Inmate Encounters Peace
Updated: May 2, 2020
She sat in the corner of the tiny classroom in the jail, wearing her orange government issued clothing, "INMATE" written in black on the leg of her pants. Her head was tilted slightly to the left, eyes slanted with a coldness that you could actually feel . The smirk on her face said, '" don't buy anything you are telling me." Her arms, which are covered in tattoos, were crossed over her chest as if to put a wall between her and anything that would come in and try to hurt her. She looked angry and she looked like she had no use for anything being told her in this small classroom...and yet, she came. Every week, never missed a day. We brought her the Word, she (assumingly) rejected the Word.
Until one day...
I was teaching from John 10:10.
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to kill, and to destroy: I am come teat they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
I Get Knocked Down, BUT Grace Lifts Me Up Again
Satan is a thief and his purpose is to steal and to kill.
Jesus is a giver and His purpose is to give abundant life.
Satan turns things that are beautiful into ash.
Jesus turns our ashes into beauty.
Satan attempted to kill the the One who came to give life, but the most beautiful things in Scripture are the empty cross and the empty grave.
God desires to plant life in our hearts and Satan wants to pluck it out BUT for the believer, the child of God...Satan has no power over us unless we give it to him.
James 4:7 Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.
If we are not submitting to God, we are powerless to resist the devil and he will not go away on his own. But when we submit to God, we are able to resist the devil and he has no choice but to flee. Because He who is IN us is greater than he who is in this world.
I spoke of all the times in my life where I failed to resist the devil and I allowed him to make beautiful things in my life turn into a heap of ash...and yet-the faithfulness of my Lord and Savior was there every single time with His loving arms of grace to lift me back up, remind me that I am His precious daughter and He loves me. His grace is more powerful than my failures and He could make me beautiful again. It was not too late and I had not fallen to far. No matter how many steps I had walked away from Him, I only had to walk one step back. And as I took that step towards the cross and pleaded His forgiveness of my sins, He covered me with His precious blood and every weapon Satan used to try to kill me with became powerless against the grace of Jesus.
At some point in the message I glanced over at the skeptic in the corner, only to see her leaning forward in her seat, a look of hope and intent curiosity on her face. Her arms uncrossed and her eyes softened as she hung on every word that was spoken.
At the end of the lesson, the guards were there to escort us out of the pod. Before I left the room, this lady who had given me angry stares for weeks actually got up, came over to me, gave me a hug and thanked me for sharing the Word with her.
I prayed for her all week long. I was stunned at how much her countenance had transformed in the middle of the message. I don't know at which point the Spirit moved...but I know He was definitely present and working. I could feel His peace fill the room.
The next week I was curious if she would be there and how she would respond. She was there and she looked like a completely different person. She had life in her eyes, and joy completely engulfed her. This transformation happened about six weeks ago. She no longer sits in the corner, but right next to us. This past week she was calling other women into join us. She was telling them how much they needed Jesus in their lives. She shared with us that her oldest daughter, who is about twelve or so and attends our Bible Club, was headed to Oklahoma to go to school there and that before she left she had prayed with her. As she sat there sharing about how much her faith in Christ meant to her, I was thinking, "Is this the same angry woman who sat in the corner week after week?" The Gospel had transformed her. Had turned what was ugly in her life and had made her completely beautiful.
Satan wanted to steal from her, to kill her but Jesus gave her life instead.
I am sharing this for two reasons.
1. The Word of God is powerful. It is effective. It is alive and transforming peoples lives.
2. Please pray for our jail ministry. Pray that we would be faithful to the sharing of God's Word and that the men and women who attend our services would understand the hope of the Gospel and desire to be forgiven of their sins and have their lives transformed. Especially pray for these precious believers when they get out. I will share in a future blog some things I have been mulling over in my mind about the temptations they face once released.
Those who are currently serving in our jail ministry are:
Myself, Tamah Bryant
My husband, Doug Bryant
My father, Stan Stringer
My sweet mentor and friend, Joyce Jones
Behind the scenes in a vital way, helping to prepare the lessons and cookies is my precious momma, Jane Stringer.
Thank you for your prayers that the seeds of the Gospel will be planted in the hearts of people who are longing for hope, and they would grow into strong plants, able to stand against the storms Satan will send their way.
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