"An Inside Perspective"

August 2007

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ!
By the grace of God, although I have never met most of you personally, I feel as if I know you. Sister Debbie keeps me updated on all her supporters. I want to personally thank you for your love of the Lord, as evidenced, by your faithful support of prison ministry.

I can testify first hand that the Lord uses your support and prayer to change lives. I recently became very close with a man here in Rahway named Brother Frank. He is fifty-seven years old and has been locked up for thirty-three years. The Lord just saved him and he is now filled with the Spirit of the living God and is an animated testimony to the power of the gospel to transform men's lives. The Lord has also placed in Frank the gift of teaching. Don't ever give up on anyone. Just keep sharing that Word, for it is written, "I am watching over my Word to perform it." There is not a man or women beyond the merciful hand of God in Jesus Christ.

We are now beginning the "dog-days" of August. The heat is on and it is always an adventure in prison when things get extra hot. The officers have to wear stab-proof vests all year long by law. When the temperature goes up, understandably, they get excessively hot and aggravated. We in turn must watch our step.

In the heat, movements are slowed down and work is often canceled. Sometimes, we are in our cell in what my roommate Kyle and I have dubbed, "Sprawl-Mode." First of all we are two full-grown men in a very small enclosed area. Secondly, we each have two little nine-inch fans that they sell us in the store. We have bunk beds, and when it is hot, we try to find just the right position for our fans.

It is often so hot that we "must" go into "Sprawl-Mode;" on the bed with arms up while laying real still in an attempt to stay cool. Radios are permissible, but certainly no movement of any type. In addition, all fans must be precisely positioned, I mean just right, and thus, you have the "Sprawl-Mode" doctrine. We have perfected it and we accept no false doctrine! (smile)

The problem arises though, when we are waiting for a shower, a yard movement or mess movement call-out. You see, when a man is in classic "Sprawl-Mode," according to proper doctrine, his fan must be on high-speed. So as you can surmise, the combination of the noises from the high-speed fan, and the radio, make it virtually impossible to hear the call-outs from the loud speaker.

The call-out tells us when to listen for the sound of the automatic door to open. Under normal conditions you can hear the door open with no problem. Although in "Sprawl-Mode," it is very difficult to hear, and you may very well miss your move. You must move when the door opens! It will soon close again, and that, without remedy!

When I first moved into this cell, and even sometimes to this day, I ask Kyle, "How did you hear that?" For me, to be sure that I hear that still small sound of the motor, I must turn off the radio and turn down the fan. It is that simple. Over time your ear becomes trained, and even from your sleep, you will hear the door open and awake. If I miss the open door, I may be out of a shower for the day, miss a meal, or even miss my recreation time. I must be on point, because I have found that I can doze quickly in "Sprawl-Mode." I must snap myself out of it and turn down the noise and listen attentively! The door opening is not the end. It is the means to the end which is to get done what I need to do. When the door opens---only then, can I do the work.

It is written, "Do not be weary in well doing . . ." If we are not refreshed daily by the Lord, we are in danger of "dog-days" in our walk with Christ. Our movements may be so slowed down that we find ourselves in a spiritual "Sprawl-Mode!" We may have even perfected said doctrine having all our worldly toys precisely positioned! Do your worldly noises drown out God?

The problem arises when we try to hear the call of the Lord to be about His business, yes, even the opening of the door for service. Is it possible that all of our worldly toys are making so much noise that we can no longer hear the "still small voice" of the door opening anymore? Is it conceivable that we are so perfectly positioned in our worldly "Sprawl-Mode" that if the door did open, we wouldn't even know it? Are you dozing?

If it be so in your walk---receive this word, and snap out of it! We are all intermingling, daily, with people who are going straight to hell! We must move when the door opens! It will soon close again, and that, without remedy!

Beloved, don't be found in a spiritual . . .


Joyfully in Jesus,
Fisherman Philip