17 Jan 2018
A little boy found his father’s old collection of comic books in the basement. There were old Superman and Archie comic books alongside the Fantastic Four and Batman comics. All were sealed in plastic sleeves to prevent mold and dirt from destroying them. The son asked his father what these old comic books were worth. What was their value? The father replied, “They are worth what one person is willing to pay for them.”
What is a person worth? What are we worth? What are you worth? Do you ever sit alone after a tough day or in the midst of a busy life and ponder the question, “What am I worth?” Most of us do from time to time. The problem is that we look for the answers in the wrong places. In secular society the answer to “value” question is wrapped up in what our jobs are, or how much money we earn or how beautiful we are. Sometimes we flash the Rolex we wear to garner value from others. Sometimes we brag about the vacation spots we have visited or the new cars we are driving. In a world driven by advertising these are the answers put forth.
Big problem is all these things never satisfy. There is always someone with a more expensive car, flashier watch and bigger house. It is a fool’s game that leaves us feeling like we are hamsters on an exercise wheel. So what is the source of true value and significance?
The answer is found at the Cross of Christ. Remember, the power of the cross is that although we were more sinful than we ever dared think…God loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son to pay the penalty for our sin. God wanted relationship with us…valued us so much…that Jesus laid down His life voluntarily so that we would be in relationship with Him forever. This ultimate gift of love cannot be equaled and is the immovable rock that stands with us when times are good…but more importantly…when times are tough. God demonstrates our value to Him and His love for us on the Cross of Calvary.
28 Dec 2015
Sin is rarely a one-shot deal. On Wall Street they have a saying about bad news being revealed by a corporation. It is call the Cockroach Theory…because “there is always more than one.” That means that when a company announces bad news…there is almost assuredly more bad news to follow!
We are probably involved with repeated sin. Maybe our drug addiction led us down the slippery slope. Maybe our rage ate away at us and led us into sin. Maybe it was our lust or our greed. We’ve tried to change, but we can’t make it work. We become discouraged and hopeless. We begin to think that maybe we are hopeless too. Worthless. And that attitude is not what we need to get beyond the guilt and stain of our sin.
Read King David’s prayer written down in Psalm 51. It points us in the right direction. We need not only forgiveness but also cleansing. We need new hearts.
Only God can give us new hearts—clean hearts—with new attitudes and new values. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, He wants to give us spiritual heart transplants so that His desires will flow through us, directing our emotions and actions. He wants His thoughts to fill our minds.
David also knew he needed a “right spirit.” He needed to have God touch his attitudes.
We need that touch too. Often our spirits are full of negativity, hate, selfishness, greed, and lust. We need God to give us spirits that are full of hope, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and self-control. We need attitudes that help us reach out to each other, help us think the best about each other, and help us trust that God will use our lives to accomplish His good purposes. We need “right spirits.”
28 Apr 2015
One of the most bandied about accusations against belief in the Living God goes something like this… “Why is there so much misery in the world? I cannot believe in a God who allows such suffering in the world.”
Well, there is no doubt that the misery and suffering around the world is acute and growing. The number of poor, hungry, disenfranchised and the number of people in prison continues to climb every year…and that’s just in the USA? Around the world all we have to look at is Syria, ISIS and the Sudan to confirm that misery and suffering are rampant.
But, why do we always blame God for this and point and accusing finger at the Creator of the Universe? After all, didn’t God create (at least until Adam/Eve screwed it up) a perfect world? God’s perfect world had no sin and such harmony between man and beast that they were both created to eat plants…not each other? You could make the case that God intended us to all be vegetarian. If you consult Genesis 1: 29-30 you will see that was the case: Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. It was only later, after the Fall and after God destroyed the world with the Flood that he permitted Noah to eat animals. Read Genesis 9:3, “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”
God wrote the perfect script. He penned the perfect symphony. We messed it up. Then, God sends His Son Jesus to clean up our mess…rewrite the script, so to speak… and provide a way out of our sin…pay the price for our misdeeds…and we kill Him. Seems like God has done His bit to alleviate the suffering of the world (See John 3:16).
I think the problem of suffering and misery is real. But instead of pointing a finger at God and asking Him why He’s no doing anything about it, God may want to ask us the same question. “Why is there so much suffering and misery in the world, Jim?” This could very well be the question God asks me and perhaps, some of YOU when we stand before Him. Given the resources He has entrusted to us…it would be a fair, penetrating and convicting question. What would be our answer?
Occasionally God allows us to glimpse the fruit of our labors for Him. This letter came unsolicited from the fiancé of an inmate in an AZ prison who found a copy of Doing His Time devotional in Spanish. We are grateful to God for allowing us to be of service by providing the Gospel to these men and women through the book. Thank you for helping us with your support so that we can continue to offer this devotional free of charge to chaplains, prison ministries and inmates around the world.
I am so very grateful for your ministry!
My fiancé is in prison and is reading your book “Cumpliendo SU Tiempo”, along with the Bible.
Thank you so very much!
If you are able to send me your book, in English, and in Spanish too if possible so that I may read and discuss it that way and that would be wonderful!
If only one is able to be provided please send me the English version.
Oscar is in the Gila Unit of the ASPC in Douglas Arizona. I moved to be near him about one year ago.
Through you God is bringing him unto Christ….and to you I am eternally grateful. May God bless you for all of your loving kindness.
In Christ Jesus our Lord,
If you’d like a copy of Doing HIS Time: Meditations and Prayers for Men and Women in Prison. (available in English, Spanish and six other languages), click here to send us a request.
25 Nov 2014
Here is a little look behind the walls this Holiday Season…The Holidays are a joyful time for many of us, but a desperately depressing time for those in prison. More than 90% of all inmates NEVER get a letter or a visit while they are in prison. Over 90%…
This is my friend Timothy Callis, who, since the age of 12, has spent all but two of his 55 years either in juvenile lockup or state prison. Tim committed a heinous crime when he was seventeen and was sentence to 25-life in Colorado. While in prison, he became of follower of Jesus and that one decision changed his life.
Last month, Tim went before the Parole Board for the seventh time. His parole plan resembled a Harvard term paper. Our ministry committed to hire him. He has skills as a barber, forklift operator and injection-molding operator that make him an ideal candidate for long-term success on the outside. The parole board denied him access to go to Community Corrections. In essence, they decided that it is in the best interests of the safety of the people of Colorado to spend another $60,750 for the next two years to keep Tim locked up, rather than partially release him into our care, and let him become a contributing member of society.
I am not here to argue the merits of the Parole Board’s decision, rather, I want to give you a glimpse into someone that you will probably never meet and to give you an opportunity to really live out Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, where He said, “I was in prison and you visited me.” Drop Tim Callis a post card, a Christmas card or letter with the simple message, “You are not forgotten.” Or “we are praying for your disappointment. Take heart”
Timothy R. Callis #45745
Fremont Correctional Facility, Unit 7
P.O. Box 999
Canon City, CO 81215-0999
No need to include your return address, but your thoughtfulness in taking a few moments for Tim will send a beam of light into the darkness for which there can be no substitute.
Together in HIS Service
12 Nov 2014
Is there a hunger and desire for the truth of Jesus inside prison walls? Inside Journal the in-prison newspaper published and distributed by Prison Fellowship Ministries ran an ad for our prison devotional offering to send it free of charge to any inmate who requested a copy. What you see in the picture is one day’s mail! Over 200 requests from women and men incarcerated in prisons from Maine to California. We are overjoyed with their response and will send each one their own copy.
Would any of you like to make a difference in an inmate’s Christmas this year? For only $6.00 you can send a copy of our daily devotional, Doing HIS Time, Meditations and Prayers for Men and Women in Prison to an inmate requesting a copy. For $150.00, you can send a case of 52 copies to the chaplain or volunteer coordinator at a prison. Feel free to donate online or write us at DHT, PO Box 51509, Santa Barbara, CA 93190.
Thank you in advance for “kneeling with those who’ve stumbled.”
Together in HIS Service.
23 Oct 2014
Last week I had the privilege of being in the DHT HQ in Wheat Ridge for five days interviewing and speaking to the many Barn-A-Bus riders and 72 Hour Fund clients. There was Willy (all names have been changed) who was homeless and without good shoes. He was dirty, smelled like he could use a shower and had the ghost of desperation in his eyes. When he was shown the cloths room and understood that there was not charge, he winced and stood a little straighter. 72 Hour Fund was able to be the face and hands of Jesus with new shoes, cloths a backpack filled with hygiene items. Bus tokens and a winter coat. He refused a housing voucher, saying he preferred living rough.
Priscilla, only a month out of prison, was wary as she stepped inside our offices. She was emerging from a world where no one shared anything without exacting a big price, so she was understandably skeptical. But our staff made her feel accepted and loved, without judgment. She brightened and wandered through the cloths room, looking for dressy cloths in which she might be interviewed for a new job. Her eyes filled with tears as she gazed at the racks of women’s cloths, belts, shoes, and winter coats available to her for FREE. She found an outfit that gave her confidence, as well as casual cloths and a coat to shield her from the coming winter in Colorado. We pray that she will use these to get a good job and stay out of prison.
We had a visit from Luis and Amanda who ride the Barn-A-Bus to see their son inside a prison over 200 miles away. They cried when I asked them what they would do without BAB. They simply said they could not afford the cost of a drive, and at 75 years old, did not have the stamina for such a long round trip journey. One other mother, named Miranda, broke into sobs as she described the heartache of having three of her sons in prison, one for 30 years.
We are on track to serve over 1,500 women and men through 72 Hour Fund and 2,000 riders on Barn-a-Bus in 2014. Thank you for walking along side us and these people who are the sheep Jesus refers to in Matthew 25.
Together in HIS Service,