“You shall have no other gods before me. …You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…”
Do you truly want to change? The first important step is recognizing that our relationship with God is wounded if our hearts are unclean—in other words, if our hearts secretly long for something else on this earth…for MORE than what the Father has allotted. If we are plotting for or longing for something on this earth, then we simply cannot be plotting for or longing for GOD with all of our hearts! We can have only ONE master and love of our lives. All other false gods or idols in our lives should pale next to the true, awesome, and coordinated God of the universe. So the first major step to TRUE CHANGE is to recognize that you have been trying to clean up everything else—and yet cleaning up your own heart is the major job description God has given you. – Words from Gwen Shamblin’s Post, titled “All Else Should Pale Before God” – on the www.weighdownchronicles.com website. This excerpt was taken from Rise Above, which was also written by Gwen Shamblin.
The inmates who are an active part of our Prison Ministry are DIFFERENT. In a climate where so many people around them spend the majority of their days BLAMING everything and everyone else…the system, the government, their families, someone else…ANYONE else but themselves…for their problems and their circumstances, our participants are RISING ABOVE that temptation and tendency. They are looking INWARD at their own hearts and making changes right there FIRST! In these Prison situations, this starts with their first waking moments each day. They awake and have to decide right away whether or not they will be in a “good mood” with their cellmates and Prison guards. They have to decide right away whether or not they will quickly “turn the other cheek” when they inevitably are treated with contempt by other inmates around them. They have to decide whether or not they will participate in immoral discussions…look at immoral pictures…take illegal substances…participate in slander, gossip, arguments, and fights. The opportunities to “defend themselves” by being aggressive and boastful…intimidating and confrontational…ABOUND. YET, we continue to hear stories, testimonies, and examples of our Prison Ministry participants going the OPPOSITE way of that aggressive behavior. We hear of their generosity and love. We hear of their purity and joy when confronted with the chance to fulfill a selfish desire. In short, these inmates are OVERCOMING! Take a look at some of the quotes and testimonies from the past couple of weeks in our Remnant Fellowship Prison Ministry…spread out among several different facilities.
And the list goes on! Here are a few lines of testimony taken from recent letters sent by inmates participating in our Prison Ministry…
NOW – As you read and even re-read these statements and testimonies and stories…and you reflect upon what your personal tests are each day…doesn’t it CHARGE you to hear about these Saints who are OVERCOMING in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances? Nearly EVERYTHING around these inmates is poking and prodding them to lash out in anger or fight back or argue or go along with the immoral conversations or pictures or activities. But they are making the MOST of the time that they have in our Prison Ministry classes…and they are hanging on to every word that Gwen is sharing in these videos and written materials. For those of us who are NOT incarcerated (and that’s everyone reading this article on this website), are we approaching each day and these precious materials with the same level of desperation or ferocity? Are we soaking up every word like we might not get to see or hear or read it again? These inmates are treating this Truth like their very LIVES depend upon it…and they DO depend upon it. But to all of us NOT in Prison – OUR lives depend upon it EVERY BIT AS MUCH as theirs do! May we embrace this tremendous opportunity to experience this Truth, Ministry, and Church while we are FREE to do so without restriction! What GOD is pouring out through Gwen is rare in this world and in our lifetime. May we ALL be able to testify to our own beautiful changes…inside and out!