Greetings again my Brethren. Three times a month Karen and I drive 1 1/2 hours one way to Craven Correctional Institution (used to be called Craven Prison) to share the Word of God with the inmates. What a wonderful opportunity to share the Word of God with these men. I have seen there is more of a hunger and love for the Word of God in most prison than in most churches we have ministered in. One message I often feel to share with the inmates is God must put us in a fix so He can fix us. I will let that sink in a minute before I drive on. But, this is true God must be able (our choice) to get us in a bind so that He can straighten us out. My Bible Teacher Charles Haun always said, “the bottom of the barrel always offers the best view of God.” Something about allowing (our choice) God to get us in a fix that really opens up our eyes to our “true” need for God. Last month we looked at a pleasant place to have God work on us, the palace. I mean who would not want God to work on them in the courts of the king? In the lap of luxury? Well, this month we will look at a making place of God that most people would not want God to lead them too and that is a prison. A place most people shun, but not so in the Bible. Paul spent most of his latter years in prison or chained to a Roman solider. As a matter of fact, Paul was in prison when he was beheaded. Paul and usually a companion, no matter where they would go would end up in a prison for some time. But in time God would deliver them. You know many Christians want God to be with them, but rarely do anything that would necessitate God to do anything miraculous to deliver them. Oh no, we just want to go to church one time a week, sing the three fast ones and slow one, pass the plate, hear some announcements and maybe a 15-20 minute sermon, then rush off to a restaurant, beating the others churches to lunch, while feel good about ourselves for going to church. Does this sound like your Sunday routine my friend? If so, maybe you should do something for God where you will end up in a prison like Jospeh, Paul and Peter? In the Book of Acts there seems to be a relationship with prisons and witnessing of the Gospel. I wonder what God is trying to teach us about witnessing? At the same time there is a relationship with prisons and God delivering people out of prison in special ways. In Acts, the transition Book between the Old and New Testament, we see a wonderful story where Peter was thrown in prison, but God delivered him from his prison. You know God is really good at delivering us from different types of prisons if we have allowed God to work in our lives. Here though, it was a physical prison, but I am sure when Peter was delivered

he was developed inwardly the more. Luke writes, but was not there, “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 8And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 9And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. 10When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. 11And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” (Acts 12:5-11) In verse seven the Angel of the LORD arrived just in time while Peter was in prison and not before and delivered him. My friend God wants our journey through life to be a meaningful experience so that we can learn of Him and His ways. If Peter had not gone to prison then Peter would not come to know God as a deliverer. Want to know God? Well, get sick then you can come to know God as a healer. Want to know God as a provider, well go bankrupt. Want to know God, well God has a special way to come to know Him. In verse 11 Peter said, “I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me” what a place in God to come to know God (and only God) has delivered us. Well, that place is in a prison God has especially prepared just for us.

More next month as we look at a storm and other diversities of circumstances in the months to come. Are you there my friend? In tough situations and circumstances? Have you heard His voice? Listen closely and you will. Written by David Stahl