Monday, March 3, 2014

A Visit to the Youth Detention Center

Recently we went to the Youth Detention Center to provide food and fellowship with the residents. I was blown away by a guy who appeared to be about age ten.  He was so small in stature.  I was not too far off, he was twelve.  Twelve and already in detention.  That's two years younger than my grandaughters and that thought was sobering.
I played the music video by Toby Mac entitled, "I don't want to gain the whole world and lose my soul". It was powerful.  Afterwards we discussed what they had seen and they asked many questions.  Some not so easily answered.  It was a great discussion and afterwards we gathered them around tables and sat with them to share and answer more questions.
One fellow had been there the last time we were there.  He was sixteen and facing 17-20 years for his offense. He was so kind and talked of reading his Bible and trying to do the right things. I grieved for him and the others.
I left there overwhelmed with the helpless feeling of what  I could do to make a difference in these lives.
My friend Sheila had gone there with me to help minister in some way to their young lives.  My son had been in a place just like this at one time and Sheila's had lost his life three years before to addiction.  Addiction was stealing the lives of these young lives just like we had seen it done in the lives of our own.  See that is what causes us to go each time we are invited......we love these kids and want desparately to see them turn from the direction they are headed.
We want them to get the picture before they ruin their whole lives bound by drugs, sex, and other strongholds in their lives.  After asking the question, "Do you want to be free", we explained that true freedom comes only through Christ.  We gave them booklets that Neil Anderson wrote on Freedom in Christ.  They do a checklist on things that they may have been involved in and then pray over those things, asking forgiveness and moving on to the next section which guides them in confessing and receiving God's promised forgiveness.
Many things in our lives have made us say, "I wish this was all a dream", but I left there feeling that way that day. These kids were way too young to be in such hard situations.  May they see Your love for them through someone who comes their way Lord.
Oh God, You love these young people so much, please hear their prayers while they work through these things that Satan has lied to them about.  Mainly that no one loves them.  So many of them have never had the proper love of a parent.  Lord, please surround them with your love in their little room where they are tonight.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cooing of the Doves

Each year when the first signs of spring appear, I start thinking of one of my favorite books of the Bible, Song of Songs.  In chapter 2:10-13 it says, "My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.  For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle [turtle-dove] is heard in our land; the fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
Can't you see the earth preparing for new growth and the singing of the birds taking place in anticipation of the winter being gone?  It has been an especially hard winter for many so I know they are looking forward to the change.  I know I am and I don't even live in the areas where extreme cold was taking place.  It may not be spring yet, but we can sense it is coming.  The fig tree I have planted in the back yard has not started budding yet but I am going to keep a close eye on it.  I am ready.
I love Watchman Nee's translation of the Song of Solomon passage but recently I ordered one by Brian Simmons.  In there I found the most lovely thing.  Most of you know my experience with the dove years ago when I was so distraught over our son.  The dove has meant a lot to me since.  As I was in this section of chapter 2 in this new book here is what I found:
"The cooing of doves is heard in our land.  This spiritual spring brings the soothing messages of love to our souls; it is like the cooing of the doves!  The Dove has come to sing to our spirits and awaken us in bridal affection for the Son.  As this "cooing" touches our hearts, we arise and prepare ourselves for His approach.  We are told that the turtledove always sings at harvest time!  If you listen carefully today, you will hear the cooing of doves in our land.  His Kingdom of Love is coming to earth."  WOW.
I am atuned to the cooing of the doves all the time and I know the sound of them as they are in flight.  Now it I hear it as the sound of the Lord wooing me to fly away over the mountaintops with Him.  Its His love call to me.  Now I am loving that.
Are your ears attuned to His love call to you today?  He calls us His dove in SOS.  He describes His love for her as David writes in Psalm 68:13, Even while you sleep among the campfires, the wings of My dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold." 
Now that's some good stuff my friend.  Feast on His word and let Him speak to you.  Draw nearer and nearer Him through His Word and His call to you however that may come.  Be open to receive all He has for you.