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April 2023

because he livesHappy Resurrection Day! One of my best memories of a resurrection day is watching Annie Herring play and sing her “Easter Song” in 1978 at the California Men’s Colony chapel. I had experienced my own, personal resurrection there a few years earlier, when I was born again on May 23, 1975.

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1

More Encouraging Responses…

My dear brother Larry from Indiana wrote: “Charles, my friend; I received your letter, and I wanted to express my appreciation that you respond faithfully.”

“Letter writing and sending encouraging cards to folks is not like it used to be. Young people don’t even have stamps. I worked at the post office for 30 years and the mail volume really dropped over that time.

“Thanks for the encouraging word from the Scriptures. I listen to the Bible on CD. I am also going through the entire Old and New Testaments this year. I’m in Psalms right now, the 119th (178 verses)! Psalm 119, 18 says, “Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your word!”

“Sorry to hear that you are locked down most of your day. I am going to pray for the relaxing of those restrictions. Since I have been writing to you, Jesus has given me a “heart of flesh” in my thoughts about prison and prisoners. A lot has to do with you, Charles! I consider it a blessing to know and correspond with you. Well, take care, and be blessed today. Your friend and brother in Jesus, Larry, IN.”

Also, a couple wrote: “We’ve been attending a new church. The Holy Spirit is alive and well among this gathering. I’ve been really getting more into the Word and have entered into a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father. I feel His presence in my life every day and am aware of His many blessings. The Holy Spirit renews and increases my strength daily. This allows me to help Patricia along with her faith walk. All praise, honor and glory to God the Father! There is no end to his mercy and His love. You are in my prayers. You too, my brother, are a blessing to others. The peace of the Lord be with you. In His service, Dave & Patricia, OH.”

Times are Changing…

I really enjoy sharing God’s love through the mail, as the Holy Spirit anoints me. In Larry’s letter, he shared how writing letters and sending cards is a lost art. Of course, the world has moved on to emails and texts. Even I will receive a tablet soon, provided by the state for rehabilitation through better communication with family and friends. For me, this will certainly save on postage, since messages are only five cents each. Plus, I welcome the ability to send and receive messages much faster. There will still be letters, but incoming ones may be eventually scanned and sent to us on the tablet as they do in Florida prisons to keep drugs out. I’ll continue to send letters when necessary, but I’m sure that will be less and less.

Can you imagine if the apostle Paul had a tablet to write his letters to the churches? I’m sure he would have used every means possible to get the Word out. I’ll be able to hear the Word in any translation on the tablet and share it. Let us remember; God’s Word is our real encouragement, just like His love is real love. “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.” 2 I hope to share His love more fully in these coming days, by using the tablet for greater ministry, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” 3

Point of Contact…

On the other hand, Larry makes a very good point concerning cards and letters. There is something about tangible items that are personal and real rather than intangible ones. Emails and texts just aren’t as touchable when it comes to ministry. For instance, the woman with the issue of blood reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment as a point of contact for healing through her act of faith. 4 Also, “God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.” 5 Tangible items were a point of contact to spark the person’s faith for healing. Could we be missing out on something?

What happened next in the Acts of the Apostles is both hilarious and a warning for us to have our own personal relationship with Jesus, instead of depending on someone else’s. “A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!’ Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, ‘I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.” 6 Are you building yourself up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourself in the love of God and looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life? 7

A Prime Example…

Brother Dave’s letter (the second response I shared) would have touched me no matter how he sent it, because of God’s anointing in his life, “…for the Holy Spirit Lives in us.” 8 He is a prime example of an anointed man of God; in fellowship, in the Word, in God’s presence for strength, and in a helping relationship with his mate. We need God’s power working in our lives because no other person can overcome the world. “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” 9

Our battle is with evil spirits – the unseen world. We overcome the devil by faith in the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. 10 We proclaim Jesus has made us right with God, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Therefore, we have been brought near to Him. We have this new and living way into His presence, with our conscience cleansed from dead works to serve the true and living God. We were not redeemed by silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, Who cleansed us from all sin. He “…loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” 11

A Prayer for You…

Heavenly Father, I thank You for this divine appointment with You to open my heart to the Good News of Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, light Your fire in my heart, so that I may know the Truth and be set free from my narrowed mind. I repent of my doubts about You, Jesus, and turn to You in Faith that You died for my sin. You cleansed me with Your blood and rose again from the dead to provide eternal life and right standing with our Father, even an abundant life today. Use me, Lord, to confess You to others, so that they too may receive You and grow to know You. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Scripture References (NLT):

1) 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, NKJV
2) 1 John 4:10
3) Rom. 5:5, KJV
4) Mark 5:25-34
5) Acts 19:11,12
6) Acts 19:13-16
7) Jude 20, 21, NKJV
8) 1 John 2:20, 27
9) 1 John 5:4, 5
10) Rev. 12:11a
11) Rev. 1:5c, 6, NKJV