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Nana, Please Tell Them...word graphics.
Beautiful jeweled emerald cross. Are you burdened with alcohol  or drug addiction? Take it to Jesus at the cross.


When I went to church last Sunday, I was surprised to learn that I would be part of the team to visit you today from Harbor Assemble of God. I had expected another member of our jail ministry team to be here today with C.J.

I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious.  I’m not a public speaker…words don’t just flow from me.  My knees turn to water, I get cotton-mouthed, and my voice trembles.

To stand in front of a group, even if it’s people I know, has always affected me this way.  I need time to think about what I want to say, to practice it over and over to insure that I won’t just freeze up and stand here before you with a closed mouth and a blank mind.

As I left the church with my three grand-daughters, I mentioned that I would be visiting with you ladies today, that I wasn’t prepared….and didn’t have a clue as to what I needed to talk about.

My 10 year old grand-daughter, looked up at me with big, sad, brown eyes and said, “Talk to them about how much it hurts their kids when they have to go to jail.  Tell them to not do the things that make them have to go to jail. You tell them that, Nana.”

The girl’s daddy just got home from a 3 month stay here. During that time, their mother also spent 3 days in Hoquiam jail.  (Driving On Suspended licenses; failure to appear charges)

On the 30th of this month, their mother will be joining you ladies for another week, to complete her sentencing...

I know I don’t need to tell you how much your children….and yes, your mothers, are hurt when your freedom to be with them is denied.

You already know how painful it is for your child to be separated from you. You are their anchor, the source of stability in this uncertain world. In most cases you are the one thing that they feel they can always count on  You are not only the center of their world, you ARE their world.

 Those of you that have children have experienced the heart-breaking feeling of looking at your child through a glass window, unable to touch or comfort them. You’ve seen them cry because they don’t understand why you can’t come home. You’ve known their anger because they feel deserted and abandoned by you.

You don’t need someone to tell you about that.  You already know it, feel it, and hurt from it yourselves…here, in your heart.

“Tell them to not do the things that make them have to go to jail. You tell them that, Nana.”

Oh, if it where only that easy, huh? 

Some of you already know a little about me. You know that I have four grown kids, and five grandkids.  You know that my oldest son is a heroin addict who has spent half of his 41 years in the Oregon State Penitentiary.   Both of my other sons have fought their battles with drug addiction.

My grand-daughters'  mother is my youngest child…my only daughter. I’ve watched and worried as I saw her personality changing and her world crumbling around her during the past year.

And I’ve watched as she changed from a loving mom whose children always came first, into someone who didn’t seem to have the ability to care about anything….including herself. I watched her 8 and 9 year old daughters trying to care for their 2 year old sister, as their mother lay sleeping all day.

I listened as my daughter blamed everyone and everything for her life falling to pieces and her “depression”. 

I cried for the neglect my precious grand-daughters were suffering, and wrestled with the anguish of how best to protect them.

Picture of Jesus with children. "For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  Luke 18:16

 “Tell them not to do things that will make them have to go to jail, Nana?”

I have spent 40+ years of my life telling my children to stay away from the things that would cause problems in their lives.

And they have tried to overcome that thing that keeps them careening on a downhill path.

That thing is, of course, Drug Addiction.

It is most likely the reason that you do not have full control of your life right now…either directly or indirectly. 

My daughter is not going to jail on a drug charge, but if it had not been for the chaos that drugs has created in her life, she probably would not be going to jail at all.

It's an ongoing debate. Some call alcoholism and drug addiction a disease triggered by genetic disposition. Others brand it a character defect or a moral failing--in other words, a sin. One thing is clear: There's no disagreement over the effect of substance abuse on the user and his or her family and friends.

It is devastating.

I've seen strong men and  women whose lives unraveled, whose marriages crumbled, whose faith could not hold them up under the frightful weight of their need to numb their senses and drown their despair or insecurity in drink or drugs.

And I’ve seen the hopelessness in the eyes of their children and loved ones that want so much to believe the promises they hear that “Things will get better.”

I’ve had a front row seat to the devastating affect that believing the lie “I don’t need help, I can whip this by myself” causes. I’ve watched my sons and daughter tell themselves that lie, and I have witnessed them lose another piece of themselves with each failure.

There Is Hope

I've also seen the miracle that can occur when an alcoholic or drug abuser acknowledges his or her condition, realizes they can’t do it on their own, and turns to God for help.

If you are trapped in alcohol abuse, or if you love someone who is, I have a word for you.

The word is not "shame." It's not "sinner." It's not even "stop"--because on your own, you probably can't or won't.

The word is "trust."

I encourage you to trust that God and His people will offer you the hand of friendship and, where necessary, forgiveness.

Trust that God, in his grace, will give you the strength to say "No" to any addiction that enslaves you and diminishes you.

Trust that God will provide someone in your life to help you in efforts to accept healing and hope through Jesus.

And trust me when I tell you that it is Jesus who is the source of life's truest high.

There is one best answer to all of life’s challenges. It will not solve all your problems immediately, but it is the one best way to face them in this life, and give you hope for afterwards.

There is a wonderful book which contains everything we need to know to live our lives in peace and harmony the way our Creator intended.

There are countless truths to live by found in this book, God's message to mankind, but if we were to boil everything down to its most basic message, this book, The Bible, makes three things clear.

  First, the Bible says that mankind has a problem, and that problem is called sin. Sin is any action or attitude that falls short of God's perfect standard. Every one of us has the problem of sin (Romans 3:23… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,). And the Bible teaches us there is a consequence to sin - sin separates us from God.

In fact, the Bible tells us that end result of sin is death and that there is nothing that we ourselves can do to solve the problem of sin.

 Second, the Bible says that there is a solution to the problem of sin, and that solution is the person of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23) "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus, His only Son, to die in our place (John 3:16 ) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,  that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. "

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus paid the penalty of your sin so that you would not have to be forever separated from God.  The Bible also tells us that Jesus is the only solution for our sin problem (John 14:6) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Third, the Bible demands a decision. It is not enough to just know about Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for you. You must choose to put your trust in Christ, to receive this free gift of salvation that God offers (John 1:12) "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

All of us have the problem of sin. There is only one solution to the problem - the person of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for us. Every one of us must decide What we want to do about Jesus.

You must make a decision, and you only have three options?

There are only three possible answers to this question:

1.    To say yes, to accept God's free gift of salvation by putting your trust in Jesus Christ.

2.    To say no, to reject God's offer of salvation. The Bible says that those who make this choice will spend eternity separated from God in a place called Hell.

3.    To say maybe, to try to put off the decision to a more convenient time.

The Bible does say that God is patient, wanting everyone to come to the point of accepting His gift of salvation (II Peter 3:9) "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

But none of us is promised that we will be here tomorrow, and because of this "x-factor" of death, trying to put off our decision by saying “maybe”, automatically puts us in the "no" category.

So, in reality, there are only two answers to the question, "What will you do with Jesus Christ?" To accept His free gift of salvation or to reject that gift.

Let me ask you, "What have You done with Jesus Christ?" If you have never accepted God's offer of eternal life, I can think of no better time than right now

We have all made mistakes and done things we regret.  If we claim to be without sin, we are in denial, for the Bible says that ALL have sinned.  But what a joy to know that God does not leave us with the guilt of our mistakes!  Instead, he offers us grace and forgiveness bought for us with Christ's blood.  And that grace brings us freedom -- freedom to walk without shame as beloved, if imperfect, children of God.  Accept that grace today, know that you are loved despite your sins, and commit yourself to follow closely the One who took your punishment.

 The invitation is open - you can accept the gift of salvation and get rid of the sin in your life. It doesn't matter what you're doing or what you've done. The offer is open to everyone.


Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He also said, "whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

So if you ask Him, you will be accepted.

The way to talk to the Lord is through prayer. Your prayer should be your own, from your own heart to His. If you're not in the habit of praying, though, you may need an example.

An example of such a prayer may go something like this:

Father in Heaven, I know that I am a sinner
and need forgiveness. I believe that Your Son Jesus died in my place, to pay the penalty for my sin, and rose again for my salvation. I want to turn from my sinful ways, so I now ask you, Lord Jesus, to come into my life as my Savior and my Lord.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Bible says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." So if you have asked Him into your life, and believe He died to save you, you are a Christian, bound for Heaven.

The difficulties of living as a Christian in a sinful world are many. Therefore it is essential that you immediately seek other sincere, Bible-believing Christians to help you sustain your resolve. Both individual Christian friends and a solidly Bible-based Christian church are essential.

May you forever know His Peace.  God Bless and Keep You.

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"His Eye Is On The Sparrow"
Performed with love by Margi Harrell