The Voice - Part 20

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From Part 19

Lance struggled to process it all. “Barto – I mean Thompson, will Peter ever be able to re-enter this time period? If he were jailed here in Lafayette, at least his mother could visit him. Could she travel to your time to see him? I know it’s going to be very hard for her.”

“No, once he enters, there’s no coming back. And after he enters the time portal will be destroyed from the other side. It’s served its purpose, and there’s too much risk to let it open. Peter got bumped into the future. He was a fortunate one. Most often, someone entering without the knowledge of how these portals work would be lost forever in time. I wish I could give you a different answer, but I can’t.

“Well, if there are no more questions II need to be going. Oh, and Lance, I’m sorry for my crude behavior at the airport. Just part of my cover, you know.”

The group was dismissed. Lance knew it would be a long night. He began to ponder the new information as he discussed it with himself. “Roger McClanahan – Alex Barto – Ronald Thompson –FBI agent? I guess he was telling me the truth. What a way to throw me off track! Peter permanently entering the future, with no visits from Margie? I just told her last night he couldn’t be legally prosecuted. What’s next?”

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Continuing

He knew what was next. He had to go explain all this to Margie as best he could, but he certainly wasn’t looking forward to it. "Just when my relationship with Margie was growing, now this takes place," he thought to himself. He needed to think through possible scenarios to stay one step ahead. He needed to anticipate her every reaction. By 5:15 he was making the turn on to Dawson Street.

Margie was casually sitting on the porch as Lance pulled up. “Hi Lance! I’m glad to see you. It may not be Sebastian’s, but supper will be ready in about ten minutes. Interested?”

“Yeah, sure.” Although he was trying to respond as casually as she was sitting, Margie could see through his façade. She knew Lance all too well, and Lance always did such a poor job of hiding his true feelings and purposes.

“No, Lance. Supper can wait. Let’s talk.”

“We will – after supper. I just want to enjoy these few minutes, then I need to get back to work.” While Margie finished the last minute meal preparation, Lance was going over his pre-planned speech in his mind. He also whispered a quick prayer for the right words to come . . . .

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. . . “Margie, the meal was wonderful – and yes, it was as good as Sebastian’s.” Margie doubted that, but allowed Lance to continue.. “I just want to tell you again how impressed I am with how you’ve handled this whole mess over the last thirteen years. You’ve seen your son be railroaded off to juvenile prison. You’ve suffered through a serious attack on him as he was almost murdered. Then you find out that your innocent son is busy committing murders in the future. You’ve stayed so strong through it all. I admire you for that.”

Margie had heard enough introductory remarks. “Lance, come clean. What’s going on?”

“They have found a way to get Peter off the streets, and stop the killings. I can only hope you will continue to be as strong as you’ve shown over the years.”

“Lance, get to it! I can handle it, really. Now what’s going on?”

“Okay, but you have to promise not to share this information with anyone...”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, and especially not with Peter. I think I’ve proven you can trust me. I promise not to share this with anyone, especially Peter. Now, for the third time, what’s going on?”

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Lance began to rehearse the details of the late afternoon meeting. It was obvious Margie was shaken, but held on to her promise to handle it. “And when, Lance, when do we expect this plan to take place?”

“Friday night.”

“This Friday night? And after that I will never see my son again? Detective, there must be another way.”

Lance felt his heart drop. He had just been demoted from personal friend to a generic detective. He felt as if he had let her down. This was an outcome that was never expected by anybody, not even Chief, but it had to be. Lance had no say in the matter. It had already been determined before the meeting ever took place. This Friday night will be the night.

Margie allowed herself the luxury of crying freely. She held nothing back. Lance tried his best, but he also gave in to the pull of tears in an extremely emotional moment. He wanted to hold Margie close and comfort her, but he knew this wasn’t the time. She needed to grieve her soon to be loss in her own way.

Lance excused himself and left her with these words – “I’m here for you.” He pulled the door shut behind and headed for the cruiser.

Margie followed just steps behind. “Lance, don’t go! Don’t go! I need you.” It was time to hold her close and comfort her. “Come back in, please!”

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Just as they sat down Peter came through the door. He could tell his mother had been crying. Lance sat with his head down. Half jokingly, and half seriously, and all prophetically, Peter looked in Lance’s direction. “You better not make my mother cry. Take good care of her. After all I may not always be around.”

Lance looked up into Peter’s eyes. “I will, Peter. I definitely will. Can you sit with us for a few minutes?”

“Yeah, I guess so. What’s up?”

“Peter, let me ask you a question. If God were to stand before you right now and ask you why He should let you into Heaven, what would you tell Him?”

“Oh, I get it. You guys were talking religion. You mean, she’s gotten to you. Wow! I would have never expected that one.”

“No, Peter. God Himself has gotten a hold of me. He’s changed my life. He’s changed your mother’s life. He wants to change yours.

“Listen Peter, I have never counted each and every one, but I am told that there are over 2,000 different religions, cults, and sects in the world. That is a lot of spiritual beliefs floating around on planet Earth. Someone once explained to me that religion is like a bicycle wheel. There are many spokes that lead to the same hub. They would say that there are many religions that lead to the same God.

“Where does that put true Christianity? I know I am going to sound narrow-minded, but then isn't the way narrow? First of all Peter, true Christianity is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with the One true God. That being said, out of all the world religions none agree completely. with another. Some would teach reincarnation. Some would teach purgatory exists. Some would teach we only get one chance to get it right.

“Others teach there is a burning, fiery Hell. Some would teach that Hell is here on earth. Others would disregard Hell completely in the afterlife.

“Some would teach that Jesus Christ was a great prophet. Others would say He is God in the flesh. Others would declare Him to be a created angel. Some just a man.

“Peter, all of these "spokes" supposedly, lead to the same truth, but they all can’t be right as they differ one from another. I have heard it said many times that it doesn’t matter what you believe, just as long as you believe. Or put another way, what one believes is truth for him. But Peter, truth and belief are two different things. Sadly, it doesn’t matter what we may choose to believe. The Truth stands in and of and by itself regardless of what we believe.

“Think about this. Two plus two has always equaled four - and it always will. We may choose to believe it equals five, 12, or 150, but what we believe doesn’t matter and will never change the facts. Neither will what we believe about religion change what is really true. Whether in the field of mathematics or religion, the principle always applies. Some would say that is comparing apples and oranges. No, that is just using some old-fashioned logic. Besides two apples plus two apples equals four apples and two oranges plus two oranges equals four oranges. We're foolish and prideful to think we can form our own truth. Truth is more powerful than you and I.

“So here's the problem. If these more than 2,000 religions all claim to be true, but yet they are contradictory in their teaching, how are we to know which one is really true? The fact is that only one or none of the thousands of religions can be true. All regions do not lead to truth. Yet to accept the truth we must forget preconceptions, personal beliefs, and/or philosophies. The truth can only be uncovered by those who are willing to face it honestly. Are you willing to face it honestly, Peter?”

“Keep going, Lance. You’re actually making some sense. I’ve never heard it put that way before.”

“There must be something unique about the truth to make it stand out from error. If only one religion can be true, then we must know which one, and if we know which one, then we must follow it.

“Now, let’s look at some other things. Remember Christianity is not a religion, but claims to be a relationship between the God of the Universe and His creation. Is there a way to measure truth? To the open minded, I believe there is. To those who have already closed their minds to the truth, probably not.

“If only one religion is the truth, there must be something to distinguish it from all other 1,999 religions. There are at least five ways Christianity distinguishes itself. The first thing that causes Christianity to stand out from the rest is its holy book, the Bible. We are told in II Timothy 3:16 that ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God." II Peter 1:21 goes on to say, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."’

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“The Bible claims itself that it was delivered by God Himself to His people. It was not a mere book written by man, but was directed by God to man. No other book makes this claim. It was not given by Charles Russell, Joseph Smith, or any other human being, but by and only by God Himself.

“Think about the makeup of the Bible. That in itself is miraculous. It’s infallible - history, archaeology, and true science all back up the Bible as truth. The Scriptures are in complete harmony with each other. The Bible is a volume made up of 66 separate books written by 40 different human authors over a period of 1,500 years, on three different continents, yet without error. Peter, what about Its prophecy? Of the over 300 Messianic prophecies in the Bible, 100% has been fulfilled. No other holy book has ever come close to 100% fulfillment.

“The second thing that distinguishes Christianity from the other religions of the world is its founder. Christianity is the only religion that claims God Himself as the founder. Christianity surrounds the life and teachings of “Jesus Christ. No one can deny this. It is also clear Biblical teaching that Jesus Christ the Son, is equal to God the Father. Jesus predicted and fulfilled His death and resurrection. No one else could do that It was an act that validated His claim to be God. “Christianity beings and ends with Christ. No other religion claims to be founded by God Himself.”

Peter was starting to think. “Is there more?”

“Oh, absolutely. The message of the Bible, both Old and New Testament, centers around the cross of Christ. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 9:22, "...without shedding of blood is no remission. This is the primary difference between Christianity and the other 2,000 religions of the world. It was Christ, Emmanuel, God in the flesh ,who purchased our redemption on the cross as He bled and died for mankind.

Our ability to have a relationship with the God of Heaven is based solely on the work of Christ. On the other hand, every other religion becomes a matter of man trying to work his way to God. According to religion, salvation depends on man's doing. Christianity depends completely on what God already did for us. In short, religion is a matter of man's ability to earn God's favor. Christianity is a matter of what God did to reach man.

“Check it out, Peter. There is absolutely no other religion where the founder has laid down his life for his followers to provide salvation. It is the cross that separates Christianity from all other religion. It was the difference of God's great love versus our great sin. God proved His love by pointing to the cross.

“Christianity is the only religion with a supernatural holy book. Christianity is the only religion where God Himself claims to be the founder. Christianity is the only religion where the founder sacrifices himself for his followers.

“Christianity is also the only religion where the founder sacrifices himself for his followers and then resurrects Himself. Simon Greenleaf, a Harvard law professor, set out to disprove the resurrection. What he found was that there was more than enough circumstantial evidence in Scripture alone to prove in a court of law today that Christ actually did rise from the dead. That just shows the uniqueness of Christianity.

“Consider Acts 1:3,’To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.’ Eye witnesses of the resurrection abounded. There was Mary, and the Disciples. Jesus was seen by over 500 people at once. We have the fact of the empty tomb which was guarded with the life of the Roman guards. Perhaps the best testimony to resurrection was the changed lives of the apostles.

“Peter is the perfect example – no, not you!. Before the crucifixion Peter denied the Lord three times, fearful for his own life. After the resurrection he was transformed into one of the most powerful preachers that ever lived. What about Paul? Constantly harassing and persecuting Christians, his encounter with the resurrected Lord changed the Gentile world forever. No other religious founder ever conquered death by resurrection.

“Jesus Christ is what makes the difference. He claims to be the only way of salvation for mankind. His claim to be God in the flesh is the focal point of the Christian holy book, the Bible. He is the founder of Christianity unlike any other religious leader. He sacrificed Himself for His followers and then conquered death by His own resurrection. Out of 2,000 differing religions, only one can be true. Christianity stands above all others. That is the greatness of God.

“He has revealed Himself to me. He’s revealed Himself to your mother. Oh, and Peter, he just revealed Himself to you. The question is what are you going to do about it? You can reject Him. He’ll allow you to do that or you can choose to become one of His followers. There is no middle ground. Which is it, Peter?”

Peter responded with silence and trudged off to bed. Sleep was nowhere to be found. He tossed this way and then that. He scrunched the pillow, and straightened the sheets. He listened to soft music – all to no avail. God was speaking, and he could not get away.

“Peter, everything Detective Fisher shared with you – it’s all true. Everything your mother has told you about Me is true. You didn’t listen to them. Now listen to Me.

“Your time on earth may or not be short. That’s not for you to know. What is for you to know is that the blood of my Son, Jesus Christ was poured out for you. It was a sacrifice made for you. Detective Fisher’s question – you never answered it. There is no middle ground so which is it, Peter?

“See, I’ve called you by name. I know you by name, and long to have you as my child. But that means a change for you. A change of direction is necessary. Rather than being self-centered and self-serving, you need to change direction and follow Me. Peter, will you do it?”

Peter found himself whispering back to the Lord. “Mom calls You Lord. I guess I can, too. Lord, if all these things are true, how can I not choose You. How could I not want to follow You. I take You at Your word, but I admit, I’m scared.” Just as he spoke the word a gentle peace fell over him. God called him to sleep. He would finish the conversation in the morning.


Unknown to Peter, Margie was crying herself to sleep. Lance had long ago left, but now Margie’s pain was two-fold. She would be losing her son in a few days forever, and he once again had seemingly rejected Christ. Margie didn’t know that as she lay in tears interceding for her son that God had already answered. Her night remained in turmoil.

© 2016 William Kovacic

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Comments 10 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

One thing I always look for in a series of related short stories (chapters) is....does each one stand alone? Could it be read as an independent short story? I think that's important for cohesiveness and it also shows the talent of an author because that is not an easy thing to do.

Having said all that, you just did it!

Bravo!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks for the input, Bill. I'll start looking at my chapters in that light.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 months ago from Victoria, Australia

This really does stand alone. Great story.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks, BlossomS. I appreciate your comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 months ago from The Caribbean

I may have missed an episode, so I agree with Bill that you have done a good job of allowing each story to paint a stand-alone picture. This one shows Christ as a necessary force with which each person has to settle. Well done!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks, Dora. Hopefully, if you missed one, it's still making sense. Thanks for the visit.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 months ago from The Beautiful South

Such a great story and of course my mind has to jump to the fact that today just everyone wants Christ out of His story, so crazy, but then, that is another story.

May many be blessed by this while enjoying it!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Bill

Just as I'm getting into the story it's time for a break, only one thing for it, skip ahead and see what happens!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Jackie,

Not sure how I missed your comment but glad you able to stop by. I always look forward to your visits.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Glad to have you come by for a visit, Lawrence. Feel free to skip ahead!

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