In His Presence – Dec 14, 2015

“I’m lost without you.”

The other day at church, we were doing the song “Breathe”, an older, contemporary praise and worship song.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Well, when we got to this line, I almost lost it.  The lines of music in the chorus are as follows:

“And I…
I’m desperate for you
And I…
I’m lost without you.

This past week, I found myself in a couple of situations where I left God’s side.  I stopped thinking about him.  I started feeling too comfortable and thought I could handle things on my own.  Most of the time, this was a complete disaster.  When we sang this song, Chaplain Menhinick was talking about being in the presence of God in everything we do.  His sermon was about being in the presence of God even at work.  He references Brother Lawrence’s book, “The Practice of the Presence of God”.

Brother Lawrence, a 17th Century French monk, worked in the kitchen and over a long period of time, learned how to live in God’s presence probably 95% of the time.  I say 95% because his his book, he talks about the times when he was away from God’s presence.  That when he came back into His presence, he felt stronger in his faith and even closer to God.

He talked about how he still had faults, but how he got to the point where he asked for forgiveness and moved on.

Lately I have been striving to be in God’s presence all the time.  I will tell you that when I am not in his presence, I am lost.  That is why those words “I’m Lost without you” mean so much to me.  I don’t feel right without him.  I never will.  However, when I leave his presence and come back into it, there is new life.  This time it made me not ever want to leave even more.  Practice being in his presence all the time.  It will change your life.  Also memorize scripture… this will help.  I love you all.

 

 

Love the Unlovely – Nov. 22, 2015

So today was my Birthday and it was the first time that I celebrated my birthday in prison.  Today, during church, the whole congregation sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  Throughout the week, I got cards from family and friends and “Happy Birthdays” from everyone around me.  I even had a visit from my StepMom and my sister the day before my Birthday!  Then tonight 3 of my closest friends surprised me with enchiladas and chips and a card signed by dozens of other inmates.  Yes, this was all wonderful and made my birthday very special!  But there was something even more wonderful than all the acknowledgements, food, cards, birthday wishes and so on.

As I was reading all the comments on the card that I received from my friends, it hit me.  I realized that on that card were comments and signatures from sex offenders, drug dealers, rapists, murderers, gang bangers, muslims, christians, atheists, buddhists, homosexuals, black, white, mixed, hispanic, young, old, bald, crazy, and I could go on.

On this card, those things didn’t matter.

A person didn’t NOT sign the card because a homosexual signed it, or a gang banger, or for any other reason.  I took this thought even further and realized as I looked around the Dayroom, that yea, this is what heaven is going to look like.  I know it might be a crazy thought to some of you, but it is true.  See, I believe that Heaven is going to be filled with everyone. For me or anyone else to believe that one or two or multiple “types” of people are going to be left out is absolutely absurd.  God is not going to say to a serial killer who longs for God in the end, “No, you can’t come in.”

He is not going to exclude black people, asians, hispanics, from heaven.  That isn’t even biblical to think that. Heaven is going to have murderers, doctors, teachers, sex offenders, rapists, muslims, homosexuals, blacks, whites, CEOs, politicians, Republicans, Democrats, drug dealers, and the list goes on.

The Bible says we will get a new heart, a new body, new spirit.  There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.  No sin is greater than another sin.

We all fall short of the glory of God.  I challenge you to seek God’s love and love God.  It’s what He longs for.  Also to love everyone.  Don’t live your life in fear.  Love the unlovely, love the murderer, love the drug dealer, the homeless, the sex offender.

I am not saying that you have to agree or like what they did or the habits they have.  Just don’t let those things stop you from showing God’s love towards them.  There is good in everyone.  I see it everyday.  The gang member who could easily kill you, gives you a hug.  That happened to me today!  One gave me a hug and said, “Happy Birthday, Eddie!”

All I can say is God has been at work in our relationship.  God’s love is so powerful, it can move mountains!  What I say to the refugee situation… Don’t put them in the “Other” category.  Do anything you can to welcome them and love them.  Do not fear.

I love you all!

Love, Eddie