"An Inside Perspective"

September 2011


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
As I have shared in the past, the grounds around the Greenhouse consist of flower beds, berms, and assorted grass sections. Ever since I have worked there, I have always had to depend on the “yard one” workers to cut the grass. They are called yard one because they mow all the yards in the prison, doing different sections each day until they finish the whole prison.

These jokers would roll through the Greenhouse grounds like a crazed barber hacking, smashing and cutting down everything in sight! Everything was a weed to them! All the while, they were trying to stay a step ahead of me as I chased them with my broom! In light of that, you can probably understand why it had always been a great frustration to me that I could not have my own mower to cut my own grass.

Often, they would purposely “forget” to do the Greenhouse grounds. Mind you, we are dead center in the middle of everything. For the yard one workers to get anywhere, they must pass right by the Greenhouse with all their mowers and whackers. Getting those rascals to do our grass on a regular basis was worse than pulling teeth! I would spend days getting the whole area looking like the garden of Eden---except for getting the grass cut. I’m telling you, it used to drive me crazy.

Everything in here is on the barter system. You got “this” and I got “that,” let’s talk. I, being the “Greenhouse guy,” was the one with all the fresh vegetables. I had two eight year old hot pepper bushes that put out hundreds of peppers a month in the height of the season. Needless to say, they were a hot item in here and everyone wanted some. (no pun intended, :))

I therefore negotiated with a yard one guy that loved peppers to get the grass cut, of course, never giving up the goods till the job was done! Then, much to my dismay, he went to another prison and I had to find another guy.

In the meantime, we got a new commissioner, who took away our garden. I felt like someone had shot my dog. No more fresh anything. I couldn’t use peppers now so I found out the new yard one guy had a sweet tooth, and so, I had to lure him with cookies. The point being that our grass always needed cutting and I always had to depend on someone else and beg to get it done. Well, as grace would have it, we also received a new lieutenant. One day we were talking while looking over the grounds and I could tell he was impressed but he would never say so. I said, “Everything looks good except for the grass, right?” He remained silent. Then I said, “I am under your authority and I am therefore ‘your’ gardener, am I not?” He agreed with a jaundiced eye. I continued, “Why is it then that ‘your’ own gardener can’t even cut his own grass, and as such, everything under your authority has to look so raggedy?” He said nothing.

The next morning I went to work, and behold, in my tool-crib was a beautiful, old-school push-mower! An answer to my prayers! I had been trying for four years to get a push-mower! I was ecstatic and could not contain myself. I immediately took that puppy out for a spin and tuned up all the grounds! People walked by saying, “Oh, Brother Philip, finally after all these years you are cutting your own grass, and that, with an old-school calorie burner to boot!” Hallelujah!

I am now able to keep short accounts, so to speak, and the grass never gets overgrown or out of control. Praise the Lord, I don’t have to beg anymore or depend upon others! I just utilize my precious mower as needed. Trust me, I’m all over that grass like white on rice with my new Lexus. To this day, the lieutenant looks at me like I’m the crazed barber when he sees me out there cutting with a big smile on my face. He doesn’t understand who I really work for, nor does he fathom who’s tool he really is.

It is written, “If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

When it comes to sin, beloved, we must keep short accounts. We cannot let it get overgrown and out of control. We do not need to beg or depend upon others. As Christians, precious one, we do not go to priests or supposed saints. We are them! We do not need to beg or negotiate for forgiveness. The bottom line is that we should not sin, nor do we have to sin. We have been given power over sin by the indwelling Holy Spirit of the Living God. The reality is though that, perhaps sometime, we may sin.

It is written, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” (1 John 2:lb)

Your family privilege is to utilize the precious Blood as needed, thus, keeping a short account while rejoicing in God’s provision! Beloved . . .