I have been involved in local jail ministry for the most part of thirty years. It is not glorious work. It is not scary as some might think. I have never felt threatened and most of the guys are usually respectable and appreciative.
The jail we visit is set up like a dormitory with bunks on two sides and tables in the middle. Lately, our jail ministry team has been alternating weeks and I have been going alone twice per month.
There is nothing fancy of what we do. No fanfare, no bells and whistles. Just an old buzzard of a preacher telling the story of Jesus to a bunch of jail birds.
Continue reading “Tag Along With Me to Jail”
PRAY FOR THE FAMILIES OF UVALDE, TEXAS!
It is horrible thing when two neighbors have a quarrel, and one kills the other. It is so unthinkable when an evil person kills at random one or more who are innocent and vulnerable with whom he had no quarrel. It is unthinkable because normal, descent folks just cannot imagine why anyone would do such a thing—it is unthinkable.
There is the usual rush to put a “why” on the “what”. Most of us who have an ounce of compassion first think about those in our lives who approximate the same age as the victims, then a deep sick feeling wells up in our souls to the point we quickly change the channel in our mind to something less painful. We whisper a prayer for the hurting while our souls scream, “WHY?”
Continue reading “Where Do We Go From Here?”
I remember some of the old timers from our valley and ridges talking about folks who were going through difficult times and using the rhetorical phrase, “I don’t know how they have ‘walkin’ around sense?”
That’s the truth. When you look at the suffering of some folks, you think, “How do they keep their senses about them?” I am amazed how some people go through horrific things and seem to weather the storm with supernatural strength. Well, it is with supernatural strength. God gives the that extra “Umph!” to get them over the line.
Continue reading “Suffering and the Kingdom”
In another lifetime ago, when I taught school, I liked to break the study of subjects with a little humor or thought-provoking intermission. One day, I had a half of a glass of water, and I was asking the proverbial question, “Is this glass half full or half empty?”
Continue reading “Half-a-Glass of Water”
A Story of the Executioner at Golgotha by Harry L. Whitt
After their scourging, we herded the three men through the jeering streets to Golgotha. The citizens of Jerusalem hate us only a bit less than we hate them. Being assigned to the occupation force of Judea is a good point for a possible promotion but today the city is set on edge. One of the three is a popular prophet to the common people but hated by the elites of their counsel.
Finally, we are out of the bustle of the city streets and bring the three miserable souls to the top of the hill, the place of the skull. The rock outcropping resembles a skull, and today it the place of execution for all to see.
The schemer who devised the crucifixion is to be congratulated. Nothing puts the fear and dread in occupied people as the crucifixion. It is an agonizing death to endure and to witness. I have killed countless men in warfare with sword and spear, but this is the most gruesome of all.
The poor creatures are hammered on the cross with hand forged spikes which tear flesh and sinew. We set their knees at a bend, so they can push up to catch a breath of air, and then hang by their arms until they began to smother. This reeling up and down until their last life fades from their bodies takes sometimes days. It is a wretched sight for wretched souls.
We put the so-called prophet in the middle as he is the most renown. The other two are common thieves. The middle one gets the most attention as some of his mourners are at the foot of his cross. Some say his mother is present along with mostly women and a few men. Why do they come to see? I do not know.
His scourging left his back nothing but ribbons of flesh with clotted blood. He cried out as we laid him on the splintered wood. Then we raised his cross and the jar of the upright going from empty hole to solid earth left him with a quiver in his body that took some time cease.
Continue reading “The Executioner’s Dream”
Put me in a family to love
Put me in a community to serve
Put me in Your Kingdom to sacrifice
Put Your Word in my ear to hear
Put Your Word in my heart to believe
Put Your Word in my mouth to speak
Put something in my hand to give
Put compassion in my heart to heal
Put bread in my hand to share
Put me in a place to trod
Put me in Your field to work
Put me in the world to shine
Put me in the line to stand
Put me in the battle to fight
Put me in the war to win
Put me in Your altar to pray
Put me in Your heart to worship
Put me in Your hand to die
—Harry L. Whitt
When I was in the eighth or ninth grade, my Daddy bought me a horse. Her name was Sugar and at first, she was as sweet as her name. Then Sugar realized I was a greenhorn cowboy, and she started misbehaving like her name was Diablo. She would get to the edge of our yard, and she would “pitch a fit”. After about two go arounds of that, I was more afraid of her than she was of me.
Continue reading “When You Have Had Enough!”
I remember when I was a boy looking at old men in wonderment. They were either my grandfather or someone else’s grandfather. I knew my granddaddy was once a farmer and he still dabbled with farming. He helped my Daddy with a few things, had a garden, and sometimes had a little patch of corn. He got a few dollars every month from the plan put in place by FDR.
Continue reading “Old Men”
When I was a young man, I felt like the future was an expanse of forever, laden with endless opportunities, and fueled by youthful endurance that was unstoppable. Too bad, I was also stupid! Some of my mistakes took me back three steps for the one I had made forward. Sound familiar?
Continue reading “Treasure in Earthen Vessels”
Springtime is just around the corner and some of us with a need for dirt under our fingernails, plant a garden. Anyone who plants a few seeds revisits the ground in a few days to look for the seedlings bursting forth from the ground. The small green sprigs give a hint of a harvest to come.
Continue reading “Whatever a Man Sows…”