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Jaws of Death
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Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the most famous and accomplished Russian writers of the 19th century.

Early in his life, Dostoevsky underwent a virtual resurrection. He had been arrested for belonging to a group judged treasonous by Tsar Nicholas I, who, to impress upon the young parlor radicals the gravity of their errors, sentenced them to death and staged a mock execution. The conspirators were dressed in white death gowns and led to a public square, where a firing squad awaited them. Blindfolded, robed in white burial shrouds, hands bound tightly behind them, they were paraded before a gawking crowd and then tied to posts.

At the very last instant, as the order, "Ready, aim!" was heard and rifles were cocked and lifted upward, a horseman galloped up with a pre-arranged message from the tsar: he would mercifully commute their sentences to hard labor.

Never Recovered

Dostoevsky never recovered from this experience. He had peered into the jaws of death, and from that moment life became for him precious beyond all calculation. Now my life will change, he said; I shall be born again in a new form. As he boarded the convict train toward Siberia, a devout woman handed him a New Testament, the only book allowed in prison.

Believing that God had given him a second chance to fulfill his calling, Dostoevsky pored over that New Testament during his confinement. After 10 years he emerged from exile with unshakable Christian convictions, as expressed in one famous passage: "If anyone proved to me that Christ was outside the truth, then I would prefer to remain with Christ than with the truth."*

God has spared each of us an eternal death by the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. When we really internalize this amazing transaction, great things can happen in our lives...spiritually, emotionally, AND physically. May your day be filled with the incredible good news of God's plan of salvation for your personally!

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

* Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan, 1995), pp. 140-141

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