Prison Ministry Newsletter 71 ( Partial Edition )
This is a sample of some of the responses and testimonials we receive from the inmates we reach. Previous editions with be uploaded. We want to provide the opportunity for the families of the inmates to see the progression and witness the transformation of their family member.
I have 18 months or so left to finish a 10-year sentence. I have been a Christian all my life. I grew up in a Baptist church. Then at age 10 I was molested by a male neighbor. The abuse didn’t stop there, two other men also molested me. For 40 years I was filled with anger, discontent and loneliness. But God, God provided for me physically and spiritually- all I had to do was ask. My dad passed away when I was 18 years old. I didn’t know at the time how much I needed my father. The last three words to my dad on the last day I could talk to him were, ‘I hate you’. Who in their right mind could ever say that to their dad? Appreciate the time you have with your parent s. It is the only set you have. I have become closer to God in the past 4 months than I have in my entire 50 years. God has shown me mercy and love even though I am in prison. I am now working on memorizing the book of James. I confronted two of the three men who molested me. I received an apology from them. I still have anger issues now, I pray every day God will take it from me. I can’t handle it, but God can. To show me God listens, I prayed for some money to be put on my books. Not much. When I received a print out of my account there is a credit of 50 dollars. Right there and then I dropped to my knees and praised God. God looked out for my smallest needs. A 4-cent toothbrush I will never know who sent it . If the God of the universe cares when a little sparrow bird is hungry, God takes care of His children. If you are just getting started with your sentence or finishing it up, trust God. Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart-not what we humans understand but letting go and LET God ‘s Spirit & Word guide you. Yes, it is scary at first, but God won’t fail you. God Bless each man and woman who reads this.
-RobertGray•ASPC • Florence,AZ
God said I am healed. God said my needs are met. God said my steps are ordered. God keeps me. God protects me. With long life, He will satisfy me. Those are thoughts we need to dwell and meditate on. “Faith” is acting as if a thing is true, even when it doesn’t appear to be true, until it proves to be true because God said that it is true!! Now my friend that’s reaI faith!!
-Charles Newcomb• CFRC • Orlando, FL
GOD HAS CHANGED MY LIFE by telling me to slow down . I used to live the fast life and wanted everything when I wanted it . I have come to realize that myfamilystill has a life and things to do. So, when I ask if they can do something for me I have learned to be patient and wait.
1 Timothy 6:11> “But you, o man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness , godliness,Jaith, love, patience, gentleness.”
– Corey Mehltretter • SCI • Bellefonute, PA
I lived a life with violence, drug abuse, and no self-worth, believing no one loved or cared for me. I pushed anyone away that I thought might love me. Not because I didn’t care, but because I didn’t love myself. During my now 3d‘ incarceration I found Jesus, turning my life to Him completely. Realizing that my Lord loves me. I have begun repairing broken relationships, made amends to those I have hurt. But actually, learned to love myself in the process.
– Chad E. Spencer• JEHC • Hodgens, OK
Being grateful causes positiveness. Happy. Gratitude is strength. Gratitude pays it forward. Gratitude takes action . Cares . Gratitude seeks reconciliation & takes initiative. Joyful. Free on the inside, joy in your mind, body, and soul. Be free-be grateful!
-Zipporah Luttrell• LS• Dallas, TX
I feel as if I have had this purpose my whole life. God has plans for me and I am well focused as of now. Hopefully I don’t lose this fire I have now. Just as Paul, if God can forgive a guy like me and give me a place in His kingdom, then Itruly believe we all can change our ways and be the men and women our children need, and our fat her want s.
– Matthew A. Riddle• LCJ • Lexington, MO
Do Not Waver Behind the Fence!
“If you need wisdom, ask ourgenerous God , and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled asa wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do”(James 1:5 -8 ).I became a convict in 1987 in my 40th year of destroying myself in sin. Prison was not a nice place- period. As a new inmate the predators watched me get off the bus. The last place I wanted to be was church. Yet I spent hours in the Chaplain’s library. Many afternoon and evening services found me in attendance . Jesus was calling, standing at my door as He promises: “Look! I stand at the door and knock…” (Rev. 3:20). The thing I feared most was the baptismal tank. Maybe it would be too cold, ora fungus might be thriving in the water, or might I experience heart failure in the process and become flotsam? Perhaps there would be a host of hecklers yelling “Hypocrite” as the chaplain plunged me under the water, causing me much embarrassment- after all, I’m in prison! One day I confessed my fears and asked some Christian brothers to lay hands on me for healing of my faulty fears, and to pray that I would open the door and let Jesus come into my life with power. A week later I jumped off the fence and into the water. I was baptized into Christ’s church, and no one criticized. The life jacket thatlesus promised held me up.That day I became free. A new life began! But even better than all this, if I were to die today, I know for sure that I would go to heaven to be with Jesus for eternity. Jesus’ words in John 6:47 are what this convict is trusting for his eternal life: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” You can have this, too. Thirty years ago I realized that what I was doingforGod was falling short because of my sin. So I repented [turned] of my sins and transferred my trust from myself to Jesus Christ- from what I had been doing for God to what He has done for me on the cross. To receive eternal life you must transfer your trust from yourself to Jesus Christ alone. You can do this right now. Confess to Him your sin and shortcomings, and invite Him to enter the door of your life and become your Savior. Then thank Him for yourgiftof eternal life. -Kenneth P.Johnson, UC/, Florida
I’m supposed to be dead, yet I am still alive in great health. Due to drug use, lack of responsibility, and selfishness, I have on numerous accounts come close to death and wasted valuable time that I can’t regain. Because of God’s love, I never crossed the line or reached the point of no return. I am thankful for His love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace and the opportunity to show the world His love through me. Also, to continue the family business of transforming the world.
-Johnathan R. Mott• CCDC • McKinney, TX
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow– not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. ‘“No power in the sky above or in the earth below– indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:38-39
Staying Positive In A Negative World
An Andrew Wommack teaching, printed with permission
If you haven’t noticed that we live in a negative world, you just haven’t been paying attention. These negative influences have been especially evident during the last few months of the presidential campaign. Each party has spent millions painting a picture of the worst possible scenarios for Americans if their opponent is elected. Not nearly as much has been spent expressing hope. Add in things like sickness, the loss of a job, or marriage problems, and you can see where, over time, the pressures of the world, if allowed, can steal the love and joy from your life. In Matthew 24:12, Jesus said this: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” He said this would be a characteristic of the end times. Jesus was saying that the negative things going on around us-not necessarily in us-would cause the love of many to grow cold. The word “waxed” used in that scripture is really significant. It goes back to the way candles are made. A wick is dipped into hot wax and then taken out and allowed to cool for a few seconds, leaving a thin layer of wax . The process is repeated hundreds of times until the wick is buried deep within the wax. The same is true with the heart. If we take our eyes off Jesus and focus on the evil of this world and our circumstances, then, little by little, the layers of negativity harden around our hearts, and the love for God and others waxes cold. So, how do we stay positive in a negative world? Let me start by using this verse from Joshua 1:9-Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; benotafraid, neither be thou dismayed:forthe Lord thy God is with thee whithersoeverthou goest. Here, the Lord was speaking to Joshua, who was taking over for Moses-a hard act to fo llow. He told Joshua to be strong and of good courage and not to be afraid or dismayed. These are opposing fo rces. If you are afraid and dismayed, then you are not strong and of good courage. They counteract each other. So, you’ve got to do two things and resist two t hing s. The word dismay means “to fill with dread or apprehension; daunt” (American Heritage Dictionary [AHD]). Can you say you have fought apprehension (“to anticipate with anxiet y,” about the future? Have the problems facing you or the nation seemed daunting (intimidating or discouraging? If so, you have been dismayed . The Lord doesn’t automatically do these things for you-He flows through you. If you get discouraged or dismayed, you stop the process. It says in Ephesians 3: 20, Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. The phrase “according to” means in proportion to or to the degree of the power that is working in you. God flows through people. If you become discouraged, you stop the flow of God’s power . Here’s another example . In 1 Samuel, we read the story of a terrible situation that David was facing. His father-in-law, Saul, was trying to kill him. He had been running for his life every day for thirteen years. His possessions had been burned, his wives and all of the wives and children of his men had been taken, and his own men wanted to stone him . Not a great environment! Yet it says in 1 Samuel 30:6, And David was greatly distressed;forthe people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. Things looked bleak . David was in a situation where everything in the natural said “Be discouraged and dismayed,” but David encouraged himself in the Lord. Do you know how he did it? He took the Word and began to encourage himself, and it was only a matter of hours until all God had promised him came to pass and he became king. If he had given in at that last minute, he would have lost . I see a lot of people today who stand for a period of time and then quit. It’s like there are limits on how long they’re going to believe God . You might be thinking, Well, how long am I supposed to stand? The answer is simple. You stand on the Word of God and His promises until you’re encouraged and it works. Don’t quit! Peter is a good example of what happens when we take our eyes off Jesus and His Word. Matthew 14:28-30 says, And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. As soon as Peter got his eyes off Jesus and looked at the stormy sea, he began to sink. Think about that he couldn’t have walked on the water if the sea had been perfectly calm. All that really happened was his focus changed. Instead of focusing on the promise of Jesus-His command to come-Peter focused on the circumstances, and that is why he began to sink. If you can maintain your focus on Jesus and His Word in the midst of a storm, you can walk on the water of circumstance. When the doctor says you have cancer, your boss tells you you’re being laid off, or your spouse says they’re leaving, you can still stay positive. It will take a deliberate effort, but it is absolutely crucial. You need to recognize that Satan is using the evil and negative things of this world to discourage you, even if they are not your personal problems. You can get discouraged watching politics, reading the newspaper, and listening to the news. If you don’t resist this, it will cause you to be discouraged and dismayed, and worst of all, your love for God to grow cold (Mat t . 24:12). The Bible says in Isaiah 26:3 that the Lord will “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed” upon Him because he trusts in Him. Our peace is linked directly to what we think. We are plugged into this world like no group of Christians has ever been-reading, listening, and watching the same ungodliness as the world and then wondering why we get the same results. It’s simple-garbage in, garbage out. I’m telling you, unless you have a deliberate plan to encourage yourself in the Lord, you aren’t going to be encouraged. It is not normal to be encouraged; it’s normal to be discouraged. It’s abnormal to be strong and of good courage, but it is certainly doable. God’s Word will tell youexactly how to do it . +
Through the experiences we are going through now and have experienced in the past and are going to experience in the future, we must always remember that God is, has, and will always be with us. I have been incarcerated for about three and a half months now and have a lot more to go but I have faith God will see me through . Being imprisoned physically is hard but keeping our spirit free is the main thing we should focus on. Only through Jesus Christ are we able to do that, getting to know Him and the Father Almighty God. If you think you are the worst person in the world and have committed the most horrible crime and He won’t forgive you, well you are wrong. He loves and cares for us all. Proverbs 3:5-6 “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understandings.In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct yourpath.”
– Joe Perez • NKSP • Delano, CA
I’m taking action in growing my relationship with the Lord by living in His presence, acknowledging His name in all my daily activities,listening for His Word in my heart & follow what He commands of me. I repent (tum from) sinful thoughts, word, or deed I may have throughout the day. I do my best to walk by faith. –
Antwann Johnson• JCCC • Jefferson City, MO
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