Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized, Volunteer

Remember Those In Prison

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Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners. 

Hebrews 13:3 

I had the privilege to participate in an Angel Tree Party last Saturday. It’s a Christmas party for children of prisoners and their families. Before entering the prison, we waited in a line outside. Every volunteer and family member must be searched, and patted down. Cell phones, and pretty much all personal items are not allowed inside. After all the necessary safety precautions, we joined the party that was already in full swing.

Christmas music was playing. There was dancing, games, food, prizes, smiling children, and smiling dads. Local churches partner with Angel Tree to make it a fun, festive, happy occasion. Myself and a few friends from my small group helped with the craft area. Kids got to decorate a holiday frame with a picture of their dad. These kids were so precious, and so happy to be with their dads. There were little bitty toddlers all the way up to teenagers. So many of the children put “I Love My Dad” on their picture frames.

The kids are only allowed to see their fathers twice a year. Once at the Angel Tree Party, and once in June, around Father’s Day. That’s it. No children are permitted in the prison beyond those two days. So this party was a big deal and a very special time for all the families involved. There were also many wives, girlfriends, moms, and grandmas there.

Angel Tree is a year round organization under Prison Fellowship. Angel Tree has camps, mentoring, and sports clinics. There are over 2.7 million children of incarcerated parents in the U.S. Imagine the fear, shame, and loneliness that these kids must experience. Angel Tree is a blessing to these dear children.

I loved being involved with one tiny part of Angel Tree, but I only helped for a few hours. The real heroes are those who serve in this ministry year round. Like my sweet friend Holly. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, Holly is just all heart. She leads a men’s group at this prison called Alpha. It’s a mentoring/discipleship program. We got to meet some of the men in Holly’s group and she’s so proud of these guys. How awesome to have someone rooting for you when so many in your life have not.

This prison is for men who have done their time and been reformed. It’s a Christian program that gets these guys ready to go back into the world upon release as leaders and contributors to society. This special program allows only the select few to participate. These men know Jesus and they are forever changed. Gang bangers, murderers, dealers, and all kinds of hardened criminals radically changed by Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel. The Good News. That’s the hope for all of us.

Jesus is not a respecter of persons. Jesus came for sinners like me and you.

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

Please remember those in prison. Prisoners need the love of Jesus just as much as your co-workers and neighbors. Pray for prisoners. Pray for their children and wives and families. Pray for ministries like Prison Fellowship.

I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:36

As I looked at the dads in white clothing, many covered in gang tattoos, I saw my brothers in Christ. I saw hope in their faces. I saw love for their children and wives. That room was filled with the Holy Spirit. It didn’t matter that we were behind prison walls. That won’t stop Jesus. Nothing can, except a hard heart. Let’s pray for soft hearts to the gospel.

“The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Chuck Colson, Founder Prison Fellowship

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Prison Fellowship Home

Praising God in Prison by Meghan E. White

 

 

Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay

 

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

God Makes Dead Things Alive

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Have you ever had a dream die? You were sure that “thing” was going to happen and change everything. But it never did, and you gave up. Too much time passed. Too much heartache. It’s dead and buried. You even marked the tombstone with the title of your dream. Gone forever. Or is it?

God is in the miracle business. He can bring dead things to life. It may be that the dream was supposed to die, so that God can turn around and raise it up again. Some things are just supposed to die. Dreams that are not from God should be left alone. Sure, we can pursue all sorts of endeavors in the name of God, that really have nothing to do with Him. I’m talking about the deep desires that He places in our hearts. The ones we barely tell anyone about. The seeds that He has planted.

We get impatient. We think, “It will never happen”. And so we walk away. We give up. We bury the dream. God does things different than we do. He’s God, and we are not.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

It’s easy to think we’ve got God all figured out. Like there’s some formula, and if we follow it, we get everything we want, whenever we want it. Following Christ means surrender to Him and His plan. And He does have plans for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). And He does have dreams He gives us. God’s plans cannot be stopped.

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted,” (Job 42:2, NASB).

 

Lazarus

The story of Lazarus in the book of John is well known, and is the only place in the Gospel’s it’s told (John 11:1-44). Jesus gets word that his friend Lazarus is sick.“When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it,” (John 11:4, NIV). I can only imagine that Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, were sure that Jesus would show up and save the day. God had a different plan.“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,” (John 11:5-6, NIV). 

Jesus tells the disciples it’s time to go back to Judea. They think this is a bad idea since the Jews there tried to stone him. This doesn’t stop Jesus. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up,” (John 11:11b, NIV). The disciples tell Jesus that Lazarus will get better if he sleeps. They thought he meant natural sleep. Jesus was talking about Lazarus death (John 11:12-13). He finally tells them Lazarus is dead and they must go to him (John 11:14).

By the time Jesus and the disciples arrive, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). The damage was done. Death won and there would be no victory for Lazarus, or so it appeared. Martha went to meet Jesus, but Mary stayed home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask,” (John 11:21, NIV). 

“Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again,” (John 11:23, NIV). Martha and Mary still didn’t understand that Jesus was about to do something miraculous. Jesus asks to see Lazarus tomb. “Take away the stone,” he said (John 11:39a, NIV). Martha thinks this is a very bad idea since Lazarus body had been in the tomb for four days. She tells Jesus it’s going to smell pretty bad (John 11:39b). “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have always heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me,” (John 11:41-42, NIV). 

“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go,” (John 11:43-44, NIV). 

Wow!! Jesus could have immediately healed Lazarus when he was sick. Instead, he waited, even when the sisters asked for Jesus help. He had a bigger plan; To raise Lazarus from the dead. Your God-given dream can be resurrected too!

God makes dead things alive. He is the same God as during Lazarus time. God does not change (Malachi 3:6). What has died in you? Faith. Peace. Hope. Trust. Maybe the dream that God gave you died. For your marriage to be restored, a loved one who’s not following the Lord, physical healing, emotional healing, fill in the blank. What is it that you need God to breathe life into once again?

 

 

Dear Lord,

I lift up every hurting soul right now. You see them. You know them. You love them. Bring new life to their God-given dreams. The ones that died. You are in the miracle business. We love you, thank you, and praise you for who you are. Perfect, Holy, God.

Amen

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

P.S. The picture is from Elvis’ grave site at Graceland.

 

 

 

 

 

God

It Only Looks Scary

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I used to be a little freaked out by dragonflies. They are really loud when they fly and they are kind of creepy looking. I thought they would sting me. Dragon is in their name so they must be scary, right? Some people are fascinated by dragonflies and think they are beautiful. I’ve grown to appreciate them but I’m not a big fan of insects in general. Living in Southeast Texas I’ve seen things. Large things. Large bugs to be exact. I won’t go into that now. Another time. What I have learned about dragonflies is they actually do a lot of good. They eat bugs. Lots of them. Especially mosquitoes. And where I live, that’s important.

Sometimes events or situations can appear very scary. Like how I assumed a dragonfly might do me harm. Many times much bigger, much scarier things will paralyze us. Our mind can go right to the worst case scenario and we are gripped with fear. I call this the ‘What if….’ problem. What if the doctor says cancer? What if I lose my job? What if she leaves? What if I fail? What if I never get better? What if. What if. What if. Fill in the blank. It can go on and on. I’ve been in that place of fear many times.

Other times our fears are based on real life experiences where we’ve had bad things happen to us and we don’t want to experience that pain again. Or, we are smack dab in the middle of facing our worst fears. The job loss, the death of a loved one, disease, depression, loneliness, physical pain, and so many more. There are multiple, valid reasons that cause us to be afraid. Fear is part of our human condition. It is unavoidable. We all will experience fear.

But, and this is a big BUT, there is hope. We do not have to stay in a place of fear as Christ followers. Fear is not from God, but it will draw us to Him. There are hundreds of verses on fear in the Bible. He is the opposite of that. God promises peace, a sound mind, and His power. He will never leave us. His word says it. If His word says it, than it’s true because God does not lie (Titus 1:2).

Here are just some of the many verses on fear.

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NASB). 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

“Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NIV).

If you are in the depths of fear right now don’t give up. Write these verses down and look up the many more that are in the Bible. Place them in areas where you look everyday. Say them out loud. Find one or two verses to cling to and read them over and over again when you are being gripped with fear. Pray the verses over yourself or a loved one who is struggling. Keep crying out to God. He hears your prayers and will walk with you, and carry you, and give you peace. I know it’s hard. You are not alone!

I would love to pray for you! Please leave your prayer request in the comments or you can send it to me through my contact page on my site menu.

Love you all,

Meghan