Trusting God Regardless

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Isaiah 55:8-9; “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
I met a man approximately 8 weeks ago at the Macomb County Jail while doing a one on one clergy visit.  He informed me he was being charged with a very serious crime and, if convicted, could possibly spend the rest of his life in prison.  He informed me of his involvement within his church.  He also shared with me the position he held working with a very well-known international corporation.  He is a very prominent man of society and a lover of God’s word which gave him the opportunity to teach at his church. 
During one on one visits, I do my best to keep the focus on spiritual concerns instead of legal issues.  However, this man insisted that I know some things about his case and that he, indeed, was truly innocent of all charges.  So without hesitation, my response is always, “if you are truly innocent, God has allowed this for a bigger and greater purpose we may not understand at the beginning.” 
Sometime after that visit, I received a call from the family of my friend, stating that he was found guilty on 8 counts and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison and asked if I would please visit him before he left.  I was sure I would find a man very angry at the system and dealing with a whirlwind of emotions.   But, to my surprise, I met with a man who had the peace of God all over him.  He had no complaint whatsoever about the decision of the jury.  In fact, he was more concerned about the welfare of his fellow inmates battling with drug addictions and was asking if there was a way he might be able to help them.  He also stated (which really ministered to me) that he was going to “trust God in all this knowing that God has a greater purpose…” understanding that he could be a part of what God wanted to do.
I left the visit, shaking my head in awe – saying, “God, give me that kind of faith and trust and help me remember that Your ways are higher than my ways and Your thoughts are higher than mine!”
Anytime I hear a story like this about a truly devoted man of God charged with a crime that could put him away for life who is claiming total innocence, the huge “WHY?” question comes.  And I know that when the why questions come, there’s only one answer and that is, “Because...”  Because He is God and we are not.  The disciples and many other followers of Jesus didn’t ‘get’ the cross, and we know the big “why?” question came for them. 
We look at the story of Joseph: a truly devout man of God completely innocent, but wrongly accused.  Joseph spent approximately 13 years in prison, according to Bible scholars.  Pilot, during the trial of Christ said, “I find no fault in this man”, yet he was sentenced to death by way of crucifixion. 
Whether it be Jesus, Joseph, or my friend in the Macomb County Jail, the Lord God has a greater and bigger plan for those who have to endure monumental hardship to bring glory to Him.
Trusting in the sovereignty of God,
Chaplain Steve Malek

The Power Of The Cross

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When the Apostle Paul went to the great, intellectual, Grecian city of Corinth, he said, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  (I Corinthians 2:2).  When Paul did his best to describe what his message was, he said, “…we preach Christ crucified…”
To the people of Corinth, the preaching of the cross was foolishness, nonsense.  But Paul said, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”  In that great intellectual city the cross of Christ was a stumbling block to the Jews and sheer stupidity to the Gentiles.
This gospel of Christ and Him crucified is still foolishness to millions who are perishing all over the world.  I believe that the answer to all the world’s problems can be found at the foot of the cross!  It’s where we find healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, salvation, eternal life for all who believe, and it’s all wrapped up in the greatest act of love mankind will ever know.
At the Macomb County Jail, we adhere and align ourselves to Romans 1:16:  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (and puts their trust and faith in Him). 
Former President Andrew Johnson once said, “We look forward to the day we can nail our flag below the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  As Chaplain I will dedicate myself to always stand behind the cross, kneel beside it, and lay prostrate before it, continually being reminded that it is where my Savior suffered, bled and died for me!
The Gateway residents had a fantastic time at the Wild Game Dinner put on by Lakeside Assembly of God Church.  The fundraiser proceeds raises money for 7 local missions (Gateway is one of them) through the selling of the dinner, silent auctions and a live auction.  This year, Lakeside had a keynote speaker, Jimmy Gretzinger from Michigan Out of Doors.   He spoke about a trial he endured last year, and how he and his family were able to get through it.  He said that only through having a firm foundation in Christ did he and his family overcome, and he admonished everyone in attendance to stand firm with Christ, because trials will come and it is Christ who holds you during the storms of life.  It was a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to our loving Lord.  All of the residents of Gateway (and some of their mentors) were in attendance.  Several remarked about how timely the message was and were really blessed by Jimmy’s ability to share so frankly about his personal life. 
The Apostle Paul had a firm foundation which was not shaken through the many trials he endured.  We, too, will continue preaching Christ, Him crucified and Him raised from the dead.  He is our solid foundation.  We serve a Living God!  “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:9)
Glory be to God!
Chaplain Steve Malek