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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

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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I was not naïve enough to think that my first book, would sell millions but I have to at least admit that I had hoped it would. Realistically I felt it would more than likely end up as gifts to family and friends. Actually, after giving a copy to family and some of our closest friends, a few other copies were actually sold. My mom of course bought the most to give as gifts. My brothers and their wives bought a few for the same reason.

It wasn’t long though before I changed my thoughts about selling and promoting my book. I for sure did not want to promote it and I much preferred to give the rest of them away. I had the feeling that of the few that were out there, that if God wanted to use them, He could promote them. I was good with putting into His hands.

In case you’re wondering if this is going to end up a success story of big sales, I’ll let you know now it doesn’t. But what has taken place has been plenty to be thankful for.

As I said, my sister in law bought a few copies. She gave one to each of her Bible study group. Little did I know they would end up using it as a study guide. There was at least one pretty cool story that came out of the study. It was enough for me to say ‘thank You Lord’.

One of the ladies in the study had a jail ministry. She took my book into a women’s prison in Alabama. There was another cool story that came from that and another opportunity for me to say, ‘thank You Lord’.

My mom gave a copy to her, still living, uncle in Texas. He sent it to his nephew (my mom’s cousin). He and his wife are in prison in Texas. They gave it to another who was in with them. All have corresponded with my mom. All have been opportunities to say, ‘thank You Lord’.

The Lord knows who needs it. He knew who needed it when I was writing it. And He knows how to get it to them. He knows much better than I. Resting in that fact I can say, ‘thank You Lord’.

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A Writer Must Write

For Christmas, I received a decorative box for my writing pens.  On the front was a quote from Hemmingway; “A writer must write what he has to say, not speak it”.  It fits me perfectly.  For years I tried to say what I had to say; but it rarely came out as clearly as I saw it in my mind.  But with writing, I can stay with it until I have said exactly what I want it to say.  Writing agrees with me.

As I begin my ‘careful investigation’ of the writings of Luke, I have noticed a couple of things in this first chapter regarding writing.  First, after a careful investigation of the things that had been handed down by eyewitnesses, Luke thought it good to write an orderly account of these facts.  Though it was written specifically for Theophilus, in order that he could know the certainty of the things he had been taught, it became a written record for others down through the ages, and even to us today, that we also might have the same certainty.

Some friends of ours own a farm in the Ozark hills of Missouri.  One day we went for what was supposed to be a short ride on the 4 wheelers, but the first ridge we came to lead to another and then another.  There are literally hundreds of miles of connecting trails.  An occasional red ribbon marked particular turning points.  People who were very familiar with the trails left the ribbons for those who were not.  Those who were certain left ribbons so others could have the same certainty.

So now, as I begin my ‘careful investigation’ of the things Luke has handed down, I do it to know for myself the certainty of the things I have been taught.  And like Luke, I intend to leave a written record of the things I find.  I don’t do it with the motive of trying to stir up and attract my own following, but rather for those who are already following, I will leave these ribbons for those who come behind me that they may know the certainty of the things they have been taught and come to believe.

Another thing I noticed regarding writing was from when Gabriel told Zachariah about John.  Zachariah had more to say than any time in his life, and yet the angel made him to where he could not speak.  But though he could not communicate verbally, still he was compelled to communicate and did so by writing what he had to say.

God stirred Luke to write, which may or may not have had anything to do with his ability to communicate verbally.  But with Zachariah, God forced him to write by temporarily taking away his ability to speak.  Who knows, maybe it was for the purpose of producing the written record that Luke would use in his ‘careful investigation’.

Some gifted speakers, in addition to speaking, may be stirred to write.  Other gifted speakers, temporarily in place of speaking, may be forced to write.  But the writer does not possess the additional gift of speaking.  He must write what he has to say.  

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