Three years in heaven...
Today marks 3 years since Jason & Lindsay died and began their eternal life in heaven. Though it still easily brings me to tears today to think about what happened to them and the grief that their families and loved ones endured (and still do)... I am enormously encouraged and comforted when I remember that Jason & Lindsay are in paradise right now. The beauty of God's creation that they so loved to enjoy while they were here doesn't even compare to what they're enjoying right now! It's impossible to imagine how amazing it is! But I do know that they're alive and well in heaven and that's totally awesome. :)
I don't want to spend this day dwelling on the injustice of not yet finding their killer and all of the unanswered questions we all have... but instead I want to remember Jason & Lindsay's faithful lives and how awesome God's gift of salvation is. It's because of God that we can rejoice at all... because without Him, this would be a permanent good-bye.
This is a recent "Purpose Driven Life" daily devotional that I received vie e-mail. It really speaks of what I feel God has been reminding me of a lot in the last three years because I've kept coming back to the same thought over and over again... in the importance of keeping an eternal perspective. For instance, when I'd have stressful days at work... I would step back and look at it from an eternal perspective, and suddenly the things I thought mattered greatly really didn't matter much anymore. An eternal perspective changes everything! So I was really surprised to see this same train of thought come up in one of my daily devotionals:
Looking Beyond The "Here And Now"
by Rick Warren
"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
(2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)
As we've been discussing, history is His story – that is, God's story. From the book of Revelation we know that God's global mission will be accomplished, and someday the Great Commission will be the Great Completion. In heaven an enormous crowd of people from "every race, tribe, nation, and language" will one day stand before Jesus Christ to worship Him.
We can experience a little of what heaven will be like when we shift our thinking from the "here and now" to the eternal. To make the most of your time on earth, you must maintain an eternal perspective. This will keep you from majoring on minor issues and help you distinguish between what's urgent and what's ultimate.
Paul said, "We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)
So much of what we waste our energy on will not matter even a year from now, much less for eternity. Don't trade your life for temporary things. Jesus taught, "Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62, LB) And then Paul warned, "Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out." (1 Corinthians 7:31, Msg)
You've probably heard the expression -- "You can't take it with you" -- but the Bible says you can send it on ahead, by investing in people! The Bible teaches, "By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven—it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well." (1 Timothy 6:19, LB)
So what does this mean?
- Throw off anything that you allow to stand in the way of your mission. What's keeping you from being a world-class Christian? Whatever it is, let it go: "Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back." (Hebrews 12:1, LB)
- Store up your treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20-21) –- Jesus taught you should use the time, talent, and resources that God gives you to bring people to Christ. They will then be friends for eternity who will welcome you when you get to heaven!
- Send it on ahead -- What can you do today to invest in people? The investment may be your time, your talent, or your treasure. God guarantees it will be the best investment you make – an eternal investment that will also help you to live "a fruitful Christian life down here as well." (1 Timothy 6:19, LB)
Also, here's an article that was featured today in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
[I have to note though... speaking for myself, I do not believe the investigators have done anything wrong in not disclosing that they had found the person who drew the demonic faces on the driftwood, found at the scene. This article seems to be somewhat accusatory toward them... but I want to state, for the record, that I am VERY proud of the investigators of this case and have faith in them and their hard work. They are doing the best they can with the information they have, and for that we are all truly grateful.]
Family has faith Jenner slayings will be solved.
Investigators never disclosed they ruled out link between killings, demon sketches found on wood.
Wednesday, August 15, 2006
By DEREK J. MOORE | THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The devil-like drawings on driftwood seemed like tantalizing clues in the slayings of two young Christian camp counselors on a beach near Jenner.
Three years ago this week, Jason Allen, 26, and his fiancee, Lindsay Cutshall, 22, spread sleeping bags on the sand of a secluded cove that locals refer to as Driftwood or Fish Head Beach.
The young Ohio couple also placed a Bible near where they slept, and where ultimately they died, when someone emerged from the darkness and shot each of them once in the head.
In the aftermath of the killings, the disturbing images of demons drawn on the driftwood, combined with the couple’s openly devout religious beliefs, helped fuel speculation that they were targeted for those convictions.
The source of the drawings, however, was not an avowed Satan worshiper but a 22-year-old Petaluma man whose identity has never been publicly revealed.
Jeff Winkler, a homeless artist who is well known at Petaluma’s Phoenix Theater, said he drew the images using a paint pen during an outing at the beach about two months before the slayings.
“I don’t dislike Christians,” he said. “I’m not Christian myself, but I’m definitely not Satanic. I draw all sorts of faces.”
Nevertheless, the dark images he created helped fuel the notion that Cutshall and Allen had unwittingly wandered into an evil lair.
Winkler said investigators interviewed him and ruled him out as a suspect, but that hasn’t diminished Chris Cutshall’s belief that his daughter was the victim of religious intolerance.
“Whether the person was tied to a Satanist organization, I don’t know,” said Cutshall, a pastor in Ohio. “But I believe the evil one was behind this and was ultimately responsible for taking our kids because they were Christians.”
Indeed, religion continues to play a powerful role in the as-yet unsolved case.
Within the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, the case has led to something of a religious awakening among some investigators and a re-affirming of faith for others.
That includes Steve Freitas, who was the lead investigator on the case before taking over as Windsor’s police chief in 2005.
Freitas said he found God on his way to becoming a close, personal friend of the Cutshalls.
“This situation is what brought me to the Lord,” Freitas told an Ohio newspaper in 2006. “We’ve become close friends with the Cutshalls. We’re basically family at this time — spiritual families.”
The article noted that Chris Cutshall and Freitas vacationed together, including a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Freitas also spent several days with the Cutshalls at their home near Fresno, Ohio.
Freitas, who is a lieutenant with the sheriff’s department, referred questions about his religious conversion to the agency.
In an e-mail, Capt. Dave Edmonds said the department would not comment on “employees’ private lives.”
Chris Cutshall said Tuesday that the relationship his family has developed with several detectives is not motivated by a desire for more attention to the case.
“Steve has become a very dear friend and brother in Christ,” Cutshall said. “I’m very glad that he is my friend. We love his family very much, and we’re thankful for the relationship God has given us.”
The Cutshalls are spending this week with the Allen family in Michigan, in what has become an annual gathering to mark the anniversary of their children’s deaths.
In the years since the Jenner deaths, Sonoma County detectives have looked for possible links with other cases, particularly a half-dozen unsolved slayings of couples in remote locations from the Pacific Northwest to Arizona.
Their known list of interviews includes a Wisconsin drifter, a Bodega Bay surf shop owner, a former counselor at the Christian whitewater rafting camp where Cutshall and Allen worked that summer, and Winkler, who said he voluntarily called detectives when his mother spotted the drawings in the media.
Winkler said he was interviewed at the sheriff’s department and asked to do some drawings. He said detectives told him not to contact the media because they didn’t want people to know that they had located the source of the drawings, which they hoped would spark interest in the case.
Several months later, Winkler’s mother, Deborah, said she was upset when “America’s Most Wanted” aired a segment on the case that still emphasized the drawings as being part of some satanic ritual, and she phoned the Sheriff’s Office to complain.
She said she was told that investigators were aware of the misinformation but were hoping to keep the case alive.
Her son said he also had questions about the process. “They were kind of misleading people, but I guess they had nothing else for people to call in about,” Winkler said. “I didn’t really care.”
Sheriff’s Lt. Rob Giordano did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.
Detectives in the past have said they are open to all possibilities and have not focused on any one theory. However, the unsolved slayings of a young couple on a Canadian beach 35 years ago has drawn interest for its similarity to the Jenner case.
On the evening of June 22, 1972, Ann Durrant, a 20-year-old Canadian, and Leif Carlsson, 19, an exchange student from Sweden, set up camp on a remote beach near Tofino, on West Vancouver Island.
Police said that after the couple went to sleep, a 25-year-old Vietnam-era draft dodger named Joseph Henry Burgess snuck out from the bushes and shot each one in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.
Burgess, who was described by police as a religious fanatic, did not approve of pre-marital sex and had told a witness that the young couple’s behavior bothered him.
He disappeared after the slayings and was never found. Assuming he’s still alive, he would have been 57 at the time Cutshall and Allen were killed.
Is it possible that Burgess is responsible? If so, he may have made some false assumptions.
The young couple’s families say Cutshall and Allen had taken vows of chastity until their marriage, which was scheduled three weeks after they were to leave California.
Investigators say the couple slept in separate sleeping bags on the beach.
Chris Cutshall said he still has hope the case will be solved.
“We believe at this point that it won’t be what man does, but what God does,” he said. “He’s going to give us the break we need, and it clearly will be divine.”