Happy Father’s Day! I’m thankful for the memories of fishing and working on my car with my dad. These memories will last a lifetime, but many of you were not as fortunate. Regardless, we have the Heavenly Father to work with and be with throughout all eternity.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1
A Sincere Response:
I really enjoy hearing from those who benefit from the website. Marvin wrote:
“I’m sixty-six years old and live in Ohio. Although I was only twelve at the time, I remember the Manson murders. Later at twenty-six, while in prison, I read Helter Skelter for the first time. I have given it some thought over the years. As mass murders go, it stands out different from most in that it was perpetrated by followers of a cult leader and by perpetrators that didn’t know their victims.
“I did my time at O.S.R. in Mansfield, Ohio. It is where The Shawshank Redemption was filmed. I have been out of prison for over thirty years, and I am married and retired. I have begun reading your website, which is a lot of content and a lot to consider. I agree that we are what we think and that our thoughts produce our emotions.
“At this point in time, I consider myself a realist. Things are what they are. I have read the Bible and find the story of Cain and Abel interesting. The first two humans born, and one murders the other. At that time, crime was higher than today. One out of two people was born a murderer. Cain didn’t do speed, LSD, smoke pot, drink booze, have sex, listen to rock-n-roll or play violent video games. And yet, he murdered his brother, which says something about people. I understand Cain had issues; what Christians call sin. And I believe those issues were at the root of Cain’s murderous rage.
“By reading your website, I can tell you are an intelligent, well-educated person. You have made good use of your time, so I have a question. Would you like to be released from prison? If yes, why? If no, why not? There are a few things I miss from prison; very few (smile). Feel free to ask me any questions and share what’s on your mind. You might be surprised how much we have in common. Marvin, Ohio.”
Our Common Realities…
Throughout the website, I share many common realities for Christians. One is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior before receiving Christ. As a realist, Marvin clearly alluded to our problem. “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” 2 It’s not all the vices we fall prey to in life, but the original sin that drives us to destroy our lives through ungodly desires. 3 The Bible calls this the law of sin and death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” 4
In the apostle Paul’s letters, he explains how we need more than education, self-help, and even the Law of Moses to deliver us from the curse of sin and death. “And because you belong to him [Christ Jesus], the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 5
Our Spiritual Power…
We also share in common the availability of the Holy Spirit freely given to us. As a result, “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” 6 Indeed, we are what we think, but also, we act on what we believe. Our thoughts produce not only emotions but actions. When we allow the finished works of Jesus at the Cross to control our thoughts and beliefs, it “…leads to life and peace.” 7 Let us Proclaim:
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” 8
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit after He was sacrificed for our sin. He said, “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.” 9 Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be the believer’s Helper, Teacher, Testifier of Him, and Guide into all truth. 10 Jesus sent Him to birth the Church on Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts, when 120 believers went to Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit. He empowered us to witness, to bear Spiritual fruit and to have access to the gifts of the Spirit for wisdom, healing and prophesy. He promised, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 11
Our Freedom in Christ…
For the past 48 years, I’ve been telling people everywhere about Jesus. How He made me a new creation when the Holy Spirit regenerated my heart at a revival meeting on a Friday night, May 23, 1975. I was released from the shackles of my sin, born again and baptized in the love of God. “For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” 12 As a result, a desire was birthed in my heart to share with the world what I had experienced – God’s abounding love.
Marvin asked, “Would you like to be released from prison?” In a sense, I have been for all these years. But of course, I’d love to be released to be with my family and friends for my remaining years. Although some believe I am safer in prison. Regardless, God has given me a way to minister from prison to carry out His plan and purpose for my life. He continues to place projects on my heart to bring Him glory. One will be appearing very soon, so keep an eye out on the home page under Multimedia. I firmly believe the best is yet to come. “May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.” 13
A Prayer for You…
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your plan and purpose for my life. I surrender my will, view and opinions to Your will and view found in Your Word. My desire is to abound in Your love and grace so that I will be able to do what I cannot do in my own power. My sole desire is to view the world as You see it and to do Your will. I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead. I ask that You use me to touch the lives of others so that they, too will be able to see life from Your perspective. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Scripture References (NLT):
1) 1 Cor. 15:58, NKJV
2) Rom. 5:12
3) Gen. 3:1-7
4) Rom. 6:23
5) Rom. 8:2-4
6) Rom. 8:5b
7) Rom. 8:6b
8) Rom. 8:11
9) John 18:8-11
10) John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:13
11) Acts 1:8
12) Rom. 5:5b
13) 1 Thess. 3:12,13