One of the most valuable things a person can have in prison is a pair of earplugs. Loneliness, anger, frustration, fear, and so many other emotions, manifest themselves in moans, groans, shouts, and profanity.
I remember very clearly the first time I went to do any ministry in a prison for women. People who work there every day are meant to maintain order and peace—no violence, no bullying, no stealing, etc.
But we were there to help people RECEIVE peace they never could earn. Permanent peace. Peace with God. Peace inside themselves that the Spirit of God would give them—first to experience, and then to share. It is the Peace that brings desire to know God more. And, Peace that enables sleep.
So we asked and listened. First, we listened to the heartbreak of a fallen world in which security is elusive. And then we asked some questions like this:
- Did anyone ever tell you that the love of God and His blessings were meant for you?
- Has anyone ever told you that God is on your side?
- Do you know that the Bible says you can know for sure you can go to Heaven?
- Do you know God wants to give you the security and power to live every day?
Then we listened some more as we shared the gospel of Jesus Christ the Rescuer. The One who died in the place of every person who has ever lied, or cheated, or bullied, or stole, or murdered—even you and me. And we showed them the truth right there in the Bible, that love knows no bounds if it comes from God!
In our hearts there was peace. In our voices, the Spirit of God gave us words of Peace. We had peace and confidence in God's perfect grace, available to any who will trust in Jesus as their Rescuer, too.
And the Spirit of God moved, and some made the decision to trust Jesus. And out of the Heart of God flowed forgiveness for every hate and wrong, and in their heart descended the Spirit of Peace.
That day, the Grace of God opened their hearts to Peace. Jesus said, "I did not come to condemn but to heal." And "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." And, by the grace of God, they knew and trusted that forgiveness and eternal security and freedom from shame, through faith in Jesus, was for them.
Whether incarcerated or not, they were free...at peace. Saved by the Prince of Peace.
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