Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ten Most Dangerous American Cities

The FBI has come out with a listing of America’s most dangerous cities. Crime is overall down slightly, but these cities are still quite dangerous. The 2010 crime data shows violent crime rose in several of the largest and poorest cities in the U.S., particularly those which have been in decline for some time. Even when crime rates dropped, older urban areas still had more violent crime than other cities.

Coming in at number ten is Stockton, California, a city of about 292,047. Although the median income there is higher than the others on the infamous list, so is the jobless rate running nearly 18% at present. Stockton was rated as one of the most miserable cities to live in the country by Forbes in March, 2010.

Following Stockton was number nine which fell to Rockford, Illinois. Rockford has an unusually high violent crime rate for a city of its size. Most notably, the city has the fourth-highest rate of aggravated assault in the country. Following Rockford, at a solid number eight, was Baltimore, Maryland. “Charm City” had the eighth-highest rate of violent crime per capita in 2010 among cities with 100,000 or more residents, and the second highest east of the Mississippi. The Maryland city has some of the worst rates of dangerous offenses in the country. This includes the tenth-worst aggravated assault rate — and the fourth-worst murder rate in the country.

But at number one on the list is Flint, Michigan with a population of 109,245. The “winner” was just head of its neighbor Detroit. The number of violent crimes committed in Flint increased for all categories considered for this list between 2009 and 2010. Perhaps most notably, the number of murders in the city increased from 36 to 53. This moves the city from having the seventh-highest rate of homicide to the second-highest. The number of aggravated assaults increased from 1,529 to 1,579, a rate of 14.6 assaults per 1,000 residents, placing the city in the number one rank for rate of assaults. Some of the other notable cities that made the “loser list” were Little Rock, Ark.; St. Louis, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; New Haven, Conn.; and Oakland, Ca. So when considering the various locations, it is clear that the worst cities are spread out across the nation and not bunched up in one specific geographical location.

Given a choice, most people would either flee a city such as these or at least never considering moving themselves or their families there if there were any other choice. And there are many, because they keep their distance from places that feature high levels of violence and danger, who consider themselves relatively safe overall. The real truth is that there is no guaranteed safety anywhere in this life, or most importantly the next, outside of a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ (Romans 10:13, John 3:16).

Jesus put it as plainly as He could in Matthew 10:28-29. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The entire world is a dangerous place and getting worse as the return of Christ draws nearer by the day. A spiritually seasoned Paul told his young son in the faith, Timothy, in 2 Timothy 3:1, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” There is no place to hide from danger and the earthly and eternal results of human sin.

That reality is graphically displayed in Revelation chapter six. The passage describes a time when Jesus comes back again and the reactions of those who are not spiritually ready to face Him. Verse 15 begins, “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!'”

But there does remain an ultimate and sure “safe place” - one quickly and effectively related by the writer of Proverbs. First he spells out a simple, but wise, warning to all men regardless of where they reside and what their status in life might be. Proverbs 27:1 reminds, “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

And back in chapter eighteen of the same book, the Holy Spirit reminds all men and woman of the simple, most effective, and greatest protection plan mankind can ever experience. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

Bill Breckenridge

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Harold Camping - At It Again Already?

There is something to be said for the virtue of persistence, But that all depends on the area in which it is being exercised. For the leader of Family Radio, Harold Camping, there seems to be no limits to this virtue – whether he is wrong or not, or even taking the money from, and leading tens of thousands astray or not.

As most know even in secular circles, the famous Bible teacher, radio broadcaster, and modern day prophet had proclaimed for months that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011. He was so sure that he verbally stated, “There is no backup or contingency plan. This will happen – period.” It seem that confidence, maybe too much of it, is also one of his many virtues.

Well, if it had occurred, I, and all of the true Christians I know, would have missed it. That's because Camping believes that the modern church, and anyone who attends it, has been apostate for decades. So who is it that was supposed to accompany him on his ill-advised journey on Saturday around 6:00 p.m. EST? That is a good question – one I still am not quite sure about.

I never watch his TV show, or listen to his nationwide radio program, that is broadcast in 40 languages world-wide. But a few days before the prediction I just could not resist. I watched Mr. Camping just to see what he would be communicating to callers. Three times in ten minutes he spoke of the rapture on May 21.

At one point, a fairly scared young man called in and asked, “How can I get ready? I don’t know what to do!”. To this, the 89-year preacher of the Scriptures said, “You had better get ready and get saved.” So far so good. But then the man asked the ultimate question. “But how will I know if I am saved?” To this, the great TV communicator said simply, “You can’t. Only God knows.” Excuse me? I felt like jumping through the screen to help the poor soul whom Camping had scared to death but then offered no real concrete solution, hope, or certainty.

Over the weekend of the predicted and failed rapture, I was with a group of teens from our church on a retreat in Pennsylvania from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. On Friday night I spoke on salvation and laid it out as fully, clearly and biblically as I knew how. Of course we mentioned the Camping thing, but in the context of the real event. The following night, one of the teenage boys there who was brought by a friend from our church, asked me the same basic question as did this poor caller to Harold Camping several nights earlier on TV. Around midnight this boy, who must have been listening to me the night before asked, “How do I know if I’m saved?” Being in a semi-conscious state, I tried to give him some of the evidences of what a true believer looks like, acts like, and knows about his or her salvation.

The next morning, as the kids all headed into the barn for breakfast, I called this young man aside into a van parked outside. Within 10 minutes he had confessed Christ as personal Savior and entered the family of God forever. He had heard the call of God’s Holy Spirit at some point and responded appropriately and confidently. It was a personal thrill on numerous levels as you might well understand.

I also quickly reminded him, from Friday night’s message, of a few rather ‘key’ Bible verses he should take hold of – verses that must be ignored or not be in Mr. Camping’s Bible! After telling him to expect the adversary to bring doubts about his decision, I showed or quoted to him the following verses:

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:12-13)

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.” (1 John 3:14)

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,” (Roman 8:16-17)

“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)

Needless to say, it was the highlight of the weekend and likely the reason for all of the grief and stress leading up to getting it all off the ground. Satan had lost a soul and heaven gained one. I pray that there may have been others too who made silent professions of faith based on what we covered each night.

As for Mr. Camping, who can’t tell someone that they can know they are even saved, but does tell them to get ready since the end is coming, he has now dug in his heels for strike three! And this comes despite Jesus’ words in Mark 13:32-33. "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

His public explanation of his massive, and second, error came Monday. Camping said that he's now realized the apocalypse will come five months after May 21, the original date he predicted. He had earlier said Oct. 21 was when the globe would be consumed by a fireball. Saturday was "an invisible judgment day" in which a spiritual judgment took place, but the timing and the structure is the same as it has always been.” He said, "We've always said May 21 was the day, but we didn't understand altogether the spiritual meaning. May 21 is the day that Christ came and put the world under judgment." So strike 2 does not seem to have dimmed his pride or rocked his stunning arrogance or confidence. Maybe even more tragic are the millions who still follow him and give financial help to promote his teachings. One thing is certain. He will not be going on our church missions budget! Of course why would he want to? We are apostate!

But for the grounded Christian who knows he or she is saved, little of this should be shocking considering Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:1. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” Then couple that with the words of 2 Peter 2:1-2. “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.”

I don’t know what your Bible says, but mine tells me clearly and repeatedly in verses like Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”

And in Romans 10:13 Paul writes, “For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Predicting the exact moment of the Rapture is impossible, and trying to do so is total folly. But preparing for it, when it really does come, is not only eternally wise, but is clear, precise, and absolute!

Bill Breckenridge

Monday, May 23, 2011

You Light Up My Life

When the song You Light Up My Life topped the charts for a then record-making ten weeks back in 1977, songwriter Joe Brooks and singer Debby Boone seemed headed for musical immortality. Debby is still somewhere near there, but Grammy- and Oscar-winning Joe Brooks fell short by taking his own life in a New York City apartment on Sunday. Awaiting trial for numerous counts of rape, the 73-year old Brooks left a suicide note, put a plastic bag over his head and piped in helium. He was found by a friend with whom he was to have lunch. Brooks’ son is also facing murder charges in an unrelated case.

When Debby Boone appeared at a National Religious Broadcasters convention years ago, she said that when she sang You Light Up My Life in reality she was singing of the real light of her life, Jesus Christ. Joe Brooks evidently wrote of someone else and never made Debby’s connection to the source of Light.

It is always a matter of pain when hearing of anyone’s self-destruction, especially when this need not be. Joe Brooks needed what Debby Boone found—the One who declared in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” That is a vibrant New Testament theme reflecting the description of the deaths of both Abraham and his son Isaac who died “full of years” and “full of days” (Gen. 25:8 and 35:29 respectively). “Full” means “satisfied” or “pleasantly satiated.”

Years ago, I heard of a Christian man whose passing was described as “dying full of life.” An elderly gentleman said of his own life, “All this and heaven too.” Another declared, “If I live, I get my pension, and if I die, I go to be with Jesus. No matter what, I win.”

Christ does light up the lives of those who trust Him for forgiveness and the new birth. He is “the true Light, which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9). John 1:4-5 outlines, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” For those who do grasp His meaning, Christ promised, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Joe Brooks couldn’t face his crimes and falsely thought a suicide escape would bring relief. But life’s existence does not terminate with physical death. Christ’s salvation could have brought a precious relief from all that guilt and a new birth valid for all eternity. It is that message that believers have to share with a benighted world.

Christ said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). Since He has ascended to Heaven, we believers are lights as Paul declared in Philippians 2:15-16: “[T]hat ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God, without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life…”

Hopefully, many once-born people walking in spiritual darkness will say of Christ and of us, His representatives,

“You light up my life, You give me hope To carry on. You light up my days And fill my nights with song.”

Dave Virkler

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Migrants in Trucks and Missions in the Jungle

Ghostly images of migrants crammed into two tractor trailer trucks caught my eye in yesterday’s news. Five hundred and thirteen people grouped into stifling space and privation had paid about $7,000 each for the long haul. Many stood upright and maintained balance by holding a dangling rope.

Hoping to make it to the U.S. and a better life, they were caught in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico in the state of Chiapas on their way to the U.S. border by way of Pueblo, a larger city to the north. High resolution X-ray technology saw through the trailer sides and revealed the images of the bodies and their crunched posture.

For a number of reasons I feel compelled to comment.

First, the wrenching trials these people suffered underscore the blessings of God we have in America. From many parts of the globe, millions yearn to be here instead of there. Most of the captured migrants came from Guatemala, others from El Salvador, India, Nepal, China, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. Among them were 32 women and four children. All had shelled out their meager savings, hazarded their lives and risked deportation for just a single chance to cross the U.S. border into real or imagined economic freedom. They will return to the hopeless prospects in their homelands.

Before retiring from active broadcasting, TV news anchor Eric Severied said, “The fact is, that if all immigration barriers were lifted around the world, a huge parade would form and begin marching in our direction.” We may not be perfect in America, but we are way ahead of whoever is in second place. We are blessed here because of our biblical base.

Second, I have been in both those towns mentioned in the news. Years ago, I accompanied a Wycliffe Bible Translators tour of Chiapas mission outposts in southern Mexico with several other U.S. pastors. On our way south to Chiapas, two of us left Mexico City and traveled by bus to Pueblo for an overnight with a dear missionary who had shared Christ in that metropolitan area for many years. Then it was on to Tuxtla lighting on a dirt runway and watching peasants slave all day for a few cents.

From there, we flew to Wycliffe’s Jungle Camp buried a few miles from the Guatemalan border and finally into the deepest jungle where Phil & Mary Baer had been laboring for 15 years among the Lacandon Indians, the remotest tribe in North America. The flight had taken us across a highland ridge where a church held about 600 believers that Sunday morning. They were the fruit of years of missionary work by Marianna Slocum.

We heard her story back in Mexico City on our return trip. A missionary already, Marianna became engaged to Bill Bentley, also serving in Mexico as a missionary. They were to be married on the next furlough. Six days before the wedding, Bill died in the night from undiagnosed heart problems. At the funeral, Marianna declared, “I will go back and do the work of both of us.” And she did.

All this took place in the general area where two crammed semis attempted an expensive international human smuggling operation. Such search and thwart operations are always newsworthy for a ravenous media. The soul-saving rescue on the lonely ridges and jungle pathways of the ends of the earth seldom attract much attention, but, in the ultimate liberty in the Kingdom here and Heaven there, it is more significant for the stressed peoples of the globe. Hopefully, some on those trucks know Christ as Savior. If not, they are double losers—nothing in time and nothing in eternity.

We should be earnestly praying for the global Gospel outreach of often obscure missionaries who bear the bread of life, first for hungry souls and second of a new life better oriented toward making the best of difficult situations. And let us not forget to pray for those entrusted with immigration policy, that it is fair, just and productive.

Dave Virkler

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Schwarzenegger Admits To Adultery

The political world is always an interesting place. Last week Governor Mike Huckabee, who was the front runner in many major presidential polls despite the media rarely mentioning that he even existed, announced that he did not have peace about running again for the highest office in the land. He also boldly proclaimed on his hit show on Fox that his lack of peace came from his heart and Jesus Christ specifically. It was not at all about support, money, media or family concerns. His reputation and lifestyle is as spotless as humanly possible and his unique character, intelligence and growing popularity may well have put him over the top this time around.

Then there is the other side of politics – the down and dirty side. It is a growing side and one that takes up a far larger percentage than many of the American people would like. But perhaps this too may just be representative of who the nation’s people have become as they vote for candidates regardless of their suspect actions and moral behavior.

But this time around, it is the well-known former Hollywood super-star Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governor of California has admitted to adultery and to fathering a secret child with a housekeeper ten years ago who retired in January after 20 years of employment there. The action has led to the departure of his wife Maria Shriver after 25 years of marriage and the issue will perhaps end up with a reported plan of divorce.

The former body-building world champion stated, "I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time. I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not." California’s Governor is not unique in his tragic and immoral activity and it will likely cost him dearly - perhaps his marriage, children, position and even political future. That all remains to be seen as this story is still being publicly written.

But some 2,000 years ago there was another woman who carried within her a secret child while formally engaged to the man who would become her full-fledged husband. The problem was that he was not the physical father of this child. As a matter of fact, there was no earthly father at all in this one unique and miraculous case. This can be verified in Matthew 1:20-21. There, an angel of God declared to a very confused, hurt, irritated, but truly spiritual man.

The details of this miraculous event were recorded as follows. "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." This secret child had also been predicted in the Old Testament and made especially clear in Isaiah 9:6-7 where the prophet writes, “ For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”

Two children - born 2 millennia apart. The second, while innocent of any wrongdoing in his conception, will forever be a symbol of temptation and a vivid reminder of public temptation, sin and immorality. The first child however, the one spoken of throughout the Scriptures, was not only innocent, but literally perfect, pure, and holy and would remain so until His life’s end. That end, while being gruesome, morally wrong and fully illegal, was also a blessed plan from the foundation of the world. God’s virgin-born Son came in order to die and become the sacrifice for the sins of entire world. These would include the public sins of the rich and famous and also the ‘seemingly’ insignificant and hidden sin committed by every human ever born. (Romans 3:23, I Timothy 5:24)

Two sons - born 2 millennia apart. The second, because of being born as a sinner, will need forgiveness of the first, born as a Savior! He will simply need to admit his spiritual dilemma and then call out in faith to be redeemed from the current control of sin and its unfathomable and dire eternal consequences. (Matthew 9:43-48, 2 Peter 2:17))

The Apostle Paul summed up how it all works in just 2 verses in Colossians 1:13-14: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Bill Breckenridge

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Biblical Response to Osama’s Death

Osama bin Laden is inextricably linked to American history by his attacks, his elusive life and now by his wretched death. Some news agencies, especially Fox News, spell his name Usama, making USA three fifth’s the letters of his first name.

The assassination via swooping helicopter and then burial at sea gives new meaning to the naval term “dead in the water.” Most sensitive people view his sudden liquidation with understandable ambivalence. A mass murderer, his “just desserts” brought wild cheering in Times Square and exuberant rejoicing at other venues. However, spiritually thoughtful observers offered only muted gratitude. Here’s why.

Genesis 9:6 says, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man,” but God doesn’t rejoice in the death of the wicked, and Osama was surely that. Ezekiel 33:11 says, “…‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”

Osama was a human being for whom Christ died on the Cross. The Bible says of Christ, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour; that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9) 2 Peter 3:9 reads, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Christ rebuked swordplay at His arrest, even healing the man whose ear Peter had slashed off. Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10). Putting the Gospel account together, we find Jesus healed the servant’s ear (Luke 22:51). Matthew’s account records something else very important is said by the Lord. “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who that take the sword will perish by the sword.’” (Matt. 26:52) Osama bin Laden lived by the sword, and he died by the sword, just as the Lord said it would be.

Should Christians enjoy any satisfaction in Osama’s death? Yes, indeed.

First, Christ’s forecast of living and dying by the sword is fulfilled. Also, the God-ordained civil military retributive protectorate has done its ordained work. While individual believers are not to extend the Kingdom by military aggression, civil government is ordained by God for protective purposes.

In Romans 13, Paul outlines the purpose of civil government even calling the civil servant a “minister.” “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him who practices evil.” (Rom. 13:4) The word translated as “minister” is the Greek word “diakanos,” from which we get “deacon,” and the word means “a servant, a doer of errands.” So the civil government bearing the sword is a deacon running errands for God. And remember, this was written in the time of Roman government, secular and pagan as it was. About 13 times, this word is later used of what we would call Christian, church ministers.

There is spiritual warfare outlined in Scripture. Christian fighters sally forth equipped with helmet, body armor, footgear, shield and even the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

There are also secular servants who bear a literal sword, as Paul outlined in Rom. 13:4: “an avenger to execute wrath upon him who practices evil.” This is appropriately said about the assassination of Osama, who did indescribable evil on 9/11, bombed the USS Cole, killings in Somalia and who knows how much else. We are pleased that the U.S. military under President Obama showed some moral backbone to be an avenger. God gives civil government this delegated authority to take life in these extreme cases. And who knows how many thousands of lives have been saved by destabilizing the al Qaeda leadership? America’s action may not only have been retributive but preventive.

Perhaps all this wrath could have been avoided if there had been an Arabic translation of the Bible back in 610 AD when Mohammed had his contorted visions. They were a compilation of paganism, flimsy and sometimes faulty elements of Christian and Jewish traditions, personal preferences, and a considerable demonic intrusion. Out of all this trance-like revelatory haze came Islam, which swept across Asia and Europe and now threatens to destabilize the entire world. Thankfully, there are enough countries still generally anchored to biblical truth to resist and punish evil-doers when necessary.

Currently, many Middle East Muslims are reflecting a desire for Western political liberty, which grew out of biblical truth. If this can be enhanced by millions of Muslims coming to Christ through Christian evangelism, there is hope for a calming effect even this late in prophetic time.

Dave Virkler

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Body Is Gone But A Threat Remains?

Yes, Osama bin Laden is history! But now he is just an ugly past-tense aspect of it destined for the history books. However, the question thatnow springs up immediately is, what comes next? Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News, "They want to avenge this." And anyone who knows anything about radical Islam knows that his assessment will likely be exactly right!

Of course there is joy and a sense of justice finally being achieved relating to America’s public enemy number one for a decade. But his physical absence does not at all mean the absence of terrorist danger in America, Israel, and other select targets around the globe. If anything, this may strongly rekindle the hatred and reality of even more heinous acts of cowardice and brutality against innocent and unsuspecting citizens. Only time will tell who replaces this gruesome figure and what kind of plans he will devise to make his own name in the sick, twisted, and demonic world of terrorism.

Knowing this, the U.S. government, military, and other law officials in America are on extreme high alert, even though this will not be outwardly seen on the surface by the average person. Also, as with any potential threat, some will take it quite seriously and some will not give it a second thought, just assuming all is fine and that their odds of any real harm is minimal if not even non-existent.

Unfortunately, this identical attitude is found all too often in the spiritual realm as well. Here, the very real threat of an eternal catastrophe comes with a clear and constant warning given by the highest authority in the universe – the Creator God Himself. This particular threat has been at the highest level possible ever since the first man and woman walked the earth. Tragically, they missed God’s clear and major warning. Sin was born into the entire human race and people like bin Laden would come into existence from that moment to this very day. (Genesis 3)

The Bible clearly and repeatedly outlines the threat and consequences of human sin.(Romans 1:18, 6:23, 5:12) Nothing is kept as top secret. Everyone who can read or listen has the opportunity of grasping the clear warning of the real threat of an eternity in hell after death. But they also have readily available in Scripture the way to avoid this unthinkable end through a heart-changing experience of faith with Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:30, John 3:16)

Most people generally fear going through the painful end of their physical life, even though few will go out in such a dramatic and public fashion as did Mr. bin Laden. But what should be given their utmost attention is the ultimate and main matter spoken of by Jesus Himself in Luke 12:4-5. In His short discourse touching on fearing God at life’s end, the Savior stated these sobering words of truth surrounding life and death’s highest possible alert and fear. "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

To a growing segment of humanity, even some today in so-called Christian circles, there is a belief that there are numerous ways that will eventually get most or maybe all to a final, peaceful, and glorious resting place in heaven. But this flies directly in the face of all solid and obvious biblical teaching. For example, 1 Timothy 2:5 reveals "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Check out similar passages such as John 14:6 as well. This doctrine of salvation is not at all fuzzy, convoluted, or up for debate. The Savior, who died in our place, would not hide or confuse the way for His fallen race to take advantage of His great sacrifice!

Bin Laden made his choice, both through his grievous actions in life, and his decision of where to place his trust for his eternal destiny. He is now entrenched there forever. From this writer’s view and beliefs, he chose poorly – very poorly on both counts. For he has taken a list of unspeakable sins into the next life without having the only thing that would have gotten him eternally ‘off the hook’ so to speak, as identified in 1 John 2:1-2.

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may notsin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, JesusChrist the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins,and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

Even if terrorism is stepped up significantly in the aftermath of the emoval of this infamous terrorist leader, the odds of any one person being harmed or killed by a terrorist act remains quite small. But the odds for the event spelled out in Hebrews 9:27-28 are no less than 100% and thereby require a total spiritual readiness to the eventual threatand reality for every man and woman ever born.

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.”

Bill Breckenridge