Happy Thanksgiving! I thank God for you who have allowed me to share your letters over the past few years of ministry, so we can be a blessing together as a testimony of God’s great love and grace.
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” 1
All Thanks to God…
“My name is Ethan, and I am from a small city in north Alabama.
“For years, I have found the Manson story one of great interest. It serves as a reminder that we live in a fallen world and that the devil is very much at work around us. That is how I happened upon your story of redemption.
“Our God is so full of goodness, grace, mercy that none of us deserve. Your story and your life is one of great encouragement. A wonderful testament of our God. You remind me of Paul in the Bible. He committed some of the most vile acts and murders towards Christians, but God can use you! And God is using you. I have been a Christian my whole life and raised in church and your story is remarkable to me. I am so glad that I found your website. I plan on using it as I witness to others who believe they are too far gone for God’s grace.
“I want you to know that I will lift you up in prayers daily. I cannot imagine the grief and weight that you bear on a daily basis. Continue to let your light shine and allowing God to use you. You are doing a good work and reaching many lives for Christ. If there is anything I can specifically pray for you then please let me know. Your brother in Christ, Ethan, AL.”
Pray for my Safety…
You can pray specifically for my safety, since the California prison system is becoming increasingly less and less safe for high profile inmates like myself. I’m in the process of appealing for safer conditions, so your prayers for favor with the authorities would be greatly appreciated from the bottom of my heart.
While moving recently to another yard, an officer shouted to me, “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.” 2 So, the dangers are known, but for appeals to be granted is another thing. The courts are an option as well, but we know who is ultimately in charge here. Pray for God’s wisdom to flow freely from my life and in the lives of those helping me to do what is right in God’s eyes, bringing about his will in all we do.
I am thanking God this month that He has kept me safe to share the Gospel for all these years. Even when attacked, His angels have been encamped around me for protection from death. On the way to the infirmary a few years ago, an officer pointed upward to the angels who were looking after me. Though wounded, He is the One Who, “…covers [us] with his wings. His faithful promises are [our] armor and protection.” 3
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” 4
A Two-Edged Sword…
The 50th anniversary brought much publicity concerning the old man who died with Christ. It is surreal to have once been that person who caused so much havoc in the late 60s. As Ethan wrote, “I cannot imagine the grief and weight that you bear on a daily basis.” Only as a new man in Christ have I been able to live above the images, by “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” 5
Many are not able to separate me today from that old man of a half-century ago. For this reason, it isn’t for righteousness sake that I am threatened and stared at angrily, but for past sins that are unforgivable in the eyes of some. It is humanly impossible to truly forgive if one doesn’t know the forgiveness provided by God through Christ Jesus, Who prayed from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” 6
On the other hand, many rejoice because of my salvation. Others are even amazed like Ethan, hearing of my redemption for the first time, who share it with their friends. Moreover, visitors came to the website from around the world as a result of the anniversary. Truly, “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” 7
God’s Purpose for Us…
It was hard for me to understand how I could be “…called according to His purpose” until I looked at His overarching plan of salvation. He “…called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 8
We have obtained mercy, which means God withheld His wrath from you and me, placing all of it upon His Son, Jesus, as punishment for our sin. As the old hymn goes, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe!” He did this for our salvation; to make us whole, to rescue us from destruction, to heal our broken heart and body, to liberate us from addictions and deliver us from the hand of the enemy.
It was the precious blood of Jesus that provided forgiveness of sins past, present and future, and His body was beaten to provide our healing. By faith, we celebrate our redemption moment by moment, receiving all that He died and rose to provide. As a result, we are continually being “…filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 9
A Prayer for You…
Father, You have shown me clearly how much You loved me by placing Your Son on the cross for my sin. This is why I sing and make melody in my heart, giving thanks always for all things in Christ. I love You and appreciate Your great love and grace. I can’t thank You enough! Truly, this is my best Thanksgiving ever, because I know Your mercy at last. Thank You for revealing Your powerful Gospel of salvation to me. Thank You for healing my life. In Jesus Name, Amen!
Scripture References (KJV):
- Phil 1:3,6 NLT
- Isa. 54:17, NKJV
- Psa. 91:4, NLT
- Psa. 92:1
- 2 Cor. 10:5
- Lk. 23:34
- Rom. 8:28
- 1 Pet 2:9c,10
- Eph. 5:18c, 19, 30