TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
A letter from Death Row By: Joseph M. Montes, III
I am writing you today because I believe others need to hear what I have learned about "trials and tribulations." That while in them, we can rejoice and find strength in Our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ. I am merely a young man of 26, but I hope my age won't take away, from you, receiving what I have to say about you being able to stand firm during trials. All my life I have sought to help others. ..it's my nature...and I pray I can help you right now.
My words come from my heart and by the Holy Spirit. First of all, I wouldn't have made it without Our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ. He has held me in his arms throughout all of my crisis, in life. He has given me many gifts; my beautiful mother who is always there for me, and He has given me a gift of love. To even love those that put me here, who accused me wrongfully and called me an evil monster. But those who said this received only love back from me. "Never pay back evil with evil, but only with love." (Romans 12:17-21) Love no matter what people do or say to you. We as Christians face many trials in life. All that I've been through, in here, and out in the world, would have mentally and emotionally destroyed most people. But thank God I was taught well by Jesus, and my mom, to love everybody. Remember this, the sufferings we face in life will only tear us apart if we let it. God tells us that suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces hope, and hope never fails. (Romans 5:3-6)
I am on death row. The trials in my life have hit me like a terrible storm. My enemy Satan tries to destroy me everyday. "He prowls like a lion, trying to devour the family of Christ. (1 Peter 5:8) But, we are children of God....survivors. Do not expect to kill us easy, while Our Lord lives in us. We must stand firm and face our trials, as those who trust God. Pain is never without purpose. God allows us to go through certain storms to test and prove our faith, to show us his grace and mercy during those trials. God also knows when to bring us out of our troubles. When we have had enough, God will step in for us. He provides for us a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Satan will try to keep us from growing, but Jesus is our problem solver. Satan knows we cannot succeed without a Successor. Satan, also knows, there is always a sinner running toward his Savior, a sick person running toward healing....and a problem running toward a solution.. that solution is Jesus. Run toward Jesus, when times are rough.
I have two beautiful children, a son, and a daughter, who I miss terribly every single day of my life. The State of California has robbed me of my life, and family, but still I seek and trust in Our Lord God. He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world trying to destroy me. (I John 4:4) I have faith that Our Lord will release me from this death sentence, for God loves me, and His truth will set me free. (John 8:32) Jesus promised us, if we believe in Him, and are sincere in our relationship with Him, then whatever we ask in His Name, we shall receive. (John 14:12-14)
My first trial was to lose my family, but with the help of my wife, and others, I found Jesus. Not long after receiving Jesus, I was baptized in the visiting area at San Quentin Death Row. I thought nothing could go wrong after receiving Jesus, but the Word of God tells us that as we draw closer to God, Satan attempts to destroy us. "The world will hate you because of me." (John 15:18-27) And for me, my troubles began right away. My beloved wife, of five years, suddenly left my side. It was like losing half of my soul, and for a few days I thought it would destroy me. "Though I stumble, I will not fall, for Our Lord upholds me with his hands." (Psalms 34:24). Too many people are destroyed by divorce. They will take revenge through the courts and even use violence, sometimes. The covenant we make before God, when we marry, should be honored, and loved, but the very problem has put a dent in most family lives. Even the divorce of my parents ruined me, in many ways, as a child. Still, when my wife left me, I didn't pay her back with evil, and this being, even though she and her new boyfriend are both Christians, who know God's word on the subject. (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:1-12; I Corinthians 7:1) I found it in my heart to forgive, and love them.
To be hurt by family members of Christ hurts very much. My flesh wanted to take revenge, but the Holy Spirit, within me, did the very opposite. God does any avenging which needs to be done, not us. Let us all practice the greatest gift that He has given to us.. love. For love binds all things together. (Colossi ans 3:12-17)
I may be on death row, and my life ruined by human error, but I will not allow Jesus sacrifice, for me, to be wasted. I know Jesus will never leave nor forsake me. All that I have faced in life has only made me a stronger Christian today. Stand firm says the Lord Our God. He who doesn't fall asleep but stands firm in life will be taken up with Jesus in his glory. (Matthew 241-51) Even now, Our God has blessed us with so much. I am blessed with a strong mother, and the help of many friends. Many more blessings come our way when we are right with God. We will receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit and blessings from God Almighty.
So learn from Our Lord and Savior, and each other. Never pay back evil with evil, but with forgiveness and love. Forgive, as the Lord forgave you. For his burden is light, and his yoke is easy. Find rest for your souls, in his love. (Matthew 11:28-30)
We are many faces not just a number in the system. Faces with voices that need to be heard. Voices crying for justice and freedom. I am that voice who is in danger of being murdered. Take time to listen to our voices who cry out loud, and not rely on human judgment alone. Suffering for doing good, read 1 Peter 3:8-22. "Who is going to harm you for doing right?" Even if I should suffer for what is right, I will be blessed. It is better if it is God's will to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. "For Christ died for our sins; by which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison." (1 Peter 3:22)
I love you all, in the name of Jesus Christ, and for the help I receive from my mom, brothers and sisters, in Christ.
Please feel free to write me, if you have any questions.
With love, a child of God, Joey Montes, III
Please write to:
Joseph M. Montes, III
P.O. Box K-45001 NS-15-N
San Quentin, CA 94974
The CCADP offers free webpages to over 500 Death Row Prisoners
Contact us for more information.
"The Eyes Of The World Are Watching Now"