Joseph Herrin (03-14-2016)
"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.'"
I was able to get caught up on my prison correspondence this past week, and to get another week’s worth of newsletters printed. It gives me joy to consider the reaction of these men in prison when they have newsletter, or a packet filled with writings, slid under their door. It means a great deal to them to receive spiritual material to feed their mind and spirit.
Following are some additional correspondences which I had with men in prison this week. I am going to begin by sharing a follow-up letter to Kenneth, the man whom I corresponded with in the previous post titled Every Sentence Is A Story.
I read again the letter you sent and I was impressed by your sincere desire to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and to be prepared as a spiritual leader of men. I do understand what you have stated about most Bible study courses available to men in prison being fairly shallow. I have discerned this myself which is why I have put together the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters. They contain some very deep and challenging teachings which, if a man embraces and walks in them, will lead to much spiritual growth.
In your letter you asked if I would consider being a mentor to you. I believe the Father would have me to answer affirmatively. Though it will be a considerable responsibility, I sense that the time and effort spent focused on you will not be wasted. Consequently, I am going to give some thought to putting you on an accelerated pace of instruction. I will also be sending you additional materials which are not contained in the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters.
One thing I was impressed with in your letter was your commitment to not carry a weapon, but to place your trust in God the Father to protect you and guide you to where you need to be. I very much commend you for the faith and spiritual understanding you are exhibiting by this attitude. I am including three writings in this packet which focus on the subject of Christians and self-defense. Although you have already come to a determination to not look to weapons for your deliverance, I believe it will be well for you to have this commitment reinforced through the instruction set forth in the writings I am sending. They are as follows:
Gun Ownership and the Mind of Christ
Waco, Texas and the Weapons of Our Warfare
The Great Gun Grab
One thing I want to challenge you to do is to test every teaching and writing I send to you against the Spirit and the Word. These are the two witnesses given to every believer to lead us to truth and to enable us to identify and avoid error. As I have frequently shared with others on my website, truth does not mind being scrutinized. It is error that is offended when challenged. To test every teaching is a skill you need to develop, and doing so with my writings will be very good practice for you.
You may ask, “How should I test the writings?” First, you should recognize the role the Holy Spirit plays in leading us to truth.
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth...”
I John 2:27
And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
The anointing is the Spirit of Christ which dwells in the believer. The Spirit of God has been given to us to make known to us the thoughts of God. The Spirit is able to inform us when we are encountering error. We need to listen to that still, small voice of the Spirit when we sense something is wrong, and inquire further.
I Corinthians 2:11-16
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Many Christians have been taught to believe that the primary means through which Yahweh speaks to men today is through the Bible. Although I would never want to diminish the tremendous importance of the Bible, it is error to suggest that it is the most important means through which Yahweh speaks to His people. The most important means is through the Holy Spirit which He has sent to indwell mankind. It is the Spirit which gives us understanding and insight as we study the Scriptures, enabling us to perceive great depths of revelation and knowledge which are contained therein. Apart from the Holy Spirit, the Bible is a dead letter whose wisdom and mysteries remain sealed up.
Consequently, I encourage you to make it a practice of praying before you enter into any new study or reading of someone’s teaching material. Invite God to reveal to you both truth and error as you read; truth and error in your own mind from teachings you have already received, and truth and error in the teaching you are studying. I have found that Yahweh is very willing to answer such a petition, and it demonstrates to Him that we do not consider ourselves adequate apart from Him to know right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error. James wrote “you have not because you ask not,” so make it a practice of asking God to lead you in the way of truth and to disclose to you errors in other’s teachings.
Secondly, make it a practice of having your Bible open and check every use of Scripture cited in a teaching. One thing you will want to check is whether a Scripture has been wrested out of its proper context to bring forth some understanding or application God has not intended. This occurs all too often among Christians today. By reading the context of a Scripture cited, you will also find that you will be frequently given additional insights which are not included in the writing you are studying. The Holy Spirit will quicken some passage to bring forth greater understanding. It is important that you test teachings diligently, even when they come from someone whom you deem to be a trusted teacher of the truth. All men are prone to error, and it is your responsibility to not be caught up in error by perpetuating the false understandings of others.
Related to the first point I mentioned to you, it is vital that you understand and acknowledge that you are inadequate in yourself to arrive at the knowledge of the truth. This is a failing, especially of highly intelligent and educated men. They deem themselves to be adequate to recognize truth and identify error. They believe that in studying the Bible they can uncover its secrets through the mere exercise of their intellect and rational abilities. God’s word teaches that pride comes before destruction and God resists the proud. Therefore, those who approach the study of the Scriptures with a spirit of pride, deeming themselves to be qualified to wrest truth and deep understanding from its pages, will find that they are not helped by the Spirit of Christ. It is the humble who cry out to God to teach them and give them understanding who are given access to the mysteries of God.
Since you are in the Tier II program, I am assuming that you are quite limited in the number of books you can have in your possession. When you are able I would suggest that you acquire some Bible study resource tools to aid you in your studies. One book I have found very helpful is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Note that there are various versions of this book which are linked to the particular English translation of the Bible that you use primarily for your study. There is a Strong’s Concordance available for readers of the KJV Bible, as well as the NKJV, NIV, and NAS Bibles. There may be more as well. Personally, I would recommend the New King James or New American Standard Bibles for your primary study. These are more accurate word for word translations than many of the “functionally equivalent” translations which are similar to paraphrases.
For your own personal studies I would also recommend Nave’s Topical Bible which will be valuable when you want to do a study on a specific subject. This book pulls together links to various Bible passages based on topic.
Also, the Englishman’s Concordance and the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge make excellent study tools. I would also recommend a good Bible dictionary, such as Smith’s Bible Dictionary. Again, I don’t know how many books you are permitted, but these resources would form the core of an excellent reference library for anyone who is desirous of doing studies of the Scriptures on their own. If you need assistance acquiring any of these resources, let me know and I will do what I can. You may be able to work around a book limit by acquiring a study Bible that has some of these resources included with it. I can send you some suggestions, if you like.
I am going to send you Yahweh’s Book, a book I wrote which explains the history of the Bible, differences in translations, and the usefulness of various Bible study resources. I think this will give you a good understanding of this subject, and would be a good place to start.
I encourage you to keep paper and pencil handy when you study the material I send you. Write down questions as they arise that you might search them out further and share them with me should anything not be adequately explained in the text. Also write down any comments, objections, or additional insights that come to mind as you study.
I look forward to this opportunity to assist you in gaining a good grounding in spiritual truth.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Note: Some individuals have contacted me to offer to send me books to share with men in prison. The various state and federal prisons have regulations which must be adhered to regarding what type of material can be sent to men in prison, and how it can be sent. For example, the Georgia Department of Corrections only allows men to receive paperback books, and they must be sent directly from a book seller. There are only two approved book sellers on their. These are Books A Million and Barnes and Noble. This requirement is in place to help prevent contraband from being hidden in books.
Kenneth is in the Tier II program, which is also referred to as “lock down,” or “segregation.” When men are in this part of the prison they have even greater restrictions on what they can possess. They are normally allowed only one book, and this is a Bible or the religious book of another faith.
Mr. Joseph Herrin,
Greetings and blessings from our God and Father and Lord Jesus Christ. My name is Michael and I am a current recipient of the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters. I do not wish to take up much of your time. I would only like to thank you for the time you have invested in, and devoted to, preparing, typing, and delivering these newsletters to the many who request them. I pray that each individual realizes not only the importance of these newsletters, but as well as the value of the message contained within, for it gives light and life.
I am all aware of the many evils surrounding me, and in the world today. I see the works of Satan each waking moment. However, I didn’t realize just how polluted the world is, or how blind I have been until I began receiving and reading these newsletters (I have been incarcerated for a number of years). The wealth of information and relevant facts were staggering, to say the least. I am not going to elucidate in detail these things, because I believe we both stand together in our knowledge of such evils and pollution. Nevertheless, I will venture to say that there are perilous, frightening times on the horizon, such as we have never seen or experienced. Add to that, there will be myriads of individuals consumed by the wrath of God as a result of their worldly and fleshly pursuits. It will happen with such swiftness, there will not be time enough to think or act. This will only be the beginning.
I have acquired much from these newsletters and have heightened my sense of perception and knowledge, both mentally and spiritually. These newsletters have been beneficial in tremendous ways. Inexplicable ways. For that, I am thankful. Sincerely thankful.
I will end my letter, but my prayers are with you. May God continue to bless you and your mission. Thanks for sharing everything and for taking the time to read my letter. Christ be with you.
A Grateful Listener,
Dear Joseph Herrin,
I pray this letter finds you well and joyful in the Spirit. I wanted to write to express my thanks for your labors concerning the kingdom of God and His anointed Christ.
I’ve just completed the book “Foundations” to my delight. It was a timely read that addressed lingering questions and confusing doctrine in Christendom. I am thankful that the Spirit of God quickened you to write the book, which in my opinion, has been the best I’ve read, and I’ve read them all.
The church that I am in fellowship with has long taught of Christ being the Father’s first creation. Although I’ve studied using concordances and what not, it never dawned on me to look up “only begotten.” This gives definitive evidence of Christ’s beginning and harmonizes easily with the entire counsel of Scripture.
In prison, many have been taught according to the doctrines of men. I was included in that group. But now, I’ve learned to study the Scripture and allow it to interpret itself - The Law, Prophets, and Apostles. You have been instrumental in helping me, and I encourage others to write to you and begin reading the “Parables.” Weekly, I am better equipped to navigate the many attacks on the most holy faith.
I look forward to the day I can meet you, shake your hand, and thank you personally.
May the God of our Lord Yahshua be with you always.
Thank you for writing. I was blessed to receive your letter. There is very little that is more satisfying to a teacher or writer than to find someone who is enthusiastic and appreciative of what they are writing. It is encouraging to me to read letters such as the one you wrote where you shared how the explanations set forth in the book Foundations helped clarify thoughts in your own mind. I am also delighted to hear that you are one who studies the Scripture, rather than simply receiving what men are teaching. One thing that I have often shared with people is that truth does not mind being questioned. It is error that is offended when men challenge it. I would that everyone who reads my writings, as well as other Christian writings, would do so with their Bible open, checking every Scripture to make sure that nothing has been falsely wrested out of the context of the writing.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
P.S. I am including in this packet a few writings that I have posted to my blog site which are not found in the newsletters.
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063