God saw what he had made
And it was good.
The frame gave it away
Unique to the artist.
He could see the picture
He could see his own work.
He said that he could restore it
And I had to trust him.
Happy 3rd Birthday Time For Change!
These walls of bricks and iron bars that a prison do make
Constrain and constrict me physically and my liberty do take.
My soul though belongs to the Lord, so make no mistake
That my spirit nor powers of hell or even Satan himself can break.
For a man seeking liberty leaves prison life only to find
Himself still trapped inside the dark recesses of his own mind.
On the other hand, a man of faith seeking God can plainly see
Though his body is in chains, Jesus sets his heart free.
Here’s the latest TFC update letter
I’ve been painting a gate this weekend. As I did it, it occurred to me that if gates could cry, this one would have been bawling at the pain of change. It was happy being red and looking scruffy, getting on with life and serving it’s purpose well enough. But it’s owner decided that in order for it to survive another winter, change was required – a new coat of paint. The quickest and least painful way to do that would have been to slap a coat of paint on top of the existing one and call it an improvement. It would have looked better for a while. Until the winter when the problems under the surface would reveal themselves in the storms, as old paint continued to peel wrecking the new, allowing the rot to continue.
Doing a lot of reading about suffering for something I’m writing atm, and finding Tim Keller’s book really helpful.
‘while Christianity never claims to offer a full explanation of all God’s reasons behind every instance of evil and suffering – it does have a final answer to it.’ Keller 2013, p 158.
Follow the link to an article about how churches can support prison ministry.
I’ve had a wonderful trip,
but it’s time to pack up and say goodbye…
The Guilt and Forgiveness course finished well this afternoon! 12 women graduated and each received a certificate. They have heard the good news about Jesus Christ clearly and the group said that doing the course has helped them to forgive themselves and others. It’s been a great week, Louie has done marvels with translating and lives have been changed. Praise God!
I have to admit it’s been incredibly hot at times though! (35C under a tin roof!).
The Guilt and Forgiveness course is going well, half way through now. Working out some language issues as we go – the word ‘remorse’ doesn’t translate, and magsisisi means ‘regret’ and ‘repent’!!!
We’ve done session 1&2 of the Guilt and Forgiveness course with a group of women today – it’s going well! We’ve defined guilt and forgiveness and heard the good news about Jesus. Rain stopped play for 5 mins when the washing had to be got in – never had that happen before!
Thank you for praying – please don’t stop!
We’re back with them on Weds, when we’ll be looking at King David’s sin with Bathsheba / arranging a hit on her husband and his repentance / forgiveness from God.
We went to Iba jail this morning, our first jail visit of the trip. I explained to the prisoners that I was glad to be back with them, but I know that they were not so glad to be there… Gave a talk on Romans 6, translated by Louie, hard to tell how it was received, but I could see that some were following it.
Looking forward to running the Guilt & Forgiveness course next week in 164 jail – I’ve discovered that there’s no word in Tagalog for guilt, so I’ve had to re-jig Session 1 already, to teach what guilt is, rather than ask the group to tell me what it is!! I foresaw some issues to running the course in another language and culture, but that wasn’t one of them!!
Went to the boys house today to play with the boys and chat with some of the house parents. Played scrabble with a group of boys, some really young, and their English is so good that they were finding words to play that I couldn’t see on my board! Connect4 also seems to be a hit. Both games were very fluid in who was playing them – the scrabble players changed completely somewhere during the game!
We went to the Wea village this morning. Mid 2103 there was a mudslide that crushed the houses of a Wea community on the shore and killed 9 children, who were involved in the POC children’s outreach. POC have since been supporting the families, including helping them to build houses, now up a hill. A new village has sprung up.
Chrissy and her team meet every Wednesday with the Wea people, and we joined her today. We spent some time worshipping in Tagalog, and then some of the women spoke about how God is helping them at the moment. Then I spoke about ‘Hunger for the word of God’, explaining that ‘Word of God’ has 2 meanings – it means ‘the Bible’ and it is a title of Jesus, who is God incarnate. Louie is my translator.
Finally arrived in the Philippines after a LONG journey! Got to Subic at 10pm and went to bed almost immediately. Middle of the night woke up, wondering why I’m here, so read some Bible. Got an answer, thank you Lord, Isaiah 43:6-7, ‘Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’ It’s for God’s glory.
Just noticed why God forgives us: ‘I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.’ Isaiah 43:25. Wow, I need to process that information!
Really looking forward to my trip to the Philippines – 3 and a bit weeks to go!
This is part 1 of the DVD for week 1 of ‘The Prisoner’s Journey’, Prison Fellowship International’s program to reach a million prisoners by 2020:
I’m planning another trip to the Philippines at Easter, to work alongside the jail ministry team of Philippine Outreach Centre Ministries, based in Subic.
Really looking forward to seeing everyone again and visiting the jails that I’ve been to so many times before!
Keep an eye on The Blog around that time for updates on what’s going on!
The pain of guilt is something that no medication can relieve,
the drugs will only blind you, your lack of sight you cannot perceive.
Just embrace the truth of the Gospel, in Jesus repent and believe,
the Father’s arms are open, through His Grace forgiveness you achieve.
The debility of guilt with time will leave you totally incapacitated,
With no amount of alcohol drunk, will your thirst ever be satiated.
The cloud in your head clears, and coldness within is accentuated,
the only Spirit that warms the soul is Holy, and from the Father,
through the Son, forgiveness is radiated.