August 6, 2005
Even though the sun was unrelenting as it beat down upon us,
today was a time of joy for the Christian prisoners and their families.
This was a day when the members of my church were able to go
to the prison’s large ball field to spend time with their families and friends. It’s a gathering that we have
every year, and it runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Approximately 175 persons attended, including some of our volunteer
ministers whjo regularly come into the facility to teach the bible to us or to conduct worship services. For me it felt as
if I were in a public park as people sat on picnic tables and as children zigzagged around me.
This event was paid for by the inmates. We scrimp and save
all year for it. Nothing comes out of the State’s treasury or from taxpayer dollars. Even the food is purchased by my
congregations and it’s prepared and cooked in the prison’s kitchen.. The event is also supervised by my chaplain.
About twenty members of the Manhattan Grace Tabernacle Church
from New York City attended our event, and we were able to worship with them. We also provided for their meals, and we gave
them all the bottled water they could drink.
I had a lot of work to do when I joined the clean-up crew when
the event finished, but it was well worth it. To have been able to play volleyball with a bunch of kids, and to have seen
inmate fathers laughing with their sons and daughters was a happy occasion.
August 10, 2005
A BROKEN SPIRIT
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite
heart, Oh God, Thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17
I spent much of the morning reading and meditating upon Psalm
51. A broken spirit and a penitent heart—these are things that were important to King David, a man who loved his Creator,
but a man who plotted the murder of another man, and who also committed adultery.
Because of his sinful acts King David ultimately brought shame
to his nation, and even caused the enemies of Israel to mock and blaspheme David’s God..
As the Biblical account goes, when King David’s sins
were exposed by the prophet Nathan, he became a broken and tearful man. David recognized his wrongs and quickly repented.
But his heart was shattered. And even though God forgave David and he was allowed to remain as the nation’s king, his
life was never the same.
Even David’s family was cursed. As a result of his sins,
his own household became filled with turmoil and betrayal; because there are consequences to sin, and God is no respecter
of persons. Both kings and peasants must eventually reap bitter fruits when they allow sin to overcome their lives.
Yet King David’s transgressions and the harsh and bitter
fruit he reaped as a result of them caused David to draw closer to his God. He flooded his bed with tears of repentance while
the God of mercy and comfort surrounded David with forgiveness, love and grace.
For a prolonged season of time King David walked a path of
grief and pain that I myself know so well. Yet in the long run, perhaps David’s struggles with sin and its consequences
may have helped to stave off pride that could have developed in such a great ruler?
Who knows that if David had not fallen, he may have eventually
grown proud and self-sufficient the way many kings and leaders do? He may have begun to think that his own political and military
skills made his kingdom secure, and that it was not the powerful hands of the God of Israel who protected and watched over
Thus I am realizing that for those who love the Lord, all things
will ultimately work for our benefit. The Savior is able to make even the crooked paths straight.
August 13, 2005
This must be the hottest day of the year thus far. It’s
been hot and humid all summer, but I do not recall a season like this in recent memory.
Right now it’s eleven o’clock in the morning. On
most Saturday mornings I wash clothes, but not today. The heat is to oppressive.
And as I write this journal entry I’m noticing that not
even my wasp neighbors are stirring. Some of them have parked themselves on the metal base of my window just below the
meshed screen. And as they passively watch me, I think they’re struggling to breathe just as I am. Not even the biggest
one of the bunch is making any effort to fly across the cell to get a sip of water from my sink.
The heat and humidity is also taking a toll on my sleep. I
seldom get more than four hors of sleep in weather like this. Last night, for example, I was apparently sweating so much that
when I got up around three o’clock I discovered that my pillow was soaked. Of course I found it almost impossible to
get back to sleep on a pillow that had become like a wet sponge.
I have no appetite either. So I will skip lunch. But at 12:45
there’s going to be a worship service in the chapel, which I plan on attending. It will run until 2:45, when at this
time, I must return to my cell.
The chapel, however, is going to be hotter than the building
I love in. It has no windows. And while there are a couple of large industrial fans in the chapel which run constantly, in
this kind of weather all they’ll do is circulate hot air in an enclosed room.
I’m counting the days to autumn.
August 19, 2005
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love
There is heartache and upheaval going on in Israel now. The
Israeli government under the direction of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has begun to evict all the Jewish settlers who now
live in the Gaza territories. This is a land these people struggled to develop and risked their lives to live in.
I know by that the holy Scriptures reveal that God has a special
plan for the Jews. They are the apples of His eye. Yet even in this grievous situation when large portions of what I is now
the Gaza territories are being turned over to the Palestinians, God is still in control of things.
Personally, I do not believe God approves of what’s being
done. But what I think He is hoping to show the Jews through this is that their own government cannot be depended upon to
keep them safe. Instead, it is the Lord alone that the Jews must look to for their help and deliverance. Their trust in politicians
or religious or military leaders must come to an end.
According to the Bible, at some point in time many more troublesome
events will happen in Israel, as well as to Jews living throughout the world, that will cause them to have no choice but to
look toward heaven for their help.
One day Jerusalem will be surrounded and overrun by her enemies
until her Messiah gloriously and supernaturally appears to establish His throne and take command of the earth (Zechariah 14:1-11
August 20, 2005
OVER AND OVER
Wherefore I Will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with
your children’s children will I plead. Jeremiah 2:9
I awoke this morning with a sense of dread, not in the things
of God, for my heart is restful and I have God’s peace. Rather it is a sense that something horrific is coming upon
the United States of America.
These are desperate and urgent times. I can feel Judgment in
the air. And while I know it may sound negative and scary to many who are reading this, I must express what I believe to be
true, and write without fear of offending.
As the Lord said to the prophet Isaiah, "Write my words down
in a book and tell my people they are rebellious. They will not heed my instructions nor my words. Instead they want their
seers to speak unto them "smooth things’ and lies." (Isaiah 30:8-10)
Is it any different today? Even those who do not believe that
Jesus is the Messiah, or who may not have any religious beliefs at all, are sensing that our world is changing. In their hearts,
I believe, they know things are not right, that there’s trouble ahead.
So are we coming into a time of judgment? Are we really approaching
a period which the Bible calls the "Day of the Lord," and the "end times"?
And if so, what must we do about it, and what does this "prophesy"
It means that God’s word is real and true, and that what
has been written many centuries ago in the ancient scriptures, is applicable to our day.
Most assuredly, therefore, at some point in time, the myriad
of prophecies which concern the "last days" must begin to manifest. And if they do, then what will this mean for each individual?
Is God trying to warn us? Is He presently trying to call our
nation to a state of repentance? Is God telling us to turn from our sins and place our trust in Him?
I myself, do believe that God has been speaking. His words
have been going forth, but not all of us are listening.
I also believe He’s trying to warn us. For the Lord is
a being of love, and He is not willing that any one should have to perish in Hell.
Over and over, again and again, God pleads with humanity. With
generation after generation He pleads for people to turn from their wicked ways. And one day, maybe very soon or perhaps many
years from now, the Almighty creator will stop His urgings, and then the final period of judgment will begin.
For now, however, over and over God cries, "Repent!" The Lord
is begging us, "Follow Me and live. Do not turn from Me or forsake Me, oh nation once blessed!"
August 23, 2005
This morning I was able to finish my work assignment early
which allowed me the chance to go to the recreation yard for about an hour.
Fortunately the outdoor yard was not as crowded as it normally
is during the weekends or during the night hours, because on weekdays most of the prisoners are at their work assignments
or in school.
And after what seemed like endless weeks of hot and humid weather,
today was perfect. There was no humidity, and the sky was a deep blue decorated with dozens of powder white clouds. For me,
today was also a day of spiritual productivity. God, I know, allowed me to go to the yard with a purpose, even though when
I first went outside I had mo specific plan other than to get some fresh air.
I had been walking for only a short time when I ran into "Brother
Charles", and elderly black man who uses a special walking cane to navigate, He has health problems, and he hasn’t been
attending chapel services like he used to. So we talked for awhile and I tried to encourage him with God’s word. Charlie
said, as our conversation came to an end, that he would try to make it to church this coming Sunday.
After this I met up with "Willie". As with many of the men
who are doing a life sentence—he has to do at least thirty years—Willie was feeling depressed because, he told
me, his family stopped coming to see him.
Willie dejectedly said that for the past few years his family
has been promising to pay him a visit on both Christmas and Easter, but they never show up.
I told Willie that, when all is said and done, it’s about
Jesus Christ. He’s the only one who’s promised never to leave or forsake us, and Jesus keeps His word.
Many times, I went on to say, well-meaning people will make
promises to do certain things, but they will fail to keep their word. But not so with the Lord Jesus, I said. He will stay
with us forever.
Note: "Brother Charles" and "Willie" are not their real names.
August 24, 2005
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:17
It is a gorgeous and sunny day here in Now York. The hot and
oppressively humid weather that had left me drained and drenched for much of the summer, has disappeared. Today, like yesterday,
the air is warm and fresh.
I know, too, that very soon the first signs of Fall will begin
to show themselves. The leaves will slowly begin to change color.
Then, near the end of the Fall season, and shortly before the
first of the morning frosts arrive, endless flocks of geese will be passing overhead, flying in near perfect formations, as
they make their journey to warmer climates.
On and off throughout the day I’ve been looking up to
the sky where I could watch the clouds as they float across the sky, changing their shapes as they go.
As each cloud disappears over the horizon, I cannot help but
wonder if my sojourn on earth will soon come to and end. I hope so. I long for home.
August 26, 2005
FOR SUCH A TIME
For we are sold, I and my people (the Jews) to be destroyed,
to be slain, and to perish.
God is faithful to always make a way of deliverance for his
Once upon a time, when the Jews were enslaved by the Persians
and they were forced to live in captivity, a series of events happened which allowed a young Jewish slave woman, Esther, to
be elevated to Queen under King Ahasuerus.
The king, as the story goes, was taken in by Esther’s
beauty and gracefulness, and he did not know she was a Jewess.
At this time, too, and evil and prideful man, Haman, who had
recently been promoted to a very high rank of leadership by Ahaseurus, wanted to have the king issue an order for all the
Jews living in the empire to be put to death.
When Ether’s uncle Mordecai got wind of this treacherous
plot, he informed her about it. She, in turn, takes it upon herself to cautiously approach the king. She had a plan worked
out to hopefully save her people.
Fortunately Esther was allowed to approach the king. She won
his favor and her request that the Jews be spared was granted. Meanwhile, Haman, the one who plotted all this , was hung from
Esther, as the story reveals, was placed by God into her royal
position for such a time. And God, I believe, is doing the same today. His plans are being worked out for good, whether we
could see His hands at work or not.
August 31, 2005
NIGHT IS COMING
I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day"
the night cometh, when no man can work.
Suppose it is true, as many of Israel’s holy prophets
have written in the Old Testament, that this world has a divine appointment with the Judge of the Universe?
The New Testament writers have likewise said the same thing.
In the book of Revelation, for example, the end time scenario is clearly played out, although it is cloaked in mystery and
symbolism. But its message is clear. There is a time coming when evil will launch and all out assault upon mankind that will
continue until the sudden appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will burst through the heavens to put a quick end to a prolonged
time of chaos. At this time He will establish His throne in Jerusalem, and His coming will save the world from annihilation.
Suppose, too, there really is a being called Satan? That, as
the Bible says, he is a great deceiver who works tirelessly to lead men and nations astray, and to their destruction?
This I say to those who read my words: the Bible is the Word
of God. It is trustworthy, and it is true. It warns us, and it points us to the Truth.
Nevertheless, until the great Day of Redemption comes the earth
is headed for a dark time of tribulation. It will be difficult to proclaim the truth, and many who at tempt to do so may end
up paying with their lives and dying as martyrs. They will suffer, yet they will triumph.
The time to reach the world with the Gospel is now.