In and Out of Prison… and In, Again

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es, I have been in prison. You and I may be different. I can admit I did time. I spent many years in the prisons’ of addiction and attitude. You may be in bondage in these areas or others, but prison is prison.

I have been free of addiction to substances (drugs & alcohol) for over 25 years, through the grace of God. People can be addicted to a drug, a behavior, lifestyle, things, electronics, and more. I live free, one day at a time, but the cell door is always open for return. Having your life controlled by substance abuse is incarcerating and I will tell you the whole story if you pay for the coffee!

The prison of attitudes has invisible bars, but it can control your life, behavior, feelings, and relationships. The attitude I am talking about is pride. Self-love or wanting the world to bend according to your needs is frustrating when the world does not cooperate. Control is an allusion and the sin of pride can cause you to lose money, friends, marriages, freedom and the other important things in life.

I have gotten out of prison(s) by work/effort, wise counsel and the freedom offered through Jesus Christ. My father died in the prison of pride.

In 2017, I will be teaching college classes at both Centinella and Calipatria prisons. My boss is Imperial Valley College and the goal of the program is to reduce recidivism.  The idea is if they can leave prison with an A.A. degree in the behavioral sciences, they might have more success on the outside.

I have taught in clinics, schools, and universities but my new students are a unique population. I think the truth is that if they can learn humility, there will be less chance of them coming back. Being a criminal (which I was both literally and figuratively) had as its foundation the mindset that rules are for other people. I was somehow special and law or rules didn’t apply to me. The operating philosophy was that I was god and will do and take what I want. This, my imprisoned friends, is a recipe for disaster and without God’s grace it can be a one-way ticket to prisonville.

Pray for my soon-to-be students and me. My humility has me seeking wisdom from John Lowry, a Christian brother with extensive experience in prison ministry. A friend of my son-in-law is a counselor at Centinella and he will tutor me as well. Finally, the father of Christian musician, Wiffy Real, taught auto mechanics in the prison for many years. Brother James tells us to seek wisdom and although I have extensive teaching experience, if I humble myself, than the Lord will lift me up, and I hope the grades and life choices of my students. Pray that I will be safe, have wise judgment and not lose sight of the fact that Jesus is the Warden and this King has the keys to whatever imprisons you! It can both get you out of prison and keep you from going back.

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