Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
Changing our Wants
by Merlin Carothers
Men and women have forever wanted things that they should not have. We sometimes even want things that destroy our health and happiness. We are often a confused people.
Do you want things that you believe are harmful to you, yet time after time you do what you know is not best – because you want to? For example, a man can declare that he will never drink alcohol or take illegal drugs again. He means it, but then what he wants overtakes him.
We may decide that we will stop eating too much, but the food is passed and we are back to doing what we want. Our wants can control us until the day we die unless we learn to have them changed. And they can be changed!
Paul wrote, Oh, what a terrible predicament I'm in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus (Rom. 7:24-25 TLB).
But we must want to be changed more than we want to enjoy whatever is harmful to us.
A first step we can take is to recognize that it is not God who causes us to crave whatever we should not have. These desires are caused by the same power that tempted Adam and Eve. Satan convinced Eve that if she wanted to eat the forbidden fruit she should just go ahead and eat it. Satan makes that same suggestion to you and me. “Even though God has forbidden you to do this or that, if you want to, you should just go ahead and do it.” That same power causes men and women to crave immorality even though they know it could destroy their health and happiness.
When temptations come we can meditate on these verses:
The Lord loves those who hate evil (Ps. 97:10).
If anyone respects and fears God, he will hate evil (Prov. 8:13).
Hate evil and love the good (Amos 5:15).
We can pray for the desire to hate what is not good for us. When a wrong desire begins to stir in our minds we can begin to tell God that we hate evil. Our enemy hates hearing that!
As we enjoy each new victory our wants are changed, and a new joy begins to sing in our hearts. On each occasion we feel as Paul did, a freedom from bondage. We are being delivered from our terrible predicament. The Holy Spirit can then teach us new ways to defeat our enemy.
At the birth of Jesus the angel announced good news of great joy that was coming to every person. During His time on earth, Jesus demonstrated that He hated evil and everything it did to destroy God’s children. Then He purchased our deliverance from anything in this world that tries to control us. We are free to accept His gifts and to enjoy knowing that God rejoices in each victory that He sees in us. (Reprint from September, 2007)
by Mary Carothers
Some years ago Merlin and I happened to see a few people building a low rock wall without any mortar. They were using whatever stones they could find and pick up in the area. All sizes and shapes were being used. Two or three folks were bringing the “builder” the rocks and he did the actual construction. It was amazing how sturdy that wall seemed. He had no way to shape the rocks and some sharp edges were sticking out. Watching these folks caused me to remember what the Bible has to say about us as “living stones”. In 1 Peter 2 Jesus is called the Living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him. It goes on to describe us, followers of Jesus, as also being living stones. We are being shaped and built into a spiritual house offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus.
The folks building the rock wall were limited by whatever stones were available to them. And some didn’t fit very well. Some sharp corners stuck out. That’s sort of what God has to deal with. Each one of us Christians is a living stone. The only question is “do we fit well with the Lord’s other living stones?” Most of the time we Christians try to fit well but some others really don’t care or try. When we have to work with these particular living stones, God is giving us the opportunity to grow in grace. Other times after sincerely seeking God’s will He may tell us that the relationship is toxic and we need to end it. The question we should always ask ourselves is “have we each allowed God to have His way in our heart?”
The Lord certainly doesn’t want any of us to be like clones! He is the Creator God who has created tremendous variety everywhere in the world. He has made each of us with different talents and abilities in order to fulfill His plan for our lives. Our loving Heavenly Father allows many trials and tribulations into our lives. He does this when He knows that He can make them ultimately work for our good (see Romans 8:28).
Some of you are in extremely difficult situations. Some of you are really hurting – perhaps physically, perhaps emotionally – and are nearly overwhelmed. You cannot imagine how God can cause anything good to come out of your suffering. Certainly God is the only one who is able. In order for Him to do so He must have our cooperation. The best way to learn how God wants us to do this is to study the New Testament. There He tells us many times the importance of giving thanks always for all things, although it really is all throughout the Bible. Another way is to read any or all of Merlin’s books.
Learning to thank and praise the Lord seems like an impossible thing to do if we have never tried. Almost all of us have to start with just plain old obedience. It sure didn’t make sense to me when I began. And I have stumbled many times since then by grumbling. But our Lord is patient and wants us to keep trying and practicing. The amazing thing to me has been how thanking God for everything in my life has caused my faith to grow by leaps and bounds. And oh the joy! I never dreamed that one of the “side effects” could be so much joy. And oh yes, as we practice praising and thanking God we become living stones that are easier for God to use.
Merlin’s books have been so helpful to me. Thank you for continuing his work. Dolores, PA
I read Prison to Praise and have started my life over for the Lord. He has changed everything and I’m glad He died for my sins. Ronald, FL
Prison to Praise was a real witness to me when I read it in 1980. It was the same year I had just become a new child of the King. Ann, WA
Thank you for this wonderful and life-changing ministry. God bless you all. Vickie, MO
Prison to Praise is a great book. It really helped me! Beatrice, VA
Prison to Praise is one of the best books ever written, so inspiring and enlightening! Ana, CA
Prison to Praise helped me to understand Jesus’ gift for me many years ago. I am so blessed by Praise News. Keep looking up, our redemption draws high. Leoncia & Tom, IN
Please continue to send me Praise News. It is the most uplifting mail I receive. I always look forward to reading it. Ramona, CA
I had to write and say thank you for the wisdom and well-spoken words in Prison to Praise. Anna, KY
I receive so much help from the Praise News. I loved Prison to Praise and give away lots of copies. My daughter, Catherine, loved it too and we keep reminding each other to praise God for everything. Carolyn, VA
Thank you for Prison to Praise. I read it here in the Fremont Detention Center and it was very inspirational. It has opened my eyes to a new kind of praise and worship to our Lord. It touched my heart in ways I didn’t think a book could. Wade, WY
I found a copy of Prison to Praise in the hallway here at Westville Prison. Thank you for the words in this book. It has shed a new light on my walk with the Lord.