Letter 30


Letter 30

When you think of the words “the end of time” what pictures emerge in your mind? How do you view this coming about, or have you avoided looking at that possible reality? Some think that time ends when they step into eternity. Others consider the implications of spiritual reality as the guiding light of their lives. Either way we will all need to make a choice about the nature of life. Does it end with our final breath or do we merely transition spiritually to an afterlife? I believe that we actually live out our belief in all of the choices that we make during the days of our earthly life.
If I believe that it is over with my final breath, then I will live for myself and all that I hold to be important. If I am convinced that there is an afterlife, I will be living my life to prepare for that transition. In a world of competing claims, we are called to make a choice about what we believe and then to live out that choice in our behaviors. The darkness of a death row cell can be brightly illuminated by the truth of God’s word. The patient dying of cancer can be comforted by the realization that real life is about to begin. We have all made errors, we have sinned and failed to become the people that we had once hoped to become. It is the nature of human existence to come to a point in life where you take honest stock of your own failures and limitations in light of God’s promise of forgiveness and mercy.
Many cannot grasp the notion of a merciful God in the context of the world in which we live. We have seen untold horrors as we grew from childhood into adults. We have added to the misery of others in our struggle to rise above our own limitations. We have trampled on the lives of those who populated our life struggles and we have been driven by forces inside of our minds and heart which refused to accept the reality of evil. We have made decisions which now seem foreign and alien to our own humanity. We have taken delight in the pain and suffering of those who have crossed our pathway through life. And when we stop and consider why we made these decisions we find ourselves at a loss to explain our actions.
If I cannot hope to explain what allowed me to become ruthless and uncaring how can I ever hope to have others understand this consuming force that has enveloped my life and blinded me from understanding my own internal conflicts and struggles? Who would believe me at this point in my life? I for one can clearly understand how others could be trapped in a false world in which good becomes evil and evil becomes good. It happens to every human being on the face of the earth. Every life has been touched by the reality of evil, though we may each live out our lives showing the evidence of this spiritual infection at different levels of contagion. The way that evil works in human life varies according to the individual, but rest assured that since the fall of our spiritual parents (Adam and Eve) we all have had a moral corruption that has rooted itself in restlessness, greed, selfishness and lust. No matter where you look the evidence is clear that all of mankind suffers from this spiritual disease. But our pride urges us to consider our own actions in light of what others have done. This is merely a way of soothing our own disturbed consciences with the salve of relativism. “I am not as bad as the next guy.”
That kind of thinking cannot bear up to a rigorous search for truth which informs our own lives. At some point I have to accept this kind of thinking as delusional as I wrestle with the notion of absolute truth. The façade of attempting to make ourselves feel better by comparing ourselves to others will fall apart as we move toward the ultimate certainty that life is more than eating, drinking and pursuing pleasure. It is an uncomfortable reality that continues to slip into our conscious thoughts even though we try to push that realization far away from our daily lives. Those on the outside have more distractions to help them re-focus their thoughts, while men and women living under a sentence of death are forced to confront this reality every day of their lives. We may attempt to flee from this spiritual confrontation by denying its power in our lives, but the shadow of that ever-present reality lives with us 24/7.
If I try to grasp my own moral failures and sinfulness I am easily overwhelmed. I can offer no reasonable or acceptable explanation for the things that I have done. In many instances these events do not make sense to me…how could I make sense of them for others? I find myself in an endless pit of despair and regret with no way to express my pain for harming others. I am alone and isolated and my cell is merely a reflection of the experience I am feeling living out my final days alone. That is the essence of the trap that Satan has laid for every human being. Alone and cutoff from others we believe that there is no way to make our wrongs right again. And slowly we give up trying.
I am reduced to a state of helplessness and hopelessness. I can do nothing but wait. I can express this absolute aloneness in terms of anger and rage or I can become resigned to my fate. Both of these responses eventually lead to my spiritual destruction. I am totally without any power to change my situation. But I am not alone. I have been created for a Divine purpose. God understands that I have been engaged in an endless battle with evil which has shaped my life and my behaviors. I was created in love to fulfill a purpose. I cannot see any Divine purpose in my current existence. What do I do?
God has promised that if we turn back to Him in our lost state, He will provide a way through the circumstances of our lives. He Himself will redeem us from the failures and sins of our lives. In His Divinity, God can turn our worst sins into acts which testify of His love and compassion for us. How is this possible? God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the way back to the Father. He went beyond the role of a mere teacher and instead became a sacrifice in our own place. He died to pay the eternal price for our sins and failures, knowing that we could never accomplish that purpose in our own lives. God clearly understood what happens to human beings when they are infected with evil. He loved us as His Creation and provided a way through the long nightmare of living in sin. He knew before we were made exactly how we would fail in our earthly journey and He still provided a way for us to be redeemed through the life and death of Jesus Christ. That is love in action.
No other man will ever know of your own struggles with sin and lawlessness. But God understands you because He created you. He knew that you would fail in your own power. The truth is that every man and woman who attempts to be righteous on their own is doomed to failure. We are all tainted by sin. All of our best efforts have no merit when compared with God’s holiness and righteousness. So the best of men and women can only fail when they attempt to stand before God based upon their own works. Only in accepting Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection can I seek true forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father who gave me the gift of life. So who is this Jesus?
We know and can prove historically that He lived. In fact there is more historical proof of His life than we have about Caesar’s life. Jesus taught clearly that He was the Second Person of the Trinity. His messages were constantly punctuated with miracles. With each miracle He demonstrated His Divine authority over some aspect of life. He predicted His own crucifixion, death and resurrection. Of His Apostles, ten of them died as martyrs rather than deny Him. Who do you know in your own life that would be willing to die for a lie? All they had to do to keep their lives was to renounce Him as a phony. But their lives were touched at the deepest level and they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was who He claimed to be. Their lives became living testimonies that touched the lives of others with joy and renewal. One by one we have been personally introduced to the God man, Jesus Christ. I am inviting you to know Him today and if you already know Him, to know Him better as a result of this letter. Let Him be your comforter and advocate with The Father. He will not fail you as you reach out your hand to grasp His hand.
C.S. Lewis was a professor at Oxford during World War II. He had been called upon to give talks to the British population during the height of the Nazi bombing campaigns over Britain. Out of those talks Lewis presented his own awareness in the form of a simple truth. That truth seeks to unmask the truth about Jesus Christ. Many people claim that Jesus was a Good Teacher or a Good Man, but Not the Son Of God. Please stop for a moment and consider this simple truth: Jesus clearly stated that He and The Father were one. He identified Himself as a King to Pilate. He taught only what He had seen and heard from His Father. He claimed co-equal status with Our Heavenly Father.
Given these facts which can be verified by reading the New Testament, we must decide individually the truth of His claims. Lewis made a unique contribution when he spoke to the claims of Jesus Christ. How could Christ be a good man or a good teacher if He was not telling the truth when He claimed to be the Second Person of the Trinity? That would make Him either a Liar or a Lunatic. Or He was telling the truth and He truly is the Lord of Life who paid our sin debt on that cross of Calvary. Now the crux of Lewis’s beliefs is presented to you for your consideration. Lewis had been an atheist before he found his relationship with Jesus Christ. Afterwards he was able to challenge those who listened to him to decide the truth about Jesus Christ. Liar, Lunatic or Lord?
This simple truth will seep into your own conscious struggles in life and you will find yourself having to ultimately make a decision regarding Jesus Christ. He cannot be ignored and His claims reverberate through our lives and our circumstances. No decision is a decision. That choice is a coward’s way out of dealing with the Truth. The Bible clearly tells us that “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” We either assume responsibility for seeking the truth here and now, or we pay homage to the Truth in eternity. Either way, our lives will be a living testament to His statement that “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
Life is filled with many learning moments where we are challenged to change our thinking about the nature of life. When we were babies we lived as though everyone else was an extension of our own world. As we grew into adulthood, the realities of life taught us differently. Now as men and woman facing eternity, we are grasping another reality which overshadows all other aspects of our lives. Indeed this reality will shape our future in eternity. Who is Jesus Christ? Can I believe Him? Can He save me after I have lived a life that has been desperately wicked? What must I do to be saved?
It takes a commitment of the heart, a turning aside from past ways, recognizing that I (we) have failed and cannot do anything by myself to set matters right. In turning to God in humility we acknowledge our failures and our sins. We ask Our Father to forgive us because we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. He died in our place, to pay the price for our sins. He paid the price that we could never pay. We prayerfully talk to God and ask for His forgiveness because His Son, Jesus Christ died for us. We accept that gift and ask Our Father to view us through the suffering and death of His Son. We try to get our heads around the concept that God’s Son would die on our behalf and what we do not understand, we ask God to reveal to us. We marvel at the gift of eternal life and ask for the wisdom to live a changed life based upon the Redeeming Act of a loving Savior. We resolve to change our lives through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and we commit our remaining lives to the continued care of Jesus Christ.
This is the sum total of His plan of mercy, forgiveness and salvation. It is so simple that many people miss it. If you do not know how to pray or want someone to pray with you, then ask and I will respond by personal letter. If you are reading this letter then it is clear that God still wants to reach out and touch your life. Please do not mistake His great love for you. He is the Creator of the Universe who bends close to those who are lost. God desires that no one be lost to the eternal reality of hell. So He will find all kinds of ways to reach out again and again to those who are lost in their sinfulness. In one moment of sincere surrender, we will be accepted and forgiven in the loving response of Jesus Christ. Once you have acknowledged His Lordship in your life, it is like a door which opens before you. In His care your life will be transformed. The Holy Spirit will make the changes in your heart that you were never able to accomplish. You will begin to experience a new life in Jesus Christ. You will come to know and understand the peace that fills your life. Along with the experience of His peace, you will begin to understand how your life in Jesus Christ serves a divine purpose. As that knowledge grows in your spirit, you will begin to see that no matter what crimes you have committed, or how sinful you were previously that God will use all of your failures to glorify His own Name. You see your actions, failures; sins and crimes become the source of God’s glory in the light of your surrender to His care. What I could never accomplish by my own power, God has performed in my life. He is always faithful to His word.
I started this letter by asking you to consider what the end of time means to you. I believe that at one time or another everyone must ask themselves a similar question. Why would this be important in our lives at this time? There is an underlying reason. Each human being is caught up in a form of warfare that is ongoing each day of our lives. It is a spiritual warfare for our souls that shapes events and circumstances that define our lives. Everyone is impacted by the presence of evil in the world and no matter how innocent they may be, there is an unregistered impact of the presence of evil on all lives. Its influence permeates the environment in which we live and it helps to twist our thinking about the nature of good and evil. This ongoing battle is rooted in the introduction of evil in the Book of Genesis. Read it for yourself. Adam and Eve’s decision to violate God’s command sent a shock wave of evil that has consistently manifested itself down through the generations of man. That is why each of us has gone our own way and sinned against God and our fellow man. It is a part of our human nature which we cannot change by ourselves. We can only recognize that we are powerless and caught up in a spiritual battle for our souls. That is where the work of Jesus Christ takes over and provides the help that we need to overcome our own battles with Satan. I am confident that God is fully able to keep what has been committed to Him. If your life has been surrendered to God, then Jesus Christ will finish the work that has already begun in your life. His sacrifice on the cross paid the entire penalty due for our sins. The Holy Spirit dwells in our lives and becomes the power that starts to change us from the inside out. We are changed because we reached out and accepted God’s gift of salvation. God will do the necessary work in our lives to bring us into a complete relationship with Him. This is the great promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So do not become discouraged with battles that you experience within your mind, soul or spirit. The promise of Jesus Christ is that He is completely sufficient to accomplish His great work in your life. That is the essence of God’s grace at work in our lives.
Prayer
Tender hearted Lord please hear my prayer. I know that by myself I am completely unable to rise out of the destructive pit of sin that I have created in my life. Your Word tells me that You have already paid my sin debt and that if I accept Your gift of salvation then I will be saved from hell and the eternal consequences of my sins. Lord, please come into my life and become Lord of my Life. Take me as I am and make me the person that You want me to become. I trust in Your Promises.
My heart trembles at the realization of my true sinful nature. I have drifted and chosen to disobey Your law of love. By myself I am completely unable to help myself. I am powerless and caught in a web of my own making. Your word speaks of mercy and forgiveness. The example of Your life mirrors compassion and understanding for the lost. You know my name and my entire history since You are my Creator. There are no thoughts which are hidden from You. Search me Lord and show me my transgressions and my sinful behaviors that I may turn around in Your grace and repent from these sins.
I resolve to trust you with all the remaining days of my life. I want to dwell in an ongoing relationship with You and be taught by the Holy Spirit about Your plans for my life. Even here on death row I believe that You can accomplish Your divine purposes in and through me. Lord use me and move in my life in any way that will glorify and honor Your Name. From this day forward I want to walk in relationship with You and to be transformed by Your Holy Spirit. I cannot undo the effects of my sins and transgressions, but Your Word tells me that You will use all of my sins and failures in ways to bring Honor and Glory to Your Name.
Please Jesus, be my Savior. I surrender my life to Your care and purposes. I believe that You are the Son of God and that Your Word is true and faithful. Please help me with those things that still create anxiety and uncertainty in my spirit. I want to live out each day in relationship with You and to be a witness of Your love and forgiveness in all of my interactions with others. Amen.
Wishing you a blessed and peaceful month ahead,
Kevin and Quinta
Please write and let me know how we can pray for you and your family members.

 
 

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