"An Inside Perspective"

September 2017

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! As believers, in the morning we are usually anxious to be about our Father’s daily business, whatever it may entail. As a prisoner, it is no different for me.

The completing of my daily schedule is, of course, subject to a greater schedule – namely, that of this prison. For instance, many may be the plans in Philip’s heart for the day, but as soon as “a code jumps off” (a fight), my anticipated schedule immediately submits to the new schedule, even that of the code! Any given code may last for hours at a time. I could be anywhere in the prison, at work or in the dentist chair for that matter. But, wherever I am, I wait until the problem is resolved, and eventually I will hear, “clear-clear-clear.”

Where I want to be though, when “a code jumps off,” is in my cell. You see, in my cell I am self-sufficient. Therein is everything that I could possibly need and much of what I want, such as: my Bible, food, water, toilet, comforts, bed, radio, etc., and anything else that I could possibly desire. I grew up with my dad, mom, and two sisters. I loved them all tons, but “my” spot was the attic. It was “my” room, “my” comfort zone – yes, “my” private place. I could not wait to retreat there from the cares of the day. You know of which I speak because we all have that place somewhere. It is our hiding place.

In prison, there are two mindsets concerning the cells. One purports, “I have many years to do, and I am going to make myself as comfortable as possible in this cell while I do this time. The other view rebelliously asserts, “I will never submit, I will never allow myself to get comfortable – this is prison! As a believer, I submitted to the Lord’s will for me to be in prison. I then asked Him to bless me with a missionary mindset, and the Lord did just that. He has allowed me to serve these men with great joy for all these many storied years. He Himself has been my sweet, sweet sanctuary.

It is written, “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary. . .” (Ezekiel 11:16)

Israel had been rebellious, yet they were still the Lord’s people. They were blood-bought. The Lamb had been slain from before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). They were brought into captivity by their persistent sin, and that not without patient, persistent warnings from the Lord’s mercy. Mercy tried inevitably begets the rod of discipline. I am proof. Yet, in their captivity the Lord sent His people the comfort of His Word; and, as every prisoner knows so well, nothing in all creation is sweeter than a Word from the Lord in your captivity! He promised them only Himself. He said, “. . .yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary. . .” Therein was everything they could possibly need and much of what they wanted! Oh precious promise divine! The Lord is saying in essence, “I know that you think you know what you need, but ‘I am’ all you need my child.” He promised to be our Dwelling Place. He alone is our comfort. He is our sanctuary.

Perhaps you are captive to a sin in your own life right now. Maybe it is a pet sin that you love; one that you have loved all your life. The Lord has a Word of freedom for you now, but do you have an ear to hear? Think it not strange that you should love a sin. Fallen flesh delights in its fallenness. Maybe the devil has your thoughts tangled in such a knot that you see no way of deliverance. Believer, remember that you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you! (Rom. 8:9)

When the code of sin “jumps off” in your life, when struggles, trials, and testing of every sort seem to try you, remember He is where you should want to be; He alone promises to be your sanctuary. He is your cell; a safe place wherein you have all you need and much of what you want. Come to Him weary one, even now.

By faith you must look away from your sin unto the Lord and gaze upon His Holiness. He said to His people while they were in their captivity, “yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary. . .” He came to them in their captivity! He did not say to do this or do that, or to go here or go there. He declared definitively, by promise, “Yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary. . .” His presence is all. Did you hear that, captive one? He is your deliverance. Look unto Him alone by faith.

There are two mindsets concerning the cell of sin that you may be in. One purports, “I am going to make myself as comfortable as possible in my sin.” The other view rebelliously asserts, “I will never submit; I will never allow myself to get comfortable in this prison of sin!” Which is your mindset? Beloved, flee to Him now and abide in the sanctuary of His presence until all sin has been cleansed. Listen by faith, and you will eventually hear. . .