March 1, 2001
I have been listening to the news reports. Yet
another earthquake has struck the planet. This time the quake hit the Seattle,
Washington area. The reports said there was a lot of property damage, with some
of the facades of buildings coming apart even in the downtown area. Fortunately
I do not believe anyone was killed; I have no idea as to the number of injuries.
It seems as if several times per week there are reports of quakes. And some of the recent killer quakes were in El Salvador and Guatemala, and then a short time later a more
devastating one struck in India. The losses of life have been huge. And there seem to be dozens of lesser quakes happening all over.
Of course there have always been earthquakes.. But Jesus Christ also gave the prevalence
of quakes as one of the signs of His return. For in the book of Matthew, Jesus
said: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled:
for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
He then went on to say, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against
kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers (various) places. All these things are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:6-8)
The “beginning of sorrows”? Yes,
we could be nearing the time. For many of the Old Testament Jewish prophets have
said that God will one day shake all the earth. And even aside from such cataclysmic
events such as earthquakes, other things are now being shaken too” governments,
financial institutions, and even society as a whole.
I believe that the hour is late in light of all the events that are currently unfolding
before us. God Almighty is trying to awaken the world to the soon to come time
of judgment that both the Old and New Testaments speak so much about.
And while many Christians feel uncomfortable talking about the “end times’, the “last days”, and the coming “tribulation period” that
the Lord Jesus and so many of the prophets and apostles have discussed in the holy scriptures, the fact is, God wants to also
awaken His people (the church) to the urgency of the times.
The year, month, day and hour of the Lord’s return no one knows or can know. But
today I believe the Lord is trying to encourage His children to turn away from all carnality and compromise, and to turn again
to Him in repentance and faith. He wants us to be completely submitted and surrendered
You see, America is coming into a time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. There is so much unrest and anxiety now. I
think that many people sense that something is very wrong. Although many may
try to deaden their fears with alcohol and other drugs, or with all kinds of sports and entertainments, and even with pursuing
a career of with making tons of money, the fact is many are afraid.
So I would encourage the church to be ready and prepared to minister to a troubled and
frightened people. In the days to come and even beginning right now, God Almighty
is calling forth His Elijahs, Jeremiahs, Ezekiels, Davids and Gideons to go forth in the power and anointing of Jesus the
Messiah, and in the power of the Holy spirit.
The world needs to hear the hope giving message of the gospel.. They need to know that
God has the answers. That He is still in control
March 4, 2001
JIM IS DEAD
As I was walking into the chapel this Sunday morning to attend our worship service, one
of the prison’s chaplains called me aside. He gave me the news that Jim
I had been covering his story in my Journal. Please
see my entries for January 18th and 23rd, and then February 2nd.
The 2nd of February was the last day I had seen Jim alive. By God’s hand, I believe, we met in the corridor on this early February day for me to get the chance
to speak with Jim once more. He was very sick.
His death was inevitable. I know I tried
my best as a Christian to share the gospel with this dying man, to encourage Jim, and even plead with him to repent and to
believe in Jesus. Other Christians had been doing the same. So, at least spiritually, he was not neglected. All the brethren
gave him lots of love.
The day I last saw Jim, I said a prayer and placed him in the hands of the Lord. I had seen him deteriorating a little each time.
And although I had expected this, the news still hit me hard.
After thanking the chaplain for being concerned enough to tell me, I went into the worship
service. I prayed for Jim’s family, of course. For even though he was, like me, a convicted felon still had an elderly mother who loved him, and others
I am not going to give a glowing report that Jim got born again and that he died with
a smile on his face. I thank God for the stories I sometimes hear about deathbed conversion.
However in this case I simply do not know.
But when I get to Gloryland and I happen to see old Jim, I am going to be very happy. All his suffering would have been worth it in the end if God somehow used Jim’s
sickness to get his attention and to bring him to his knees. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.
March 10, 2001
When I spoke to my Christian brother, Robert Alexander, who happens to be a former New
York State Department of Corrections employee and now a town justice as well as a minister, he gave me some great news.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS video had been seen by about 6,000 teenagers during a large youth
evangelism conference that was sponsored by Youth for Christ, and was held in the Niagara Falls Convention Center in the City
of Niagara Falls, New York
Every year some of the leaders of Youth For Christ’s western New York region conduct
a four day conference and seminar for teens. This is a very big event that’s
sponsored by many churches. It is an all out effort to encourage those teenagers who already believe in Jesus Christ, to help them to grow in their faith. They also want the kids to mature in their knowledge of the Lord. In addition, it is also a time to evangelize those who may be there as guest, but who do not know Jesus
as Savior and Lord.
This past youth conference was held from December 27th thru the 30th. THE CHOICE IS YOURS was shown during one of these days. I knew about the conference ahead of time, but I waited until now when the “official” victory
report came in from brother Alexander.
I do not know how many (if any) kids got born again as a result of watching the video
or even in what capacity it was used. But I give God all the praise because He
did use it and according to brother Alexander, the youth responded in a positive way.
He added that the Youth For Christ’s staff were “very pleased with the results”.
March 12, 2001
BLACK AND SATANIC METAL
Today I have something very important to share.
Last week I was in my prison’s little library, and I came across an interesting and fascinating book: LORDS OF CHAOS: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground, by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind,
Feral House, Venice, CA., © 1998.
Most will not be familiar with this subject, but the book concerns the rise of “Black
Metal” music. This is an exceedingly more violent and satanic form of rock music than its predecessor, Heavy Metal music. Basically,
this is what Heavy Metal has evolved into.
The two authors, neither of whom are Christians, have done a tremendous amount of research
and have conducted many interviews for this gripping and informative work. They
explore and expose the many satanic connections that are in today’s rock music industry.
They also managed to interview Anton Szandor LaVey shortly before he died in 1997. LaVey was the founder of the Church of Satan in California in 1966. In the early 70s he worte the controversial satanic bible, which became a worldwide best seller.
Amazingly, an arrogant Anton LaVey, in an unguarded moment, brazenly admits during his
interview that certain kinds of music is deliberately being used to bring hundreds of thousands of youth under demonic control
for a specific purpose that, one day, according to LaVey, at the right moment, these young people will begin to unleash a
wave of destruction throughout Europe and America. Even now, as these two writers
demonstrate, many youth have already been committing various crimes at the urging of these rock musicians as sacrifices to
In Europe especially, there have been documented murders, church arsons, cemetery desecrations,
anti-Semitic incidents, and vandalism of all kinds connected to Black Metal. Its
evil influence is powerful and pervasive, drumming into many young and impressionable minds its satanic hatred for minorities,
Jews and Christians.
Also in Europe, most of the rapidly rising “Neo-Nazi” movement with its acts
of extreme violence, has been traced to pro-Hitler youth who are, not only well
organized and networked, but have almost all, without exception, been discovered to be avowed “Black Metal” fans.
I know that, over the years, many people have tended to laugh at various Christian ministers
who have tried to warn and teach others about what goes on in some areas of the Rock and Roll industry. These Christians have been mocked when talking about such things as “backward masking” or various
recordings being “blessed” during satanic ceremonies that allegedly take place in the recording studios before
the release of a particular album, etc.
Personally, I do not know if there is such a thing as backward-masking or of occultic
ceremonies really do go on inside of some studios. However, what this book reveals,
and mostly through the words of the artists themselves, is that the Black and Heavy Metal rock industry is steeped in Satanism
Their lyrics definitely promote Aryanism and Nazism, as well as the worship of pagan
deities. Fortunately, the authors were able to give many examples to bolster
their claims. These Black Metal groups deliberately encourage anti-Semitism and
racial hatred. Their lyrics are also strongly anti-Christian-------
March 15, 2001
Perhaps one of the biggest tragedies I see happening
today with the prison system, is the number of youth that are coming into the system with long sentences.
We are living in an age of Zero Tolerance”.
It’s obvious to me that it has become politically correct to show as little mercy as possible, and many times
none at all.
But when a young man ages fourteen to eighteen comes to prison with a sentence of 20
to 60 years or more, with virtually no hope for an early release, his life is about over.
Unless something radical happens in the life of each young prisoner to give him hope
and a reason to remain “positive”, over time he will, more than likely, settle into a state of despondency and
He will probably be forced at some point into joining a gang. If he does join one of these violent prison gangs, he will be doing so for probably all of the following
reasons: fear and protection; peer pressure;
a need for companionship; a need to belong to a group to replace the missing family unit; a need to have a higher status
in the prison’s hierarchy, for even in prison no one wants to be thought of as an “outcast”.
And to me these are all forms of duress. But
he joins nonetheless. For to be alone is to be unprotected. To not have a gang
affiliation is to increase one’s potential to be victimized.
No one wants to spend years being bullied and pushed around or to be raped, robbed or
tormented continually. So eventually he will join. He will take his
vows. He will do his acts of violence and be assaultive to other prisoners, and
even the staff, in order to “make rank” and impress his gang’s leader.
Furthermore, he will be doomed to spend what was supposed to be the most productive period
of his life living in a cell. He will have to work tirelessly and fight constantly
to keep his reputation. He will most likely live a life of rebellion, anger,
and complete defiance to all authority.
These things will be this young man’s unhappy lot in prison. With his lengthy prison sentence, there is literally no escape. He
will be locked in a vicious cycle with no way out and no end in sight.
Moreover, I am not saying all this to sound negative.
But from what I have seen over the years, this is pretty much how it will be.
For even over his family if he has one, may also forget about him as they go on with
their lives. The letters and visits, if he ever got any, will begin to diminish. As the years pass this young man may become just another forgotten soul buried behind
the walls and wires.
Yet this is why, I believe, it is so important to have active and well established Christian
programs and people-loving ministries coming into the prisons, juvenile detention centers and training schools. For it is, in these seemingly hopeless and depressing situations, that God can do His greatest works.
I know that the gospel is still the Good News no matter where it is being shared. And Jesus is still able to heal the brokenhearted and to set at liberty those who
are being held captive by the power of sin, and by the crushing oppressiveness of this world’s system.
March 22. 2001
At three o’clock I decided to go to the recreation yard. It was a chance to spend almost an hour walking around and getting some fresh air.
And once again I ran into my friend, Michael. I
shared a little about him in my Journal for December 31, 2000, which happened to be my final entry for last year.
Michael is very mentally ill, and many times he’s borderline out of control. Occasionally he gets very out of control and he becomes angry and abusive to me, but
especially to the prison’s staff.
Today, thank God, he was in a jovial mood, telling jokes.
He was full of energy and wanted to keep walking around the recreation yard’s perimeter. I joined him and got to spend time with him.
God has put Michael into my life so that I could befriend him, for he is a man with no
true friends. And He put Michael in my life so that I could share with him the
good news about Jesus Christ.
Since he was not in a hostile frame of mind, I was able to relax a little and share some
of my life as a Christian. There are times when I could take out my little Gideon’s
Pocket Testament, and he would allow me to read him a few Scriptures. Then there
are other times, however, when I would pull that little Bible out of my pocket and he’d start cussing and getting belligerent. I see this as “spiritual warfare” because there is something inside of
Michael that does not want to see him get healed and delivered.
Thankfully he promised to be in church this Sunday.
But as I mentioned in my December 31st entry, even in church he can get out of control. He makes odd noises and basically disturbs the worshippers.
Yet the other prisoners are learning to be tolerant of him.
Frankly, I am still learning to be tolerant, too.
Yes, he does stretch my patience. But I know that, when it comes time
for Michael to truly put his faith in Jesus Christ, it will be worth it in the end.
For me to put up with all the abuse from him, well, if it will take all this to make
sure Michael gets to heaven, then I am willing to go through with it. I am willing
to endure the hardship.
On his better days, Michael can be a warm and friendly person, and very funny. To me he is one of the people that the Savior has a special love for.
I don’t believe that Michael can survive in the “streets”. Quite honestly, he probably would not be welcomed in many churches, because who’s going to put up
with a wild, ranting man bouncing up and down on a church pew while the sermon is being preached?
In here Michael has found acceptance and love.
He has tasted God’s compassion, and he has a home.
March 26, 2001
“JESUS DROPPED THE CHARGES”
The Lord blessed us yesterday with a great Sunday morning service. We had a ministry team from the New Greater Bethel Church, Cambria Heights, Queens, come in and do an evangelistic
play titled “Jesus Dropped the Charges.” It was awesome, and about
fifteen men came forward for salvation, and another ten inmates or so went to the altar to rededicate their lives to Christ.
I loved seeing how a dozen ordinary citizens who love Jesus Christ and who care about
the prisoners, sacrificed all their personal time to come in and put on such an anointed performance. The Lord truly used these humble people, most of them who are housewives.
I left the chapel feeling very happy and encouraged at what God did yesterday.
And moving on to some good letters, today I received a letter from a young man in Mississippi. Several weeks ago he had written and asked me to share my testimony and a short message
about forgiveness with him. He wanted to share it with his college class
of about fifty students. He was very thankful, and he will get to read the message
to his fellow students very soon (Lord willing).
Then I also received a letter from a man in Colorado.
He has a ministry at the local jail. I do not know this Christian personally,
but he had obtained a copy of the “SON OF HOPE” video which he showed at the jail a few months back. He then took it upon himself to write and share what god had
done. I was so encouraged. So I
would like to share a portion of his letter:
“I am a volunteer at the Adams County Jail and we recently received permission
to show your video testimony “Son of Hope” to our Monday night men’s fellowship group,
“We are allowed to have only 25 men at one time at each of our meetings. When the video was over, we gave the invitation for salvation and 10 men literally ran our of their seats
toward the front… I can’t speak for all of them, but (since then)
I have seen a real transformation in many of their lives….”
I have already written back to thank this minister.
And once again I must humbly thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because this was something He did, and not me.
I am simply happy to hear that more souls repented of their sins and have placed
their faith in Jesus. Praise the Lord because, one soul at a time, heaven is
getting filled up!
March 29, 2001
A DAY OF ANSWERED PRAYERS
This morning I had to go to the Infirmary as the man whom I escort in a wheelchair had
to pick up some medications and get some treatments. When I first entered the
building I was disappointed to find the waiting area so crowded. There were at
least 30 to 35 inmates waiting to see either the nurses for “sick call” or the see the doctor.
The waiting area is like a big fish tank. The
front wall and entry door, and one long side are walled with Plexiglass. This
way everyone can be watched at all times. And in some ways it resembles a bus
station with rows of backless wooden benches. There’s a large clock on
the wall over the exit which many of the men stare at, as if trying to intimidate the clock’s hands to move faster.
When an inmate arrives at the entrance to the hospital, he has to first report to the
Officer’s Station, and then he is let into the waiting area through the electronically controlled door. At this point an inmate must take a seat until his is called to talk with someone on the medical staff.
Being that the waiting room was so crowded today, I thought for sure I would be stuck
in this poorly ventilated and noisy room for most of the morning.
Well I pushed my friend’s wheelchair to an open spot alongside the wall, and then
I managed to find a seat on one of the benches. And yes, I did get stuck in the
waiting area for a long time. Yet I knew as soon as I sat down that God had me
here for a purpose.
For I got to see two of my recent prayers answered!
First, I had been praying for a particular Christian brother who has not been to the chapel services in quite some
time. He’s been going through some personal struggles, and he had been
showing some signs of losing his faith.
During the past week or so he had been on my heart, and I was specifically lifting him
u p in my prayers. Now lo! and behold! I ended up sitting right next to him. So this became a great opportunity to encourage him and to remind this struggling
brother about God’s precious promises, and God’s love and faithfulness to His children.
We had a good time fellowshipping, and I definitely saw the Holy Spirit beginning to
stir his heart. I promised to keep him in my prayers. I also urged him in a loving way to “keep on with the Lord”, to pray, and to read his Bible.
Then as he left to see one of the nurses, another inmate came and sat down. This time it was “Stewart”. I shared about “Stu”
in my February 16th Journal entry.
Back in February when I got to speak briefly with Stu, he was presently under “disciplinary
status” for a violation of some rules. He was being escorted by a guard at the time, and so our conversation was very limited.
But the Lord had me to pray for him.
However, once again, the Holy Spirit orchestrated another meeting. Stu, who has AIDS, sat next to me. So we got to talk. I told him how much I had been praying for him, that I wanted to see him get touched
by the Savior. He began to confess his struggles and temptations. Stu told me of his weaknesses with the flesh. I told him that
the temptations and struggles he’s going through, that they’re very common.
But mainly we just rapped. I don’t
go around preaching at people. I simply talk with them one-on-one, sharing God’s
love and sometimes, in a straightforward way, I must warn them of the consequences of rejecting such an awesome salvation.
Stu listened politely. Another seed
was sown. Most assuredly the Lord ordered my steps today. He had answered my