"An Inside Perspective"

December 2004


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! During my many years behind these prison walls, I have passed through and lived, for various periods of time, in many different cells. They have all been a bit diverse, while at the same time, they have all had one similarity.

They have been different mainly in their shapes and sizes. One cell that I lived in for a couple years in the county jail was brand new. It was so nice that I thought the homeless people might climb over the fence to try to get in. Another cell that I lived in for almost ten years, here at Trenton, was five by seven feet. It had a circular hole in the side of the cell that they called a toilet and also a small sink. The cell I am in now, and have been for the last two and half years, is about twelve by eighteen feet, huge by cell standards. The only thing similar about all these cells is that I can not get out of them without another’s help.

I want you to keep in mind that the prison system is a dirty, filthy place. Over the years, there have been thousands of other men, of every sort, that have lived in these cells before me. Somehow, I have always managed to be in a cell that a sun-beam of light could find its way into. At a certain time of every day, a ray of sun would beam into my cell and brighten it up beyond worldly lighting. The sun-beam enabled me to see what was really there, things I did not normally see. It is written, “But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the Light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is the Light.”

As I lay there on my bunk, the beam of light would enter my cell. It always seemed to me as a sign from the Lord saying in effect, “Wherever you are Philip, I Am there.” As I observed and then pondered the sun-beam and its effect, I marveled. In fact, I was appalled at what I saw in the beam. There were dust particles galore, by the zillions it seemed. They were actually in the whole cell but could only be seen in the sun-beam. It is written, “For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come to light.”

I thought to myself, “I’ve never seen this before, yet for all these years I have been breathing in this dust!” Indeed, it has been there all the time, not only here, but in all of our houses and places of work. It was suddenly all so clear and obvious to me. The sun-beam had shown the reality of the dust.

It makes me think of my own life. All of my days, I was a sinner of the basest sort. I partook with much pleasure of the world’s assorted tainted fountains. All of them promising fulfillment, yet only granting a deeper depth of despair. During that time, I thought, “I am not that bad of a quy.” I was very, very, wrong.

While I lived in sin, Christians came to me and poured the Word of God into me. They knew it was the Son-beam of God’s Word that would show me who I really was. It got to the point that I learned, even as a flaming pagan, that I could fake repentance and say the “sinner’s prayer” and then the Christians would stop preaching to me and leave me alone. I learned that as soon as I said their little prayer, they would get all joyful and lovey--dovey, hugging one another. They acted like the angels in Heaven were rejoicing for goodness sake! It was all very queer to me then.

One fine day, in a stinking hole, the worst of all cells, the Son-beam of God’s holy Word shown into my heart. By His grace alone, I realized my need for Christ. Conversely, I now thought, “Woe is me, I am undone.” It was very clear and obvious to me that I was a sinner of extraordinary proportions! All of my sin was exposed as the Son-beam of God’s Word enlightened the prison cell of my life. My sins had been there all along but I had never seen them. It is written, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he that doeth truth cometh to the Light that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.” That is why back-sliding Christians refuse to read the Word of God. They fear the conviction it will bring. They thus muzzle their own conscience by staying out of the Word. A terribly sad, if not self-inflicted wound to their walk.

I am reminded during this Christmas season, that in a broader sense, the very Light of Heaven itself, Messiah Jesus, was incarnate. That first Christmas morning, the Son-beam of Heaven’s holiness burst into the prison cell of this world and He exposed the exceeding sinfulness of man's sin. May the Lord be forever praised that the olive branch of Life and peace is still held forth to fallen man by the hand of the crucified Christ, buried, risen and victorious over all—-—even, forever more! Amen!

“A blessed Christmas to all and to all a good night.” (smile)