Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017

May the Message Spread

“Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.”  2 Thess. 3:1

This prayer began ten years ago as a group of us embarked on a mission into women’s correctional facilities in the United States.  I have kept numbers from the trips, the correspondence lessons, the baptisms, and Christmas morning cell to cell visits.  As is often the case with the Lord, we have found ourselves in situations that made no natural sense, yet believed strongly that the Lord wanted us there.  As a result, we have sat with one woman and been in front of hundreds.  Each life is precious, valuable, and important to God.

I can testify that in the ten year span of time the message of the Lord has spread rapidly.  We pray it has been handled in a way that brings the message and its ultimate author – the Holy Spirit – honor.  Doors to have opened to us in places we would have never foreseen.  We do know that this year we have seen more people reached with the word of God that the sum of our previous years’ work.  It is in a word, miraculous.

Behind the data and statistics are human lives.  As the Lord’s message continues to spread rapidly, it reaches out as the living and active word of God to touch lives.  Once a life has been touched, transformation of that life can begin.  As a life is transformed, a family can be affected and reconnected. 

The scattered seed of the Lord has produced a bountiful harvest.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October 29, 2017

The End of a Matter

 “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”  Eccl. 7:8

She had served twenty years in prison.  Next week she would be going home.  As we sat together and she reflected on her incarceration, many memories good and bad were shared.  She had entered the correctional system young and angry and rebellious.  She had been put in solitary several times early on in her sentence.  She refused to let anyone get the better of her. 

Over time things began to change.  She began to change.  She started attending the church service, because a couple of her friends went.  She had no interest at all in God until one day she heard this verse in a power-packed sermon that God used to reach her.  The end is better than the beginning…patience is better than pride.  That message was her personal invitation to accept Christ and she did. 

Over the remainder of her sentence, things were not perfect and she had ups and downs.  Yet she noticed how differently she could handle the highs and lows of prison life.  The attitude at the beginning had changed and now her attitude, a week away from being released, was one of quietness and trust.  She had learned to humble herself at the hand of God.  She had received His forgiveness and so had forgiven herself.  So in prison she was set free.  She had learned patience over those twenty years – patience with the system, with family, with everything.  She had learned to sit in God’s waiting room known as prison and focus on the end of the matter, which was more important and far better than the beginning.  She would walk out a free woman with new opportunities in her life.  She had been free inside prison for years, now she would be free outside the prison walls.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 28, 2017

The Law was our Tutor

“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.  Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”  Gal. 3:23-25

Here is another way to consider the purpose of the law.  The law is for lawbreakers.  If a person commits a crime, she breaks the law and there is a consequence for breaking that law.  It serves as a way to guard, or protect people – many times by pointing out a crime that leads to conviction and sentencing.  We tend to think only about the laws that we might be subject to break. 

The reality of Scripture is that we all have broken the law; we all were convicted and sentenced to death.  We all were trying to have our execution stayed at the last minute.  Miraculously, it happened – in the person of Jesus Christ, who took every law we broke (every sin) upon Himself!  When we accept Him and give our lives over to Him, we are set free from the law of sin and death.  We will need to remember though, that such liberty is not cause for us to continue in sin.  As soon as we do, the law re-appears and we are once again convicted – this time by the Holy Spirit and not a court of law.

Friday, October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017

Be Holy

“And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”  Lev. 20:26

In the quiet stillness

He whispers, He whispers,

“Walk in my fullness,

Walk in my truth, For I say,”

Holy is My name

Holy is My land

Holy is My claim

Holy is My plan.

Come to Me

Worship Me

Walk with Me

Work with Me

Rest in Me

Honor Me

Talk to Me

Speak of Me

For I say,

Holy is My name

Holy is My land

Holy is My claim

Holy is My plan.

Truly I am God

Truly I am King

Truly I do reign

Truly I will bring

Everlasting life.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017

Found in the Desert Land

“In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste.  He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye.’  Dt. 32:10

I had been driving for hours.  The GPS had me traveling the route right through the Mojave Desert in California on a weekday and there were not many other cars around.  Certainly there were not many places to stop.  The trip had already taken me on the route from the southern part of the state out to Las Vegas and now I was headed back, eventually arriving in San Diego.  Most of the driving was through the desert.

God found Israel in the desert, quite literally.  The people on the move were in a barren and howling waste.  They had escaped from Egypt only to enter the wilderness and wander around for way too long.  It became easy for Israel to focus on the desert, much like it was easy for me to focus on the desert as I was driving.  (And I was not driving a car, not walking!)  There wasn’t much life around them and I noted that on my drive.

In the desert God shielded Israel and cared for His people.  This verse tells us God guarded them as the apple of His eye.  As I prayed for the Lord’s protection for me and the vehicle, I too was being shielded, guarded and cared for. 

I reached my destination – yes, out even further into the barren wasteland where a correctional facility had been built.  No need for fences here, I thought.  Where would people escape to?  Yet the place was fenced all around.  Inside I met with about a hundred or so women, sitting in their own desert land, their own barrenness and brokenness.  The desert shifted from literal and physical to emotional and spiritual.  God met us there.  He shielded the women, caring for each one lovingly and gently.  Their tears didn’t push Him away, it drew Him closer.  The Lord guarded them, not as offenders, but as the apple of His eye.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October 25, 2017

Out of Egypt

“And so it was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.”  Mt. 2:15

Jesus fulfilled what was prophesied in Hosea 11:1 – “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My Son.”  We know that Israel was brought out of Egypt as part of the great Exodus.  Egypt symbolized slavery, bondage, and a place of darkness.  The prophet Hosea brings the word of the Lord that describes Israel as a person.  All of these passages point us to Jesus.  Jesus was called out of Egypt after his family went there in hiding.  We see that Jesus is Israel’s ultimate representative – He is the child, He is loved by His Father, and He was called out of Egypt to go to Israel.

I see it on their faces in the prisons, the jails, and the detention centers.  I detect it in the waiting rooms as families sit for hours, waiting for their loved one to be released.  I see it in the long lines on the weekend visitation days.  I often see the signs of being in Egypt.  Just these past two weeks I have been reading about it and hearing about it on the national news – events unfolding that sound like the earmarks of Egypt.  There are people in bondage, enslaved to many things, including sin.  Those sitting in darkness, the Bible states.  There are people sitting in darkness.

I believe Jesus did fulfill this prophecy and that He was and is Israel’s representative.  I believe He is my representative as well.  He represented me by being called out of Egypt.  If I identify myself with Jesus, then I identify with my own calling out of Egypt.  Because of the work The King, My King, did on the cross, I am called out of darkness, slavery, sin.  I am called to light, peace, freedom, and hope. 

For all who call Jesus Lord and Savior, it remains a great prophetic word.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October 24, 2017

Appointed From Eternity

“The Lord brought me forth as the first of His works, before His deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning of the world.”  Pvb. 8:22-23

Wisdom is personified in chapter 8 of Proverbs and we read of her in this passage.  Wisdom was the first of God’s works, created before His other works of art.  Wisdom was appointed from eternity.  She was, and remains, the way to a character-filled, wholly satisfying life, on a deep level.

If wisdom is like a tree, then it has many branches.  Among them are:











Pvbs. 3:19 states the Lord founded the earth by wisdom and that He established the heavens by understanding.  Friend, creation was not a random or haphazard event.  It was thought out, intentional, brilliantly designed and intended for our benefit.  Let us seek wisdom and get understanding, so that we may lead our lives according to the way God intended for us.