Grace and peace unto you!
At some point in our maturing life, there comes a time when we must realize living a spiritual and fulfilling life in Christ, requires committing to a plan of spiritual development and growth. This plan should outline and distinguish the journey to surrendering our lives to Jesus. Unfortunately, too many young people, particularly African-American males, face the slippery slope of self-destructive behavior and/or to structural racism which can unfortunately lead to the reality of adjudication, incarceration or death. Author Michelle Alexander highlights my point in great detail in her book, "Mass Incarceration: The New Jim Crow."
By contrast, Jesus came to give unto us everlasting life, spiritual liberty, and knowledge to guide us, which is His Word. Therefore, salvation by accepting Jesus Christ, is the most important step we can take.
"He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household." - Acts 16:30-31
What is Salvation? Salvation is the remedy for sin. In other words, the definition of salvation from a spiritual aspect is explained as being saved from the grips of sin through Jesus Christ. Since sin separates us from God, we must seek salvation through Him to save our souls. In doing so, we begin the development of a personal relationship with God. Once we repent of our sins and trust in Jesus for deliverance, the process of salvation is enabled. Eternal life is God's promise to us!
"Education is the fundamental way to prevent incarceration." - Bonita Parker
Education Is Power. Our God requires each of us to be great students of His Word and great students in today's society as well. When we understand the connection between increased knowledge and education, our visions, aspirations, and dreams become the foundation for a good and fulfilling life. Great success stories are within our reach each time we make an effort to succeed in our education, both spiritually and academically. With God in our hearts and minds, the desire to achieve, in the educational arena, is the key to unlocking future goals in life and in the church. It is our mission and responsibility to rise up from the ashes of mediocrity and keep the focus on the mountaintop of education. With the next generation on the horizon and the power of education in their hands, knowing the value of education has the capacity and power to change lives. Invest in your education!
"Since the end of the 1970s, something has gone profoundly wrong in America. Inequality has soared. Educational progress slowed. Incarceration rates quintupled. Family breakdown accelerated. Median household income stagnated." - Nicholas Kristof
According to Delaware's Department of Correction 2015 Annual Report, there are approximately 7,000 offenders residing in Delaware's prisons. In addition, there are close to 17,000 probationers in the state being supervised by the Department of Corrections. These stunning statistics repeating in other states simultaneously, reflect the current state of our society where many fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children are behind bars.
Notably, most of our incarcerated brothers and sisters are spiritually wounded, malnourished in faith, physically weak, and challenged by life. It is at this point, when the keys to unlock the doors of spiritual freedom create an opportunity to receive God's grace and mercy. The passage of time behind bars becomes a blessing in awakening the desire to live according to God's will. In addition, the commitment to repent and seek God is the reward of eternal life. Be free in your walk with God!
"As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind that I would still be in prison." - Nelson Mandela
In closing, Salvation begins with God. When we accept, know and believe in Him, we are assuring our lives from eternal death. Upon utilizing the tools of education to expand our knowledge spiritually and academically, we create an understanding in the importance of godly living and having a personal relationship with God. The combination of having both the commitment to Salvation and the power of Education paves the way to living a fulfilled and spiritual life. Remember to consider each day with God as a blessing!
Dr. Christopher Alan Bullock, Senior Pastor