"An Inside Perspective"

April 2013


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Greenhouse is very low on the totem pole of maintenance priorities in the prison. When something breaks, I pray. Then, I do whatever it takes to fix it with whatever I have to work with at the time. Thankfully, there’s a big dumpster full of fresh junk close by that serves my handyman escapades. I call it the poor man’s Home Depot.

Last year the steam-heat pipes started to go. Little holes developed all over the place. I patched them as best I could, all the while petitioning the Lord and the powers that be for a new system. I wrapped the pipes with wool blankets and assorted plastic garbage bags trying to constrain the leaks to keep the Greenhouse warm. It worked temporarily.

Finally by the grace of God, at the proverbial stroke of midnight, the workers came and put in a whole new steam system! I was ecstatic, giving glory to God. It took about a week to rip out the old pipes and install the new ones. The workers were all finished but they were missing one part, a regulator, without which the whole system would not work.

That’s all my three fellow workers had to hear! Now please be reminded of the rascals that I work with. As I have shared in the past, I have dubbed one Pauly Pessimism, another sports the Willie Whiner logo, while the last one dons the Moaning Mark moniker. Everything is always a plethora of negative complaints, and that without end. These are the same guys who said, “We will never get a new heater. We are going to have to get another job---blah, blah, blah” And on and on it went. Make no mistake, I do hold my ground but it is hard to take at times. It’s always three against one. Truly though, for those with eyes to see, it’s really four against three.

They now had a new focus - the missing part - and were again murmuring relentlessly. “The heat will never get fixed now. The regulator will never come. They’re doing this on purpose. They want to close the Greenhouse---blah, blah, blah.” And on and on it went. They just couldn’t seem to grasp that 99.9% of the job was already done! Oh rascals of little faith!

It is written, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)

The rascals just could not grasp the fact that the institution had already spent thousands of dollars to replace the heating system. It was finished but for that one small part. Could a small fifty dollar part possibly undermine the finished project? Of course not, because once you have given the most valuable, everything else after that looms small. After a month of listening to their perennial whining (no pun intended), the part finally did come. The Lord had it delivered right on time and the heat works wonderfully. They just would not believe.

I think it is such with the Body of believers at times. God gave His most valuable in His Son Jesus Christ to purchase us back from the bondage of sin. The Father gave His all to us in His Son, it is finished! Everything after that looms small!

My observation is that all believers are able to see Jesus clearly as their Lord and Savior. They look back by faith unto the cross and its holy, albeit bloody work. They believe the simple promises of salvation thus laying hold of saving grace. It seems to be so hard though to then get their hearts turned from looking back, and to get them looking up to their glorified Lord for their victorious walk. It is in looking up that Christ’s providential hand of keeping grace is seen by the eye of faith. He is Savior and Keeper. He joyfully keeps us from sin, the world, the flesh and the devil. For Him to keep you though---you must desire to be kept. You will never work your way into holiness; in Christ alone by faith alone is holiness of heart.

It is right here that I have coined the spiritual condition I call, “unbelieving believers.” The Israelites were believers by definition. They were, and are yet, God’s chosen people. They believed on the redeeming blood for salvation. But, concerning the promised land, they did not believe. They were “unbelieving believers.” The Word says, “They could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:19) The promised land can’t represent Heaven because the enemy was there and battles were ongoing. It is my conviction that it represents the God-glorifying victorious life of which you must believe the promises to enter in. It is called the “promised” land for no small reason: it is promised. We must believe the promises.

I hear so many excuses for sin. I hear believers justifying sin in their unbelief. They believe for salvation but cannot seem to believe for a victorious life. I think Paul would find it quite strange. Can you imagine the look on his face if he watched one night of what some watch on TV? Funny how we believe the TV guide. It should grieve our hearts as it does the Lord’s. You have heard the many justifications for sin such as, “No one is perfect and I’m only human, etc.” How about this...

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (l Thess. 5:23) Beloved, be not an ...