On September 6, 2018, Amber Guyer—an off-duty patrol officer in Dallas—entered the apartment of 26-year-old accountant Botham Jean. She later said she thought it was her own apartment and mistook Jean for a burglar, shooting and killing him.
One year later, on October 1, 2019, she was found guilty of murder. On October 2, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Botham Jean’s brother Brandt was allowed to give a victim-impact statement, and he addressed Amber Guyer directly.
The result was a beautiful Christian testimony—truly salt and light in a dark and twisted world.
“If you truly are sorry, I can speak for myself, I forgive, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.
And I don’t think anyone can say it—again I’m speaking for myself—but I love you just like anyone else.
And I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did, but I presently want the best for you.
And I wasn’t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do.
And the best would be to give your life to Christ.
I’m not going to say anything else.
I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do.
Again I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you.
I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?
“My father was a wise man and he always explained it like this,” my friend began. I had just finished sharing the way to Heaven with him, but it was clear that the philosophies of his father were deeply embedded in his mind. Unfortunately, those thoughts were not according to Divine truth.
He went on: “My father said that going to Heaven is like going to New York: there are many ways to get there, and it doesn’t really matter which one you take. As long as you sincerely follow the way you believe, it will get you there.”
“You are right,” I quickly replied, “about going to New York, but you are completely wrong about going to Heaven. The only map to Heaven, the Bible, clearly presents only one way to get there. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” John 14.6. It is not true that there are many ways and He is just one of them. Nor is it true that Jesus plus something else is the way to Heaven.
Many people have formed various opinions and suggest there are many ways to reach Heaven. However, let us not forget that Heaven is God’s home, and He is the One Who decides who may enter and who may not. The opinions, philosophies, and religious systems which people have invented are not only uselessfor reaching Heaven, they are dangerous because they are sure to end in utter failure: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” Proverbs 14.12.
Philosophy presents a form of moral respectability, but ignores God’s solemn verdict that “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3.23. Religions of human effort promise that Heaven can be attained through good works and accumulated merit, but God says otherwise: “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” Ephesians 2.8,9.
The Word of God presents Jesus Christ, and Christ alone, as the way for ruined, helpless sinners like you and me to enter into Heaven. To cleanse us from sin, He “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” Hebrews 9.26, when He “suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” 1Peter 3.18. The pouring out of His precious blood at Calvary atoned for sin and paved the way for guilty people like you and me to draw near to God. Through Jesus Christ we can be cleansed, forgiven, and made fit for His holy presence.
This way is still open, dear reader. Jesus has already entered into the Father’s house and wants you to be with Him in that place of eternal glory. To go to Heaven, you need to do nothing more than realise your hopeless condition, repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ as the One Who died for you and rose again. This is salvation by grace through faith. This is the way to Heaven. Call upon Him today.
Following any other way, however plausible it may seem, however religious it may be, or however sincerely it is pursued, only leads away from God and is guaranteed to end in “the blackness of darkness for ever” Jude 13. Allow this article, as a signpost along the highway of life, to point you to the Lord Jesus, Who says: “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” John 6.37.
Are you frightened about the state of the world at the moment? Many people find it very scary, as every day seems to bring another disaster. Murder seems to be so commonplace! On a daily basis we hear of someone else going on the rampage and killing people! Individual acts of terrorism are on the increase resulting in the tragedy of people being deprived of their loved ones by an act of violence. Events of yesterday seem so long ago as we wake up to hear of another tragic evil act being perpetrated.
I find it all very distressing and yet I, sadly, can see the inevitability of the way the world is going. The Bible teaches that conditions in society will get worse and worse as time progresses. Paul, as an old man, wrote to Timothy, a young man – ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,’ 2 Timothy 3:1-5. I think what the Bible is saying in these verses is staring us in the face. Do you recognize a description of our society?
If we reject the moral compass of the Bible then ultimately there are consequences. In effect morality becomes subjective and personal. There is no absolute standard of right and wrong. Everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes. This is not a new problem. It happened in Bible times, and many times since but every time is happens the results are disastrous. The old book says ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,’ Proverbs 14:12.
If we don’t get back to the Bible we can expect society to get worse and worse. We need to educate the next generation so that they don’t make the mistakes that we have made. The Bible says ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,’ Proverbs 22:6
I’m also glad to say that the Bible states that ‘But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,’ Romans 5:20. This means that the gospel of Jesus Christ can meet the needs of a wicked society. Forgiveness starts with the individual. The promise of scripture is still true – ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,‘ 1 John 1:9. Society will never change by enforcement but by the transforming power of God working in the each individual’s life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Are you fearful? Scripture says ‘perfect love casteth out fear,’ ‘the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’.
In the last week I have met a lot of people who are not prepared to think for themselves. They are following the current trend in our society to ‘rubbish’ belief in God and to ridicule the idea that there might be some validity to faith. If you are reading this blog you are probably not one of these people but you may come across them on a daily basis. Just remember that faith is only as good as the one in whom you trust. This is why it is so important to understand the integrity of the Bible and the historical basis of the facts stated therein.
The Bible states in Psalm 118:8 ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man’. (incidentally this is the central verse to the whole Bible when you divide it up by the number of chapters and verses – interesting and significant!). The Bible also states that it is better that your faith ‘should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God’.
Will you dare to be different? Read the word of God today (The Bible). Start in the New Testament and read the four gospels. Discover the truth concerning the Son of God (Jesus) becoming man and dying ‘for the ungodly’ (that’s all of us, as we did not know God by nature and were disobedient to Him). He (the Lord Jesus) is worthy of your trust and he died to be your Saviour. Pray to him today, search for him in prayer and in reading the Bible. Admit your guilt before God and ‘call upon the name of the Lord’ and you will be saved.
A new year brings challenges and changes. Can I remind you of some of the more important challenges we may meet in this life, and the changes we need to make to be prepared.
NEW YEAR CHALLENGES
A New Year brings fresh challenges and opportunities but life is so unpredictable! At times, the variety life brings can be very exciting but sometimes it’s a bit frightening. That flood in the house, the illness that took us by surprise! The speed of change and our helplessness can be disconcerting! As mere mortals, we cannot control our circumstances and have to try to cope with what is inevitable as well as we possibly can.
There are many situations like this in life. Illness often cannot be avoided, we are affected by what other people do, and often circumstances are out of our control. Most of the time we are quite skilful at coping but sometimes we just have to go with the flow. I am not a laid back type of person so I often wonder what it must be like to be relaxed and unaffected by changeable circumstances.
The ultimate uncontrollable event is death. It creeps up on every one of us. We may prolong life and improve the quality of our twilight years but we cannot evade death in the long term! I believe, and the Bible teaches, that there is hope in Jesus.
JESUS HAS CONTROL OVER DEATH
He is the only man who ever had control over his own death. It is recorded that Jesus brought at least three people back to life – see the accounts in the Bible in John 11, Luke 7:11-17 and Luke 8:40-56. When it came to His own death, Jesus voluntarily sacrificed His life. By this, I don’t mean only that He went the place of His execution willingly but that at His crucifixion His life did not ebb away, as it would with us. He consciously laid down His life so that we might have eternal life. Read it for yourself in the Bible, Luke 23.46. The Bible states it explicitly when it says ‘Christ died for our sins’.
THE PROFOUND MESSAGE OF CHRISTIANITY
The profound message of Christianity is this! My sinful behaviour has moral consequences. God is loving but He is also holy. His distaste of sin is such that it would be an insult to His character to allow people into His presence who have been marked by it. The dilemma is that God wants to share eternal life with His creatures but we, historically, have distanced ourselves from Him.
THE BIBLICAL SOLUTION
What is the solution according to the Bible? The Son of God became a man through a miraculous conception but a normal birth. In His life of thirty-three years, He demonstrated that He was God by His miracles and His knowledge. He proved that He was holy and flawless in character by how he lived – even his enemies stated that there were no flaws in Him. All men die because of sin but Jesus could not die as He was without sin, fault, wrong or error. His death was a voluntary payment for guilty humanity. As a result, God offers us pardon and forgiveness.
So how do you get this forgiveness? God treats His creatures as thinking individuals. He has given them the capacity to choose. The offer is still on the table. Consider, grieve about and admit your sin to God, not a religious person or organisation. Believe and depend on what the Lord Jesus has done and accept Him as your Saviour.
NEW YEAR CHANGES
I cannot describe the change that you will find when you come. It cannot be defined in words. It does not guarantee a problem-free existence. It will bring about changes in your lifestyle, not enforced change as a result of rules but changes in interests and desires for better things. It will mean your guilty status before God has been resolved. You will be saved forever.
Good news that there is hope, salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, life, glory … for all of us. Good news that we don’t have to do anything to get it, but that God is willing to freely give it to us.
Why? Because we deserve it?
Absolutely not! We are dead in our sins, separated from God our Creator, and it’s not just a passive state. We are actively enemies in our minds by wicked works, heading to a lost eternity, without hope.
‘But God … is rich in mercy’ (Eph 2:4)
There is good news for us – the Gospel.
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Roms 6:23)
God wants to bless us with the gift of salvation – eternal life – and is able to because His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, willingly took our place under the wrath of God, was wounded for our sins, and died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
That death was on the cross, where Jesus suffered, going into the darkness and the place of separation, to cry ‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’, bear the wrath and judgement of Almighty God, and then die for our sins, to rise again the third day.
Without Jesus Christ there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.
Without the cross there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.
Therefore, the Gospel that we preach and make known can be summarised in four words.
The Bible states that ‘it is appointed unto men once to die’. This most obvious of facts is among the most distressing things that we human beings face. I have a friend who committed suicide just before Christmas about ten years ago – why I can guess but I do not really know. Shortly after that one of my contacts in Liverpool found that her partner’s nephew had been found dead in his flat.
Death comes to us all but why?
The Bible tells us why. It is because of sin.
The Bible states that we die because we were born into a fallen race. The first man, Adam, brought ‘sin into the world and death by sin‘.
We also are all in the habit of sinning and the Bible states ‘sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death‘. We all sin, fail, hurt, lie, disobey etc, and therefore the moral and physical result is death.
But Jesus said ‘I am come that they might have life‘.
How can that be true? We all still die! That is true physically but when a person comes to Jesus, by confessing our sin and asking him for forgiveness, they receive eternal life. The Bible says ‘He that hath the Son hath life‘. God promises in his word, The Bible, that ‘he that cometh to me I will no wise cast out‘. The Lord Jesus said ‘come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest‘.
This is actually only possible because ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners‘. The Bible puts it like this ‘The Father (God) sent the Son (Jesus) to be the Saviour of the world’.
Amazing! God intervened to solve the human tragedy of death but His only course of action legally was for someone else to die in my place. The only person who qualified was Jesus. His death was voluntary because death had no claim on him, He could not sin, and did not, which is why death had no claim on him. The Lord Jesus willingly died to save me from eternal death in Hell and the Lake of Fire.
What about you, will you trust the one who can deliver from the ‘fear of death’?
Courtesy of http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk