Continued Benefit

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1 Cor. 15:35-45

Our government just keeps on giving! They seem to want to raise people from the depths of their current circumstance. This was evidenced a few years ago when a letter appeared in the national news that had been sent to a deceased person by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The recipient must have been overjoyed and filled with deep gratitude at the possibility of continued benefit when he read:

Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances. (From a letter to a dead person from the Greenville County, South Carolina Department of Social Services)
(“I See What You Mean – Persuasive Business Communication” by D. Joel Whalen, p 17.)

Yes, they seem to want to raise to “incorruption” those who have been “sown in corruption.” Well, the Department of Social Services doesn’t have too good a record in raising people from the dead. However, we who know Christ as our Lord and Savior have that assurance. By following in the footsteps of the risen Lord we can walk through the darkness of the grave and into the brilliant light of resurrected life. He is the Resurrection and the Life! The Child of God truly is the one who will experience continued benefit.

by Dr. Gayle Woods

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Andrew Jackson’s Request

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1 Cor. 15:22-28 (23)

Three months before his death, president Andrew Jackson wrote a letter headed, “Hermitage, March 27, 1845” in which he said, “I have prepared an humble depository for my mortal body beside that wherein lies my beloved wife, where, without any pomp or parade, I have requested, when my God calls me to sleep with my fathers, to be laid; for both of us there to remain until the last trumpet sounds to call the dead to judgment, when we, I hope, shall rise together, clothed with that heavenly body promised to all who believe in our glorious Redeemer who died for us that we might live, and by whose atonement I hope for a blessed immortality.”

This expression of faith describes the hope of all believers. Jesus who rose first will not abandon those who commit their hearts and lives to Him. He will come again to receive us to Himself. We, like Him, will rise from the grave a resurrected, reconstituted, regenerated, redeemed reminder to the world, the flesh and the devil that Christ is triumphant! He lives and we shall live with Him throughout eternity.

(Report #57, p. 6, in “Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives, made during the Second Session of the Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1860-1861.”)

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The Present Reality

Grant MacDonald / / CC BY-NC

2 Cor. 4:7-14 (14)

In “The Body,” Chuck Colson recounts that on May 1, 1990 at Moscow’s Red Square the usual procession of military might was being paraded before the throngs of people. Tanks, missiles, and troops passed before the Communist party elite. It was a demonstration of power and self-sufficiency for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In the wake of the parade, however, surged a mass of protesters. They were crying out their chants of desperation. They wanted “Bread! . . . Freedom! . . . Truth!”

As Mikhail Gorbachev, the soviet leader watched, some Orthodox priests hoisted a massive eight-foot crucifix. Parishioners holding ropes helped to pull the cross to a vertical position. Raised about the crowd, the cross bearing our Lord “obscured the giant poster faces of Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin that provided the backdrop for Gorbachev’s reviewing stand.” Then the shout of the priests was heard above the clamor of the protestors. “Christ is risen!”

Even in the midst of persecution the risen Lord makes His presence known. He has risen and in Him we know abundant life. Because He lives we live. This wonderful truth cannot remain in chains. This wonderful truth cannot remain entombed. This wonderful truth cannot be erased from history. No matter what effort is taken to rob believers of their hope in Christ, this wonderful truth will again emerge resplendent above the unbelieving throng a victorious testimony to a historic fact and a present reality.
(Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing, p. 231.)

by Dr. Gayle Woods

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