I received a letter yesterday from a prisoner in Illinois. Such notes tear me up. Having visited a few state prisons, such has left an indelible imprint on my heart. Guilty or not, to see grown men caged like zoo animals is a horrendous vision.
The note came from the son of a former classmate whom I baptized just before his death to cancer. Rich faces 11 years for DUI. He's getting by....moment by moment....day by day.
Such scenes sadden me. Another scene does the same; those who live as if imprisoned without bars locking them down. This is the prison of the mind. It doesn't strike a certain social class or ethnic group. Such a prison is unbiased. It enjoys taking the top-of-the-line hostage as well as the down-and-out.
How do we break out? How do we escape self-sentencing? Rejoice. Learn to rejoice over every thing rejoiceable. Practice rejoicing. Peace moves in; fear evaporates.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let you mind dwell on these things.....practice these things and the God of peace shall be with you.
Practice rejoicing over the many good things....you'll find the prison bars will fly open voluntarily!