"ABANDON SHIP! Man the lifeboats!" thundered the captain, as the ship began to sink rapidly in the mountainous waves. The furious storm had swept away all but two of the lifeboats, and the crew had rapidly drawn straws to see who would be entitled to escape.

Cold, stark fear gripped Tim's heart as he clung desperately to the rail. He had to go down with the ship. With death staring him in the face, thoughts of the past began flashing into view; just two months ago he had bidden farewell to the orphan's home and had eagerly joined the crew of this small freighter. He loved his duties as cabin boy, but mostly he loved the evening's spent in Peg Leg's cabin. Old Peg's stories of the sea thrilled him, but not nearly as much as the stories Peg read to him from his well-worn Bible.

Tears usually came to Tim's eyes as he listened to God's Word describing the wonderful home in Heaven for he had never had a real home. No tears, no sorrow, no pain, no bloody wars up there; just complete joy and happiness all the time forever! But he always shuddered when Peg read, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth it, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie," for he knew that he had told lies and had committed other sins.

"You see, Tim, we can't hide any of our secret sins from God. He sees in the dark, and even reads our minds. He says, 'All have sinned' : 'the wages of sin is death,' which means separation from God and Heaven forever. He knew that we could not get rid of the guilt of our sins, but that His SON could. He loved us so much that He gave His Son to come down to earth and die for you and me. When wicked men nailed the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, God laid the guilt of ALL your sins on Him. Jesus was your Substitute, taking the punishment that you deserved."

"But that was long ago," Tim protested. "I hadn't been born yet."

"Tim, God knows what will happen in the future just as well as He knows what has already happened in the past. 'Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.' (Isaiah 46:10). When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, God knew your name, and He laid the guilt of all the sins of your lifetime on His Son. 'And the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.' 'Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.' 'While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 5:8). The Lord Jesus died under the weight of all the sins you would ever commit."

"Then God raised Him from the dead, and He ascended back into Heaven, where He is now pleading with you. 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.' (Revelation 3:20)."

"Tim, my boy, why do you keep putting Him off? Why do you continue refusing Him entrance? Just believe that He died for you, and you will instantly receive Him into your heart as your Saviour. At that moment you will be born again, this time into God's family. The blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse you from all sin, and from then on, forever, you will be God's child, and will have His promise. 'And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.' (John 6:37). 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' (Hebrews 13:5)."

Tim's thoughts were interrupted as the last lifeboat was about to be lowered. "Hurry, Peg!" shouted the captain, who, with other brave members of the crew, had assisted the more fortunate ones aboard the small, swaying boat. "You're the last one to get aboard!"

As the freighter gave another downward lurch, a crashing wave drenched Tim. "Oh, I don't want to die!" he sobbed to himself. "I want to live!"

"And you shall!" exclaimed a voice behind him as he felt strange arms lift him up and hurl him over the rail into the descending lifeboat.

By the time he had scrambled to a sitting position the small boat was drifting on the angry waves. Looking up, he shouted, "Peg! Why did you take my place? Why did you do it?"

"Because I love you, Boy. I am dying to save you from physical death, but remember that the Lord Jesus Christ died to save you from eternal death!" In the storm the voice grew fainter. "Receive Him now, Tim, and I'll meet you in Heav.." His voice was smothered in the enveloping waves.

As the oarsmen rowed desperately to avoid being sucked into the whirlpool left in the wake of the sunken ship, Tim bowed his head and prayed through his sobs. "O God, I do believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins, and I do receive Him into my heart as my own personal Saviour right now! I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, that now I am Thy child. And I thank Thee that Peg is now safe in Heaven with Thee. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

In a lifeboat, or walking down the street, or wherever you are, the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, will come into your heart and be your own personal Saviour right now, if you will only believe that He died for you. Will you receive Him as your personal Saviour this very moment?

- Bob Gibson