THE STEEL AND CONCRETE MISSION FIELD NEWSLETTER November 2001
by Bro. Gregory Wamsley
As I walk through the compound, I notice all kinds of leaves on the ground. The old saying "turn over a new leaf" comes to mind. In the area of gratitude and thanksgiving in my life, God didn't just turn over a new leaf: He planted a whole new tree.
I know it's hard to be grateful and thankful during difficult times in one's life. The Bible has shown me that even during times of depression, great loss and fear, I can still be grateful for God's love and promises. I've learned that the more grateful I am, the lighter the burdens of my heart become. We can take time out to celebrate Thanksgiving, but our concerns don't take off on holidays. We can't choose which trials we'll endure, but we can choose whom to go through them with. I've heard many people ask, "Why must I endure this?" In 1st Thessalonians 5:18 it says, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Charles H. Spurgeon ("Free Indeed" 11-00) echoed those sentiments best and said, "All events are under the providential control of God . . . all provinces are doors to trial. Even our mercies, like roses, have thorns. Mankind may be drowned in seas of prosperity, as well as in rivers of affliction . . . temptations and trials lurk on all roads." He went on to say, "The trials which come from God are sent to prove and strengthen our graces, and so at once to illustrate the power of divine grace, and add to their energy." Truly I would not have the faith I have today if it had not been for the trials and tests that strengthened me. Trees grow stronger and become firmly rooted in the winds of adversity as does the believer. America's flags now fly everywhere. The freedoms America took for granted are foreign to the rest of the world. We enjoy freedom of speech, religion, and expression, to name a few. Prisons are filled with those who took freedom for granted. Thinking that people would choose imprisonment over freedom is hard to believe, but it happens all the time. People in society have allowed themselves to become imprisoned by fear, doubt, and lack of faith. The only imprisonment I face today is a physical one. Many in society are imprisoned mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. God calls us to choose freedom in Christ, and he offers it as a gift. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages (payment for) of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Regardless of our situation, we do have so much to be thankful for. As for myself, I ate more than one meal today. How many will go to bed hungry or die of hunger this night? I enjoyed reading my Bible today. How many are prohibited from even having one or would be killed if caught with one? I'm thankful for my extended Christian family. How many live a life of sorrow, despair, and loneliness? Everyday of my life is a gift from God. Every joy, pleasure, and breath are His gifts to me. It's my prayer that people everywhere will look at their lives in the proper perspective and realize just how much they truly have to be thankful for. For the believer, everyday should be Thanksgiving day. May I never fail to express gratitude for my life and salvation. May I never again take my blessings for granted. Being thankful and giving makes all of us part of the blessing that's THANKSGIVING.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then in prayer to God the Father admit the Gospel truth that you cannot save yourself and that you are a sinner and in need of a Savior. Accept God the Son Jesus Christ into your heart as your Savior and Lord. Christ commands that one must repent (turn away from) their sins. Read His word (The Bible) and learn of the NEW BIRTH you've been given in Christ.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved." Acts 16:31
The "Steel And Concrete Mission Field Newsletter" is a Christ-centered, Bible-based, Non-profit, free, Christian monthly publication. We believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and the only way to God the Father. That He was born of the virgin Mary and was crucified for the sins of the world. His death reconciles lost mankind to God the Father. This Newsletter is written, typed, edited, and distributed initially by inmates for God's Glory. "R.O.A.D. To New Life Ministries" and "Blessed Hope Ministries" also distribute this newsletter to others around the world and via the Internet. All xeroxed, hand written or typed submissions from Christians are welcomed and should be sent to:
Your prayers for all three Ministries would be greatly appreciated.
GRADUATION DAY 2001 by Brother Mosley
The ceremonies opened with myself at the piano singing the National Anthem. Mr. Casper Taylor, Speaker of the House of Delegates was our outside guest speaker, as well as other members of state and local functions.
Being the oldest graduate, I was chosen to speak to the 2001 graduates and audience. "At 73 years old, I've got it. See this diploma? I finally got it. I'm the first inmate ever to address the graduating class." I sang the song: "His Eye Is On The Sparrow." I told them all "I'm as free in here as anywhere. Whom God makes free is really free." I told them how "I left school in the 8th grade in 1942. My mom was ill and I had to help. Life went on and during the next fify years, I was married with 14 children and 23 grandchildren. Every time I went back to get my G.E.D., a child or grandchild needed help. I had to quit again to take on more work to provide. Now that I am incarcerated, there are no more interruptions; I've succeeded in graduating." I further admonished the class. "We decided to become involved with the continuation of our education. We decided on a path quite diferent from our past goals: a new goal filled with hope, and determination to keep future generations from coming to places like this. We believe that coming here greatly influenced us to pursue our goal and better ourselves. Finally we thank the Education Department for their courage and devotion to making this graduation a reality. Remember brothers, life before prison was what we made it. Life in here is what we make it. Life after our release will also be what we make it. Thank you and God bless you all. Congratulations Class of 20001" Sahlom.
THANKSGIVING HUMOR by Michael Hodgin
SAMPLER ON THANKS
Things To Be Thankful For:
That only you and God know all the things about you
That even if you can't pay your bills, at least you aren't one of your creditors.
For the doors of opportunity that are in front or you and the friends that oil the hinges.
JUST A MINUTE
A food editor for a local newspaper received a telephone call from a confused cook asking how long to cook a 22 pound tukey. "Just a minute," said the food editor. As he turned to consult a chart he heard the person say, "Thank you very much," and the caller hung up the phone.
BORN A TURKEY
Snoopy is getting dog food for his Thaksgiving day dinner. As he looks inside, he becomes aware that everyone else is eating turkey that night. Positioning himself on the top of his dog house, he begins to think aloud. "How about that? Everyone is eating turkey today, but just because I'm a dog, I've got to eat dog food." After a moment's reflection, he thinks again, "Of course, it could have been worse; I could have been born a turkey."
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