Daily Devotional for Wednesday July 30, 2014

The Nation has been in an Uproar Over the Botched Execution of Joseph Wood in AZ

(Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12; Leviticus 24:17; Numbers 35:16, Numbers 35:31; Deuteronomy 19:11; Proverbs 28:17)

**ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I have acquaintance who is a Muslim. His name is Muhammad. How should I approach him re: his faith?

ANSWER: Here is the bottom line. The Bible and the Qu'ran can't both be correct, like the Bible and the Book of Mormon can't both be correct. Challenge your friend to read the Bible and accept God's Word for what it is, the ONLY Truth there is! One has to be Truth, the other a lie from hell. GOD, wrote the Bible. MAN wrote the Qu'ran and the Book of Mormon. We all are free to believe what we want. That is a choice each person must make. I choose to put my faith and belief in what God says, not man. The LIE from hell is that everyone's truth will get them to Heaven, when the ONLY Truth that will get you to Heaven is in the Bible alone!!!

The nation has been in an uproar the past few days over the botched execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona. Wood was sentenced to death for the brutal murders of Debra and Eugene Dietz, his estranged girlfriend and her father, in Pima County, Arizona in 1989. Wood's execution lasted for nearly two hours, as witnesses said he gasped and snorted for much of that time before eventually dying.

This drawn-out death of Wood has prompted the governor of Arizona to order a review and drew renewed criticism of lethal injection, the main method of execution in the United States. Just months earlier, there was another botched execution in Oklahoma. It has also brought the issue of capital punishment into the news cycle, with advocates opposing the death penalty using what happened in Oklahoma and now Arizona as an opportunity to once again and try to get the 32 states where the death penalty is still in effect to outlaw it.

For me, it has been disgusting to watch people like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow decry capital punishment and use her platform (that fortunately very few watch) to advocate for banning capital punishment because it is "cruel and unusual punishment." ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? This is the same tool of satan who advocates for and cheerleads for the slaughter of innocent babies, in addition to opposing everything that God stands for! Virtually ALL of those in the media who use their platform to advocate for banning capital punishment one minute, are the same very people who support killing innocent babies the next!

I wanted to use this opportunity to share with you what the Bible says about capital punishment. Many who oppose capital punishment say it is hypocritical to be opposed to abortion and yet, support capital punishment. That is an apples and oranges argument! Abortion is the killing of an innocent life. Capital punishment is the killing of someone who is guilty of a serious crime against society. You cannot even argue the two, because one deals with an innocent life, the other deals with a guilty life.

The baby killed in the womb did nothing wrong and made no CHOICE to cause their death. The person who is put to death by the state, CHOSE to commit the heinous crime that society deemed punishable by death. Another false argument is that capital punishment is not a deterrent to others from committing the same kinds of horrible crimes. It is not supposed to be a deterrent! It is the penalty society deems appropriate for those who have CHOSEN to commit the most heinous of crimes against society.

You see, capital punishment has a very solid basis from scripture and ultimately is a decision each society must determine. One of the wonderful things about our country is that we can change laws that we feel are not acceptable. For those who disagree with capital punishment, you have the right to disagree. However, God's Word is our final authority on all matters, and you cannot ignore the Biblical predicate for capital punishment.

An argument I often hear from advocates who seek to ban the death penalty is that it could keep someone from coming to faith in Christ since they are being killed. Actually, just the opposite is true! Having ministered to many men and women on death row in multiple states over the years, I can assure you that very few people on the planet will ever hear the Gospel and have the chance to accept Christ by faith than those on death row!

Additionally, those on death row have an advantage that 99% of the people on this planet will never have. They know the exact date and time of their death! In reality, they more than virtually anyone else on the planet have no excuse if they die rejecting Christ since they not only have heard the Gospel hundreds, even thousands of times, but know that exact moment when they will take their last breath!

Back in 2002, I dealt with the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. If all accounts of what he felt in his heart in his last days on earth are correct, he rejected God and is eternally separated from Him. NOT because of his heinous and horrific crime in killing 168 innocent people, but for rejecting Jesus Christ. I was saddened to hear a pastor of a United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City across from where the Mura Federal Building once stood, say on national TV that God would never forgive Timothy McVeigh.

That is NOT what the Bible says. The fact is, ANYONE, the "whosoever" of John 3:16, that truly repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ by faith will be saved, even someone who committed such horrible crimes as Timothy McVeigh or Clayton Lockett. That does not mean they could escape the earthly punishment for their actions, but that God would forgive them of their sins if they asked Him to, just like He will forgive anyone who asks Him to. The choice he made is the same choice we all must make in this life, to have our sins washed away and accept God's gift of everlasting life by faith through faith in Jesus Christ, or reject it.

Many have trouble accepting this truth. They have trouble accepting the fact that someone like a Timothy McVeigh or a Joseph Wood could do something so heinous, yet still be eternally with God. But you see, we are ALL sinners. The Bible proclaims that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. In Ephesians chapter 2 it says "For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith... and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...not by works, so that no one can boast."

I love you and care about you so much. You see my friend, God has made a way for everyone, even Timothy McVeigh and Joseph Wood to accept Christ by faith, repent of their sins, and be born again. Even though you may not have done anything as horrible as McVeigh or Wood did, the fact is, you are still a sinner, and you will be eternally separated from God when this journey is over unless you come to know Jesus as your personal savior.

Pray for the Wood family and pray for the family of his victims. The incredible truth of the Gospel is that even those who commit the most horrific crimes can still repent and ask the Lord to forgive them. Christ loves each one of us so much He died for our sins. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, He is standing at the door of your heart today and knocking!!! It is no accident you are reading these words. I am praying that you will open your heart to Jesus and let Him in.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller