bible discussion! Thank you, you know who, for pointing out and discussing with me the various nuances of the church at Corinth at this time as speculated by historian. Whether speculation or truth, is not the point – the point is that this diverse group of believers are multifaceted and innumerably complex. Just as you and I are a multitude of good and bad idiosyncrasies so were each of the people in Corinth. And in a large and diverse church there were definitely many things going on – besides the rebellious women, the prideful divisions and other topics Paul addressed in this letter so far.  Paul said he thanked God that they were doing good, but there are a few point he must address. Let’s not judge the whole church by the correction of a few.

I also left out that a good sized number of Sadducees (a sect of Jewish priests and scholars) came to believe. Being a Sadducee and believing in Jesus creates a conflict in the mind and human understanding. You and I have this filtered through 2000 years of people digesting it, so it is easier for you and me to understand. But Sadducees did not believe in any time of eternity. When you died, that was it. If after death you when to heaven, or even hell for that matter, you would have to first be resurrected from the dead.

This was an ongoing disagreement between the Sadducees and Pharisees for centuries and started LONG before Jesus was even born, let alone rose from the dead and hung out on earth for 40 days. When I was first introduced to the idea, I was taught Jesus was resurrected and somehow this was different than the rest of us who die and go the heaven of hell. It NEVER occurred to me that I too would have to be resurrected in order to complete that process. So in some ways, the idea of resurrection is still corrupted in our world. And if we really thought about it in the way Paul describes throughout the New Testament – It really isn’t and wouldn’t be that amazing of a sign and wonder to bring the dead back to life. Jesus did it a few times. It happened in the Old Testament. Why not now? And why do we perceive it as so farfetched?  They must come back to life to go to heaven or hell, why not bring them back for life here? Yes, for heaven or hell we must be transformed into our incorruptible body, as Paul calls it. But let’s not get side tracked. I am just trying to give you enough info to understand today’s reading.

In today’s reading Paul is addressing those who struggle to believe the life, death and resurrection of the messiah. This letter was written about 20 years after Jesus’s ascension. These people, like Paul, never met Jesus in person. And some were children when Jesus walked the earth and now as young adults this is all new and foreign.  We are in the same boat. We have moments when we really need a savior who is alive and can wrap His arms around us – but since we cannot see him we turn to other sources and the enemy comes in with yoga, counseling, and fleshly or even demonically ritualistic coping ideas.
As I have shared before, I have been suffering thought a Job (book of Job) like season. I have lost pets and loved one, I have lost my job (occupation) and things, I have lost friendships, I was starting to become oppressed by the spirit of loss – and when I was weakest, the enemy offered guided meditation, yoga, hypnosis, trauma therapies, and other coping skills which base their practices in occultist (demonic) rituals.  Through a divine appointment – I reached out to a pastor friend who connected me to a Christian counselor who simply prayed for my healing. A shift happened and I began thanking God for all I am going through as He removes whatever I cannot carry over into my blessing. I am going into the Promised Land.
If you ask around, many men and woman of God had to go through this type of season and revelation to build the kind of faith needed to be in ministry. So if you are about to step out into a ministering place, expect it to whatever degree your blessing on the other side will be. Remember, God blessed Job double. So the blessing will be exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think.
If you too are going through it, let us know and we will pray. Repent from wallowing in the death and come back to life! God is able and bigger and you are in His perfect will.
My point is – we cannot see and be held by Jesus – let stir up our faith so that we believe and are renewed, and hugged in the spirit, just like Paul did for those in Corinth.

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”
I have met so many who believe, but…
…But you don’t know how bad it is. ….But you I have prayed for healing for 20 years and never been healed. …But God didn’t answer my prayers the way I asked. …But this is not what I expected.
It is time we return to the Christ first preached. The one that caused us to believe. Let us repent from sliding away to a corrupted version of Christ, of belief and or of Christianity.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.”
Christ died for our sins, this means He also lived here on earth and the reports of the multitude of followers is therefore true. God sent His son to die for our sins.
Well first of all, we serve a God who believes we are innately bent to do evil, under a curse. No one wants to think they are bad. But we are. We must be guarded even against our selves; didn’t we learn from our study of Romans? So our only way in is through getting humble and repenting for our sins. But that is NOT enough, there needs to be a sacrifice, blood and pain and death. So blooded and beaten, Jesus struggled to carry the cross to Calvary where He hung and died.
I know some people seeped in Humanism which believes we are innately good. They have obviously never read the Bible, history text books or even Lord of the Flies. For them – the cross is an unrealistic fairytale – albeit a dark tale, but fantasy and unreal. They want a free love, abundant grace Jesus who lets us sin and still forgives – does not demand life changes and Godly living. But that is NOT the Jesus of the Bible.
Once we give ourselves to Him He has the right to (like in Job) take everything from us. If he replaces it or not. He has the right. He created us – He can do that without us surrendering. Have we lost all fear of God and now only fear earth? God forbid!
This is real, and uncomfortable – But Paul offers over 513 witnessed who saw Jesus live, die and come back to life! That is enough in any court of law in the world to make a jury abandon any reasonable doubt. More than 513 witnesses who will all say the same thing.

Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
There is a famous saying the Pastor of my youth used to say: “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.”
So Paul too bears witness to the resurrection of Jesus. And He doesn’t stop there – He reminds them of His testimony. That God takes the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). It seems Paul should have been killed for killing the Jews, instead Jesus sent him to bring the salvation message and to become the hunted (instead of the hunter).

11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”
Of if it was your pastor or someone witnessing or your parents raising you in church or whatever it was that brought you to Christ and you believed. And you learned it is hard, and you came for Jesus’s love and goodness and now it is so difficult.  At least MOST of you who are reader, are not being hunted and persecuted, like Paul. Although with this global readership, some of you are in a more perilous place. 
But Paul, and Jesus for that matter, never said it was going to be easy – They said we must die to flesh, put away our wants, do His will, repent daily, be attacked by the enemy, while God puts us through trials and the fire to burn off what He did not intend for us… did you not understand that THIS IS LOVE and this IS FOR OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS AND GOOD so that we will inherit the kingdom of God. Yes – there is HOPE! But not is a false and corrupted idea of some hippy Jesus, without holiness, righteousness, judgment and fear of the Lord.

12 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? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
I struggle to understand that if this is all false, or if even part of it is false – how it had the power to change the world. Fairytales do not carry such great power. And why would there be corrupted versions running around as false Gods if this was not truth.

The timing of all of this is God himself!! (I am again, ahead on writing and in two days we celebrate Pentecost – you are reading this the day after Pentecost) So let us speak of literal today’s application. The feast of weeks (Pentecost) is 50 days after Passover and was founded back in the book of Deuteronomy. It is the ONLY feast and holiday NOT celebrated on Sabbath, but instead falls on Sunday. Jesus was killed during Passover and rose again, not on a Sabbath but on a Sunday. And even more interesting, He walked and talked and showed himself to many after his death (at least 513 that Paul pointed out in this chapter). He did this for 40 days then told them to wait in Jerusalem. They all convene in time for the Feast of Weeks also called the Feast of Firstfruits. So no one questions why so many gather together. And the Holy Spirit falls on them! (Acts 2) This is what we celebrate.

We celebrate the revelation that the last enemy is destroyed and Jesus IS the firstfruits!

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
Jesus dies and was resurrected first, and we all shall follow, like in 1 Thessalonian – the dead in Christ first, then those who are still alive.

Then Paul speaks of the great and terrible Day of the Lord – the end (which is not actually an end, but it is the end of satan’s rule, authority and power over mankind.  Death is not yet destroyed, but yet we, through the name of Jesus have authority over it to raise the dead.

24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”

Talk about some honest to goodness powerful verses – Lord, give them eyes to see and ears to hear and open their understanding! Amen!

29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?”

No – Paul is NOT saying we should baptize the dead. He is saying we are baptizing for someone who is dead – But Jesus is alive and it is in His living Name we baptize!

31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
How often am I asked where do you get the idea that we must die daily to flesh and self?
So Paul begins to explain the depth of how difficult it is to follow Jesus – first he says he dies to self daily (as he runs for his life from man who wishes to kill him too soon, he kills himself first – not suicide, but as we studied in Romans.

Dear God, I wish to die to my flesh and die to self – that I might be fully surrendered to your will! I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

That is what Paul means when he dies daily!

32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
Way too often I hear others say, you mention the enemy and evil and the spiritual batter too much. We are in war, Karen (fictitious name given). Ever present is the war and battle – are you not present in it fighting the good fight? What beasts in Ephesus is Paul referring to? Demons and principalities. Wake up Karen! Seriously!

Now, catch this – Historically, Ephesus had more temples to pagan gods than ANY other area. Corinth was close, but no place had more than Ephesus. I would LOVE to visit and see all the ruins. I have watched a lot of documentaries of people going there and even in the worst of those documentaries was amazing to see all the ruins. They had a temple in Ephesus that was built with a series of gears and gravity controlled, which when a priest poured water out to their god, it looked like their god then magically opened huge heavy doors! To the common people, unaware of gravity and gears, this must have been proof that these god were powerful and real. Their belief empowered the principalities in a sense. I know the spiritual battle raging in my life – I cannot even imagine the beasts that Paul faced there!

All of it – the self sacrifice, the hours spent talking to God and reading the scriptures when he could have been having fun, the constant running for his life and dealing with threats and demonic beasts, all of the difficulty of living a Christian life is worthless if we do not rise – are not resurrected and go to heaven.

We might as well give up. Eat, drink, be merry, and make a mess out of our lives and end up at wits end with NO comforter and NO real love (without resurrection there can’t be real love) all hope is lost.

But God is real – so Paul quickly pulls us back.

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

Paul is quite hard on these Corinthians. But it is the truth and it is because He loves us that we are told hard truths.
Here is our blessed hope – a glorified body.

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”

The problem with metaphors is we humans get lost in the leaves and do not see the tree, let alone the forest! Paul explains our current body and the one that is to come in multiple ways, not to confuse you, but to give you a few ways to look at it and understand. I think you and I understand better because we live in a world that has these things. But this was brand new to some of them in Corinth. Only the Jews who were (or were educated by) the Pharisees comprehended this concept in full. The pagans and Sadducees were learning this for the first time.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

Many believe this trumpet is the rapture – the taken away. So those who die, are buried and then outside of time they hear the trumpet and rise from the grave and are joined by the living in the air to meet Jesus (cross reference 1 Thess. 4:14-18). Some believe we each have our own moment of rapture or resurrection and go up to heaven to wait and greet our love ones when they arrive.  Neither idea is the point of this writing. The point is we are flesh under a curse and must be changed into something NOT corrupted. It will be recognizable the same, yet different.

54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Today is a hard reading. Do we have any applications to our lives, in the year 2022? Because I love you all, I must warn you – although I do believe there will be another great revival/awakening (GLORY TO GOD!) on the same hand, life is about to get really bad, difficult, and our fight with the spiritual will take a toll. We have a job to do – and all of our difficult situations have been to prepare us. I can’t lie and say that these end times will be fun and carefree – Jesus clearly states the opposite.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Glory to God! Love that last verse.

I know this is hard. But we are in a fixed fight – we win. The opponent knows it and still thinks he is clever enough to outwit God, and if not take as many of God’s precious beloved humans into eternal punishment with him.
It was this difficult message that they called the good news – not the hippy jesus who lets you sin – but the just and perfect Jesus who tells us it will be hard, but worth it. This is the message that transformed the world. This is the message that sets the captives free – free from fear and evil and addiction and all the forms of bondage. This is the message that heal broken heart, broken dreams, illnesses and all things in need to healing. This is the message that replaces a broken heart for a burdened heart to save other. That takes our loss and makes it abundant blessings to finance kingdom work. That takes broken dreams and replaces with work to do building the Kingdom of heaven. It is at hand.
And the benefits of following God are too many to count and list. His goodness and His perfect will keep us from the toils of self-destruction.

God is love – and we are wrapped in it. That is the very sum of it all. We get the joy and pleasure of having a personal relationship with a true and living God.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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