"An Inside Perspective"

June 2006

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! I have sweet memories of my childhood while growing up in Pennsylvania. Early on in their marriage, my parents were of lesser means. My father was a hunter and a fisherman and his many varied outings supplemented our meal times. Mom was the master chef; she made it all taste gourmet. Fried rabbit, roast duck, or goose, wild turkey, occasional bear and if the Lord willed, a freezer full of venison for the winter.

I aspired to be as my father in every way; therefore, I became an avid hunter and fisherman myself. At about the age of eight, Dad would let me tag along behind him on rabbit hunts, all the while, schooling me in the ways of the woods. I can still remember the earthy smell of the outdoors, the mud on my boots and the wet wool clothing. Even now as I sit in my cold cell with no grass under my feet for fifteen years, captive to the consequences on my sin, I still fondly recollect the sound of the beagles running the rabbits through the pre-dawn dew, yelping with a contagious excitement. Dad sure loved those beagles. Guess what kind of dogs I had when I grew up? (smile)

Dad had a big red-plaid Woolrich hunting coat. When we were in the field, as we sat to rest, he would take my hand and direct it to his pocket where he kept a never-ending supply of butterscotch. We have butterscotch here in prison and to this day, when I eat one, memories of my father with his big wool coat and of the outdoors still flood my heart.

I looked forward to being twelve years old so that I might attain my own hunting license. In the fall, I could then go with the men to deer hunting camp in the mountains. Dad had an old Savage, over and under twelve gauge shotgun. It was longer than I was tall. We affectionately called it "the cannon." If you could handle it, you were a man. One day, when I was about eleven, I asked Dad if I could try it. He didn't say a word; he just glanced at me kind of doubtfully, walked fifty feet away and set up a can. Then he walked back and handed me the cannon! It was my moment and I knew it. I had already been taught hunting etiquette and as far as I was concerned, I was ready. I hoisted the behemoth lead-thrower to my shoulder, took aim and fired. I immediately flew back six feet into the bushes on my kiester! In shock and with the wind knocked out of me, I looked over and the can was still sitting right there, unfazed. Dad said calmly, with a big smile on his face, "Not yet boy."

Dad died a few years ago, while I was in prison. It tore my heart out. My sin had caused me to be written out of his will and justly so. It may sound funny but do you know what I am more interested in than anything my Dad could have left me? It's that old red-plaid hunting coat. It's all I care about and want from his legacy. For me, my relationship with my Dad is all wrapped up in that coat. The first thing I said to my sister was, "Please Kevy, save me Daddy's coat." I loved him deeply and one day I will wear his coat with pride and honor. It is the emblem and heart of my relationship with my Dad.

In like fashion, as I aspired to be as my earthly father, so we, as followers of "The Way", must aspire to be as our Heavenly Father. We are to tag along behind Him, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, as the Holy Spirit schools us in the ways of the Kingdom. As "a young hart on the mountain of spices," so by faith, we smell the righteousness, peace and joy of the Kingdom to come.

It is written that we are, "Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places in Christ." At times, as we rest in His Presence, He takes our hand and puts it in His pocket full of Heavenly butterscotch. "What shall we render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward us?"

With joy the Father shapes our character. We are tested and tried as we face battles longer than we are tall. He puts the can out in front of us at fifty feet. He watches as we shoot "the cannon" of prayer, at times, ending up on our kiester in the bushes. Make no mistake, the Father is calmly saying, with a big smile on His face, "Not yet boy."

It is written, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them." It may sound funny but my whole relationship with my Heavenly Father is also wrapped up in a coat. A Heavenly, blood-red, plaid coat. It is my robe of righteousness representing Christ's perfect obedience under the law. That righteousness is credited to my account by grace and grace alone. It is an eternal symbol of what the Savior did for me on Calvary's cross. Hallelujah!! I love my Father deeply and today I wear that Heavenly, blood-stained, red-plaid coat with great joy, pride and honor!! It is the emblem and heart of my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Be very much encouraged today . . .