Hello Saints! Blessings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.” Psalm 96:11-13, KJV. Can you picture the trees rejoicing before their Creator? Something about that thought has to make your heart leap with joy. Our God is so powerful, that in His Presence, the trees will not be able to stand still!
Easter weekend dad, Patty and I, along with 5 volunteers, were at the Blackford County Jail all day Saturday and again on Sunday morning. It was a great way to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. The jail only had 84 male inmates and 7 women. On Saturday morning 20 men came to our service, while Patty and 2 female volunteers went to the women’s cellblock to minister to them. Then Saturday afternoon, 51 men came and when dad gave the altar call just about the whole room stood up! Hallelujah Jesus! His Word never returns void! On Sunday morning we gave the men certificates for completing our seminar. As they are called forward, we give them the opportunity to say a few words. One of the men said that the previous night, him and two other men were still up at 2 am talking about the Lord and praying together. Long after we’ve gone home, God never stops working. Whenever you speak a word to someone or spend a few minutes sharing with them, do you ever think about it afterward and wonder if you did or said the right thing and wish you’d of said more? Fret no longer my friend. We can trust in a loving God, whose heart for them is much more than we can imagine. Do we honestly think He can’t take our bumbling words and work them for His Glory? He is the God of the impossible. He’s the Creator who made penguins eyelids to have a clear lens come down over them so they can swim underwater with their eyes open. (Are you wondering how penguins fit into this story? J) He thinks of things we’d never think of. He knows and cares about the details.
I have a habit of always asking God to move. Then when He nudges me to do something I spend 20 minutes questioning Him about it, sometimes until the opportunity has completely passed and then I spend the next few days regretting it. Towards the end of our Sunday service, our music man, Gene Fugate, was finishing out with a few songs and I felt like I should ask the guys to come forward for individual prayer. My first thought was, “They’re not going to come forward.” “They already responded yesterday to the altar call.” “No one wants to look weak in front of their friends.” But the clock was ticking…. its nerve wracking when you know you’re about to miss it! So before my veins started bulging from my racing heart, I got up between a verse and the chorus and asked if anyone wanted individual prayer, knowing they wouldn’t respond but having to release myself of this burden so I wouldn’t carry it home with me (yes, my motive was selfish, but that’s how God knows He can use me, I’m all about self preservation.) Before the words were all the way out my mouth, they were getting out of their chairs and coming forward! It’s amazing how much God can do when we let Him. All of us had at least 3-4 men lined up in front of us, and as we’d finish, a few more came up. The last man I prayed with said he is facing 160 years for murder, but all he wanted was that from this point forward God will use him. What a blessing it is to be a servant in the Kingdom of God.
So that was our victory weekend. Then you come home and real life sets in. Yesterday I sat with a neighbor for awhile who’s son died from an overdose this week. While with him, another friend texted me and asked if she could talk to me. I went to her after leaving my neighbor. She told me 2 of her friends have overdosed in the past week. While with her, my phone was ringing from a number I didn’t recognize so I waited until I left to listen to the message. It was a woman crying so hard I had to replay it to catch the words. She’s the mother of a woman who’s been recovering from drugs and unfortunately this woman and her 15-year-old son were both arrested yesterday. The woman on the phone had gotten my number from her daughter and only knew that I’m a Christian and they needed someone to pray for them. Meanwhile another call was coming in. It was a woman close to 60 who recently has gotten a new drug case and her brother, who is a little older than her, is facing 30 years to life. She said their grandfather used to practice black magic and there has been a curse on their family. Her and her five brothers and sisters have all been in prison and on drugs their whole lives. Her own five children have also all been to prison and on drugs their whole lives, and now her grandchildren are selling and using drugs. Before we could finish our conversation, my neighbor had just gotten more news about the death of his son and was at my door needing to talk, it was a little after 9 pm at that point. He finally went home after 10 and my head was reeling from all the emotion, tragedy and heartbreak in these families.
And then I remembered, the burden is not mine. He uses us to listen and to pray for those who need a physical presence in front of them for comfort, but He is the burden bearer. There isn’t a single thing I can do for any of these people but He can change everything for them. So I rejoiced in His strength, His compassion, His mercy, His loving embrace, knowing He would of never brought them to me, if it wasn’t His desire to make Himself known to them. Now I can trust Him to finish what He started. “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion, in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me, He shall set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:4-5 “Blessed be the Lord because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him and I am greatly helped, therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will praise Him.” Psalm 28:6-7 No matter what the situations around us look like, they are not greater than our Creator. He has an answer. We can entrust it to Him. One would think that if penguins are going to jump in the water all willy-nilly, they should expect to get water in their eyes, but God was looking out for them way in advance because their comfort matters to Him. So does ours. He doesn’t want you carrying burdens that are way too big for your shoulders. Release it into His hands and rest in His peace.
Be blessed in the Name of our Lord and Savior.
Your sister in Jesus, Pam (feel free to send any prayer requests or call me 260-445-5617)
May 1st, 8th, 22nd, 29th; Allen County Jail
May 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th; Chain of Lakes prison ministry at Stillwater Camp
May 6th; Faith Based Mentoring, Stillwater Camp
May 19th; Dayton Ohio Women’s Prison
May 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th; Outside meal for homeless
May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th; Outside church service Friemann Square Park, homeless ministry
May 7th, 21st, 28th; Evening service Allen County Work Release Center
May 23rd; Training at Luther Luckett Correctional, Lagrange, KY