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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Under the Influence – Carl Nunnery

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“Under the Influence”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

Suppose some friends call you on the phone and ask you to come over for a get-together and have some mixed drinks. Sounds harmless, doesn’t it? But then from these mixed alcoholic drinks you become impaired in your vision, thought process and coordination. You have now become physically and mentally affected by those drinks, and as the law would define it, “under the influence.” You have made a choice to drink alcohol to satisfy your own desires. Was it a good choice on your part?

Let’s look into these alcoholic drinks. When you go to the liquor store to buy the necessary alcoholic liquor, what is it called? The term they use is spirits. You may see their advertisement. In front of that reads “beer, wine and spirits.” To be honest, I’m not sure how spirits became connected with the sale of hard liquor, but it is not hard to understand the reason behind it due to the fact that by drinking these kinds of spirits it will make you see, say and do things you would not normally do. I say that because the spirits I want to talk about will also influence you to also see, say and do things you would not normally do.
When you think of spirits, what comes to mind? You might think of ghosts or spooks, but in the Biblical sense, these words don’t exist. But nonetheless, there are two other kinds of spirits that do indeed exist. Do you know what they are? The first one is the Holy Spirit of God that gives understanding, truth and wisdom. The second one is the evil spirit of Satan that gives confusion, lies, deception and poor choices.

Look at the description of the three well known spirits that are available in our lives: Alcoholic spirit can cause death and poor judgment. Evil spirit will cause death and bad choices. Holy Spirit will give life, truth and wisdom.

All three are present or available to us in our daily lives and all three have an influence and impact on us. Have you ever heard the saying under the influence? That is so very true on how spirits can and do affect our lives.

The alcoholic spirits are true enough very dangerous if abused, unlike the other two spirits in which you cannot see. I’m not going to even try to suggest that with two spirits you can’t see are less effective than one you can see. In fact, it is just the opposite. It is the two you cannot see that are dangerous to you. Why? It is the good and evil spirits that are in constant battle with each other to win over your soul, which is part of your body’s trinity that controls your thought process and the choices you make.

This thought brings to mind an image shown on TV in a commercial or in a movie where it shows a person facing a choice to make. Even though that person knows it to be wrong, it shows an angel (God’s spirit) on one shoulder saying don’t do it, it’s wrong or saying you know better. Then on the other shoulder it shows the devil (evil spirit) along with his pitch fork telling you to go ahead and do it, it’s okay. This paints a great picture of how the forces of good and evil are at war with each other.

Remember in Gen. 3:3-4 how the serpent/devil told Eve just the opposite of what God had told her? It is evident that the devil still uses these tactics against us. Many who choose the way of the devil do it for various reasons from just being weak. By that I mean they do not have or use God’s strength or protection to defend them against the attacks of the devil. Why? Because the devil has attacked them in an area he knows them to be most vulnerable. Make no mistake about it, the devil knows your weaknesses just as the devil used the forbidden fruit that was pleasing to the eye to deceive Eve. Then we have some that outright prefer to live in sin and are full of evil (Rom. 7:20). Then there are others who do not fully understand the power of Satan and the control he gains through his lies and deception.

When people choose to sin, their excuse is often the blame game. They may say the devil made me do it. Let’s be real. The devil has no power over you unless you give it to him. The Bible calls this giving him a foothold (Eph. 4:27). Even though the devil is a liar, tempter and deceitful, he in all truthfulness does not make anyone sin. You choose to do it on your own free will. In Job 12:11 he says, “Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?” Job is saying we should test all things. In I Thess. 5:21 it tells us to “test everything and hold fast to what is good.” That says to test all things and we will know if they are right and from God.

When we have two powerful spirits, one good and one evil, we have to know which one is of God and which one is of the devil. In I John 4:1 it tells us to “believe not of every spirit but to test them to see if they are of God.” How do we know? It goes on to explain (John 4:3) that “every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God.” I can tell you that the greater power will prevail, if you trust in it and believe in it. Now one of my favorite Bible verses will sum it up. In I John 4:4 it says, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

There are four good scriptures that tell us of how God speaks to us through His spirit: Neh. 9:20 “God gave us His good spirit to instruct us.” John 14:17 “God sent us an advocate to be with us, the spirit of truth.” Gal. 5:25 Live by the spirit, we will be guided by the spirit. Romans 8:14, “As many are led by the spirit of God, are the sons of God.”

God speaks to us through his spirit, but understand this. So does Satan. One is truth, the other lies and deception. One gives help, the other causes you harm.
Remember as a youth you wanted to go and do something with your friends but for your own good and safety your parents told you, no it’s too dangerous, you could get hurt. But on the other side, you had your friends who weres persistent in telling you it’s okay, you’ll be fine, it’s safe and you won’t get hurt. It is your parents who have your well being in mind (as God does). It is your friends who want you to go against your parents (as Satan does). This is exactly what the devil is doing to get you to go against God, who has your well being in mind. God knows what is best for you. No, your mom and dad or your friends were not speaking to you in a spiritual sense, as God and Satan do, but both are very real.
The word devil is the rendering of several Hebrew and Greek words for an evil spiritual being. It is the devil that you hear that is getting you to go against what you know to be right and good. Did you know that God is a spirit (John 4:24). Likewise, the devil is a created evil spirit and we are created with a Spirit. I Thess. 5:23 says the spirit we have is the life given to us by God. God uses the body for the spirit to dwell in. In John 6:63 it says, “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh (body) is useless.”

It kind of stands to reason the spirit that dwells within you is of God who talks to you. Here is the difference between good spirits and bad spirits. God’s spirit dwells in you and the spirit of the devil is of darkness, trying to get in. The devil is of this world, and as I said, the spirit that dwells within you is greater than that of this world.

We cannot stop the devil from trying to tempt us or from trying to deceive us. The truth is, the more we resist him, the harder he will try. Yes if we resist the devil he will flee from you (James 4:7). But be certain he will return if you let your guard down.

Keep strong and on your guard for his attacks. We must make certain of which spirit is of God for our own good and not of the devil who wants to harm you and cause you to sin.

In closing, live by the spirit of God and do not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). If you live by the spirit you are guided by the spirit (Gal. 5:25).
Use the power of the Holy Spirit that is in you and the devil’s spirit can’t touch you.

Forgiveness – Carl Nunnery

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“Forgiveness”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

First, let’s define the word forgiveness. Forgiveness means to excuse, pardon or spare. To spare means to withhold punishment or use mercy. Hebrews 4:16 says “let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy in the time of need.” This is exactly what we do when we ask for forgiveness. We are asking God to have mercy on us and pardon us of our sins so we do not receive the sinner’s punishment, such as separation and death.

Christ died our sinner’s death so we might receive. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

The forgiveness of sins is not just saying “I’m sorry.” That is an apology when you realized your sin and the Holy Spirit has convicted you. To receive forgiveness you have to ask for it. You have to ask not only from our heavenly Father but from the one you may have sinned against or offended. “Ask and you shall receive” (John 16:24). It’s as simple as that.

Forgiveness is a free and priceless gift from God (Eph. 2:8). All who ask for forgiveness from God “In Jesus’ name” shall receive it. All sins are forgivable except the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In Mark 3:29 it states, “but he who blasphemies against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal condemnation.”

Let me explain how serious that is. Blasphemy means to slander or speak evil against. The Jews doubted and spoke slander like this in Mark 3:22. They gave credit for the miracles that Jesus did to Beelzebub.

Beelzebub was the chief of demons. He was identified with Satan. Let us be clear, Satan is a spirit and he does possess strong (evil) powers, but not close to the power of God. Satan does not work true miracles. They are deceptions. Miracles are defined as a special manifestation of God and a sign of God’s power.

Remember this, God is our creator, Christ is our Savior and Satan is our deceiver. Satan does not forgive sins, he endorses them. Forgiven means lifted away. Awesome, right? Our sins can be forgiven and lifted away. In Col. 3:13 it says, “even as Christ forgave us, we must also do.” What is that saying? First let me say, you cannot receive forgiveness if you have any unconfessed sin in your heart or have not forgiven someone of their trespasses against you (Matt. 6:14). Second, we must give forgiveness in order to receive it. Forgiveness is part of God’s plan to peaceful living and eternal life.

Let me give you an example of recorded forgiveness that comes to mind. In Gen. 50:17, it tells how Joseph’s brothers abused him, threw him into a hole, even sold him to Egypt slavery, but as the situation turned, the brothers had to go before Joseph, who was now second in command of Egypt. They were afraid what Joseph might do to them, but Joseph, with God’s love in his heart, was indeed forgiving.

If someone sins against you, use this example of Godly love. Pray for them, but most importantly, forgive them. This is what Christ did in Luke 23:34 when he prayed to God, “Father, forgive them.” Yes, out of love, some of Jesus’ dying words were of prayer to the Heavenly Father for some men to be forgiven. They were not just ordinary men, they were the same men who just nailed Him to the cross and were at that very minute crucifying Him.

This example should humble each one of us. The way I see it, we should not find any difficulty in giving forgiveness to anyone. Jesus made it very clear that even if they keep sinning, keep forgiving them (Matt. 18:21-22). Who knows more about forgiveness than Jesus? Jesus is the one who made our own forgiveness possible.

Think about this truth: Jesus asked for forgiveness for the men trespassing against him (crucifixion) while He was dying on the cross for our sins.
Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Eccles. 7:20 says, “for there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” This says we all sin every day. That’s why the words of Jesus said if anyone keeps sinning against you, forgive them not seven times but seven times 70 (Matt. 18:22). This is very important. Otherwise, if we sinned one time we would not ever receive forgiveness again. Scary thought, isn’t it?

What is involved by forgiving someone who may have sinned against you? This might mean you have to swallow your pride and forgive someone you had bitter feelings for when they trespassed against you. Col. 3:14 says, “above all things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

Forgiveness is not just limited to your outward actions, but for the forgiveness of your inward actions as well. What are some descriptions of inward actions: Hate, pride, jealousy, strife, lust, anger, greed, envy, laziness, idolatry, gluttony, etc.
Your inward actions are also known as works of the flesh. They are dark thoughts you feel in your heart. Lust of the heart is defined as an illegal desire. Your inward actions can produce outward results. We must be fervent in our prayers for God’s forgiveness. I Cor. 4:16 says, “therefore I urge you to be imitators of me.” Can you think of a better role model?

Matt. 22:37 says, “you shall love the Lord God with all your heart, your soul and your mind.” Heart is the dwelling place of God. Soul is human life and mind is our thoughts and choices.

Romans 10:13 says, “All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now let’s talk about the sin committed and the forgiveness given. Even though you have been given a full pardon (forgiveness) for your sin, even with true and absolute forgiveness from God, it may still come with some form of punishment from governing authorities, such as police, fines, courts, jail or prison. God’s word in Jer. 21:14 says, “I will punish you according to your fruits of labor.” In Psalms 99:8 it says, “The God who forgives but takes vengeance on their deeds.”
Let me explain it this way, our Heavenly Father is very much like our own parents. Just as growing children when we did wrong, we got punished by spanking or grounding. But nonetheless, we were loved unconditionally by them. This is much the same as our Heavenly Father. We may receive his chastening (punishment) but He still loves us unconditionally. His love never stops.
So I ask for Christ to dwell in your hearts and to guide you in all your ways. John 13:16 says, “He is the Spirit of Truth and will guide you in all your ways.” Psalms 32:8 says, “I will teach you and instruct you in the way you should go. I will guide you with my eye.”

In closing I will repeat two of God’s commands: Love one another (John 13:34) and forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)

Remember, we are Christ’s temple, so let us shine for everyone to see.

Obedience and Sacrifice – Tolan Duncan

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“Obedience and Sacrifice”
By Tolan Duncan
Macomb Correctional Facility, New Haven, MI

Glory to Our Mighty God. Jesus is always the reason for any season. I wish all the brothers and sisters in Christ all the love due to them.

As we busy ourselves on this Earth with cares that will one day pass away, I pray that we are truly prepared for Jesus’ second coming, that He will find us about our Father’s business and that His will has come to mean everything to us.

I had a conversation with a brother in Christ and we mixed words when it came to “obedience is better than sacrifice” verses “mercy is better than sacrifice.” After the conversation I went back to my cell to research the accuracy of the conversation. I knew I was right, but I found out that my brother was right as well.

I came from 1st Samuel and he came from Matthew. I drew from the experience that if it is obedience or mercy, it is without question who did the sacrificing – Jesus. It is through this that we have mercy and we are called to obedience through our faith in Him.

As a family, we may clash at times on things that are small or right on both sides, but love in Jesus keeps us together and the Holy Spirit reveals the truth in our lives so we can remain in God’s will and about His business.

Clear and Present Love – Nolan Hall

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“Clear and Present Love”
By Nolan Hall
Lakeland Correctional Facility, Coldwater, MI

To all you American soldiers here on home soil, and far abroad, I pray for you and your loved ones asking blessings with protection from God.

You go beyond the boundaries of your country to protect all of humanity, not some.
Putting yourselves in harms-way you improvise, you adapt, and overcome.

You don’t always get the credit and acknowledgements for risking your lives in a place not so nice.
Being patriotic and duty-bound to serving your country you don’t think about it twice.

There is not a word in any language that adequately describes the sacrifices you make.
Yet you give so much of yourselves pushing through with your injuries and aches.

We appreciate your dedication and honor in doing this country so proud.
Much more magnified than words your actions of bravery are loud.

Through hot and cold veterans have marched singing your cadence through day and night.
Preparing yourselves for battle elsewhere, it’s for our American liberties you fight.

You do what you do encountering bogeys to make sure those who would harm us fail.
Safeguarding the American way the United States home of the brave prevails.

Sadly enough evil people do exist, intending to terrorize and hurt others is clear.
But you brave fighting men and women show us courage and hope in the face of fear.

I realize that conditions aren’t always right and life isn’t always fair.
There is a multitude of us who love you and we genuinely care.

Whenever you served, no matter what branch, or where you enlisted, or how you lace up your boot.
It’s to you I give credence, respect, and reverence for your valor I applaud you with a salute.

Sin – Carl Nunnery

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“Sin”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

If you could name one thing that everyone in the world has in common, what would you think of? I can also tell you it’s something many have and are not even aware of or they are denying having it altogether. I am referring to sin.
People are quick to point out the terrible four letter words that others may use when they talk. The truth is, all of the awful four letter words that you can think of are made up of one deadly three letter word known as sin. There are a lot of questions about sin to be brought out, such as:

What is sin? Where did sin come from? Who committed the first sin? What do we do with sin? What causes sin? How do we get rid of sin? Can we ever be without sin? Can a sinner be saved? What must you do to be saved?
What is sin? Sin is defined as any transgression of the law, or you may say that sin is a trespass of the laws of God. In I John 3:4 it says, “everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness.” God gave us the law to show us we are indeed sinners. In Romans 7:7, it points out the need for the law. It says, “if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.” When we speak of the law and going against the law, what you are doing is basically doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing. Why? Because you know better.

In James 4:17 it says, “anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.” Sin is choosing to do something that you know to be wrong, a “thinking error.” It’s true there are many, many ways to sin, but yet they all can be classified under one of seven kinds of sin. These are known as: pride (conceit, arrogance, vanity, emptiness, falseness), envy (ill will for other’s good fortune, jealousy, covetousness, zeal), anger (wrath, strong emotions of displeasure), laziness (unmotivated, unwilling to do work or tasks), greed (base desires, covetousness), gluttony (unrestrained behavior, excessive eating), and lust (illegal desires, sexual desires).

Any if the seven deadly sins are not only a detestable thing, but they are also an abomination to God.

Where did sin come from? God made a perfect earth. All was created good and there was no sin in it. In Gen. 1:31 it says, “God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good.” If someone said sin was from outer space, it would not be as far off as it may sound to be. No, this does not imply a spaceman activity or an alien invasion but to the spiritual or heavenly realm. So what does this mean? Just this, the first sin was not of this earth but in the heavens above. Keep in mind that God did not create sin, permit sin, allow sin or condone sin.

What God did allow is for us to have our own free will. This means that God allowed us to make our own choices, whether it be good or bad ones. This free will was not limited to just humans on earth but to God’s creations in heaven as well. Remember, in Genesis 1:1 where it says, “God created heavens and earth.” Well, on earth this included all humans like you and me, and in the heavens that included all spiritual beings. Yes, that included angels.

Who committed the first sin? In heaven, God had man angels and God appointed some select angels to do various duties. One of these selected angels was called Lucifer. Lucifer was a beautiful created angel of God and as such was given powers to perform his duties. Over time, these powers began to cloud his thinking, judgment and choices. Lucifer thought that he had more power than he did which caused him to make a life changing mistake – to go against God (rebellion).

Lucifer’s fall was due to the choice he made and from the pride he had in himself. Lucifer began to think he was better than God and, as such, he told God he was going to exalt himself like the most high. This was sin at the worse level.

Can you imagine Lucifer (God’s creation) telling God he was going to make himself like the most high? Incredible as it may sound, it’s true. He did say just that. In Isaiah 14:13-14 Lucifer made some outrageous claims. The Bible records it as the five “I wills” of Lucifer: I will ascend to heaven, raise my throne, sit on the mount, ascend to the top of the clouds, and make myself like the most high.

As you will read, that did not go over well with God, nor did God allow those words to go unpunished. God called Lucifer on it quick. In Ezekiel 28:14 God said, “you were blameless in your ways when created, then sin was found in you.” Then in Isaiah 14:12 it records what God did to Lucifer for his sin. It says, “he has fallen from heaven and cast down.” Lucifer was not cast down to earth to live as an angel of God but as a sinner. Since the fall of Lucifer, he has begun his crusade against all of God’s children and followers of Christ. After Lucifer’s fall, that name was stripped from him and replaced with the name Satan, which means adversary, or the well known name as the devil.

Since Lucifer’s fall, he is known by several names in the Bible, eight in the Greek New Testament and 12 in the Hebrew Old Testament. Satan is the beginning of sin in God’s creation as well as being responsible for the sin on earth by using his first victims of Adam and Eve, who were and knew no sin at the time before Satan. John writes in I John 3:8 that “everyone who sins is of the devil because the devil has sinned from the beginning.” Satan’s fall is because of one deadly sin called pride. In Prov. 16:18 it warns us of this sin when it tells us “pride before the fall.”

What causes sin? We look back at the sin of Adam and Eve. Did Satan make them sin? Not at all. Everyone of God’s creation has the ability to sin. Adam and Eve had the same choices of free will as Lucifer did. They made a bad choice. So here we have Satan, who committed the first sin, then he brought sin to all the human race through Adam and Eve. Satan succeeded in getting our first parents to do on earth what he previously had done in heaven – sin.

Satan’s tactics were that of deception and lies. He deceived Eve by tempting her to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the forbidden fruit. While some refer to it as an apple that she ate from the tree, the truth is the Bible does not specify as to the type of fruit that she did in fact eat, since there were many different kinds of fruit trees in the Garden of Eden, Satan used the tree of knowledge of good and evil because he knew God forbid them to eat of this tree, so Satan made it pleasant to her eyes as good food. Satan’s deception and tempting her worked.

We must understand that tempting is not sinful in itself, it’s what we do with our temptations that matter. It is just like a gun. It’s not illegal to own it, it’s the intended use that makes it illegal. We must never underestimate what we allow to enter our minds because it is in your mind where the fight between good and evil is won or lost. In James 1:15 it says, “evil desires (thoughts) that are conceived give birth to sin.” Yes, sin is like a fire. It has to have a spark to start it. That spark is temptation, the fuel to start that fire, to give into temptation. It is sparked by what we choose to do when faced with temptation that spark is that of anger, lust, hate or evil desires. The fuel for these are acting on these thoughts. Everything we say, do or think comes from the heart. It is in your heart that your emotions are stored up. It is in your heart that reveals who you have allowed in, whether or not you have given the devil a foothold.

In Matthew 15:19 it says, “out of the heart comes evil intentions.” It starts with what we hear or see that is fed into your heart. Then it goes to your mind where your choice is made on the information it has received. God knows how sin is manufactured in our ways. He knows how important the heart, soul and mind are to keep us pure in thoughts and love.

In Matthew 22:37 God says, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and your mind.” If we keep God in these three, sin cannot be manufactured. We see and hear a lot of evil, hateful and lustful things. These are snares of the devil. We can never avoid them. The difference is whether or not we act on the thoughts. Struggling with evil thoughts is different than entertaining them.

What do we do with sin? One thing about sins – they are never hidden. You may even live with them for a while. You may even think you have gotten away with the sin, but sooner or later they will be revealed. In Numbers 32:23 it says, “your sins will find you out.” The truth is, when you store sin in your heart, this is unconfessed sin. It will cause a lot of unpleasant things for you: things you think are bad luck that happen to you, you’re separated from God, God won’t hear your prayers unless of repentance, you cannot be forgiven without confession, you are on the road to destruction (hell).

Here is the way it works. The devil puts the thoughts in your mind, but you decide (choose) whether or not to do them. The devil is an evil spirit and an adversary of God. Satan is the tempter of all evil things. Even Jesus was tempted by Satan. Jesus showed us we must deal with the tempting thoughts. Resist them.

In James 4:7, it says, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We have the same ability as Jesus did. We can choose not to sin but to resist it. Remember, thinking about something is not doing it. They may be wrong or improper thoughts, but are not sins unless your heart, mind and soul choose to do them.

Jesus prayed to the Father when He was confronted with His temptations. We, too, can pray to the Father through Jesus to remove these evil thoughts and to keep us from acting on them. Only God can enter your heart to remove these evil thoughts. Does this mean that a Christian can never be angry, since anger is a sin? Not at all. There is a righteous anger. For instance, we can be angry over wars, sins, violence or hate.

In Ephesians 4:26 it says, “be angry but do not sin.” Let me give you an example of this righteous anger. In Matthew 21:12 Jesus was angry when they were buying and selling items in the temple, making his Father’s house a den of thieves. Jesus overturned tables and drove them out of the temple. Jesus was indeed angry, but He did not sin.

How do we get rid of sin? We have talked about what sin is and where it comes from and its causes, but what should we do if and when we sin? It’s obvious we are all sinners, no denying that. In Romans 3:23 it says, “all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God.” So who hates sin the most? God does. That is why as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin of eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil God banned Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. It was not for the sin of their disobedience of eating of the tree of good and evil itself, but due to the availability of the tree of life that was also there in the Garden of Eden. What would happen if Adam and Eve did eat of the tree of good and evil and had also eaten of the tree of life? Let me explain it this way: The tree of knowledge of good and evil (basically to know and be able to do both good and bad things) and the tree of life (immorality or that you have an everlasting life).

So if Adam and Eve had eaten from both trees, they would have in essence been sinners for life. Why? Because they would have had divine knowledge as well as immortality and completion of the transitions to deities. We all know God does not allow sinners or those having sin in His eternal kingdom. God warns us in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” Yes, we all have sin. In I John 1:8 it says “if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves.” You see, first we have to admit we are sinners and want to do something about it. God hates sin so much and loves us so much that He sent His only Son to be our advocate to the Father. In I John 2:1 it says, “if you sin, we have an advocate to the Father.” This is our only way to get rid of sin, through and by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Can we ever be without sin? The answer to that is absolutely not. That’s why it is so important to pray for forgiveness every day. Sin is like a bad rash that will never go away completely which requires medication to keep it from getting worse. Same goes for sin. We must get rid of it when we become aware of it, and daily attention to combat sin in your life. Let’s face it, we are human and we are not perfect. If sin was easy to get rid of, Christ would not have had to die for it. We all know exactly the moment we sin and it’s not later that evening that we should ask for forgiveness. It is immediately after the sin was committed. God rejoices at the sinner who calls out to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

What must I do to be saved? Ask yourself this question honestly. Do I want to be saved? It may sound odd I know, but the reason for it is this. Many know they have sinned. They may even say out loud, “God forgive me,” but yet they do not intend to change their ways or habits.

Jesus is ready to take your plea to the Heavenly Father but you have to have a serious change of heart. You have to have sorrow in your heart for your sin and truly want to be saved from it. This can be done by using what is called the ABC’s. Admit you are a sinner, Believe that Jesus dies for your sins, and C confess your sins.

I refer everyone that wants to be saved to enter their confession of faith to Romans 10:9 where it says, “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Prov. 28:13 it says, “he that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but those who confess and forsake them shall have mercy.” In Romans 1:16 it says, “it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.” You have to make a serious adjustment in your life and forsake all your old ways.

In Psalms 38:18 it says, “I confessed my sins and I am sorry for my sins”. This is the sincerity you must feel in your heart. You must not have any hidden or unconfessed sin. It’s time to come clean and be cleaned.

Keep no sins in your heart. Why? Your plea will not be heard. It’s like this, while you still have unconfessed sin in your heart, you are still a sinner and God does not hear the sinner. In Genesis 4:7 it says, you wept before the Lord and He did not hear your voice.” The only prayer God hears is that of repentance, a total change of heart.

True enough, if you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, God does not hear your prayers. We cannot go straight to God in prayer, or prayers have to go through Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who paid for our sins and He is our advocate to the Father. Jesus told us in John 14:6 “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If you prayed to God, wouldn’t you want to be assured that He heard you? Wouldn’t you want God to be there when you need him? Sometimes people wait until something bad happens before they ask God for His help or answers. Bingo. This is God getting your attention. God uses many kinds of circumstances in our life to get our attention, such as, jail, sickness, nature, friends/family, loss of job, even deaths. God uses many ways to get our attention of sin in our lives and the need for Jesus in our lives to combat sin.

The time is now to accept Jesus as your Savior. Do it while you are able to make that choice. If you are standing face to face with God and you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, it will be too late. Judgment has now come upon you. Remember sin is death and forgiveness is life. Be aware that your life is in your hands. The choice is yours to make.

How Much Time Do You Have Left? – Carl Nunnery

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“How Much Time Do You Have Left?”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

How many of you are guilty of clock watching? Yep, me, too. We have all had jobs were we would watch the clock hand go round, either for lunch time or time to go home. Then there is when you buy something of large value and you are given time to pay it off. Then we have still yet another way to watch our time. That is by watching the days or years.

With respect to the men and women who are in jails and prisons, this is one of the most frequently asked questions. In most cases, that time left reveals the time they have left before going home. It is so closely watched that most of them can tell you the very day that their time is up for their release.

The truth is, there are many reasons for counting the days until something happens. Some are good, some are not so good. Now I want to ask you a sobering question. “Have you ever wondered how much time you have to live?” Scary thought, isn’t it? In Hebrews 9:27 it tell us, “It is appointed for mortals to die once, after that judgment.” I will follow that with what it says in I Cor. 7:29, “the appointed time has grown short.” That should really get you thinking. We all know that we do not live on this earth forever. That is a fact. Another fact is that our appointed time is one that deserves a lot of special attention. My friends, have you ever heard that old saying “there’s no time like the present?” In this case, that really hits the nail on the head. Now is the time to give serious thought about what is going to happen when the sand in your hourglass has run empty. In Hosea 10:2 it says, “It’s time to seek the Lord that He may come rain righteousness upon you.”

Sometimes it may feel as if time seems to stand still. That may cause you to falsely think that you have plenty of time, but I can assure you it does not. Time waits on no one. Time is so precious that we should not waste one minute of it due to the fact that the end of time is coming very soon. When thinking about your time, remember it always moves forward and never backwards. You may also think about your time left as being like a stopwatch. While it may be running well for a while, it could stop at any time without any warning. This is so important due to the many warnings in the Bible that tell us the end of time draws near. In Zech. 14:1 it tells us, “The day of the Lord cometh.”

Most people don’t give real consideration to the fact that one day the Lord will return and without warning. In Matt. 24:36 it clearly tells us that no one knows the day or the hour. Will it be today, tomorrow or next week? Or maybe years from now? The truth is, it could actually be any one of them. We do not know for sure. What we do know for sure is that Jesus will one day return.

Zech. 14:1: the day of the Lord draws near; Acts 1:11: Jesus will return the same way He left; John 14:3: I will come again; Rev. 20:20: I am coming quickly; Matt. 24:36: No one knows the day or hour; Matt. 24-44: be ready.

Now if you think about those scriptures, I would like you to honestly ask yourself how much time do you have left. It should cause you to rethink your time left and your position on earth. Many think they have all the time in the world, but do they really?

On any given Sunday whether it be at church or on a TV ministry program, you will hear the minister speak of the urgency of being saved. It may even sound like the same thing over and over again. Let me tell you why that is. Sometimes people don’t get it the first time. I don’t mean that to sound sarcastic or rude, but sometimes it either sounds unrealistic or hard to believe to them, so some things have to be and must be repeated due to the importance of it. Are we alone in thinking that we have plenty of time? Are we alone in needing things repeated to us at times? Not at all. We all have our own ways of understanding things. By this I mean some people get their message across to that person in a way that they are better able to grasp its meaning. Thinking you have plenty of time is such a dangerous game to play with your life. I can give you two good examples of people who also thought they had plenty of time. In Gen. 6:11-13 God destroyed the earth due to violence and its corruptness with a great flood. In Gen. 18-24-25 God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for its wickedness and its immorality with fire.

Both of these examples of destruction come with a warning. God told Noah to build an ark to escape the flood and God told Lot to flee from Sodom to escape the fire. My point is this, do you think God told either of them the exact time this would happen? Absolutely not. Time has no consideration factor when it comes to His justice and the same can be said about what time He will return. It is according to His will and His timing. It’s time to get real. God has given us a stern warning about His return. It’s not the fact that we will not know the hour and the day, but what He will bring with that. Judgment. Once again, God will bring fire and vengeful wrath upon this earth as was seen in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The difference is, God is talking about total destruction of this earth with fire. In 2nd Peter 3:10 and in 2nd Peter 3:12 both record the earth and everything in it will melt with fervent heat. If anything can be learned about this it’s that life can be here today and gone tomorrow. Believers in God’s Word know this. They also know God can come at any given time. That’s why I say no one knows how much time they have left on this earth.

Now I want to go back to having to repeat saying that God can come at any time and why it’s done. They are trying to save your life. You have to understand that God could have come back already. I will tell you why he hasn’t. God sees the good in all of us so He sent his only Son, Jesus, to be our Savior (John 3:16). Jesus died on the cross for you and me for our sins. It is also because God loves us so much and does not want any of us to perish. In 2nd Peter 3:19 it says ,”not wanting you to perish, but to come to repentance.” My friends, God has indeed given us His warning as well as his promise.

His warning is that the earth will melt with fire (2nd Peter 3:12); that He is coming at an unknown hour (Matt. 24:36); Come to repentance (2nd Peter 3:8). His promise is that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved (Romans 10:13).

When they repeat God is coming soon or God is coming at any time, they are hoping and praying that you will see the need to be saved. Why? When God comes back, and He is, you don’t want to be on the outside looking in as was the case of the rich man looking over to see Lazarus with Abraham in Luke 16:19-31. You want to know for sure that no matter what time God comes back, you will be ready. By this I mean you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have made your confession of faith (Romans 10:9) and you will be looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ.

What it comes down to is this. When someone asks you how much time you have left your answer will be that it doesn’t matter, you are ready. Time is very precious and it is something we have now that is very fragile. Don’t waste it, but protect it.

It is of the utmost importance that you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior before your time runs out. When Christ returns, He will collect those who are His as recorded in 1st Thess. 4:17. It is then when we are with Him in His new heavenly kingdom that time will not matter.

Give your time to the Lord and He will repay you with an abundance of time – time everlasting. The Lord is at home right now. Don’t you think it’s time to give him a call?

The Letter – Raymond Carr

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“The Letter”
By Raymond Carr
Lakeland Correctional Facility, Coldwater, MI

Let me tell you about a letter I wrote, that will be with me for the rest of my life.

Sometime ago, I wrote a letter to my grandfather, but I never got a chance to send it to him. You see, I took my time, dragged my feet, I thought I would have plenty of time to send this letter to my grandfather.

Then, one day my grandfather went into the hospital to never come home. He passed away. I know my grandfather went to heaven to be with our Heavenly Father.

But, I’m holding this letter for my grandfather, with my thoughts and love that was to be received by him. I took tomorrow for granted. I thought I had time. I thought I had tomorrow, but all I had was today.

We think time is going to stand still for us. We must, because we think we have all the time in the world, to do what it is that we must do. We think we have time to do all and anything, because we are forever saying, “In time I will,” “It’s going to happen in time,” “Everything is going to be all right in time.”

But in time, will it really be all right? Is this the same time I had to send my grandfather his letter? Will we have this same time to get right with God? Truth be told, all the time we have is the ‘here and now.”

We cannot put off our salvation for tomorrow, because tomorrow is not promised and it just may be too late. Don’t let tomorrow not come and you are still holding your letter to Jesus.

Don’t Worry – I Got You – Carl Nunnery

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“Don’t Worry – I Got You”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

The power of the mind controls a lot of functions from what you do and how you do it. It also controls things that you may not even be aware of doing in a subconscious state that can be harmful to you. Look at some of the things the mind can cause you to do:

Cause you a lot of grief
Causes you to have a high stress level
Makes you think of things that have not happened yet
Can make you sick
Cause you to try to change a situation by thinking about it
Can cause you a lot of insecurity and confusion

These are just some of the things some people do every day needlessly. So what is it that your mind is doing to you by doing any of these? It’s called worry! Worrying is what happens when you give too much thought or attention on something and it begins to control your thinking process as well as your emotions. The reasons one may have for worrying can vary.

The weather
A sickness
Court
Passing a test
A lot item
Paying bills

There are still many other reasons that we have no control over. The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer, supplication and with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” Paul used three words that tell us what we must do to get rid of worries.

1. Prayer – means man’s communion to God. Talk to Him!
2. Supplication – means a petition. Tell Him what He can do for you!
3. Thanksgiving – means an offering of thanks. Thank Him for doing!

Those words tell us an important truth. We should give all our worries to God, for it is God and God alone who is able to do anything about it. Our God is not only the great “I Am,” but he is also the great “I Will!!”

In 1 Peter 5:7 it says, “Cast all your cares to God, for he cares for you.” That is giving it to God and into his hands, but we have to do much more than that, for God to act on your behalf, you have to trust him. That means you have to believe his words to you and to believe he will do what he says he will do! Letting go of your concerns and worries that become bothersome to you takes total trust in God.

The prophet Isaiah said, “In all their afflictions he was afflicted.” (Isaiah 6:39). God not only goes with you in the difficulties in life, but he knows how you feel. “Your high priest in heaven is able to sympathize with you because he has experienced the trials of life” (Heb. 12:17).

I can easily describe worry to you by using an old term some have used. When they see you worrying they call you a “Worry Wart.” We all know what a wart is don’t we? A wart is an infestive growth that has no good use or purpose! A wart is an ugly display on your skin, just as worrying is an ugly display in your heart, it shows a lack of trust in God’s word. You cannot worry about what has not even happened or may not ever happen. Only God controls that part of your life. God calls it “His Will” for you. In Matthew 6:34 it says, “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Let me quote a “Peanuts” comic strip to where Linus said to Charlie Brown, “I guess it’s wrong to worry about tomorrow, maybe we should only think about today.” “No,” said Charlie Brown emphatically, “that’s giving up. I’m still hoping tomorrow will get better.” What that says to me is simply this, we cannot do anything about tomorrow, but we can use our experiences of yesterday to make a better and more positive today!

The word “worry” comes from a German word that means “to choke.” When you worry, you choke out the good things that God can do for you. Paul told us in Matthew 6:27, “You cannot add a single hour to your life by worrying?” Your worries are concerns you have. Your concerns are what God calls “cares” and he wants you to give your cares to him and allow you to get rid of your burdens! We have to lay our burdens down!! Often, when circumstances are the most difficult, God will surprise you with a special victory.

In Number 35:6, God gives us the “cities of refuge.” (Old Testament) In Hebrews 6:18, God gives us “Jesus Christ as our refuge.” (New Testament)

We always have a place to turn to in our difficulties in life and that includes the things that worry us! When you worry, you are doubting God’s power and presence in your life. God wants us to be dependent on him for our: needs, cares, trials, pains and yes, worries!

God does not promise us we will never have any concerns, cares or trials. Likewise, God does not ever promise us we will never have any problems in life, we will! God does, however, promise us that he is here for us and he loves each and every one of us!

God will carry you past your hard times and will strengthen you to endure them. God wants us to “set our minds on things above, not the things of this world.” (Col. 3:2)

Here are seven reasons not to worry!

1. The same God who created life in you can be trusted with details of your life (Matthew 6:25)
2. Worrying about the future hampers your efforts for today (Matthew 6:26)
3. Worrying is more harmful than helpful (Matthew 6:27)
4. God does not ignore those who depend on him (Matthew 6:28-30)
5. Worrying shows lack of faith (Matthew 6:31-32)
6. Worrying keeps us from real challenges God wants us to pursue (Matthew 6:33)
7. Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry (Matthew 6:34)

Don’t trust God in some things, trust God in all things!

Remember:

“All things work together for good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28)

Don’t worry – be happy!