Sunday, December 29, 2013

What happened to Public Enemy Number 1?

Was Alcatraz the best thing that ever happened to Al Capone?  The notorious gangster was originally sent to a prison in Georgia on a conviction of tax evasion, but was moved to Alcatraz after law enforcement realized he was receiving special treatment.  While in Alcatraz, Capone attended a church service held by a traveling preacher.  It was at this service that he requested prayer and admitted a need for a savior.  Time Magazine quoted Thweatt (the preacher) as saying  "At the close of the talk, Capone's face seemed to radiate, and when I asked those prisoners to stand who felt the need and will to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, he was the first to rise."
Only a few months after Capone's conversion, dementia set in.  Even with a degenerative mental illness, he continued to profess Christianity until his death in 1947.  He was buried in a consecrated cemetery reserved only for believers.  When the Catholic church was questioned about their decision to allow Capone to be buried next to his father in the consecrated cemetery, the priest replied that the Catholic church recognized Capone's penitence (repentance) and salvation.
You can confirm this data yourself by reading the March 24, 1939 edition of the Los Angeles Times.  This article was also ran by the St. Petersburg Times on March 25, 1939.
It is widely accepted that Al Capone was a notorious mobster responsible for much crime including -although it has never been proven! - the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, where 7 gangsters were gunned down with each one having no less than 15 shots fired into them (photo of actual crime scene shown below).
 God gave salvation to Chicago's Public Enemy Number 1, and He will give it to you as well.
According to the Bible, God offers salvation to anyone who will accept it (John 3:16), and because we have all screwed up everyone needs salvation.  (See Romans 3:10-12 and 3:23).  God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us (Romans 5:8).  If we accept Christ as our Savior, it doesn't matter how terrible our past is -- the future is bright (Romans 8:1).  This verse reads, "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."  This promise is good for everyone who belongs to Christ -- it doesn't exclude anyone because of their past.
If you've ever wondered exactly how to get from being where you are now to being a child of God, it's pretty simple.  A sincere prayer in your own words reflecting what is on your heart is all that is necessary.  I've provided a sample prayer here, but you can use your own words.  
"Father God, thank you for your son, Jesus.  I'm a sinner, and I know I cannot save myself.  I need a Savior.  Jesus, I believe you died for my sins.  I believe you rose from the grave.  Please forgive me of my sins.  I turn to you, Jesus.  Come into my heart, fill me with your Hold Spirit, and make me the person you want me to be.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Amen."

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