June 11, 2001
We have no certain dwelling
1 Corinthians 4:11
Earlier today I was told the sad news that one of my dearest brothers and friends, a
fellow prisoner who has been such a faithful helper and prayer partner, is being transferred to another facility.
Right now it feels as if a part of my heart is being ripped out. This man, “Dee” Is a deacon in our prison church. He
loves the Lord and I have seen him mature so much in the ten or so years he has been here.
Dee and I have prayed together, fellowshipped, served the body of Christ at Sullivan Corrections Facility. We shared so much of our
lives. He and I went through many a spiritual battle together against the forces
of evil who are always trying to hurt our congregation.
This is one true soldier who is going to be missed by me.
is a faithful brother and a hard worker.
A number of years ago when I was working in the chapel he also worked alongside me. Then when it was time for me to leave my position as Chaplain’s Clerk, I purposely
moved aside so that he could get the job. I knew at the time that he was ready
to take on the responsibility. The Lord was with Dee,
and he did a fine job.
But now he is leaving. This is always a
painful aspect of prison life: the transfer process. For it makes prison life so unstable. None of us ever know, from day to day, who is going to suddenly be
transferred at any time, and without any advance notice. I am here today. But tomorrow I could be transferred to a prison at the opposite end of the State,
hundreds of miles away.
June 14, 2001
SETTING THINGS IN ORDER
Our church is marching on. Several days ago all of us here in the body of Christ at Sullivan
Correctional Facility were very heartbroken over the loss of one of dearest brothers who went on a transfer. He was our main Chaplain’s Clerk (See Journal for June
But after coming together in prayer and
seeking God’s guidance we now have another man to take the position. We
prayed for him and he was anointed with oil by the elders. We believe that he
is Christ’s choice. I am pleased, too, that there were virtually no interruptions
with this transition process. Our “upheaval” was brief.
A few of the brothers were asking me to come back and work in the chapel. I thanked them for the offer, but explained that I believe the lord wants me right where I am caring for
a handicapped inmate and having more time to spend in prayer and Bible study,
and in writing.
Several years ago I was so busy that I probably could not keep up with this journal. I first began trying to write this spiritual journal back around 1998. But with my schedule the way it was, working in the chapel and being “on the go” from virtually
morning till night, I just could not focus on this task. Just keeping up with
the mail correspondence was enough in itself, plus all the hours of paperwork I had to do as the Chaplain’s Clerk.
However, beginning in the year 2000 the Lord was leading
me to slow down. He was opening up new doors for me to do other programs and spend more time in a classroom setting. This lasted for most of 2000. Now in
2001 everything seems to be in place where I can “shut in” and write more.
I’m very satisfied and thankful.
But for the time being and probably for the next few weeks, I will be spending extra
time in the chapel aside from the usual services and Bible studies. This is because
I have to help train the new clerk. It is a blessing to serve the Lord and to
help my brothers in any capacity the Lord wants me to. And I know that God will
give me the strength because many times in my “flesh” (I’m being open here) I don’t feel like doing
all these tasks.
During the past few days I had been reading from the book of Titus in the New Testament. The apostle Paul told Titus, who like Timothy was something of a spiritual son to
him, to say on the Island of Crete and “set in order” all that was
necessary so that the church could be established in that very lawless and inhospitable territory.
Back then Crete was a hideout for pirates and criminals
on the run. Because of all the sailors and merchants who passed through the island, it was filled with prostitution and
all kinds of vice. But the Lord was moving among the people and many were repenting from their sins and were placing their faith in Jesus Christ.
In this environment, Titus had to encourage the saints to continue to turn away from
sinful lifestyles and to instead live godly and honorable lives. He had to provide guidance for the church and appoint elders to govern the church and be leaders by example.
It is no different here in this prison. And
even in our chapel things get a little off course and then need to be set back in order.
This is all part of a Christian’s learning process.
June 16, 2001
I WILL BLESS THE LORD
Today I have been in a contemplative mood, reading and pondering Psalm 103 (which is
one of my favorites), and seeing God’s hands of mercy and compassion flooding
my life in so many ways.
Although the Lord hates sin and He will punish those who continue to do bad things, He
is also kind and fair. Obviously “fallen” humanity does not possess
such levels of mercy. Nevertheless, I know without a doubt that God loves to
forgive and pardon sinners. His door of forgiveness is still open. He operates in love and kindness. Verse 10 of this great Psalm
says, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”
Now don’t misunderstand me. God is
not wimpy or weak. He is all powerful.
He is the Almighty One who spoke this world into existence, and can just as easily speak it out of existence.
God could have taken me out of this world at any time, and He would have been justified
in doing so. But instead He did something else.
He chose to, rather than end my life, to allow me to live. He made a way
for me to be redeemed by the Blood of the Messiah.
Another verse in Psalm 103 says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and plenteous in mercy” (v.8). And this is it in a nutshell.
So as I sit here in my prison cell I can say that I am very thankful for the Lord’s
goodness towards me, and towards all who call upon His wonderful name. Amen!