"An Inside Perspective"

April 2011


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
It is written, “Give to everyone what you owe them...give respect and honor to those that are in authority.” (Rom.13:7 NLT)

Today my heart is especially grateful! I want to give that respect and honor to Sister Debbie and to all her volunteers (too many to name) who work so faithfully in these prison fields. Your work and labor of love these many years has radically effected “the Body inside” for all of eternity. I thank all of you, even while I encourage you to continue on in your work.

It is written, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:9-10)

I am in a unique position to witness the results of your labor. Indeed, I am privileged to see a side of your fruit-bearing that you know not of. My goal today is to build you up by way of encouragement. It is written, “Let all things be done unto edification.” (I Cor. 14:26c)

For over 16 years this Ministry, undergirded by your loving support, has been sending Study Bibles into prisons. They are for those who have surrendered to Christ Jesus, having brought forth “fruits worthy of repentance.” (Lk. 3:8) The Lord is the sustainer of this Ministry and we thus endeavor to be most excellent stewards over all the resources He has so graciously provided. These Bibles are expensive and I pray to be led of the Lord in hand-picking the men that receive them. It has been a tremendous blessing for me to watch how the Lord uses them!

Remember, our circumstances are unique and our access to Bible studies, pastors, teachers, etc., is not always as we would like. In fact, for a large portion of the day we may be locked in our cell alone with the Lord and the Study Bible! No doubt, just as the Lord would have it! ?

If you could just see the look on the faces of the men after the Lord has revealed to them certain truths, such as, the power of the blood in justification. Their faces are aglow and their hearts aflame with the truth that God is forever satisfied with the blood of Jesus Christ on their behalf. Never has there been sweeter words to the convicted heart than these, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (exclamation mine)

Can you see the young believer who just discovered the liberating truth of the keeping grace of God who forever sustains and works our good by the ceaseless intercession of His Son in the power of an endless life? Hallelujah! It is written, “...He upholds all things by the Word of His power.” (Heb. 1:3b) See him bursting through the Chapel doors with “joy unspeakable and full of glory” while boldly proclaiming his newfound nugget of truth that he is “. . .kept by the power of God through faith,” (I Pet. 1:5) because “... He that keepeth thee will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3b)

Beloved, can you see their faces by faith? They are the fruit of your labor! The Study Bibles are only a small portion of how the Lord uses you. Let me go on to the visits...

Many of us have alienated our families because of our sinful lifestyles and it seemed there was no hope for reconciliation. Your visits, as loving Christians, are the firstfruits of reconciliation with our families and the manifest grace of God in our restoration process.

Can you see the joy on their faces, even as hope springs in their hearts from fellowship with the people of God on visits? Your labor of love is not in vain. The relationships you build with us are eternal. It is written, “I was in prison and you came unto me.” (Mt. 25:36) When you visit prisoners, precious one, you visit Christ Himself. (He said it, not me)

Hope flows after the visits as we see the Lord rebuilding our lives through the people of God that we didn’t even know! You have reached out to us and taken an interest in our lives and God honors that and works through your prayers. Grace, grace, grace! We are moved to live holy in light of said grace and endeavor to also be vessels of mercy to others.

I remember something Brother Umi, our in-house Pastor, said to me a few months ago right after a visit. He has been locked up about 23 years. He said, “Brother Philip, I came to this visit drained and weary but I am leaving encouraged and joyfully full of God’s Spirit!” He went on to say, “If there was just some way we could bottle these visits and give it to all the brothers!” I thought, “Wow, what a cool idea!”

Beloved, don’t you know that is exactly what the Lord has done? He has bottled up Heavenly visits in the person of the Holy Ghost and His fullness is available for all! Have you had a drink lately? Are you drained and weary, precious one? Then drink deeply of Heaven’s bottled visits and let others see you . . .