"An Inside Perspective"

January 2018

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! One of the greatest joys of my walk has been coming alongside young Christian men, and in some small way, to be the father to them that they never had. I believe that the Lord has called me to set before them, in character and in deed, a strong example of what a biblical man and father really is.

Over the last 26 plus years, the Lord has interwoven into my life young believing men of every tribe and tongue and nation. Then, it is incumbent upon me to worm my way into their hearts by earning their trust. Once trust has been established, they then freely allow me, through simple fellowship, to be the father figure to them that they never had.

In all this, I am well aware of my own roots. I am sure that I am nothing of myself, but I also know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So, I serve in love – and true love, as we all know, is strangely irresistible. I am also keenly aware that all I do must proceed from the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Only then, by glorifying the Father, can I truly bear fruit that will last.

As you already know, my most precious son (my only begotten, if I may) has been Carlos. I have seen him mature from an 18-year-old gang member in 1998 into a faithful 36-year-old trusted man of God in 2018. As you may also know, we have now been in the same cell together for about 17 years. Can you imagine? He, himself, is now the man of God that others come to for counsel. You may think, “Philip talks so much about his son, Carlos.” I respond, “As does the Father His Son.” You bet – prouder of Carlos I could never be!

Over the course of the last few years, the Lord has woven another young man into my life. His name is Calvin. It has been my observation that the Lord’s hand is on him mightily. Thus, I soon felt the leading to worm my way into his heart. I then learned it would be no small task; having grown up with no father figure, Calvin had erected a wall that none could leap over!

Well, walls have never meant much to me. I have lived inside of one for almost three decades, but that has not hindered me from traveling throughout the world in prayer while under girding believers’ lives as the Lord leads.

It is written: “For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.” (Ps. 18:29)

Calvin fended me off for a while, but my humble persistence paid off, hence this ministry’s name, “Our Father’s Persistent Love,” coined from our Heavenly Father’s dealings with yours truly! Today, I love Calvin with all my heart, and I would do anything for him. He is humble, gifted, and a Godly father to all his beautiful children. After a visit one day, he sent his namesake, Cal, over to greet sister Debbie and me. Without a thought, Deb and I joyfully prayed over him, asking the Lord’s blessing on his young life. Later that day, Calvin sent me this note of encouragement. It touched my heart so deeply that I wanted to share it with you. It read. . .
“After the visit, I was thinking about Philip praying with Cal. It was a beautiful sight, like a grandfather praying with his grandson. When I saw him praying with my son, it made me feel even closer to Philip. Also, it made me see the beauty of God in him and what a wonderful person he is. It also made me think about how God the Father must feel when seeing how we treat His Son. When I saw Philip praying over my son, Cal, it made me feel emotional too because I could see the love radiating from both of them. Also, I felt the love that Philip was giving to Cal just by looking at my son being loved, and it made me think: ‘This is what God must feel when we praise and love on His son, Jesus.’”

What a wonderful insight from Calvin’s heart fostered by our own ordinary daily lives! What an illustrative life lesson from Calvin, a gifted teacher of God, whom I strongly suspect is yet to be used much, much more by our Lord. Well, later that month, I was walking by Calvin as he was speaking with Cal on the phone. Calvin said, “Philip, Cal wants to pray for you.” Mind you, Cal is only seven years old! I took the phone and was blessed by the most humble prayer I have ever heard in my life as young Cal blessed me in the Lord. As he was praying, I looked up and saw a holy twinkle in Calvin’s eye as he watched his son praying over me. It was an eternal moment – not to be forgotten!

Might we observe then, that when the Father sees us praying with and through His Son (Jesus, our Christ), that He feels particularly intimate with us? Do not these holy observations of Calvin paint us the perfect picture of our Heavenly Father’s heart as we interact with His only begotten Son? May we even ascertain the emotional joy of the Father as He feels eternal love radiating between the redeemed and their Redeemer? Yes, we are sons of the Father through His special Son, Jesus Christ. Beloved, nothing pleases our Heavenly Father more than our love for His Son! Therefore, know in your heart that as you pray for others through His Son, and as His Son, Jesus, prays for you in intercession, there is indeed. . .