If You Miss the First One

In trying to help build the family of God,
and putting my nose into the Bible,
what a joy when granted a new insight to share with you.

There’s another really big reason the first resurrection is better.

Lamb in NTThe first resurrection is better for reasons I’ve shared with you before  (Hebrews 11:35).  It’s double portion for the firstborn (Deuteronomy 21:17).  Only those in the first resurrection will get to be a part of the Bride of Christ.  They will be in on the ground floor of the Kingdom of God and help Jesus Christ bring along many children during the Millennium but especially during the Great White Throne Judgment.

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the fact there is a first (and better) resurrection tells you that there are more than one resurrection.  In fact, there are three major ones in the Bible.

  • The first one at Christ’s coming (Matthew 24:30-31) when the 7th trumpet blows (Revelation 11:15)
  • The second one at the end of the Millennium which starts the Great White Throne Judgment period on earth (“But the rest of the dead did not live until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5). This resurrection is also described in Revelation 20:11-12).
  • The third one when the incorrigible rebels who commit the unpardonable sin are thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:13-15). God mercifully burns them out of existence (Malachi 4:1) into ashes at the feet of the righteous—they will not suffer for eternity as the Greek philosophers and Dante falsely taught

But while writing this, it came to me that the first one is also the better resurrection because it’s

the only one

where the raised are changed from mortal to immortal and given eternal life (1 Corinthians 15).  In the second and third resurrections, people are raised back to human physical life.

So you’d think we’d all do everything it takes to make sure we’re in the first one.  Well, the spiritual reality is that God the Father alone chooses who gets to have opportunity to be in the first one (John 6:44).

watchThe Master Timer calls each one of us to have our opportunity for salvation at the time that is best for us—when we have the best shot at successfully making it.  He knows us.  He knows when is the best time for us.

Pentecost, which we observed last Sunday, reveals that only a relatively few first fruits are called now.  God is not in a frantic battle for souls with Satan before time runs out.  His plan aims for “all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

The billions of mankind who never had their opportunity for salvation will come up in the Great White Throne Judgment resurrection which won’t have Satan around trying to devour them, and the whole earth following Jesus Christ’s directions will create powerful peer pressure to follow God’s way.

door 1To me that sounds like a pretty good consolation prize!  But Isaiah 65:20 indicates that resurrection might be to live again as a human being for 100 years, and I prefer door #1.  Who wants another 100 years in the flesh even under such ideal conditions!

Well, I would if that’s what God gives me.

If you miss the first one

Then I’d definitely be thrilled to be in the second one.

Others have opined that if a person really seeks God with all his heart and trembles at God’s Word, loves His Church and is passionately trying to do the worldwide Work, then God might decide to call him now even though it wasn’t His original assessment (Isaiah 66:2).  Who knows such lofty things (Psalms 139:6)!

But praise God that if you understand what the Bible teaches about these three major resurrections, then you are undoubtedly called NOW to be a firstfruit and have the priceless “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) of being in the better first one!   Such blessing brings responsibility (1 Peter 4:17) and judgment on you now.

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OFF TO CAMP—Mary and I are driving away Monday to serve on staff again for our fifth year at Camp Hye Sierra from June 24 through July 3.  Why not treat yourself by following my camp blog at www.ucgcamps.wordpress.com

I’m With You

I remember there used to be a comedian whose signature phrase, after he sort of cranked up his face into a spaced-out zombie mode,
was to gush “I’m with you!” 
And then the horrified person would recoil with
“No, you’re not with me!”

I think the comedian’s name was Louis Nye, probably appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and though I can’t find anything on the Internet to back that up,

with youThose three words are comforting to me in the Bible

After I read articles about how to ban fear, worry, anxiety and angst from my life, and then go through a situation that causes me all those agonies, it’s comforting to read 1 Corinthians 2:3.  This is the same Apostle Paul who told Timothy that “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7).

So It’s comforting that even the spiritual giant, the Apostle Paul, could confide “I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.”

I’m sure there was many a time  when Paul would have just liked to have chucked it all and gone awol.  But he stayed with God, with His people, with His Church and with His Work no matter his fears and worries.

We know that Jesus in Gethsemane faced strong temptation to let His cup pass from Him—the bloody and excruciatingly painful scourging and crucifixion that awaited Him.  Yet, good thing for us that He was able to say “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).

I remind myself of that when I don’t naturally like ceremonies.  I want with all my heart to be with Jesus Christ, His Church, His Work and His people.

Many places of the Bible assure us we are part of the God family—we are with it!

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8, New International Version).

I want to be part of the five virgins who had their lamps trimmed with oil (the Holy Spirit) and were “ready” to go in “with Him to the wedding” (Matthew 25:10).  To the other five Jesus had to sadly reject “I do not know you” (verse 12).

May I be ready to say “I’m with you!”  And back it up by being there.

I sure don’t want to hear Him recoil “No, you’re not with me!”

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I’m No Preteen But I Am a Camper Not Too Old to Learn

I just got home from Camp Colorado 2016.
Four powerful days jammed with living together as God’s family
in a gorgeous environment.

Some wonderful messages were given to the preteens on “Guided By God’s Word.”
Here’s your chance to learn from them.

First, think about all that went into providing these particular messages to the preteens.  God directed a lot of circumstances that led to certain men who are Christians, fathers and leaders to come serve at the camp.  And each of those men were asking God to inspire them what would be the best message to present that would connect with the preteens.  Lots of preparation time guided by the Holy Spirit to be ready for the brief presentation to the camp.

Acts 2Here we are celebrating God’s Holy Day of Pentecost this Sunday, and that sounds a lot like what happened there.  God called people, rounded them up for the big event, and then inspired what He wanted to occur through His Holy Spirit.

And the question regarding both Pentecost and the camp is:

What will we learn from it?

♥  Christopher Pritchard told campers to surround themselves with those who will help them progress and grow.

flea in jarHe shared a thought-provoking lesson about how fleas put into a covered jar after a while will stop trying to jump out, even when the lid is removed.  In what ways are we holding ourselves back imprisoned and entrapped by wrong thinking?

♥  Matthew McDonald asked how many had seen the Lego Movie and he noted that when you buy Lego kits, you receive detailed instructions about how to put them together and use them. Similarly, God gives us His Bible.  And 1 John 5:3 says He expects us to keep His commandments.  We must not lean to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

♥  Oliver Hooser asked how many in the group were eight years old. That’s how old Josiah was when he became King of Judah.  Unlike his evil father, Josiah did what was right in God’s sight (2 Kings 22:12).  When the Book of the Law was discovered, when Josiah was 18, he had it read to the people and led the nation in keeping the Passover.  Mr. Hooser said campers must “find ways to listen to God.”

♥  Mark McGarvey shared the true story of Alexander Selkirk who was stranded on an island for 4-1/2 years in 1605-09. Fortunately he had taken a Bible with him and it gave him great comfort and kept up his language skills through reading and studying it.  Mr. McGarvey exhorted the campers to “make sure to read the Bible” for its patience, comfort and hope (Romans 15:4-6).  Assistant Camp Director Jay Ledbetter added that campers should read the Bible at times when they need God’s comfort and “God often inspires you to the just the part you need.”

♥  Johnny Snyder discussed with campers how to develop the talents God has given, striving to do their best with all their might (Ecclesiastes 9:10) without doing it the world’s way of selfishness, pride and unthankfulness. “There is no joy in competing for ourselves.”  He challenged campers to compete God’s way in wanting others to also achieve their best.

♥  Ryan McNeely discussed how “God is continually working with us.” He gave the example of how God continued to develop both Joseph and his brothers after they sold him into slavery but God brought Joseph to be second in command of Egypt so he could serve his family and nation.

♥  Dan Hines exhorted campers to “Always tell the truth. Honesty is always the best policy.  This is so you will be trusted and regarded as dependable.”  Proverbs 28:13 teaches that “He who covers his sins will not prosper.”

He gave the example of George Washington destroying the bark on his father’s prized cherry tree.  When George rightly said “I cannot tell a lie,” his father told him that it was far more important that his son tell the truth than a 1,000 prized trees.

Mr. Hines shared a story about how a coach was proud of his son saying the time had run out on the clock before the apparent winning basket was made—by their team.

Both fathers exemplify how much God the Father also values his sons and daughters being honest.

♥  Mark Holladay talked to the campers about friends and choosing ones who will help you be guided by God’s Word.

Yosemite Falls 2♥  I shared the story of when my wife and our two oldest kids hiked Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in the United States.  The 5.7 mile round trip is rated to take six hours.  The kids would get weary and complain but everybody made it to the top.  We would tell them:  Rest if you must but do not quit.

Thomas, already a camp leader and a chip off his Dad’s block, helped me demonstrate Jeremiah 7:23-24 that says if you are guided by God’s Word, He will call you His people—his kids—but if not, your moon walk will actually be going backward even though you think you’re going forward.

♥  Hansel New asked campers to put on their godly judgment caps.  Then he took them through two judgments in the Bible as an example of how a judgment is a decision/principle that God gives for us to apply to similar situations that come up in our lives.  Do we know how to apply the judgments to our modern challenges?

♥  Sam Sweat shared the story of Samuel and how God revealed Himself to the boy by the Word of the Lord.  When God called the third time, Samuel did what the campers must do:  “You’ve got to listen!”  Mr. Sweat humorously told campers that they must not be “licking” at the Bible but must be feeding on it.

Camp Colorado 2016 ended yesterday but these lessons we’re never too old to learn.

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Give God Something to Bless

The miracle where Jesus fed the 5,000 is the only miracle
covered by all four Gospels.
Jesus knew the crowd was going to have a hard time
finding food at the day’s end.
Jesus asked His disciples how to come up with some food.  

They knew there was no 24-hour Wal-Mart in sight!   It’s interesting that John 6 says Jesus already knew what He was going to do to solve the problem.  We should keep that in mind regarding OUR problems.  That’s why we should be praying “Thy will be done, not mine” and casting our cares upon Him.

lad loaves and fishThe disciples scrounged up a lad who had five loaves and two fishes.  What he had to offer surely seemed like famine to himself and the disciples when looking out over the crowd of probably about 15,000 counting women and children.

But the lad offered up what he had to Jesus and the rest is history of what Jesus was able to bless it into!

It’s interesting that Jesus could have just miraculously rustled up enough grub for the whole gang all by Himself.  But He chose to use the lad as supplier and His disciples as waiters.   And thank God He does His worldwide Work through frail humans—through us!

A former pastor told me something I’ve always cherished about the lesson of this miracle:  Give God something to bless.

Psalm 37 says dwell in the land, do good, feed on His faithfulness.  Nothing flashy.  Simple dailyness.

Paul said work with your hands in quiet peacefulness that you might have something to bless others.

After the crowd had eaten their fill, there were 12 baskets of food left over.  What happened to them?  Based on Malachi 3 about God blessing a giver by opening the windows of heaven and showering down blessings more than they can receive, my guess is they went to the boy.

Showered with Blessings

We’ve all heard the so true line from the hit song “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”:    “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

After going home to recover from left hip surgery, all physical therapists agreed that when I look up our steep stairs toward the wonderful hot shower up there, I must “forget about it!”  Not allowed with the no weight-bearing restrictions I’m under for the past four weeks.

So four weeks of sponge baths sitting on the toilet next to the clawfoot tub which is too steep to climb in and out of.  Get the picture?  You definitely don’t want a selfie!  No shower for four weeks!!

But recently one more adventurous therapist said I should be able to go up the stairs using the posterior-right leg ascent technique that thankfully requires no pitons and belays.

So with my wife’s and son’s strong support, what an indescribable joy to have a hot shower and wash hair today!  And weigh myself on the scales!  Down eight pounds best I could determine, just eight more to hit my 180 goal.

I don’t think I will take this blessing for granted again!  Give God thanks next time you enjoy your hot shower!

I couldn’t help feeling—not like a moose—but like aelephant spraying water filthy leathery elephant in the river spraying blasts of water all about in joyous abandon!  Except that I made sure to spray all over me!

Using Bruce the Physician

The last four days I was suffering stomach pain, keeping me awake all night unless I sat up in my wheelchair and slept only about one-fourth of the time.  Who would have expected these worst days of my recovery!  Nothing to do with my hip!

So I followed the instructions of James 5:14 and called for an elder of the church for anointing.  But no overt miracle—the pains and burps and belches continued.

But about an hour later a friend Marsha called who had been suffering the exact same problem in dealing with her knee replacement.   And her stepson Bruce, a physician, told her some over-the-counter products that gave immediate relief and then knocked it right out.

My wife bought me the same products and I’ve had a great day too!   Jesus healed but one of His disciples was Luke the Physician.

How about heading off to camp with Mary and me!

preteen campSunday through Wednesday (June 5-8) we will be serving at the 7th annual Colorado Preteen Camp near beautiful Estes Park.   There will be 49preteens from seven states (Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Indiana) coming together for teaching in Christian living on the theme “Guided by God’s Word.”

Surely the most important work any of us do is preparing the young people.  But the beauty of it is that us old people can benefit at the same time from being involved in such a four-day zone of godliness and all the fellowship and fun with kids and staff.

If interested, come experience the glorious four days with us at the blog I will be posting at http://www.ucgcamps.wordpress.com.  It’s easy to “follow” and have it come right to your email.

Broose shirt finalTo follow this blog & have it come to your email,
please click on the square grid at the top right of the masthead.

I would appreciate a comment:
The grid on the left will get you the About,
and please go to the bottom of that page.
Or email:  robertcurry6@hotmail.com

Thank you for sharing this blog with your friends & family!
Your encouragement will keep me writing & you’ll have only yourself to blame.