Tag Archives: #prisoners

Our Presence and Purpose is Powerful!

Our Presence and Purpose is Powerful!

1 John 4:7

When we love one another, we remember we are not fighting for just ourselves, but we are fighting for humanity that the Word calls for in 1 John 4:7.

Did you know that, according to one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which surveyed adults across the U.S. in late June of 2020, 31% of respondents reported some form of mental health care symptoms and are in need of proper mental health treatment?

And with the largest mental health institution in the United States being our prison system, the sobering number of unmet mental health needs is heartbreaking.

The beloveds that Blameless and Forever Free Ministries pours into may be imprisoned and/or recently released from state prison, but the connective tissue of true rehabilitation is in the transforming of one’s mind requiring relational community.

Every individual who has been incarcerated has a great need for appropriate mental health care treatment both during their incarceration and once released back into community.

Let’s face it, if you’ve committed a crime, there’s trauma behind it.

And to love one another, forgiveness is necessary (not negating the crime) along with meeting them right where they are at developmentally.

Building healthy individuals and families should be our number one priority so we have a fighting chance at safer communities and developing healthy generations.  

Future generations, meaning YOUR children and your children’s children, are being formed this very moment and what those little eyes see and hear now matters.

Until next time…

A Labor Of Love…

2020 sits heavy for many of us as it has been a hard year filled with challenges and unknowns. We mourn the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its relentless rage throughout our communities; a year filled with natural disasters and significant loss of life and nature due to the wildfires and hurricanes; and we especially grieve the loss of beloveds who have died as a result of police violence, hate and division.  

But there has been sparks of hope… 

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries always believes 'tis the season to say thanks

Before our Beautiful Jesus came to save us, there was darkness and unrest, kind of like our chaos nowadays.  “People thought they knew what they needed, but the actuality of the birth of Jesus Christ and how He would rescue us eluded them.”

But those sparks of hope have been radiated throughout the shifting and building of Blameless’ community that is transforming and restoring lives through restorative justice practices and trauma-informed care.  

As we have plowed through disheartening, troubling times that have been rather confusing, our eyes have been inspired with hope for what we value:  Restored and Redeemed lives! 

Watching team members embrace their gifts and experience blessings and further healing themselves while helping facilitate healing to our incarcerated community and victims of crime has been powerful recognizing how we all make up a part of the Body of Christ with our unique gifts that only each person possesses. Tapping into power!  

And to hear how our incarcerated started an accountability group because our physical presence was thwarted to actively answer the calling for God in speaking truth to power and spreading messages of faith, hope, and justice was confirmation of our most treasured and valuable investment: The spiritual lives of people effected by crime and violence.

Hurt People May Hurt People, Healed People Heal, and Transformed Lives Transform Culture!

That’s letting God’s presence bring order to our thoughts, infusing His peace into our entire being, and pausing to embrace and absorb this priceless Gift of God, Jesus Christ, as our greatest gift.

Jesus was born in filth, disease and decay (like us today).  Mary may have delivered and brought down heaven, but it was not in conditions that were indicative of any kingdom affluence and/or privilege.  

It was not a silent night…

There was blood on the ground

You could hear a woman cry

In the alleyways that night

On the streets of David’s town.

And the stable was not clean

And the cobblestones were cold

And little Mary full of grace

With the tears upon her face

Had no mother’s hand to hold.

It was a labor of pain…

It was a cold sky above

But for the girl on the ground in the dark

With every beat of her beautiful heart

It was a labor of love…

Noble Joseph by her side

Calloused hands and weary eyes

There were no midwives to be found

On the streets of David’s town

In the middle of the night.

So he held her and he prayed

Shafts of moonlight on his face

But the baby in her womb

He was the Maker of the moon

He was the Author of the faith

That could make the mountains move.

It was a labor of pain…

It was a cold sky above

But for the girl on the ground in the dark

With every beat of her beautiful heart

It was a labor of love…

For little Mary full of grace

With the tears upon her face

It was not a silent night on the streets of David’s Town;

It was a Labor of Love!

It was nothing short of a Labor of Love.  Mary pondered everything the angel Gabriel delivered, the words of Elizabeth, the shepherds’ pronouncements, and the prophetic words of the Old Testament.  She kept tapping into these treasures seared into her heart along with her faith and trust in God. 

These treasures Mary held near to her heart are what kept her brave and strong. This radiance is what both held and lit the way during darkness. 

We may not understand everything, but we can love and support while believing in others because Jesus radiates within our souls.

“When the divine life possesses the soul, it flows over in gracious ministries among our fellowmen.  The affluence becomes an influence importing itself to others.” – John Henry Jowett

Jesus appeared insignificant to the world and yet, He is the most precious and priceless gift one could ever receive.  Without His Love, we could not love.  Without His forgiveness, we could not forgive and release the imprisonment of rage and bitterness.  Without His Love, we wouldn’t have forgiveness, deliverance, and removal of guilt.  Plus, when we trust in Christ for salvation, we become the Father’s beloved children.

Jesus knows what we will need during times of darkness and unrest.  We may feel too lost, alone and overwhelmed to celebrate Christmas because we think we know what we need right at this moment to guard our hearts, but the actuality of the birth of Jesus Christ and how He will rescue us eludes us.

How is God’s gracious presence being displayed through our lives?

Here Mary, full of grace and God’s favor, pondered in her heart all these treasures and tucked them into folds of her heart that kept her brave and strong.  This radiance is what both held and lit the way during darkness. 

If Mary was highly favored and didn’t understand the gravity and depth of what her son was going to do, how can we relate that back to those who have hurt people because they’re hurt and not allow God’s grace and power to transform today’s offender into tomorrow’s neighbor? 

Maybe we should choose to believe God’s Word instead of our own paralyzing and restricting fears, fears of inadequacy, and/or fears of change.  

Mary mirrored what her relationship with God offered; she believed and trusted Him!  Also, she chose to rely on the truths and promises of God:  God loves me, He chose me, God is with me and will not forsake me.  Nothing is impossible with God. This is not because of my own strength, but because of His presence. 

Think about the following words…

Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

And this child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

And when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God?

Oh, Mary, did you know? 

Oh, Mary did not know, yet she focused on God’s Great Love and Promises!

We will never know what God is up to unless we trust Him wholeheartedly. Yes, even when it hurts. Christmas is God’s message to us of His relentless Love.

God was first wounded by the unfaithfulness of His beloveds, and then wounded again by trading His very life for theirs, while knowing that they may very well refuse His Great Love again and turn their backs. Yet, He never stops pursuing us because He gave us this precious gift called Immanuel, “God with us.”

Merry Christmas!