Positioned for Growth in the Corrections Environment

Our service in corrections is carried out in a harsh environment.  As an officer, so much of our time is spent in this place of isolation, where we are often short-staffed, and without the encouragement of someone one coming to minister to us.  Consider with me that we can grow even here in this place, totally dependent on God, just as a lily.  Matthew 6:28b “…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.”

Lilies grow in some harsh environments, with no one attending to them.  No one is there weeding around them, picking the bugs off, or cultivating them.  Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

The word arrayed here and in Revelation 7:9-14 indicates “beauty.” “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes…. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” We don’t have to have people around us to help us grow; many martyrs died alone, continuing to grow, even in the pain of death.  A person doesn’t carry on to death in strength unless they are growing.  Even in death, they got closer to the Lord; we can also as corrections officers.

Lilies can be found growing in a rocky area, without much dirt.  It’s amazing how hard it is to uproot them, growing and holding tight where you wouldn’t think.  It wasn’t ideal conditions, but they are still growing and strong because nutrients were there. If we are going to grow while fulfilling our duties in the corrections environment, we will need to get our roots down deep in the Word of God to have the supply of necessary nutrients.

“How in the world?” is an old saying that I’ve heard for a long time.  How in the world do they grow? We have considered the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, they spin not.  Now let’s consider ourselves:  Even though it is a rough, unnatural, and seemingly forsaken place, we know God has ordained our position in this service of corrections (Romans 13).  God provides everything we need to grow in this world of corrections.  We are not of the world, but we are in it right now.  I Peter 2:2: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” There are times when growth is slow, but we can grow where God has planted us, right here in midst of serving in corrections, even though there are extreme difficulties, pressures, and circumstances.

Why do we grow anything?  Certainly, it is to produce mature plants for our pleasure and benefit.  God wants us to grow for His pleasure and our benefit.

It pleases God when we grow and we get the benefits!  What are some of the benefits of growth?

  •   Peace of mind
  •   Comfort
  •   Wisdom
  •   Discernment
  •   Freedom from the world
  •   Freedom from things that addict us

As we grow, God may use us to help a fellow officer be encouraged and strengthened in the hard and rocky soil, or perhaps we could help one get the bugs picked off his leaves, so he can thrive. Proverbs 27:17Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” We can benefit from each other.  Even as we are desiring to grow and doing the things needed for growth to take place, we may find ourselves getting angry at work, losing it, and blowing up.  You may sometimes tell yourself as I have, “I don’t need to blow up, I need to grow up.” II Peter 3:18: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

As the walls of our work surround us, may we be reminded of the lilies, growing even in the most unusual places, and find our source of nutrients and support in the Word of God.

 

Headed for the Brow of the City of Corrections

Photo from dc.florida.us

Headed for the Brow of the City of Corrections

As we walk and work in the city of corrections, I see some parallels for application from Luke 4:16-30 in which Jesus was led to the brow of the city.  It is a curiosity to me, but He allowed them to lead Him a high point of the city. The Bible doesn’t say how they led Him, maybe by the arm, but He willingly walked on His own.  The full intent of those leading Him was to cast Him head long; then the Bible says, “but he passing through the midst of them went his way.”

What leads you to the brow of the city?

  • Some are led by pain, grief, and sorrow.   Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and    carried our sorrows”
  • Some are led by anger.  Proverbs 25:28 “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city  that is broken down, and without walls.”
  • Some are led by others. Galatians 5:7 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye      should not obey the truth?
  • Some are led by failure.  Proverbs 24:16a  “A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again
  • Some are led by fear.  Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:  I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea; I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

There are all kinds of ways to be led to the brow, especially in the corrections environment. By God’s grace and mercy, we can pass through the midst and go His way.  It is a serious matter, we cannot afford to be cast headlong.

Everything that He did was for us and to teach us.  It has taught me that no matter how far someone or something has taken us or led us off our path, we can turn and go His way, if we have trusted Christ. Even if we allow ourselves to be taken, as He allowed himself to be taken, we can still turn, pass through the midst, and go His way, the way of the cross.