First thing I reflected on was my personal family and my spiritual family. In my reflections I remembered how God had called and delivered me from a life of self-destruction. I was living a life of lying, stealing, cheating and drug addiction. As I prepared to go to our place of worship, I reflected on how God has poured into me and given me the privilege to serve Him as a pastor.
When I arrived at church after getting things ready for our 11am service (we meet in a school and have to set up our equipment each week), I attended marriage/divorce class at 9am and I was reminded once again through the teaching and testimony of God’s faithfulness in delivering me from my sin and brokenness. I was encouraged as I left the class and reflected on how He restored my broken marriage with forgiveness and grace. I am so thankful that by God’s grace we have been married for 38 ½ years.
My next reflection was a flashback from the past. I went to Lorain Correctional Institute to proclaim the gospel. As I walked through the gates into the prison, I remembered 40 years ago. I went through the gates of prison in shackles and handcuffs. I was stripped naked, and sprayed with bug spray. The shame, fear, and humiliation were overwhelming. But this night because of God’s love, grace and forgiveness, I walked into this prison with a Bible, feeling free and unshackled with the good news of the Gospel:
Hello men. My name is Marshall Brandon and I’ve come to share with you one of the greatest sentences written in the history of mankind: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. -John 3:16-17