Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jeffrey

Jeffrey is the local jailhouse ghost. The legend says he was an inmate convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. That night, after court, he hung himself from his cell (having been in those cells, I've never quite figured out how but that's probably another story.) You can't spend time in Williamson County Jail and not hear about Jeffrey. Guards and inmates alike claim to have seen him walking the corridors of the jail; both old and new. It's said he turns on sinks and showers, flushes toilets and rummages through property boxes. They say he's a slow moving shadow of darkness that lurks late at night looking in at those sleeping in their bunks.

I never saw Jeffrey but I did see the darkness that lurks in the corners of the jail and courthouse. I saw men and women; on both sides of the bars ruled and manipulated by the spiritual warfare that is a very real part of this world. I saw injustice masked as justice and power wielded by those that had no discernment. I saw drugs and alcohol rip apart lives and families and careers and even walks in faith. I saw greed and anger drive decisions rather than love. I saw Satan hard at work; be he called the devil or Jeffrey I saw spirits and demons in human form take hold of good people and turn temptation into action and action into darkness.

With such iconic phrases as "the devil made me do it" and "could it be satan?" one might be quick to dismiss the very real presence of dark forces and spirits among us but the Bible isn't shy about talking about them and neither should we be as Christians walking in this very real world.

Spiritual warfare may be the temptations that cause us to stumble, the obstacles that stand in our way of victory, the people who hurt us or the actions we take. It is that contrary thought that takes us from focusing on Him to focusing on the world. It is anything that has us question our walk with our Lord.

Jesus knew all about temptation and it is recorded so we might know its reality today.

Jesus was tempted with wealth, power, even food. He was asked to test God and worship false idols but with the power of the Holy Spirit, having been baptized in the Spirit Jesus was triumphant and walked away to begin His ministry. And it is with the power of the Holy Spirit He ministered to the needs of many, cast out demons, claimed victory over storms, calmed the seas, healed the sick and raised the dead. And it is this Holy Spirit He sent to us as our Helper.

In our ministry we are often called to walk with a woman who is tormented by demons creating temptation and urgings in her life. She may walk fully in the flesh and put value only on what she can see; not relying on God or believing in the devil who works to pull her far from her Lord and Savior.

Darkness may walk the halls of the jails and prisons of our world but we need not give in to that darkness; whether it is called Satan or Jeffrey, we each have the power to overcome and live free and victorious lives in Christ. Mark and I have embarked on a study of the Holy Spirit, this third person of the trinity and in this study we are learning much about the power available to us today through Him.

But first we are dealing with dismissed charges and a parole revocation with a new client but an old friend. Should be a big day. I wonder if this client remembers the trick I played on her about Jeffrey while we were housed in C12? Perhaps I wasn't walking so victoriously back then.

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