VOLUME DECEMBER 2004
December 6, 2004
PLENTY OF WOMEN
A few weeks ago a friend handed me an article he thought I'd
be interested in. I put it in a folder and mistakenly forgot about it until I came across it this morning. It's titled: "MORE
WOMEN IN PRISON THAN EVER, REPORT FINDS."
The article stated that "There were 100,179 women in prisons"
in 2003 a "3.6 percent increase" from the year 2002.
Like death, incarceration is no respecter of persons. The article
said that some of the biggest increases of female inmates in correctional facilities were in the States of North Dakota, Minnesota,
Montana, Wyoming and Hawaii, in this order.
It also said that there may be up to 80,000 more women in local
jails that were not a part of the above count.
Te federal prison system according to the article, had a female
population of 11, 635 at the close of 2003. Texas had 13,487 while California held 10,656 ladies at the end of last year.
For most states the numbers were going up, although it said
that the incarceration rates for women actually went down in a dozen states.
I don't know all the reasons for such increases. But in many
areas of the United States of America, communities are losing ground to drugs. For in these areas there has been a rise in
the number of people who are getting addicted to methamphetamines, especially in the midwest and rural areas, everywhere from
Nebraska to North Dakota.
Powerful mind-numbing drugs continue to destroy lives and damage
families. Yet these chemicals remain as excape mechanism for many people. I believe the drugs are used to seek solace from
a worlds of pain, disappoointment, and gnawing emptiness.
Of course the end of an addiction is destruction. The drugs
a person takes in order to end their problems, only wind up causing even more problems.
But these are my thoughts. And I believe, too, that a large
part of the solution is a spiritual awakening for our nation.
Concerning the article, however, it went on to state: "Expressed
in terms of the population at large, this means that in 2003, one in every 109 U.S. men was in prison. for women the figure
was one in every 1,613."
Many are presently incarcerated in the United States, including
plenty of women.
The article "More Women in Prison Than Ever, Report Says" is
an associated Press story which was published in the Times Herald Record, Monday, November 8, 2004 (page 16)).
December 8, 2004
Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to
be but men. Selah
Earlier today I wrote a letter to a young Christian who lives in England.
He first wrote to me because he came across my story, and he was encouraged by it.
I told him that for many years I have been praying for his country,
as I do for many lands.
In part of my letter I said this:
Once upon time your nation was the source of many preachers and evangelists
whom the Lord used to shake nations with the power of His word.
May I say in deep humility that the United Kingdom, like the United
States of America, is in desperate meed of a genuine spiritual awakening.
If one does not come soon, your country, and mine, may suffer terrilble
consequences. These are serious and perilous times.
December 11, 2004
A GIFT FROM GOD
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.
The Lord is wonderful, loving and generous. He has once again
given me the desire of my heart as well as a special Hanukkah gift.
For three consecutive days, beginning December 8th* and continuing
until the 10th, "Focus on the Family" re-aired the interview I did with them. It was first broadcast in march of this year.
But the responses to the program were so positive that they decided to air it again.
I bow my heart before Jesus the Messiah. I'm thankful to have
again been provided the privilege to proclaim His name and goodness to people from all walks of life.
God has once more made a way for me to share my message of
forgiveness and hope in Christ to the ends of the earth. As I have so often said in this journal, the Almighty Creator is
not limited by prison walls. His Spirit has no boundaries, and the things which are considered to be impossible for man, are
possible with Him.
I believe that anyone could listen to my interview online at
the Focus on the Family website:
*This year the Jewish holiday known as Hanukkah began at sundown
on December 7th. Therefore the 8th was the first of eight consecutive days of celebration. Hanukkah is also called the "Festival
December 22, 2004
The Lord blessed me today. This morning while I was at work the couselor
from E-North's "Intermediate Care Program" came to see me. He gave me an invitation to come to the cell block where the mentally
challenged men live to spend the afternoon with them. He told me I could visit and talk with any man I wanted to. I was thrilled.
Although I live in the general population, for may years I worked at
the Intermediate Care program. I have no doubt that God called me in this direction, going back ton 1989, because I have a
heart for these men. I treat each one special. Only a handful of inmates at my prison have the official clearance to go into
this area of the facility which would otherwise be off limits.
So at 12:30 this afternoon, after I finished my janitor's job, I headed
to E-North. I was able to stay there until 3.p.m. It was nice being able to talk with the guys. They were glad to see me and
many of them asked when I was going to come back to work in the Unit. I told them that I would only do so if I sensed the
Lord leading me to return.
There sre approximately sixty-four men in E-North. Some suffer from
depression. Others from other ailments. Most are in touch with reality much of the time, and almost all require some form
of psychotropic medication to function well. Many of them, in my opinion, don't even belong in prison. It would have been
better for them to have been placed in a psychiatric instutition or something similar.
December 24, 2004
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and
I just returned to my cell after attending the Christmas Eve
service in the prison's chapel.
This year my chaplain is on vacation for Christmas. I thus
had to conduct the event. The Lord was with me, however, and it went very well.
For approximately one hour and forty-five minutes, which was
our allotted time, my congregation was able to praise the Lord. Our choir led in the music and singing. We thanked Jesus our
Savior for His love and mercy. And several men took their turns coming forward to the altar to speak on how God watched over
them throughout the year.
With our chaplain being absent it was up to me to preach the
sermon. I took my text from Revelation chapter three about the church in the ancient city of Sardis. It was not a typical
Christmas message. Yet I believe it was what we needed to hear, expecially me.
I spoke about the importance of "getting right" with God and
seeking His forgiveness for all unconfessed sin.
I talked about Jesus' message to Sardis about repentance. That
we're at a crucial stage as a "body of believers' because we could either neglect the things of God and spiritually wither
away, or we could take hold of all the Lord has for us, and flourish.
I told the flock that just because we're a busy church doing
many "Christmas things" it doesn't mean that God is automatically please with us.
The church at Sardis was a busy congregation. They had a "reputation"
in their community of being a llively and busy group. But as the Scripture passage from Revelation shows, Jesus saw them as
being spiritually "dead." They were doing many good works, and probably with the best of intentions, but it was being done
without the Holy Spirit. So I asked the men if its possible that we're doing the same?
I went on to explain that there are many "works of the flesh"
which appear to be spiritual. Yet God has judged such activities to be mere human endeavors done through carnal strength.
That such things have no spiritual value. They will turn out to be "wood, hay and stubble" that will be consumed at the Judgement
Seat of Christ.
I also emphasized the importance of repentance. With a new
year coming, it is a good time to "wipe the slate clean" with God. We should humbly confess our failings to Him, and then
be ready to begin 2005 with a renewed love for Jesus and a fresh vision for our church.
Finally I told the brothers that being a pastor is very challenging.
I have to constantly examine myself to see where I am missing themark.
I admitted that I too fall short of God's perfect standard.
That I need His mercy and grace daily.
It was a good evening. I did, however, have a very difficult
day. I have the flu again, and it has hit me hard. I also had to move to another cell block shortly after breakfast. I've
yet to unpack my things.
December 26, 2004
I awoke this morning with the flu in full possession of my
body. My throat was so sore that I could barely speak or swallow. I had to push myself to get off my bunk and begin my prayers.
Then I had to wash and get dressed. I knew this was gong to be a long day. I would need divine assistance every step along
Under other circumstances I'd have tried to stay in bed. I
was tempted to wrap myself in a blanket and go back to sleep. But today was the Christmas service (even though Christmas was
yesterday) and I had to be present, especially in my chaplains' absence.
It had been planned well before my chaplain took his vacation
that I would be in the chapel this Sunday to lead the service and make sure that all went well.
The congregation and I were expecting our regular guests, a
ministry group from Queens, New York. They never showed up, however!
But our service began at 10 a.m. I opened in prayer and then
I called upon different men to do their tasks such as Scripture readings and announcements. Our choir then began to lead us
By 11 o'clock I realized that no one from the outside was coming.
Maybe our guests had a mechanical problem with their van? There was no way to know.
With the scheduled ministry team not coming, I began to pray
earnestly and silently for help from the Lord. I was going to have to preach again. I needed a message for the flock.
When the time had come I stepped to the podium. I began by
apologizing to the men that our guest were not here. The guys always look forward to people coming from the ouside. I know,
too, they would rather hear our guests talk and minster than me. But I assured the sixty or so prisoners in attendance that
we were going to make the best of our situation, that I would do my best to bring them a message.
Standing in the pulpit was difficult. I told the guys that
I had the flu. They saw my flushed face and raspy voice. But many of the men were praying for me, and this was a big encouragement.
At some point, however, God's strength and presence overshadowed
me. I began to feel stronger and my voice was coming back.
My text was Acts 17:22-31. My message, although I touched on
many different areas was "We are all of different colors, but one blood and one body in Christ."
I also read from John 3:16. I preached on the love of Jesus
the Messiah, who willingly took His place on the cross for all of us.
I admonished and encouraged the men to look beyond the outward
things like skin color to see the soul of the next man. That separating from others because of skin color, nationality, or
even by gang affiliations is not of God. The Lord has called us to be one body in Christ with all the members having the same
care one for another. Thankfully everything went well for an impromptu message. The Lord not only saved me, He saved the service
from being a potential disaster. Amen!