God a God of Second Chances


More than 450 people in Oklahoma get a second chance—sooner than expected.  On Monday, November 4, 2019, the Oklahoma governor signed over 450 commutations for inmates making it the largest single-day commutation in U.S. history, according to CBS News.

These returning citizens get a second chance to be with their families and become productive citizens in society. That’s our prayer for them.

At Fortress of Hope Ministries, we minister hope to families whose lives have been devastated by loves ones being sentenced to prison. Regardless of how the inmate ended up in prison, whether it was wrong choices on their behalf or a wrongful conviction, we believe God forgives the humble and restores lives.

In my upcoming book, Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven, I encourage the readers that if they have an incarcerated loved one and they have exhausted all their appeals in the earthly judicial system, to continue to appeal to the highest court of all. Why?

Because the Lord directs those who are in leadership over our nations. Proverbs 21:1 says, The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. It doesn’t matter whether the king is a Christian or not. When the Lord allowed the Israelites to be taken into captivity because they refused to repent and turn to Him, they were captured under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Lord gave them a seventy-year sentence. When the time was served, the Lord directed the new reigning Babylonian King Cyrus to release the Hebrew people.

The U.S. elections are held every two to four years. This is an opportunity to place new leaders into office. For those who are eligible to vote, go vote for those who are favorable to prison reform and new laws that help protect the rights of prisoners and their families.

As I visit with families of prisoners and former offenders, other than the hardened and unrepentant, I find there are three basic categories of prison situations: those who were rightfully convicted and sentenced justly, but truly repentant, those who were wrongfully convicted, and those who were rightfully convicted but received an unfair sentence.

Let’s look at Joe. Joe Narvais received two life-without-parole sentences. While in prison, Joe asked Jesus to be his Advocate and to represent him in the courtroom of heaven. After turning from his wicked ways to follow Christ, Joe, like the persistent widow before the unrighteous judge in Luke 18, continued to make his appeals to heaven. Joe wrote, “Thirteen years and eight months after I went to prison, I was paroled. But I had been free in my heart for years. I have been out now for over eleven years.”

Joe wrote, “You have to live a life of no compromise, totally sold out and surrendered to God. God gave us His very best in His Son Jesus. We need to give Jesus our very best. Our very best is a surrendered life with no compromise. You know what is right and wrong. Just do it.”

After humbling ourselves, seeking the Lord, and surrendering our bad lifestyle choices to follow the ways of the Lord, He will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land, which is God’s promise of restoration.

We encourage families of prisoners to never, ever give up hope. And this commutation by the Oklahoma governor is a prime example of why they should keep lifting up their petitions into the courtroom of heaven.

It is my prayer that these over 450 inmates and their families in Oklahoma take this gift from God through the governor, and surrender their lives to the Lord, follow His ways, and live a life of no compromise for a much better future for themselves, their families, and our society.

God is a God of second chances!


Portions of the above post are taken from:

Plead Your Case in the Courtroom of Heaven

With the slam of the gavel, the hopes and dreams for your future shatter. With a judgment rendered, you or a loved one now serve time in prison. Will another court hear your pleas?

In despair over her son’s future, Shonda Whitworth petitioned the Lord on his behalf and searched the Scriptures. Finding how the Lord redeems the worst offenders, she learned how to appeal to the heavenly court and receive hope from God for her son’s future.

In Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven, Shonda shares how she went from deferred hope to a hope-filled life. This book will help you:

  • Identify biblical heroes who were lawbreakers
  • Understand the prosecutor’s strategy
  • Make effective appeals on behalf of yourself and your loved ones

Hope will be restored as you confidently plead your case to the courtroom of heaven!

About the author:

Shonda Whitworth writes, teaches, and speaks at conferences and retreats to share the hope of healing and restoration we have in Jesus. After her son landed in state prison, she realized the hardships families of prisoners encounter. She and her husband, Eldon, founded Fortress of Hope Ministries, a nonprofit organization that offers hope to families affected by incarceration. Shonda transparently shares her testimony of living with a son in prison at ShondaWhitworth.com and FortressofHopeMinistries.com.

Click here to preorder your copy today.

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