"An Inside Perspective"

March 2007

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! By the grace of God, since my departure from Trenton State Prison, a maximum-security environment, I am now enjoying many new freedoms here in Rahway. To be honest, I feel like I am in a college dorm setting.

I really did not grasp the level of my restraint in Trenton, until, I was out from under its burden. Similarly, that is how I felt when I first got saved. I simply did not comprehend the gravity and burden of my sin until Christ brought me out from under it and set me free. It is written, " . . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." I thank God everyday I am free in Christ no matter where I am!

As I drink in these new freedoms, there is a delightful freshness in my walk. The Lord has joyfully revived me. Indeed, He has drawn me closer to Himself, even unto my first love.

For many years, while I was in Trenton, I was forced to use a one and a half long "security" toothbrush of the cheapest sort. It was very grievous. I just couldn't stand those little brushes because I had to have half my hand in my mouth to brush right. The lack of logic in the prison system has always perplexed me to say the least. Think about this, we can't have a toothbrush for security reasons, but all the while, they sell us razors to shave with. Is it just me?

Prison can be likened unto a flea-market on a summer's day. Somebody's always selling something of the sort somewhere. It is in that context that I met a man with a zip-lock bag full of new toothbrushes! They are beautiful, full of assorted bright colors, fancy handles, and nice looking bristles. I was ecstatic. I bought a couple of them with some stamps and gave one to my roommate Kyle.

Not too many things could have pleased me more at that point in my life, but for your amusement, I will name one. I did get to shower by myself for the first time in about 16 years. That was a real treat! Praise the Lord beloved and be very grateful, taking nothing for granted, for you are very blessed!

As I went back to my cell I was very anxious to test drive this new toothbrush. I know it sounds crazy, but I was very excited! Not to mention I have hot water in my sink for the first time in all these years for the much anticipated test-drive! (smile)

Finally I brushed. It was wonderful and all seemed well, or so I thought! I continued using it for the next few days and I was starting to feel like I was half-way back into the real world. Who would of thought that such a small thing could be such a huge blessing, or was it really a curse in disguise?

After about a week, much to my dismay, the bristles began to flatten out and within two weeks they were completely flat and unusable. I was very discouraged. After all these years you are not supposed to be able to get over me! I am no new-jack, and yet in my zeal for a toothbrush I got bamboozled!

They saw me coming a mile away. I was seen as an easy mark, coming from Trenton, under the burden of my one and a half inch toothbrush. My stars, please do not tell anyone I was bamboozled like that. I have a reputation you know! (smile)

It is written, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."

This experience reminded me of the false teaching in the Body. The Bible says the source of false teaching is "seducing spirits" and that they are teaching "doctrines of devils." Many people while under the burden of their sinful lifestyles, quickly run, with zeal, after these false messages. They are full of "assorted bright colors," which are designed for your destruction.

Even as I was quick to put the false brush in my mouth, so also those who are bamboozled quickly put the false teaching in their hearts. Due to their lifestyle, Satan sees them coming a mile away!

False teachings come with many "fancy handles." They appeal strongly to the flesh, yes, to those who are resting comfortably in their worldly ways. When the message does not challenge, men wither. Make no mistake, discipleship without demands, debilitates. Many messages have "nice looking bristles" but they are a curse in disguise. Are your bristles flat? If so, repent, for you have been . . .


Joyfully in Jesus,
Fisherman Philip