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Just a Closer Walk

Just a Closer Walk

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Just a Closer Walk

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Nov 15, 2013


In Just a Closer Walk, author Jerry Marshall, a Christian Correctional Officer, offers a unique perspective on his work experience and personal life. As God challenged him, he in turn wrote devotionals to encourage himself and others to experience a closer walk with Christ. We all experience loneliness, depression, anger, fear, or helplessness at some point in our lives. Through short, personal stories, Marshall tells us about how he dealt with these issues and shows how we can also overcome them to have a victorious life in Christ.

Marshall takes examples from the Word of God and from his experiences and applies them to the problems each of us face on a daily basis. He has encountered the pains and trials of those behind prison walls, a wide range of people with many issues and difficulties, and explains how Christs love brought healing power into the prisons darkness.

Just a Closer Walk, seeks to offer comfort to the hurting and encourages them to trust in God. He challenges those who feel they are settling for stale bread when they can experience the Bread of Life. Marshall speaks from his heart about Gods love, righteousness, and desire to draw His children into a closer walk with Him.

Nov 15, 2013

Sobre el autor

Following his service in the US Air Force, Jerry Marshall attended Multnomah School of the Bible, where he majored in Bible and Journalism, with the idea of doing what he enjoyed most, writing about the Lord. He worked at San Quentin Prison for two years and then at the Oregon State Penitentiary for thirty years. His experiences and interactions with inmates there provided much of his devotional material.

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Just a Closer Walk - Jerry Marshall

Copyright © 2013 Jerry Marshall.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Abbott Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

Abbott Press

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403


Phone: 1-866-697-5310

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4582-1225-2 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4582-1226-9 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013918572

Abbott Press rev. date: 11/04/2013


God’s Cure for Immor-ality

The Joy of the Lord

Hunger and Thirst

In our Grief

Sailing Away

God’s Comfort

Our Hope

Our Example


Judging by Appearance

Like a Salesman

Our Name

Deciding to obey God

A Job well done

Loving in Truth

Holidays in Prison

Loving the Unlovely

Our Daily Bread

A Taste of Heaven

When a Plan Comes Together

Standing Firm

Handling God’s Truth

Sacred Circumstances

Our Motives in Prayer

The Artist

Visiting Prisoners

Removing the Plank

Filled With Compassion

Our Compassionate Savior

Prison Epistles

Fullness of Joy

God’s Timing

The Decisions We Make

Pride or Contentment


God Moments

Keeping what we’ve attained

Trivial Matters

I Have My Rights!

No Fear in Love

Sowing and Reaping

Tower Meditations

We can Know

Sound Doctrine

Second Chances

Who does God love more?


All things are Possible

What We Think

God’s Work


Chose to serve the Lord

Checking In with God

Surrendering our Rights

Holy Passion

Our Desperation

Our Compass

Never Lost

The Power of Praise

Being Still

It’s not about You

No Worries

Peace During Change

Waiting on God—How

Waiting on God—Why

An Eye for an Eye?

Tough Love

God’s Love Letter

The Power of Forgiveness

Knees Like a Camel

Christ in you

It’s all about Attitude

God’s Children


The scriptural meditations in this book reflect the experience of a committed follower of Christ with men inside a maximum prison. His devotions express the joy of God’s forgiving and unconditional love. But a deeper meaning comes from the realization that they reflect the heart of the author, a veteran security officer who, over time, learned to love prison inmates like Jesus loved lepers.

While this book conveys Christian theology, its greater value is how it shows Christianity in practice, the Good Samaritan in uniform.

For many inmates, prison life is a profound hopelessness bound by loneliness and fear. Darkness prevails, light is rare, so when something with the power to change lives grows within the prison walls it is cause for celebration and thanksgiving. Such is this book of devotionals, a ray of light that brings joy to a joyless life and hope to a hopeless future.

May this collection of thoughts and ideas find its way to the shelf of every prison chapel library and be the beacon of love and hope its author intended.

Rev. Dr. Tim Cayton

Administrator of Religious Services (ret)

Oregon Department of Corrections

Just a Closer Walk

Encouraging words from within.

These devotionals were written by a Christian Correctional Officer with thirty years’ experience working behind prison walls. He writes of work experiences and his personal life, and will encourage you to have a closer walk with Christ with all of its mountains and valleys.

Loneliness, depression, anger, fear and helplessness are all too familiar to inmates… but also common feelings for anyone trapped in a helpless situation. This writer brings out many of these issues, and offers hope, joy and how to have victory over our daily struggles. The writer enjoys taking examples from God’s Word and applying them to the troubles of this world.

In reading this book you will learn something of the trials of those behind walls. The writer addresses many of these issues and brings Christ’s love and healing power into that darkness, the issues that are much the same as those outside the walls.

The author speaks from his heart to the hearts of his readers about God’s love, His forgiveness and His desire to lead His children into a life pleasing to Him.

Just a Closer Walk will give you a glimpse behind steel gates, but as you read you will begin to see that the pains and ordeals inside are strikingly similar to the pain and darkness you see every day at your work, your home and your life.


I’m glad you paused to read this page because I wanted to tell you about my deep appreciation for several people whose help was invaluable in writing this book.

This book would never have become a reality without the prayers and support of my wife, Peggy. She suggested I write a book, and has spent many hours patiently listening to and encouraging me.

At one point when I needed someone with solid biblical understanding to edit for accuracy, and my friend Rod Rosencranz graciously stepped in to help with that. His side notes were more encouraging than he knows.

Also guiding and encouraging me was my friend Bill Spivey, who helped keep me on track and show where God has led over the past few years.

Chaplain Tim Cayton has been an encouragement. We met at my work post, where I told him of my writings. He encouraged me to continue the book, and volunteered to write a Preface. He has shown me a bigger picture of what God can do when we serve and obey Him.

There are countless inmates I have spoken to over the years about the things of God. We have worshipped, encouraged, motivated and exhorted one another. I did not use names, but there may be individuals who will read these devotionals and recognize an exchange as theirs.

Mostly I’d like to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father, The God of all comfort… without Whom these devotionals would be meaningless. Ultimately they are all about Him, His grace, mercy and peace.

God’s Cure for Immor-ality

Key verse: I Corinthians 15:53-54            Bible passage: 2 Timothy 1:6-10

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory."

The cross changed history, and more importantly, it has changed lives. Only in Jesus Christ is there a remedy for sin; He alone can take the immoral and make them immortal. He alone can clothe us with immortality. Isn’t it interesting how one figure, a t, can change the eternal destiny of so many?

The Israelites travelled three days in the wilderness, and became very thirsty God promised them water, but the water He provided was bitter (Exodus 15:22). Like their water, our sins are bitter to God and He can’t accept them. In order for our sins to be dealt with, or making us acceptable, there must be a remedy. God provided a piece of wood, a branch, as a remedy to make the Israelite’s water sweet. In the same way, He provided a branch for us, Jesus, Whose blood was shed on the cross to make our sins acceptable to God.

Praise God that we have such a blessed redeemer, Who looked down through the ages and dropped clues through the prophets of this wonderful salvation plan.

The Joy of the Lord

Key verse: Nehemiah 8:10         Bible passage: Isaiah 35:1-4

". . . . Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

There are times when God’s Word touches our heart so deeply all we can do is weep. Israel had been without the law for many long years, and when Ezra brought out the Law and began to read, the people wept with grief. They felt the hand of God heavy upon them, and

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