Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine report’

June 2, 2009 taken by T. Nadine Lewis

Christian County Jail

As I took my place in front of about 20 women in orange I asked them a question. Has there been a miracle in your life and would you tell me about it? The room was silent until one lady spoke up about a time she was in a motorcycle accident and an old white van with an elderly man stopped to help her, she recalled how she thought he was an angel and it was a miracle that she was alive to tell about it. I had an experience on my way to the jail as a vehicle began to occupy the same space I was already in. I slammed on my breaks and as the tires resisted with a loud squeal, the car moved back into his own lane. It wasn’t until I reached my destination that I began to laugh at how God was so generous in giving me a real life, right now, example of a miracle. This isn’t the only time God has given me a miracle because I for one believe being saved is a miracle, but the one I shared with the ladies tonight is when my husband Louie and I were remarried.

While studying for our Sunday school lesson this week I read of how the Children of Israel had to kill a one year old lamb with no blemishes and smear the blood on the door posts so the death angel would pass by and not kill their first born. Not only did they put blood on the outside of their homes, but they must eat the lamb, all of it, to give them strength for the journey they were about to take. Pharaoh was getting ready to let them leave the land of Egypt, but they had to flee quickly and they couldn’t do it in their own strength. This blood on the doorposts symbolizes how Jesus spilled His blood for the forgiveness of our sin. The body death of Jesus was for us to take in to eat, or receive, so we might have life but not just any life his very own life within us.

Let me explain what I mean; there are two ordinances we practice in the church-baptism and communion. Have you ever wondered why we don’t have monthly or yearly foot washings? Baptism symbolizes us being submerged into Jesus Christ; Communion is Jesus Christ being placed into us. The Bible says “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” The lamb died FOR the household to save them, and then you also take the lamb INTO you, for us to live, power for the journey.

Christ had to be resurrected from the dead by God so that we would not only have our sin forgiven, but also for us to have resurrected life. Jesus is the only one who is perfect. In Him the Father is well pleased. This means He can now be pleased with us because He lives inside the believer living the perfect Christian life. He is the only Way. It’s a miracle, it’s amazing, it can’t be fully explained but it can be witnessed in the life of Christ.

This is the conclusion of my revelation, Jesus is my life, He lives in me, and I am the vessel or container of His life that makes me Holy, righteous and blameless in His sight. It is through the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

I poured my soul into those ladies tonight for God to show them who He is. Tammy Strader did the same thing as she came to minister. She shared with them how we have only one enemy and it is Satan. We turn our wrath against the person who is listening to the devil and we think it’s them. Her solution to the problem is to pray for one another and realize through faith, that person can be changed by God. It’s a tough thing to be put in a cell with girls who don’t care a thing about Jesus, when you need all the help you can get. We see it all the time in there.

The note we received from a girl who wanted to talk was about how her husband is also in jail. She prays for him to see Jesus for who He is and give his life to him. She so desperately wants to stop coming to jail. Her own sister is in here in a different cell and is sad because she feels she has not been a good example. Let’s pray for a miracle in the lives of everyone who comes to Christian County Jail.

Written by Tracey

Photo illustration by Tracey Lewis

Photo illustration by Tracey Lewis

Tonight in jail was a little different than most nights but not in a good way. The night began with disrespect from a few of the inmates toward the faculty. Immediately the matter was settled as we prayed and asked God for his peace to prevail. The next distraction came when a couple of girls were coughing so hard they went into the restroom separately to get sick. Wow, what’s going on I whispered to God. We continued to pray and depend on God for what He wanted to do in that room this night. Tammy got up to sing and prayed once more and the Holy Spirit began to work in our hearts.

I broke the ice by commanding a glove I brought with me to stand up. It kept falling over, so I commanded the glove to rake leaves….. Or to turn the page of the Bible that was right there next to the glove. It refused to do anything and frankly, I was getting a little upset with the whole thing. I am kidding, of course, because we all know a glove can not do anything without a hand inside of it. It’s not the glove that makes things happen, it’s the one who is inside the glove. We are living the glove life as well, except it is not a hand, but the Holy Spirit who moves us. Wait, if a person is not born again, it could be Satan who is operating that person. We are never empty nor are we without an operator inside. We are crucified with Christ; nevertheless we live; that is how our human spirit is joined to the Holy Spirit. We have to die and God resurrects us through His son, Jesus. He who is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, it also says in Ezekiel 36 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes. Here is that glove life I was talking about. We must understand that without the Spirit indwelling us as a born again believer, we could not be righteous, holy, perfect or enter into the Kingdom of Heaven because that is how we get there; through Jesus Christ not in our own independent self, because in reality we don’t have an independent self.

John 15:1 says I am the true vine, which indicates there must be a false vine. He is the vine and we are the branches, we abide in Him and Him in us. I gave them 7 verses in John talking about how Jesus didn’t do anything on His own initiative. He only did what He saw His Father do or say. How is it that we think we can do anything without looking to the Father? Jesus didn’t do it nor are we going to do it; its how the glove life works.

Later on after I spoke, Tammy got up there and shared about how she broke her ankle, I mean broke it to where it was dangling from her leg. She emphasized how it was not God who did it to her, but how she was just learning what the voice of the Father sounds like. She learned the hard way, like we all do, but God brought her through this gruesome experience so she could tell us what great lengths God goes to build a relationship with us because He loves us. Her story was really powerful and God used it mightily.

Shortly after the service Tammy and I got some notes to see some girls who wanted to talk in the law box. One girl, who doesn’t mind that I use her real name, is Brittanie. She loves to tell us how God brings her through trials and she is learning to trust Him more and more everyday. I have literally watched her grow into a woman of God right before my very eyes. Her daughters have a brand new mom and don’t even know it, YET.

The last lady we saw tonight wanted to talk about the Lord because she seems to be the lone Christian in her cell. She is frustrated with the women who say they love God, and yet act a different way. We told her we see the same thing all around us. The answer is to trust God that He loves them and let Him use us how He wants to; but to know we are the glove that the hand of God operates from within.

Written by Tracey

Photo by Tracey Lewis

As I was reading Romans 6 this week, several things made sense to me and one of them was how we are a slave to someone no matter what. At the same time this week I was listening to a CD by Bob Dylan, who is a 60’s songwriter. He wrote a song, you got to serve somebody, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, you’re gonna have to serve somebody. I felt like I was teaching the Bible according to Bob Dylan, but Bob Dylan got it from the Bible. Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” But why would you keep on sinning when you know you can be used to bring life and sanctification? Paul is explaining to the people that they don’t have to be under that bondage and neither do the ladies in jail.

I asked them if they would rather have an old beat up, used, smelly, guitar or a brand spanking shiny new guitar. Some didn’t care they just would like to have a guitar. My point was that God doesn’t clean up an old sinner; He makes them brand spanking new. Once God makes you brand new, you don’t have to act, or give in to, the way you used to. Present yourselves to God as alive from the dead.  God isn’t all about good and bad as He is concerned about bringing dead people to life. He is the life and He lives through you as His own righteousness. Don’t let sin reign, master, or enslave you. Before you were born again, you didn’t have a choice but to sin, but now that you have been made brand new, and the Holy Spirit lives inside you, you have a choice.

Somewhere during my talk to the ladies in jail, I made a joke asking them, “What do you call a dog with no legs?” I paused for a moment and said, “It doesn’t matter because he won’t come anyway.” They just fell about the place and I was laughing so hard my face was super red and sweat was running down my shirt. I’m not sure where that fit into the talk, but I added another one. “Yesterday a girl called me fat so I called her an ambulance.” The girls were laughing so hard by now, I didn’t know how I was gonna compose myself to finish. I heard a voice at the back of the room say, “We needed that so bad, Miss Tracey.” God sure does know what He’s doing doesn’t He? I love relying on Him and letting Him do what He does.

Tammy Strader came with a simple word from the Lord saying, “We make it too hard.” She went on to say, “We seek the Lord and we will find Him.” We find out what we know about God through our own experiences with him. Let God build on that. If you don’t understand something about the Bible, or what He is saying to you, just hang on because He will reveal it to you. He doesn’t want any to be ignorant, but we need to be old enough to grasp it. It would be like giving the keys of the car to a 6 year old. We may not be ready for what He is revealing in us. By faith we trust Him that He will make it sink way deep down into our spirit so that it will bring life to others.

Tammy and I got to talk with a girl who is in the work release program and something she told us made me so proud of her. She said that her mom let her storage go unpaid and she lost everything she had in there, especially the pictures of her little girls. Then she said, “And I am not mad.” She went on to say God told her this was going to happen so it wasn’t a shock when she found out. God is changing this girl from glory to glory and we get to be a part of it. She has learned the hard way that when you serve those feelings of rebellion and disobedience, it benefits nothing. Now she is a slave to righteousness and sanctification and in Him, there is life.

Written by Tracey

Mister feasting on the Word
Photo by Tracey Lewis

Reflecting on the night in jail, I see a group of hungry ladies pulling their chairs up to the table to see what’s for dinner. As the ladies filed in to retrieve their place the atmosphere was filled with praises to Jesus as the DVD provided the music. Soon all were joining in to worship the only true God. The table was set, we had plenty to drink and the appetizer was served when Tammy Carr aka Glass, came to open in prayer and share her testimony. She never fails to give God the glory and comments that Jesus Christ is keeping her. She doesn’t keep herself because she wasn’t designed to keep herself. She whets our appetite by telling us how she used to sit in the very seat they are sitting in right now. She knows how the game is played when you commit to God while you go to your cell, but continue in the very behavior God wants to set you free from, like God did for her. She brags through Jesus Christ how she drives a new car, got a good paying job, and God supplies all her needs. She always tells them, “You can have a life in Jesus as well, if you just trust Him.” She goes on to say she was broken; that’s how we all come to the Lord, broken meaning humble, ready to change your mind about what you are doing and how you are living.

As the night went on we looked on the table to see warm, fresh bread, which is Jesus, we worshipped some more and got a little giddy and clapped our hands and danced. It was my turn to share what the Lord laid on my heart. Although I started out with a joke, it got serious pretty quick. The other morning, I woke up with the feeling of dread on me. I am sure it came from a burden I have for one of my family members. I have reached out to this person but seem to be pushed away with every kind gesture. It came to me to just give up on her. Not to care and just leave her alone, walk away, don’t look back and keep going. Then The Lord spoke to me and said, “I didn’t give up on you when you were in a dark place.” I realized it wasn’t my place to give up on her unless God tells me to give up on her, which he isn’t. God wants me to trust Him that He is very aware of the situation and He is in control of it. The main course of this meal is in the story of Pharaoh found in Exodus 8 where it talks about how the plagues came, and then they went away. Once Pharaoh got relief, he would change his mind and harden his heart once more. After a while, God just let his heart stay hard and that was the end of it. If we continue to hear God speak to us, not listen, ignore him and on purpose drive those away who are living for God, He will let you. He loves you so much; He is willing to let you live your whole life like He doesn’t exist. That in itself is your punishment. Here is an example. If you get sand in your eye, you don’t need to be punished for that because that is your punishment. You don’t punish a young boy for taking a skunk to bed with him. Do you see what I mean?

How many chances has God given you? He didn’t give up on you, so you don’t have to give up Him or others. Sometimes we have to push through to get victory and boy, is that sweet? The harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory, the “trick” is to let God do it. He is really good at it and has been doing it for a really long time.

We ate another plate full when Joyce Meyer talked to us about FREEDOM. She said the way we get free is when we come to God with faith like a child. We completely trust Him for everything because when we don’t, we are bound up with unseen chains with no joy, no peace and no witness. She basically said the things we had been saying all night. It is really great how God works that out for His glory.

Now, it was time for the dessert. I couldn’t tell you what flavor was going around the table, but everyone was down on their knees thanking and asking God for a change in their life. We had an altar call, but because we are in jail, we do it a little differently. We get down on our knees facing our chair and nobody can see us while God deals with our hearts. The sound of sniffles and the tissue being passed around is a sure indicator that God is grabbing us by our guts and changing lives. Now that leaves a sweet taste in your mouth for sure. Lip smacking good stuff.

After church I stayed to talk to some girls who have written notes. It is a miracle and an honor to take the opportunity God gives me to minister and to listen to these precious ladies. It makes me so glad that God didn’t give up on me so I can not give up on them.

Written by Tracey

Tracey and the Alvarez

About eight months ago I knew God put into my spirit a desire to learn to play the guitar. Louie, my husband is an excellent guitar player and has a couple of guitars; one is a student’s acoustic guitar with strings that lay high off the neck. There was a missing string and the rest of them were rusted, but that was the only acoustic in the house. Off to the music store I went to get new strings. I cut my nails, and the skin on my left hand’s fingertips began to tingle and turn into calluses. At times it felt like razor blades on my fingertips; but I wasn’t giving up.

Soon word got out about the desire God dropped into my spirit and we were given not just one guitar, but two. One was for loan the other was donated. So, off I went to learn chords, strumming techniques and how to hold a pick. The part that made the most sense to me about why God was leading me to do this was to bring praise and worship into the jail without needing an amp.

Learning to play has not been easy, but I have a good teacher. He is patient with me and never seems to get agitated when my fingers don’t do what my brain is telling them to. Louie understands that this is what God gave me, and God is going to complete it in me. I would practice every day at first, then a couple times a week; but the desire never left me. Matter of fact it grew and grew because Louie got inspired and he started learning more and more new stuff. He even wrote his own song from Romans 7 and made it into a blues lick.

In jail the week before, we watched the Passion of the Christ and it hit me that the one song I know real well talks about the love of Jesus and how He was on the cross between two thieves. The name of the song is “If That Isn’t Love”; it goes on to say, if that isn’t love then the ocean is dry, there’s no stars in the sky and the sparrow can’t fly.

So it worked out that this was the Easter weekend and how perfect it was to share this song with them. I also shared with them in 1 John 4:7-12 that says He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. I explained to them that God is the reason we can love our children or love one another, because God is love and love gives. Love is about the other person!

I sent Louie to the music store to buy a new guitar because we gave back the borrowed one and the other one is messed up. He comes back with the most beautiful Alvarez acoustic guitar with the sweetest sound. I was excited to share my new talent, new guitar and desire with the girls in jail.

As I was attempting to get comfortable sitting in one chair with my music in another, my heart began to beat fast and my fingers were not finding the right string. Needless to say, it turned into a comedy show. However, it calmed my nerves and I was trusting in Jesus to complete what He started in me. It felt like God was carrying me and singing through me, to be honest. I didn’t want it to end, but the only problem was I only knew one other song; so we sang that one too. We sang Amazing Grace together; we had a good time in the Lord, and focused on Him. Remember what Easter is about and that He lives. Jesus lives! That is something we can sing about!

Written by Tracey

Google images

Bathsheba, I want you to meet the Sunshine Report readers. Sunshine readers, this is Bathsheba. Tell us what it was like in those days when the King saw you bathing.  Did you know he was there and not at war like the rest of the army? What did you think when he asked you to come to the royal palace? I am sure that he wined and dined you. Did King David’s attention toward you make you forget about Uriah and that’s why you slept with him? I don’t mean any disrespect. I could only imagine what it must have been like to live in Jerusalem. I love the part when God restored you, Bathsheba. The loss of your husband in battle must have devastated you. Not only did you lose your husband, but you lost yours and David’s child also. It must have been a difficult thing to go through. We can relate this to things in our own lives, can’t we? There was a time in my life that I lied and schemed to get my own way rather than what my parents wanted for me. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. Later, I learned from the pain and consequences, which is what I hear you saying too. Well, thank you Bathsheba for sharing with us the time in your life when God gave you a second son, named Solomon. He made you and David proud, didn’t he? He was known as the wisest king in Israel. Your story gives us hope in God. We know we have consequences to pay, but God loves us enough to give us another chance. For some of us it’s not just a second chance, but it has been several. This whole story is recorded in 2 Samuel 11&12 if you would like to read it for yourself.

Being able to come to the jail and watch God work miracles is a privilege and honor to witness. I praise Him for who He is and how we can depend on Him and that nothing takes Him by surprise. He ordains our steps and many will testify that God saved their lives by them being in jail. We had a girl say out loud about how we are promised that we will go through trials, yet we put more on ourselves and how dumb that is. We all laughed because it’s true. Another girl said she wanted to sing a song, wow! what a voice. She sang from her heart;”I’m still holding on to your (God’s) hand. When she sat down, she just cried, rubbing her eyes and rocking back and forth. She knew God used her voice to touch the rest of us and it was powerful. Then we heard from Smokey Robinson on video singing, “I need you right now…. Trials in your life make you strong.” All the girls love Smokey and always request this song because He points us to Jesus and how we can’t do anything on our own.

After Margo, JoAnna, Joyce and I left the service, and there were many girls who wanted one on one council. We split them up as the Holy Spirit led. It always amazes me how it works out as if I wasn’t there. A 19yr old girl from Georgia talked to me through her tears. She is reading the book of Matthew and had many questions. After hearing them, I could understand the confusion. Things like “Do not commit adultery, but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Another one was, fasting and when to keep it a secret. The questions kept coming one after the other; the steady answer was pointing to Jesus. It truly is about him and what he did on the cross. Jesus said, “It is finished.” He died for ALL of our sins, not the ones we pick and choose or think are too hard for God to forgive. We are thankful for the complete work Jesus did on our behalf; I know Bathsheba agrees with that. We thank you for being with us today.

Written by Tracey

Trees on Pyle Ln. photo by Tracey


Knowing is not mental understanding or external believing. It is something beyond words because it is spirit. How is it that we know something but can not describe how we know? It’s a foundation such as my name, where I live, if I am saved or not. 1 John 5 :13 says These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. God doesn’t want us to guess or hope so. He gives us a promise and through faith we accept what He says.

When I was 8 years old, I said a prayer of salvation but when I was 12, I wanted to make sure of that decision, once I realized it wasn’t about behavior but what Jesus did on the cross, my doubt turned in to a knowing. I can look back at my life and see Jesus never left me, because that’s where He lives. Another thing that I told the ladies in jail tonight was about how Jesus knows every mean and nasty thing we have ever done or thought, and He still loves us.

It says in 1 Corinthians 2, that we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God. He isn’t keeping a secret from us or that He doesn’t want us to know; He freely gives it to us. We are made up of three parts; the part that is designed to move us is the Spirit part, not the soul or the flesh.

Hebrews tells us we have a great high priest that has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin and who can sympathize with our weakness. It’s not like He doesn’t know what we are going through. If our child comes to us crying and saying momma, it hurts. We can gather them in our arms, rock them gently and whisper, “I know, baby, it’s gonna be alright.” We find comfort in those words. That is what our Father in heaven does when we hurt.

Cubbie is having a hard time accepting the love and forgiveness of God because she doesn’t know God intimately. I believe the reason she is back in jail is for God to become real to her. We watched Tony Evans on video talking about intimacy with Jesus. We can not live the Christian life, only Jesus can do that. An example he used was 2 dogs, one a pit bull and the other a poodle. The pit bull had a bet with the poodle that he could get into the house before he could. So he set out to grab a hold of the door knob making growling sounds and slobbering all over the place but to no avail. The poodle goes to the door and scratches one time on the door and the door opened from the other side. That is how it is with us; we just let God do all the work. When God made Adam, his first day on earth was to rest and after that, he got a woman while he was asleep. God made the whole earth without our help; He can take care of whatever it is you are going through right now. Above all things, we can know that He loves us no matter what.

Written by Tracey