"An Inside Perspective"

December 2015

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I had shared with you recently about us having kiosks on the wings and the great blessing that e-mail has now become. It is just another means of communication for us, however, I am not sure though that you fully understand the magnitude of this blessing.

We are not allowed to call cell phones from prison. Cell phones are deemed a threat because there is the potential for drug transactions as some of them are disposable and can't be traced. As you may surmise, most people outside do not have the old traditional “land-line” type home phones anymore. Therefore, we can't call our loved ones. Some families set up an old land-line account, if they are financially able, but most families can't afford it.

Since we can't call cell phones, prisoners resort to traditional “snail-mail” in their attempt to maintain relationships. That also has become a foreign concept to those on the outside. Due to electronic mail, trying to get someone to sit down and write you a letter is virtually impossible. When we ask someone to write us a letter, they just shake their head and look at us with a jaundiced eye. So, do you see why we are so excited about our new e-mail abilities?

As I had mentioned last month, there are only two kiosks on our wing which are shared by 108 men. The other morning my time slot came up and I logged on and began typing. I had only been on a few minutes when a man that I was familiar with, had a problem on the other kiosk and lost his text. Once your twenty minutes is up, that's it, and the kiosk shuts off automatically. Well, something happened and he turned and asked me if I wouldn't mind switching machines with him. I said, “No beloved, I do not double-dip.” “Dude” quickly gave me the hairy-eyeball! Double-dipping has become the habit of some that think they can get away with it.

You see, if the officer is not paying attention, which is the norm, then when your 20 minutes runs out on one machine, you can quickly jump onto the other machine. Thus, getting another twenty minutes and “double-dipping” as it were. Needless to say, it causes tension because everybody else is waiting for their turn. At the same time, we do not want to rat out and tell the police either, because then, we become a snitch! We settle our buisness in our own way, as you can imagine. . .

With that in mind, “Dude” had a legitimate problem. So trying to be a good witness I said, “Go ask the cop and if he says it is all right, I will switch with you.” He went and the officer said OK, so we switched. Don't you know that two minutes later they called “mess-out!” All the doors popped open and 108 men came flying out of their cells saying, “Look, Brother Philip is double-dipping!” I was now under a false accusation and my back was up against the proverbial wall.

Everybody watches everything from their cell doors while awating their turn, and so, they had seen me on the one machine and then go to another! I started to try and explain that I was only trying to help “Dude” and that the cop said it was OK! Honestly, that only made things worse, because it now “appeared” that I was siding with the police on top of my “perceived” crime of double-dipping! In the heat of the moment, I tried, but I could not un-ring the bell! I just bowed my head praying, “Lord get me out of this one,” and I continued to type. I knew I was innocent, but it sure didn't look that way! There was sweat on my brow!

It is written, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of.” (Romans 14:16)

I was trying to be nice and help someone, following the rules as it were, and had become a double-dipper! Twenty-five years worth of testimony and witnessing “seemed” to go right down the drain! But, unbeknownst to me, the rascals had been monitoring the whole situation and knew what was really going on. They did not tell me until later. I tried to go to everyone, one by one, to un-ring said bell, but they just laughed at me, having pranked me quite well.

The bottom line was, that the power and consistency of my twenty-five year testimony had overcome the “perceived” wrong. My testimony had vindicated me and stood under pressure, albeit at the time, it was not looking good. To God be the glory!

We spend our whole Christian life building our testimony. We go about our daily business and have our interactions and that becomes our testimony. Our testimony is what will be played back at the Judgment Seat of Christ. There, we will all be judged on how we lived our Christian lives. Our motives, much more then our actions will come into play.

My motive was to help “Dude” and to be a good witness by asking the cops and submitting to the authorities. Don't get it twisted though, prisoners hate cops and have no concept of submission! As a matter of fact, I had just shared my written tesitmony and given some tracts to “Dude” the day before. What I had thought was a good deed was really a follow-up on that witness, or so I thought! In the end, they had snookered me!

Beloved, will your testimony hold you up when you are thought to be . . . .


Joyfully in Jesus!