Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
by Merlin Carothers
Many people are miserable because they think that, for them, everything should go well. When it doesn’t, they are frustrated, worried or upset. Even if they are a Christian, they may expect everything to run smoothly. When trouble comes, they throw up their hands and groan, “I thought God was going to answer my prayers!”
I expect life to be difficult. It always has been, and it always will be. The process of birth is tough. It is tough to live, and in many cases, tough to die. So whatever happens that seems to be bad, I am not surprised. But whatever is going on, I know I have the right to be happy in Christ. A better word is joyful. When things happen that are enjoyable, I don’t seem to have much difficulty putting up with them, either!
I know that some Christians think we should always expect good, comfortable things. But I have observed that people of that persuasion often crash if severe problems strike them. Jesus warned His disciples about the future: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
I expect Satan to try to make me ill. That is his business, and he enjoys it. But I have a greater expectation. I expect God to give me the health that I need to complete the mission He has for me.
I expect people to come into my life who are mean and selfish. The world has many of them, and it is only right that I should experience my share. But I also expect God to supply me with the confidence that He is victorious in me. We can be filled with joy, no matter what comes along!
If someone hits you in the stomach when you aren’t prepared, it can really hurt! But if you see it coming, and tighten your muscles, you can take it with much less pain. I have been trying to strengthen my spiritual muscles. I expect trouble to come, and when it does I am not knocked down or out. I am not only expecting troubles to come, but also expecting my spiritual strength in Christ to keep getting stronger.
Of course, Satan wants to hit us with something harder than we can take. If we had to depend on Satan being fair, we would be afraid all our lives. But I have been told “on good authority” (the Bible) that God will supply us with the strength we need (see Philippians 4:19).
We can depend on God. He promises to always make our problems work for our own good (see Roman 8:28). Always! For a time it seemed as if Jesus had been knocked down and out, but then came the Resurrection! You and I can expect that same victory in our lives. (Reprint February, 1999)
Working Out Our salvation
by Mary Carothers
Our salvation is a gift of love from God – we cannot earn it, nor ever deserve it. Why then did Paul tell us in Philippians 2:12 to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling?
That verse always bothered me. How in the world can I “work out” that which is a free gift? It never made any sense to me until Jesus used a puzzle to make it clear.
We gave a puzzle to one of our children for their birthday. It was a gift of love – it was not “earned”. It was just a lot of loose pieces, sitting in the box – until it was “worked out” piece by piece. The whole purpose of a puzzle is to put it together – to “work it out.” Each piece must be placed where the maker intends for it to go, in order for the correct picture to be formed. If we insist on putting pieces in the wrong place, the picture will never be formed. It will be distorted.
When we first receive our salvation, most of us realize that we are saved from Hell. But do any of us fully realize all that is included in our salvation? Do we realize, for example, that healing for the soul and the spirit is included? Do we realize that as our salvation begins to be “worked out” in us, we are growing in Christian grace? That is the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus in Galatians 5:22. It took a long time before I realized that God’s desire in my life was for me, day by day, to work out my salvation (from the inside out) until Christ will be formed in me.
It isn’t that we earn our salvation by works, or that we have to work to keep it. The “working out” that Paul spoke of, is the natural outworking or manifestation of what is going on inside us as we walk with Jesus. Our carnal nature doesn’t want to submit to Jesus’ will in our lives. But if we let Jesus lead us and let Him become Lord in our lives, then His image or picture will be formed in us.
A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms
when his hands are empty. Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).
Working Out Our salvation
It is through the generosity of organizations such as yours that we are able to provide religious books throughout the facility. Thank you for your donation of books. Chaplain, County Jail, FL
We wish to express our deep gratitude for the donation of books. Sincere thanks to you and your team at the Foundation of Praise for the compassion you show for those incarcerated. Any books you can send will be greatly appreciated. Chaplain, Correctional Centre, Canada
After staying up all night reading Bringing Heaven into Hell a young inmate came up to me during Bible study. He said after reading this book, he got down on his knees and asked God to forgive him for his sins. He said because Christ had forgiven him, he was now able to forgive the man who had murdered his little brother. It was a powerful testimony, and as he shared another inmate said, I believe God wants me to forgive the man who hurt my young daughter. I have realized that my plan to kill him was not God’s plan, and I need to change my thinking and let God deal with him.
God used your book in a powerful way to touch these men. Who knows how many others were moved and forever changed that night? Every book you send is a treasure to us and I thank you. Chaplain, Detention & Enforcement Center, NV
I read Prison to Praise at a time when I was in need. It was an awesome book and my heart is filled with joy, just like you said in the book. Martha, County Jail, OH
Could you please send some free praise books? We do not have a budget for books and only have four books left. The men really enjoy your books. Chaplain, Central Jail, CA
Thank you for your gift of books to the men and women here at the Jackson Jail. They are being read and the inmates are being enriched. Chaplain, OR
Thank you for your donation of books. Because of your generosity we will be able to continue to do what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:36, I was in prison and you came to me.
Len, New Directions Ministry, MI
The Chaplain gave me Prison to Praise and in the following hours I read it in full, and was profoundly impacted! The story and testimony gives me such hope, and provided me a whole new level of understanding and thanksgiving for my relationship with God. I know how to be filled with praise for the smallest things, and even the most difficult things in my life. Alan, Correctional Facility, NY
THANK YOU for your generous donation of praise books.
Chaplain, Correctional Institute, MS
I read Prison to Praise and all I can say is thank you from the deepest part of my soul. This book has opened my eyes in a way I’d never thought possible. I have always been depressed, but once I finished reading it, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy! Tyler, County Jail, AZ
Thank you for the praise books you sent to the Ben Hill County Jail. Many souls have been blessed through reading these books. Here are some testimonies from the women at this facility. CHARLOTTE, GA
Thank you for the praise books you sent to the Ben Hill County Jail. Many souls have been blessed through reading these books. Here are some testimonies from the women at this facility. Charlotte, GA
I wanted to thank you for the books. They have changed my life and I am very grateful. Jessica
Thank you for the praise books. I especially enjoyed the Amazing Power of Faith. It helped me a great deal. Stephanie
Sister Charlotte told us that you donated all the books that she shares with us. Thank you so much for these praise books. Monica
I read Bringing Heaven into Hell while waiting for my turn to get a copy of Prison to Praise. Your choice of words blessed me. I am learning to praise the Lord no matter what the situation. Alexzandra
Thank you for the books you sent to us. After reading Prison to Praise I truly understand how to praise and thank the Lord. Thank you for your story and kind words. I don’t think you understand what an eye-opener it has been for me. Nicole
We rejoice when we are able to provide Prison to Praise and the other praise books to those who need to hear the Good News of the Gospel. Our goal is to continue to provide many free books in 2016. Please pray and consider pledging a monthly gift in 2016 to the Foundation of Praise. Your pledge will help us to know how many books we can plan on sending for the rest of this year to our military personnel, prisons, hospitals and pregnancy centers. When you send in your gift, please mark it, Monthly Pledge.
Hebrews 13:3 (NLT) tells us: Don’t forget about those in prison.
Suffer with them as though you were there yourself . . .
Many of you are currently pledging to the Foundation of Praise and we are grateful for your support. We thank you for your faithfulness and generosity and we bless you in Jesus’ name.
One prison study showed that after inmates had been behind bars for two years, the chances of their ever having another visit from the outside were less than 50 percent. Inmates who received regular visits were 13-25 percent more likely to stay out of prison upon release, depending on who the visitors were. No wonder dedicated chaplains appreciate any praise books that we can send them.
Your faithful support has enabled us to send free praise books to the following facilities.
York County Jail, Alfred, ME
Metro Jail, Salt Lake City, UT
State Reformatory, Granite, OK
Correctional Facility, Newton, IA
Prison Book Project, Sharpes, FL
Correctional Institute, Somerset, PA
Sheriff’s Office, Lake Charles, LA
Federal Corrections, Lexington, KY
Detention Facility, Spartanburg, SC
DeKalb County Jail, Fort Payne, AL
Ben Hill County Jail, Fitzgerald, GA
State Correctional Facility, Boise, ID
New Directions Ministry, Lansing, MI
Polk County Justice Center, Benton, TN
Montgomery County Jail, Conroe, TX
Pennington County Jail, Rapid City, SD
Graham Correctional Center, Hillsboro, IL
Henrico Regional Jail, Barhamsville, VA
Meherrin River Regional Jail, Alberta, WA
St Louis County Justice Center, Clayton, MO
High Desert State Prison, Indian Springs, NV
Broome County Corrections, Binghampton, NY
Trumell Correctional Institute, Leavittsburg, OH
Shawnee County Correctional Facility, Topeka, KS
Lake County Hill Correctional Facility, Lakeport, CA
out of sight
Out of sight, out of mind, is quite easy to practice. Many folks prefer to help those who may be more deserving, but Christians are called by God to especially remember those who are out of sight - in prison.
While on the cross Jesus prayed for those who were crucifying Him: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34 NIV). The man being crucified beside Jesus said: We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve (Vs. 41. He said to Jesus: Remember me when you come into your Kingdom (Vs. 22). To him Jesus said, Today you will be with me in Paradise (Vs. 43).
Jesus had a special love for anyone who recognized their need of forgiveness. Every day we receive many letters from men and women who confess their guilt and ask us to pray for them. God has given us a wonderful opportunity to tell them about His Son.
There are thousands of people in jail who are out of sight to us, but we can provide them a book that we believe God will use to draw them to Christ as their Savior.