October 24, 2008
In Galatians chapter 2, Paul continues proof of his contention in chapter 1, that his Gospel is not something that “man made up.” In chapter 1, he asserts that anyone (including Paul himself or an angel from Heaven) who preaches a different Gospel should be “eternally condemned.”
In discussing this tendency we have toward a man-made Gospel, I asked the men on Wednesday night (there were 19 of them there that night) what kind of Gospel they might make up, if they were to make one up. Dan said that he would have a checklist of 50 things, and as long as they could check off 35 of them, that would be acceptable. TimBruce said that his gospel would look at folks’ hearts, and as long as their intentions were good, it wouldn’t matter what they had done.
How different is the Gospel that Paul brings—the Gospel of Jesus. No man would make up a Gospel like this—a Gospel that rests solely and completely on the works of someone else.
As I mentioned above, we had 19 men at Bible study a couple of weeks ago—the most men we’ve had in attendance since they separated out the women into a different study seven years ago. Clearly, the Spirit of God is at work.
And yet in the midst of His work, there is opposition. Volunteers such as myself have been forbidden once again to meet one-on-one with inmates. This has happened before—in early 2005—and it is probably just a “phase” for the brig staff. Please pray that God would bring an end to it sooner rather than later. There are at least two men (Mike B. and Joshua B.) that I would spend one-on-one time with if I were allowed to.
If you’re not aware of it, the legal system in the US is in a desperate situation. One percent (1%) of the population is now in jail or prison, which is eight times more than the next country down the list, Canada (.125%). Statistics prove that inmates involved in religious programs are MUCH less likely to reoffend, but prison officials are reluctant to recognize this and add more religious programs. Pray for the new brig chaplain, Chaplain Thomas, as he enters into this environment after several years of working with Marines at Camp Pendleton.
Some of those 19 mentioned above are being released this month. James returns to his wife and daughters in Tucson this weekend. William will be around Miramar for a couple of weeks as the Marines process him out so he can return to his wife in New Jersey. Wes is rumored to be around Miramar, being processed out, but will soon return to Mississippi. Tyler has been away from the Brig for a couple of months, but he, too, is rumored to be somewhere around Miramar, and has not yet returned to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee. Pray that these Marines who are on their way home might find fellowship and be equipped to return home.
As always, I am thankful for your efforts in prayer and for your generous donations.
said he would tell folks what to do, let them fail once, but only once. (Tim, a Marine, has a gospel of a second chance, but no third chance.)