Week of October 11, 2021

Been praying about how to tell my story of journey in life with God. Also been praying for my friend Mindy, mother of 2, happily married. After the extensive Whipple procedure to remove benign massive tumor around her organs, a year later as a result of the surgery, she got the liver transplant she so badly needed and then things went downhill rapidly. At this point Mindy is in an unconscious state, perhaps locked-in syndrome. She cannot communicate. She did seem to respond once, but now her eyes simply “look vacant.” The hospital was going to move her to a critical care facility but she has a fever of 101. God knows the heart of this woman and her family. Please, Lord, have mercy upon her. One of her daughters attended her first Homecoming dance last weekend. Here she is with her Dad. Please pray for Mindy and her family.

When our daughter was in elementary school and our son a toddler I began a prison ministry with my friend, Linda. I had taught a few Bible Studies through Women’s Aglow Fellowship. Our chapter was looking for a way to reach the community of the lost. The county had built a new jail facility. I saw on the evening news that they were giving tours of the facility before the prisoners were moved from the old facility. So I showed up for the tour. They asked what I wanted to do. I said volunteer for Bible Study. Though I had no credentials, they issued me a Pastoral pass.

A few months later Linda and I began going into the women’s unit once a week for Bible Study. She was allowed to bring her guitar to lead a few praise and worship songs. I taught from notes I developed from my study times. We asked each woman to sign in with her name and prisoner number. With their prisoner number we were allowed to write them a note each week. Linda and I would pray and have communion together before we entered the jail. We usually prayed all the way to downtown, sometimes intensely sensing warfare against our efforts.

I found a metal pin on button that I began to wear every week. It said, “I am not as innocent as I look.” Linda melted hearts with her unconditional love and hugs. I opened my mouth to teach and wanted them to understand I was not a sinless suburban woman coming to be a do-gooder among them. Frankly, you have never taught Bible study until you have spoken in a cinder block room with metal furniture bolted to the floor and $10,000 Pyramid blasting over the TV. The guards who were favorable to our visits often turned the volume a little lower. Yes, I quickly learned to project my voice!

Linda and I prayed too after the study time. We split the list of names and prayed over each note, asking the Holy Spirit what we should pray and what Scripture to include in our note to mail. The women were deeply touched by our notes. Touched as only the Lord could touch. Linda and I were acutely aware that we were nothing special. He had to be working.

I used as much Scripture as I could while teaching. Often I used 1 John 1:9 NIV

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NIV

Yes, I had learned many times over the value of this verse and the tremendous forgiveness and cleansing we are promised through it. I also understood Jeremiah 17:0

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jeremiah 17:9 KJV

Often I cannot even see my sin or sinful attitudes. The Word and the Spirit are willing to show me if I will listen and remain open to instruction. The trouble is I often think I have it all together and ignore the first few warnings from the Lord. That’s about the time I tend to say, “Thanks, Lord! I can take it from here!” Next thing I am face down in the mud.

No, I am not going to list all of the sins I have committed over the last years. I write all this to encourage you to keep your hearts soft and your ears open.

If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.

1 John 1:10 NIV

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