Happy Resurrection Season! It’s always a joy to bring forth the monthly view, especially during Easter. Unlike C.E.O.s (Christmas Easter Only – Christians who worship only twice a year), we’re to celebrate daily the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. For example, listen to the apostle Paul,
“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” 1
Youth for Christ Response…
Here’s a request from Justin, a minister to jailed juveniles, while working with Youth for Christ.
“I’ve been touched by reading your latest post from this past January regarding the awful events surrounding your involvement with the Manson murders. I’ve followed your ministry for several years and decided to write you.
“You hit upon a key principle, identity in Christ is what all of us need! And I do take note of one statement you made, that you don’t deserve forgiveness. The culture of this country, and many world-wide, would support such a statement, but I abide in Ephesians 4:32 and 1 John 2:1. Truly, none of us deserve forgiveness, but God has, through His mercy, saved you and declared you righteous through His Son, praise God! I thank you for your transparency in the rest of the blog.
“This letter is to request a favor. I minister to youth in a juvenile detention facility each week. I share the Gospel with them, God’s forgiveness through His Son, and what new life in Christ is all about. I’d like to read your testimony to them. Biblical examples make an impression on them; modern day ones (like as yours) of God’s transforming power make even deeper impressions. I won’t dwell on your past, but on Christ’s redemptive power.
“Would you be willing to write a letter to read to them? Just a short note encouraging them to go deeper, trust Christ, yield self to Him and reject the “world’s way” of gaining acceptance and identity. These are the thangs that, again, make deep impressions on the youth to whom I minister. I pray reading your letter to them will cause them to “perk up and listen” to what the Gospel is all about.
“Many of the youth are open to it. I just like to find ways to encourage them to go deeper when they get out of incarceration. I believe your words and a note from you will enable them to do just that. I thank you, and please know that I pray you and your ministry. Your brother in Jesus, our Savior and Messiah, Justin, Texas.”
Hey guys, great to hear about Justin’s outreach to you. In the 60s, I had several reach out to me, but I didn’t listen! I was hardheaded, like a mule, stubborn, kicking and not wanting to change my prideful views concerning life – I knew it all!
By now Justin has read my story to you, so you see where my rebellion led: murder, death row, and life in prison. Because of God’s grace, mercy and love, I got saved and now I’m reaching out to the world for Christ while still in prison.
God has a great plan and future for your life too, but you don’t have to do it the hard way like I did. I was trying to gain acceptance in the Manson family, and I was willing to do anything for it. It’s not so in God’s family, Who gives us a new identity in Christ as His child so we can experience God’s love and acceptance without having to earn it. Aren’t you tired of being a loser in jail by now?
Focusing on Christ…
The secret is to listen to God’s Word, growing deeper in Christ. As you yield to Jesus’ finished works at the cross while rejecting the “world’s way”, you’ll experience God’s power manifest in your life, focusing solely on Him. Sure, you’ll still have temptations and a few hassles, but God has blessed you with all spiritual blessings in Christ. Now, you must reach out as the Spirit moves you and take hold of his power for yourself. God has always been there, but without turning to Him and rejecting your home boy’s views, you’re blinded! Shout, “I was blind, but now I see!”
I look back on my life with deep regret. I’ve caused so much pain to my family, the victims’ familial relationships, their lives taken, careers and loss times ten, plus the wave of destructive aftermath around the world. As I write this today, tonight there will be a 20/20 Manson family program, rehashing the tragedy and continuing the madness.
It’s Your Choice…
It all comes down to your choice – life or death. I’ve spent 47+ years away from my family, plus my mom and dad passed to heaven years ago. I lost all this time with them because of my selfishness. All the things I cherished besides family -- childhood relationships, animals, water skiing, cars and etc. – all were robbed from me. Don’t let it happen to you! Jesus said:
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” 2
I’d suggest that you choose life in advance through faith, because no matter how rich God’s mercy to pull us up out of the pit and bless us, it’s better to avoid the consequences of sin. You all have a full and abundant life ahead of you by choosing Jesus, and allowing Him to change your life. I beg you to give yourself to Him because of all He has done for you. You’ll never regret that decision! God loves you with an everlasting love. A big hug to each of you in Christ, Charles.
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 3
An Easter Prayer…
Jesus, I bow down before You as my resurrected Lord. Apart from You, I would only know spiritual deadness as a fallen son of Adam. In You I have a spiritual resurrection to new life. Now I want to pursue You daily to see that new, resurrected life more fully developed in me.
I praise You for Your abundant mercy toward me. I thank you for new birth. I am especially grateful for living hope. I now ask You to work in the dead aspects of my life. Lord, you know what areas in my life are lifeless. You see the circumstances that are killing me. Raise my heart to new vitality. Lift me above circumstantial living through faith in the reality of the resurrection of Your Son. Lead me, I pray, into more life abundant in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Scripture References (NLT):
1) Phil. 3:10,11
2) John 10:10
3) 1 John 4:10