June 26, 2002
BARRIERS OF PRIDE
I often pray that the Lord would breakdown the barriers of pride and fear
in these men---fear of what other prisoners will think of a man if he chooses to become a Christian.
For to come to Christ a man must admit that he was wrong, that he led a
sinful and corrupt life and that, more than likely, he hurt many people by a lifetime of unkind words and cruel actions.
To place one's faith in Christ is a big step. It is a decision that will
alter the course of a man's soul for all eternity.
Therefore it is very tragic, in the end, that simple human pride will keep
multitudes out of heaven, both prison inmates and those who live outside of these walls.
Yes, pride is a great damner of souls. For I have observed that one of
the biggest hindrances to more inmates embracing Christianity is the perceived need to be "tough". And many prisoners work
endlessly at creating the image of a tough, hard man.
They spend a lot of energy and even risk their lives trying to put on that
hard exterior. They feel they must "talk tough" and be intimidating.
Some strive to develop a reputation as a troublemaker by defying the guards,
trying to break the rules, or by even "pushing up" on weaker inmates.
They strive to present a certain appearance to their peers and in the process
they sacrifice their humanity and choose to become animal-like.
All said, it is pride at work. A man strives to please and impress other
men who can give him nothing. In the end he has lost his soul.
June 28, 2002
The 25th anniversary of my arrest is coming up in August. So the media
is once again cranking things up to try to rekindle people's interest and put this case back into their minds.
The weeks ahead may be rough for me. This is because I am always in deep
emotional pain every time my crimes and sins get rehashed.
I know where the Lord brought me from, and I never want to go back there.
I don't want to remember. But the media, unfortunately, loves to go back into the darkness.
Yet I pray that, in spite of what others may try to do to me, that Jesus
Christ will be glorified. I truly believe that God wants to get glory
out of my life by using me as an example that He is willing to forgive anyone who places their faith in His Son Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 has been a big part of my own calling as a Christian.
For like the murderous Saul of Tarsus, whom God made into the Apostle Paul, I too was a "chief" among sinners.
For those who have heard my testimony and believe it, I have been a source
of encouragement and hope for them. And I am so thankful!
And for those who have rejected my testimony, God is still God. He is merciful..
There are plenty of other testimonies He can and will use to reach people with the message of salvation. Amen!
June 29. 2002
I thank the Lord for this gorgeous Saturday. The sun was shining brightly
and the stifling humidity that's been in my area for two long weeks has finally lifted.
Earlier this morning I was in the recreation yard with some Christian friends.
We were talking about the Lord and the usual church related things.
However my mind seemed to be far away. I kept thinking of how dissatisfied
I have been with my own walk as a Christian. I feel that I need more love and humility. I need to go lower so that my "self-life"
could die more and the life of Christ can shine forth in greater measure. I'm at a stage where I want to allow God to do more
work in my heart.
And later today I experienced a wonderful blessing from the Lord. At one
o'clock this afternoon about two dozen members of the Manhattan Grace Tabernacle Church (New York City) were here along with
their Pastor, Luis Rivera.
They sounded like a choir of angels. I was so refreshed and energized in
my spirit. The chapel was full. It was a beautiful time and the two hours flew by. Pastor Rivera gave an evangelistic message
and a few men made professions of faith in Christ.
I have said this so often, that while we prisoners may be shut in behind
these big walls, we're not shutout from the presence of Jesus. For as He has promised, even if only two or thee are gathered
together in His name, He will be in our midst.
And we had much more than two or three today!
June 30, 2002
As June comes to a close I want to thank God for taking me through every
storm and affilction which came my way in the past month.
June has been a month of pruning. I know that the Lord Jesus has removed
some things from my life that needed to go. And this is for a good prupose, as painful as it was, that I might bear even more
spiritual fruit for God's glory.
I have committed my life to following Christ, and so I must accept the
pain as well as the victory. Both work together. There is no middle road and no place for compromise.
Being a soldier for the Lord, as the Apostle Paul said, is no easy task.
Yet the Bible encourages me, much like it does every Christian, to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy
2:1), and to "endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" 2 Timothy 2:3).
In this walk many people have rejected me. Many think that my "Christianity"
is all nonsense. Nevertheless, I have determined in my heart that I will serve the Lord.
As one line says in the classic song, I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS, "Though
none go with me, still I will follow". I want this to be my attitutde and my battle cry. That I will, by His grace, hold on
to Jesus no matter what happens. I know, too, that He is holding on to me.
I am likewise learning to accept the fact that there shall be people who
will always hate me because of the past. They're people who are indifferent to anything I may say. Still, I humbly thank the
Lord for all who have been encouraged by my testimony, and for all who will be blessed and encouraged by it in the future.