I have found this book to be consistent in its thought and riveting in its conviction - it certainly convicted me, to monitor and check my life daily, holding myself accountable. The book is based on the judgment of all believers based on their good and bad deeds, and the rewards that will be given or taken away (burned up) as a result of the way we have lived our lives.
As I read the book, I began to realize that this book has been written especially for me and about me. I began to think - how could Harlan Betz possibly know that I was and am having difficulty about these things and in these areas of my life?
It almost immediately made me want to change the way I think, speak and act towards others for fear of losing the rewards that God has planned for me to have. He has designed the material in such a way that is very easy to read and even easier to comprehend. This is no uncertainty or ambiguity in the thoughts and points brought forth that make anything unclear.
The point is repeated over and over that the life that God has designed for us to live eternally is up to us. We have a choice - what we think, say, and do, as believers will have an eternal outcome on our capacity to appreciate, enjoy and comprehend eternal joy in the presence of God Himself.
The underlying essence of this, is that, as believers, each one will enjoy eternal life to the FULLEST extent of our capacity, but each one of us will have a DIFFERENT capacity based on our rewards - and, all of the preaching, teaching, tithing and long, uninterrupted records of church attendance will not gain eternal and imperishable rewards unless the motives are right - I will gain all that God wants me to have ONLY if I totally submit to living a daily life centered on the teachings of Jesus.
The book compels one to want to ask, "How can I, as a human being, gain eternal rewards? For me, the answer is this: by living a life that pleases God - by forgiving sincerely, loving unselfishly, giving up control of myself, praying faithfully and sincerely, confessing my sins, being a witness for Christ with joy, boldness and confidence, and all of this, on a daily, consistent basis for the rest of my life - I would gauge each day of my life to be an example of Christ to and for others - not to live for myself, but to die to myself and live for Christ
The study guides and the summaries at the end of each chapter serve as a review of the chapter's thought and concepts and serve as a self-check to study and analyze one's life.
In conclusion, "SETTING THE STAGE FOR ETERNITY" should be read by every person who is concerned about their eternal destiny - those who want to change their lives and seek God's will and purpose on a daily and consistent basis for the remainder of time they have left here on earth
Charles A. Rabalais, 05/08/06