Encouragement

Investment

I was listening to IHOPKC yesterday and they sang “You’ve invested in me the authority, to determine the nation’s destiny.”

In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 messengers in twos to every location that he is about to visit.

“17 Then the seventy[e] returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

We should pray, and ask God for a return on his investment. Seeking direction on how he wants to use us to get his harvest and ignite change (in general, not just concerning racial injustices). The Harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  He’s invested his authority in us, and trusts that he will reap that harvest before he returns.  GO!

Seat of Honor

Today I finish a project that I have been working on for a while now, but I’ll start at the beginning of this journey.  Last fall I signed up for a volunteer position in a program that helps reduce recidivism in juvenile offenders.  I came on as a mentor, and things were going great until I was called into a meeting a few months ago to hear that they made a mistake in pairing me with my mentee and no longer had a position for me as a mentor. They opened an opportunity for me to stay on the staff just to keep up with the youth, and attend the meetings.  I accepted.  I left the meeting a little discouraged, but since I was still able to have a relationship with staff and the ability to see the program succeed I was ok.  The next day I got an email from the directors that said that a “light bulb went off” when I left and they immediately had another position that they wanted to know if I would be interested in.  I met with them the next day and they asked me to write a portion of the training manual for the program.  They said that they recognized that I was knowledgable in criminal justice and that they wanted to use it for the portion of why Juveniles commit the crimes that they do.

The other day while I was driving and thinking about all of the big projects that I have completed since January I realized that I have been writing from a place of influence.  I’ve written a major part of a training manual, I’ve written recommendations for a police department, and recommendations for corrections.  I was blown away by the opportunities to do all of these things.  Then I heard “I’m placing you in a seat of honor and influence, your words are powerful.”    I recognized it as scripture so I went to look it up when I got home, and I found this passage:

Luke 14:8-35 New King James Version (NKJV)

“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Things I learned…

1.  Do not despise low beginnings.  Walk in humility.

I knew that I had a lot of knowledge on the theories of why people commit crimes.  However, I went into my program just as a mentor with no ulterior motives to change positions or move up.  When I was told I was no longer needed as a mentor, I could have turned down their offer to still come to staff meetings, but that may not have provided me the opportunity to write for the program.  With an attitude of humility I received more than I expected, and was invited to share the knowledge that I had.

2.  So often we limit our gifts to doing ONE thing, but God is so much bigger than what we THINK our gifts are for.

I’m a spoken word artist, and blogger.  While I knew that my words have power outside of these tools that I use to reach people, I believed that my words only had “real” power in these two arenas.  However, it is a great mistake to only think of yourself as a minister when a platform is provided to you in church.  Our daily lives should minister, I believe that is what God was showing me with these opportunities to write and propose solutions.  God is not limited to the gifts that you use in your local church, but he wants to use you in decision making on your jobs and in your field as well.

That’s all for now.  For more on humility see my post “Small or Low” Here: https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/small-or-low/

Sidenote: I haven’t been posting due to me being busy with the above…but I’m back! 🙂

Yesterday

I couldn’t come up with a witty title today, and since I wrote this yesterday, it’s called “yesterday” lol.

Today I felt passion again! I was in class and my professor said “it is said to be easier to get into Harvard than it is to get into the corrections academy in the state of California.” I don’t want to move to California and I definitely do not have the desire to be a corrections officer, but it was the reasoning as to why it was so hard to get into the academy that started my long thinking tangent today. The reason why it’s so hard to get into their academy is because California pays their guards pretty well, but the conditions in which they work are a few of the toughest prisons in the country. I DO want to work in prisons with prison ministry, counseling prisoners, and even parole.

I was on my way to church after class today, and I started thinking “can you really handle working in a prison?” This was not a question of my own, I know that I’m capable of it, but this is a question that I have been asked over and over again when I tell people what it is that I want to do with my life. Doubt began to creep in. As I made it to church a man walked up to my car, I rolled down my window and he asked me if I was here for bible study? I said yes, and he told me that he had been waiting for about an hour outside (I live in Michigan, it’s snowing pretty heavy here). I discerned that he wasn’t harmful and he had been invited by someone so I welcomed him to sit in my warm car instead of standing in the snow until someone came to unlock the doors. He accepted my invitation. We chatted a bit and went into the building. We shared testimonies today, and it turns out he was recently released from prison!

While others may have freaked out because they had just had an ex con in their vehicle, I was ecstatic thanking God that he had found his way to a body of believers that would love him as Christ does! To hear that he was walking down the street and heard music coming from the church that drew him in, and to hear that a couple of days later (today) he was standing outside with people driving by locking their doors as they saw him moved my heart. I truly thank God that I didn’t let fear or what people might’ve thought stop me from showing this person love.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a heart of compassion for people that society has written off. Recently, I was beginning to wonder if prison ministry was still a burning passion of mine or whether I was just going with the motions and committing to it because it was something I had spoken in the past. The justice system has given me so many disappointments in the past few years that the fire that I have towards believing that there was a way out for these individuals had died down a bit.

When this man told his testimony it’s almost as if something was awakened inside me again! I began to feel that passion to advocate and be support to those who have lost hope, and are thinking that prison is their last stop in life.

If God has given you a heart for something don’t give up! Don’t let anything stop you, don’t allow people’s opinions hinder you from blessing others. Don’t be afraid to speak up and most of all:

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (‭II Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)