VOLUME a DECEMBER 2002
December 1, 2002
SON OF SUFFERING
The Lord has been speaking to my heart that I am now entering
into a new phase of ministry. Starting several months into next year God is going to be expanding the outreach of my testimony,
and this for His glory.
However, He has also been warning me, and it has already begun,
that I am going to suffer. This suffering will be of the mental and emotional kind rather than physical.
Even some Christians whom I have known for many years will
be turning aginst me for no logical reason. Inexplicable things will happen. Many spiritual struggles lay ahead. But after
a long season of these struggles and conflicts, huge victories will be achieved. God's work will be advanced.
Godly men and women of old have undergone such trials. So have
many saints today. I am no exception. Therefore, the "Son of Hope," may, for a season, have to become the "Son of Suffering".
This is not something I want, nor am I looking forward to more
hardships. It is simply the cost of following the Lord Jesus, who was the greatest Sufferer of us all. He was the "Man of
Sorrows" Who was well acquainted with grief.
After all, what is my life to be but a "living sacrifice" (Romans
12:1) And God is faithful. He will not allow me to handle more than I could bear.
Besides, I cannot tell God what to do or not to do. He is the
Potter, and I am merely the clay in His hands. Thus I am learning, too, to accept everything that comes my way as His will.
I know that, ultimately, good will result.
December 3, 2002
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always
to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
1 Peter 3:15
Be prepared to minister to and help many confused, troubled
and despondent people in the United Sttates of America in the days and months to come.
Poverty, homelessness, loneliness, alcohol and drug use, as
well as a "spirit of despair" are now coming into many lives like unwanted thieves.
Satan, as we know, always desires to steal, kill and destroy.
But Christ has come that people may have a spiritually abundant llife of peace, hope and joy and salvation.
These are the days, however, when God is calling all of His
children to be ready, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He wants us to be ready that we may know how to give a word of
hope to those who are weary and tormented.
In the coming year there will be many hurting people who need
help. Be prepared, therefore, to share the love of Jesus with people who are angry and disgusted. Have your spiritual lamps
filled with oil.
Be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of
the Lord. The harvest is ripening. Do not squander the opportunities. Do not allow despair to reign in people's lives. Bring
God's Word and His light into every situation.
Walk in love and know your Bible. The Holy Spirit will give
you discernment as to what to say (or not say), as will as how to handle each predicament.
Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church.
December 4, 2002
It was a sad day. A friend of mine whom I would often sit next
to as we ate our meals, got into some trouble. (I'll call him) Mack. Mack likes to do a lot of gambling. A sizable number
of the men in here get wrapped up in football and other sports. They start wagering bets. And the stakes get high.
In the course of our time together I shared with Mack about
my relationship with Jesus Christ. He is a proud man, and he said that following Jesus was okay for me, but that he didn't
need the Lord.
Earlier today a special squad of prison guards came into the
cellblock and handcuffed Mack and escorted him tlo the Special Housing Unit, also know as the "SHU"and "The Box".
I am not certain what his disciplinary charges will be; probably
possession of gambling material as well as some other related charges. The word among the inmates, however, is that he is
facing at least one year in solitary.
Mack doesn't have any family he's in contact with. The few
family members he once knew are long since out of his life. He never gets visits. He seldom gets letters.
Before coming to prison Mack lived on the streets. He is well
read and very smart. He has special training to work with the deaf and hearing impaired prisoners.
His family life, unfortunately, was completely dysfunctional.
He split from his home in upstate New York during his teenage years, and he never went back. He chose instead to sleep on
park benches over a normal bed. He just could not live with the alcoholism of his father, the abuse, and the daily strife.
December 5, 2002
MACK IN THE "BOX"
I want to talk more about my friend, Mack. It hurt to learn
that he got himself into big trouble with some serious charges.
Mack is a physically strong person, but he has a soft heart.
He would often loan things to the needier guys never asking for anything back. Raw survival is what he's had to live by for
most of his life.
While Mack is in solitary confinement I pray he recalls our
conversations. Maybe this will be something of a wake-up call for him. I hope so. He needs the Lord.
Mack is like many prison inmates. Much of his life is a big
secret. Very few prisoners reveal much of theselves for fear of being seen as weak, or of being hurt in the long run if they
expose their vulnerable areas.
There were a few times many months ago when Mack actually went
to a couple of chapel services. He even attended a Christian movie. (I think he went to see "Moses".)
And while I am not trying to paint a sympathetic portrait of
a man who, like me, is doing time for murder, there were many factors in his earllier life which put him on this dead end
road to prison.
He grew up with to much against him. And while many survived
such opposing forces as as alcoholic parent, beatings and physical and emotional abuse, yet still go on to be mature adults
and good citizens, not everyone does.
Mack did not. He succumbed to his environment. He wandered
homeless, thinking that he was an outcast, that his life was useless. He did a string of odd jobs. He often felt that his
life didn't count.