Advertisements to promote the city, known as the Las Vegas of the East are filled with modifiers like thrilling, glittering, alive, sizzling and always turned-on.
On our way to Ocean City, NJ we drove through Atlantic City one night. The dazzling lights of the palace-like casinos and the towering glitzy and colorful hotels were definitely eye-catching. People looked excited as they walked towards the casinos and nightspots pumped for an evening of fun and sin. But just around the corner, the sad effects of sin could be seen everywhere – where fun turns to poverty, begging, addiction, prostitution, and lives of despair.
Tears filled our eyes.
But then we looked up and amidst all the lights of the skyline, we saw in the darkness a well-lit sign: CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS. Those five words shining in the night, surrounded by the trashy signs of a dark city thrilled our hearts. If only empty, dark, and desperate souls would lift their eyes and appreciate those five words from the Bible, their tragic lives would be transformed. The Bible is very clear: those four women were no less loved by God, than the saintliest person on the Planet. When Jesus died on the Cross for sin – He was there for them, just as much as He was there for you.
There are many unanswered questions about the four murdered women. Who committed the crime? Where was it done and how did the bodies end up in the swamp? Why were they murdered? But I have another question: did those troubled women ever lift their eyes up from the seedy streets and from the men and money they were after to see the sign that read: CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS?
In researching this story I did an internet search for: “Christ died for our sins, Atlantic City.” I came across the blog (online journal/diary) of a woman who did see that sign.
Party Woman Sees The Sign
Barb from Manhattan checked in to her hotel for a weekend of partying and fun. She went up to her room, pulled the drapes open and looked down over the gambling city. She wasn’t ready for the sign she saw on top of the Chelsea Baptist Church. She asked to have her room changed. This is how a part of her blog read for that day:
Here is the view from our first room at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City before we switched to a new room facing the ocean. Clearly the ocean is not the only reason I wanted a new room. In case you can’t see it too well, click on the photo–the sign on that church says “CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS” and I don’t think its placement was accidental. Right smack in your grill so you don’t ‘fornicate’ and gamble your life away in Atlantic City? Buzzkill. Thanks a lot, Christ!
She was annoyed with Christ for bothering her conscience and taking the fun out of her weekend. How kind of God to interject those five words into Barb’s weekend as a reminder of His love for her, despite her sins.
I emailed Barb to ask her if she had a clearer picture of the sign. I mentioned I was writing a story for this website. I told her: “What I liked about the sign you saw – no matter what the sin is – God’s love is non-discriminating …. He loves all of us – regardless of the color or shade of our sin. Christ died for all our sins and through Christ, we can be completely forgiven of ALL our sins.”
I Saw Those Words Before
She was amazed that I had come across her blog and then she wrote: “There is actually another photo I believe of the very same sign that I found accidentally, not searching for it.” She tracked it down and emailed it to me. It was a different sign but the very same words.
Isn’t it interesting that among the millions of words that Barb would read and write in a year, that those five words CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS would stick with her and she would instantly recall seeing them on another sign!
Did she come across the ‘very same sign’ accidentally? Not for a minute. As she said, she wasn’t searching for it but here’s what was going on: God was and still is searching for Barb. He’s trying to get her attention.
There Is a Search On For You
You may not be searching for God but He is searching for you. He knows all about your sins. He is holy and He hates sin of any kind but He loves sinners of every kind. You are not reading this story by chance. God is searching for you. He wants you to know that Christ died for your sins. His Son took the punishment for all your sins and He wants to be your Saviour today if you are willing to accept Him as yours. You don’t have to go to Hell.
I don’t know whether the four prostitutes looked up to see the sign and I don’t know what Barb’s ultimate response to those five words will be but what about you? Will you look at those five words from the Bible and personally rest your soul and your eternity upon them?
1 Corinthians 15:3
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The name of the blog writer was changed to Barb for privacy reasons.