This pressure valve allows us to release the feelings we have deep down. When we choose to let or feeling out we will find comfort. Some of the most unhappy hard to be around people are the ones who have never given themselves permission to show on the outside what is going on in the inside. They are frustrated and they have bottled up. All because they have failed to mourn. The essential biblical mourning is an act of reflection cleansing healing and expression. it allows us to reflect the image of God out of the pure and redeemed heart we all seem to have it together but they’re shameful self-image will not allow them to take the next step. We must learn to mourn it’s an external expression of the internal reality and inner sorrow demonstrated outwardly.
The day finally arrived that we would dine with the incarcerated youth. This is the only time of the year that we were allowed to go in and dine with the incarcerated youth.
Having heard this, how would you feel about having such an opportunity to do this? Maybe you will get a better idea by what I am about to share with you.
Before this dinner engagement could take place. The staff had to greet us is in the lobby. They also had to search our food, drinks and bags for contraband.
Incarcerated Youth And Their Patience
December finally arrived when our troubled incarcerated youth would be allowed to eat dinner with others when it came to being in their dorm area. This was an exciting day that the incarcerated youth looked forward to. Their behaviors dictated if they would be given the opportunity to eat with us.
Many youth have lost their way for one reason or another.
Setup and Feeding the Incarcerated Youth
When we arrived at the boys unit, we asked staff where we can set up for dinner. The staff pulled out a ping-pong table for us to place a table cover on top of. We then placed the food and drinks on top of that.
We all took a place in serving up the food to the inmates. But, that was only after we opened up in prayer and spoke about the true meaning of Christmas.
Then, it was time to recruit tables of inmates to the serving area for food and beverage distribution.
Would you be surprised to know that each inmate said God bless you. They were polite, respective and thankful. After everyone was served their food our team sat down to eat dinner with them.
Serving The Incarcerated Youth
What does serving look like to you in when it comes to the incarcerated youth?
Conversations With The Incarcerated Youth
My conversation with the incarcerated youth was first asking for their name and my trying to remember their names. The next question I would ask them was what they want to do when they get out of there. Some of them said they are being sent to prison. The others have dreams of becoming a lawyer, pilot, etc. Some of them said they need to finish school. That meant finishing junior high and/or high school.
Family Time At The Dinner Table
When was the last time you sat down to eat dinner with your family members? Where you able to do this without electronics? Did you have a verbal conversation?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Affectionate lovable disposition. Love is what God is and what we ought to be. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13
Radiant spirit and cheerful temper. Joy is contentment and satisfaction with God and with his dealings. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:34
Tranquil mind and quiet manner. Peace includes the peace of God and harmonious relationships among Christians. Jesus Calms the Storm. One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:22-25
Forbearing patience in provoking circumstances and trying people. Long suffering is patience in afflictions, annoyances, and persecutions. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34
Sympathetic insight and tactful helpfulness. Kindness is gentleness, perhaps best explained in the attitude of the Lord toward little children. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:14
Generous judgment and big-souled charity. Goodness is kindness shown to others. In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Luke 10:30-35
Loyalty and reliability under all circumstances. Faithfulness means faith in God, confidence in our fellow Christians, fidelity and reliability.
Humility that forgets self in the joy of others Gentleness is taking the lowly place as Jesus did when he washed his disciples feet. Jesus washes His Disciples’ Feet It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:1-17
In all things self-mastered and self-controlled, which is the final mark of Christ-likeness Self control means literally holding oneself in, especially regarding fornication, adultery and our temper. Our lives should be disciplined. Lust, passions, appetites and temper should be ruled.
All ages of people started to flock in. There were several youth, older adults and homeless families that arrived and more continued to arrive as the night went on.
All that was needed for the people was the smell of some great food being grilled. The smoke-filled air was wonderful to smell, and it brought so many new faces. Some familiar homeless faces and even some local faces.
Boy does the aroma coming from a BBQ make our appetites accelerate. This wonderful aroma takes over our minds causing us to start thinking of what we will BBQ. We may even think about inviting someone over to join us for a BBQ.
People should re consider their BBQ location. How bout BBQing in the front yard versus the back yard? Have you ever considered BBQing in the front yard before?
As people it’s easy to retreat to our backyards. It may because, we just worked all day and need time alone. But, why not consider a weekend and have a community BBQ in the front of your yard.
Inviting neighbors over to converse can make a huge impact in each of our lives.
Do you think the people you decided to invite will accept your invite?
Are the invitees coming over?
Hungry for food or for conversation?
Or are these people coming over for some other form of attention?
Have you thought about the uninvited just showing up? It’s easy for each one of us to retreat to our own backyard. What would you do if someone shows up at your door and says I’m here to eat, what would you do?
Should we be open to sharing and inviting the uninvited? Afterall, that would mean thinking of others versus ourselves…ouch.
If we stay in the back yard we won’t be put in a vulnerable situation.
We wouldn’t be approachable.
We’d be able to stay guarded.
Afterall, isn’t that why we put up fences?
Would you ever show up on a neighbor’s doorstep and expect to be invited in to eat with them?
What ever happened to everyone doing neighborhood community activities?
We BBQed in the front of a church and in front of several other businesses. Most of the uninvited were homeless families. Some of these families were found sleeping in their vehicles and others were living in tents.
How would you provide comfort for the homeless? We invited them back for Movies and Popcorn on a weekly basis.
Movie and Popcorn
What an opportunity eating popcorn and watching the movie “Gods Not Dead”. and at the end of the movie the pastor had an altar call. Some came forward eagerly to accept Christ into their lives.
There honestly is no better way to end an amazing day.
Is the word “incarcerated girls” hard words for you to hear? If not, how does the word trafficked girls affect you?
As I sat and listened to two victims share their stories. I couldn’t help but, ask each of them, what words do you girls need to hear from us when we come in and visit?
Questions you may want to ask the incarcerated
What gets you caught up illegal matters?
How many times have you been locked up?
What is your family life-like?
Passing Out Flowers To The Girls
There were several weekends we walked the streets of Sacramento passing out flowers to the trafficked girls.
We love seeing the trafficked girls eyes light up when they see a bunch of flowers coming towards them. It’s like bringing color into their lives.
These precious children (victims) are in fear of asking for any kind of help, especially when their trafficker is nearby.
It’s a blessing to serve God this way.
Do you know what it feels like to bring a smile to the hurting? Especially, when the girls don’t have to perform an act for another.
It’s amazing to see how a simple and an unplanned event can make all the difference in the world.
All these trafficked girls know is to get something you must do something.
Gods unconditional love shows up when they are least expecting it.
Although this is a time of pain, there is so much joy and hope for these girls who are being trafficked.
What Is Spiritual WarefareExactly?
Our night started with a goal to hand out flowers to the girls walking the streets, we made signs to hold in our hands, we played music and asked the bypasses if they needed prayer. During this time I recognized three men that we had fed on the streets many times.
As the time approached 10:00 p.m. a security officer asked us to leave because it was unsafe for us to be out there.
So we gathered up our stuff and headed to the hamburger joint nearby. We invited one of our homeless friends we saw on the street to dine with us.
While we socialized a homeless couple came into the hamburger joint, they joined us. As we conversed they shared their faith with us. They said they lost everything and fell under undo hardship and got wrapped up in using drugs.
When One Business Closes Another Business Opens Within Minutes
Fast Food Restaurant Closed and The Trafficking Drive Thru Opened
The restaurant was set to close, your asked to leave, you head out, the lights dim. You pray with the homeless, you walk to your vehicle. A few cars pull up and park, it’s now a drive up for ordering girls. A dark haired girl walks towards the vehicle, wearing tight black pants, drugged out beyond all means. You ask her from a short distance if she needs prayer. She walks past without making eye contact with you, fighting back the tears, she proceeds to the vehicle, converses with the man in the drivers seat and you wonder how did this all come to be?
The enemy tends to seek you out when he knows there will be a significant impact for the Kingdom of God.
Parents Using Their Children
I met a young man who shared how his parents were using their children for their gain. He shared with me things that others struggle with in confessing and sharing openly with others. Openly he showed me the areas he shoots up heroin. He also shared that his parents got him started and that he is their drug dealer.
This young man knows right from wrong. He loves his daughter so much that he visits her daily. He refuses to live with the mom and daughter because of his addictions and his drug dealings.
When the attempted robber finally retrieved the knife from me the robber swung me around to not face him and he put the knife to my throat.
The robber walked me back to the area where he was hiding out at. As, he forced me to move ahead of him I was thinking about what he may be planning on doing next. I had to think rather quickly about what was in that area of the bakery that I could use to protect my self.
The robber walked me to the far back corner of the bakery where the office and the bathroom was located. We didn’t have anything in that area when it came to chemicals, cleaning supplies; brooms, tools, etc. We didn’t even have a lock on the bathroom door. I didn’t know what he planned on doing with me or to me.
The robber ended up taking me into the bathroom. He then told me to sit down on the toilet. Then, he told me to not come out. The light remained on in the bathroom including the loud exhaust fan. I could hear the robber rustling through our baking ingredient bins.
As I sat on the toilet waiting for what may be next. I had a thought, oh NO I gave him my purse and my grandma’s wedding ring was in there.
Shortly after I faintly heard the phone ring. The noise of the robber had stopped and I waited for a few more minutes to make sure there was silence over the loud exhaust fan.
Awaiting The Unknown
I thought to myself, I am leaving this bathroom now! So, I opened the door not knowing what was going to happen next.
Just outside the bathroom door was the knife laying on the ground. I sensed that the coast was clear because the weapon was on the ground.
I ran out the office area to the back of the bakery and closed the back door. I then ran through the bakery looking to see if he was lurking somewhere. I then ran to the front of the bakery and grabbed the phone and called 9-1-1.
As, I was speaking to 911, I heard a gun fire. Shortly after the local grocery store employee came down to check on us at the bakery because, of the police activity and knowing that we were the only business operating at this time of the night early morning.
The police came and took a report and fingerprints.
For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4
Do I Have What I Need When it Relates to My Work Out?
I’m struggling to understand my inability to work out when I have what I need to get the job done. I know I need to work out somehow, someway and all because, it makes me feel better.
I ponder the need to shower, wash my hair, get ready, or whether I should wait till after work, then, I talk myself out of working out after work because of the energy I get after the work out. I don’t want it to hinder my ability to sleep.
I have a gym at work and at home, yet I struggle with using it because, I’m at work and my not wanting to get hot and sweaty. I even bring workout clothes to wear so I can work out after work then I can head home after my work out. But then I think about traffic. I think I will wait and work out when I get home then, home-life gets in the way.
To Pay Or Not To Pay
When I pay for a membership somewhere I push myself to work out because, of the money I am spending, so I go to the gym because I need to get my dollars’ worth out of it. Then, there is the question can I even afford to pay this monthly fee to work out. Then, I think about the long-term expense and yet there is the long-term benefit of working out.
God created this body, I need to take care of it period! What I put in my body can cause good and bad outcomes. In the long run, it can affect the span of my life. Lord, I need help in maintaining a regular regimen. I cannot do it on my own because, of all the reasons I have listed above.
Open My Eyes
I enjoy walking outdoors, Lord open my eyes to see your beauty. I too hear all your beauty. I get to hear the birds chirping and to see what you created, the trees, the flowers, the creatures crawling on the earth and then, I see what we created, the roads, signs, vehicles, structures that impede your beauty.
I even think about the weeds growing that are green and that don’t require our care and they even look beautiful. I know if I focused on myself as you have created me to be, I can either damage what was good or I can take care of what you created for good.
I think about all that is transpiring in this world right now. There is so much pain and suffering going on in this world and in my body. Are the end of times at hand for this world and for my body or is this just the beginning?
Our physical being is what we are focusing on We are focused on how we look, what we wear and what we have. We’ve forgotten what we enjoy and the joy we get out of how we feel.
How we feel has been shut down, because, we have to deal with what is here and now.
We have lost focus on our ultimate purpose which is life here and now. When we have You Lord and make You our daily focus we can look forward to eternity with You.
So, it’s time to get to work and work out all that is manifesting in us and around us!
When it comes to working on a youth project, what are your goals in your community?A community leader in Sacramento, CA provides such a location for the youth to feel safe. Various siblings and members of the community took the lead in creating a project for youth to partake in.
When it came too working with youth on this particular activity, I noticed the following.
Some of the youths were more patient than another.
Some helped the younger ones.
Some were critical of the others ability to stay in the lines.
Some were concerned by the amount of paint on the paint brush.
Some were even more concerned about the rinsing of the paint brush prior to using another color.
Eventually, the photo was complete and all that mattered was the time they spent together.