Judge Troy L. Nunley said, “You can’t use your background and economic situation as an excuse. Rather, you should use it as a motivation to do more and to want more.” Who is Judge Nunley? According to Hudson Sangree, a Sacramento Bee Staff Writer, the judge graduated from a prestigious law school, had a successful career as a prosecutor, and was appointed to the Sacramento Superior Court bench at age 38. He was one of four children raised by a single, teenage mother who grew up in San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point projects surrounded by crime and poverty. The judge says his background gives him a different perspective on the offenders in his courtroom, those now facing the consequences of bad choices. The judge credits his mother’s unrelenting influence to steering him and his siblings, all of whom overcame dire childhood circumstances, away from trouble and toward success.
Nunley said that while growing up he saw a friend die in a drive-by shooting, and a cousin convicted in a gang killing. Friends became drug dealers. People from the neighborhood were stabbed and sexually assaulted. Neighbors landed in jail or juvenile hall. He and his siblings attended Catholic schools, played sports, pursued higher education, and now work in law, business, health care, and religion. Judge Nunley is the youngest sibling. His sister earned her engineering and business degrees from Stanford University and is an executive with IBM. A middle brother is a nurse. Another is a minister.
The reason for the family success, says the judge, is their mother’s belief that education was the path out of poverty. “Her mantra was, education is the black man’s way out of the ghetto,” said Nunley’s sister, Francine Anthony. Their mother, Gennie Nunley-Thompson, grew up in rural Louisiana and Hunter’s Point and had four children by the age of 20. She said she set high expectations for herself and her children and looked beyond their immediate circumstances to a better world. And she made her children believers by the example she set. While caring for them she finished high school, held down two full-time jobs as a telephone operator and group-home counselor, and went to college. She earned her bachelor’s degree, completed a master’s thesis and became a senior award-winning probation officer in San Francisco. “I might be here for the rest of my life, but the projects are no place for you,” Nunley-Thompson told her children. “Every generation has to be better than the previous generation.”
Judge Nunley’s mother insisted her children work hard, do well in school, and stay out of trouble. He said at Hunter’s Point he saw a “corner mentality” of people hanging out and not being able to see anything better. “That corner became their whole world,” he said. “Crime and violence only broke the monotony. You have to get beyond that corner mentality. Don’t become a victim.” For more about Joy, you can visit us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com. Everyone is welcome. Nobody is perfect. Anything is possible.
United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley
Erik Weihenmayer is blind from a degenerative eye disease, yet on May 25, 2001 he scaled the peak of deadly Mt. Everest. Erik’s success on this treacherous ascent came because he listened well. He cued in on the little bell tied to the back of the climber in front of him so he would know what direction to go. He listened to the voice of teammates who would shout back to him, “Death fall two feet to your right!” so he would know what direction not to go. He listened to the sound of his pick jabbing the ice, so he would know whether the ice was safe to cross.
Question: are you facing a perilous climb in life? Make sure you keep your attention on the voice of the Lord. Take your cues from the Holy Spirit and from His Holy Word to avoid the death drops that are up ahead. In walking with Jesus, what you hear is what you will finally get. You can count on Him to guide you safely over the path of life. When you are with a person a lot, his voice becomes very familiar. And that’s the way it is with Jesus Christ. He said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
By spending quality time with the Lord we undoubtedly know His voice. H. V. Morton tells of a scene that he saw in a cave near Bethlehem. Two shepherds had sheltered their flocks in the cave during the night. How were the flocks sorted out the next morning? One of the shepherds stood some distance away and gave his peculiar call which only his sheep knew and soon his whole flock had run to him. They knew his voice. The sheep would have responded to no one else. The voice of their shepherd was assuring.
An 18th century traveler actually tells how Palestinian sheep can be made to dance, fast or slow, to the peculiar whistle or the unique tune on the flute of their own shepherd. And in the same way, we have to listen intently to the Great Shepherd’s voice if we care about where we are headed. He sees and knows what we do not see and know. He cares that we reach our destination and He does everything He can to get us to the top.
Erik climbed Mt. Everest because he listened very closely to his leader. He depended upon his leader’s eyes and ears to get him there. We are surrounded with many confusing voices and sounds today, but we must learn how to pick out the voice of our master while tuning out the others. Christ cares about our safety and success more than anyone. We are always on His mind. But the key question is: is He always on our mind?
I’m sure that Erik had his mind on his leader all the way to the top of the mountain; because, he was depending on him. Even after David became king over Israel, he depended on God to lead him. His signature Psalm tells it all: “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” He cued in on the Lord. For more info visit us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Some baleen whales are up to 100 feet long and 40 feet around weighing in at 300,000 pounds. A Mediterranean fish was recently caught and exhibited in Beirut which had a head that weighed 6 tons. A man standing on the lower jaw could not reach the upper jaw, the opening being about 8 feet across. The April 4, 1896 Literary Digest gave a story of a Mediterranean whale that demolished the harpoon boat. Two men were lost. One was found alive in the whale’s belly a day and a half after it was killed. James Bartley lived with no after effects except his skin was tanned by the gastric juices. A pure fish was caught off the Florida coast that weighed 30,000 pounds. It was 45 feet long and 8 feet thick. It had a 1500 pound fish in its stomach besides a large octopus. A man could easily stand up in its stomach. It could have swallowed 10 men. (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible; Matthew 13:41; note S)
Jesus confirmed the story of Jonah and the whale then said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 13:40). It happened just as He said for a sign to the world that God has power over life and death. So, if you are a child of God there is nothing to worry about. The God of promise will keep and hold you up.
Knowing that Jonah was kept alive in the belly of a whale at the bottom of the sea is confirmation that God can do anything and that He will rescue you. Of course you have to understand that Jonah repented and went on to do God’s will. There are many people who, like Jonah, get into trouble because they disobey God. But when they repent they are elevated to do God’s will. Yes, God can turn death into life simply by calling upon Him. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
The story is told of an atheist who died after willing his farm to the devil. This gave the court cause for some head scratching, but after several months of deliberation it handed down the following decision: “It is decided that the best way to carry out the wish of the deceased is to allow the farm to grow weeds, the soil to erode, and the house and barn to rot. In our opinion, the best way to leave something to the devil is to do nothing.” Therein is a truth.
Few people would will their possessions to the devil, but many will disobey God and postpone the great decisions of life which gives everything over to him. Wasted years amount to having no accomplishments. Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons of school is the challenge to meet a goal within a deadline. We may forget history and science but hopefully we will remember how to make those deadlines work for us throughout life. For without a goal or a vision or a purpose we lack determination. So, look up, be determined, for good things will come to you.
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.