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Dear Partner,

I would like to ask you to think about a date in the future. How far in the future? Well, how about fifteen billion years from today? Our finite minds tend to "lock up" when we try to think about such large numbers. Our mind is finite, but our born again spirit is not. The truth of the matter is every person born of God's Spirit will still be alive fifteen billion years from now. Even more startling to the finite mind is this: fifteen billion years will seem to be a mere "moment" compared to eternity. No matter what difficulties and struggles we are facing now on earth, living every day for Christ is what matters most. The apostle Paul said,

2 Cor 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Let's say you and I had a chance to spend a day together in fellowship fifteen billion years in the future. From that perspective, do you think it would seem important to us how big our houses were on earth, or what kind of cars we drove? Do you think we would be discussing our favorite movies, from the perspective of eternity? The only thing that would matter to us then is how we lived our lives for Christ while on planet earth. Our eternal reward is based on how surrendered we are to Him now during this brief "moment."

There is a man who lives a few doors down from me in my neighborhood whose hobby is racing stock cars. He's a pleasant enough fellow, but I know from past discussions that he doesn't know the Lord. He is forever tuning up the engine of his stock car while it sits in his driveway. I don't believe that car has a muffler on it at all. During the tune up process, he has to repeatedly rev up the engine almost to the redline of RPM's. It is LOUD! It seems that, without fail, he begins tuning up his engine just when I've decided to take a break and relax for a little while. VROOM! VROOOOOM! VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

My first reaction was typical, but totally in the flesh. You know, thoughts like "I'll tell you what. That guy has no right to disturb the peace of this neighborhood. I'm going to call the police and report him. In fact, I'll keep on reporting him until he either quits tuning up that stock car or else decides to move to another neighborhood." Perfectly normal thinking, wouldn't you agree? Well, apparently the Lord doesn't because while I was thinking about how nice it would be for him to move away to another neighborhood I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, "Perhaps if he does move to another neighborhood I will be able to find somebody there who would at least pray for the man's salvation."

Fifteen billion years from now, from heaven's perspective, will it really seem important to me how quiet my old neighborhood was? Or will it matter most to me whether that man is in heaven or hell? Will I have to hang my head in shame regarding how I lived the Christian life in front of that man? I believe the questions I'll be asking myself will be Did I pray for him? Did I witness to him? Did I love him? Did I lay down my life for Christ's sake in order that he could be saved?

Mat 16:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Every Christian believer I know wants to hear the words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant" [Mat 25:21] on the day when we stand before our Lord Jesus Christ in glory. What determines whether or not we will hear those words on that day? Notice what the apostle Paul wrote concerning the standard our faithfulness will be judged by;

Rom 2:13-16 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

We will be judged by the "law of our conscience" on the day when we stand before our Lord Jesus Christ. The conscience of a born again person is the voice of the new nature the voice by which the Holy Spirit leads us. We often refer to it as the inner witness. The voice of my flesh wanted to run that man out of the neighborhood. But the Lord spoke through the voice of my conscience to let me know His will instead. Thank God that along with the new nature we received a conscience that is able to "accuse or excuse" our actions. I pray that we all live our lives in accordance with the leadership we receive through the inner witness. Fifteen billion years from today, we'll sure be glad we did. Our eternal reward is based on it.

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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