Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We Shall Be Changed

We will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye. 1 Corinthians 15:51 NIV

Sign on a church nursery door: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” As a teenager, I worked for a Nazarene church on Sunday mornings, where I was in charge of 20 to 30 babies every week. My helpers and I changed every child’s diapers multiple times. We learned that even the stinkiest substances wash off with soap. But I don’t think that kind of changing is quite what the apostle meant!

Let’s go back to Paul’s discussion: what happens when Jesus comes. “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed… But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, 57, 58 NIV

It’s been quite a year, filled with long hours, events and projects that came to fruition, accomplishments at church and work, improving the home and garden, struggling with a healthy lifestyle, and challenges in the family. Some of us lost jobs and income, lost friends in relationship changes, lost loved ones to death, lost savings or pension to the economy...

The important thing to remember, though, is to not lose heart, but give yourself fully to whatever work God calls you to do. All that labor, though it may seem foolish to a secular-minded person, is not in vain. It’s not silly to God. He values the efforts we make. Who has not assigned a task to a child or subordinate, and thought, “I could finish this in a tenth of the time it takes me to teach it.” Creator-God could speak or even think the word, and it would be accomplished, but how would we grow or learn, or value the fruits of our labors? The very acts of planning, executing, and following up, are the methods God uses to change us.

Change, whether it’s lifestyle or attitude, is difficult when we attempt it alone. Trying to be good is completely impossible! But Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV

He can do it in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye.

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