One recent "step" I took in following the Lord was going into the Boyd Unit---a medium security men's prison located between Teague and Fairfield--to bring the message at their Sunday morning church service. When asked to do this, at first I remember saying that it would be a joy and privilege and yes, I would do it; however, as the time got closer and I began to realize the message that God was putting on my heart, I began to do what Moses did. I began to argue with God!! How could I go into a men's prison and speak to them about submitting to authority and dying to self? He led me to Exodus 4:12 where Moses was arguing with God about why he could not do what God was calling him to do!! He was telling Moses to just "take the first step--go!!" and God would do the rest! I knew the Lord was wanting me to just go, and HE would do the rest, but He was also wanting me to take this step into prison with no notes at all!! I began to argue that I needed an outline, cue words or something!! What if I forgot to say something?---I needed to know where I was starting, where I was ending and all the points inbetween, but NOTHING would come except to trust Him. I wanted to be in control of what I was going to say, and He wanted me to step out in faith and give me what I was to say at the time I was speaking. In order to do this, I had to "die" to what I wanted to do, which the message to the men was "Out of Death, Comes Life." In following Jesus, His path led to the cross--a place of death and dying, but out of His death, we live. It is the same in our walk with Him, it will take us to the cross--a place of dying to self--and out of our willingness to die to what we want, then He lives in and through us.
Something truly amazing happened when I was willing to walk into the prison with nothing except depending on Him. As I stood there looking into the sea of faces of 218 men, I told them that there was NOTHING that I had to tell them---nothing that I could say to them that would mean anything---it would be only words, but when I stepped out and began to speak, He did what ONLY He can do. Almighty God took plain, simple human words and breathed Life into them and caused them to be Words of Life. By the power of His Holy Spirit, He dropped into my spirit what He wanted me to say to the men that morning. After the message, I stood there humbled and amazed as man after man came up to me. One man was crying so that I could not understand one word that he said. Another had only been at the Boyd Unit three days. He showed me the scars on his arms where he had tried to commit suicide. He came up and gave His life to the Lord right then!!! Another man said the night before he had prayed and told God that he had to know if He was real or not---this was it--he had to know, and what I said in the message was exactly what God told him the night before. Another man said he had prayed and prayed three weeks before for God to send someone--and He sent me. Man after man came up and told me what all the message meant to them. When I got into my car to drive home, all I could say was "wow." I was so amazed at what God had done by the power of His Holy Spirit. I had just seen the miraculous happen and our amazing God of all grace had allowed me to be a part of it!!
I am telling you this for you to see what God is doing inside prison walls. He is doing the miraculous---transforming lives by the power of His Holy Spirit. That morning last month, I was NOT the message--I was ONLY the messenger. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, IS the message. He always has been and always will be the message. You and I are just "tag alongs." He allows us to come along and see all that He is doing in the lives and hearts of people---not only in prison but out here in the "free world."
What a blessing to be a "tag along"-- to follow Him and see today what He is doing, but it is never us---it is ALWAYS Him!! Don't you want to be His "tag along" today?