#CCC Ministry last PM
Charlie or C Pod
Series: Proverbs 6 on The 7 Abominations that God Hates
Topic: “Feet that Run Rapidly to Evil”
Jesus: He is the antithesis of what God hates…
Jesus is the quintessential fulfillment of the love of God and the life of God as He was and is God Personified. Jesus walked always and only in righteousness.
Of course the warning of feet entering the evil path has the previous proverb precursor of “A Heart that Devises Wicked Plans” which we discussed last week. Our feet walk toward our heart’s desire, thus the charge to keep it with diligence. Thus the need for God to overthrow our ungodly heart of stone and make us to walk with new heart in His way. He makes us to do this! (Ezekiel 36: “I will put my Spirit within you and CAUSE you to walk in My path…”)
Please #Pray for these men. I long to see Christ open their eyes and Christ to finally be formed in them. We walked through Proverbs 7, (one of the saddest chapters in the whole Bible), using the terrible example of the naive young man whose feet led him to a wild night in the bed of the harlot as she opened the door for him to enter hell. The arrow piercing into the young man’s liver (as toxins build and the body slowly poisons itself or he bleeds to death) is a most vivid and eye opening illustration of the wise Father’s counsel to His son. What a vivid warning of sin’s deadly nature. It was pointed and powerful, and the Word rocked us all back upon our heels as the Spirit moved. I feel many are near the Kingdom as interest seems heightened and some alarm over their spiritual poverty seems manifest. The Spirit is such a gentle Dove, and I long to not grieve Him. May He be pleased to appear in cloven tongues of Fire and convict of sin and righteousness and judgment to come.
Fly to Christ with those feet! Get off the path to death and destruction. Find the Way to life in the Author of life!
So pray as God prompts. It’s not some strange doctrine I preach. It is the gospel of grace that tells the love story of the Friend of sinners. He came for these guys who have been routed in life by habitual life choices of sin. Jesus sets the captive free! That’s the good news that fixes the bad news of our condition.
“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”
Reflecting back on my #CCC experience from this past Tuesday night, I was providentially pulled to a new pod where the group was larger and a few prisoners were less than attentive as they did not know me nor the Gospel I preach. Others seemed genuinely struck by the word and appreciative to know that Option B was opened to them through the preaching of the Gospel and that God’s power was abundant that they might flee the wrath to come.
I saw again that the very means appointed to save some, harden others in their indifferent iniquity that they might fill up the full measure of the wrath appointed them. All we can seek to do is glorify the Saving Christ in the preaching of a powerful Gospel to a lost and dying world.
Successful preaching does not have to end in the salvation of the hearers. (Reference Jeremiah and Noah, et. al.) Successful preaching simply leaves man without excuse for rejection of the grace that appears in setting forth the Word become flesh as He who is full of grace and truth.
“Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart.”
When prisoners of #CCC (Caddo Correctional Center) crowded round in response to the Gospel message there was joy as God made His move at the end last evening’s chapel service. They soberly entreated prayer for felt needs and tangible fears. You see they have no hope nor help unless God acts, and they daily live in the driven reality of this constraint. That is not all bad. It can turn redemptive by Divine design.
“Dust and rust, thy life’s reward? Slay the thought! Believe thy Lord!” (A Carmichael)
Ideally this present life of imprisoned restraint could actually become the narrow neck of the funnel that rapidly propels the prisoner toward that unique avenue that opens into the flowing River of Life. Part of my role as “shade-tree” pastor-counselor is to first isolate their location and then encourage their escape out of the difficult place they live by entry into the path of possibilities filled with Gospel promises. This great escape can only be offered without promise of immediate change in circumstance and with no pretense of anything beyond God’s presence and approval in the final analysis. This is not really a “hard-sell” to the inmate if they are apprehended by the God who delights to build His new house upon the very foundation that their sin constructed. It rings with a clear, full tone of eternal truth and hope. Otherwise their life seems destined for destruction.
Simply stated their surroundings are at work to sharpen their spiritual acuity as their visual perception becomes focused upon an ever-narrowing experience of reality. The fluff and stuff of life are gone. These disappeared into Neverland with the resounding clang of the prison doors. Four walls now encroach upon their existence. Their experience is confined to the consequential grind of old life choices come home to haunt them. We on the outside easily neglect and even stumble over that which they have come to value as true needs in their distilled, simplistic world. Our affluence becomes a distortion… an idol… of our perceived reality, and we easily miss what they learn, where they live, what they value, and why this is Truth that screams incessantly to Conscience.
In retrospect I think the real obstacle in this opportunity of prayer is to draw their attention to prayer’s reality, not as an “abracadabra magical-method” to swish away all troubles. The goal is the challenge to unmask prayer’s mystique. The prisoner must begin to embrace prayer as quiet communion with God as an elementary exercise God affords to teach us to entrust our cares and burdens to the wise, personal, powerful God who knows our needs before we even think to ask.
So my real goal in prayer with any inmate is for us to seek God together, not to the end of audible clangs of the cell doors as they rattle and swing open; rather my prayer for them is answered if I point them to a God who is near to the broken-hearted and a God who is willing to forgive the debts of those now crushed in spirit.