A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

COLONEL PENELLI and his men anxiously watched Lieutenant Franklin scale an upper facet of the huge diamond-shaped fortress.   Franklin was several yards from the top when his right foot lost its footing.   Almost instantly, he began a downward slide.   Some of the men gasped as his safety rope snapped, jerking his body around and causing him to accelerate headfirst.   The whole thing lasted seconds and ended in a distant cloud of dust.
Penelli cupped his hand over his face, rubbing it slowly.   "Sargent, get some medics; Wilkins and Murdoch, come with me."
   Major Wilkins and Captain Murdoch followed Penelli to his tent.
   "Sir?   This is a silly question, but why not use a helicopter?"
   "You're new here, aren't you, Captain?"
   "Yes, Sir."
   "Wilkins, tell him about the choppers."
   "Which one, Sir?   They've all mysteriously crashed as they tried to land on top, Captain."
   The three men entered the Colonel's tent.   This was command headquarters, where for days, Penelli and his men tried everything humanly possible to get inside the fortress, code name: HEAVEN.
   "Incredible, simply incredible!" Penelli said, pacing about while shaking his head.   "An entire army and we can't get into one little fortress."   He took off his helmet, flinging it to the ground, a privilege afforded only to the commanding officer.
   "That little fortress is designed to keep a hundred armies out!" the Major said.
"I think we have no choice but to call in the B-52's . . ."
   "Nonsense!" Penelli said.   "I won't let the fly-boys cop the glory; I'll be the laughing stock.
Besides, the Pentagon wants it in one piece.   The eggheads want to make a career out of it."

   The Colonel's phone rang.
   "Penelli here . . . Yes, yes, send them over!"
   "Gentlemen, Richardson's back.   He's got something."

   Moments later, Intelligence officers, Richardson and Cameron filed in and saluted.
   "At ease, men.   What do you have for us?"
   Richardson stepped forward, pulling a large manila envelope tucked under his left arm.
"I made a recon of the fortress along its two mile perimeter.   It's mostly smooth, hard granite except for this . . ."   He removed an 8 x 10 photo from the envelope.   The others gathered around.
   "IT'S A DOOR!" Captain Murdoch said, staring at the photo.
   "Let me see that!"   The Colonel lifted it up to the light.   "What's that engraved on it?"
   Richardson removed a second photo from the envelope: a blown-up version of the first.
The letters were now legible, in spite of its graininess.   The Colonel and his two officers gazed at it, mouths slightly gaping.
   "If those jokers in the lab think this is . . ."
   "No, Sir," the second Intelligence officer interjected, "It's no joke.   I've gone over all of it several times.   There is definitely a door with the words JESUS CHRIST."

   "All right Gentlemen, what do we make of this?"
   "I don't know, it seems fishy to me," Major Wilkins said.
   The men began speculating while Captain Murdoch quietly kept to himself.
   "Captain!   What do you make of all this?"
   "Well, Sir . . . why not . . . simply open it and go in."
   The others started laughing.   The Colonel walked up to Murdoch, stopping five inches from his face.   The laughter stopped.
   "Soldier, how long have you been a Captain?"
   "Two weeks and four days Sir."
   "Do you realize how many man-hours have been spent working at trying to get into HEAVEN?"
   "No Sir."
   "A lot more than two weeks and four days!"
   "Sir, I merely suggested that . . ."
   "QUIET, soldier!   Every means short of nuking that thing has been tried.   Just today a man possibly lost his life trying to get in there.   Whoever built that thing had every intention of keeping themselves in and us out.   And you're telling us that we can simply open a door and waltz right in?   I suppose there's someone on the other side waiting with a pair of slippers and a newspaper!"
   Penelli turned to face the others.   "I agree with Wilkins.   I smell a trap."
   "Colonel, I have a suggestion," Cameron said, "Arlington has an industrial X-ray.   We can have it airlifted in by morning."
   "What assurance do we have that radiation won't set something off?" Wilkins said.
   "None.   But it's the only way we can verify for bobby traps."
   "I like it," the Colonel said.   "We'll meet here again tomorrow at 2100.   Bring anything viable you've learned.   That goes for all of you . . . Do I make myself clear, Captain Murdoch?"

   The next day the officers reconvened in the Colonel's tent.   The Intelligence officers brought a set of x-rays.   Captain Murdoch carried a black, leather-bound book.
   "Richardson, what'd you find?"
   "Negative, Sir.   There are no mechanisms around the door except for three hinges and a door knob.   We x-rayed it from every possible angle."
   "That's bad, gentleman.   We need a break," Penelli said.
   "Why is that bad, Sir?"   Captain Murdoch drew everyone's attention.
   "Murdoch, you fool.   Don't you realize what this means?   Whoever we're dealing with is more ingenious that we thought.   I bet those booby traps are there, cleverly concealed."
   "Perhaps they're built right into the door," Wilkins said.
   "That's very possible," Cameron began, "It could be the door knob itself . . ."
   "Wait-a-minute!" Murdoch said.   "Listen to you!   You're all assuming the door is rigged.   Why can't you assume that it's nothing more than the way in there?"

   The Colonel changed his demeanor.   "Captain!   I will not put up with any more of your blatant acts of stupidity!   Now if you have nothing intelligent to offer, then I must order you to leave."
   "Actually, I did find something, Sir."
   All eyes looked at Murdoch.   The Colonel frowned.   "Well?   Get on with it!"
   "I was remembering when, as a kid, I attended Sunday School and a certain Verse came to mind."   Murdoch opened his black book to where a bookmark had been placed.   For the first time everyone realized it was a Bible.
   "Captain, it hasn't come to this yet . . ." Wilkins said.
   "Sir, please, bear with me.   Notice what it says: I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.’   (John 10:9)"
   The others stared at Murdoch, some were even embarrassed.
   "Don't you get it?   That's Jesus talking in that Verse.   He says if we . . ."
   "We understand what it says, Captain.   What's your point?" Wilkins replied.
   "That door out there.   It's labeled: JESUS . . ."
   "Apparently the strain of having to deal with this problem is too much for our young Captain," Cameron said.
   "I agree," Penelli added.   "Captain, you are dismissed."
   "But Sir, what if the answer to getting into HEAVEN is here, of all places, in the Bible?"
   "Captain!   I said you are dismissed.   Don't make me pick up that phone!"

   The following day, Colonel Penelli spent half the morning on the phone trying to convince the Pentagon that explosives were now their only option.   Frustrated, he sat at his desk wishing he had taken up another career, when Major Wilkins popped his head into the tent.
   "Colonel!   Someone's been spotted on HEAVEN!"
   Penelli rushed to where several officers with binoculars were gazing toward the top of the fortress.   "Great Scott! . . . IT'S MURDOCH!"
   "As clear as we can tell, he must have gone through that door," Cameron said.
   "That fool!"   Penelli kept gazing.   "LOOK!   He's waving at us with a dumb smile on his face . . . Now he's motioning us to follow."
   "Sir, do we organize a rescue party?"
   "RESCUE?   How in blazes are you going to get in there?"
   "Well, we could enter the same way he . . ."
   "And do what, Major, get captured like he did?   Look at him, he's obviously been brainwashed.   Who knows what vital information he's already revealed."
   The Colonel put down the binoculars.
   "Gentlemen, it is now imperative than ever that we find a way into HEAVEN . . ."

Dear Reader, The Bible says: "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."   (Gal. 2:21)   Think about it, if you could earn your way into Heaven then Christ died for nothing.   However, His death was not in vain, it served an important purpose.   It provided a reconciliation to God that was not possible any other way.   Here's why:

The Bible teaches that, "your iniquities [SINS] have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."   (Isa. 59:2)   "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom. 3:23).   And there is a price to pay for having sinned before God, and that price is death.   "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."   (Rom. 6:23)
"and without shedding of blood [DEATH] is no remission [FORGIVENESS]."   (Heb. 9:22)

Of course, this means that BAPTISM cannot pay for your sins since no one dies while getting baptized, nor can CONFIRMATION, COMMUNION, KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, SELF-RIGHTEOUS, or GOOD DEEDS.   Anything other than death CANNOT and WILL NOT pay for any of your sins.   That's why:
"Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).

He paid the price.   He died in our place and if we don't put our trust in His death to save us,
Jesus warned that: "ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he," (John 8:24).   And that means eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).   To claim what Christ has done on the cross for you, you must REPENT.   That means: change your mind, and agree with what you have just read from the Bible and place all your trust in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   So "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [i.e. REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."   (Rom. 10:9)

P.O. Box 815
Fargo, ND 58107

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]