Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Be With You"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 1:79 – [A light] to shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet [in a straight line] into the way of peace and serenity. (AMP)
I was hired on a short-term contract to catalog a prison library in a federal penitentiary with an inmate crew to help me. The men lived in the cell block that my husband guarded. "Anything that you tell me will go straight to him," I warned them. After completing his PhD, he had become a prison guard, so I followed him in, not long after, to try and understand why he'd make such a choice after long years of study. Now, I sat with the men around a table piled with books, while I taught them the Dewey Decimal System — and they began to recite the stories of their crimes.
There, down in the bowels of the prison, I countered with the story of my own life, starting with "Today, I have a choice." I thought of that as I heard their accounts of thievery, betrayals, robberies, cruelties, injustices, assaults and batteries, arrests, hatreds, desertions, and murders. It was as though they were compelled to tell whoever would listen about the worst things that they'd ever chosen to do — especially to tell me, an older woman, a grandmother figure. Often the only people who had cared about them in their lives had been their grandmothers.
"I am what you call a 'straight'," I told them, once I saw how all their stories went. "I choose to obey God in every area of my life." I prayed for them and shared what the "straight life" is all about. Every single one of the gospels mentions the "straight" paths of the Lord. Then, in Acts 9:11, the Lord sends Saul of Tarsus to the street called "Straight" when he turns from his persecution of Christians. What a privilege to be allowed in such company! I said it all again for the last time, when my contract was up, hugging them individually and reminding them that they had a choice.
Not long ago, a young man began walking me home after 12-step meetings, telling me about his decision towards corruption — the same boastful spin that the others had had. Since the prison, I no longer waste time pretending that heading towards evil, away from God, isn't a matter of life or death — the most serious business. He laughed when I finished. I was an old lady. He had years ahead of him, he said, to change his mind.
Last week, his picture was in the paper: murdered, suddenly, in the middle of the day, not far from where we'd last talked.
God has never told us how long the life that He has given us will be, nor do we know the length of anyone else's. So, let us prayerfully take every opportunity to share our faith and hope.
Ecclesiastes 1:15a – If something is crooked, you cannot say it is straight. (ERV)
Prayer: Dear God of our salvation, how thankful we are for the straight talk in Your Word about the freedom that You offer us to turn from our sin, to forsake any path leading away from You, and to accept the grace that You offer us through Christ, in Whose name, we pray. Amen.
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Great words of wisdom, Rose.
Bless you, Rose, for another awesome testimony.
Very moving story, Rose. God bless you and your family!
Great story and great truth Rose. Thanks so much for sharing.
Moved to tears by this one…very close to home for me. Thank you for sharing your strength and hope today!
Yep, no matter what our limitations or justifications are, we are all accountable to God, aren’t we?
Blessings to you, Rose.
A wonderful, from the heart, straight message, Rose. Thank you!
I could hardly believe the theme of your writing today. I hadn’t been off the phone an hour where I had been talking about this very thing with my daughter. Thank you for the reinforcement. God’s timing is always perfect!
Isn’t it just like God to take us on certain adventures, journeys, and into the “bowels” of a prison, to give us opportunity to do His Holy work?
Thank you for sharing your life example of this very thing.
Thank you so much for your devotionals. Today’s devotional certainly shows that God loves those who are off the straight paths and sends special people like you to show them his love which also involves giving warnings. Looking forward to your next devotional.
Thank you for this very interesting and mindful devotional. I am sure working among those prisoners would be quite an experience and a time to share God’s word. Sorry to hear about the young man losing his life and sadly there is so much of that these days.
Blessings to you for spreading God’s word and stressing the “straight path”.
Good morning Rose. your devotional once again piqued my interest. I also worked for the Correctional Service of Canada several years ago. I visited Ontario Region several times.
I found my time with this department to be my favourite experience in the FPS. I remember seeing an inmate’s Birthday card from his parents. It hit me like a bolt of lightning – these people have family who love them.
As always Rose, I so enjoy your posts.
Wow, Rose! What a devotional! Praise God you got to talk to the young man before his untimely demise. Thank you for sharing this message. Your devotionals are always so interesting and inspiring to read!
God bless you as you grow to know Him more and more!
Thank you for writing of something close to your heart. And you know it is close to the heart of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who cares deeply.
Please keep writing.
What an amazing story, Rose.