When we were living in Mississippi, God taught me much about masculinity and about being a servant leader.  I was stationed at the Jackson Military Entrance Station as a young captain, starting in 1992, where I worked a few different leadership jobs before I was reassigned to a company command at Ft. Benning, Georgia, in 1995.  I made much of my time in Mississippi, growing in Christian service, teaching a Sunday School class, serving as a deacon, and leading a jail ministry at the Rankin County Juvenile Detention Center that was operating in Brandon, Mississippi, in the mid 90’s.  In roughly a year and a half preaching and ministering every Sunday morning to the boys incarcerated there, I would, in time, speak to hundreds of troubled boys, sometimes in the open break area where they ate their meals, and sometimes from a central location that could be heard on all three levels of all cells when they were on lockdown (I think it was 3 levels, although the memory is over 20 years old and is vague on this point) .  I offered a message of compassion, redemption through Jesus, hope for a better life, and advice on how to get to that better life. 

I was blunt and direct with my message, letting them understand that they were on the wrong path obviously, but I was never judgmental.  God has always kept me humble in my witnessing opportunities over the years, spiritually opening my eyes to understand that I was no different than the wretches and wounded souls I was trying to help (there but for the grace of God go I).  The only good in me is what God put there, so why would I take pride in what was given to me and what was done in His power, not mine.  I would usually witness to the boys about my troubled teen years and would usually tell them a few Bible verses, whatever the Holy Spirit laid on my heart to share out of the treasury of verses I had committed to memory.  Then, I would explain what the verses meant.  Also, I would end every message with an opportunity to pray a simple sinner’s prayer for salvation.  The words are not important because the sinner’s prayer is not an incantation for magic.  If you get the words wrong, but your heart is right, God will understand what you meant. 

It is always the heart that God is after.  It is too easy to understand intellectually without any commitment of the heart, or to put up a façade, an image of doing the right thing without actually being changed, without any deeper devotion -- just legalistic, very limited, compartmentalized religious service which remains under your control and never taxes you too hard.  Real commitment of the heart opens up real change as Jesus enters our hearts to apply the blood, which cures us of sin, then leaves the Holy Spirit there as His marker of ownership and a source of power for us to live the Christian life and grow spiritually, becoming more like Him every day.  The sinner’s prayer is a plea for real, genuine intervention and help from the One, True Living God and Creator of the universe.  During this time of my ministry, I would always explain to the boys how much God loved them, proof of which was the sacrifice of His only Son, and since He already loved them and accepted them warts and all, He just needed them to surrender to Him and to His control of their life in whatever words they could find. 

But it is always good to put Jesus in the words since that is the Door through which the Father wants us to enter into fellowship with Him. It is His Chosen Path, so who are we to question Him or His method?  HE is GOD.  We are not.  Not even close, despite what the eastern mystics and New Age people claim. Their religion is a legalistic religion of pride that lifts up the human heart to claim that humans are gods, or that there is a part of some vague, nebulous god that indwells all things and is in us as well.  But from the beginning of our lives, there is nothing good in us, certainly not a deity, at least not until we accept Jesus as our Savior.  There is only sin, and the infection of sin that grows greater over a lifetime, making us into ever worse people if we do not get the antidote direct from our Boundlessly Loving God.  But there is also within us at the beginning, the spiritual capacity to have fellowship with Him, although the only way to fulfill it is with His chosen methods and wisdom through the Door of Jesus.  But these New Age people are following in the foolishly prideful path of Lucifer who tried to climb to the throne of the Most High God, thinking that he could be like the One Who is Infinitely Powerful, Majestic, and Great.  But that's what pride does to you.  It blinds you to your own faults and makes you think that you are greater than you actually are

More on this tomorrow.  I pray that you will walk today in sweet fellowship with the One, True, Living God Who loves you more than you will ever be able to understand. 
 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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