Dash between birth and death dates
We all have a birth date and, barring being raptured, a death date. What we do with the dash between those two dates determines the course that our life takes. When our course ends, will people be able to say that there is no doubt that we were a Christian who now resides in the presence of God, or will they have to guess about our destiny. Worse yet, maybe they will be convinced that we are spending our eternity with Satan.
For the most part we determine the course that our life takes. I say for the most part because God does allow things to happen in our lives over which we have no control.
For example, Barbara and I lost our oldest son to a drunken driver. We had no control over that. I imagine that most of you have experienced difficulties in your life of which you have had no control. But, If there were no problems in life, we would never have to depend on God to help us through the circumstances that are presented to us.
Please open your bibles to (2 Timothy Chapter 4, Verses 5 to 8). Paul was charging Timothy about how to spend his course of life. Verses 5 to 8 reads – “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
So Paul compared life with that of a course. Also, you don’t need to turn there, but the writer of Hebrews said in Heb. 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
So the Bible informs us that life can also be like a race and life has a challenging course just like Paul experienced in his life. Paul experienced some good times I’m sure, but it seems to me that he experienced an inordinate amount of adversity and yet he seemed to keep his focus on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he fought satan at every turn just like God wants us to do. The Bible tells us that there is rejoicing in heaven every time a soul is saved. Wouldn’t it be something if we could witness that rejoicing just one time? No doubt we would all intensify our evangelistic efforts.
As I stated earlier, Paul endured a lot of adverse circumstances. But as I also stated earlier, we also experience adverse circumstances and they can cause us setbacks. Some setbacks may be emotional, some may be physical and some may be spiritual. When they come we don’t have to like them, but we also don’t have to just shut down, to give up on life. Yes, I know that is easy to say, but very hard to do.
An example of not giving up can be found in Britain’s Derek Redmond.
Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400 meter race, and his dream was in sight as he ran in the semifinals at Barcelona Olympics of 1992.
He was running the race of his life and was nearing the finish line when all of a sudden he felt a sharp pain go up the back of his leg. He fell face first onto the track with a torn right hamstring. As the doctors were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet and began hopping to the finish line. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, brushed aside a security guard and ran to Redmond, embracing him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father. “You don’t have to do this,” he told his weeping son. “Yes, I do,” said Derek. “Well then,” said Jim, “we’re going to finish this together.” And they did.
Fending off security men, and with the son’s head sometimes buried in his father’s shoulder, they stayed in Derek’s lane all the way to the end, as the crowd rose and clapped and wept. Derek didn’t walk away with the gold medal, but he was a winner anyway because he did His best.
From God’s perspective, winning is not based upon being number one, but we automatically win when we do our best. If you are a Christian you are already a champion and winner in the Lord’s eyes. Christians are worth everything to God.
So how should we handle our own difficult times? How can we rebound from setbacks? By praying and believing that God is with us. In the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 – 7 we are to pray about all of our circumstances. Paul says to “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The verses tell us to give our problems to God in prayer and trust that He will help us. We must never give up on God. God will be with us through our trials and tribulations.
God’s perspective on how we should run our life’s course is to keep our focus on the guidelines and rules that He has laid down for us in his Word, the Bible. When we do that we will find that the temporal, materialistic, ways of the world are controlled by satan and are in defiance of the life that God wants us to lead.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time here explaining the life that we should be living as we all know what that is. If you have any doubts about what you should be doing just let the 10 Commandments be your guide.
From satan’s world perspective, winning in life is based on how many friends you have because you conform to their way of doing and thinking which includes bragging about how big a house you have. How fancy of a car you drive. How much money you have or how you dress.
In other words, the world’s perspective is focused on temporal things, things which are materialistic and don’t last. The world believes that the more you have the happier you will be. The end result will not make you happy, but will certainly do wonders for satan who wants your focus on him, rather than on God.
So the question is, will many people actually run the course of their life and cross the finish line as un-believers because they never turned away from satan and unto God? Matthew 7:13 says “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.
The Bible is clear that after crossing the finish line many will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire with satan and his demons, while only a few will become believers and spend eternity with Jesus. That is because of what the world’s perspective teaches us in what it takes to be a winner in life and that is not conducive to giving our life to Jesus.
The Bible tells us that Christians will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. In 1 Cor 3:13 to 15 it says “Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
The verses inform us that the Christian’s salvation is not in danger of being lost when he stands before the Judgment Seat of Christ, but that he will only receive a reward for the acceptable work he did during the course of his life to fill in that dash between the day we were born and the day we die, or are raptured.
The un-believer will not be so blessed. Rev. 20:11 to 14 says the un-believer will stand before the “White throne of Judgment”. At that time, the Lord Jesus will have no choice but to condemn the un-believer to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
So why wouldn’t we live our lives for God and follow His will? He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross to save us from our sins! The undeserved love that He showed us should motivate us to run life’s race as a Christian and with all of our hearts and not as the world’s perspective would have us do!
I would like to share with you the following story about Steve!
There was a Professor of Religion named Dr Christianson, who taught at a small college in the western United States. Dr Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his freshman year, regardless of his or her major.
Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.
This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor's class.
One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.
"How many push-ups can you do?" Steve said, "I do about 200 every night. 200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"
Steve replied, "I don't know.... I've never done 300 at a time." "Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson. "Well, I can try," said Steve. "Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor. Steve said, "Well... I think I can...yeah, I can do it". Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind."
Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No, these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class. Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?" Cynthia said, "Yes." Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?" "Steve said sure and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.
Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?" Joe said, "Yes." Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut. Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When the professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?" Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?" Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them." Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then." Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?" With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups. Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!" Dr. Christianson said, "Look!, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?" Sternly, Jenny said, "No." Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten....Jenny got a donut. By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.
Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.
Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely. Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.
Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set. Steve asked Dr Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?" Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want." And Dr. Christianson went on.
A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"
Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come." Professor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?" Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut" Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"
Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he said, "give me a donut." Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can i have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down. Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room. The very last two students in the room were two young women. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"
Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."
Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?" Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda. Then Dr Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?" Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson, why can't I help him?" Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it alone, I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes." "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?" As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor. Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said. "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, 'into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten."
Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. "Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding "Not all sermons are preached in words." Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He spared not only His Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all, for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us, the price has been paid." Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?"
To sum up, if you leave that donut on the desk and do not become a Christian, you have no hope. You will continue to belong to satan and your destination when you conclude your life’s course will be down the broad road to the finish line is what the Bible calls the Lake of Fire. So, let the dash between your birth and death dates be God centered, not satan centered. In the story, Steve suffered somewhat for his fellow students, but that was nothing compared with the suffering and death that Jesus endured as a substitute for us. We deserved to endure that suffering, not Jesus.
If you have never accepted what Jesus did for you on that cross, then show your appreciation now and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Make that dash between your birth and death dates mean something. Let it be Christ centered, beginning now! Don’t leave your donut on the desk! I would like to encourage you to give your life to the Lord today.
IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A CHILD OF GOD PRAY THE FOLLOWING PRAYER, OR SOMETHING LIKE IT. GOD WILL SAVE YOU WHEREVER YOU ARE. YOU COULD BE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD, SITTING IN YOUR HOUSE, WALKING, ETC. THE LOCATION DOESN’T MATTER TO GOD:
Dear Lord Jesus. I come to you confessing that I am a sinner. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and that you arose from the grave. I now repent and ask you to forgive me of my sins and to save my soul. Amen.
P.S. Please let us know if you have any questions, or comments, or have decided to accept Jesus. Just e-mail us using the Contact Form or by leaving a comment in the Guestbook. It will bless us greatly.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
John 3:36 says “He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son
shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth
John 10:9 says I am the door; by me if any man
enter in, he shall be saved.
Rev. 3:20 says behold, I stand at the door, and
knock; if any man hears my voice, and opens
the door, I will come in to him, and will sup
with him, and he with me.
Matt 10:32 says whosoever shall confess
Me before men, him will I confess also
before my Father which is in heaven.
But whosoever shall deny Me before
men, him will I also deny before my Father
which is in heaven
In John 10:27 Jesus said “My sheep hear
my voice, and I know them, and they follow
me; And I give unto them eternal life; and
they shall never perish, neither shall any man
pluck them out of my hand. My Father,
which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my
Romans 8:16,17 says - We are made heirs of
God and thus are able to share in His glory.
2 Corinthians 5:17 states that “Therefore, if
anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old
things have passed away. Behold, all things
have become new”.
In Matthew 7:13, Jesus said:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide
is the gate and broad is the road that leads to
destruction, and many enter through it. But
small is the gate and narrow is the road that
leads to life, and only a few find it”.
We must take the step of asking for forgiveness,
because according to the Scriptures, It is impossible
for God to allow sin into heaven. Despite, as
I shared earlier in John 3:16, that God showed
how much he loved us by sending his only
begotten Son to die for us on that cross.
Despite all of this, God is still holy and just and he
cannot look upon sin, or accept sin into heaven.
I can assure you that we don’t want to
experience the judgment of God for James 2:13
tells us that “His judgment is without mercy”.
So, some reasonable questions at this point might
be: One, how can we escape God’s judgment? And
two, how can a sinful person enter heaven when,
as I’ve already shared, we are all sinners, and
God does not allow sin into heaven.
The good news is that the Bible gives us a clear
answer to those questions, but first let me ask
you a question. If you were driving down the
road and someone asked you to turn, what would
he or she be asking you to do? Basically,
We need to TURN, change direction, repent from
our sins and self. We are only on this world for a very
brief period of time, probably not even a blink of the
eye as far as eternity goes. So, as I shared earlier,
we need to turn off of the broad road that leads to
destruction and turn onto the narrow road that
leads to life.
And we need to pay heed to the words of Luke 13:3
which state “But unless you repent you will all
We won’t perish if we put our trust in Christ only.
For in 1 Corinthians 15:3 The Scriptures tell us
that “Christ died for our sins; and that He was
buried, and that He rose again the third day”.
God could, but does not, impose His will on any
of us. We can choose the road that we want to
travel. Either the broad road that leads to
destruction which the Bible calls the lake of fire
where there will be much anguish and gnashing
of teeth. And, where we will remember forever the
times that we rejected the opportunity to accept
Jesus as our personal Saviour. Or, thankfully,
we can choose that narrow road that leads to
eternal life in heaven.
We know that to be true because In John 10:10,
Jesus said - “I have come that they may have
life, and that they may have it more Abundantly”.
And that life continues on into the hereafter.
Because beginning In John 14:2, Jesus said “In
my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were
not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a
place for you”. “And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come again and receive you to
Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”.
I have been sharing with you how a person
can have God’s forgiveness, heaven and
eternal life, and Jesus as personal Savior and
Lord. You can go to bed tonight secure in
the knowledge of where you will spend eternity.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 "For where two
or three are gathered together in My name,
I am there in the midst of them. Knowing
that Jesus is in your presence, are you willing
to accept the free gift of salvation he is offering?
If you don’t feel yourself being chastised by the
Holy Spirit when you sin, you need to be saved!
Matthew 12:31-32 says
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and
blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the
blasphemy against the Spirit will not be
forgiven men”. Anyone who speaks a word
against the Son of man, it will be forgiven
him, but whoever speaks against the Holy
Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in
this age or in the age to come. Thus the
fatal sin is the denial of the Holy Spirit’s
testimony to Jesus as Savior and Lord and
results ultimately in rejection of the Son of God.
And Revelation 3:19 says “As many as
I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore,
And in Romans 10:10, the Bible states “For
with the heart one believes unto righteousness,
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Jesus spoke of heavenly life as eternal time of
Joy, celebration, and fellowship with
God (Matt. 26:29).
Cor. 5:5 says - the Holy Spirit is the
pledge of the believer’s participation in Heaven.
FAITH is the basis for the Bible and is the only
key to Heaven. Saving faith is trusting Christ alone
for our eternal salvation and accepting Him
completely as Ruler of Our lives.
If we will do that, 2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we
walk by FAITH, not by sight”. This is true
because we were not present thousands of years
ago to witness the actual events that are recorded
in the Bible so it is by faith that we believe they
occurred. And it is by faith that we believe the
biblical prophesies about the future will become true.
We have a sound basis for that belief because
there have been some 2000 specific prophesies in
the Old Testament alone that have been fulfilled
exactly to the letter and many of those can be
verified by anyone who has a good encyclopedia..
Not one prophesy has been proven false, not one.
Since it is impossible for any single person, or
group of people, to predict the future that accurately,
that alone should give us faith that
the Bible is truly supernaturally inspired and is
the written word of God. Therefore, if we can agree
that the Bible is the written word of God, it would
be wise to believe the Bible when it tells us that we
cannot have eternal life and heaven without
God’s forgiveness, and that it is up to each
of us individually to take action to obtain that
forgiveness. Note only: how about New Testament
prophesies and bible codes.
And in Matthew 7:21 Jesus said “Not everyone
who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the
kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will
of my Father in heaven
So, contrary to what seems to be public opinion
that most of us are OK in God’s eyes because
we are not bad people, Matthew 7:13 and 7:21 leads
me to believe that many of us are not OK and will
not enter heaven. Some will not enter because they
do not know what is required to obtain salvation, and
others will know what is required for entry, but
will simply refuse to abide by God’s will, and
command to ask Jesus for forgiveness
I can assure you that we don’t want to
experience the judgment of God for James 2:13
tells us that “His judgment is without mercy”.
So, with all of the guidance available to us in
the Bible, how dare we blame God for rejecting
us if we reject his direction to repent and
accept His Son as our Saviour.
Instead, my desire is that as many people as
possible understand what is required to obtain
eternal and abundant life in heaven which
begins here on earth the moment we accept
Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour
My desire is that no one will hear the Words of
Jesus which are recorded In Matthew 7:23,
when he will say on the Day of judgment to
those who have not accepted him the
words “And then I will declare to them,
I never knew you; depart from Me!
John 3:16 tells us
“For God so loved the world that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.
The key words in that verse are “whosoever
believes in him should not perish”. Note that
the verse does not say “all should not perish, but
rather whosoever believes in him should not
perish. That is a very important distinction because
while God’s forgiveness is available for everyone,
it is not automatic, which is contrary to what
many people seem to believe.
According to some recent polls, most people
see themselves as being acceptable to God
because they don’t see themselves as being
bad people. And I must admit that prior to my
personally accepting Christ as my Savior, I would
have answered in that same manner. You see, I
didn’t see myself as being any worse than others
around me, so surely if they were going
to Heaven, then why shouldn’t I? The problem
with that thinking, of course, is who said the others
were going to Heaven either?
My prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit is
tugging at your very being with the message
that you need to set it right with God, and
right now before it is too late.
You see, the decision you make today may very
well determine where you will spend eternity.
For 2 Corinthians 6:2, tells us that we must
make our decision in a time accepted by God.
This means that we shouldn’t make the
mistake of thinking that the decision can
be made in our own time. There is a point
where we are no longer able to accept
prompting from the Holy Spirit. This can
happen when we reject the offer of salvation
one to many times, and unfortunately, it is
not possible to know how many times are
available to any one of us. It is possible that
our first opportunity may be our last. We
must make the decision to accept Jesus as
Saviour before we pass on from this world
and before the Holy Spirit gives up on us.
Since none of us are guaranteed even our
next heartbeat it is important that we
make a decision now.
In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said “you are either
for Me, or against Me”. In other words
Jesus does not allow a middle ground, or
straddling the fence. To refuse to make a
personal decision to accept Jesus, by default,
means that you are deciding to stay with
your sin nature and are rejecting the free
gift of salvation that Jesus is offering you.
I don’t want to see you continue down
that path to an eternal destiny of which
the Bible calls a “Lake of Fire” in which
there will be much weeping and gnashing