Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
Do you feel sorry for the twelve disciples? They left their homes, families and businesses to follow Jesus. They worked full-time at following and listening to the One who knew everything, but the religious leaders classified them as ignorant and unlearned men. During their lifetime the Roman government was willing to do anything to them – to keep the peace – so they were often treated as criminals.
What did they receive for their sacrifices? They lived with God for three years! (Even though they didn’t know it). And with Him they had some of the ultimate experiences that anyone could ever have. They watched as, right before their eyes, they saw Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the multitudes and walk on water (what a dull life).
Jesus told the disciples that they could do the same things He was doing. They continued listening and learning, and later they did miracles! After Jesus trained the disciples for three years, He was executed and they were left alone. Eventually all of them, save John, were executed. What a price they paid.
Before Jesus left He told His disciples: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 NIV). After Jesus ascended to Heaven He sent His Holy Spirit to help them witness to the ends of the earth. As the Holy Spirit worked with them, they began their seemingly impossible mission.
But that wasn’t the end of it. The disciples laid their hands on other men and women and they too received the power of the Holy Spirit to help them . . . do what? To give the Good News to everyone then also had joy, peace of heart, and the same desire to help other people. But they too suffered. These new believers also traveled all over the known world telling people the Good News that Jesus had brought. They told their children, grandchildren, neighbors and everyone they could reach.
Then, you and I heard the Good News. Sometimes we forget our part and fail to tell our families, the people around us, and everyone we can reach. The Good News still has the same power that it had when Jesus told His disciples, You will be my witnesses. If we do not believe that Jesus was speaking to us too, we will miss some of the joys and amazing experiences that came to His disciples.
Today, we can still respond to Jesus’ message, you will be my witnesses. He is always with us to help us do what His disciples did. Like the disciples, we can do the impossible – to the ends of the earth. We can tell our families, neighbors, friends and co-workers. We can use many methods to tell others what we know about Jesus. As we do this, His power will work in us. This is not a dull way to live. Rather, it can be exciting! (Reprint from April, 2007)
by Mary Carothers
I love February. It always reminds me of how incredibly loved we are. Do you have a spouse or other family member who loves you? If so, you are indeed blessed. But what if there is no one in all the world who cares whether you live or die? Does this describe you?
If so, then I have good news for you. No I have wonderful, even glorious, news for you. Because God Almighty wanted you to become His child, He was willing to pay a dreadful price to purchase you. In order to be able to draw you into His everlasting arms He paid with the life blood of Jesus, His only Son. Hebrews 2:10 tells us that our Father God gained many sons through Jesus’ sacrificial death. It hardly seems like a good deal to trade Jesus for the likes of us. Still it’s what God wanted and what He chose.
On those times when I just can’t seem to get my mind around one of God’s truths, I go to Isaiah 55:8-9 where He reminds me that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And obviously His ways are also higher and so much better than our ways! Although there are many things I don’t understand about God and His ways, I don’t worry or fret about them. Instead I remember Isaiah, chapter 26 in the Living Bible where God tells us, He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Wow! In just this short amount of time while writing this, God has reminded me of two wonderful Old Testament scriptures. I’m so glad that I spend enough time reading and meditating on His Word that it’s fairly easy for the Lord to remind me of these verses.
When God formed you He made you to be different from everyone else in the world. You are truly one-of-a-kind. You have your own special place in God’s heart. No one else could ever fill it. Did you know that God, who knows everything, knew before He formed the earth that you would become His child (see Ephesians 1:4)? What an incredible blessing to know that you were chosen by God to be His special treasure before the world was ever formed!
Yes, we can confidently know that Almighty God loves us with an unconditional love. We will never need to do anything to earn His love. That’s because His love for us comes from His own nature and doesn’t depend on our so-called goodness. Did you know that God actually rejoices over you with singing? That’s another one of His wonderful Old Testament scriptures. This one is found in Zephaniah chapter 3. Check it out, you’ll be blessed.
I read Prison to Praise – it’s wonderful! Thank you for that inspirational book. What a blessing. Ruth, PA
God bless you as you continue with the Praise News. Years ago Merlin spoke in Omaha and it was a life-changer. I continue to share Prison to Praise with others. I thank God for your faithfulness to the Lord in this ministry. Merlin and I shared the same age. He is now in Heaven – I look forward to that day! Janice, NE
The box of books arrived yesterday and we are offering them to our patients. They were delighted and grateful. One told me that she had read Prison to Praise while she was in prison and it had been a lifesaver. She passed it on to another inmate when she was released, and now she plans to re-read it. God bless you for continuing to carry on Merlin’s message of grace and healing!
Chaplain, State Hospital, TX
Merlin’s teaching about praise and thanking God for all things brought this teaching from the Bible alive for me. Prison to Praise came into my life many years ago, and I have re-read it several times to reinforce this practice of praising God for ALL things that He allows into my life. I thank God for each person who writes to say that Merlin’s books brought them to the Lord. I am praying for the prisoners and chaplains in each facility that received books that are listed in the Praise News. I pray for each of you involved with the Foundation of Praise. May the name of Jesus be praised in every part of the World. Pam, IL
A friend gave me Prison to Praise when my daughter was in prison. I really enjoyed the book. Vivian, FL
I want to thank you for your continued service to the Lord. I love the Praise News and also Prison to Praise. I have given these little books away to hundreds of people.. Robert, LA
While out walking the streets of Lancaster, offering people the book Prison to Praise, I met a gentlemen sitting in his car with the window open. I said, “Excuse me sir, could I give you a nice book to read by an Army Chaplain?” I showed him the book and he excitedly said, “I was in prison and someone shoved this book under the door to my cell. I wanted to shove it back, but instead I read it. I knew it was true by the great feeling I had deep down inside of me. That book changed my life.” He told me he would pass Prison to Praise on to someone else. Thank you again for continuing to make these books available. Arnold, CA
Your faithful support has
enabled us to send free praise
books to the following facilities:
Varner Unit, Grady, AR
State Prison, Raiford, FL
Correctional Facility, Menard, IL
Santa Maria Hostel, Houston, TX
Horry County Sheriff, Conway, SC
Forth Avenue Jail, Phoenix, AZ
Correctional Facility, Meridian, MS
Worldwide Prison Ministry, Mayo, FL
D.O.C. Ramsey 1 Unit, Rosharon, TX
Chester County Jail, West Chester, PA
Meherrin River Regional Jail, Alberta, VA
Coffee Correctional Facility, Nicholls, GA
Correctional Facility, Bedford Hills, NY
Craven County Detention Center, New Bern, NC
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lake Charles, LA
Women’s Therapeutic Regional Center, Henning, TN
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, San Diego, CA
To place an order, please call Foundation of Praise at 1-800-772-4731, or 760-741-2755