VOLUME SEPTEMBER 2004
September 4, 2004
Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
It is a sparkling Saturday afternoon. But the beautiful weather
can be misleading.
The world is in turmoil and millions of souls are in grevious
pain. Hearts are filled with fear and sorrow over the things that are happening on the earth.
What a blessing it is, therefore, to have one's faith resting
on the Solid Rock and Strong Tower, which is Jesus the Messiah.
The news from around the world has been devastating with over
three hundred people dead--mostly children-- in a tragic terrorist/ hostage situation gone awry, while another hurricane is
now hitting Forida.
We Christians, however, know the "good News". So I am not perturbed
by the bad news. Rather I believe that Christians, more than ever, need to pray. I myself must increase my prayers, especially
for the gospel message of salvation to reach more people in all nations.
While life can be very stressful, I am grateful for the privilege
of being able to cast all my problems and concerns upon the Lord. He cares for me!
1 Peter 5:7
September 6, 2004
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for
our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
I shared this message with my congregation. When we fail God
we must never beat up on ourselves, which many of us have a tendency to do. Instead we must remember that Jesus Christ was
already beaten up for our sins and wrongdoings.
According to the Bible, the Messiah was brused for our iniquities
and He was wounded for our transgressions. By His stripes we're able to be forgiven and made whole.
The Lord willingly faced death on the cross. His blood was
shed for our sakes. He paid the full price for our sins even though Jesus Himself had no sin.
Thus, since Messiah Jesus has already taken our punishment,
and because He has paid for our bad actions with His own blood, we must not add to His finished work by beating ourselves
up and condemning ourselves when we fail Him. It would serve no purpose to do so, and it would be an insult to God.
A Christians, therefore, we only need to confess our sins to
Jesus with a sincere desire to turn from them; We also need to seek God's help each day as we allow Him to pick us up and
help us to move on.
We must to do this, I believe, as many times as it takes because
God is very merciful. He is full of pity for His children.
So if our hearts are sincere and we truly want to please the
Lord, He will most assuredly help us. The Savior will never allow His people to remain discouraged for long. Defeat is not
part of God's plan for the Christian.
September 11, 2004
A NATION GRIEVING
These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have
peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
John 16: 33
Earlier today I heard hearts filled with pain. On my radio
were many news programs covering the third anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Family members were talking about their
loved ones. Their voices crackled with emotion as each person spoke about a parent, son or daughter who died.
Today's sunny skies and brisk breezes betrayed the darkness
that's in many souls. People are grieving and hurting. They're bewildered and confused, disappointed and disillusioned.
Nevertheless, the Bible tells me that God is actively involved
with His creation. Not even a lowly sparrow falls to the ground without His notice. (Matthew 10;29-31.
Yet God has never promised us a painless and grief-free life.
He does, however, have pity on those who mourn, who suffer abuse, mistreatment or tragedy.
When Jesus walked on the earth He told His followers that He
came to "preach the gospel to the poor", to "heal the broken hearted" as well as "bring deliverance to the captives" and "set
at liberty those who've been bruised" by life's cruel blows (Luke 4:18).
As a caring Christian I am to "weep with those who weep". (Romans
I believe the present conditions of our world, plus the high
levels of grief, sorrow and tension many are experiencing at this time require that more prayers be made. I believe that prayer
And so, I pray the following:
"Father God, I pray in the name of Your Everlasting Son, Jesus,
that You would continue to help those who are suffering throughout the United States and the world.
"There has been so much devastation from storms, wars and terrorism.
Lives have been torn with grief. Please, therefore, comfort every hurting person. Grant each one Your healing touch.
I ask You, God of the universe, to also touch every person
who has been hurt by someone else. Hearts have been broken with disappointment, and this is oftentimes the case in a world
filled with sin. Nevertheless, I ask you to have mercy upon those who need it.
Thank You Lord, for putting it into the hearts of your children
to visit the lonely, help the sick, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and minister comfort and guidance to the victims
And may the good news of salvation and redemption through Jesus
Christ spread ever more, Amen."
September 13, 2004
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. Let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
This morning I was meditating on the peace of the Lord. Here
I am, living in a maximum security prison as well as in a world that's full of trouble and sorrow. Yet I have God's peace.
My heart is at rest.
During yesterday's worship service in the chapel, my congregation
prayed for those who lost a loved one on September 11, 2001, from the terrorist attacks.
My chaplain had a print-out--I think he took it from the Internet--of
all the names of those who died in the Word Trade Center tragedy.
He had taped this long list to the door of his office, which
is near the front entrance to our worship area, so that everyone could stop on our way in and out of the building to view
Seeing all these names was sobering.
During our congregational prayer, therefore, we prayed and
asked God to touch and heal grieving hearts. We also prayed for those who have been hard hit by Hurricane Ivan in the Caribean.
Some of the men in my fellowship come from Jamaica. Several have family living on the island, and they're concerned.
Being able to pray about these situations, however, gave me
a sense of purpose, peace and well being.
September 14, 2004
THE DA VINCI CODE
Now the Spirit Speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctines of devils.
1 Timothy 4:1
Earlier this evening I was able to give a brief message to
my congregation about the controversial new book, "The Da Vinci Code", a novel by author Dan Brown.
At the beginning of my talk I read to them First Timothy, Chapter
four, from the New Testament. I felt that it was necessary to discuss the book's theories, and expose its lies and deceptions.
Recently a member of my church had been given a copy of "The
Da Vinci Code", and he asked for my opinion on it. For quite some time I've been seeing copies of this book in circulation
in the prison. Now, however, I thought it wise to address this subject.
I told the men that the world is filled with false teaching
and wrong beliefs. Satan has cleverly mined the spiritual landscape of our planet with many traps and devices in order to
injure and ultimately destroy men's souls.
I explained that it is imperitive, therefore, to know the Bible
for ourselves. That we must be familiar with the true gospel, and to have a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures so that,
with the Holy Spirit's guidance, we will know what is right or wrong. We absolutely need to be able to distinguish biblical
truth from satanic error.
The world, I told them, is quick to grab onto some new teaching,
theory or idea. People generally have itching ears. They crave the seemingly delightful sensation of hearing something that
attacks and challenges established biblical teachings, which are the bedrock of Christianity.
The Da Vinci Code is a lie. Although it may make for good reading,
and while it may sound scholarly, the book seeks to undermine the word of God and take away our trust in the Bible.
Satan, I believe, still echoes the same words he used to successfully
deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden. "Has God really said?" (Genesis 3:1)
"Is the Bible actually God's Word?" the devil quieries. "Have
not men tampered with the Bible thus rendeirng its writings questionlble?" he subtly whispers.
Satan's so logical! His questions are valid. And throughout
the centuries such questions from the lips of the adversary still cause spiritually weak and ignorant men to stumble and doubt.
Thus our solution, I told my brothers, is to study God's word.
The Lord Himself will never allow the truth to be taken from those who know and love Him.
In the future, and even at present, as the Bible states, many
will be deceived by lies. They will seek other gods and saviors to comfort them.
But the Scriptures also say that, in the end times, those who
know the Lord and His word wil be strong, and shall do expooits. (Daniel 11:32)
I am believing God for such exploits!
September 30, 2004
Doyle* had no chance. When he left here on his "Conditional
Release" we knew he was coming back.
The chances for his successful re-entry into society were limited,
if not nil. For Doyle is mentally challenged. He also has a hair trigger temper that sometimes got him into fights with other
inmates as well as into arguments with the guards.
Doyle also talks with a severe lisp which makes it difficult
to be understood. He has little education, and while he was here, he was permanently assigned to life in the Special Needs
cell block because of his leanring disabilities and his emotionsl problems.
Hapless Doyle would function okay for awhile. But with the
mind of perhaps a twelve year old, he would fly into screaming tirades whenever he was being teased by someone, or when he
was feeling frustrated.
Doyle is a walking time bomb. This obese and thick-boned man
in his mid-forties seemed to be a loner with only a few acquaintances to hang around with.
He has no family that I know of, and there is no peace for
him to call "home".
Thus when it was time for Doyle to leave prison, he was told
to report to a city run shelter in Schenectady, a place of some 67,000 North West of Albany.
So on a Friday morning, with a bus ticket in his hand and the
standard forty dollar check in his pocket, Doyle was given instructions to go to the shelter, stay for the weekend, and then
report to his assigned parole officer first thing the following Monday. He never showed up at parole.
From what I've been told, as I do not have all the details,
when Doyle got to Schenectady he promptly stole a car.
He always wanted to join the circus or work at a carnival.
So when he learned that the State Fair was being held in the upstate city of Syracuse, he decided that he was going to drive
his stolen vehicle there and try to get a job.
Surely this was magical thinking.
And in the processs of travelling on the New York State Thruway,
he was apprehended.
Now he will be getting charged with theft of a vehicle in addition
to whatever other offenses some zealous prosecutor from the District Attorney's office will attempt to attach to Doyle's indictment.
Unfortuately Doyle was not a member of the Church at Sullivan
Correctional Facility. But he was an occasional visitor, perhaps coming to the chapel once every few months.
Usually he would visit us when he was feeling depressed. I
would see him sitting morosely in a chair with his head hanging down. Yet he always got a big embrace. My congregation would
give him a warm greeting; he was not neglected.
Doyle, I believe, never belonged in prison in the first place.
He is mentally ill. His speech impediment and strange apearance seemed to make him a candidate for abuse and bullying.
Therefore, my personal feeling is that whoever it was who sent
this man to prison for eight years instead of placing him in a secure psychiatric facility, did society a big dis-service.
Doyle is now in jail awaiting the outcome of the Court's handling
of his case. Afterwards he will be returned to the prison system to begin a new sentence, assuming he will be found guilty
to the charges.
Eventually, however, Doyle will be released again since his
crime is not serious enough to warrant life behind bars.
So, more than likely, a handful of years form now, and emotionaluy
challenged Doyle will be entering society once more.
"Conditional Release" is release from prison before the maximum
amout of time on one' s sentence because of program particpation and earned good behavior.
End of Journal for September 2004