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Posts Tagged ‘Imprisoned’

A few months ago, I joined a jail ministry team.  I really didn’t know for sure what to expect.  I guess I’ve always thought you would go in and try to convince a group of guys to believe or accept something they had no interest in. 

It has really been quite the opposite.  For the most part, the guys that come on Tuesday nights realize God has put them there to get their attention.  With few acceptions, they all believe, but realize their believing has not been sufficient enough to change the way they live. 

God knows how to get our attention doesn’t He.  Just this last Tuesday night, I told them that I may not have bottomed out in a way that landed me in jail, but I bottomed out in  my Christianity and He stopped me to get my attention.  Not to punish me, but because He had something good for me that He wanted me to find. 

I tell them that I am not a preacher, which I guess I really don’t have to mention.  (Some things go without saying)  We talk.  I tell them what has changed my life and the part writing has played in it.  Occasionally I leave a story or a poem with them. 

We have some good discussions.  They are honest and real.  A few weeks ago, one guy, who had a good way with words, expressed both belief and unbelief.  He believed but he was hesitant to just jump on the wagon.  Like all of us, he wanted it to be real.

Last week he came up to me afterwards and said he had written a couple of poems and wanted to know if I would read them and let him know what I thought.  I have decided to post one here today. 

 

My Cage

 
My addiction is a cage;
it wants my life.
It’s filled with confusion,
pain, guilt and strife.

It’s cold and it’s lonely,
regret my only friend.
Is this a life’s sentence?
When exactly will it end?

I weep for my family.
On this journey I’m lost.
I long for freedom;
can you tell me the cost?

I search for answers;
they must be the key.
My will is my bond;
my faith sets me free.

Yet I remain a prisoner
and console myself each night.
I’m still locked in this cage
but at least now it’s filled with light.

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By a couple different means I have become a little more acquainted lately with the homeless and imprisoned; the homeless through a book I read, Same Kind of Different as Me; the imprisoned through a book they read – mine. As a result of being a little more acquainted, I have also become a little more mindful and have the following thoughts in relation to them.

We all have an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy us. The process of that destruction begins with the regular chipping away at our worth; accompanied by his convincing arguments that we are a disappointment to family, friends and God. Once he gets that firmly established in our minds, he then persuades us to believe, since we have disappointed God, that it is He who wants to destroy us. Throw in enough major setbacks in life and some simply can’t overcome them. Instead, they are overcome by them.

Two end-of-the-line destinations that people can find themselves in are homeless or prison. It is the final nail that our enemy would use to finish us off, trying to convince us that God has finally got us where He wants us; to pay for the disappointment we have been.

His lies never end. The truth is found in John 10:10; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. God has never wanted to destroy. Matthew 9:36 says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless”. I have no doubt in my mind that he looks on many who are homeless and many who are in prison as some who have been harassed and destroyed by the ‘thief’. I have no doubt in my mind that God wants to restore what has been destroyed.

A person in that situation can, on their own, take a proper stand and look to God for his or her help. They can seek Him by reading His word (the Bible) and from it find the truth of how He sees them. With that truth they can take a stand against the lies that have been used to get them to where they are. A person can do that and some have.

But they can also be helped to see it by those of us who have fought through the lies. Those of us who have not been overcome can help by coming along side those who have. As I said in another piece of writing, we can ‘stop to help even the odds’.

By the time a person finds themselves in either of these situations, it is like being in a hole. Shovel by shovel they are buried until the enemy has them right where he wants them. Surely Jesus must have had something like this in mind when He said, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest”.

I write this partly to challenge myself. I write it partly to challenge others. There is a field that is before us. But I will add this with the chance that this might actually reach someone who is at their end. If you can identify with being harassed and destroyed, I promise you that it is not God. As much as your enemy has destroyed, God is able and longing to restore. As much as you may feel nearly buried, if you will bury yourself in the Bible with God, He will bring new life into you. Hopefully someone will come along to help you in that effort.

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