"An Inside Perspective"

April 2007

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! By the grace of God, I am now comfortable in Rahway and resting in the Lord. I have been here about three months. At first, my transition was harrowing, but now as the Lord's mercy would have it, I am tremendously blessed.

The actual literal moving of my body and property from Trenton to Rahway was a project all of it's own. The Correction Officers packed up my property the night before I left. They counted and labeled all my things piece by piece. We prisoners consider it to be a wonderful blessing if everything that we leave with from one prison, actually, does arrive at the new prison. Usually, things are lost or stolen in the transition and, because there are so many hands involved, it is hard to assign accountability. The Lord knows.

While I was being stripped, cuffed and shackled, and then, lead away by a legion of police, I was suddenly reminded of how society still views me. I was saddened by who I once was but I was quickly reminded by the Holy Spirit, joyfully, of who I am now in Christ. I thank the Father, moment by moment, for the blood-stained cross of the Lord Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!

I was lead into a van and given a window seat. I was excited with anticipation of my new destination, but also, just to be outside of Trenton's massive walls and in a vehicle going for a ride. I had never seen the world through saved eyes.

I saw trees, grass, and children happily playing on their way to school. Wonderful smells of every sort quickly brought back memories from every direction. Soon we were out of Trenton and on the road, and eventually onto New Jersey's scenic turnpike. Never has anyone been so happy to be on the road. I was like a wide-eyed kid taking in all the things I had, for all my life taken for granted.

Did you ever even notice that every tree had its branches (arms) lifted in praise constantly? Cool, right? God made every thing to magnify His manifold glory. Creation is awesome through the eyes of those who know and love their creator.

Finally we got to the bad part of the Turnpike and everything became dreary and ugly. I was then reminded of all the things that so many people have gone through all these years to come to visit me. I cannot count the number of times, over the last thirteen years, that Sister Debbie has led large groups of visitors to come and encourage me. She is a soldier of the highest rank who ought to be given a purple heart! Through rain and snow, hot and cold and traffic of very sort just to even get to the prison. Then, having to deal with the visit hall workers and the police, who for some reason treat our visitors as if they were the guilty party.

Today I want to honor Sister Debbie for her tireless labor on behalf of the saints behind bars! On top of that, she is already setting up shop to establish the visit ministry in Rahway! What manner of woman is this?

Upon reflection it came to my heart of all that the Lord Himself had to go through to visit us in the flesh and accomplish our eternal redemption for us. It is written, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

The eternal Son of God was resolute in His purpose, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God. The Messiah was excited in anticipation of His destination, yes, the very world which He had created. He stripped Himself of His robes of Deity, made himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant. He was cuffed and shackled into the flesh, limited to time and space, even as are we. He was given a window seat, so to speak, to the world in which we live.

Christ took upon Himself the seed of Abraham and was nine months in the womb. He passed through the birth canal, was swatted on the bottom, and made to cry just like you and I. He was nursed upon a breast and made strong through the milk.

The Messiah had never seen the world through the eyes of flesh. Wide-eyed like a child, He saw trees with their hands raised in praise to His Father. Cool, right? He smelled the grass and saw the children playing. All the while, He was on a turnpike of His own, the very road to the cross. He came to the bad part in the garden and it became dreary and ugly. He sweat as it were, great drops of blood. Just like Sister Debbie, for just visiting us, He was treated as though He was the guilty party. Finally, He was crucified. Do you see all He went through? He took up the cross for you. Let it not be said that . . .


Joyfully in Jesus,
Fisherman Philip