"An Inside Perspective"

July 2011


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Here in Rahway we have a riot bell. There are red buttons labeled as such located all throughout the prison. They are strategically placed so that they can be pushed by the officers in case of a fight or a problem of some sort. It is an officer’s call for help, a marshaling of support, so to speak. It is their in-house 911 system.

The sound of the bell is called a “whooper,” pronounced woo-per. Every night at about ten-fifteen, after the count clears, there is an announcement stating, “Whooper test - - - whooper test.” The riot bell is then tested and the “whooper” is sounded for about ten seconds. It’s very loud; you can’t say, “I didn’t hear it.”

Rahway Prison, as you may have imagined, houses the worst of the worst, men banned from society because of their wicked deeds. I am one. Sadly, most of the men continue on in their wickedness, despite their circumstances. When the riot bell goes off, the sound of the “whooper” testifies that something freshly evil is being committed.

Only the officers are allowed to press the bell. If any inmate pushes the red button, he goes immediately to the hole without passing go. I have seen many a new-jack go on a camping trip to the hole for pushing the button by mistake. They may think that perhaps it opens a door or calls an officer and they innocently push it. Motive means nothing here. If you push it, you are going camping straight away, and that, without remedy!

When the bell is pushed, the whole jail goes nuts. Officers are running around like crazy trying to protect their own. Their goal at that point is to stop the evil by handcuffing and subduing the nefarious culprit. Meanwhile, prisoners are trying to get out of the way while they are being hustled into holding cages or locked into their cells. If you are in the shower, you can’t even rinse off. If you try, a-camping you will go.

All the while, everyone everywhere is rubber-necking, trying to find out where the fight is, who is in it, and how bad it is. The answer to those questions will determine how long the prison will be locked down. They call it a “code.” There are many different types of “codes.” A fight, for example, is a “code 33” and mandates the riot bell.

After the “whooper” is shut off and all the prison is secure, everyone just sits around and waits for the “code” to clear. It usually takes an hour or so, but with something more serious, it could go on for hours or even days. Finally, you will hear “clear-clear-clear.” That is the signal that everything is back to the normal madness.

The riot bell goes off in the prison when “evil” is done. Likewise, if you will permit my sanctified conjecture, I believe there is a riot bell that goes off in the kingdom of darkness when the saints do “good.”

It is written, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Pet. 5:8)

Did you know your good works rub the enemy the wrong way? Your growth in grace and your sharing of the Word are as fingernails on the blackboard of hell! Satan and his fallen cohorts are enraged by your faithfulness. The exercising of your faith mandates a “code 6” in the kingdom of darkness, and all the minions of perniciousness go nuts as they marshal against you. Their goal is then to stop the good you are doing by handcuffing and subduing you, the faithful culprit!

Therefore, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings...” (I Pet. 4:12-13a)

An active Spirit-filled testimony attracts the evil one as porch lights do moths. The enemy is not drawn to the worldly saint. He is already right where the devil wants him. He pushes the button only on faith-wielding saints; yes, he will marshal all the hordes of hades against you. Are you watching TV all night? No problem, no threat, no “whooper” needed for you.

When the riot bell goes off on you in the kingdom of darkness, the sound of the “whooper” testifies in Heaven that you are marching forward in faith! Have you ever had the riot bell of darkness pushed on you? If not, perhaps Satan and his minions are pleased with you? I pray not. Beloved, “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove [test] your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Christ Jesus is in you. . .

(II Cor. 13:5)