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How God impacted Jim Wahlberg, the brother of actors Jim and Donnie Wahlberg


Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Concord, Massachusetts, where Jim Wahlberg encountered God.
Credit: Nick Allen/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 4.0

While Mark Wahlberg and his brother Donnie gained fame during the mid-80s as part of the popular boy band, New Kids on the Block, their brother Jim was going down a different road, Caleb Woods writes in his article for CBN.

Having grown up in poverty, Jim began to steal when his family moved into a middle-class neighborhood, and he realized how poor they actually were.

The first time police arrested Jim, he was only 10 years old and as he moved into his teen years, drugs, alcohol, and crime followed. At the age of 17, Jim was arrested for armed robbery and spent the next five years in jail.

After his release, he began binging on alcohol and drugs and then remembered waking up in a jail cell, covered in blood, and after breaking into the home of a police officer.

He was charged with home invasion, which can potentially come with a life sentence. But after the officer of the home Jim broke into pleaded for leniency, the court sentenced Jim to six to nine years.

During his stint at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Concord, Jim played the good guy, hoping it reduced his prison time.

“It was part of that hustle. Just trying to create the illusion that I was getting better in prison,” said Wahlberg. “And always thinking when I get out, I’ll use again.”

But something happened that would change everything and eventually his direction in life.

The Catholic Chaplin, who had been unsuccessfully trying to talk Jim into attending chapel, asked if he would come to a particular service because Mother Theresa was speaking.

Though he had no idea who she was, Jim attended the service on June 4, 1988.

Mother Theresa told the inmates:

You’re more than the crimes that you’ve committed to be here. You’re more than your prison ID number. You are a child of God.

Her message was so impactful, that during the service Jim asked God to help him become the person that God wanted him to be, and at that moment he felt the presence of God.

He began studying the Bible, and the resulting transformation resulted in him being released after only three years.

Jim left prison a different man. He married and become the executive director of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation for Inner-city Kids. Though his life had been transformed, he began drifting away from the presence of God, he experienced while in prison.

After his 12-year-old daughter said, ‘Daddy, I want you to be happy. I want you to know Jesus,'” and at the urging of his family, Jim attended a Christian man’s retreat that re-ignited his faith.

It is a powerful testimony of God can change us.

Unfortunately, many of us underestimate the power of our testimony, because the Bible actually refers to it as a spiritual weapon.

In Revelation 12:11, we are told that the end-times believers overcame Satan using three things:

  1. The Blood of the Lamb,
  2. The word of their testimony, and
  3. The fact that they did not fear death.

Their testimony was actually one of their weapons. But the Greek word, nikaō, translated as ‘overcame,’ means much more than that.

It can be translated to “conquer, overcome, vanquish, subdue.” 

Thayer’s Greek Dictionary writes that the word means “to carry off the victory, come off victorious.”

It is more than overcoming, it means you are victorious. You have subdued your enemy. Satan is defeated by your testimony. It’s much more powerful than we realize.

READ: While Mark and Donnie Wahlberg Were Soaring to Stardom, Their Brother Was Off to Jail – That’s Where He Met Jesus

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