For the last 20 years I have presented the Gospel to each new youth at the highly secure prison for the kids ages 13 to 19 at Gainesville, Texas. It is the first time that most any of them have stopped “running on the streets” and had the time to think about their life. Most every one made a decision to make God part of their life. After our hour+ together I would write each one a letter. As a result I corresponded more with many of them. And in each letter I would enclose a group of short stories or poems. They really liked them, especially those with an emotional message. You probably would not believe how many locked-up prison boys have loved theses little stories, and read them over and over.
In my soon to be published book I enclosed a long list of those short stories in the Appendix. Since the prison boys liked them so much, I thought you may like to see some of them. So, here is a 20th group of them for you. And you are welcome to share them with others.
The Silent Times
There are occasions when God will speak to you and then be silent for an extended period of time. Silence does not mean you have been forsaken by God. It simply means that God has spoken, and now is the time to allow the word that He spoke to germinate and come to pass.
Silence is not the same as peace. Silence is the absence of noise, but peace is the presence of God! While you are going through “silent times,” you should focus on inner peace.
Inner peace produces outward confidence in the face of negative circumstances so that we can go forward in the assurance that even though tribulation is coming against us, we are more than conquerors over it!
The Greek word for peace actually describes a spiritual equilibrium no matter whatever may seek to upset us. The biblical meaning of peace never denotes the absence of trouble. Peace is not the absence of negatives but the presence of positives. God’s peace is inward and spiritual and never predicated by contrary circumstances or negative events.
Poverty, sickness, death nor debt can override internal peace!
Silent times should indicate a time of reflection, introspection and listening. The quieter we become, the more we hear. However, we cannot rush the silent times.
Silent times are times of transition. Transition is always uncomfortable and appears to last forever. We must ENDURE the silent times! Whenever you see the word endure, it means that there is no short cut through it. It must be endured. You cannot circumvent what must be endured.
We are told to ENDURE unto the end. (Matt. 24:13)
We are told to ENDURE persecution and tribulation. (II Th. 1:4-10)
We are told to ENDURE hardness. (II Tim. 2:1-3)
We are told to ENDURE affliction. (II Tim. 4:5)
We are told to ENDURE chastening. (Heb. 12:7)
The key to being able to ENDURE is to see the END (ENDure).
Now, here are some things for you to question during the silent times:
Is my life really submitted to God?
Am I submitted at home, work, church and to the government?
Have I learned my lesson?
What is God trying to teach me?
Am I humble enough to be teachable?
Has the fruit of patience been sufficiently developed in me?
Do I still have an appetite for the world in me?
Did I properly respond to the last thing God told me to do?
Have I attained a deeper faith?
Is my attitude right toward God and others?
Am I harboring unforgiveness?
What am I becoming?
Have I sufficiently developed and matured as a person?
Have I taken the time to minister to the Lord? (Acts 13:2)
During your silent times you should:
1. Practice and develop your gifts. Study.
2. Clarify. Define goals. Reorder priorities.
3. Serve (even while you are hurting).
4. Trust God.
Your silent times should change your life! You should come out as a new person! When you come out, you should have a new level of:
Remember, problems never come to last, they only come to pass!
I hope that you will spare me a few minutes of your time to tell you about something that I saw on Monday, October 27.
I had been attending a conference in Annapolis and was coming home on Sunday. As you may recall, Los Angeles International Airport was closed on Sunday, October 26, because of the fires that affected air traffic control. Accordingly, my flight, and many others, were canceled and I wound up spending a night in Baltimore.
My story begins the next day. When I went to check in at the United counter Monday morning I saw a lot of soldiers home from Iraq. Most were very young and all had on their desert camouflage uniforms. This was a change from earlier, when they had to buy civilian clothes in Kuwait to fly home. It was a visible reminder that we are in a war. It probably was pretty close to what train terminals were like in World War II.
Many people were stopping the troops to talk to them, asking them questions in the Starbucks line or just saying “Welcome Home.” In addition to all the flights that had been canceled on Sunday, the weather was terrible in Baltimore and the flights were backed up. So, there were a lot of unhappy people in the terminal trying to get home, but nobody that I saw gave the soldiers a bad time.
By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours. United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another flight. They weren’t getting many takers. Finally, a United spokeswoman got on the PA and said this, “Folks. As you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days of leave and we’re trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport than they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight. If we can, we want to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you’re doing, we are here for you and we love you.”
At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, across-section of America, broke into sustained and heart-felt applause. The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears. And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight.
That little moment made me proud to be an American, and also told me why we win our wars.
If you want to send my little story on to your friends and family, feel free. This is not some urban legend. I was there, I was part of it, I saw it happen.
Will Ross, United States Department of Defense, Administrative Judge
Jesus taught in stories or what the bible calls parables. He did this so that we could remember the principles better that he was teaching to his hearers.
One of the most important was that of The Sower………….Jesus said that the Word of God was like a man going out to sow or scatter seeds in the field, which was the way that they planted wheat in those days. The man would take a bag of wheat seeds and throw them out in an arc across the prepared ground. Jesus said that His Gospel story, (like the words that I shared with you in the prison when we first met and I invited you to make a decision about God), was like the wheat seeds.
Jesus said that some fell on rocky ground, sprang up quickly, but without deep soil for its roots, it just withered and died. In the same way , some of your peers hear the story of why Jesus came, accept his message, and just glow with happiness. Yet, when they do not study his word or fail to continue to pray, and neglect hanging with other Christian believers, they wither and fall away………..just like the seed that tried to grow on rocky ground.
Jesus said that some fell among the thorns, and sprang up, but the thorns chocked them out In like manner, some accept God’s word, make a decision for Jesus, but go back with their old unbelieving friends, and continue to allow the sinful things of the world to be the most important things in their lives, and the Devil causes the things of the world to choke God’s way from their lives……..the thorns of the world choke out their relationship with God.
But Jesus also said that some of the seed fell on good, fertile ground, and sprang up and took good root and grew up healthy, and bore much fruit.
That is the kind of seed and success that I want you to be.
In CC at a hospital near Annapolis, Maryland last month the nurse took the young service man to the old gentleman’s bedside.
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.
All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.
He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.
“Who was that man?” he asked.
The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.
“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”
“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.
When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, and seeing how much he needed me, I stayed.”
I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Afghanistan
yesterday, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name?
The Nurse with Tears in Her Eyes Answered, Mr. William Grey…………The next time someone needs you like that …… just be there. Stay.
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