Doctrine: The Resurrection of the Dead

Author Tony Campolo tells the story of a funeral he attended for his friend Clarence when he was 16 years old. For the last 20 minutes of the sermon, the pastor preached to the open casket. He yelled at the corpse: “Clarence! Clarence!” He said it with such authority. Campolo said he wouldn’t have been surprised had there been an answer. “Clarence,” the pastor continued, “there were a lot of things we should have said to you that we never said to you. You got away too fast.”

He listed a litany of beautiful things that Clarence had done for people. When he finished, he said, “That’s it, Clarence. There’s nothing more to say. When there’s nothing more to say, there’s only one thing to say. Good night. Good night, Clarence!” He grabbed the lid of the casket and slammed it shut. Shock waves went over the congregation. As the preacher lifted his head, you could see the smile on his face. He said, “Good night, Clarence, because I know God is going to give you a good morning!” Then the choir stood and starting singing, “On that great morning, we shall rise, we shall rise.”

Recovery & Recompense

God is able recover all that belongs to you. God is powerful and able to recover you physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially, relationally, academically and even professionally. Whatever you are going through God covers you in recovering all for you. There are many instances in the Bible when God recovered belongings to individuals. God is no respecter of persons and He will recover all for you if your trust in Him. When God recovers anything for His children it is always superior than what it was before. Many of God’s children are going through issues that cause despair and heartache, but Trust that God is working all out for your good and God recovers, recoups, redeems, regains, reimburses, repays, restores and recompenses!

God recovered all that Job lost – his children, business, possessions, health, fellowship, livestock and relationships.

God recovered Naaman’s leprosy and his flesh was cleansed like that of a young boy.

God recovered Joash’s kingdom from his murderous grandmother Athaliah.

God recovered: Naomi & Ruth, The Shunammite woman, The Israelites, barren and broken individuals and God recovered each and every one of us from our lives of sin to righteousness through Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged at this very moment and proclaim, declare and decree God’s goodness in your life and his Power to Recover all! Praise the LORD Jehovah El Gemuwal- The Lord God of Recompenses!

God comes through in Covering You!

I’ll Be a Good Listener

It is perfectly natural for me to ask God questions when I am having a difficult time. But we never need to question whether God is good or not. He has a purpose in everything, especially when bringing me through any trial. Sometimes I just won’t be able to understand what possible good can come from a difficult situation. Then I can just ask God to teach me what I can learn from what I’m going through.

PRAYER

God, when I’m having a really lousy day, help me remember to ask, “Father, what are you trying to teach me in this?” Maybe if I began to ask that, my lousy days would turn into days I could actually be thankful for. So, God, help me remember to ask and to be open to your answer. Amen.

God, Who Are You?

As Christians, we believe that God has made Himself known through both natural and special revelation. Natural revelation is God revealed in nature. Natural theology is the process whereby we seek to understand this revelation in nature. For instance, arguments from nature, such as the cosmological argument, the fine-tuning argument, or even the moral argument, help us to learn some things about the nature of God and even demonstrate that life is not an accident.

This begs the question, “What can we learn about God from natural revelation?” Well, without going into detail here, by studying the philosophical and scientific arguments for God’s existence, we can see that God is a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, creator God. Yes, that’s a lot to digest. And fortunately, God has made Himself known even clearer through special revelation. We can be thankful that arguments from natural theology provide a compelling case for God’s existence, but these are also arguments that other theists like Jews and Muslims can utilize. That’s why we need special revelation to answer more precisely the question before us.

Namely, Who is God?

Scripture confirms through special revelation what we’ve already said about God through natural theology—God is a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, creator God. But special revelation seasons things up a bit by supplying more flavorful details about God. Here’s a mere sampling of what we learn about Him.

God’s Nature (or Essence) Revealed in Scripture: • God is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:24) • God is omniscient (Psalm 147:4-5) • God is omnipotent (Jeremiah 32:17; Psalm 135:6) • God is Spirit (John 4:24) • God is in a league of His own (Isaiah 46:9) • God is immortal and invisible (1 Timothy 1:17) • God is the Creator (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16) • God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6) • God is sovereign (Psalm 115:3) • God is One, yet He exists in three persons (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

God’s Character Revealed in Scripture: • God is loving (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8) • God is gracious and merciful (Jonah 4:2; Deuteronomy 4:31) • God is righteous (Psalm 11:7) • God is holy (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:16) • God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 30:18) • God is forgiving (1 John 1:9) • God is compassionate (James 5:11).

Reflection

If you had to best summarize who God is based on the biblical data we have, what would you say?

Matthew Curious: The Value of a Masterpiece

Recently, I came across a Dove soap video produced in France that reduced me to tears. In the clip, women had been asked to record all of the thoughts that they had heard about themselves throughout the day in a journal. Dove then turned the women’s thoughts into a dialogue that played out in a street café within earshot of several other tables, including the original women who wrote the words in the journals.

“You have a big chest and short legs. Some women can make that work. But, you … you’ve got no charm. You’re just fat and ordinary. Every time you smile, those baby teeth you have, they make you look like a mouse. Sit straight up so your belly doesn’t look so big.”

People overhearing the conversation were horrified to hear the way that the women spoke to one another.

“That’s so violent, what you’re saying to her! You should stop. Your words are so unkind.” Strangers interrupted the horrendous exchange.

Upon the realization that the words being played out were their own, the women who had journaled the original thoughts were mortified.

“It’s so horrifying. I hope my daughter never speaks to herself like that,” one woman marveled.

I cried my way through the video, realizing that it wasn’t just those women, I do it too. So many of us do.Over and over we devalue ourselves. But, we cannot walk into our full potential in Christ when we believe that who He created us to be falls woefully short.

But we forget! How often do we all forget our value?! How often do we believe the lies of the world instead of the words of our Creator about us? We set aside the truth that Jesus came and lived and died to prove to us our value to the God of the Heavens. Even Dove soap sees our value. Our value lies inherent in a renowned creator. Yet still, call ugly what God calls a “masterpiece.” And then, we operate out of belief of those lies and lose capacity to follow curiously.

How we minimize that ultimate price paid when we insist that more is still due to redeem our messy lives. We make Satan’s job so simple. He plants one tiny lie somewhere along the way, and we take it from there all the way to our own crippling self destruction.

We all have them; the lies we believe. Yet we try to replace them with new ideas or things that we think will cover them. But, eventually, the new thing’s façade cracks and the old lie is still there … still digging deep into our beliefs about everything. Instead of moving forward in curiosity after God, we get stuck on lies about ourselves. It matters so much that we learn to uncover the lies. Let’s name them. Let’s call them out … Let’s just STOP believing them, and replace them instead with the truth of Christ.

Matthew Undecided: Silent Signals

During my time in the Northwoods I started by completing the undecided plan on bible.com with my leader Asher.  I recommend this plan to anyone who is undecided about God.

Silent Signals

Right now, there are invisible waves swirling around your head. Television shows, radio programs, phone conversations and GPS coordinates relentlessly bombard the world around you. Most of them dissipate into the ground or pulse unnoticed into the empty darkness of space. In the midst of all that noise, you can sit outside and enjoy a quiet evening completely oblivious to the barrage. But if you flip on a radio, television or cell phone, the silence suddenly has meaning.

One of those signals swirling around your head right now is the voice of God. It’s not electronic. It can’t be measured with instruments or received by devices. Up to this point, you may not have noticed God’s voice, but it’s there.

The book of Job is a strange story in the middle of the Bible about a man who became angry with God when his life started falling apart. Job accused God of not speaking, but Job’s friend Elihu corrected Job’s perspective. “Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words? For God does speak–now one way, now another– though no one perceives it,” (Job 33:13-14 NLT).

Elihu made a wise observation. God’s always speaking, but we’re not always listening. He speaks directly and indirectly. He speaks through dreams and through people. He speaks through pain and through joy. He speaks through life and through death. He’s always speaking, and today he’s talking to you. It’s really quite simple to hear him. All you need to do is turn on the only receiver you have that will pick up his signal — your spirit.

When Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders of his time for breaking their sacred rules, he responded with this statement. “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice–the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live,” (John 5:25 NLT).

Take a look at your life. Can you recognize any circumstances God may be using to get your attention? Can you think of people God might have placed in your life to help you hear his voice? Read through the Bible passages in Job and John, and try to recognize all the ways God has been speaking that you may not have given much thought to before now.

Prayer

God, would you make your voice clear above the noise of my busy life? Help me recognize the people and events that you’re using to get my attention. Open my heart and my mind to understand these passages from the Bible.