OUR FATHER'S PERSISTENT LOVE MINISTRIES, INC.





"An Inside Perspective"

March 2006



My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! I was sitting with Brother Donny the other day in my office. We were fellowshipping---simply enjoying each other's company and sharing our hearts. We were talking about the things of the Lord and what He was teaching both of us. We had no pressing issues so to speak; we were just "hanging out" in Christ.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Donny blurted out, "I am in hell right now Philip!" I, with my fix-it mentality, immediately wanted to correct him. I often hear that very same statement from the lost while I am sharing the gospel with them. And yes, on a side-bar, for you preachers of "fluff", the real gospel includes the truth about hell and this ain't it buster!

The Spirit restrained me to be a listener, and so, I listened as Donny poured out his heart. He started to share about his crime and how repentant he was, even, how ashamed he now is of who he was and what he had done under sin's regime. He is in prison now and he knows he will die here. A great weight to carry. He said, "If only I had made different choices."

Then, one by one, Donny spoke about his family members. He has a heartfelt love for his family that is beyond words. He talked of his mother who is now older and has so many needs that he is unable to meet. His heart breaks with desire to help her, to love and care for her as he ought. Yet, he is permanently separated, because of his sin, from all that he loves and all that is good. Love fosters prayer.

As tears of regret welled up in his eyes, he spoke of his love for his father and how he had died broken-hearted over his son's crime. There is unspeakable pain. Donny still struggles with blaming himself for his father's early death. There is a weight of guilt, real or not, associated with that, even though, he knows and walks daily in the power of Jesus' cleansing blood. Yet, he is permanently separated, because of his sin, from all that he loves and all that is good. Pain fosters prayer.

Donny spoke of his brother and how they grew up together doing all the things that brothers do. His brother is now sick and amazingly, he tries, even in his sickness, to meet Donny and their mother's needs. Donny longs to help. Yet, he is permanently separated, because of his sin, from all that he loves and all that is good. Sickness fosters prayer.

Donny shared about his children with a powerful conviction of love for them. I will not tell all the details, but suffice it to say that the passion on his face, as he shares about them and their struggles, is "deep calling unto deep." He longs to be there for them and to lead them in the way everlasting. Yet, he is permanently separated, because of his sin, from all that he loves and all that is good. Separation fosters prayer.

My heart was wrenched within me as Donny expressed all the very feelings of my own heart. There we were, two middle-aged men, sitting together with tears streaming down our faces, tears of regret mingled with shame. Yet, also, at the same time, joyful tears flowing from two broken men, with equally broken hearts, who have now learned, albeit the hard way, our place at the foot of the cross. Brokenness fosters prayer.

No longer does Donny have a hardened calloused heart, but a transparent heart that hates sin, a heart daily cleansed by the precious blood of Christ and filled with the compassion of our Lord. Donny is now profitable to the Lord and also to his family but he cannot be with them. He forfeited his God given opportunities because of his sin and he is separated from his loved ones with no remedy. He hopes to see them in glory. Yet, he is permanently separated, because of his sin, from all that he loves and all that is good. Hope fosters prayer.

Life in prison is the epitome of separation. Most people assume that convicts are sent to prison to be punished---but the truth is, that being in prison itself, being separate, is the real punishment. Prison is called the house of pain. I always used to think that it was getting stabbed or beat up and the like. Not so. That stuff does happen, but it is the emotional pain of separation that is almost unbearable at times. That is why there are so many suicides in prison. You don't hear about them, but we do. We wear each one intimately because we remember the hopeless of being without the Lord. The wages of sin is death. Death fosters prayer.

Is Donny in hell now? No. Is prison a good illustration of the separation that sin causes? Yes, very much so. Is there not a great gulf fixed between you and prisoners? Prisoners preach the Word with a passion born from a foretaste of hell. Do you not see the lost? If you do not tell him about hell, he will be --- permanently separated, because of his sin, from all that he loves and all that is good.


DO THE LOST FOSTER YOUR PRAYERS?

Joyfully in Jesus!!
Philip Reardon


"REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON AS IF CHAINED TO THEM"