"An Inside Perspective"

September 2007

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ!
By the grace of God, it has been my privilege over the last twelve years to dispense Bibles from the ministry into the hands of the prisoners. We generally give out the Nelson Study Bible, of which Sister Debbie is able to obtain for a very affordable price from the Calvary Chapel Book Store.

The Bibles are a wonderful study tool. In a prison setting we are often in our cells alone for long periods of time. They are used by our Great Teacher, the Spirit of the living God to guide, encourage, and root and ground believers who would otherwise have no access to Bible studies or teachers of the Word.

When I was in Trenton, and even now here in Rahway, I can personally see the impact that this teaching tool has on the men's lives. On Sunday mornings, as I look out over the congregation from my place as a musician, I can see all the different men carrying and using these Bibles.

This often causes me to reflect on how very much this ministry has grown over the years and how the Lord has used it to bless so many people. Yes, the very dregs of society, who now as repentant sinners, are the very joy of the Father's heart! It is written, "There is joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents."

I have always considered it a great honor to be the one entrusted with the dispensing of God's Word. I always try to be very diligent in selecting who receives the Bibles. The need always exceeds the supply, so I try to be discerning of whom I should give them to. It is not always an easy choice when you have to choose between two men.

As a rule, Debbie and I have decided that the Bibles are only for confessing believers who are serious about their walk with the King. Occasionally, I may give one to an unbeliever as the Lord leads, but it is the exception not the rule. Don't worry; we have other Bibles for unbelievers. (smile)

Generally, I will try to lead an unbeliever to Christ. When I see that the Lord has indeed taken up residence in his heart; he will then become eligible for a Study Bible. When I tell him so, I see hope rise up within him, and from there on out, he expects me to give him one.

One of the things that has amazed me more than anything about these men, is their level of expectation after I give them the promise, "I will get a study bible for you." They know me and they know my character, therefore, they trust me and believe with all their hearts that I will do as I have said. They know that my word is good and that as the Lord supplies they will get their Bibles.

They walk by faith daily, with great joy of expectation, filled with hope, just because of the promise of a brother, namely me. Every time they see me, wherever we are, either in the yard, the mess hall, or just walking down the hallway, they ask with great expectation, "Have the Bible's come yet Brother Philip?" Sometimes there is a period of time between the giving of the promise and their actual receiving of the Bible. In that period of time, they learn to wait on the Lord.

It is written, "My soul, wait Thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." The promises of God are given to us from the Father's heart. They contain things that our Heavenly Father desires, yes, even delights for us to obtain. Through His giving and our receiving of the promises of God, we learn to wait on Him.

We know God and his character. We are to trust and believe with all our hearts that God will do exactly what He said He will do-that is true faith. King David said, "And now oh LORD God, the Word that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as Thou has said."

If the prisoners are able to take me, a man, at my word with joyful expectation, while persistently looking with the eye of faith for their promised Bibles; how much more should we, as mature Christians, take God at His Word and look expectantly with joy, for the fulfillment of His precious promises!

We know that God's Word is good. We should walk daily with great expectation filled with hope, because the promises of our Father are rooted in His character. By faith, we bring God's promises before Him in expectant hope of their fulfillment. There is a period of time between the promise of God, our prayer, and it's fulfillment. During this time many things are revealed in our character as we learn to wait. Are you expectantly, with joyful faith . . .

"Obtaining what the promises contain?"

Joyfully in Jesus,
Fisherman Philip