July 3, 2006
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
This weekend I took a little time for myself in order to recuperate. I
delegated other men to oversee the various services and Bible studies and, as usual, the chaplain was present to lead yesterday's
I'm certain that I have been negligent by not taking enough time for myself
to get adequate rest. In addition, the extremely hot and humid weather has caused me to feel even more tired. So a few days
for refreshing was needed. I spent all weekend, with the exception of Sunday morning, in my cell.
The self-imposed comfinement allowed me to do extra praying, more Bible
reading and letter writing, as well as wash a small stack of clothing in my plastic pail. I'm basically a "Type A" hyperactive
personality who finds it hard to sit still and relax. I've been this way all my life.
Meanwhile, God has been giving me many opportunities to share my faith
with fellow prisoners, and to give words of encouragement to those who already believe in Jesus, but are currently going through
various difficulties and temptations.
I cannot, however, count all the times when my Christian brothers, although
having to serve their own sentences, have had to come along-side me to help encourage and strengthen me. I thank God for each
one. These men have been very unique and special blessings in my life.
July 8, 2006
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out
my Spirit upon all flesh...
God is doing amazing things here at Sullivan Correctional Facility. He's
doing the same in jails and prisons throughout the world. This past Sunday, for example, we had 63 men attend our main worship
service. The inmate ushers had to get additional chairs from nearby classrooms in order to accommodate everyone.
I believe this is a season when the Holy Spirit is pouring Himself out
upon those who are incarcerated. He is convicting men and women of their sins, and they are turning away from those sins.
They're hearing the gospel and believing its message.
Furthermore, for a number of years I have been saying that the largest
harvest of souls to become born again will be those who inhabit our nation's jails, prisons, halfway houses, juvenile detention
centers, homeless shelters and inner city mission stations. And this is because these individuals are the ones who've been
shattered and battered by life's cruel blows. They're the ones who are spiritually impoverished. They have no qualms seeking
help and refuge from God.
July 9. 2006
It is interesting to me how the spiritual climate of the Christian community
here at the prison often apears to fluctuate from week to week.
On July 8th I wrote about last Sunday's service and how we had more than
the usual number of men in attendance. well yesterday we had another good turnout, but the atmosphere was much different.
There seemed to be a heaviness in the air. At the start of the service, when I began to lead the congregation in prayer, it
felt as if a force was pressing aginst me. It was a struggle to pray, and the short message of exhortation I gave afterwards,
was equally a difficult to deliver.
I recognized this as spiritual warfare. Something had set itself against
me, and things like this happen often enough. Otherwise our time of worship went well. The choir was sharp, and our visiting
preacher gave a good sermon about being justified by faith in Jesus Christ.
For my short exhortation, however, I did tell the men that God's heart
grieves when we are stubbornly living in sin, and are ignorantly destroying our lives in the process. But I also reminded
them that, in the Bible, Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that "prostitutes, thieves and outcasts" were getting
into heaven ahead of them because these people heard the Word of God and repented of their sins, while the proud and self-righteous
folks would not admit to their sins. I then added that God has now brought salvation to us because we, like the outcasts and
thieves, long for forgiveness and restoration.
July 15, 2006
ISRAEL AND WAR
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth...
We could call it "The War that Never Ends". This would be a good way to
describe the current fighting between Israel and the vicious terrorist organization known as "Hezbollah". Watching the news
on television I can see homes and buildings in both Israel and Lebanon ruined by rockets and bombs, with many soldiers and
civilians already having died on both sides.
Who knows, however, if this present conflict will fizzle out with the development
of an uneasy and temporary truce? Or it may eventually escalate into a full-scale war of terrible proportions. After all,
Israel and her Arab neighbors have been battling one another for centuries, even from Biblical times. And with each new generation
the never ending war goes on.
But one thing I do know is that God does not make war maliciously. Men
do. Hearts that are filled with sin, hatred and pride cause men to pick up weapons and use them against their neighbors. Yet
the Lord, so says the Bible, makes wars to cease. And one future day, I believe, war will stop forever.
When the true Prince of Peace comes to Earth to establish His kingdom,
He will demand that men beat their swords and spears into plowshares and pruninghooks, and they will never start wars any
more. Isaiah 2:2-4
July 17, 2006
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together
In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew's gospel, Jesus chided the religious
leaders of His day because they demanded that He perform a miraculous sign in order to prove He was indeed the Messiah. Instead,
Jesus said to them, that they were foolish, for while they could discern what the next day's weather was going to be like,
they could not recognize who He was by all the miracles Jesus had already performed.
In a similar way, it is obvious to me that we are living in a period of
human history when the Lord's calling forth for His church to be removed from this earth and taken up into heaven is very
near. (The Rapture).
The world is in upheaval and many people are in pain. Multitudes are also
living in fear because of crime or war. Even nature appears to be out of balance. The Bible says that all of creation is groaning
and longing for the time when the earth will be restored to the paradise which once existed before sin entered the world.
Meanwhile, the signs are clear. Christ is coming again. But before He does,
there will be much more suffering and sorrow. This is because sin is increasing, and with it will come the intensification
of the pain it brings. Yet there is also hope because God, who the Bible says is rich in mercy* is still allowing for individuals
to repent and to believe the gospel.
Yes, one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the misery
which so many of us are now experiencieng will be gone forever.