Saturday, June 8, 2019 -
Today we continued to study the book of Matthew in our weekly study. There were seven men today who joined us. We studied the second half of chapter 7 and barely had time to do the first four verses of chapter 8.
It was a truly blessed time to teach the truths of the gospel and to encourage these men to commit their lives completely to the Lord, to be one who bears good fruits, who continually does the will of the Lord because the gate we must enter is narrow. We must build our foundation on Christ, the rock, so that when bold storms come, neither we nor our faith, will come crashing down!
We discussed how brash and amazing it was that a leper, shunned by all in that society, dared to approach Jesus! And then, Jesus, rather than merely speak, and the leper be cleansed, instead chose to touch the leper, an absolute anathema in that culture! Jesus “cleansed” the leper instantly. Note, it doesn’t say he was “healed,” because the leprosy was considered by people of that day and time a moral defilement, the consequence of sin. When one is “cleansed,” that defilement is taken away, and they are liberated of it.
What was interesting is that JW spoke up and compared it to the story of a man he met when he was at a medium prison. The man completely fits the stereotype of a “chomo,” or child molester, the most despised of all prisoners. Yet the man, when he met JW, befriended him and reached out to him as a Christian brother. The man turned out to be a genuine believer. And so we were reminded that Christ can save the most vile person, and so we should be willing to share the gospel with everyone, and befriend and disciple those who truly come to know Christ as Savior, regardless of their background.
In the past two or three days, two men have reached out to me significantly to talk about their lives and I was able to share the gospel with them. The first I have spoken to often before, but never quite as significantly or at such length. He has been in prison 18 years on a 30 years sentence for being a “kingpin” drug dealer. He had explained how easy and enticing it was to earn $2 to $2 ½ million a week, bringing meth from California into the Midwest to resell it, earning him a quarter of a billion dollars within an 18 month period when he decided not to do it anymore. We spoke about how only Christ could keep him from falling into the same old lifestyle of gambling, women, and the enticement of vast wealth once he gets out of prison. He could see validity in what I was telling him, and so I finally said, “Look, you just need to give your life completely to God.” And he said, “Yes, I do.” So I pray for “B,” who seems closer than ever to making a decision for Christ. The number of times he has been to my cell and the length of times he’s spent talking to me in the past two days tells me he is close.
Then there is “JA,” who is here for sending threatening emails. He’s confided in me how he is very sensitive to the spirit world and is alarmed at the immense amount of demon activity going on in this prison, and so, he’s realized the only answer in confronting it is in the Bible. He meets with someone every morning at 8 am on the recreation yard to study the Bible, but he wants to learn more, and so he now talks with me every chance he can get, and just asked me tonight if we can do Bible studies together. He said he doesn’t do group studies so well. This 50-year-old man was a university professor and has a doctorate degree, and so shuns most of the “low life” here in prison. God is also dealing with his heart, and he is earnestly seeking him.
And so it seems as most of those to whom I’ve been discipling over the past six months are moving to other units or going home, or to a camp very soon, God seems to be bringing in a handful of others to influence for the Lord. So perhaps the work the Lord has for me to do here is not over. And so I must continue to persevere in the prayer that in so doing He will develop in me proven character, and with proven character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:3-5).