"An Inside Perspective"

October 2003


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
It is Saturday morning, just like all the other Saturday mornings I have known behind these bars. I am in the shower at 6:15 AM, shaving, and otherwise, preparing for my regular weekly visit. By the grace of God and through this Ministry, I am now surrounded by a marvelous Christian family of friends. They visit the brothers and me on a regular basis.

I think back and reflect on the depth of the grace of god in my life through Christ Jesus. Has it been thirteen long years behind these bars? I am amazed, for indeed, He is amazing. Christ has been, and is to me, in every aspect, WONDERFUL! He sought me down the aisles of time by sovereign grace alone! It is written, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…” He regenerated me while I was dead in my sin and gave Life to the corpse I was. He filled me with His Spirit, the very COUNSELOR of Heaven, to lead me in the way everlasting. It is written, “I will put My Spirit in you and cause you to walk in My statutes…” Jesus Christ has been the MIGHTY God that conquered sin and death for me. Justice would have been justified consigning me to hell but mercy cried, “Not to him, he is Mine!” The Lord has been an EVERLASTING FATHER to me in every sense of the word, in the bosom of His forgiveness, I have known the living Christ!

This morning, as I shower, the PRINCE OF PEACE rules in my heart, bubbling forth His songs of praise! My mind wanders… It has been so long now since I have seen my mother. The last time was Christmas 1990 at her house. I was intoxicated and obnoxious. I was a shame to my family that loved me so dearly, they who alone had such high hopes for me. I wonder how my mom is doing. Does she think about me? I know in my heart she does. We were as close as a mother and son could be. I think of her all the time. I believe I have prayed more for reconciliation with her than anything in my life. Selfish, I guess, heart-broken, yes, at having broken her heart, for sure. She was the best mom you could ever imagine, selfless and giving, pouring out her life for her family. Yes, I ate all the cookies; the stuffed cabbages were brown sugar glazed and “Out of this world,” as she would say. I can still taste them! She never said, “That is too much.” Sometimes she said, “Slow down, you eat like a horse.” (smile) Always she said “Are you sure you are full? There is more if you want,” even as I lay there recovering on the couch. Full… my stars… I needed oxygen! Moms can cook!

OOPS, back to reality. I am still in prison and I have to get out of this shower! The truth is I do not know when or if I will ever see my mom again. I do know that many of you have borne this burden with me in prayer for years and I am so very, very grateful. My heart is saddened at the truth of my circumstances. It is cold and hard in prison. But Christ is warm and soft in my heart, and thus, his grace carries me day by day.

I am off to choir practice for an hour or two before my visit arrives. Sister Debbie is coming to see me today, she is indeed an extraordinary woman of God. Today, she is bringing Brother Eric’s mother, Ruth. She flew in from the mid-west and is staying with Sister Debbie. We are all very excited along with Eric about him seeing his mom. His mother Ruth comes as she is able, and she herself has quite an awesome testimony of all the Lord has done in her life.

It is 9:00 AM now and the officer has just called me to prepare for my visit. I pack up my guitar, and go back to my cell to freshen up. With joyful expectation, I proceed to the visit hall waiting area. After an hour or so, we are called to the visit room where we file in one by one by one to greet our visitors. I see Sister Debbie as she comes and greets me with a huge smile and whispers in my ear, “Phillip, your mother is here.” I turn, and, may God be forever praised, my mother is racing toward me with tears streaming down her face” Yes, it is my mother! We hug, kiss, and cry shamelessly as hankies fly in every direction. It is written, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint” The very answer to my years of prayer was now within my arms! Not only that, but my AUNT sis and my faithful Sister Keven, both of whom I love so dearly, are here also!

Mom and I were, by the grace of God, able to reconcile and put the past behind us! I am really without words to express the joy I know that day. Yes, Eric’s mom was there too and Carlos, my son in Christ, also Roger, my “special buddy” among buddies.

This was a Heavenly conspiracy, birthed in prayer, orchestrated by Sister Debbie (with Sister Par as an accomplice), for which I will be eternally grateful. Are you still praying long and hard for something? Well, don’t give up, because the answer to that prayer may be within your arms before you know it! (SMILE!)

Joyfully in Jesus,
Love Phillip

"Remember Those In Prison, As if Chained to Them