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Unshackled Blog Series

Out of Control

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Chapter 10 pages 174-183

1 Peter 5:5

How can something become so out of control?
How can an Institution go from smooth running to total chaos in just minutes as I write about in my book Unshackled?
How can life change all of a sudden?

There isn’t an answer that fits all, but I am convinced God is unchanging and unshaken by any sudden emergency in our lives. He is Sovereign. Because of the impact of Adam’s original sin, we may have to suffer circumstances of it. While God forgives our sins, he also provides the grace to continue to live life in spite of the painful consequences that may manifest. God’s grace empowers us to walk through, not around the circumstance.
Recently, I met this young precious and successful family whose baby boy developed a special need. It was life-threatening and altered their everyday existence. The grace of God was at work in this beautiful family. Although unbelievably painful, they are able to live one day at a time. More like one hour at a time as the boy’s Mother put it. I agreed with her and if you’re like me in any way, God’s grace gets us through each day leaving a favorable impression as to who He is. While God resists pride, His grace flows unrestrained where there is humility. I like to describe true humility through my dependence on Jesus for everything I need in life. A great place to start our day is knowing we are totally dependent on Him.
Be encouraged knowing God is Sovereign and grace is available.

The Riot

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Chapter 10 pages 167-173

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

That night still remains vivid in my mind. It wasn’t a single act or some radical moment that stands out, but that I was in the middle of one of the worst prison riots in the United States and walked through it untouched. While so many thoughts ran through my head the moment it when it all begun, the explosion of violence and mayhem erupted, the one thing that anchored me was my relationship with Christ. He didn’t exactly tell me what to do when I prayed, “O LORD Help Us and Protect Us and Others in Danger,” I just knew instinctively I was to walk in love. Walk in Love even in the midst of a prison riot where twenty staff-members were cuffed, blindfolded and taken hostage, over a hundred people seriously injured and millions of dollars in damage due to set fires that burned for days.

That may not be everyone’s first thought but because of the Word of God inside me, I had this deep conviction that Love would best direct my decisions. God’s never failed before, ever! Today as I go through difficult events of seasons, I am quick to recall past victories. While we may have to walk through mayhem we can be confident that God is Faithful and Love never Fails. I hope you’ll memorize this verse so when troubles come it will remind you what to do.

God’s Will

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Chapter 9 pages 163-164

John 5:19,30; John 6:38; Luke 1:37

The other day I ordered Internet service which was new to me. Spectrum sent me a modem, a router, a bunch of wires, numerous AC adapters and a couple instruction pamphlets. Simply opening the box made me sweat. I stepped back, took a breath and began with the Instructions. Before I knew it, I had successfully connected the entire system. I did so by following the Instructions. Thank you Spectrum for picture illustrations. In my book Unshackled, I wrote about two State Senators who wanted to discuss possible answers to Prison Overcrowding in the late 1980’s. Their immediate response was to build more prisons and over the next few years, they built many.

While confinement is a temporary answer for the violent and dangerous, it’s never changed a soul. It wasn’t the answer to solve overcrowding. The Bible states that the heart of man is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” If more prisons aren’t the ANSWER what is? The Bible has NEVER failed a life lived by its Instructions. A man who submits to God’s Word cannot fail in life. The Bible has produced more fruitful men and women than all other sources combined. Jesus made the Father’s instructions the priority for His life. John 5:19,30 & 6:38. He was consumed with doing the Father’s will. Because He did so, He now reigns LORD and KING of ALL. With so many good options available, ONLY ONE can promise no failures, that’s God’s Word. Luke 1:37 To ensure our lives have a divine purpose and work by design, we must follow the Instructions. The Word of God promises us the ability to know the will of God. Have a great week and share this with others who might be encouraged.

God’s Perfect Timing

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Chapter 9 pages 160-163

Galatians 4:4

The past few weeks have been the most heart-breaking and yet the most fruitful moments since my release from a Life Sentence in April 2012. My beautiful sister Mary Teresa recently passed away from cancer two days after arriving in Pennsylvania for a week-long speaking schedule. My sister had responded in a text to my itinerary the week before arriving, “Wow, you are a busy guy for sure.” Looking back over the trip I am reminded of a few things. First, God’s timing is absolutely perfect. Being IN God’s will, also means you’re IN line with His divine schedule. So the verse is true, “ALL things are working together for the good,..” Romans 8:28 While Mary and I had breakfast plans for Monday, God had a better plan for her. To be made whole in the presence of her Lord and Savior is truly better. With my family devastated and lonely from her absence, God’s Amazing Grace flowed just like Elvis’ rendition which Mary requested to be played at her memorial. Secondly, in the pain of her absence, God’s plan was accomplished, with very unique moments to remember as family gathered in support. While I couldn’t be physically present at Jillian and Eric’s planned wedding on Saturday, my friend Bill Nast officiated the wedding on location at Grace and Glory Outreach. He and Karen were able to FaceTime me at the hospital during the ceremony, where at the end I pronounce Jillian and Eric, “Husband and Wife!” With her photography artistry, Jordyn @jordynraephotography was able to capture that moment while they held onto the iPhone. Thank you so much for everyone’s prayers and words of comfort over the past few weeks, I know the presence of God was near. Thank you to everyone who supported and continues to be there for the family. Joe, Mark, and Stephanie have the most unique and amazing friends I’ve ever met. While nothing can replace my Mary’s presence as a Mother and Wife of 35 years, the memories we have of her 55 years on earth will live forever in our minds.

God is LOVE!

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Chapter 8 pages 150-151

Luke 6:27-28 & Romans 14:17

There’s not a single event, nor will there ever be that God will not use to further His Kingdom, once it passes through the Sovereign hands of Jesus. In my book Unshackled, From Ruin to Redemption, I write about an experience that enslaved me for years.

The ability to overcome came when the Holy Spirit reminded me of God’s Word to treat those who hurt us differently so the character of our heavenly Father can be revealed in His sons and daughters. Bless them! Love them! Do something good for them! Pray for them! Not exactly my first thought but it is God’s. Because God is Love, He treats us this way. He knows love never fails. Are there areas of pain, shame, and guilt lingering in your life? I encourage you to place them all before Jesus today. He has never failed and His love ensures He won’t.

Here’s a short prayer to get started:

Lord Jesus, because you died and rose again for me I can trust you with ________________ please help me overcome my past and walk into my new future which is your Kingdom, that is your righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

A New Creation

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Chapter 8 pages 149-150

2 Corinthians 5:17

Some years ago, as I read over a favorite scripture in the Bible – one I memorized, quoted and studied out.

The Holy Spirit said, “You don’t believe it.”

I began this exchange: “Yes I do.”

His response, “No you don’t.”

And of course I’d say, “Yes I do!”

That’s when He said “Go look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re Awesome!”

Immediately I thought that’s dead. Not happening. That’s dumb. But reluctantly I did or at least tried to. With my first attempt in the mirror “You’re Awesome”, I thought, what a liar. I couldn’t look at myself, say it and believe it. Not at first, but eventually, I did. And today I still do so as I brush my teeth or shave. If the LORD was frustrated with anything, which we know He’s not, it might be that we don’t believe what He says about Us in the Word.

Are you Born Again? Then check out what the Bible says about Us:

We are a NEW creation. 2 Cor. 5:17

We are the righteousness of God in Christ. 2 Cor 5:21

We are holy. Heb. 10:10

We are Sons and Daughters. 2 Cor. 6:18

We have been redeemed. Gal. 3:13

We have a new identity. Eph. 1:5

We have a new nature.1 Peter 2:9

So in 2 Cor. 5:17 the word “NEW” describing our identity is Kainos (Kahee-nos’) and in Greek, it means: New, fresh in regard to form or quality, rather than new in reference to time which is conveyed by neos. I am so appreciative today for the time I spent incarcerated that afforded me the opportunity to know God through His Word. Whatever is going on in life, don’t let anything squeeze out His Word which has eternal value. Please share it with friends and encourage them too.

Designed to Influence

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Chapter 8 pages 139-149

Colossians 3:17

Occasionally, I find myself flooded with thoughts of the numerous people who have influenced my life over the years. From Larry Titus, to Warner, and even Clyde. Each has played a significant roll in my spiritual growth.

In my book Unshackled: From Ruin To Redemption, I share about my first month as a Christian. Wow! I’m STILL in AWE of how great JESUS is, how HE transforms live yielded to Him. By permitting the Word of God to change my character, I remain fruitful today. And so can you, by truly placing your trust in Jesus.

Over the next few month, I have the privilege of doing some incredible things which I would value your prayers and support. I’m officiating a marriage, sharing my testimony at numerous churches and prison facilities. I was also invited to talk with a group of Real Estate Agents and the ECPAAA (Euless Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association). Never in a million years would I have ever imaged doing what I’m doing today. I was recently invited to speak at my old High School in October. Talk about going full circle!!! Feeling thrilled is truly an understatement.

I speak MEGA blessing over your life today as you allow Christ to take control of your life. You won’t regret it and trust me you be amazed at your journey. Please share this with friends and encourage as many as possible.

Commitment

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Chapter 7 pages 121-135

Romans 10:9-10

The morning I received Christ as Savior in the Chapel at SCI-Camp Hill, something tangible occurred within me. Something changed my life. I was a different person after that prayer.

In Unshackled, From Ruin to Redemption, I share a dozen pages about making a commitment to live for Jesus Christ. Here are a few tangible to count on after receiving Christ as Savior:
1) You desire to read the Bible.
2) You want to Pray.
3) You fellowship with others who know the Savior.
4) You desire to share your personal experience with others so they too can know the Savior.

Would you ask the Holy Spirit for divine appointments and opportunities to encourage others this week towards a relationship with Christ? We are still their best testimony to know this awesome Savior.

Determination is Essential

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Chapter 6 pages 117-118

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 & Philippians 4:13

As a teen without transportation, I learned how to hitch-hike rides. I would often visit a girlfriend who lived twenty miles away. I was successful half the time recalling the frigid winter nights along the narrows, and the long, dark, winding roads I walked and jogged, especially around Lake Winola. I was motivated by love and determined to get there – no matter what it took. Ten years into my incarceration I became a follower of Christ. Motivated by His love I was determined to live for Him. I knew Jesus died for me, so I would live for Him.

 

Some of the ways I did this were:

I was determined to read my Bible and Pray.

I was determined to walk in fellowship with other believers.

I was determined to run to the cross with every failure and not live in guilt.

I was determined to lift my voice, softly and other time loudly, to worship in spite of my circumstances.

I was determined to tell others what Jesus had done for me.

I was determined to disciple other men.

I was determined to listen to the Holy Spirit whose ministry is to lead and guide us.

 

I hope they encourage you as you determine to serve Jesus where you’re at. Have a great week and share this with anyone you desire. If you wish to purchase a copy of Unshackled, you can go to my website www.genemcguire.org or at Amazon.com

Making a Difference

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Chapter 6 pages 110-117

Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:23; John 3:3

Could one person make a difference in our society? With total confidence, I say, “YES!” When God started humanity He created Adam. When He re-started humanity, He chose Noah. When God started the nations, He chose elderly Abram. When redeeming mankind from the work of the devil, He sent the God-man, Jesus Christ. Jesus brought the nature and power of heaven to earth and gave it to us and has been transforming lives ever since.

In chapter six of my book Unshackled, Joyce, a medical secretary at the prison in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, encouraged me towards a relationship with the Savior. She influenced my life towards eternity. Jesus Christ transformed my life and throughout the years of my incarceration, many others have been influenced by His love. The Apostle Paul lays out this beautiful plan to know God’s will for our lives. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through the Word of God. Transformation (metamorphosis) has to do with a process that literally changes our nature from the inside out, thus the meaning You must be Born Again. So relax and allow the power of God’s Word to work.

The Word of God changes our nature and through this metamorphosis process, and we can know His will. The Word will teach you His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 Join me in spite of this busy week, spending time reading our Bibles. I’m totally confident that you will discover not only His will but, you will influence those around you to do likewise. If you want to purchase a copy of Unshackled you can from Amazon.com or from www.genemcguire.org