Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
by Merlin Carothers
Peter, and most of the Jews of his day, knew about the horrors of the Roman crucifixions. They had probably witnessed a few of them. When Peter stood in the courtyard, after Jesus had been arrested, he had good reason to be afraid. He, too, could have been arrested and made to suffer and die beside Jesus.
Peter became so afraid that he did the unthinkable. He cursed and swore that he had never even known Jesus. Jesus had told His disciples to never be afraid but Peter had not yet learned how to use his faith in God.
Our desire for self-survival is strong, and our desire to escape pain is so powerful that it can overrule our longing to be faithful to Christ. He taught all His followers to not be afraid, but the temptation to fear can often be overwhelming. To withstand these temptations we must learn to resist, and keep on resisting. God has given us the same powerful antidote to defeat fear that Jesus had. We can believe and keep on believing that God is always working for our good (see Romans 8:28). Our faith that God’s promise is true can become increasingly stronger, but it requires our continuing efforts to believe. Satan is always trying to find ways to defeat our trust in God’s promises.
It is so easy to practice fear and unbelief concerning those we love. We earnestly do not want them to suffer sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, marriage troubles or unjust treatment. If they are suffering in some way, we can easily be drawn into being afraid that God will not use their suffering for their good. But our fear is a tool that Satan can use to defeat our efforts to trust God’s love for those we love. We can best help others by learning not to be afraid of what is or what might happen to them. Yes, our anxieties or fears may be normal, but normal does not defeat Satan. Faith is a mighty weapon God has given His people and He asks us to use it.
No matter how weak our faith is, it will grow as we use it! If we use it for small problems, it gets strengthened for more difficult tribulations. Peter learned from his mistakes. He became so strong in faith that when his shadow touched people they were healed. What potential God has made available to each one of us! He wants us to use the opportunities that we have to believe that He is working for our good – in spite of every appearance. Each act of faith will help our faith to grow, and keep growing. Like Peter learned to do, we must practice trusting and praising God no matter what He allows to happen. As we learn to do this He reveals Himself to us and to others through us.
Jesus knew that terrible things would happen to many of those who would come to believe in Him. But He also knew that His Father had promised to work EVERYTHING for their good. So, He gave us God’s message and asked us to practice believing, growing in faith and learning that His Father never, ever, fails to keep His promises. Our faith will cause our confidence and our joy to keep growing and growing. (Reprint from February, 2005)
Someone said to me, “Mary, how can I be sure that I am saved?” Here is how I answered her:
1. Are you genuinely sorry for all of your sins?
2. Have you asked Jesus to forgive you and save you from the penalty of your sins that is, eternal separation from Him?
3. Have you asked Jesus to come into your life, your heart and become your Savior?
If you can answer yes to these three questions, you can rest assured that it is the desire and even great joy of God to count you as His beloved child. The problem many folks have is believing that something so momentous, so everlastingly eternal can be so simple. Surely, we think, I need to do something to deserve this. At the very least, “I gotta get myself straightened out”. Then I can ask Jesus to forgive me and be my Savior. But this is just a lie Satan tells us. He knows that we can never “get ourselves straightened out.” That’s why each of us needs Jesus to be our Savior. And that is why Jesus came to save us (see Luke 19:10).
God knew long ago that mankind would always mess everything up. So He provided our salvation by Himself. He did this by coming Himself as Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). There is nothing any of us can do to earn salvation, or to deserve it. Everything has already been done by Jesus. He now freely gives salvation to all of us who do not deserve it. Always remember this: Jesus did it all. Period.
With Jesus as our Savior, we now become members of God’s own family (see Ephesians 2:19). Almighty God is our loving heavenly father. By His power, we have been removed from Satan’s kingdom of spiritual darkness and death. We have now been brought into God’s kingdom of light and life (see Colossians 1:13&14).
Do you ever fear you may have lost your salvation because you have sinned? That is a lie and a trick of the enemy. God does not withdraw what He has given us. In Romans 11:29 (TLB) the Bible says: God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn: He will never go back on His promises.
Now that Jesus is your Savior, daily ask the Holy Spirit what His will is for you. The best way, I think, is to read and think about what He tells us in the Bible. A wonderful place to begin is the Gospel of John. I always recommend getting a translation that is easy for you to understand. I love to underline in my Bible the places that mean a lot to me. I even write notes on the edges. You might want to consider getting an inexpensive copy – that way if you mark it up it won’t matter. It’s the message in the Bible that’s important.
Happy walking with Jesus!
by Mary Carothers
You Can Be Sure
I enjoy Praise News very much and I always pass it along to others to read every month. May the Lord continue to bless you. LaVerne, WI
I wanted to let you know that I’m blessed with your messages every month. Elsie, OH
Thank you so much for your ministry to those who are in prisons, both physical and spiritual. I became acquainted with Merlin’s books by reading a former inmate’s testimony. I think it was put best by a Japanese pastor: “Merlin was a vessel in this world”. I will be praying for the ministry as one who has and continues to be a beneficiary of it. Matthew, FL
Thank you for your encouraging Praise News and all the good you do through Merlin’s books. Debbie, CA
Thank you for this life-changing ministry! Donn & Vickie, MO
With all the thanks being expressed to Merlin, I wanted to express my thanks to you, Mary, for your excellent faith inspiring thoughts each month in the Praise News. I was given Prison to Praise 35 years ago and I have been living what I learned since then. It has strengthened my relationship with my Lord as I obey His commands to praise Him and give thanks. Michaela, OH
I wish to thank you for the shipment of praise books for our jail ministry. These books will be a blessing to the inmates.
I have run out of Prison to Praise. In the past your foundation was so kind to send books for the inmates at the Chester County Prison. I pray that someone has been a benefactor and we are able to receive more books. Our ministry is unable to afford much in the way of materials. Your books are a great inspiration and encouragement to the men and women here, just as they were when I was an inmate in 1986. Thank you. Matt, PA
How Pleasant is Praise!
To order this month's book special, please call 1-800-772-4731.
Buy Two Books, Get Two Free!
When you order From Fear to Faith and Amazing Power of Faith, you will receive a second copy of each book FREE! Your total cost for all four books, including shipping is $24 (a $45 value). Shipping applies to one U.S. address. For additional shipping information or to place an order with a credit card call, 1-800-PRAISE1 (800-772-4731). This offer expires on May 31, 2016.
Amazing Power of Faith
“Once again, Merlin through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, shares how our faith, no matter how small, can become an awesome power in transforming our lives.”
From Fear to Faith
“This book is a source of comfort and encouragement – especially the truth of allowing faith, and not fear, to control our feelings.”
For where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt.18:20 KJV).
Please agree with me in prayer for everyone who receives Praise News. We receive so many requests for prayer. Some of these requests are for:
Loss of a loved one
Our military personnel
Family hardships and conflicts
Salvation and healing of loved ones
The traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored or neglected. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, not just those fallen in service to our country. On Memorial Day, May 30th, please take the time to pray, with sincere conviction, your respect for those who died protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, for we owe those honored dead more than we can ever repay.