- This lesson was written with a prisoner in mind that has been saved, but is still in prison. However, remember as you read, even if you are not a prisoner, when you got saved you may still have major problems that you are faced with. Therefore, there is much valuable information that you can glean from this lesson to help you in your walk with the Lord.
It is important to study God’s Word, the Bible, to memorize verses, and to think upon His Word. The Word of God never changes. We live in a world of constant changes. Our friends and families change, circumstances change, our thoughts and attitudes change, and all around us we experience change every day. But the Word of God remains the same, and is sure and stedfast. We can always depend upon His Word.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.” Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” In I Peter 1:23, we read that the Word of God lives and abides forever.
In uncertain and changing times, we can always depend upon His Holy Word to give us comfort, strength, grace, and power for each moment of our life, regardless of our situation or our circumstances.
The Word of God also helps new born babies in Christ to grow spiritually. In I Peter 2:2 we read, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” We as believers in Christ are commanded in God’s Word to grow spiritually. II Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The Word of God has always existed, and will always exist. In John 1:1-2 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”
Read the following verses from the Bible. Psalm 119:2, 9, 11, 28, 50, 67, 71, 74, 92, 114, 130, 147, 148, 162 and 165.
This booklet is one in a series of lessons entitled, “Christians Growth,” which will aid in the growth of believers in Christ. These lessons cover topics ranging from A to Z of the alphabet. II Peter 3:18 should be the goal of every believer, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
As you begin these study courses of God’s Word, please begin them with this thought and prayer found in Psalm 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This tells us how to stand with God and how to go with God.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Basic Truths to Lift You
From Defeat to Victorious Living!
written & used by permission
Dr. James Wilkins
Table of Contents
“Four Steps From Defeat To Victorious Living”
A. Victims in a World of No Hope
B. Hope in a World of No Hope
C. Four Basic Truths
I. TRUTH ONE…
THE PROPER RECOGNITION…GOD
1. The Seven Logical Principles of Life
A. Points to Ponder
II. TRUTH TWO…
THE PROPER MANUAL…THE BIBLE
1. Get Your Computer Fixed
A. The Purpose of Man on the Earth
B. Three Principles in Mastering the Manual
C. Jesus’ Message From the Manual to “Bad Sinners”
D. Personal Message to You … the Reader
E. Points to Ponder
III. TRUTH THREE…
THE PROPER LIFESTYLE…I’M THE LORD’S
1. Hobbling the Old Wolf Dog
A. Divine Nature and Human Nature
B. Inward Man and Outward Man
C. New Man and Old Man
D. Fruit of the Spirit and the Works of the Flesh
E. Visualize the Struggle Between the Two Natures
F. The Absolute Necessity of Teaching the New Convert
G. The Two Opposing Forces Within Each Child of God
H. The Total Viciousness and Danger of the Old Wolf Dog
I. The Spiritual Man Can Dominate and Control the Flesh
J. Points to Ponder
IV. TRUTH FOUR…
THE PROPER PROTECTION…THE CHURCH
1. Finding a Battered Home Shelter
A. Avoid Mistakes and Avoid the Slammer
B. Make Preparation by Planning Your Escape
C. Things to do Before Leaving Prison
D. Things to Keep Foremost in Your Mind After You Get Out
E. Learn the Real Facts of Life
F. Points to Ponder
WORDS FROM ONE OLD INMATE TO ANOTHER INMATE
FOUR STEPS FROM DEFEAT TO VICTORIOUS LIVING
Victims in a world of no hope
There are 2.1 million of our citizens locked up behind prison doors. I do not know if that figure is accurate to date or not, but I do know they are building new prisons in almost every state in the union. They tell me that 85% are repeat offenders; however, once again I cannot vouch for these figures, but I do know that drugs, alcohol, and sex are addicting, and once one of these three monsters has their tentacles wrapped around a person, they almost always become a steel vise. It does not matter how much pain the addiction causes; it does not matter how the person is humiliated, or what it does to his family, or how it even ruins his life. His addiction makes him sick, but when he gets sober again, and the inward craving wears him down; alas, he breaks his word and turns back to the addiction. He once again jeopardizes his life and breaks his loved ones’ hearts. To the outside observer it seems that he is hell-bent in destroying himself. The horrible cycle is repeated over and over again until the person has put himself into that way of life as an absolute captive.
Some have placed themselves into this self-inflicted confinement and they are loners. They have destroyed the hope, trust, and love of both family and friends. Their habitual breaking of promises has finally caused their loved ones so much pain that some of their family and friends handle this seemingly hopeless situation by removing themselves from the addicted person. They must blot out, or at least work at blotting out, the painful memories of the captive loved one from their minds. Please note the phrase, “seemingly hopeless situation,” because there is hope for them, but not as long as they want to hide behind and justify this misfortune by accepting the role of the victims.
To many who are caught in the steel vise of disappointment and are thrust into a dangerous environment where they have lost total control, there seems to be no hope. They are locked up, surrounded by hardened criminals, many of whom have succumbed to the mentality and the actions of a beast; they are scared, and are fighting in a dark world which offers little or no hope. There is hope, but not in the avenues which most of them are pursuing.
1) There is no hope in secular, humanistic Babel (the world’s philosophy)
Secular humanism teaches that a person is a victim of his environment. The lyric in the old western song expresses their false philosophy… “Don’t blame her, life turned her that way!” That is a lie!! Our environment, our family and friends have a tremendous influence on shaping our lives. In order for the captive to be set free and delivered, he must accept responsibility for his own life and stop blaming his environment, his family, and others for his condition. There is no hope for a person as long as he wants to hide behind and justify his sin, weakness and misfortune by accepting the role of “the victim.”
2) There is no hope when addiction is diagnosed as a sickness
When addiction is diagnosed as a sickness, it causes one to be able to escape responsibility for his action. He has an excuse! He cannot help it. The victim will have no hope as long as he continues to allow society to call his addiction a disease. His addiction may actually make him sick. It may cause damage to his body or mind, which will cause him not to function properly. His addiction may even lead to an early death, but the root of his problems is that he is being held captive by his self-induced lifestyle.
3) There is no hope in religion
There is no hope for him if we believe that getting a person to have some type of religious experience is the answer. Many times these religious experiences are only an attempt by the captive person to make a bargain with God. God is not in the bargaining business and He is not a deal maker. God sees the con man’s heart, and has been down that same path with many others who thought that they could make a bargain with God. This type of thinking on the part of the captive is in reality a form of reformation (trying to change yourself outside of salvation). An example of a person wanting to bargain with God is one who goes to God with this deal, “God, I will go straight if you will get me out of this mess.” No deal!!! God will not respond to that type of proposition.
You reply, “I have seen them weep and plead. I know that many of them were sorry for their sins and were serious about making a change in their lives. I saw the relief, the joy, and the changed countenance of their faces.” I agree with that, because I have been there and have seen that! I am sure that many of them are truly saved from hell, but just getting religion, even truly being born again is not the entire answer! It is just the starting place, but most who get born again are not yet delivered from their captivity. Once released from captivity or prison, most will go back to their old lifestyle. The shackles which have destroyed their self image and have convinced them that they are losers must be broken and a new management must be set in place in their life before the captive will really be free.
4) There is no hope in bitterness or in waging war.
There are some people who have degenerated to the level of living in an “objective case” or “mood.” They are mad about everything and they hate everyone. They are determined to do the other guy before he does them. If they should outwardly cooperate, it is because it is better than if they openly resist. In order to survive they will become a part of a gang. The peer pressure of the gang drives them deeper into waging war and hardened rebellion.
It gives them identity and acceptance, which causes them to have some feeling of importance and purpose. They can survive. At least they can survive until they die, or until someone slips a knife into their back, In this dark existence, they live in a world of no hope. However, there is hope, but it is not in living a life of bitterness or in waging war.
5) There is no hope for those who live in a world of no hope.
Some of you who read the first section are angry with me. You totally disagree with me; in fact, some of you would like to punch me out!! You may say, “Who does he think he is? He does not know about the problems that I have had and the despair in which I live!” As some read this section, they may have thrown the book up against the wall, and my ears are burning, but wait one minute. I confess that I do not know about some of the horrible injustices which you have experienced. I do not know about some of the life crushing tragedies which many endure. But I do know that there is hope for you!
I do know God, and I know that His love and power can deliver you!! I do know his manual, and the method you must follow to overcome all past experiences and be able to live a life of contentment and satisfaction.
It cannot hurt the worst skeptic or critic to read the rest of the book. You have nothing to lose. You owe it to yourself to find out why I say that, “There is hope for you who live in a world of ‘No Hope!!’ ”
Four Basic Truths
It is much easier for some to get out of jail than to stay out of jail. Once a person is released from prison, he may resolve to stay out of prison. However, in most cases, it is a matter of time until he hears those steel doors slam shut behind him again. There are principles which will break the chains of this vicious cycle and set the captive free, provided they are understood, surrendered to, and mastered by the captive.
1.) These four basic truths are:
a.) The Seven (7) Logical Principles of Life
b.) Getting Your Computer Fixed
c.) Hobbling Your Old Wolf Dog (Man)
d.) Finding a Battered Home Shelter
Let me restate these four principles in a clearer, more emphatic (forceful) way. If a person would understand these truths and do them, it would guarantee his full recovery and give him a successful, fruitful life for Christ.
First, a person must accept full responsibility for his life and find God’s purpose for his being on this earth.
Second, he must accept the Bible as his manual, and learn how to read it and then live by it.
Thirdly, he must learn about the powerful forces which fight for control of his life, and how they can be controlled.
Finally, once he is released from prison, he must find a church home where he can be ministered to, and can minister to others. The stress in living a successful life is on ministering or serving.
The Proper Recognition… God
The Seven Logical Principles of Life
“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1
There are seven logical principles of life, so called because they depend upon logic rather than upon the Bible for their acceptance and continuance. When understood and mastered, these principles will revolutionize one’s life. These principles are:
1) There is a God or there is no God.
2) If there is a God, then He created man.
3) If God made man, then He did so for a purpose.
4) If God created man for a purpose, then there must be a Book which He placed on this earth that reveals that purpose.
5) If God created man for a purpose, then there must be a time appointed in the future in which man will stand before
God and personally give an account according to how he fulfilled his purpose.
6) Man will be either rewarded or penalized according to how he fulfilled his purpose.
7) If God created man and gave him existence on this earth, then God has a lawful right to man’s love and obedience.
Logic dictates that there is a God, and we believe that He created man for a purpose. We teach that the Bible is the supernatural Book which God placed on this earth that reveals man’s purpose in life. These seven logical principles of life stand on their own merit and cannot be refuted. Let us briefly show that these principles are in harmony with the Bible by examining each principle separately, with a scriptural reference, and a brief explanation.
1) There is a God or there is no God.
This principle stands upon its own and needs no comment. The Bible boldly declares in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…” If one can accept the first four words in the Bible “In the beginning God…” then the rest of the Bible should not be difficult.
2) If there is a God, then He made man.
Genesis 1:26 states, “And God said, let us make man in our own image, after our likeness…” Man is not an animal; he is God’s crowning work of creation and is the only creature made in the image and likeness of God.
3) If God made man, then He did so for a purpose.
This is the heart of the Bible, the purpose of man on earth. II Timothy 1:9 declares that God created man for a distinct purpose, and Romans 12:2 tells us that the purpose is “…good, acceptable and perfect…” A person will never really be happy until he understands and surrenders to the purpose for which he was sent into the world to accomplish. Sometimes God must allow a person to hit “rock bottom” before he will look up.
4) If God created man for a purpose, then there must be a Book which He placed upon the earth that reveals that purpose.
If it is logical to believe that God created man for a purpose, then it is logical to believe that He would want man to understand and find that purpose. If this is true, then there must be a Book or some method for God to communicate and reveal that purpose to man. The Book which God placed on this earth is the Holy Bible. The most forceful verse of the many verses which speak of this truth is II Timothy 3:16-17, which state, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
5) If God created man for a purpose, then there must be a time appointed in the future in which man will stand before God and personally give an account as to how he fulfilled that purpose.
There are many references throughout the Bible which speak of man’s accountability for his personal deeds, and a future day in which he will stand before his Creator. Jesus warned of that future day in John 5:28 and 29: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
6) Man will either be rewarded or penalized according to how he has fulfilled his purpose.
In John 10:10, Jesus speaks of His purpose of coming to earth so that man may have eternal life and have it more abundantly, enabling mankind to overcome all of life’s problems through the power of the Holy Spirit. He will wonderfully reward and bless His children who fulfill their purpose.
At this same judgment, many of those who were born again will suffer the loss of all rewards, and will live for one thousand years on this earth with remorse. Why? They failed to fulfill God’s purpose on earth.
In Revelation 22:12, we learn what will happen at a second resurrection, which will be for those who did not receive Christ as their personal Saviour while on earth, which means that they failed to find God’s purpose for their lives. John writes of this terrifying judgment for the lost as they stand before the “great white throne of judgment.” Read carefully the Scripture in Revelation 20:11-15. Verse 13 states that “…death [dead bodies] and hell [the place where the spirit of the lost person went when it left the body at death] delivered up [or resurrected] the dead…” They stood before the God whom they had cursed, laughed at, rebelled against, mocked, and defied all of their lives. They faced God in all of His wrath. In a few short moments the events of their lives are played before their eyes, while a search in the Book of Life is being made for their names. They will see the many times in which they resisted God’s efforts, and quenched His Spirit. They will hear Him say “…depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23), as they are thrown into the lake of fire. There they will weep and wail, and gnash their teeth; being damned forever, lost in a dark prison house of no hope. It would be an act of mercy for God to allow you to be caught, convicted, and delivered to prison where you will be shut up for only a few years, and hear the gospel and receive Christ Jesus as your Saviour, and you would be saved from this eternal jail house where you would suffer forever.
7) If God created man and gave him existence on this earth, then God has a lawful right to man’s love and obedience.
If the above six principles are true, and God is giving you life by keeping your heart pumping (almost 100,000 times a day), and protecting you from being killed, then He has a right to your love and obedience!!!
FIRST, the Bible teaches that we belong to God because He made us. (Acts 17:24)
SECONDLY, the Bible states that we belong to God because he maintains us. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being…” (Acts 17:28)
FINALLY, the Bible states that we belong to God because He redeemed or bought us, “…and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6:19-20) Please read Romans 14:7-12.
Please take a moment and meditate on this truth. If God made you and gave you life, then you do owe Him something!! You owe Him your life!! God’s purpose for Joseph, the son of Israel, was to save his family and nation from destruction. In order to accomplish that purpose, God had to allow many horrible things to happen to Joseph, which included spending several years in prison. Joseph surrendered to the Lordship and purpose of God several years before God elevated him to the second highest position on earth; thus enabling him to save and to care for his family and people. Saul, (this name means “hard and defiant”), was converted and his name was changed to Paul, (which means “humble or little”), and this humble, fearless man changed his world. Where is the Saul in prison today, who will totally surrender and become the Paul of our day? It is God’s will for some of you to change our generation. The “Seven Logical Principles of Life” teach that truth, and God’s grace can help you to accomplish it!
• The emphasis in the Seven Logical Principles of Life is that man was placed on this earth for a distinct purpose.
• Therefore, you are important and have an important purpose to fulfill.
• If it is logical to believe these Seven Logical Principles, then it is just as logical to believe that there is an eighth principle. The eighth logical principle is that there is a supernatural being who hates God and mankind, and is dedicated to preventing you from fulfilling your purpose on this earth. He will use anyone and anything to stop you.
• He will distract by using your family or friends.
• He will distract through bitterness, abuses, or wrong treatment.
• He will distract through success and popularity.
The number one thing he does not want is for you to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. Therefore, one must learn what one’s purpose is and stay focused by recognizing the side issues or distractions designed to take one away from fulfilling one’s purpose.
The Proper Manual… The Bible
Get Your Computer Fixed
If you had a modern, up-to-date computer and it developed a major problem, what would be the logical method for getting it to operate properly? Would you contact those around you who have computers and get their various opinions on fixing you computer? Or would it be more logical to contact a factory representative who would repair it by using a manual for that particular model? Which would be the surest method of getting your computer tuned up and humming properly? The answer to that question is so obvious that it needs no answer.
It is also obvious that there has been a major breakdown in the operation of the human race, and we need to get our “computer” fixed. It is also obvious that we have turned to the various opinions around us in order to fix our “computer” rather than using God’s manual, the Bible. Would you agree that it is logical to turn to a factory trained technician, and use the manual which was designed to correct and tune up the computer in order to repair it?
• Especially if all of the various opinions had been tried and they failed.
• Especially if the person’s well being depended on it.
• Especially if he was totally frustrated and about to go bankrupt and be ruined.
If God made man for a purpose and placed a manual, the Holy Bible, on this earth which reveals that purpose; don’t you think it is time for you to turn away from all of the various theories which have not worked, and get serious in using God’s manual to save your life? Your condition is much worse than you have recognized or admitted. In fact, 85% of the people who are in your situation have failed in their efforts to be set free.
The Purpose of Man on the Earth
Before we go farther into understanding the manual so that we can fix man’s life, we need to clarify what God wants for each man as he lives life on this earth. In John 10:10, Jesus gives the true picture of a world without God. It is one of killing, stealing, heartache, misery and destruction. Jesus said that he came into that type of world in order to fix and tune up man’s life. His exact statement of His divine purpose for man is twofold.
1. He came that every man may have life through Him by being saved. The life of which He is speaking is eternal.
2. He came that those who accept Him may have abundant life. The abundant life to which He refers is able to overcome all problems and adversities while living for God and fulfilling His purpose.
It is God’s purpose that each child of God lives an overcoming or an abundant life, and becomes the victor or over comer, rather than the victim. Man was placed on earth to become fruitful and to serve others. He is never to be the victim and live a despairing life, thinking he is being mistreated, and blame the system and his environment for his sad plot.
Life is not fair. Life is harsh and cruel. Many people believe that they have not had a fair shake when they compare their life with the lives of many around them, but Jesus came to change that. Some of the greatest stories of accomplishment in history came from people who had the most to overcome. Jesus came to “set the captives free,” and by His grace to lift them up to where they are overcomers and champions. In order to fulfill that purpose, one must turn to God and learn to use God’s Manual, the Bible.
Three Principles in Mastering the Manual
In order to read God’s Manual properly, there are three (3) important ingredients to understand.
1) The Bible is a spiritual book. You cannot understand this spiritual Book until you become a spiritual person. The only way to become a spiritual person is to be born of the Holy Spirit. One is born of the Holy Spirit when he realizes that he is a sinner, that he is lost, condemned to hell, and that only God can save him. One must realize that God will save him when he turns from his sins, and accepts Christ as his personal Saviour, he is born again of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual birth is as real and as literal as their physical birth. When a person was born of his mother, he received a human nature which has unlimited possibilities for lust and wickedness.
If this flesh nature is not checked, it will destroy the person. When one is born of God, one receives a divine nature. This divine nature does not replace the human nature. It is in addition to the human nature. When one is born of God, he gets a spiritual nature which enables him to understand the spiritual book, the Bible.
2) God uses human instrumentality to teach His Book (the Bible). The second thing a person needs in order to understand the manual is someone to aid him in his understanding. The Holy Spirit, the author of the Bible, will illuminate the mind of the person when he reads the Bible. In addition to this tremendous help, one needs someone to help one learn spiritual phonics and how to rightly divide and interpret the Scriptures. If one cannot read, it does not matter how great a book may be. It is of little value to one if one can not read it. The short coming in Christian circles of a failure to teach people how to read the Bible is primarily the reason our country is in a state of degeneration today.
In our present day, there is much emphasis placed upon “feelings” instead of upon obeying God’s commands. We praise God for the joy and happiness there is in living a true Christian life. In order to be able to have this continued joy and happiness, a person must learn how to read God’s Word. The apostle Paul’s most emphatic command to the believer is “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15) Note that this verse uses the word “workman,” not the word “student.”
3) One must study the Bible in order to rightly interpret the Book. That is the secret of not being ashamed when one stands before the Lord. He studies the Bible in order to rightly divide the Word of truth. Note that the phrase, “the Word of truth” is singular. The Bible is only one book which was written by the Holy Spirit. He used about forty (40) men over a period of 1500 years to bring the library of sixty six (66) books into one perfect volume. There are no contradictions or errors in the Bible because it has One perfect Author who directed men as they wrote. This one perfect Book reveals God’s purpose to each person. Just as God used men to bring this perfect Book into existence, He also uses men to teach others how to read and rightly divide it.
The primary reason for teaching the Bible is so that people can find their personal purpose for living on earth. Listen to the Apostle Paul’s instruction to a young pastor whom Paul had won to the Lord, and had trained in the service of the Lord. In II Timothy 2:2 the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” This is also God’s purpose for your life. You are to study the Bible and learn how to rightly divide it in order to teach others. If you obey this command, you will make it. If you do not obey this command, then welcome back as part of the 85% who are repeat offenders. The failure of people in learning how to use the Bible well enough to teach others is the primary reason why most prisoners are repeat offenders.
Jesus’ Message from the Manual to Sinners
When Jesus arose from the dead, He sent a message to the lost and dying world. This message said, “God loves you and will accept my death as full payment for your sins.” It was a message of love, forgiveness, and hope for every man, especially for those whom men call “bad sinners.” [In God’s sight, we are all sinners, and one who commits one sin is guilty of all sin. In James 2:10 we read, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”] The message of God’s love is also found in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” In plain, easily understood language, the message is, “No matter how bad you have been, no matter how badly you have blown your life, or how ugly your life is; if you will turn, confess your sins to God, and ask Him, He will forgive, blot out those sins, and make you as clean as the fallen snow!!” You may wonder, “How does this message apply to those of us who feel that we are a really bad sinner?” The truth is discerned from an act rather than from words. Actions always speak much louder than do words.
• Who was the first converted sinner to see Jesus in His glorified body?
• Was it His saintly mother? NO!
• Was it one of His devoted preachers? NO!
Then who was the person that first saw Jesus in His glorified body, and what is the significance of that dramatic event? You may wonder what difference does it make about who was the first one to see Jesus in His glorified body. What message does this point send? Don’t you think God would give careful thought to this subject and use the most important day in all of eternity to send the loudest message possible?
In classifying sins according to the world’s standards, who is considered to be the most wicked and depraved among all sinners? A drug addict? A woman who sells her body as a prostitute? A person who is controlled by the devil, and filled with unclean spirits? You would say, “All three would be very bad!” How about someone who was all three of these wicked people embodied into one person? This type of person was the very first person to see Jesus in His glorified body. God’s grace forgave her, transformed her, and allowed her to be the very first person to see God’s Son in His glorified body. Mary Magdalene later become one of the great Christians of her day, and worked and traveled with Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Through this one act, God sends a message to every drug dealer, prostitute, or fallen person in the world. His message is one of love and hope to people who have made their lives a ship wreck. He is looking right down into your cell, and is speaking to you personally!! He is saying, “If I forgave her; if I transformed her from a fallen woman into a saintly person who worked and traveled with my earthly mother, then I will save and transform you! I am not a respecter of persons. It doesn’t matter what you have done, or how badly you have wrecked your life. I love you, and I came that you might be saved, (have eternal life), and be transformed into an overcomer and a champion.” This is Jesus’ message in His Manual, (the Bible), to you! The world may see you as a “Bad sinner,” but Jesus sees you as someone He wants to forgive and help. He loves you and wants to help you overcome all of the hurts and misfortunes in life, and become a victorious servant to others.
Personal Message to You, the Reader
The Bible commands that each person should make his calling and election sure (II Peter 1:10). “Make your calling and election sure,” means that you make sure that you have more than religion, that you are saved; that you have truly accepted Jesus as your personal Saviour. You may wonder how you can do that. You do that by admitting that you are a lost sinner. Be honest with God, and ask Him to save you! God doesn’t like the way you live, nor all of the sins which you have committed, but He loves you just the same. He wants to save you. Jesus and His Father (God) made an agreement concerning you. God promised His Son Jesus that if He loved you enough to take upon Himself your sins and die upon the cross as your substitute, (in your place), to pay for our sins, that God would accept that death as full payment for your sins. He will save you, if you ask Him to forgive you!! God’s Word boldly proclaims the promise when it states in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” You will be saved from your sins and from being in hell for all eternity. If you will simply pray this prayer, God will keep his agreement with his son Jesus, and save your soul from hell.
Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and save me from hell. I now accept you into my heart as my Lord and Saviour.
Points to Ponder
• God placed a manual, (the Bible), on this earth in order for man to find his purpose for living.
• God is the author of this manual. This manual is the Holy Bible.
• Man must learn how to read this manual in order to rightly divide it, so that he can teach others.
• This manual is the only one that explains the condition of man, and prescribes an absolute cure for his condition.
The prescription which is found in the manual was written by man’s designer (God) who loves and takes pride in the success and accomplishments of His creation. The designer not only wants you to do well, but He also needs you to do well. He had assured His special attention in every situation, and has promised, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5). You can depend upon God to do His part, but you will have to learn to read and to obey God’s manual (the Bible) in order to fulfill your purpose in life.
The Proper Lifestyle… I’m the Lord’s
“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…” Acts 17:28
Hobbling the Old “Wolf Dog”
Now we come to the heart of this lesson, hobble the old “wolf dog.” The word “hobble” means “to hamper the movement of” or “to control by restricting.” Through the years, I have used the example of two dogs to illustrate the warfare of the two natures of the child of God. These two dogs hate each other. I will use the “sheep dog” to represent the new divine nature, and the “wolf dog” to represent the human or fleshly nature.
In order to identify these two distinct natures which live in each child of God, we will review some other terms in the Bible which also refer to these two natures.
Divine Nature and Human Nature
Jesus told Nicodemus that in order for him or anyone to go to heaven, “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). He further instructed in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” When one is born of human parents, he receives a human nature. When he is born of God, he receives another nature, thus he now has two natures. He then has a divine nature. Read II Peter 1:4 and I Peter 2:1-2.
Inward Man and Outward Man
In II Corinthians 4:16, the apostle Paul stated, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” He also refers to the divine nature as the inward man in Romans 7:22, which reads, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”
New Man and Old Man
In Colossians 3:9 the child of God is admonished to “put off” the “old man” (flesh). “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” In verse 10, Paul refers to the divine nature as the inward man, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.”
The Fruit of the Spirit and the Works of the Flesh
In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul identifies the works of the flesh. In that same chapter, in verses 22 and 23, he gives the contrasting fruit of the Spirit. This fight between the flesh and the spiritual man clearly establishes the biblical truth of the two fold nature of the child of God. Galatians 5:17 tells of the warfare between the Spirit and the flesh in the child of God. This verse says, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Visualize the Struggle Between the Two Natures
The strongest words in the Bible are used to teach the contrast between the two natures of the child of God and the warfare between them. The Bible says that they are contrary (opposite) to each other. One nature is holy and loves God, and the things that pertain to God. The other is self-centered, fleshly, and loves the things of the flesh. They have nothing in common, are opposites in everything, and neither will give up willingly to the rule of the other. However, one will dominate!
In illustrating the struggle between the two natures, we will use two contrasting types of dogs, so that you may better understand our teaching. We picture two dogs of the same size and strength. One of the dogs is a wild wolf dog, while the other one is a trained sheep dog, which serves as the protector of sheep. Let’s say that we lock the wolf dog in a pen for 10 (ten) days with only water to drink, while allowing the sheep dog to have plenty of food, and plenty of running time and exercise. At the end of the period of ten days, the dogs are now allowed to fight. Which one will win? Everyone will agree that the sheep dog would win! Now let us reverse the procedure, and lock the sheep dog in a pen for a period of ten days, with only water to drink. The wolf dog would be the automatic answer! With this simple illustration, one of the most obscure truths in the Bible can be clearly understood. The struggle between the two natures is pictured in the example given of the wolf dog and the sheep dog. The “dog” or “nature”, which one feeds will be the one which leads and dominates. The understanding of this truth explains two principles.
1. It explains the need of teaching the new convert how to read the Bible, so that he can feed himself spiritually.
2. It explains why so many fail as Christians because they feed the wrong nature.
The Absolute Necessity of Teaching the New Convert
The first principle is the need to know how to teach the new convert to read the Bible so that he can feed his “sheep dog” and be able to hobble his “wolf dog.” Remember that the word “hobble” means “to hamper the movement of” or “to control by restricting.” Most young converts are never taught how to read the Bible. They are told to “read the Bible” but no one ever teaches them the “spiritual alphabet” or “spiritual phonics.” Therefore, when they do read, they often come up with the wrong interpretation and end up depending on their feelings, which causes them to fail. In meantime, the wolf dog, (old nature), finds things on which to feed. The wolf dog feeds on such things as television programs, movies, sexy pictures, radio, rock music, and conversations with others. Many times the wolf dog also feeds at night while one is dreaming.
• One cannot change the wolf dog or the flesh!
• One cannot tame the wolf dog or the flesh!
• One cannot rehabilitate the wolf dog or the flesh!
One can only hobble the wolf dog. One can not hobble the flesh by having lofty goals or thoughts. Nor can one hobble the wolf dog by will power alone. The only way one can hobble the wolf dog is by feeding the sheep dog, and by keeping the spiritual man strong. A new convert must be taught how to read the Bible, and how to rightly divide the Bible in order for him to be able to feed himself spiritually.
There are Two Opposing Forces Which Live Within the Child of God
As stated previously, these two opposing forces which live within each child of God are:
A. The inward, spiritually divine man whom we represent by using the example of the sheep dog.
B. The outward, sinful, fleshly man whom we represent by using the example of the wolf dog.
The devil will stimulate the flesh, war against the mind, and shoot thoughts of doubts, fears, and false feelings at the child of God. The devil is an outside agent and only has power as the child of God yields and succumbs to the devil’s lies and wrong information. Both the “sheep dog” and the “wolf dog” are more powerful than the vast majority of people realize or comprehend. The two natures are contrary to each other in every way. They have nothing in common with each other, except that they both want to dominate and become the boss of one’s life.
The conversion of the sinner to Christ through the new birth does nothing to change the flesh or the person’s depraved nature. In fact, after one’s conversion, if the flesh is left to itself to do as it pleases; it is capable of committing any sin or act which it did before the sinner was saved. Please note that I said, “the flesh left to itself;” but the inward, spiritual man, if properly fed, will hobble the old wolf dog. These two dogs hate each other. The old wolf dog will never change, grow old or become rehabilitated. Just when a person thinks the wolf dog is beaten and is no longer a threat, then the wolf dog renders a life crippling wound which destroys the Christian’s testimony and cripples.
The Total Viciousness and Danger of the Wolf Dog
Abraham was called the friend of God, and was the great man of faith, but his wolf dog [flesh] got away from him and marred this great man’s life on several occasions. The flesh causes him to lie about his wife and cast a reflection upon the true God of heaven. On another occasion, it did not take much encouragement for his wolf dog to walk by sight and follow the direction of Sarah in having a child by Hagar, her servant. Who marred Abraham’s testimony, and sent his lonely son Ishmael off to self-destruct? His old beast of fleshly nature!
King David, the great hero and sweet singer of Israel was all but destroyed as his wolf dog reared up and rendered such destruction to David, his family, and the nation, which resulted in death, shame, and destruction long after David’s life ended. Who wounded David? Who caused him to scream, “Absalom, Absalom, Oh my son, my son, would to God it would have been me?” His old wolf dog and beastly, fleshly nature!
Moses had to flee in shame, wanted for murder after his wolf dog caused him, through his pride and self-sufficiency, to kill an Egyptian. Who caused Moses to run? His wolf dog!
The humble young, wise Solomon was attacked by his wolf dog so many times that even as he lay on his bed, dying from those wounds, he realized that after his death his kingdom and life work would be marred and destroyed. Idolatry was the bait which the old wolf dog used to destroy Solomon. Who ripped Solomon, and brought him down to death at the early age of 59? His old wolfish, beastly nature!
The story of Rebekah is a love story of faith and dedication. For forty years she was the faithful wife and homemaker for Isaac and her family. Then her old wolf dog got loose. She split her family into hopeless fractions, broke her husband’s heart, and sent one son fleeing from his own brother for his life. Her other son, Esau, now weeps and wails in hell, along with millions of his descendants. The works of Rebekah’s flesh of unbelief, lies, and deceit caused this eternal destruction. What wrecked her family? Her old wolf dog! Again, what caused this horrible breach into his Godly family, bringing loneliness and pain in their declining years? Rebekah’s old wolf dog tore apart the family that could never be put back together again.
Read and reread the accounts of these great Christians’ lives and number all of the horrible things that they did. Lies, deceit, murder, lust, idolatry, adultery, and the list goes on. Who was the common attacker in all of these people’s lives? The common attacker was the old wolf dog!!! He attacked some in the prime of their life, while others were old in age. Age does not matter, because the wolf dog never gives up. But he can be hobbled!! The wolf dog is the most dangerous beast that one will ever face. He is the one who will destroy you, unless you learn to hobble your old wolf dog!!!
The Spiritual Man Can Dominate and Control the Flesh
In the author’s booklet, “A Letter to New Converts,” he explains Peter’s promise found in II Peter 1:10, “…If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” This promise states that there are spiritual principles that if followed, will guarantee that the child of God will never stumble, fall, or backslide. These principles are listed in the Bible in II Peter 1:4-7. To put these principles in clear, easy to understand language which is in harmony with our lesson, they mean, “feed and exercise the sheep dog and you will hobble the wolf dog.” There is only one way to hobble or control the old wolf dog, and that is to feed and exercise the sheep dog daily.
Points to Ponder
• The sheep dog and the wolf dog illustrate the new nature and the old nature within each child of God.
• These dogs hate each other and fight for control of the believer’s life.
• The dog which the believer feeds is the dog which will dominate or control his life.
• The wolf dog can never be tamed nor will he ever be changed; he can only be controlled or hobbled.
Therefore, if one does not learn how to read and study the Bible, the wolf dog will soon be back in power. One must feed and exercise the sheep dog daily in order to hobble and control his wolf dog.
The Proper Protection… The Church
“Unto Him be glory in the church…” Ephesians 3:21
Finding a Battered Home Shelter
If a person will accept the basic points of the “Seven Logical Principles of Life,” and will surrender to the Lord, he will then find his purpose in life. He can only do this as he learns how to read and obey God’s manual.
As he learns the manual, he is able to comprehend about the powerful forces of the two natures which was to dominate his life. His only hope of survival is to hobble the old wolf dog by feeding and developing his sheep dog. The final piece in overcoming all past mistakes, sins, and problems is in finding a battered home shelter. “Finding a Battered Home Shelter” is an unusual title. We will use other descriptive subheadings in order to impress the essential principles which will break the vicious cycle which entraps 85% of those who are released from prison.
I. Avoid mistakes and avoid the slammer.
II. Make careful preparation in planning your escape.
III. Learn the real facts of life.
IV. Become the “hit man” for the “Big Boss.”
Avoid Mistakes and Avoid the Slammer
There are 4 mistakes that the average inmate makes as he eagerly counts down the days before his release:
1) An over estimation of his own ability. The first mistake that many make is in allowing the devil to lure him into a feeling of false security. The inmate feels strong and confident about getting out of prison. “After all,” he reasons, “I have been saved. I have not indulged in my sinful ways in a long time. I feel certain that I can make it. I am not the same person I used to be.” The devil has deliberately retrained from prodding his flesh, while at the same time he is encouraging an environment which makes the person feel more self assured. The person has his eyes upon himself and on his own feelings and abilities. When released, the inmate will almost certainly fall victim to the wolf dog.
2) An underestimation of the power of the wolf dog. The appetite of the wolf dog has been hindered because of the captivity of the person in prison. The wolf dog which has been shut away from all of the stimulation of the flesh, awakens to the flood tide of the exposure and temptation. The sheep dog has been fed regularly while the prisoner has been incarcerated. Many times people read their Bibles because they have nothing better to do; but when they get out of jail or prison, they stop reading their bible. As a result, this mistake will probably be fatal, as their new nature is not able to withstand the vicious attacks that come from the strengthened wolf dog. The giving into the flesh, and the confusion and disappointments which follow, along with the loss of face and respect from his family and friends, will almost be a fatal blow.
3) An underestimation of the outside world. The third mistake which most inmates make is that of having a poor memory. They have forgotten all of the problems, hurt feelings, put downs, and harsh words which abound in a negative and cruel world. They will find themselves back on the street and involved in the same environment and family, (many of which are nonfunctional), and facing the same hopeless problems.
4) He will feel battered, alone, and confused. The devil makes him overly sensitive about, “Everyone looks down on me, because I’m a jail bird.” He feels that they think they are too good for him. He does not know where to turn or how to solve his problems. Unless something happens, he will be one of the 85% who go back to prison. He needs a home for the spiritually battered. He needs a shelter where he can be fed and protected while he makes the adjustment and takes control of his life. He needs a good church home and pastor.
Make Preparation by Planning Your Escape
Many hardened criminals plan their escape for years before attempting the once in a lifetime chance at freedom. Their every waking thought is about their “break out.” The person who has accepted Christ is almost in the same situation. In order to make a successful transition from one extreme lifestyle where everything is regimented, to a life where there is almost total freedom, they must make careful plans and follow them. Those plans must become their boss and they must not let others dictate and change them.
A. Things to do before leaving prison:
• Depend on God and pray regularly to Him to lead you to a good church with a good pastor.
• Ask the chaplain for a list of good, fundamental churches in the area in which you will be living.
• Have the chaplain recommend and contact the pastor before you are released and try to establish a line of
communication with him before leaving prison.
• Realize that God established a church to serve as a spiritual home in the spiritual realm, just as He established a
domestic home to aid, educate, develop, and protect a domestic family.
• Realize that there are churches who will not make you feel welcome. Do not take their coolness personally. This same
church may not welcome Jesus into their services either.
• Make it a priority to find a church home. Finding a church home where a person can feed the inward man is more
important than finding a job. If you cannot find a church in the town where you live, then find one in a nearby town or
• Find lodging as close as you can to a good Bible preaching church. Make it as easy as possible for you and your family
to attend every service. Living close to the church will also allow others to minister to you should the need arise.
B. Things to keep foremost in your mind after getting out of prison:
When a criminal breaks out of prison, he must learn to live in a vigilant way. He must constantly be aware of situations and areas which may be dangerous, and avoid them. I Peter 5:8 reads, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” In this verse, God commands the child of God to have the same vigilance. He has an enemy, (the devil), who has many devices of entrapment. In order to make your break out permanent, you must find and live within a home shelter for the battered.
• Keep in mind that in the Lord you are as good as any of the members of the church. Remember that all men are sinners. There are no good sinners or bad sinners in God’s sight. Those who are saved are saved sinners, while those who are not saved are lost sinners. God looks at all sinners as poor, hurting people whom He loves and longs to help.
• If you did not contact a pastor before your release date, now that you are out, use the telephone book in the “yellow pages” to check out the churches and pastors in your area. Ask them about their beliefs, services, and locations.
• God has a church where you will feel welcome and where you will be able to serve Him by ministering and winning souls. God never holds your past sins against you. All of the sins of a converted sinner are placed behind God’s back, as it is found in Isaiah 38:17: “…for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.” Psalms 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” They are cast into the sea of God’s forgiveness, never to be remembered again.
• Feed your sheep dog every day. Be determined to feed the inward man, as much as you are to feed the outward man. One’s goal should be no food for the outward man, until the inward man has been fed!
• Remember that you are one of the younger members of God’s family, and allow one of your “big brothers” to help you when you need help. The parole board can only parole you, so your record will always remain. The probationary procedure can only let you out on certain conditions. If you break one of these conditions, you will be arrested again to serve out your time. When God saves a sinner, He justifies the sinner, which is far more than receiving a pardon, or even being placed on probation. When one is justified with God, his record is erased, and he is returned to a position as if he has never sinned! The perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to him, and he stands before God as if he had never sinned. He is a man with a new beginning, and he is justified! If you will plan your escape, and then go straight by serving the Lord and by feeding your sheep dog, as a faithful member of a local church; then those prison bars will never hold you as a prisoner anymore.
Learn the Real Facts of Life
You will leave prison with some false beliefs and ideals. Unless you learn the real “facts of life,” you will be offended and turned aside.
The Facts of Biblical Reality
Today’s society of people are much like the people who lived in the days when Jesus walked upon this earth. In that day there were “church” people (religious people, such as the Pharisees), and there were sinners. Many of the “church” people did not understand the purpose of the church, and they thought that they were better than those “publicans” and “sinners.” They even criticized Jesus and accused Him of being a friend to those sinners, and for treating them with love and respect. (Matthew 11:19)
The church which Jesus started was made up of common, working people and those “sinners” who had been saved. Jesus and His disciples, (His disciples were common working men and sinners), were criticized by the “church” or the “religious” crowd. Someone said it well when stating that Jesus came to save men from both sin and religion. It is easier to get a person to convert to salvation who knows he is a sinner than to get someone who is only religious to turn to Christ for salvation.
Jesus, you, and I would not have been accepted by many of the religious church folks of His time upon earth any more than we would be accepted by some of the churches and religions existing today. Do not let this religion and attitude bother you. This is a Biblical fact of life which will save your life if you will abide by its truth.
The Fact is That You will Offend and Will be Offended
The first and worst mistake which you may make is in expecting that everyone will respect and accept you because you are saved and are attempting to straighten out your life. You may think, “Everyone will be proud of me since I got saved.” WRONG!! Your joy and happiness in the Lord will bring conviction to your family and friends.
They may even respond by calling you such names as “preacher” or “holy Joe.” Worse yet, they may make some sarcastic remark to you, or they may laugh at you. God is using your life to bring them under conviction, and to make them aware that they need to make a change in their own lives. Their problem is not with you. Instead, their problem is between themselves and God. They just take it out on you. DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING THEY SAY OR DO PERSONALLY, and do not allow them to keep you from being happy and from serving God. Just keep on praying for them, keep feeding the sheep dog, and keep going to church services. YOU WILL WIN EVERYONE OF THEM, AND THAT IS A FACT OF LIFE!! (Acts 16:31)
The Fact Which will Save You From “Something Worse Than Death”
Adolf Hitler literally hated the Communists. This hatred drove this mad man to break his peace treaty with Russia during World War II, and to launch an all-out attack on them. He boasted that in three months time Russia would be conquered and defeated.
When one looked at the two opposing armies, one could easily understand why Hitler had such confidence. Germany had the best trained, best equipped, and best disciplined soldiers in the world. On the other hand, Russia had almost no tanks, their soldiers were poorly trained, and they were totally unprepared for the attack. Within days, the well planned attack with its overwhelming force had driven over halfway to Moscow. The Russian army was in general confusion and in retreat. Defeat Seemed Imminent!
However, Hitler made a fatal mistake which cost him the victory over Russia, and lost him the war. He ordered his S.S. troops to take, a few miles back behind the battle lines, the thousands of Russian soldiers who were surrendering, have them dig their own graves, and then to murder them!
When the Russian officers and soldiers learned that to surrender to the Germans meant instant and certain death, it transformed them into an unconquerable force. This poorly trained, ill-equipped army stopped the superior attacking forces in their tracks. The winter came, and the rest is history, When the Russian commanders looked at the twelve (12) to eighteen (18) year old young men, and the elderly men, (some in their 70’s), who made up their companies and who were trusting in them for leadership and survival, they could not surrender to the Germans. They then made the commitment to never surrender to the enemy. To do so meant not only death to themselves, but more importantly, it meant death to those who trusted and depended upon them for hope, leadership, and protection.
This is the most vivid illustration I can give you to warn you of what will happen to you if you surrender to your enemy, the Wolf Dog! It may seem easier to give into your flesh and to surrender to the pressures of life; but, in most cases, it would be better for you to be marched a few miles, told to dig your grave, then shot and thrown into a dark hole, than to surrender to the consequences of your Wolf Dog. If possible, look into the faces of those who love you and who depend upon you for direction and survival. To surrender to your wolf dog and then begin to obey the desires of your flesh means “something worse than death!!” If you choose to feed the inward man, your life will be one of joy unspeakable and full of glory!!
Become the “Hit Man” for the “Big Boss”
In a hardened gang one has the most security and acceptance in the underworld when one becomes the “hit man” for the “big boss.” He lives with one passion and for one purpose, and that is to do what the “big boss” wants him to do. This is exactly the attitude which a person needs in order to overcome all of the difficulties and to become a great leader with acceptance and influence in the work of God.
You should become the “hit man” for the “Big Boss” who made everything and is over the whole universe. Become God’s trusted servant who has one passion and one purpose in life. Do what the Lord of the universe wants You to do! Please stop a moment and reconsider The Seven Logical Principles of Life (found in TRUTH ONE). Since the “Big Boss” protects you and keeps you alive, you ought to look to Him for your orders and direction. In order to really know the “Big Boss” and to please Him you must know and obey His Manual. History reveals other “hit men” of the past generation who mastered His Manual and lived by its teachings. They may inspire you to greater service.
A Hopeless Drunkard on his way to commit suicide got saved and turned his life over to the Lord. This hopeless drunkard, Mel Trotter, started sixty-six (66) lighthouses in this country where thousands of alcoholics were rescued.
God used a drug dealer, slave trader, and vile atheist, John Newton, to bless many generations with his testimony in the poem and song “Amazing Grace.”
God used a converted prisoner to witness to the man who had just given him the plan of salvation. No one will ever remember that prisoner in jail, but everyone has heard of John Wesley. That’s right! God used a man in jail to help bring the great preacher and founder of Methodism to Christ.
Billy Sunday, who later won tens of thousands to Christ, was saved at a skid-row mission.
Gypsy Smith’s dad was first witnessed to by a jail chaplain while he was in jail. This witness led to the conversion of Cornelius Smith, who then became a lay preacher. This holy, devout lay preacher gave the human race one of its greatest evangelist, Gypsy Smith, who shook both England and America for Christ.
Dwight Moody was a poor illiterate, fatherless boy who had almost no formal education. This poor boy gave his life totally over to the will and purpose of God. After almost one hundred and fifty (150) years the world is still blessed by his life and ministry.
If God used a poor illiterate boy,
If God used the voice of an inmate,
If God used a father who first heard the gospel in jail and then gave the world his son;
If God used the lowest and vilest atheist,
If God used a drunkard,
If God used one saved off skid row, then why will He not use you?
The Bible states that God chooses the weak and uses the base person. The Bible also teaches us that God is no respecter of persons. If He used them…then He can use you, IF YOU WILL LET HIM!!!
If you have helped to tear down and destroy, then you must do as the apostle Paul who spent the rest of his life building up and being a blessing to humanity. God needs scores of men and women who have come out of prison and are willing to attack the streets with the gospel message. God needs an army to come out of prison and attack the gates of Hell with the gospel message and SET THE CAPTIVES FREE!!!
Points to Ponder
• If the physical body needs food to keep it strong, then your spiritual body needs much more spiritual food to keep it strong.
• If a little child needs the protection and security of its domestic home and parents, then the spiritual man needs much more the safety of a church and the love of a godly pastor.
• If a person needs preparation in order to succeed in life, then the spiritual man needs much more in order to prepare and grow as a Christian.
• If exercise and hard work sharpen man’s human skills and develop successful abilities, then so much more do trials and difficulties help the spiritual man to grow in faith and become mature? God will give you the grace and we will furnish you with the tools, then what you do with them will determine the greatness of your life. One must recognize and obey the following four principles in order to lift himself from “Defeat to Victorious Living.”
Words from One Old Inmate to Another Inmate
• Lost an appeal? I know how you feel, because I’ve lost a couple of them myself.
• Over crowded conditions? I’ve been there and have done that.
• Been roughed up by some officer or other official? Me too!
• Convicted by false evidence? Devastating isn’t it?
• Been in the hole (solitary confinement)? Awful isn’t it?
• Been in leg irons and body chains? Very uncomfortable and painful, especially if left on for days.
• Bad food? How about no food at all?
All of the above and much more happened to an inmate written about in the Bible. The inmate was the apostle Paul whose account of suffering can be found in Acts 16:19-31; and in II Corinthians 11:23-28. Would you stop a minute and listen to some strong information about this old man who died in prison?
The apostle Paul learned to be happy while shut up in prison. In the book of Philippians which he wrote, the apostle Paul expressed real joy while in prison. In fact he said, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” Philippians 4:11. (See verse 12 also). You can also learn this lesson.
The apostle Paul accepted that it was God’s will for him to be in prison. He not only accepted it as God’s will but this also might have been the most far reaching and successful period of his great ministry. While chained to and guarded by Caesar’s choice guards, he led many hundreds of them to Christ. These converts spread throughout Caesar’s palace, into the Roman army, and into all the world! What purpose is your time in prison accomplishing? Read Philippians 1:12,13: and Philippians 4:22.
The apostle Paul’s primary concern while he was a prisoner. His primary concern was not placed on any appeal, or the lateness of when he would be released. It was not even on whether or not he would be executed. Concerning hardship and suffering, he said in Acts 20:24, “…none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course [purpose] with joy…” (See also verse 23). God had given Paul a ministry to conduct, and his greatest concern was in fulfilling that purpose.
Paul expected to have trouble and to suffer persecution while he was in prison. Philippians 1:21; II Timothy 3:1; and Acts 20:23. He was prepared for it, endured it, and overcame it through Jesus Christ. SO CAN YOU!!!
Paul’s advice to you. Stop your bellyaching and complaining. (Philippians 2:14) It won’t do any good. Accept the fact of where you are and run the race you are in. It may be hard, but with God’s grace and help, you can make it. You can win! Paul did, and you can, too! “…let us run with patience [steadfastness] the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus…” Hebrews 12:1-2. The apostle Paul wrote these words. He also recognized:
The Strength to Withstand Temptation
• The Foundation of Life is God
• The Proper Manual is the Bible
• The Proper Lifestyle – I Am the Lord’s
• The Proper Protection – The Local Church
These four principles lifted him from sin, religion, and despair, and caused him to have one of the most victorious lives ever lived on this earth. What God did for the apostle Paul, He is waiting to do for you!!!
Then, Why Blame God
Is the parent responsible
for all the bad that their child does?
Is a husband responsible
for the wife’s impulsive spending of his money which was?
Is the family responsible
for the action which some of the relatives plot?
Is the city council responsible
for the accident in the supermarket parking lot?
Can we blame
the family doctor who prescribes to heal.
For the careless patient who fails
to take the prescribed pill?
Can we fault
the highway patrolman, out on the interstate
for all the speeding cars driven by people running late?
If you answer, “No”
to all the questions posed above,
Then, pray tell me, why do you blame
your problems on the God of love?
Why do you blame your problems on the God of love?
Dr. James Wilkins