Today, I had the opportunity to be a part of something I had never done before - a baby dedication. This morning, Brother Jose Luis and I led a quick service of dedication for the mother and grandmother of little Perla Lisbeth. They came up to the front and I got to hold Perla while Jose Luis gave a challenge of dedication to the mother and grandmother. He then had the church family stand and commit themselves to pray for the family and help them train up little Perla in the ways of the Lord. Then I prayed for her in Spanish. It was what you would call "short and sweet". Praying is one of those things that I usually don't do in Spanish. I mean, I'm not praying to the people; I'm praying to the Lord. But, you know, this is one of those cases where the people want to know what you're praying for, so I prayed in Spanish. Brother Jose Luis just told me about it right before the service, so it's not like I had time to think through the prayer either. Oh well. Again, I am amazed how God will use us and stretch and grow us at the same time! Oh and I know especially all the ladies will want to know that I did get several pictures of Perla. So I'll upload them as soon as I get my camera hooked up.
The service at the jail yesterday went very well. It was only Brother Martin and I this time and we had 11-13 men at the service.Brother Martin led in a couple of songs and then I preached the best that I could in Spanish. It was the first time that I've done so without writing out my notes word-for-word. It was just a basic, simple presentation of the gospel and I told the men that I was not going to share my thoughts and words with them, but the Word of God. So I basically just went through my Scripture Memory verses with them and tried to show them how they can be saved and also what the Bible says about the many excuses that we give for rejecting salvation. At the end, I asked Brother Martin to lead in prayer and give the men the chance to pray and receive Christ. When he did, 9 of them men prayed together with him. The prison ministry is one of those that is difficult to understand how to pray for. Every week, we will have 2 or 3 of the same guys and 4 or 5 new guys. Nearly every time we lead them in a prayer to receive Christ, almost everybody will pray along. So you know, God is the only One to know what is really going on in those men's hearts. But as I told the teens today, our only responsibility is to be faithful to share God's Word with the lost. God will choose whom to save, and when, and where to save them. So I was blessed by the opportunity.
Oh yeah, I wanted to share this with all of you. I also shared it with the group from Cedar Creek during one of our home group meetings last week. God has been teaching me during the last few months how to listen to the promptings of His Holy Spirit in a very real way. What I mean is this. There are often times in my life where I "think" maybe I should do something like witness to someone, give money to somebody, or do something out of the ordinary. But many times, in fact most times, I push that off thinking, "Oh that was just an idea." But I have been realizing that every "thought" of mine to do something good that is out of the ordinary is not my thought at all. It is the Holy Spirit inside of me prompting me to do something for God. I first noticed this the day before I came down here, the day I went out witnessing on the south side of Peoria. I noticed that at times I would have the thought, "Go give that man a tract." And several times, I pushed it off. Once, I only delayed. I was like, "No not that one." But then changed my mind and went to give the guy a tract, but he was already leaving. God showed me that when He promts me, I have ONE chance to obey. And I don't want to miss those chances. So I have been trying to learn how to listen to God in a very clear way every day. And it is so amazing to see the kind of opportunities I'll get.
OK, back to the jail. After the service, Brother Adrian was supposed to pick me up at 4:40. But I figured it would be longer than that because things always run slow down here. So I waited until 5:00, when a lady was walking by. I thought, "I need to give her a tract." Then I realized that I still had a whole stack of tracts in my pocket from the visitation that morning. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. A lady got saved yesterday morning during visitation. I'll write that in another post, though, because this one is already long. OK, so I'm waiting at the jail when I realized I had a whole stack of tracts. God said, "Walk home." So I did. It was only a few miles, but I got to hand out tracts to SO many people. It was like practice for listening to God. A couple times I saw somebody at a house across the street, out of my way, but God said, "God give them one, too." Later on, Adrian was like, "Brother, I'm sorry it took me so long." But I told him, "Don't worry about it, man. I was supposed to walk home." Oh and also I got a liter of Lala Entera milk, the best milk in the world, on the way home. And this time I didn't throw it up. Oh yeah, that's another story. Right, Cedar Creek?
Well, I'm gonna finish this up now. I've got my Sunday School notes from today too, so I'll post those in a few minutes. I love you all! God is good all the time!