New Year!

January 1, 2021

DAY 758

So here we are entering 2021.  And there are so many unknowns.  COVID-19 continues to claim lives, including my good friend and Christian brother, Jimmy Valez, this past week.  The majority of individuals throughout the world still are somewhat likely to face the COVID-19  virus in their own bodies, with many Christians by and large saying they will not take any of the current vaccines because reliable sources claim they contain cells from aborted babies.  But COVID-19 is just another way God is forcing our reliance completely upon Him.

For my family and me, the future is entirely in God’s hands, but I believe eventually He will vindicate me, release me, restore us, and give us victory in the upcoming civil suit in a way that will give Him all the honor and praise and glory!  It is so appropriate that a friend sent me for Christmas A.W. Tozer’s classic book, “The Knowledge of the Holy.”  In this overview of the attributes of God, Tozer writes of His infinitude, or limitlessness.  He says, “It is obviously impossible for a limited mind to grasp the Unlimited.”

This subject was actually the topic of discussion last night in our little church, speaking of the indescribable ecstasy of eternity with Christ.  It is unfathomable to our finite minds, incomprehensible to our human nature as there is nothing to compare.  Daniel, Ezekiel, and John tried to utilize various word pictures, but they fall short of the reality of what it will be like.  Words cannot describe it!  “For God is greater than mind itself.  His greatness cannot be conceived,” Tozer states.  “Nay, can we conceive of His greatness He would be less than the human mind which could form the conception.  He is greater than all language, and no statement can express Him.”  Aside from God Himself, there is nothing that hasn’t been created.  He alone is infinite!  Tozer defines it as God knowing no bounds.  He alone is boundless.  It means He is measureless.  “Limitations, imperfections, cannot apply to God.”  The human mind cannot understand or describe all the attributes of God, of which there are many.  We have no knowledge nor ability to comprehend many of them.  Tozer says it would be like the seraphim or cherubim being able to feel the attributes of mercy and grace, yet they have no personal or sympathetic meaning, for the reason they have not sinned and so do not call forth God’s mercy and grace.

One day it will be revealed to us these attributes.  For we know as believers God’s infinitude belongs to us and is made known to us for our everlasting profit.  At the entry into this new year, it is completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.  Tozer states, “Eternal years lie in His heart.  For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years.  God never hurries.  There are no deadlines against which He must work.  Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.  For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast; before the sons of the new creation time crouches and purrs and licks their hands.  The foe of the old human race becomes the friend of the new, and the stars in their courses fight for the man God delights to honor.  This we may learn from the divine infinitude.

“But there is more.  God’s gifts in nature have their limitations.  They are finite because they have been created, but the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus is as limitless as God.  The Christian man possesses God’s own life and shares His infinitude with Him.  In God there is life enough for all and time enough to enjoy it.”  Tozer goes on to explain that the mercy of God is infinite, too.  “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”  Tozer says, “Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.  However, sin may abound it still has its limits, for it is the product of finite minds and hears; but God’s ‘much more’ introduces us to the infinitude.  Against our deep creature-sickness stands God’s infinite ability to cure. . . His love is measureless.  It is more:  it is boundless.”

May God’s blessings and love abound in you this new year!

Philip Zodhiates

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2020

Day 750

Well, today is Christmas Eve.  It is now evening, and I am still here.  Aside from weeping in my heart for Kathie who, besides the pain and discomfort she has had almost constantly experienced in recent months, is being forced to be without me for the third Christmas in a row.

We both know God’s timing is best, and He is with us each and every step in this journey.  From a human perspective alone, I know there are many glimmers of hope.  But with God all things are possible.  He is able to work miracles as much today as He was 2000 years ago.  We have seen this many times in our own lives!  As believers we are to expect such tribulations and count it all joy to suffer for Him.

And it is during these times, as shown in Psalm 66 and many other places in the Scriptures, we are to reflect on the many miracles God has already done for us, both personally, and as God’s people.  This provides the hope we need!  As the psalmist says, “Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men” (v. 5).  There is so much for us to rejoice in (v. 6).

I know I have reiterated this Psalm before, but it bears repeating every time we find ourselves discouraged; “Bless our God, oh peoples, and sound His praise abroad, Who keeps us in life, and does not allow our feet to slip.  For You have tried us, oh God, You have refined us as silver is refined.  You did bring us into the prison (net), You did lay an oppressive burden upon our loins.  You did make men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water; yet You did bring us out into a place of abundance . . . . Come and hear, all who fear God.  And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.  I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue.  If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.  But certainly, God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, Who has not turned away from my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me” (Ps. 66:8-12; 16-20).  In Him is all my confidence!

In Him belongs all glory and praise!  A blessed Christmas to you!

Philip Zodhiates

Received from Philip yesterday:

Do you remember Jimmy Valez, the big Puerto Rican fellow who was so friendly and always asked about you?  He is a believer and very committed.  Just as sweet as can be.

Well, I just found out that he got compassionate release, but probably doesn’t even know about it as he has been in the hospital on a ventilator.  Please pray for him and get others to pray for him.  Let’s expect a miracle.  I want to try to find what his contact information will be so you can check on him and tell him we were praying when he is home.  I don’t know if I will be able to or not.

Also, I heard we had another death from COVID here.  That makes number 6 that we know of.  Who knows how many there really are.

UPDATE

I have some very sad but yet very glorious news.  Jimmy Valez is now with Jesus.  He left this life for eternal glory yesterday.  I rejoice for him but I am very sad for his family.  I only vaguely remember meeting them when I was with you.  They had just finished getting their picture made, if I recollect correctly.  I never ever saw Jimmy without him asking about you, and he prayed for both of us regularly.  He was a true sanctified saint.

I thought you would be interested in knowing about Jimmy. Please shift your prayers to his family.  This prison will be far worse off now that he is gone.

December 17, 2020

Day 743

Dear Friend:

I am grateful to 419fund.com for the ability to forward this Christmas greeting to you, and once again to thank you for your prayers and letters of encouragement and financial help with our legal bills, which we are now struggling with once again to keep up with.

I must confess that the past months have probably been the most difficult for Kathie and me. Kathie had oral problems again, subsequent infections, and great pain once again, and is facing one more surgical procedure. Please continue to pray for her and encourage her. She is in severe pain now.

Here at Ashland FCI, we were hit big-time with COVID-19 in early November, and it swept through the prison like a wave, one unit after another. Five inmates have died including two men around 50 years old who were from our unit prior to their being moved. I knew both of them, and I’ve written about it in my daily journal at www.RomansEight28.com. I was really ill, especially the week of Thanksgiving. And frankly, I wanted to die. I was checked for COVID-19 the Thursday prior to my getting sick but was negative. Saturday night it hit me, and I went downstairs in the morning and waited for the nurse to come, along with a handful of others who had symptoms. She merely checked my temperature and told me to go back to my cell. Thanksgiving Day and the day prior were my worst days, but the medical staff never stepped foot in our unit until eight days after Thanksgiving — over two weeks. At that time, I was given another COVID-19 test and tested negative again. But there is no doubt I had COVID-19, even at times finding it difficult to breathe. Praise the Lord He healed me and brought me through.

Six of the men who are part of our little nightly church in our unit that we began back in March, once we were locked inside the unit permanently, were moved to quarantine, which made no sense since just about the entire unit except some of the youngest were sick. Sickness prevented us from meeting together from mid-November until Tuesday of this week, and two of the six are now back in the unit. During this time, the guards (vs. the inmates) found themselves responsible for our food, and we went for six weeks with no commissary. Their solution was to order 40,000 frozen bologna and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to feed us often twice a day for weeks on end. I ate very little and lost weight, but I confess I had no appetite, taste, or smell.

On Wednesday, JM left for quarantine, and then on January 6, 2021 he is going to a halfway house in Grand Rapids, MI, three hours from his home. He’d been in prison for 13 years. He gave his life to Christ in July after resisting and running from God his whole life. He has spent hours in my cell every day since and is an absolutely changed man. It was sad to see him leave, but I am thrilled for him. Please pray he finds good Christian fellowship and that his family finds Jesus.

I have yet to hear from my sentencing judge in reference to my motion to vacate my sentence or send me to home confinement. I am desperate to be reunited with Kathie and my family, but I know God has His purposes. My case manager told me that I was supposed to go to a halfway house in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on March 6, 2021. But then she informed me she’d made a mistake, and the correct date they gave me was March 26, 2021. She is trying to get an earlier date for me. Pray.

The prison did reverse itself and allow me to have a non-monitored call with my new attorney. We spoke for 1-3/4 hours. The civil suit against me, my daughter, and the company is now scheduled for June. However, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the prison is not allowing the attorneys from Southern Poverty Law Center who are representing the other side to depose me, even with a court order. I believe the judge in the civil case gave a deadline of early March for all the depositions so they may have to proceed without my deposition or delay the trial again.

I know God has all things in His control. In many ways, this prison sentence has been a blessing, even though it has been very difficult. He has provided me with hours to study His Word and pray, read, and write my thoughts every day now for over two years. Hence it has been as much a blessing for me as it has been for people like W, C, JM, E, J, and the others you have read about over the past two years in my journal. I have missed my Kathie so very much. But we both have His peace and joy.

We were allowed two visits in October of one hour each before COVID-19 hit us hard. So I got to see Kathie twice, and William and Josiah each once when they came with Kathie. It was a no-touch visit with glass in between us. It was hard to hear each other though, but terrific to see each other!

I know that we Christians are to expect to suffer persecution for Him (2 Timothy 3:12). But God uses it for our own good (2 Timothy 1:8; 2:3, 12; 1 Peter 5:10, Romans 5:3-5 and many others).

Thank you once again for your prayers, letters, and financial help. I pray you and your family have a blessed Christmas and that you remain healthy, especially COVID-19 free. You are very encouraging to Kathie and me. And we praise the Lord for you. This will be my third Christmas in prison unless God miraculously intervenes. I leave you now with what I think has become my favorite Christmas passage:

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

In His service,

Philip Zodhiates

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my daily journal at www.RomansEight28.com.

Sin Problem

October 26, 2020

Day 693 of incarceration

A week from tomorrow [November 3, 2020] are elections in the United States, including for president.  Yet unfortunately, the root cause of all the problems within the nation seems to have been completely ignored.  The problems of the world or this nation will not be solved by electing one party over another unless this issue is proclaimed from the rooftops.  The fact of the matter is we have a moral problem. We have a sin problem.  And we have rebelled against God.

General Douglas MacArthur said in a speech back in 1951 the following:

“In this day of gathering storms, as the moral deterioration of political power spreads its growing infection, it is essential that every spiritual force be mobilized to defend and preserve the religious base upon which this nation was founded.  For it is that base which has been the motivating impulse to our moral and national growth.  History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline.  There has been either a spiritual reawakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”

Today, our president is once again campaigning with the same “make America great again” rhetoric.  Yet he addresses every aspect of becoming a great nation again while seemingly ignoring this moral fabric, which underlines our decline.  No longer does our nation have a fear of Almighty God, which was the real reason God blessed America and made it into a great nation in the first place.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,

“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover these precious values — that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality as spiritual control.”

Should the church, the President, and both of our major political parties continue to ignore and avoid this fact, the United States of America will ultimately disintegrate — perhaps very soon and suddenly.  A great spiritual battle is going on for our nation, yet even those who seemingly are on the correct side of the battle fail to recognize it as such.  Unless our leaders identify the root of our problems as moral failings, we are likely doomed to oblivion.  It matters not if Donald Trump or Joe Biden is elected president; we are still headed toward the same cliff.  One is merely taking us there faster than the other.

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said in 1900,

“I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

This is just as true in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century.  Only it seems in great part our nation has already fallen over the precipice.

It is so easy to get caught up in the “make America great again” political efforts, but that will fail unless President Trump and our nation’s leaders, and most importantly, our church leaders, recognize this as the spiritual battle that it is, and call this nation to repentance.

For those of us as part of the remnant, we must too repent on behalf of ourselves and the sins of our nation.  The devil and his demonic influence now have infested so many parts of our society with his deception and lies.  Jesus said some of these demons do not come out but through fasting and prayer.  I therefore encourage you to do two things:

First, fast and pray for revival in this nation, that the strongholds of Satan will be cast down.

Second, contact President Trump, your senators, and your representative and tell them America will never be great again unless they address the spiritual condition of our nation, that without a moral underpinning and fear of Almighty God we are doomed to failure like has happened to every great society in history that has abandoned its moral fiber.

May God bring revival once again in America!

Philip Zodhiates  18649-084

FCI Ashland

P.O. Box 6001

Ashland, KY  41105

Updates and BD card shower

UPDATES

1.  The civil case against Philip Zodhiates, et al, by Janet Jenkins is moving forward. Because of this, Philip is in need of more support for his attorneys fees. He is still in prison, and thus not able to raise funds on his own.

2.  Philip has asked for prayers that he might be released from prison in the next two weeks!

3.  Praise!  Kathie and their son, William, were able to visit Philip on Monday, October 19 for 65 minutes with proper COVID-19 restrictions in place. Visitation at the prison had stopped since February. Kathie said, “Wearing the mask was  very hard . . . much harder than you think. It was like sucking water back into my lungs and my chest has hurt ever since . . . It was awesome to see him. “

Philip continues to receive mail from prayer partners and supporters – he received 3 today. Thank you for your faithfulness to our modern day “Paul!”

Support Philip now:

https://419fund.com/donations/philip/

Kathie’s birthday is November 7, let’s shower her with birthday cards!

Mrs. Kathie Zodhiates

P.O. Box 1842

Waynesboro, VA 22980

Day 642

September 5, 2020
Saturday, Day 642

I’m being blessed by reading Randy Alcorn’s monumental book, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. In it he explains why the extra-biblical term, total depravity, is not the best description of man’s spiritual condition before God.

Yes, we are all sinners, that much is true. But the fact of the matter is there is nothing we can do to earn God‘s merit or favor (see Isaiah 64: 6; Romans 7:15; 8:8; Hebrews 11:6 ).

Alcorn says, “total depravity seems to imply that without Christ, no one can ever do anything remotely good. It even appears to suggest that we always do as much evil as possible. If that were true, why would Scriptures say of King Jehoshaphat, who had just sinned against God, ‘there is, however, some good in you’ (2 Chronicles 19:3).

“We can successfully complete any number of physical and mental tasks, even some good ones. But we remain helpless sinners with nothing to offer God that could gain a right standing with him. Therefore, I believe Wayne Gruden‘s term, total inability, is more accurate and helpful. I’ll add one word, calling it total spiritual inability. To emphasize that we have no ability to save ourselves may avoid the
misinterpretation some have of the term total depravity.“

I remember this was the topic of much discussion when Will first became a believer — whether a non-Christian has any good within themselves apart from God. Obviously the answer is yes, even for purely altruistic reasons. But, as Isaiah says our righteousness is as filthy rags; even Jesus in Matthew 7:9–11 seems to acknowledge this. For we have all sinned and come short of God‘s expectation; also see 1 John 1: 8-10.

Who do you love more?

September 13, 2020
Sunday, Day 650

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple…So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:26-27, 33).

When I spoke to Kathie today on the phone, she told me how she hopes I’m home by the holidays. They are very difficult times for her even when I’m home, but me being away in prison makes it even more difficult for her.  She did tell me that she, however, has perfect peace and that God has shown her how she has put me ahead of HIM.  I too have had to repent of putting Kathie ahead of the Lord on numerous occasions. This is something extremely easy to do while we are having to be apart because of sheer injustice out of hatred by some people for the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Word.

But Jesus Himself predicted such a future. He told His own disciples, “And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22).

We will be hated for righteousness’ sake. This has clearly been what has happened in my case, and I am now sitting in a prison cell because of it, and my wonderful wife who struggles to be alone is home without me (I thank God, however, for our oldest son William who is living at home – what a blessing he is).

The Greek word used here in Luke 14:26 for “hate,” miseō, normally is translated hate, which is specifically attributed to the testing or abhorring something. However, it has a less common meaning, which Matthew’s account depicts Jesus saying, “he who loves . . . more than Me.” In Luke 14:33 Jesus sums up that “no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” But hear the Greek word translated “give up,” apotassetai, literally means “to properly arrange.” It refers to Christians who know how to properly arrange their lives so that Christ is given the preeminence. And this is what the problem was with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-27), for the wealthy young man’s riches were his idol, something he wasn’t willing to give up for Christ.

Herein lies the secondary meaning of miseō, translated “hate” and Luke 14:26. In this context, it is loving one’s relatives less than the Lord. That is required of us — for us to take up our cross and follow Christ or be his disciple. My dad, in The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, puts it this way, “Here Jesus asserts His deity. Every member of man’s family is a human being, and the love shown to humans compared to the love shown to Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, must be so different that the former seems like hatred. The meaning of miseō as loving less is made clear in Matt. 10:37, ‘He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.’ In His commands for loving other human beings, the Lord never said, ‘Love other human beings as you love Me,’ but ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’ (Matt. 19:19). When it comes to loving God, however, He is placed in a unique position (Matt. 22:37, 38).”

For Kathie and myself, Rearranging our lives of priorities assuring that Christ is first has been one of God’s purposes in our current travails. This is all part of God’s refining process; a key reason God allows suffering in our lives. Being apart from each other for up to three years is the hardest thing for both of us during the confinement. Without Christ, in our lives, it would be unbearable. Many times, prior to my trial the prosecution offered me plea deals: “plead guilty and testify and you’ll receive no prison time,” they said, even the day before the trial was to begin.  But I truly believed this would be no different than denying Christ.

I truly could not at the time see any purpose for God allowing me to be found guilty, to be sentenced to prison, to lose my appeals, and to be denied home confinement after having served two-thirds of my sentence, as per the law. Yet now, looking back, as difficult as it has been and as hard as it remains especially during the Covid-19 lock-down, I see God’s hand in every bit of it. Making sure our priorities are in the right order, with Christ being the head, is at the top of that list. Both of our lives have been radically turned even more toward becoming more like Christ. Yet even beyond what God has done in our own lives is what He has done in the lives of others, especially within the barbed wire of these prison fences and this unit in particular. God’s Spirit continues to move in miraculous ways. Men are continuing to come to Christ and many more are being dramatically transformed into the image of Christ to the point where it is spreading beyond these walls and the gates of this prison.

And so, I have come to the point where, if I am to stay here until March 6, the date I have been given to leave here and report to the halfway house in Virginia, I am willing to do so. I rejoice for the privilege of being here to witness firsthand the Spirit of God move among men here. I praise Him for being called into His service.

In His service,

Philip Zodhiates

P.S. Kathie, William, Josiah and Janet Stasulli have nearly gotten all of my daily journal up-to-date at http://www.romanseight28.com. Please check it out!

Vote!

November 3, 2020 is a very important day in our country – ELECTION DAY! This election, some say, is the most important and consequential election in our entire history. It may very well mean freedom or slavery (socialism).

ELECTIONS  HAVE CONSEQUENCES THAT LAST A LIFETIME!

What you can do:
1. VOTE
2. If you are not registered – register to vote and then vote.
3. Get others to register and then vote.
4. Pray.
5. Check out the candidates – very easy with https://ivoterguide.com/
6. Send this link to all your friends across the country!

With the iVoter Guide you can:
1. Search by state, zip code or candidate
2. Check the party platforms
3. Check the policy positions of Presidential Candidates

One very helpful feature is the survey that the candidates were asked to fill out – some did, some didn’t.

This voter guide is sponsored by many conservative organizations including: AFA Action, FRC Action, CWA LAC, Eagle Forum Georgia, Priests for Life, VA Freedom Caucus, and many others.

I actually worked on rating Virginia and Pennsylvania candidates along with my panel members.

Janet Stasulli
Co-Founder and President
419 Fund

Thankful!

“The Lord told me everyone was going to be okay.”

— Hanna Sims

I delivered a check to Hanna yesterday and she testified that the Lord had been with them. Brenda had told me that Waylon usually drives with Hanna in the passenger seat, but on that particular day, Hanna was driving. Because of this change, Hanna’s life was spared. Waylon is a big guy and was able to withstand the impact much better than Hanna ever would have.
Hanna said yesterday that during the spinning, she heard the Lord say to her that everyone was going to be okay (injured, but alive). So once they stopped spinning and ended up hitting the commercial vehicle, she knew Eden (in the backseat in the car seat) was okay, and she could concentrate on aiding Waylon. She has such a sweet spirit.
Her right shoulder was injured and still hurts, but she has had to concentrate on Waylon’s PT and taking care of Eden to get the attention that her shoulder needs.
Hanna wants to thank everyone who has given to help them!
— Janet Stasulli
Co-Founder and President
419 Fund

Judges rules against Church!

JUDGE RULES AGAINST CHURCH – CANNOT HOLD INDOOR SERVICES!

https://tinyurl.com/yys5sao8

After a hearing on Friday, September 4, Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff in the Superior Court of California, ruled on Friday, September 11 that the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA (John MacArthur’s Church) could not hold indoor services!

Read the article here:  https://tinyurl.com/yy4n6vw7

To quote the article, John MacArthur said,

“In an inexplicable ruling, the judge said the ‘scale tipped in favor of the county.’ 1/100th of 1% of Californians with a virus apparently wins over the U.S. Constitution and religious freedom for all? That is not what our founders said. Nor is that what God says, who gave us our rights that our government—including the judicial branch—is supposed to protect. The scale should always tip in favor of liberty, especially for churches.”

Read the order of Central District in County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al. here: https://tinyurl.com/y474mncx