April 14 "You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth." Psalm 71:20 "...bring me up again from the depths of the earth…" The resurrection of the dead is not just a New Testament revelation, it's also found in several places in the Old Testament. "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." Hosea 13:14 But it is the New Testament in which this subject is developed more fully. In fact, the apostle Paul stressed that if this life is all there is, then it's meaningless. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." 1 Corinthians 15:19 No, there IS resurrection of the dead, and it is for the life to come that we prepare in the life that is present. If this were all there is, we might say, "If the dead do not rise, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32). But that is not the case, not at all. This life is boot camp. In this life we learn about who God is, who we are, why we're here, where we're going, and how to get there - with our eyes fixed on the life to come which is what the present life is all about. This present life goes by like a flash, but the one to come is forever. The apostle Paul was so looking forward to it in fact, that he said he was in a conflict within his own soul - preferring to leave and go to this heaven to be with Christ, but aware of how much he was needed here by the churches he had established. "For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, WHICH IS FAR BETTER. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you." Philippians 1:23-24 Paul said that departing this life "is far better." This in itself proves there is life after death, because laying dead in a grave certainly is not "far better." And if there were no life after death, Paul would not have longed to depart. But he DID long to depart, knowing it truly IS "far better." "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8 Some say we are reincarnated after death. No, "it is appointed unto men ONCE to die..." (Hebrews 9:27). The theory of reincarnation suggests that we keep coming back until we get it right. That's a lie (one of many.) We get only ONE shot at it and then it's over and we spend eternity either in heaven or hell. We could never be reincarnated enough times to get it right. We are a fallen people, born to fallen parents, into a fallen world. The Word of God tells us that and it doesn't take much observation to recognize the truth of it. Our case was hopeless. That's why God provided the way of salvation by providing atonement for us, that whosoever accepts Jesus Christ will have his sins forgiven and enabled to go to heaven. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world THROUGH HIM might be saved. He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:16-18 This should give the believer great comfort concerning loved ones who have died. Actually, they are not dead - they are even more alive than they were on earth, because they are "present with the Lord" in a geographical place we call heaven. One can only imagine what kind of life they are experiencing. If life on earth is full of the things that make for enjoyment - music, travel, technology, the beauty of the earth, all the opportunities to do enjoyable things, how then can heaven be any less? No, it is far greater still. Heaven is not a place where one is confined to a cloud while playing a harp. That is a Satanic idea which robs people of the joyful anticipation of what is to come. If we are busy enjoying life here, how much more activity and joyful living will be experienced there! Truly, it IS "FAR BETTER." Therefore, do not fear death. It's not the end of life, it's simply relocation. Turn your life over to Jesus Christ, the one who came to be the atonement for you, confess your sins, surrender all to him, and heaven will be yours. Forever.