July 2, 2000
A NEW WHEEL
For my friends who read this journal you may notice that the typeface looks different. This is because I have a new "daisywheel" in my trusty typewriter.
Usually I use a Broughman wheel. My Broughman somehow got out of allignment and the keys were not striking the paper properly. I did not have the exact replacement, But I had a spare Prestige wheel. This is what I'm using now. Hence the print looks different than in previous months. In prison I learn to make do with what I have, and God is always faithful to provide.
I do not plan to write very much for July unless the Lord directs me otherise. It is terribly hot inside of my cell-block and there is no air conditioning. Prisons are not designed to be comfortable.
Due to the heat and my busy work schedule, I am very drained. So I have to ease up on my writing.
In addition, at this time I must begin to prepare myself spiritually for another door that may be opening in the near future, Lord willing. And I may write more about this later in the month or in August.
It seems that God is getting ready to enlarge my territory and the scope of my little ministry. I do not feel worthy or ready. I feel very unqualified within myself. But the Lord is still teaching me to trust in Him and in His ability to speak through me.
I could think of many other Christians for God to use. Yet to suit His own divine purposes, He sometimes chooses the foolish and base things of this world to confound and humble the strong and the popular.
For it is not by human might, power, ingenuity of logic that the Lord accomplishes things. Rather, it is by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).
July 5, 2003
For My yoke is easy, and My Burden is light.
Thus far this has been a sweaty summer with high humidity and sweltering temperatures. Most nights the air is stagnant. I've been having some difficulty sleeping as a result. And I have not felt as rested as I should be.
In addition, my work with the inmates who are living in the prison's Intermediate Care Program cellblock has required more of my time and energy.
Lately there sems to be a higher number of afflicted and troubled men that I've had to help and encourage. And because of this too, I have been feeling exhausted. However my tiredness and exhaustion will eventually pass.
Meanwhile, the Lord has been setting limitations for me since I am so awful at doing this for myself.
I tend to overwork and take on to much. So now I've had to put some things aside and/or let go of them. For I am learning that I can only accomplish so much each day.
I have been training myself to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He is ordering my steps, and He is telling me to slow my pace down and to operate only within certain set limits until I am directed otherwise.
Honestly, I have trouble being obedient in this area of having to stay within certain limits. God has been patient with me though. I am stll learning to stop when He says stop, and to go when He says to go. Without the Lord all my own efforts are fruitless anyhow.
July 18, 2003
And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand: and thou shalt have no more soothsayers.
Something strange and frightening happened to me last night, but the Lord protected me.
I share this story cautiously and guardedly, as I am not a person given to having lots of dreams and visions or unusual experiences. For all my years as a Christian, this is the first time that I ever experienced what I am about to share.
Last night I went to sleep after midnight. I said my prayers and then got under the covers. Later I awoke to empty my bladder. It was dark in my cell and I was very tired. So after I used the toilet, I sat down on my bunk, checked the time on my wristwatch (it was 3:01), and I got back under the covers.
Several minutes later, before I had fallen back to sleep, and while I was still fully awake, an ice cold wind rushed into my cell. I felt it hitting my body. It was scary because the wind blew so hard. It quickly sent chills all over my body.
As soon as I felt this cold wind blowing I raised my head off the pillow to see if I had left my window open. It was closed. Yet I noticed that none of the paperwork that was on my little desk was blowing around. Then, as I was sitting upright with the covers held up across my chest, I suddenly noticed a black bat flying right towards me. It was moving so fast that I instantly reacted by yanking my blanket in front of me so as to block the bat from crashing into me.
July 19, 2003
In the dark I could not tell if the bat acually hit the blanket, or if it quickly darted away. With the possibility of a bat flying around my cell, I did, however, get under the covers. But I kept my head on the pillow while my face stayed uncovered. I was looking for the bat, but I couldn't see it.
Seeing bats flying around the prison is common during the summer. I've had bats fly into my cell before. These buildings with their high ceilings and long corridors, plus being located in the mountains and surrounded by dense woods, is a big draw for these creatures.
I happen to like bats, and they're harmless. If one comes into an inmate's cell, it will usually fly around in circles for a few minutes, until it manges to find its way out through the open spaces between the rows of iron bars that are at the front of each cell.
But the way this bat suddenly apeared, heading straight towards me with wings flapping frenzy-like, all I could do was instinctively throw my blanket up.
This entire experience with the mysterious wind and the flying bat probably lasted no more than fifteen seconds. Yet as I laid on my bunk feeling chilled to the bone, I immediately began to sense that I was in some kind of indefinable danger. So I began to pray out loud and call upon the Name of the Lord.
Then, after about ten minutes of watching for the bat, I decided to cautiously get off my bunk, turn on my cell light, and look around to see if perhaps the bat had hidden itself in my clothing, or perhaps it was hanging up somewhere along the walls. I found nothing, however.
July 20, 2003
Here I was in my boxer shorts on this hot muggy night, walking about my cell with the light on at 3 0'clock in the morning, poking around for a bat that may have gotten spooked by my sudden movements and sought refuge in the clothing that I have hanging on hooks on one side of my room. Or maybe it slipped into the dark area under my bunk? I searched and found nothing.
I then got back under the covers, but now I was wide awake. Although I was tired, I couldn't fall asleep. I felt unsettled. And as I laid down on my bunk in the darkness, I continued to feel chilled. I had goose bumps all over, and the sense of danger did not diminish.
By this time, however, I understood that this was a spiritual attack of some kind. I began to believe that the bat was not real in a physical sense. But most assuredly something appeard, and it charged towards me.
Finally, though I got back to sleep around 5:30. At 6:30 the weke-up bell rang throughout the cellblock, a bell so loud it would ring in your ears long after it was shut off.
I had to get up for the "count.". Yet I felt very tired as I did not get a normal nights's sleep.
Nevertheless, although I was exhausted, I sensed God's peace. I began to sing some gospel songs. I believe that, at this time, God gave me the understanding that someone was trying to cast a spell on me. They were trying to use witchcraft against me. But they were not successful!
July 21, 2003
God has been so merciful to me. For even this strange and obviously demonic attack--the first of its kind that I have ever experinced---turned out to be a blessing.
The Bible says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Therefore, I say that this weird event was a blessing, because it is one more piece of evidence that my life is going in the direction the Lord wants it to go.
It has been said by many a preacher that when the opposition against a Christian is the greatest, a spiritual breakthrough is usually right around the corner.
Once more my faith has been bouyed.
July 24, 2003
This afternoon I went along with the inmates from the Intermediate Care Program to the recreation yard. On some weekdays they get taken out of their cells for an hour in order to get fresh air and walk around. Several of them may also choose to throw a ball around.
A part of my job is to encourage these men to stay active as almost all of them are on varying doses of psychotropic medications.
But while I was in the yard an inmate walked up to me, and without saying word, he put his head on my shoulder and he began to cry.
I didn't know what he was crying about, and even when it was time for us to go back inside, he never told me. I guess he simply needed a shoulder to cry on, and he knew that I wouldn't push him away. Instead I put my arm around him and let him cry. He did so for about five minutes.
Before this man came to prison he spent several years as a patient in a psychiatric facililty in New York City. It will be at least several more years before he will be elilgible for release from here. Sadly, however, he has no home to go to. I told him that it was perfectly okay to cry. That it is healthy to do so as opposed to keeping one's feelings all bottled up. From what he has told me about his life, I know he has a lot of pain inside him. Tears are a release, and prisoners shed many of them.
July 25, 2003
Earlier today I had the opportunity to talk to and pray with the man who was crying on my shoulder during yesterday afternoon's special recreation period. He still never told me what he was crying about. This is perfectly okay. I don't need to know. But now he seems to be doing much better, and for this I am glad.
Nevertheless, many men and women who are incarcerated carry so much grief and pain in their hearts. It is easy to get inundated and overhwelmed with the sad stories these people can tell.
Many of them carry tremendous amounts of guilt because of their crimes. Many prisoners miss their families and they're homesick. Still others may be crying for themselves as each of them eventually awakens to the realization that they wrecked their lives. They know too, that more than likely, the damage each of them did to themselves and others cannot be undone.
Yet with all the pain and tragedy that is in this place, every prison is really a wide open mission field.
Jesus Christ is the Great Physician. He is here to fix broken lives and to heal physical and emotional wounds. And He did not come to this earth to call the self-righteous. Instead He came to save sinners; I am one of them.
July 29, 2003
And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
There are some things that are hard to express and painful to remember.
Today has been a time of mourning and reflection for me. The tragic period of 1976-77, is, as a whole, a dim memory for me. I do not dwell on it, and because it is in the past, there is nothing I could ever do to change anything.
I do, however, remember that it was exactly twenty-seven years ago today that I took the life of a young woman who did not deserve to die. Her death was senseless and brutal, and I would do anything if I could undo the crime. But like the past itself, I cannot undo it.
And I have not forgotten to pray for her family. Before I went to bed last night I prayed for them. Then when I awoke in the middle of the night, I got down on my knees and prayed once more.
I asked the Lord to comfort their hearts and ease their pain and grief. They continue to suffer, and I have not forgotten them.
I still remember what I did to devastate their lives, and I am so very sorry.
I am looking forward to the day when there will no longer be death or pain, or sorrow and mourning, or any evil. For the Lord Jesus has promised to make all thigs new.
I long for this day.
July 30, 2003
THERE IS HOPE!
Almost twenty-six years have gone by since my arrest for a string of butal crimes. And God knows the sorrow I have because of what I did, and for the innocent lives that were lost.
I would give my life to undo the damage, if I could. But this is not possible.
However, in the midst of my own spiritual darkness and demonic despair, Jesus Christ reached out and touched my heart with the most tender and perfect love that I have ever known.
God has been merciful to me. It is a mercy I certainly do not deserve, and I never will. Yet the Lord Jesus invited me to come to Him. He washed away all my sins with His own blood. And he healed my mind. He has also given me a whole new life, even in prison.
Moreover, maybe there is someone who has read my online testimony or who is now reading this journal, who thinks you have done to many bad things to ever be forgiven.
Well I am a living witness that your belief is not true. The fact is, God loves you. You are precious to Him, and He wants you to come to Jesus to have your sins removed.
Please think about what I am saying. If God can forgive me, He can and will forgive anyone, if they ask Him to. Imagine this: God has taken me from being a murderer and has made me into a minister of His love.
Christ wants to change your life too. So have a talk with Him share what's on your heart. Be open and sincere, for God already knows everyting about you anyhow. And He will never turn away from you or reject you either.
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