Ponce de Leon was a Spanish explorer who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to America. Later he conquered Puerto Rico for Spain and was its governor from 1510-1512. He became the European discoverer of Florida while trying to find the infamous “Fountain of Youth,” a spring whose waters supposedly had the power to restore youthful vigor.
Ponce de Leon never did discover the fountain that he hoped would reverse the aging process. However, God’s Word tells us of a far more wonderful fountain than anything the explorer could have ever dreamed of finding.
Isaiah writes, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).
The Lord said to the woman at the well, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” (John 4:14).
Have you availed yourself of the “water of life” (Revelation 21:6)?
Q. What is the significance of the serpent of brass in Numbers 21?
A. “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Numbers 21:9).
The serpent on the pole is a picture of the Lord Jesus lifted up on the cross. This is confirmed in the New Testament, where we read, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14).
The whole human race has been bitten with the sting of sin. In order for God to offer eternal life the Lord must die, because, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Brass is often, in Scripture, a picture of divine, righteous judgment. So, we read, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). And also, “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Sometimes what we do doesn’t seem like very much, or perhaps seems insignificant, but when it is done for the Lord, He will bless it.
“I cannot,” a man said to himself, “speak publicly, or do many other things in Christian service, but I can put two extra dinner plates on my table every Sunday and invite two young men who are away from home.”
He did this for more than thirty years, and became acquainted with a great number of young men. As a result of this faithful labor of love many were saved and became faithful Christians through his personal influence.
When he died he was to be buried in Andover, thirty miles distant, and because he was a well-known merchant, a special train was chartered to convey the funeral party. It was made known that any of his friends among the young men who had become Christians through his testimony would be welcomed in a special car set aside for them. One hundred and fifty packed into the car from end to end in memory of the man who preached to them the gospel of the extra dinner plate.
The following account shows the power of faith and prayer when they are linked together in our Christian life.
When Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary, first went to China, it was in a sailing vessel. Very close to the shore of cannibal islands the ship was becalmed, and it was slowly but surely drifting towards the shore. All on board knew that to be captured meant certain death.
The captain came to Mr. Taylor and begged him to pray for the help of God. “I will,” said Taylor, “provided you first set your sails to catch the breeze.” The captain declined to make himself the laughing stock of the crew and passengers by unfurling in the dead calm. Hudson Taylor said, “I will not undertake to pray for the vessel unless you will prepare the sails.” In desperation this was then ordered by the captain, and it was done.
While Hudson was engaged in prayer, there was a knock at the door of his stateroom. When asked who was there, the captain’s voice responded, “If you are still praying for wind you’d better stop for we have more wind than we can manage.”
I am the kind of person who sometimes talks too much, or says something before I think. The problem is, you just can’t take it back once it’s said. My wife is often after me to be quiet, and I am often reminded of the verse, “Study to be quiet, and to do your own business” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). I guess that’s why the following quote caught my eye: “I never was sorry of something I didn’t say.” It reminded me of what Solomon said about the matter. “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Proverbs 29:20).
This week we are all going to face frustrating situations. Let’s learn to control our tongues and think before we speak. Sometimes we need to swallow our words before we spit them out. David gave us a good motto to live by when he prayed, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord” (Psalm 19:14).
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
There are three dimensions of time in this verse:
First of all, there is the past: “The Lord’s death.”
Secondly, there is the present: “As often as ye eat..and drink…ye show the Lord’s death.”
Thirdly, there is the future: “Till He come.”
As we sit down and enjoy the Lord’s presence at the Lord’s table today, may we look back to the past with grateful thanksgiving and praise; on to the future with joyful anticipation; and in it all, worship Him now, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, when He said to the woman at the well, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23).
In an interview, a prominent Hollywood actress said she was eagerly anticipating death as this would bring her “oblivion.” I could hardly believe my ears! Why would anyone want to pass into oblivion? Are we nothing but cosmic accidents? Does nothing we say or do have any lasting meaning or value?
Perhaps some people are able to convince themselves that oblivion is something to look forward to. However, it seems that most unbelievers either entertain a vague hope of an afterlife, or they avoid thinking about it at all.
The Bible is very clear regarding life after death. The Lord told of two men who lived in this world, died, and went on to the next world. The Lord left nothing unexplained as to the reality of what comes after death. Listen to these words: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:22-23).
“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14).
Humanity feels quite proud of our highly technological age, yet products are still made which are less than perfect. Embarrassed manufacturers are often required to issue recall notices, sometimes at great expense to the company or corporation.
I was recently told of a young man who stood lost in thought as he viewed a large detailed diagram of the human body. In wonder he examined the various organs, veins, arteries, glands, muscles and bones. Then he exclaimed, “Just think, when God put it all together, it worked.”
Yes, God has made and entrusted to us a marvelous piece of equipment. Let’s use our uniquely made bodies in His service and for His eternal glory. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
It is a very precious thing that God speaks to us of the believer who has entered into death, not as being dead, but sleeping. We are all going to be awakened; everyone that sleeps in Christ is going to hear the voice of the archangel, the shout and the trumpet. It will awaken them and bring them out of those graves. It does not make any difference whether they have been there a day, a year or a thousand years. It is the Lord’s archangelic voice. Men try to limit the power of God, but it cannot be limited. Suppose a child of God passes into death in the middle of the ocean and is buried right there. Will that body be raised again? It surely will; every sleeping saint will be raised; not one will be left out—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Paul and all the rest.
Scripture never uses the term “sleep” in connection with the death of the unsaved or ungodly. No, death is never spoken of as sleep except of those who are asleep in Christ. It is asleep by, or through, Christ.