Gifts 2

5/20/21: Gifts of Freedom

Gifts of Freedom

This is my third day in isolation. Today I read a 1,000 page book called “Gifts of Freedom” by Greg Rice. You might be wondering, “How do you read so much in one day?” Well, I have no idea what time it is so when I wake up it’s go time. And, as usual, I didn’t sleep much.

The good thing about today is that I finally got some stamps so now I can mail off my letters and blog posts to my smoking hot wife, Georgia. Sorry fellas, she is mine. Finders keepers. As you can tell, I sure do miss my family. However, that does not mean that I can’t focus on being productive.

I met with the Chaplain today and he definitely feels that there is a huge need for spiritual counselors for formerly incarcerated inmates. As I discovered before arriving, formerly incarcerated folks prefer to open up more with other people who truly understand. With this in mind, the first third of “Gifts of Freedom” discusses in all adversity, no matter what the cause, God has embedded some sort of potential redemption that we can unwrap with our faith. Basically, he is saying adversity is our exercise machine and you can’t build up your faith and/or refine yourself without it.

I totally agree with this concept, but it sure does suck going through adversity. I want to remain joyful through it and sometimes I just want to lay down. If you are going through adversity right now, and you feel like laying down and giving up, I would encourage you to think of someone who you care about. Would they want you to give up? I personally think of my family. I don’t want to let them down.

The middle part of the book is about building your spiritual home. To better do this we should personalize our words with experiences. This way, we gain authenticity. This allows us to mix the authority of God’s word with compassion. The author says, “Trust that God is actively moving you through every experience and new place to fulfill His purposes for your life.”

I feel I have this trust, and perhaps in the future my Ninevah will be speaking with formerly incarcerated people and sharing God’s word with them, all the while being compassionate since I will have literally walked where they did.

The last part of the book is about increasing your spiritual gifts. The best way to do this is by letting the world see God through your actions and reactions. These actions of our hearts put spiritual practices into motion that create the situations in life that we later run into.

Again, I agree with this wholeheartedly. In fact, two things that I tell my boys Asher and Miles are: Don’t brag about yourself, let your actions do the talking. And, always be nice to everyone because you just never know what the future has in store for you.

If you ever are in a situation and feel like just lacing into a person because you have been wronged in some way, try biting your tongue, walking away, or hang up the phone. Easier said than done.

Am I glad that I read this book? Yes, because it always is good to be reminded of these things. And no, because 1000 pages is quite a lot. I just happened to be in quarantine and might as well keep my mind active.

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