Jim started preaching to the Prisoners. They were getting pretty excited about the Hope In Jesus that Jim was laying before them. Your past need not determine your future. It doesn't matter how many time you have fallen but will you get back up and turn to God again is what really matters. You must Give your life to God and learn new ways, abandon the old ways and find His empowerment .
A man came in and sat down in the front row a while after Jim had begun. His head bowed down and obviously with a heavy heart. Jim came down from the pulpit and put his hand on the man's shoulder while giving an illustration of the principle of God's forgiveness being complete. The man looked into Jim's eyes. Jim completed the illustration while walking among the men in the chapel.
Returning to the pulpit this man broke into loud cries and outburst of tears. A very rare outburst among men like were here. Something Jim said God used to open this man's heart and release deep emotions.
Jim was drawn to this man again coming down off the pulpit again, he laid his hands upon Gary and began to pray for him. In this same moment several big men came over to "their brother" and with love, pity, and care laid hands on him and prayed with Jim for him.
The Spirit of God was present! It was heart-warming. It was tear-jerking as the man poured out his tears and was once again comforted with the prayers of Jim and his brothers there. A genuine scene of caring and loving seldom seen in the professed Christian realm of those outside of this "Folsom prison" setting. There was more love from Jesus that was given in a tangible way to this brother in a time of his need than I have seen in the Christian community over many, many years. This is the Spirit of Christ that is missing in Christianity, in our churches today.
Maybe these men who are broken, needing and seeking God need to come out of Delta prison and minister to us outside who think we are good and have need of nothing. Maybe they could picture Jesus for us in a real way that we too could seek God as real as this. Wouldn't you love to see this real brotherly love for brethren that are wounded, hurting, abandoned in our church? Maybe we'd see our prison doors burst open with the entrance of Christ leading in our lives.
Won't we let Christ in to clean up our mess of a temper, demeaning ways, self-destructive thoughts and make it so our past need not be perpetuated any longer on ourselves or family members? If we put our hand in Christ's and become God-governed rather than man-managed these miracles can happen. Maybe we could live victorious lives, be joyful and spread Christ's presence to those around us. What a revival could take place?
Let us see the prison we have created around us. The prison we put around our spouse ... our children ... our family because we will not let Jesus in to our closed doors. Open your heart and let Him in. We have a key of faith that can open and release us from these prisons. Christ is behind this key for success.
This man who broke out into uncontrollable tears was a 50 year old man who had just gotten news of his elderly mother's death. The Chaplin tells us that these men in prison are particularly sensitive and loving towards their mothers once they are imprisoned. We talked with this man afterwards wondering if Jim was wrong in coming to him during his sermon. Gary said, "No this was a good thing. If I had not released my emotions in this healthy way I have habits of releasing them in a destructive bad way. So no, this was a good way, it was God's hand in my life."
Let's let God's hand work in our life to redeem us from sin, self, our bad habits and wrong ways of dealing with problems. Let us come Under God in new and healthy ways. God go with you.
God is our Teacher & Comforter,
Jim & Sally