Contemplating Good Friday, I wonder what role I would have played had I been in Jerusalem that day. (more…)
Why is it so easy for me to believe that God created the universe, parted the waters of the Red Sea, raised Lazarus from the dead, and on and on and on, but the idea that He could miraculously tuck some extra books onto my bookshelf is too far-fetched to even consider?
I document the many incredible miracles I have seen in jail ministry for my own sake — that my faith would be continually refreshed and strengthened. I want to share some of them so that God can be glorified and that your faith might be restored or beautifully magnified. This is from my journal, two years ago today. I’ll be in the Hamilton County Jail tonight, making more memories.
December 17, 2016
I had an amazing experience today that I will always remember. Nearly two years ago, I met a woman in the Hamilton County Jail. I will just call her Z. The first time I met her, she was incredibly angry and did nothing to hide it.
We had nothing in common from the world’s point of view. She was born and raised in TN as a Muslim. I was born and raised a Christian in Indiana. But over the next few months, she continued to come to our group and invited me to visit her one on one as well.
After several months, she told me she was going to be released to Community Corrections (Work Release). Together, we excitedly prepared for the next stage of her life. As part of that, I collected just about everything on the “allowed property” list so that she would be well set when she moved over there. Several friends of mine helped to collect clothes, toiletries, shoes, a coat, and everything else she was allowed. I documented the campaign in the post, “God Provides.”
I’ve quipped before that if I ever get to the point in my life that I cease to be amazed by the beauty of glorious sunrises and sunsets, then I’ve lived too long. Whether in the morning when heading out to start my car or in the evening on the way home from work, I can’t count how many times I have been stopped in my tracks, met with the indescribable beauty of the colors and the majesty that is the sun hanging low in the sky. And I probably have hundreds of photos of these spectacles in my phone — some taken from my street, some taken with my phone precariously perched against the window of my car — none doing justice to the beauty that can only be truly appreciated by the naked eye.
I’ve written about this before, but apparently I still haven’t really learned the lesson in my heart. Living like Christ is a constant struggle to suppress my human weakness and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. For me, that means I must resist my strong urge for fairness or justice. I don’t mean those things — fairness and justice — in a good way, but more in a karma kind of way. I’m a strong “J” (judging) personality, but if I’m filled with the Holy Spirit, then I will meet others with grace and forgiveness. I will not repay someone who wrongs me as he or she might rightfully deserve, I will heap grace and forgiveness on him. That is what it means to be like Christ. And I’m still learning…
Walmart is an easy target — long lines, few checkout lanes open, and don’t get me started on the fashion fiesta that is Walmart at midnight! But I’m not going to jump on the “dump on Walmart” bandwagon. I frequent our local Walmart because most of the time, I can get everything on my list (or close to it) and they have the lowest prices and the easiest store savings app in the biz. So, this morning, when I heard the anchor tease a news story about mental health therapy services being offered as a pilot program in a Texas Walmart, I was intrigued.