Tag Archives: Trust

When I was in prison, you visited Me.

prison guard with keys outside dark prison cell

Hi, This is Tex.  My calling is discipleship: knowing, being, making and teaching others to make disciples for Jesus.  A big part of being a disciple is in being involved with “extra-church” activities, where you develop relationships with people who are NOT your garden variety church-goers.  Prison ministry is one of those activities.  I’ve been involved in prison ministry for about 16 years now, and the Holy Spirit moves in prisons in a way He hardly ever moves in traditional church.  Below is a letter from Jim, a brother of mine in the Jubilee Prison Ministry.  This story is about a prison ministry weekend that happened a few weeks ago near Houston.

I have been serving in prison on Jubilee or Kairos weekends for 17 years.  Many of you have supported my efforts over the years  (thank you!) and have often asked me what happens on these weekends.  So I thought you might enjoy the following story – I’m a CFO, cynic and pessimist but this story is miraculous (or very close to it).

I was the leader of Jubilee #1 at the Scott unit in Angleton 3 weeks ago.  One of my jobs was to assign the 25 or so talks to our volunteers.  Most of the Scott #1 volunteers were new, so I didn’t know them – so had little insight to help assign the right talk to the “right” person.  So I asked God to somehow intervene as I made “random” talk assignments.  I assigned the “Forgiving Others” talk to Joseph, one of 3 volunteers who came from San Antonio to serve.  Joseph is a relatively new Christian, and is also an ex offender, so when he heard about Jubilee he believed God had called him  and agreed to participate.  Our weekend started early Friday morning.  Joseph’s talk occurred Saturday afternoon.  Here is a summary of his talk:

“My little brother was murdered on April 1st.   I was very close to him, and was unbelievably upset, angry and full of hatred at the man who killed him.  I started planning my revenge – when, where and how I was going to kill the man who murdered my little brother.   But then I agreed to serve on this Jubilee weekend.  Continue reading

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PRAYING FOR TOMMY.123115

Older man expressing pain or depression, verticalJames 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

I knew Tommy since I was a little kid.  We went to the same church together.  His daddy and my uncle were both deacons there.  He was five years older than me, so we weren’t close, but I knew that he was a ‘famous’ football player.  He played quarterback for our high school, and a time or two they went to the State Championship.  Later, my cousin Danny, Tommy and I sorta ‘grew up together’ in the oil business for the last 30 years or so.  We’ve had lots of ups and downs.  Tommy and his high school sweetheart Tanya were married for maybe 30 years and then got a divorce.  They had two kids.  Tommy had spells of drinking and running with some pretty fast folks.

But we were friends to the end.  Early last year he started having headaches and was diagnosed with a tumor in his sinuses which turned out to be inoperable.  It pressed on his optic nerve and he became blind.  He took a lot of treatments, and while they may have helped some, he wasn’t getting any better.  I went to visit him in November, the week before Thanksgiving.  We’re both old, but he didn’t look good.  His one eye was swollen shut and the other was staring.  He was sitting in a chair with a blanket over his lap.  We talked a some about old times, football and the weather.

I’d brought along my friend Loyde, and when we got ready to go, I said, “Tommy, before we go, we’d like to pray for you.”  He said he needed all the help he could get. So we knelt beside his chair, put our hands on him and prayed.  I prayed for him to be healed.  I prayed that the God Who raises people from the dead would raise Tommy up too.  Tommy prayed that God would give him courage.  At the end Loyde quoted James 5:14-15 and said, “We’re elders and we’d like to anoint you with oil and pray so that you too can be healed like this verse says.”  Tommy said, ‘Yes.’

About two weeks later Tommy died.  I don’t know why God didn’t heal him and raise Him up like new, as if from the dead.  I guess some might say that what we did was dumb, knowing that Tommy was terminal; but I’m sure that we did what God wanted us to do; and I’m just as sure that God’s will was done by us all trusting God to take care of Tommy.

 

FROM WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN.101915

Beautiful female ballet dancer on a grey background. Ballerina is wearing an orange tutu, pink stockings and pointe shoes.In Luke 12:48, Jesus said to his disciples, “ . . . From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

I’ve told all my kids this verse.  I’ve explained to them that God has given them a brain and other gifts and talents and He expects them to use those gifts to help themselves and to help others.  He didn’t give them special gifts and talents so they could waste them on just themselves, or ignore those gifts and not use them for the glory of God and for the good of people.  He wants them, and all of us, to recognize the talents and gifts we have and use them to their full advantage.

This principle applies to our spiritual lives as well as to our natural lives.  ‘Course we all know that Jesus was talking about spiritual things when He told his parable about the Master and the servant.   He says, “Who then does the Master trust?”  He trusts the one who He finds doing his job, being obedient to do what God has told him to do, what He has prepared him to do, with his God-given talents and resources, not wasting his time and his talents.  I just love the concept that God trusts us, just like we’re supposed to trust Him.  We’re pleasing to God when we do His will by being obedient to work WITH God to accomplish His purposes on this earth.  How’s that for a high calling?!  He says, “Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when he comes.”

Best I can tell obedience is one of the highest virtues in a servant of Jesus Christ.  This is one of those duties we should fulfill, not grudgingly, but with all our hearts and all our souls and all our strength and all our minds.  Just like the way we’re supposed to love and trust God, with all our hearts .  .  .

 

 

 

THE GOD PRINCIPLE.060415

Boy celebrating mother's day. little child lad giving flowers yellow tulips to his mom mother studio shot on blue

In Psalm 18:25-27, David says, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.  For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks.”  In Matthew 5:3-12, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed (happy) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the meek (the humble) for they shall inherit the earth.” Continue reading

THE UNDERLYING TRUTH.053115

change your life phrase handwritten on school blackboard

My friend Red Smith, serving a 25 year sentence, sent me a letter one day, and it began with this line, “I thank God every day that he delivered me from myself.”  That’s all I remember, but it’s enough. That leads me down several paths, but the one for today is what is really going on in God’s plan to deliver us from ourselves and all the other evil that is lurking out there.

The truth is this: that God sent his Son to save us: and the way He chose to save us is by changing us from the inside out.  He saves by delivering us from the evil that is in our heart.  The war between the flesh and the Spirit, between Satan and God, between God’s will and my will, is one that is going on in my heart.  When God sends His Spirit to move in our lives, He doesn’t change our circumstances to affect our world, He changes our hearts so we see things differently.  When we are changed inside, that changes what happens to us on the outside.  Oh, God uses all kinds of things in the world to get my our attention, but his main purpose is to have us surrender our hearts to Him so that we can begin to see His eternal design for our lives.  A good example is the Prodigal Son, it says, “When he came to himself, he said, ‘I will return to my father.’ ”  It was because his heart was changed.change the world phrase handwritten on blackboard with heart symbol instead of O

 

WALKING IN GOD’S GRACE.050715

[The following are excerpts from a Kairos talk called “Walking in God’s Grace”.]                  Religious Words on Grunge BackgroundI wish I could tell you that living the Christian life, after you really commit to God, is going to be easy, that you’re going to feel God’s presence every day, more and more; that you’re going to be obedient, that you’re not going to do anything stupid, that you’re going to trust God all the time, that you’re going to love everybody and they’re going to love you; that there’s going to be a steady shining light in your life all the time and no more darkness.  Sorry, it’s just not going to be all sweetness and light, because we’re all still a bunch of sinners.

Let’s say that because of this Kairos weekend, everybody here has made a commitment to Jesus.  We’ve had good food and good fellowship; we’ve felt God’s unconditional love through the brothers, both those from inside and those from outside the prison; and we’re excited about the prospect of going back out in the world to share Jesus with other people out there in the dark.  How are we going to do that?  We can’t.  Why can’t we?  We’re heard the message; we’ve accepted it; we’ve made a commitment to Jesus; and He’s definitely made a commitment to us (to each one of us).  So what is holding us back? Continue reading

Seek God With All Your Heart. 040815

MeditationDeuteronomy 4:29-31:  If [even after worshipping idols] you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you .  .  . when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.

What does it mean, ‘With All Your Heart”?  Yes, I know, it means that you’re really serious; that you really want to have a relationship with God; that you want the benefits of having a close relationship with Him, because what you’ve been doing definitely isn’t working.

Sounds like, from the next sentence, that if you’re tired of going on without God, and you’ve done a whole lot of really stupid stuff, (like worshipping something besides God), and all these [bad] things come upon you .  .  . when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice.  .  .  God won’t forsake you or destroy you or forget the covenant He made with your fathers, because He is a merciful God. Continue reading