"An Inside Perspective"

August 2017

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Bless the Lord, oh my soul, for summers! I love the seasons and the changes thereof, but delight in the summer. As you know, gardening is one of my great joys and quite the gift of the Lord to me. Make no mistake; our life has a Gardener too! I am delighted to report that my son, Carlos, (the son after my own heart), has also been found with a green thumb. That’s right. After eight years of working as a teacher’s aide in the school, Carlos needed a change of pace. The Lord provided an opening for him in the Greenhouse – yes, even an opportunity to work with his “father” – and pounce on it we did.

Carlos is still in “rookie” status, but has really shown himself to be quite the diligent worker and a quick study in all things horticultural. That is great because I am not tolerant of lollygaggers! I work very hard, and honestly, I needed a dependable man who could keep up with me. More so, and very important in my opinion, I see the joy of gardening in his eyes as he now begins to see the fruit of his work. I notice that he appreciates the value of a good day’s labor. I am indeed very proud of him and overjoyed beyond words that the apple has not fallen far from this gardener’s tree!

It is funny, but people in here now say, “Jeez, you guys lock in the same cell for 16 years and now you work together too; that’s crazy!” To the unbelieving mindset we are an anomaly. Usually, men do not like their bunkies and cannot wait for them to get out of the cell. They desire to have some “alone time” to do what they ought not.

You see, the difference between them and us is that first and foremost we see ourselves as “in Christ” and not as “in prison.” We are brothers in the Lord and friends; moreover, we are father and son and delight in each other. I imagine it’s not quite unlike the relationship of the Heavenly Father and Son, eternally delighting in each other. Carlos and I have a ball together no matter what we may be doing. In fact, we are bunkies who love each other with the fullness of the love of God, and the Lord’s blessings have been on all that we put our hands to.

Well, the last few days found us doing the grunt work. We do not have chemical weed-killers here as you do on the outside. We are the weed-killers! (HA!) I guess we are in a time warp, so to speak, and like in the days of old, we still pull weeds by hand. On top of that, you all know from my past musings that I love my grass; and with my little push mower (that I treasure), it stays sharp as a military mustache.

Lately, though, the enemy has raised his ugly head in the form of the dreaded “Creeping Charlie.” I know that it sounds like a child-molester, but really, it is an invasive weed. It loves to creep, entangling itself around all things grassy. It hides itself, as if with a mindset, amongst the bluegrass, defiling all it touches. Camouflaged in the midst of the good, it persists in its nefarious creeping. We must remove it promptly before it seeds; weeds beget weeds.

Well, one day Carlos saw me on my knees with a five-gallon pail removing the “Creeping Charlie” piece by piece. As he watched me, he spoke not a word. I knew what he was thinking, “Philip really is crazy as a bedbug!” Then, as he saw me sweating, the next thing I knew, he was right next to me on his knees pulling the “Creeping Charlie” too.

Two days we trudged around the whole of the grounds together on our knees. Everyone looked at us as if we were nuts; crazy as two bedbugs, I guess. ? When we were done, we had one mind. He understood and respected my obsession, as together we looked back over the freshly cleansed grass, without a weed in sight! “Creeping Charlie” had met its match in the work of the father and the son!

It is written, “And God said, let Us make man in Our image. . . let them have dominion. . . over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:26)

“Creeping Charlie” is the perfect picture of sin. As if with a mindset, sin defiles all that it touches while hiding itself amongst all things beautiful. It loves a lush worldly life in which to do its creeping. Though unbeknownst to us, camouflaged in the midst of the good, it persists in its nefarious creeping. We must remove it promptly before it seeds; sin begets sin. “Creeping Charlie” is usually only observed by the trained eye. Indeed, Carlos would not have known what it was if he had not seen me laboring to remove it. I pointed it out to him and taught him to remove it for himself to prevent its fruit. So also, sin is only discerned by the Spirit-filled believer. The worldly believer may see nothing, when all the while sin may be wrapping itself around him and creeping into his very heart.

Beloved, let us embrace the obsession our Father has with sin. We too should be on our knees right next to each other in the work of its removal! Then, and only then, may we look back, by faith, on our freshly cleansed hearts, without a sin in sight! Hide this in your heart then – that the “Creeping Charlie” of sin has forever met its match in the work of . . .