|Vol. 2000 No. 12 December 2001
GOD BLESS AMERICASomeone Cares Home Page
HE did, starting in a manger, came the babe Jesus. No room in the inn, but plenty of room in HIS heart for you and me.
All he was to do for us in our past and future was well planned. Now, not far from His birth place, children are starv-ing. "I was hungry," He said. Children do not get to go to school or live very long...as a King on the back of a donkey; through a mock trail; to Calvary and the Cross were He could look more than two thousand years into the future, and He wept. At the brink of the darkness of the grave, He could see us today, and He wept. IT WAS FINISHED! All was recorded and we had His word, His forever promises to claim.
Then His glorious resurrection where all Heaven rejoiced with the righteous on earth and only the wicked were disap-pointed.
God Bless America!
WHEN WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN
Each Christmas season Yvonne and I reflect on what we did the past year to lead others to Jesus, Then we start preparation for what we will do the following year to help fill the commission He gave to us. We also follow His star and pray that soon we will sit at the feet of Jesus. Our main prayer is that all our extended family is doing the same. Because of YOU, Someone Cares. We pray for each of you for making this ministry possible.
OUR FATHER, WHICH ART
Jesus gave us the power of prayer�the being able to ask in His name and receive, if we believe, a home in a better place. There is no fear in the Family of God. The power of prayer will overcome all that Satan is trying to do through these terrible times. We ask each of you to join with us on Christmas Eve, wherever you are at 9:00 Eastern time, in a prayer for this Country, this Season, and its reason. We will ask God above to Increase His love for each of you and yours.
2001 was a very productive year for the God Squad. Relocation, getting adjusted, and almost settled. Going through each door rapidly opened for us by Jesus, and your ministry through us. _Joy To The World_, for us, was getting many cards from those inmates who have been released and started the long road to adjustment in a free world! And we wept tears of happiness.
WHAT SAYS THE BIBLE?
Along with the world, we also look at the terrible events of September 11th. We�re watching a world in fear diverted from all they know. We again see Bible Prophecy fulfilled and the soon coming of Jesus getting ever nearer. As we think of the gift Jesus gave us, we pray each of you gives a little of something to Jesus this Christmas, mainly you.
We watch as families get closer together, prayer coming back to school; from our inside view, even families separated because of crime and prison are opening closed doors and healing old wounds. Never in all of history is the presence of God more clear. Trying to pit Christianity against Islam failed. God�s Will will be done.
TREE OF LIFE
We lost a lot of friends this year; friends who were so much a part of Someone Cares� growing from a mustard seed. There is joy in our hearts that one day we will fellowship with them again. When We All Get To Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we�ll sing and shout the victory!!!
REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON
My name is Stephen. It was Christmas Eve in prison. I had written letters to my mom and dad, and sister. Even to a couple of friends I had in the world. These letters were all saying good bye. I had carefully saved enough string, a blanket, sheet and towel to make a rope. The idea of staying in prison for the rest of my life... no, No, NO! I was getting the last things I could think of done and I heard a soft voice say "I Love You." But no one was there.
At the same time, from a cell down the run, came the words of Amazing Grace... Saved a wretch like me. Even me? I do not remember the last prayer I had, but I got on my knees in that cold damp cell; I could hear the fogs horns from San Francisco Bay. I gave my life to Jesus that night and even though I'm serving life, I have the peace that passes all understanding. You don�t know me, but I ask you to invite Jesus in. if you do, you�ll have no room for any thing else. God Bless us all
IN THE NAME OF JESUS
As most of you know 75% of this ministry deals with the mail: the Pen Friend Program, Bible Schools, and this newsletter. Mail is getting tied up, and in many cases not opened. When we are totally dependent on Jesus and you, it hurts when things slow way down. If you are not a Faith Partner, please join us. If you are not a prayer partner please pray with us and for us. We are in need of a used copier, and a good used car. We can use hundreds of you to write to inmates and share your friendship with them and Jesus.
Dollars and equipment are tax deductible here. The rest, well, you all know where the record is kept.
IT TOOK A LETTER
I lived off hatred for so many years. I lived in a world of violence and death, a world of [death]. A world were you could get killed for a pack of cigarettes or for talking too loud. I lived in a world of hatred of hopelessness were the strong ruled and the weak [perished]. It was and is Satan�s house! And he ruled our lives. I never trusted no one. I never let people get close to me. It is those people who get close who hurt you the most. In prison I was known as a guy to make things happen. I was also known as someone who could hurt or kill you.
My lawyer was a Christian and he sent me a Bible which stayed on a shelf for 26 years.
Then one day, a letter from Carol. She wrote and told me the Holy Spirit had told her to contact me. Seeing she was a Christian I did not want to write her. I did not want God or anyone else in my life. But I did start to read the Bible so I could talk to her. I read the story in which Jesus was talking to the leaders. He was calling them hypocrites and vipers, children of Satan. That got my attention. The people he was talking to had all the power, so I thought, �They had the power to put Him in prison to execute Him.� To stand up to them was something I could relate to. I could relate to his execution, being on Death Row myself. Being spit on, beaten, mocked�all that happened to me. Even being stabbed. I cried as I read the story of His crucifixion. I still weep when I re-read these stories.
No, the Bible never made it back to my shelf. Everything changed because of a letter from a caring person.
As we reflect on the past year, a lot has changed for us, and even though we seem to be getting older, our pace seems to be moving just a little faster. As we remind each other that as long as God provides us with good health and sound mind, we must keep telling people of Jesus and His Love; we must keep reaching out to others who have less and give them a helping hand; we must try to give them hope without being judgmental.
I recall two scriptures that my parents recited a lot at home: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me...to preach good tidings to the poor...to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" Isaiah 61:1. The other one was "He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. Ask...and I will do it."
Just prior to His leaving, Jesus encouraged (the disciples) with the promise of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs as much to us as it did to them, and yet how rarely it is presented before the people, and its reception spoken of in the church...This promised blessing, if claimed by faith, would bring all other blessings in its train, and it is to be given liberally to the people of God." We pray that each of you have a Blest Christmas, and try to find at least one person to help or encourage.
I'm reminded of a story that my parents used to tell of a little boy who went to Sabbath school. He really enjoyed it so much, the songs they sang and the Bible stories they told, but when Sabbath school was over the teacher took him by the arm and asked that he not come back until he had shoes to wear, and better clothes to wear. He never was seen in the church again, until the day of his funeral, when he was laid to rest. May we have Mercy on all, to see people as they can be, not as they are.
THINGS ARE SELDOM AS THEY APPEAR, Conclusion
If the law was given to teach us how to exact punishment, neither God nor Jesus kept it that way. So, can we then say it�s the will of God for us to avenge a grudge against the children of our people and kill them in the name of justice because these are the few the D.A. chose for us? We might want to read James 2:8-13. This brother of Jesus is clear to point out that if you judge without mercy, you will be judged without mercy, because mercy rejoiceth against judgment (2:13). Jesus says, �Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.� (Matt. 5:7).
Why not just admit capital punishment is vengeance and not a solution to the violent crime problem? If you truly care about society, you�ll accept the reality of things and work toward a solution. If punishment with the death penalty as the chief of punishments works to bring about peace and safety for society, just remember the proof is in the fruit it bears. Why not open your eyes to the true reality and work together for solutions and change?
God forbid that you would listen to a death row prisoner. I�m not saying, �woe is me.� I prefer execution over life in this system. And I can survive the hardest of punishment prison environments. I�m merely handing off a candle so you can see what�s hidden in darkness. I won�t ever be a member of society again, but am mature enough now to care, so I write from a heart of flesh, sensitive to life around me. I�ve seen almost 40 men walk into the execution chamber, never to return. I listen to the feelings of the victims� families and try to understand their pain. They have a right to their feelings as individuals, but for Oklahomans to excuse their appetite for vengeance and feelings of unforgiveness in the name of justice, is not the will of God, or the heart of Jesus Christ. I hear a lot of ignorance being spoken by so-called leaders of the government and churches. You are all part of the problem and need to obey God rather than man. God�s will does bring about peace and safety.
Why not deal with social and emotional problems (moral decay) and fix the hearts of all? Bring in industry and pay normal wages to prisoners. You will not find in the Bible anywhere where a literal eye or tooth had to be given. The �eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for a life,� was a value system. God said, �Do justice, but love mercy.� So have the person in prison pay the victim as prescribed by the Bible, whether it is three-fold or a hundred-fold. Make them support their families and pay for their leisures in prison. Teach responsibility and values to them. Deal with their social and emotional problems where they can be accepted and embraced by society. It�s a human problem, not a criminal problem, even though we have learned to label it as such. Have them mentor a troubled teen (except for sex offenders). Why not read in the news-paper, �Ex-Con Becomes President of Big Brothers (or Ford Motor Company)?� Use the profits from the industry for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, programs for widows and the fatherless dependent upon the care from others. Do you think it was a broken record for God and Jesus Christ to repeat themselves over and over again about the widows, fatherless, poor, and loving your neighbor, let alone feel any sense of concern for them?
Why not every one of us do our part and learn to love again and care for our children as society�s family, where they won�t need to steal, or seek destructive paths? Prisoners didn�t create crime. It begins out there, most often learned from TV and peers. Teach our children responsibility, value of humans, and the law of cause and effect from our choices. They do not go into the world to experience life so they can find themselves. They become what they make of themselves and it begins with choices they make today.
The same goes for society. Every choice we make, bad or good, has cause and effect attached to it. I think freedom and democracy is taken too far if it destroys the future of people and country. Even if you choose not to believe in God, believe in the good that comes from those who do.
Better that our children carry a Bible than a gun or drugs to school. Better that people go to church than to jail for tax dollars to finance.
�Woe unto them that call good, �evil,� and evil, �good.�
Don W. Hawkins
What an exciting time to be alive and know what God has in store for us who are faithful to Him! The longer I�ve been editing this newsletter, the more I�ve felt a calling to be involved directly in prison ministry, along with my dear spiritual sister, Shirley.
Our pastor has put us to work in a local prison, where we are presently scheduled every fourth Sabbath. Our time slot requires us to be there at church time, but we have more blessings being with our group than entertaining a congre-gation with our music. Their group leader told us he�d seen us check in and hoped we�d be their volunteers, then they watched eagerly as we hiked across campus, their hope building with each step.
What a service we had! We were given a room with a broken organ and no heat, instead of the chapel, but we were warmed by God�s love and that of the men. Our leader is a good guitar player and had cross-indexed his own hymnal to theirs [we have a surprise for him] so we could all sing together. Every few verses, he�d bubble over with �Oh, I�m so happy you�re here!� and as we sang, six voices multiplied to sound like two dozen, as the room filled with praise. Told you so!!! We can hardly wait to go back!
Pastor Jim had such a good talk prepared just for their comfort; they had brought their well-worn Bibles, and diligently looked up each text. I think the simplest souls are those Jesus spoke of when He said, �Let the little ones come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.�
We had one last song before we had to part, because we were due at our sister church so Pastor Jim could preach there. (And who among us can turn down a good potluck dinner!)
I don�t think we Pen Friends realize the longing among those to whom we write, just for someone to talk to. We can pick up a phone and be in contact with anyone. They can�t. They must put in a collect call to us (only if we�re on their calling list). Time is limited, of necessity, for the prison gets a whopping fee for letting us accept the call, plus the long-distance charges, all added to our bill. But it�s worth the time we spend to be a friend as long as we can afford it. Do not accept phone calls if you�re having a hard time paying your phone bill. These really add up.
But do write of every day events that don�t concern TV news. If you have children, pets, or family, they often do amusing things that bring to mind some-thing that would relate to Jesus� love or provide a loving object lesson for your friend.
Encourage your Pen Friend to claim God�s promises. We know God loves us because He has promised to keep us under His wings. He meets our needs, pours out blessings we see, and surprises we can�t see yet, but He keeps them stored away for a day when we need to smile.