Celebrating Jarvis' homecoming in San Antonio
I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was a new believer and I wanted so much to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. I just didn't know what that looked like. I needed someone to give practical application to the scriptures. Just a few months before from the floor of my cell in the Harris County jail, in a puddle of my own tears, full of guilt and shame for all the wrongs that I had done, I came to the end of myself and I cried out to God "if you're out there and you're real, come into my heart and change my life". He did just that. He met me right where I was. There was an overwhelming sense of peace and joy that was unexplainable. I was very familiar with jailhouse religion but this was something different. A fews years prior I myself had walked an isle for salvation(Fire Insurance) but never allowed the Lord His rightful place on the throne of my life thus resulting in no change. The transformation I experienced that night reminds me of the passage from Isaiah 61:1-4,7...."The Spirit of the Lord God was upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that HE may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.... Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy."
Immediately, the scriptures went from black and white to living color. The Lord had set me free spiritually and delivered me but I still was facing a 35 year prison sentence and physical freedom was still a long ways off. I vowed to the Lord no matter how long I had to serve I was going to use the time to draw close to Him, learn to hear His voice and find out what His plan for my life was and how to walk it out. The Lord was merciful in that He saw fit that instead of a 35 years I would only have to do 2 ten year sentences and they would be served concurrent. (Meaning just 1 ten year sentence) Still along time, but I was very thankful.
Spring forward a few months and I was off to prison to serve out my time. I had always been a fighter and one of the first things God began to deal with me on was that I was not going to fight anymore. (I really thought He was joking) How was I going to make it in prison without fighting? After all I had served a little over four years off and on prior to this and I fought almost everyday. (Kindness means weakness in prison) God was putting me to the test early to see if I would really trust Him. Over the next four years God proved faithful again to His promise and I didn't have one fight. He went before me in everything I did. I felt so much like Joseph in that the favor of God followed me everywhere I went. I pleaded with God to show me how to live like Christ and the first day I arrived at the prison unit He was faithful to send that person to show me the way. He was my Paul and I was his Timothy. This brother met me there as I came into the dorm and began to speak truth into my life from the very beginning. He was the man of peace in that dorm and it was obvious. They called it "The God Pod". My prayers had been answered. The Lord had sent someone who truly modeled the life of Christ.
Still a baby in Christ I thought life had dealt me a bad hand and even though I was born again I still struggled with a lot of the desires of the flesh and being content with where God had me. Over the next two years this brother was faithful to rebuke and reprove me in the love of Christ and more importantly walk out what he talked. He was the "living epistle" Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 3:3. I was the friend in need and he was the friend indeed. We became great friends and God, over the time we were together, grew us both in our walks with Him and with one another. God then began to birth visions for ministry for both of us and now over ten years later He has brought many of those visions to pass. One of those visions came to pass last month we were able to walk into a prison together and minister to those we once did time with. You go God!!!
A Grateful and Indebted friend,