"An Inside Perspective"

February 2006

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! This prison is divided into three sections. We have a North, South, and West Compound. Each Compound is broken up into about ten sections which are called wings. On the North and South Compounds, the Institution serves the three daily meals to the men right on their individual wings.

I am on the West Compound, the old part of this prison. On the outside of my wing the sign says, "Built in 1835." On the West, we all go to a Mess Hall together to eat. It holds about five-hundred men. When I go to the Mess Hall, I must proceed there by faith, at times with great faith. I jokingly say, "I am going to gather." On any given day there could be any type of "mystery meat" imaginable. I wonder at times, "do they have cookie-cutter type molds in the back of the kitchen in which they shape the meat into whatever particular shape they choose? Why does the meat-loaf, Salisbury steak, meatballs, etc., all taste the same? Is it just shaped to match the menu?" What is this infamous "mystery meat" anyway? I have no facts mind you, just fifteen years of educated conjecture and, much too much time to think. (smile)

I do not eat the food while I am in the Mess Hall, although I may, if I choose to. It is served generic and unseasoned because of the different types of diets the men may be on. I therefore bring a Tupperware bowl, and a rather large one at that, of which I affectionately call my "eighteen wheeler." Having been here a long time, I know almost everyone in the Mess Hall, therefore, I can "work" the tables gathering what others do not want. After all, I am walking by faith. They are not, right? Their perspective of the food is simply whatever it is before them on their plate. They cannot see any further then that. They have no vision. They murmur and whine constantly. They simply look at the food as it is, and they do not see what it could become in the hands of a skillful chef, so, most of the time they just throw it out. I gather it up, bring it back to my cell, rinse if off, and then put the "mo-jo" on it. (smile) By faith, I do not see the food as it is, but what it will become, in my hands, while seasoned with much love and patience.

In my cell, I have homemade cook-pots which anxiously await the provision of my gatherings. I add a little of this and a little of that. A pinch of seasoning here and a smidgen of flavor there and low and behold ---"If any food be in Philip's cook-pot, it is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new is come." (Philip's paraphrase, smile) Hallelujah!

Later, the same men will be at my cell door, drawn by the tantalizing fragrance of my cook-pots, saying, "That smells great, what is it, may I have some?" Little do they know that, that very same smell, is the "mo-joed" up "mystery meat" they were so anxious to throw out just a few short hours ago.

It is written, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Today, the Lord is still seeking and saving people through us. Souls do not just wander into the Kingdom you know. We must seek them, so that Christ in us can save them from who they are and what they have become in their sin. We are to gather men by faith for the Kingdom, at times, with great faith.

It is written, "But blessed are our eyes for they see . . ." It is easy to see people as they are and to disregard them as throw-aways. The Lord though, requires of us to see, not as the world sees, but to see, as He does. He has vision and sees the finished product, even though it is only the generic unseasoned version that yet stands before Him.

Do your eyes see? What do you see when you see the homeless on the street or the prisoner in bondage to their addiction? Of course, I know it is their own fault and they are responsible. That though, does not negate their bondage to the devil and their need to be rinsed off and gathered in. All of our sins everyday are our own fault and responsibility; indeed, they proclaim our daily need for Christ. The Lord saw Peter by faith, not just as a fisherman from the boat docks, but as "a fisherman" for the Kingdom of God - - - winning three-thousand souls on the day of Pentecost and so much more!

It is written, "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations. . ." That means for us to go and gather men and women that look like nothing to this world. We are not to see men as they are, but what they will become in the loving hands of our Lord, seasoned with the Heavenly "mo-jo" of grace and truth. The Lord adds a little of this and a little of that, a pinch of seasoning here and a smidgen of flavor there and low and behold - - - "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is passed away, behold the new is come." Hallelujah!!


Joyfully in Jesus,