"An Inside Perspective"

Christmas 2017

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I was touched by Sister Debbie's Christmas letter. I thought this year that I would dove-tail off her thoughts and share with you some of mine.

Debbie spoke of how the Lord was teaching her about “resting her soul.” I was able to relate so much because, I too, had found myself becoming a work-a-holic in the Lord. I was missing the point of the Lord's work in me. He saves us for Himself to enjoy relationally first, not just for us to work.

Work is indeed the inevitable product of a right relationship, but the motive of said work is of the utmost importance. All work must flow from the single-mindedness of a sweet relationship. Work must never be done, with the subtle thought of maintaining our relationship, if so, then works become a law unto us, bringing us into bondage and soon we burn-out.

I have known Sister Debbie since 1995. My first memory of her was when she served us food at a Christmas banquet in Trenton State Prison. Over the years, and through the process of time, we began to work together in the ministry. From my perspective, Debbie is a Spirit driven-women of God who is always about our Father's business. I admire that.

Recently, I watched Debbie go through the trial of her life. I watched helplessly as the Lord mashed her out in what appeared to me to be the most brutal of fashions. I could not help her, although I probably did, more than I know, through prayer. Thankfully, the prayer of faith reaches where we cannot.

I watched the Lord, over the period of about 18 months, through the most severe of circumstances, transform Sister Debbie into a completely different women. Still, a woman of God, but now, broken in a new way that is quite becoming. There is a heavenly humility in her now that only the hot furnace of trial could have produced. There is a broken, humble, Godly dependency now that fears getting ahead of her Lord, even in the smallest of things. Having worked with Sister Debbie all these years in the hand to hand combat of prison ministry, I thought to myself, “Wow, the Lord has really done a great work in her.” It was so clear to me. I think that she cannot see it herself. As I have said before, you cannot read the label from inside the bottle.

Then, as I admired the work the Lord was doing in her, I felt as if the Lord was saying, “Philip, do you see the work I have done in Sister Debbie's heart? Do you see her new brokenness and complete, constant dependency on Me? Do you see the sweet humility, the very atmosphere of Heaven, that I have worked into her spirit? Do you see how she has learned, albeit on the anvil of affliction, to “rest her soul” only in Me and not in “her” work anymore? Well, all those things you see in her Philip, I desire them in you too! I suppose, that applies to us all.

True Christmas has gifted us with the ultimate in humility. The Word became a Baby, the greatest fleshly picture of total dependence. It causes us to ponder, what can we render unto the Lord for all of His benefits to us? Let us reflect, what does the Lord really want from me, for this season and for all eternity?”

It is written . . .
“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” (Micah 6:6-9)

The great lesson of our walk is that we, created only for Him, should find our rest in simple relationship. In being, not in doing. It seems so hard for us to simply rest in the Lord, but therein is our only true satisfaction.

This season, I want you to think about what Jesus Himself said are the two greatest commandments of all. The first, is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. The second is like unto it, love thy neighbor as thyself. (Matt. 22:36-40)

In these two commandments we notice nothing of work but only of relationship, yes us, “resting our soul” in Him. Resting in Him is then manifested through us loving our neighbors. Is it so hard for us to believe that the Lord desires and enjoys our company and not that which we do?

Beloved, this Holiday season, as we focus on the Lord's grace in Christ, let us join with Sister Debbie in the . . .


Merry Christmas!!!