Joseph Herrin (02-03-2016)
Ware State Prison, Waycross, Georgia
The prison in the photo above is where I sent the very first Parables Bookshelf Newsletters to back in February of 2010. It is hard to imagine that it has now been 6 years since the Lord first led me to begin this outreach. By word of mouth, other inmates were made aware of the newsletters, and to date 68 individual men at Ware State Prison have requested to be placed on the mailing list. As men were transferred to other prisons I began to receive requests from men in other penal institutions. Currently, I am sending newsletters to men at more than 30 prisons in the state of Georgia, as well as a handful of federal penitentiaries and men in the prison system of other states.
I am grateful to my brothers and sisters in Christ outside of the walls of prisons who have given, and continue to give generously, enabling me to send newsletters out each week, as well as sending many packets of additional material to fulfill special requests. Please accept my thanks until that time when Christ will commend you openly and with sincere gratitude.
Matthew 25:36, 39, 40
“I was in prison, and you came to Me…” “When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” And the King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
The early church was commanded to not neglect those who are in prison.
Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them…
I was blessed to experience life behind bars for two brief periods of 60 days and 74 days back in 2009 and 2010. I can truly empathize with their situation. One of the most desperate needs is to have godly, spiritually focused material to encourage and instruct the men, and to help them occupy the many hours of confinement. It is a blessed opportunity to be able to send a newsletter every week to each man on the mailing list. A great highlight of a man’s life behind bars is to receive something in the mail.
In this post I am going to share some more correspondences I have had with men in prison in recent days. Not all men who write to me are already believers in Christ. Some have come across some of my teachings and have found them interesting and insightful. They may recognize truth in what is written, but still have objections to the teachings of the Bible. I embrace such letters as an opportunity to give a witness of Christ. I pray before writing, entreating the Spirit of Christ to guide me to know what to speak to the men. Following is one such correspondence.
Hello. How are you? First and foremost I would like to thank you for all of the great information you provide. I just recently found out that you actually respond to letters, so I decided to ask you for a few things and also a few questions I am curious about. Can I please have all information on the Paris shootings and connection with any government influence, holidays, or your previous writings “Dark Deeds in the City of Light,” “Pitching for a New World Order,” New NSA Products Coming to a Home Near You,” “A Little Birdie Told Me,” “A Rockefeller Christmas,” “What’s the Big Deal About Christmas?,” and “Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Easter”? I would appreciate greatly if I could have those, also I have a request for the “Babylon Rising” series.
Now, I think you are a great informative person, but I must ask what makes you believe in God? I don’t think a mystery, flying being in the sky can save me. How can anyone think it’s real? If God is so powerful, wh hasn’t he manifested himself to us today, or why does he sit and watch all the terrible things of this world happen?
I’m sort of torn! Why can’t I just be a good person and live righteous without believing in a God, and still go to a happy place when I die? That’s terrible. I feel like I have to be bullied into a religion because if I don’t I will suffer eternally. Please shed your opinion on this. It’s a sensitive subject to me. I want to inquire and ask more, but I will keep it as brief as I can to insure a good response. Please get in touch. Thank you!
I am sending you two packets of writings. One includes the Babylon Rising series which you requested. The other packet has numerous other writings which you asked for me to send you. I added one additional article on the Paris shootings that you did not specifically mention.
At the end of your letter you wrote the following:
Now I think you are a great informative person, but I must ask what makes you believe in a God? I don’t think a mystery flying being in the sky can save me. How can you think it’s real? If God is so powerful why hasn’t he manifested himself to us today, or why does he sit and watch the terrible things of this world happen? I’m sort of torn! Why can’t I just be a good person and live righteous without believing in a God, and still go to a happy place when I die? That’s terrible that I feel like I have to be bullied into religion because if I don’t I will suffer eternally. Please send your opinion on this. It’s a sensitive topic for me. I want to inquire and ask more, but I will keep it as brief as I can to insure a good response.
I am quite willing to answer your questions. Let me begin by stating that I don’t believe you really think there is no God. I think your actual problem is that you don’t want to acknowledge God for then you would be accountable to Him for your behavior. I believe you have a strong root of rebellion in your life and you don’t like the idea of having to answer to God for your actions. E.G., the Bible states the following.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
I don’t think you are a fool. I think you actually believe there is a God. Your real issue is that you don’t want to abide by anyone else’s laws, including God’s. This is evident in your letter when you wrote, “I feel like I have to be bullied into religion because if I don’t I will suffer eternally.” E.G., God is not bullying you anymore than the State of Georgia is bullying you by putting you in prison.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections website you were born in 1993. In 2010 you committed robbery and received a 20 year sentence for that crime. You must have been only about 17 years old at the time. In 2012 you were charged with Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Firearm During a Crime. E.G., would you not describe your own behavior as bullying? You assaulted and robbed people, threatening them with injury or death with a gun. E.G., when you did these things you knew they were wrong. They were violations of love. Rather than doing good to others as God created men to do, you chose to do evil to others for selfish purposes.
E.G., you asked, “If God is so powerful why hasn’t he manifested himself to us today, or why does he sit and watch the terrible things of this world happen?” Would you rather that God struck you dead the moment you committed assault and robbery? God could have done that. There is a reason He did not do so, however. The Bible states:
II Peter 3:9
But He bears patiently with you, His desire being that no one should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But you, Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth.
And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such (wicked) things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil – for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good – for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
[New Living Translation]
E.G., what these Scriptures are saying is that God is patient, giving wicked men time to turn from their sins, to repent and to live righteously. God could judge all sinful acts immediately and harshly. The Bible says “the wages of sin is death.” Every person on the face of the Earth has come under the curse of sin. Everyone violates the righteous standard of God at some point. This is what is stated in the following passage.
“There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace have they not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
I too was born a sinner. In my flesh there is a desire to do all manner of selfish and wicked things. I too would take advantage of those who are weaker, or less clever than me if I had not come to fear God. I could put all men who are in prison to shame with my wickedness if God had not delivered me from slavery to the pull of sin in my flesh. E.G., the Bible says that the penalty for all sin is death. If God were to exact His righteous judgment on all mankind the moment they sinned, there would not be any men, women, or children left on the face of the Earth. He would have to strike us all dead. God does not want to do this, however. He takes no pleasure in putting men to death. He would much rather than men like you, or like me, would turn from our sin that we might live.
“Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares Yahweh God. “Therefore, repent and live.”
God bears patiently with sinful men and women, for He wants them to repent, to turn their back on their selfish and sinful lives, and begin to walk uprightly before Him that they might be spared. You should certainly appreciate this aspect of God’s nature, for you too have committed sins worthy of death in God’s sight. Are you not grateful that God is patient with you?
In your letter you asked, “Why can’t I just be a good person and live righteous without believing in a God, and still go to a happy place when I die?” E.G., have you been a good person? If you are honest you must admit that you have not been. A good person does not rob others. A good person does not carry a gun and commit crimes. What else did you do? Did you have sex with multiple women? Did you get some of them pregnant? Do you have children you are failing to raise in a safe, loving, and nurturing environment? Have you given yourself to drunkenness? Have you used illegal drugs? Do you take the Lord’s name in vain? Do you curse and swear and speak many wicked and evil things? Do you take pleasure in the wickedness of others? Do you lie?
If you do any of these things, how can you describe yourself as one who is living righteously? You are not even trying to live righteously. But even if you did try, you would find that you are unable to do so. You are a slave to wicked, selfish, rebellious, and ungodly desires. You may attempt to live righteously, but you will always fall short. The reason for this is that when our forefather Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden we were still in him, for we were his seed. When Adam sinned, he fell under the rule of sin, and all his offspring which were still in his loins also became slaves to sin. The apostle Paul explains this truth in the following manner.
When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death… Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is… So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
[New Living Translation]
E.G., when you asked your question, “Why can’t I just be a good person and live righteous…?” you were acknowledging that there is right and wrong in this world. Who determines what is right and wrong? God does, of course, for He is the Creator of all things. The truth is, however, that neither you, nor I, nor any other person could live a good and righteous life in God’s eyes by our own efforts. Like the apostle Paul who wrote the words above, we can try to do so, but we will fail. As much as you might want to be a good person and live a righteous life, you cannot do so. If you will be honest with yourself and look at your life experiences so far, you will admit this is true.
The problem is that if we are born into this world with a serious deficiency. As much as we might want to live righteously and please God, we cannot do so for there is something missing inside of us. This is not God’s fault. It is man’s fault, for Adam turned his back on God and chose to rule himself. We are born deficient because Adam, our forefather, sinned against God. The thing we lack is the character and life of God inside of us. Instead, we have the character and life of Satan. We are born rebellious. We are like little children when their parents tell them not to touch something. All we can think of is doing the thing we were told not to do. If our parents tell us we can have one cookie, then we want to take two. If they tell us to sit down and be quiet then we want to run around and make noise.
We are the same way with God. God gave us His Law in the Old Testament of the Bible to show us that we are sinners and rebels who cannot obey Him even if we try. One of the men who loved God the most in the Old Testament was David, yet David committed adultery and murder. In a moment of temptation, David gave into the sinful passions of his flesh and committed acts worthy of death. Should God have killed David? David’s actions deserved death, but God has compassion on man. He chooses to have mercy on us, but He will punish evil, and David was punished.
God determined that He would make a way for sinful men to overcome their slavery to the flesh and sinful desires. He would place His own divine life in man. But first someone would have to pay the penalty for man’s sins, for God could not simply sweep all sin under the rug. The penalty of sin had to be paid. It could only be paid for by someone who had never sinned. There was no man born of Adam who met that criteria, for we are all sinners. Therefore God sent His own Son to be born as a man, to be tempted in every way as we are, yet to never sin. Because Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah was man, and He was perfect and righteous in God’s sight, He could pay the penalty for our sins and we could be forgiven. In effect, God would place our sins on His Son, and He would place His Son’s righteousness on us.
II Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This is what occurred when Christ went to the cross. Christ accepted the penalty for our sins, which was death, so that we could live.
Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross only bought us forgiveness, however. We needed something further if we were to be able to overcome sin and no longer be a slave to its power. We would have to receive the life of Christ into our own bodies. Therefore, God sent forth His Spirit to come into our lives and to produce in us both the desire and the power to live a righteous life and overcome sin. E.G., if you have not received the Holy Spirit into your life, you cannot live a righteous life. You are still a slave to sinful desires.
In the long passage we read above, the apostle Paul talks about his desperate condition of wanting to do good, but not having the power to do so. He says, “O wicked man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of sin and death?” He then answers his own question by saying, “Thank God. He has through Jesus Christ His Son!” When Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven He sent forth His Spirit to indwell His disciples. The power of Christ’s Spirit living in man gives him the ability to do what he formerly could not. Now we can both desire to do God’s will, and we can do it. We no longer are slaves to sin, but are freed to live in righteousness.
[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
E.G., when men and women receive the Spirit of Christ the struggle with the flesh does not end, but they now have the power to overcome temptation. They never again have to sin. Sin’s power has been broken.
I Corinthians 10:13
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
When a man or woman receives the Spirit of Christ they are assured by God that no sinful temptation will ever be greater than their power (through the Holy Spirit in them) to choose obedience to God. Because you have not received the Spirit of Christ, you CANNOT please God. You are always going to fall short. Every man must humble himself, confess his sin to God, and accept the forgiveness that God’s Son has purchased for them by the sacrifice of His own life on the cross of Calvary. Then the man must ask God to send forth His Holy Spirit into His life so that he can be freed from sin and have the divine life of God inside of Him. The man must come to God confessing that he is not able to please God apart from receiving God’s Spirit. The man must ask God to give him His Spirit so he can be set free from sin. Christ spoke of the manner in which we must ask God for His Spirit in the following passage.
And He said to them, “Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he shall answer and say,’ Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
God knows we need His Holy Spirit to have victory over our flesh’s sinful desires. He will give us what we need if we come to Him in faith asking for it.
Of course, no man will acknowledge these things as truth, or humble himself before God to receive what he needs, unless he is ready to be done with his rebellion. If you want to accuse God of being a bully for establishing the laws upon which His own creation operates, then you are not yet done with your rebellion. Seeing that God has made a way for you to not only be forgiven, but to conquer the sin in your flesh, is it not a just thing for Him to punish those who reject His provision? God is being far more than just. He is being merciful. But if you reject His mercy you must experience His wrath. That is both fair and reasonable.
E.G., if you want to know more about these things, I have written a book that explains all of it in much more detail. The book is titled Overcoming Addiction by the Spirit of Christ. Don’t be put off by the title. All sin is addictive, for it rules over us until its power is broken by Christ. This book sets forth the nuts and bolts of the truth of God’s plan to redeem man from sin. If you are interested, I will be glad to add you to the Parables Bookshelf Newsletter mailing list which contains this book, and I will send this book to you first. Just let me know your decision. For my part, I hope you will choose to be done with your rebellion toward God and accept His provision for your forgiveness and transformation so you truly can live a life pleasing to Him.
Respond to God while He is calling you. You have no guarantee that you will experience His drawing at a later time.
I am impressed by the number of men in prison who write words of appreciation for the material they receive. Their actions defy the stereotype of the hardened criminal who lacks all social graces.
Dear Mr. Joseph Herrin,
I pray this letter reaches you in the best of health and even better spirits. I wanted to write to you in hopes that you might add me to the mailing list to receive your weekly newsletters. I have read a few newsletters via a friend who I am incarcerated with. I really enjoyed them all. My favorite was series 1.16.3 about the creation of the dinosaurs. I definitely learned a lot from it, and it is evident that through due diligence it makes perfect sense to the true facts. I understand you work alone, so when you have the time please include me to the weekly readings. Thank you so much in advance. May God bless you and keep you and be gracious upon you and give you peace.
Dear Mr. Herrin,
How are you? Thank you for the presentation you sent. You know, it feels as though “Babylon Rising” has a lot to do with myself. Prior to being locked up I was very proud and arrogant. At roughly 6′-5″ I’m often called a “tower” or “skyscraper” by my friends and family, and I was totally demolished! I was detained on September 11, 2012 and I didn’t realize the similar symbolic meaning it had pertaining to me until I read that presentation. At only 24, I am still learning, but you have taught me so much. I just want to thank you again. I would like to receive the following presentations: “Savage Wolves,” “The Quest,” “The Darkness Draws Nearer,” and “Interracial Relationships.”
I would like to thank you so much for the literature you’ve sent me for the last 4 years. I can’t imagine the insight I’ve grasped from your teaching. You’ve truly opened my eyes to many things that I wouldn’t have found in my own. Thank you so much!
May Yahweh bless You.
I’m going to South Carolina on the 16th of this month to face other charges. I hope it won’t vbe serious. I should be home soon. Either way, I will not be in Georgia after the 16th. Don’t send me no more lessons. I won’t be here, and I don’t want you to waster time and money on me. Say a prayer that I might go home if it is Yahweh’s will. If not, I’ll contact you again in S.C., and if I am released I plan on contacting you again (by email).
Hey Joseph. Thanks for everything you’ve done. I won’t forget!
A Brother in Christ
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
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