by Todd Strandberg
One of the most obvious realities of our earthly existence is the fact that we will all someday depart this world. I know this is about as revealing as saying the sky is blue, but few people are mindful of the unavoidable appointment we have with death or the rapture.
The good Lord was even nice enough to put in place a biological clock to remind us of our temporal status, and people still ignore the warning signs. These wake-up calls haven't escaped my attention. At age 37, I've noticed changes in my body fat, eyesight, mental capacity, and joints. They all express one common message: "Todd, this is your half-time warning."
With our departure a certainty, you would think everyone would have an eternal retirement plan in the works. The most common reason the vast majority of the population remains spiritually lost is that most of us live solely for the here and now. It mystifies me when I have friends who reject the Gospel, preferring to cling to lives that are in a rapid state of decline.
Bible-believing Christians are not far behind the unsaved. They believe in a Heaven, but they tend to think of it as being more of a state of mind than a future destination. Heaven is an actual city with most of the same features you would find in any earthly city. Jesus said His followers would be rewarded with their own mansions, but few Christians seem to grasp the significance of this eternal blessing. For you folks who don't rent, ask yourself, when is the last time you thought of yourself as a dual property owner?
"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 unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also" (John
What really causes me to conclude that most people have failed to grasp the importance of being ready for the world to come is the type of absurd questions I find in my inbox. I've had people ask me if Heaven has odd things like booze, sports, or sex.
I'm surprised that someone hasn't asked if there are donuts in Heaven. Certainly someone out there must be dying to know if there is a Krispy Kreme on the corner of Hallelujah Street and Redeemer Boulevard. How can you have paradise without a chocolate-glazed donut with sprinkles?
The granddaddy of Heaven-related questions has to be: "Will my pet go with me in the rapture?" Usually, I tell people not to worry about their furry friends. Even if all pets are left behind and they suffer the worse fate of starving to death, I believe the owners eventually will have the option of reclaiming them. Some Christians would rather stay behind and go through the tribulation than have Fluffy or Fido get lonesome. If a person wants to ensure the continued existence of his pet, he needs to first ensure the safety of his own eternal soul.
Back in my elementary school days, I remember witnessing to my friend Scott. We were standing outside his house, and I was telling him about his need to get saved. Scott told me he didn't want to go to Heaven because he preferred to stay here and play basketball. His profound lack of common sense left me stunned.
Perilous situations have an amazing way of getting people to prioritize their lives. When a family wakes up to find their house on fire, escape is instantly their number-one objective. Even though they may have a house full of valuables, flame and choking smoke instantly cause people to realize that saving their own hides is of supreme importance. This is why you occasionally see news footage of people standing outside their burning homes in bedclothes or wrapped in blankets.
Are there donuts in Heaven? The Bible is silent regarding this question. Neither does the Good Book tell us whether pets will join us there. I seriously doubt that God has any restrictions about playing basketball in the portals of glory. The question people need to be asking themselves is: "Will I be in Heaven someday?" If you should die lost, none of these trivial issues will matter.
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26).
Knowing the Date Won't Help
I was looking through several message boards one day, and I conducted a detailed study of the boards with categories related to end-time discussion. I found that nearly all the messages posted in these types of forums were almost exclusively focused on speculation about the timing of prophetic events.
I can understand people's interest in knowing when the end times are going to begin. If the tribulation was going to kick off in July, a family might want to delay a vacation trip to Florida they had planned for that same month. The funny thing is I rarely find indications of people taking steps to get ready for the end times.
On the “End Time Ailments and Conditions” page of Rapture Ready, the first category is "newsaholic." Many individuals are compulsive consumers of prophecy-related news. What makes this condition a disease is the lack of fruits evident in people's lives. Alcoholism robs people of their health and eternal soul. “Newsaholism” robs Christians of their time and eternal
rewards. When the 911 terrorists attacked America, many prophecy buffs were very excited about the incident. The loss of life was great and the motivation was pure evil, but this day of carnage will likely only end up being a precursor of worse things to come. Because we lack the ability to see into the future, we are unable to judge the importance of events as they take place. The prophetic birth pangs that we witness should only be viewed as warning signs for us to continue getting ready.
I have an uncle who lives, breathes, eats, and dreams prophecy, but he never uses the knowledge he's gained. For a long time, I wondered why he was interested in prophecy. I finally figured out that for him, it has become an opportunity for him to escape the trials of this earthly existence. The rapture will someday indeed be a way for
believers to escape from this world, but we should not neglect our current responsibilities.
If the date for the rapture were made known, it would likely have a destructive effect on the body of Christ. The announcement would work wonders for a short time, but knowing of any long-term date would probably be harmful. If it was reported in 1900 that Jesus would not return until after the second millennium, I seriously doubt the world have seen the same level of global evangelization.
Turning Around A Battleship
The knowledge and blessings of the eternal Kingdom can't be gain over night. It has taken me 20 years of study to develop my understanding of Bible prophecy. There is no way anyone could possibly slap this site together in a few days. The process of bringing a loved one to Christ can't be a very lengthy process. You can't strong-arm people into joining the faith. Most people will rebel against an urgent appeal for them to get saved.
Most Christians seem to think that everyone in Heaven will receive the same amount of rewards. The Bible indicates that rewards are accumulated over a lifetime. A missionary who labored in the mission fields of Africa for 40 years will certainly receive a greater reward than someone who can only point to a perfect Sunday school attendance as his most noteworthy accomplishment.
For the average believer, the most common plan of action for end-time events is, “wake me when something happens.” When the world stage is active, people become interested in prophecy. When nothing new transpires, their interest drifts
I can understand people's eagerness to witness the occurrence of key prophetic events, but there is a great danger in getting what you wish for. If it were boldly announced that the rapture was going to take place a week from now, there would be little time to get ready. Once the rapture takes place, we become locked into our eternal status.
I've never met anyone who, after neglecting healthcare all of his life, was satisfied with some chronic ailment. What I normally find is the greater the affliction, the greater the level of regret. My grandfather smoked all his adult life, and he developed emphysema, which eventually killed him. I remember him being very remorseful about his poor state of health.
It is never too late to become actively involved in works that are pleasing to God. Even if you’re 90 years old, you still have time to make up for lost time. The pitiful lack of productivity in the life of the average Christian makes it very easy for a saint to distinguish
Do They Actually Believe This Stuff?
Sometimes I wonder if the people who are in the business of teaching about the Christian way of life actually believe their own words. I didn't find any shortage of enthusiasm for Christianity as a whole. I did find that there was major problem when it comes to putting words into action.
One day I was doing a survey of major Christian ministry websites, and I discovered that 85 percent of them lacked a single page with any type of salvation message. I find plenty of web pages that offered books and tapes for sale. There was also no lack of material that sang praises to the sites’
There’s no excuse for a Christian ministry to not have a page that urges people to make a decision for Christ. The act of spreading the Gospel is what defines someone as a preacher. If someone didn't know how to operate an automobile, there's no way he could claim to be a race car driver. If another person has never been to medical school, it's impossible for him to say he's a heart
I noticed some evangelists don't even have a gospel link on their websites. These people obviously must not understand the meaning of the word "evangelize." How in the world can someone call himself an evangelist if he doesn't evangelize the lost and dying world?
Christian websites are mostly a wasteland of self-centeredness. If you want instruction on Biblical truth, in most cases, you will need to first cough up $19.95 plus $4 for shipping and handling. Most sites have precious little about the Savior himself, but you will find plenty of information on His anointed servants.
You can get an excellent measure of a ministry's dedication to the Great Commission by reading their Frequently Asked Questions section. Most preachers make a mockery of the concept of a FAQ section by only listing questions that serve their own personal interests.
Pastor Creflo Dollar has all of the important topics covered on his FAQ page. This gentleman is free to post what he wants, but I don't see how he can claim to be a minister if he's totally focused on himself. Listed below are the only eight questions found on Dollar's official site:
Who is Dr. Creflo A. Dollar?
Does Dr. Creflo A. Dollar pastor any other churches?
Are you on television in my area?
Is there going to be a convention in my area?
How can I purchase your products?
How can I obtain a product catalog?
How can I join your E-mail listing?
What are your service times?
I'm surprised Dr. Dollar didn't address other important questions that his adoring fans are dying to have him answer:
What is Dr. Creflo A. Dollar's favorite color?
How did Dr. Creflo A. Dollar get to be so smart?
Is there a limit to the size of a donation made to your ministry?
Do you take credit cards?
How can I get an autographed photo of Dr. Creflo A. Dollar?
Is there a way to get all your tapes on an installment plan?
The behavior that causes me to have the most doubts about a Christian organization's level of commitment is the practice of removing free material from websites. The desire for financial gain is apparently so strong, it motivates the average Christian writer to highly limit the information he offers to the public.
The only time I delete articles from this web site is when they become outdated. Our goal is to continue to expand the site until Jesus calls us home. Because we believe in the importance of getting ready for the world to come, we keep pressing ahead.
In life, you can do a lot of things to get ready. You can get the furnace ready for winter, you can work to have your savings ready for retirement, or you can educate yourself to be able to perform the tasks required in a career field. The most important thing to get ready for is the Kingdom of God. If you're not ready for the rapture, you need to reconsider your priorities.
I can guarantee that nothing is more important than knowing your sins have been washed in the blood of Christ. Eternal redemption is very easy to accomplish. It's fully automated, with no paperwork. Unfortunately, most people neglect to take advantage of the Lord's limited offer.
You can call it salvation, deliverance, or just plain getting saved, but action is the only way to win the right to be called a child of God. Lip service and procrastination only lead to failure. No matter how well someone writes a testimony, or how skillfully a book gives an example of how to become a Christian, if people are not willing to make the commitment, the guidance is useless.
"For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation" (2 Cor