Hallelujah! The tomb is empty! If He is isn’t in there, then we have no business being in there either! John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” Well, we know where He isn’t!!! I have to confess, my mind gets so overwhelmed with the sin in the world, with the blatant disrespect of God and disregard of His Word, that often my thoughts are simply, “Come Lord Jesus and get us out of here!” If we look only at the darkness, it seems like this world has already become our tomb. While praying one morning this week I realized that all the evil over the past few thousand years, hasn’t erased the wonder of a waterfall, the breathtaking view of the mountains, the beauty of the landscape when you’re taking a country drive, the splendor of the sunrise and sunset, nothing has wiped out His majesty. “Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?” Isaiah 43:13 Evil has not triumphed. Nothing can stop the flow of water throughout the earth, except God. Nothing can stop the sun from rising and setting except our Father. And what happens every morning? – His mercies are new! (Shame on you if you didn’t know that J) Come out of the tomb! Shed that cloak of darkness, it’s not yours. Don’t bear the burdens that aren’t yours to carry. Release them to the One who said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
We are free to enjoy being in this world! He put so much here to delight us. We can be in it but not of it, and there is joy in that. We don’t have to feel guilty about being happy even when the ones we love are going through heavy trials. We can trust Him with their lives and with their outcomes.
I don’t say this lightly because mom and I have been closely involved with a single mom and her infant son, (they even spent a few nights sleeping in moms living room) and despite all our efforts she still keeps turning to alcohol and putting her son and herself in dangerous situations. A few days ago I kept breaking down in tears over the situation and during one of those moments mom started praying out loud and committing the whole thing to God and even though nothing physically changed, something happened in the spiritual because the burden is no longer mine. It was never supposed to be mine. We can be supportive without being overwhelmed. We can be free to enjoy today even when others choose not to. We can walk in the Light that dispels the darkness, so that when we’re around someone who’s in darkness, their darkness becomes a shadow behind them as our Light pushes it back. Their darkness does not diminish our Light. Because Who is the Light? John 8:12, “Then Jesus spoke to them saying, “I am the light of the world.” Can anything blot out Who He is? I think not! So this morning when I prayed, I began thanking God for every good thing that He’s put on the earth for us to enjoy and embrace, and my heart feels 100 pounds lighter! He is risen and if we’re to be where He is, then so are we!
The weekend with the women at the Blackford County Jail couldn’t have started out any more chaotic than it did. It was to be our first time ever having the women in the gym for an entire 2-day seminar. So the first evening we arrive, in comes a group of 4 men, Christians, who are there to finish their 3-day event with the men, in the gym. Their last day, our first day, and somehow the 2 events got overlapped and overbooked. We knew that no way, no how was the staff going to let both the men and the women in the gym. Since 3 of the 4 gentlemen looked to be over 60, and there were 7 of us women, it was obvious we could take ‘em. One of them was in his 50’s and quite vocal, I knew he might leave us a little bruised and battered but I was willing to tackle him for the glory of the kingdom! It turned out to be an awesome opportunity to be humble in the midst of adversity. Trying to be as polite as possible I told the ring leader that if they did not allow us to have service with the women we’d gladly join their service and serve the men the snacks and drinks we’d brought for the women. His response to me was, “And what are you going to do, sing Kumbaya?!” I replied softly with, “No,
but I have written a rap song.” He retorted that he was there that night to preach against rock music. I told him then apparently I had come on the right night. As sweet as this might look in black and white, he did not appreciate my sense of humor. If you’re ever in this type of situation, remind yourself, it does not matter if things go according to your agenda. It only matters that the name of the Father is glorified. During one of his rants, I kindly tried to inform this gentleman that he might have some anger management issues, to which he refused to acknowledge me and continued his rant.J
It ended up that their group was sent into the gym with the men, and we were sent to the women’s block. The Lord had the sweetest time of ministry planned for us with those women. Out of the 14 women who were in the block, only 2 stayed in their cell and didn’t want to participate. We sang, talked in small groups, shared testimonies, and prayed. Many tears were shed. It was simply beautiful. The atmosphere in that bleak, concrete environment was fragrant with the love of the Lord.
The next morning we were in the gym and I believe all the women but 1 came to the service. Had we not have been in their block the evening before and had that personal time of ministry with them getting comfortable with us, I doubt if we’d of had so many. The Lord is personal. He wants to reach those who would hold back. One woman was also brought from an isolation cell and allowed to attend. (People can be put in an isolation cell for disciplinary reasons, mental health issues, or physical issues where they need special attention and need to be watched closely.) We had a morning service and an afternoon service with them on Saturday. At the end of the day when the altar call was given all the women came up for either first time dedication or rededication. We formed a big circle, holding hands, and praying together. We ended with a time of shouting our love to the Lord and twirling each other around in circles, it was a celebration! The joy of the Lord fell on us. We had given them all pink leather Bibles with a cross imprinted in the front cover and silver edged pages. They loved them. A woman in her 30’s, said no one had ever given her a Bible in her entire life. Many of them asked us to fill out the front page with their name and ours. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. I can’t give enough glory and praise to Him for how He orchestrated the whole event. He is incredible.
I’m writing this on the 28th of March. Tomorrow and Saturday we will be back at that same jail doing services in the gym with the men. My option was to get this done either before or after, and to finish this on Sunday, but my heart has chosen to honor the Lord’s day and finish this before. It’s amazing how much we struggle with His command to rest. The following weekend we will be at Westville men’s prison. So be looking forward to next month’s newsletter to hear about our awesome Savior and His continuing faithfulness! There’s no better job in the whole world than serving Him.
Thank you once again for your faithful support. When dad passed, there was a time of unsettledness for me. I was so uncertain about how to continue without him. But as the donations kept coming, it was obvious that we needed to keep going. My confusion was in thinking it was dad’s ministry. The whole time it belonged to God.
Be blessed in the Name of our glorious Savior, Jesus!