Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Larry Porter and Debbie Perry - Murdered (Yet There's Good in This Story)

In Great Sadness... Yet Praise for the Open Bible!

Remembering Larry Porter and Debbie Perry

(Larry Porter is the tall man in the red shirt in the back row
- Debbie Perry is in the back on the right with the bandana)

Have you ever thought about how long you have to live? No one knows their personal time of death. That is something known only to God. But when a tragedy strikes, death can come in an instant. Plans are halted mid-stream when life comes to an abrupt end. And for those who are left behind to mourn, the big question such tragedies cause is: Am I ready? - Life may unexpectedly bring us to the Final Exam - ready or not.

Permit me to interrupt the normal blogging for a reality check - I give this now because I'm thinking a lot about it, given the circumstances, and I always want to keep this blog "real"...  

On September 3rd, my cousin, Larry Porter, and a friend named Debbie Perry, were both murdered - shot multiple times in Larry's home. It was a sudden and horrific end to two precious lives. 

We were able to piece together some of their last moments, just from the way things were in the house, as well as talking to the police investigating the crime....  Larry answered a knock at the back door -  a man whom Larry had taken in to try to help was there. However, as the police report says, that the man used pepper spray on Larry and Debbie. So its possible that they never knew the identity of their assailant, even though he lived on Larry's property.

What motivated the attack? Larry had been allowing this man (whom police have identified as Travis Bean) to park his trailer on Larry's property in order to provide him a place to live. But things proved difficult between them, and Larry asked Travis to leave. Finally, Larry served Travis with an eviction notice. 

Travis entered Larry's home this last Saturday evening and opened fire. There were about 25 rounds that were involved in the crime! It's beyond imagination...  

Our friend Debbie, who was a former member of our local fellowship group, was in Larry's home at the time. She called 911... That was the last...  They found her body near the front closet, where she apparently tried to hide from the gunman.

In a matter of minutes their lives were brought to an abrupt end.

Amidst the tragic news, one key thought became a focal point: When death comes at last, will I be saved? I mean - really! You know how it can be with us - humans - we can be on again and off again with God. And if we have chosen to be "off" from our relationship with God at the instant of death, well...  that's a far bigger tragedy than our mere death alone.

Death. It's the final say in a life. I remember when a man we knew died. The man had a grand mall seizure. He went to church regularly and appeared to be a committed Christian. But, when death found him, his family began going through his things and was shocked at what they found. There were receipts from visits to disreputable massage parlors. There were items hidden in his possession that he certainly didn't want others to know about. Clearly death had caught him unprepared...

Dealing with the tragedy of Larry's and Debbie's loss, made me think a lot about my own mortality. The question burned in my mind... How will my soul stand in the day when death comes for me? What evidences will they find in my house? And how about you? What if (God forbid) that gunman had come for you? Would you be spiritually ready to go? If death comes and we aren't ready, we will have lost our lives now and for all eternity! That is why we are encouraged to live each moment as the consecrated children of God. The connection with Him must always be maintained and daily deepened.
My husband, Mark, and Christopher (our son) along with two men from our Bible  fellowship group went down to Larry's house (about an hour's drive from our home) to clean up the crime scene.  

When Mark entered Larry's living room, he found a beautiful testament to how Larry and Debbie faced death at last. There, laying open on Larry's couch, was a Bible and and a Keys to Living Like You've Been Saved book. These open books gave a powerful testimony that Larry and Debbie had been spending their last moments with God! We were filled with thanksgiving at this discovery!

Don't you want that to be true of you? Don't you want to be spending your last moments in the loving worship of God? I do! Nothing matters more in this old world than reaching the finish line of our lives - covered under the Blood banner of Christ.

So, today's Encouragement for the Battle is this...  You don't know how long you have - but you can use what time you have in your Father's Service. You can love God first and best each and every day. That's what I prayerfully choose to do. And my prayer is also that when I die, folks will find my open Bible on my couch!

Here's the link to the news story - about the man who committed the murders