A Death and Life Matter

cross in clouds

“…I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth in Me,
though he were dead,
yet shall he live:
and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.
Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26).

Before He went to the cross to die, Jesus told His followers that He is the resurrection and He is the [eternal] life. Then He told them that whoever lives and believes in Him will die also—yet they will live! This means that they will also be raised from the dead (resurrected) and will live with Him forever in Heaven. Then, when Jesus’ time came to be hung on the cross to pay for the sin of all mankind, He told those who believed in Him that He would go through with it. Afterward, He said that the heavenly Father would raise Him up from the dead and glorify Him (make Him bright, shining and magnificent, like God). Jesus could not be glorified unless and until He was resurrected. And all of His followers will also be saved, and glorified after they die, because He promised that they will be like Him.

The one main thing that makes Christianity different from other faiths is the supernatural power of the living God. And the highest demonstration of this power was Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

The only way the truthfulness of what He taught could be checked out was by Him being raised from the dead like He had promised. First He was alive—then He was crucified and buried—and then He was alive again, just like He had promised! He became known as Lord of the living and of the dead. He said “…I am…the living one…I was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:17-18).

Jesus also said that His followers would be able to live again like He did, because they believe in Him. His death on the cross, and God raising Him from the dead, were for everyone—in order that they would live for Him, not just for themselves anymore. He convinced His followers that they would be taken where He went when they died. His resurrection guaranteed the work He did on the cross.

Everything mankind lost when Adam fell, Jesus took care of on the cross. But His people only have part of what He won for them. The rest will come when we are resurrected too.

In the meantime, those who now live for Christ are eager to join Him. We groan and sigh as we wait and hope for God. When He comes back, then our bodies will be transformed to be like Jesus. We will go from being corrupt to being glorified and immortal.

True faith in Christ doesn’t come from thinking of Him raised from the dead, though. True faith only comes from thinking of Him hanging on the cross to pay the price for our sins that kept us from God. He is not only the way to eternal life—He is the eternal life we are after! This means that being “in Christ” is even more important than being raised from the dead. We who belong to Christ (symbolically) died with Him—we were buried with Him—and we will be resurrected in Him, to “newness of life.” He is the life which He gives in order to give life back to our dead souls.

Jesus’ voice commands dead souls to wake up. He has the authority to do this. His command makes those who are dead in sins become alive. They that hear His voice live. And His voice, speaking to you through His Word [the Bible] will cause you to die to sin. It will also encourage you to leave everything and follow Him.

Jesus died on the cross so that He could raise us from death in sin, which He proved by His own resurrection first. If you don’t hear the voice of Jesus, you will remain asleep and will die in your sin. Then you will never go to Heaven where He has gone.

One day a trumpet will proclaim Christ’s call to believers, like the military call to depart. This signal meant that it was time to march to another place. God is going to take us to another place to be with Him. Suddenly, in only a moment, those who have died in Him will be raised in glorified bodies, never to suffer from disease and death again. The believer’s hope in Christ is not just for the time they are here on Earth. Our hope is to be raised from this life to be personally with Jesus Christ, in order to rule and reign with Him forevermore. Then, when “Death is swallowed up in victory,” our triumph over death will be complete in every way. Let these words of Jesus Christ become a part of you: “… because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19).

If you have just read this and you would like to know more about how to be free from the bondage of sin and the assurance of life for eternity please click here.

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The Fountain of Youth

outdoor fountain

A variety of folktales about a possible “Fountain of Youth” have circulated across the world for thousands of years. Greek historian Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. wrote about a fountain supposedly in Ethiopia, with a very special kind of water which gave the people superior duration of life. A tale was also told about Alexander the Great crossing the Land of Darkness with his servant to find the spring with the power to restore youthfulness. Juan Ponce de León was searching for such a fountain back in 1513 when he was exploring Florida. Do any such fountains really exist?

There was another account of an eternal source of the water of life. It was during the time of Jesus’ ministry when He was taking the road from Judea to Galilee which went through Samaria, where Jacob’s well was located. As He made the long, hot journey that led Him near this well, He became tired. So He sent His disciples ahead to get food while He rested by Himself at the well during the hottest part of the day. Then a woman from Samaria came to draw water from the well. Jesus looked at her and said, “Give me to drink,” because He had no means to draw water from the well Himself. She looked at Jesus in disbelief and asked, “…How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9). There was great hatred then between the Samaritans and the Jews. It surprised her that Jesus did not show the anger His own nation had against the Samaritans.

Jesus replied, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water” (John 4:10). Then she said, “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?” (John 4:11-12).

The well was a very deep one indeed, not only physically, but also spiritually—deeper than anyone could have imagined. This woman did not realize that the man she was speaking directly to was Jesus. She only recognized Him as a Jew dealing with a Samaritan woman. But He was the very Savior her heart and soul had been longing for. She was trying to understand what Jesus was saying to her about living water. But she did it in her own natural way.

Jesus took this opportunity to teach the woman divine things. But what He told her figuratively, she took literally. He helped her to see her ignorance and sinfulness and need of a Savior. He showed her that the water from Jacob’s well would give very limited satisfaction. But the woman had not asked Jesus to give her living water so she could have everlasting life. She only asked Him so she would not have to come back to the well again to draw more water. Then the Lord Jesus severely reproved her current way of life, convicting her conscience.

The woman was going to drop the issue without making a decision until the Messiah comes back. Then Jesus told her, “I that speak to thee am He” (John 4:26).

She was a Samaritan, not part of Israel. Merely talking to her would have been considered a disgrace to a Jew. But this was the woman Jesus revealed Himself to more fully than He had to any of His disciples to that point.

The woman wondered what she needed to do to have eternal life. The answer was very simple: believe and receive Jesus Christ as the divine source of the eternal water of life. These waters spring up into life everlasting, through a “new birth”—the beginning of a new life. This is also referred to as being “born again,” which means beginning to live a new life of holiness for those who have lived the wrong way, or not to much purpose.

In our first biological birth, we were born in sin and were corrupt. We therefore needed to be re-created as new, sinless beings. We must be entirely different from what we were before. We can drink from Christ’s heavenly source of the “eternal water of life,” with its power of regeneration known as the new birth. It comes through this great transformation in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit, which always produces eternal life. This new birth is from Heaven, meaning believing spiritually in Jesus Christ. None of the sins in our past can keep us from being accepted by Him, if we will just humble ourselves before Him, repent of our sin, and believe in Him as the Christ—the source of the eternal water of life and the Savior of the world .

Man continues to search for the mythical “Fountain of Youth.” But even if one could be found, it cannot produce eternal life for those who drink from it.

No matter what kind of earthly waters we drink to try to extend or restore our youth or to comfort ourselves, we will still thirst again. Jesus said: “…Whosoever drinketh of…” this natural source of “… water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). Not a “fountain of youth,” but a “fountain of life” really exists. The Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well was searching in her heart for someone to save her from her sins. She found the “living water” that gave her new life. The Lord Jesus is sitting beside you right now. Why not tell Him, “…Sir, give me this water…” (John 4:15) and you will never have to thirst again—because you have found the true “fountain of life”!

Are Pieces Missing in Your Puzzle?

missing puzzle piece

Have you ever felt like your life is one big puzzle—like you were born as a thousand-piece puzzle—and each year, thousands more pieces have been added?

Even though your parents might have assembled some of this puzzle for you as you were growing up, does it seem like you have had to figure out the rest by yourself? Have you tried really hard to put your puzzle together, only to have a major event, or even a tragedy, come and break apart hundreds of the assembled pieces, like a large puzzle on a table that has been pushed partially over the edge? Or did you ever feel like someone put all of your pieces into a box abruptly, and then shelved them out of sight for several months, or even years?

Maybe you feel like you aren’t able to figure out where many of the pieces belong, and everybody you ask for help doesn’t want to be bothered. Or, even worse, they do ‘help’ by forcing pieces of your puzzle into the wrong place! Maybe it seems like someone slips in and steals the very pieces you need when you aren’t looking.

Have you reached a point in your life where you just can’t seem to find the final pieces that would make your puzzle complete? In fact, do you even know what the finished puzzle of your life is supposed to look like? Does anybody know?

closeup of incomplete puzzle

There is someone who does know you and the way your puzzle will turn out, even better than you know yourself. This ‘someone’ is God. He knew you before you were even conceived. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…” (Jeremiah 1:5), the Bible tells us. When God created human beings, it was never His intention for them to function solely on their own. God wants you to be dependent on Him. The problem often is that, knowingly or unknowingly, you left Him at some point; but He will never willingly leave you. “And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). If He ever does withdraw from you, it is only because you do not want Him. This means that you want to do it your way, or do it by yourself, instead.

missing piece of puzzle

When you look at your life as a complex puzzle that you can’t totally assemble, you are looking at it from the angle of your own strength and understanding.All of your struggles and fears or worries and confusion come from trying to solve a situation that you can’t possibly solve by yourself.

Even if you go to someone else to help solve your puzzle, you are still sidestepping God. The only way to achieve complete satisfaction—real and lasting happiness and victory over life’s situations—is to surrender your life and all of your attempts to solve this puzzle by yourself over to God.

photo puzzle missing pieces

God is the only One who knows what the picture on the puzzle of your life will look like when it is complete. When He first formed you, He did not include the final ‘missing’ pieces of your puzzle. He did this because He wants to be the One to complete your puzzle. He wants to fill that void in your heart that nothing else can fill.

No matter what you try to do on your own to make your puzzle complete, without Him, it will never work.

You might try to cut up a piece from another puzzle and force it in, or you may try to make your own pieces. Either way, improper replacements will only leave you feeling empty inside in the end. Let Him complete your puzzle in the way that He knows is best. No other way will satisfy.

If you are interested more about completing your life’s puzzle with God, click here.