In that posting, I was discussing my jail ministry to the Juvenile Detention Center in Rankin County, Mississippi, in the early 90’s while I was stationed there, working at the Jackson, MS, Military Entrance Station. As I noted in that posting, this ministry was sponsored by the Pearl chapter of the Gideons of which I was a member at the time. The last paragraph of my posting from January 16th was discussing false religions such as New Age spirituality and the problem of pride in such religions. Pride always points back to the father of pride, Lucifer. His prideful attempt to become like God and his subsequent fall is recounted in Isaiah 14:12-21. Also, Ezekiel 28 appears to be discussing Satan, giving him the title of King of Tyre. The attempt by Lucifer to take the place of God was a foolish act. He could not even come close to comparing with God since he is a created being himself, but this is what pride does to you. It keeps you from seeing and thinking clearly. The path to wisdom is always through humility. When we humble ourselves and accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His Blood on the cross, then He will wipe away all of our sin from God’s Eyes, Mind, and Heart so that He can see us as pure. Then He can begin filling us with His Wisdom and His Power, although we will continue to be frail and prone to error, constantly still needing His Help, Power, and Teaching for spiritual growth. Our continued frailty is a necessity to keep us close to Him and away from the paths of sin and error.
But getting back to my original anecdote about my weekly ministry at the Juvenile Detention Center, at the end of my message to these boys, after I had led those who felt so inclined in the sinner’s prayer, no force (God wants us to come to him freely of our own will for the covenant relationship), I would then offer some practical advice for getting their lives back on track. I would explain the importance of church attendance (so long as it was a good church that really followed Christ’s and the Father’s teachings of love and service). I would also explain the importance of choosing good friends and being around Christian people so that the right influences would impact their lives. There is no denying that we are influenced by those we are constantly around, although the amount of influence depends on how strong we are spiritually, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If we are led by God, He might bring fallen people around us when we are strong enough and full of His Power so that we can influence them. Continuing with the lessons I taught the boys, I would discuss the importance of feeding one’s spirit with Bible reading and prayer and avoidance of impure media images which can pollute the heart and soul, especially when one is young and more impressionable, not yet experienced or strong enough to resist the wiles of Satan.
Lastly, I would give each of them a small Gideon’s Bible with the New Testament and Psalms, supplied by my Gideon brothers from the Pearl, MS, chapter. For those who might be unaware, Gideons is an international organization of Christian leaders in business, the community, the military, and government, etc. Their main mission is to place Bibles into as many hands as possible as they believe in the Power of His Word, Scripture, given to us in the form of our Holy Bible. If you’ve stayed at a hotel or motel anywhere in the United States and even in many places around the world, you can almost always go to the nightstand, pull out the drawer, and see a Bible placed there by the Gideons, as most hotels and motels still allow Bible placement. This marvelous, amazing book surpasses all books ever written for its wisdom, artistic expression, accurate history, continuity, common sense for living, etc.
The Bible is truly a miracle from the One True Living God Who gave us the gift of His Heart and Mind in graphic form. It is written by inspiration of God Himself, working through faithful, humble men of God who knew God’s Heart and His Ways already and lived by them. Being good servants already, they were thus worthy instruments to use for His Purposes, to write down the Words as He dictated to them spiritually. Thanks to their faithfulness, we have this Miracle so that we may study it and know exactly what God expects of us and how to live an abundant life of joy and service to all those we come into contact with. This Book is not, as Satan tries to spin it, a book of legalistic demands that will squelch all joy in life. Satan fights so hard against the Bible because he knows how much better it will make our lives. A life lived by the principles in this Miraculous Book will always be successful, joyful, and meaningful, especially if we take the next step to actually enter into covenant relationship with God through Jesus and if we have regular fellowship with Him and study of His Word so that He can put His Power and Wisdom into us.
Through this process of prayer and Bible study, He will develop our character, and expand our world, taking us to places and giving us successes that we never could have imagined. He is an Amazing God, and anyone touched by Him becomes amazing as well. It is no wonder that Satan has tried so hard to disparage and stamp out this Marvelous Book and to keep us away from prayer because he doesn’t want us to have the answers and antidotes to all of life’s problems.
I pray that you will find the time today to study His Word and meditate on Him and His Ways, laying all your burdens on Him, thanking Him, and praising Him, so that you can be filled with His Power and Wisdom. I pray that you will live the victory of an abundant life full of joy, growing a little more each day in His Joy.