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Food for the Soul: A Series of Lenten Meditations (Day 21-Day 30 )

Day 21

While waiting for the Lord, what do you spend your time doing? The time you spend working, watching TV with your family, or in leisure activities, is "quality" time.

Here are some examples of how I spend my quality time. I start my morning thanking the Lord for another beautiful day, and I ask him what I can do for him today. Next, I read my devotionals: Our Daily Bread and Today. Then I do my Bible study.

When I work, I meditate on God's Word. When I watch TV, I meditate on God's Word and read my pocket Bible during the commercials. When I'm with my family, I thank God for His many blessings; and when I'm participating in leisure activities, I look to find the Lord in whatever I'm doing.

Remember to meditate on God's Word, always. When you're doing something, ask yourself if it's something Jesus would do with you. If you do these things, your "quality" time will be well spent.

Prayer: Lord, show me your perfect will, so my "quality" time will be well spent. I ask this in Jesus Christ's name. AMEN.

Day 22

Waiting is all I have left for the next few years. How shall I do my waiting? I could get into trouble, but what good could that do me in here? None! Waiting for my turn to see the real world is the longest time that I have ever considered. Years will pass, and troubles will cross my path on the road to a new beginning. The people I will meet during my time will be either friend or foe. So I look to him, and he gives me patience and understanding to forgive those who would cause me harm.

The best waiting I have done so far is through Jesus, the Son of God. Even though a new obstacle is thrown into my path daily, I give it to the Lord. God has shown me that only through him will I have a glorious day.

Prayer: Lord, lead me through the day with a clear focus on you, forgiving those who do me wrong. AMEN.

Day 23

I've been waiting for 13 years to be returned to my family. My five children have grown up. Life can seem cruel sometimes, but I put myself here. I've learned to be responsible for myself and that I don't need to, and can't, change others. During this time, I need to grow up. I've got to take the time to read, pray, and study, to be acceptable to God. I need to be a man who will not be ashamed when rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

I have not heard from my family in over two years, but I won't give up. I will continue to write to them and to exhort them in the faith. I will continue to trust in the Lord with all my whole heart and lean not unto my own understanding. In all my ways, I'll acknowledge Him, and He shall direct my paths. For His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my paths. Never give up when times get hard. Keep the faith and continue to press into God.

Prayer: Lord, keep us close to your heart so that we will obey your voice by loving Jesus. AMEN.

Day 24

It was in the year of 1978. The weather was snowing, blowing, and cold, like seeing a black cat on a black street. My feet were blue, and my hands were black and blue because of being wet and cold.

As I was sitting by a window, I saw nothing but the cold emptiness of covering snow. But the fire was nice and hot, with the comforting sounds of a lot of popping and crackling. I had waited so long for this comfort; and it felt so good as I was sitting there, because I had walked about five miles in the cold and wet snow. But the wait was well rewarded. Now I was safe and warm.

It's kind of like that in prison now for me as I'm getting my life back together. Before, life was cold and empty because I couldn't see. Now, life with the Lord is warm, safe and comforting, no matter how bad other people try to make it. The wait has been well rewarded.

Prayer: My Father, help me to keep seeing your way in all I do. AMEN.

Day 25

When I was arrested and placed back in jail, I couldn't even pray. I couldn't stop thinking about my daughter. The closest I came to prayer was asking God, "Why?"

I had to wait 35 more days to see the board. In that time, I felt like I was going to lose it. I was looking at up to four years if my street time was taken too. I was listening to the devil's lies through other people.

I knew I had to come to my senses and call on God for peace and for his will to be done. I began praying and putting my weight on his shoulders. He has worked in many ways since, bringing people into my life and favor within the parole board. I've been continued six months and will stay busy in the meantime with a good job and lots of support.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on me and for showing me your goodness once again. AMEN.

Day 26

March 11, 2002: I had my good-bye visit with my 3-year-old son, Sunny. On that day, I had gone to court and voluntarily terminated my parental rights, while serving a nine-year prison sentence. That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

But I know in my heart that I did what was best for my son and his future. After I terminated my parental rights, I had no idea who the state was going to allow to adopt my son. My cousin had done a home study and was willing to adopt my son. I prayed that God would allow my cousin to adopt my son. If she did, I knew he would be raised in a stable Christian home.

I waited after court and kept praying and trusting in God, that He would take care of Sunny, because he was God's child as well. During a weekend phone call home two weeks later, my mom told me that my cousin would be adopting my son. Praise God, my prayer had been answered. My heart was at complete ease.

Writing this devotional, months later, made me think of asking myself, "If I trust my child being in God's hands, why shouldn't I trust him with everything?"

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you will guide me to continue to place my whole trust in you today, and every day, and that you will have your way with me. AMEN.

Day 27

I had a lot of trouble believing that I could be forgiven. I did not have the belief that Jesus loved me, but now I see. Through friends and the pastor, I found belief.

I try now and hope to see more clearly how much he loves me. His love helps me also get through the days. This love will always shine in me even as an inmate. He loves me and has faith in me. He loves all God's children.

Prayer: Gracious God, let your love shine on us forever and ever. AMEN.

Day 28

God causes all things to work together for good for those who love him. When things look bad, remember for each one of us, God is good. God has a special formula for each and every one of our lives. There is only one recipe, Romans 6-28. Certain ingredients get added one at a time; God gives them as we need them to go into our lives. And as each one is mixed in, there are new challenges, trials, and tests. We just have to believe that each one works together for good.

God is good. There is purpose to be found in each heartache. There is meaning to be found in each tear. As our Savior, Jesus experienced them all for us and always knows what is best. We can learn so many precious lessons from God, who brings us wisdom because of his Word.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that because of Jesus Christ, I can smile, even though all looks hopeless. AMEN.

Day 29

After I was sentenced and was being transported to the women's correctional facility, this terrifying fear came over me. This was my first time ever going to prison. I thought about the horror stories that I had heard from all the ladies in the county jail.

My walk was very new with the Lord. I didnt know how to pray. All I kept thinking about was the Scripture that I had memorized the week before —Isaiah 41:10:
"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed.
I am your God. I will help you and strengthen you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I quoted this verse the whole time we traveled.

When we arrived, I stepped off the bus and felt the presence of the Lord within me. All fear was gone, except for the goodness found in fearing the Lord.

So let me just encourage you all, even though you don't always feel that God is near you. He is right there, and all you have to do is trust him and take him at his word. God loves us and will never leave us, nor will he forsake us.

Prayer: 0 God, thank you for promising to never leave us alone and for always being near. Remind us that your Perfect love casts out all human fear and that in your presence is peace. AMEN.

Day 30

How great is the faithfulness of God? From before the beginning of the world to the end of time, God has been, and is always, faithful to us. That's 100%. How could we not trust in perfection!

New cars eventually rust, wear out and are scrapped. New homes can become run down, fall down or even burn. A new relationship with God only gets better and better. God never fades or wears away.

Our understanding of the things in this world and our trusting in those things is only temporary. They can't last very long. But God is faithful, true and everlasting. So trust in the Lord with all your heart; in work, at play, in decisions, in all we do. Trust only in him.

God's will and wisdom provides for all our needs in life. In Proverbs 3:5-6, we learn that he will make all the rough places smooth and the crooked paths straight for us if we trust in him. Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, the Light no darkness can overcome. He proves his faithfulness to us by continuing to love us.

Prayer: Father God, when I cannot see because I am staying in my own way, help me to see with the eyes of my heart that I may again more fully trust in you, for you love me and are faithful. AMEN.

Food for the Soul: A Series of Lenten Meditations
Copyright © 2003
Prison Congregations of America.
Used with permission.

Categories: Lent - Easter - Holy Week