Day 160 – Letter from Philip!

May 05, 2016

Dear Janet,

Today at 2:00pm marks exactly five months since I walked into the front door of Ashland Federal Correctional Institution. It is hard to believe, but if I am indeed granted early release from the compassionate release part of the Prison Reform Bill President Trump recently signed into law, as my manager is telling me, I’ve already nearly served a quarter of my expected time. And, there is a chance, if I find favor with prison officials, I could be released even earlier than that. And so, I want to take today to thank all of you who pray for me, Kathie, my family, and our business regularly. I believe your prayer is carrying us through. God has blessed us in many ways, and He has answered prayer in amazing ways!

And so, it was very appropriate, and served as a reminder to me of the significance of this day that as I began my day, as I do each day, with The Daily Bread devotional. It took me to II Corinthians 1:8-11. For it reminded me not only of the significance of the day, but the significance of God’s answers to all of your prayers. For even though I remain in prison, I have the peace and joy that can only come from the Father in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit has given me purpose and meaning even through these trying times. I have learned so very much, and it no doubt is a time of preparation as I continue to wait upon the Lord for whatever He has for me.

We continue to need your prayers, especially as Kathie continues to struggle with her health. It is no doubt hardest upon her.

And so, there is no better way to thank you than to quote the Apostle Paul, as he thanked the Corinthians for their prayers during his time of suffering (not that our suffering in any way compares to Paul’s): “But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer, and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also are you sharers of our comfort.

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us…that we were burdened excessively beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;…that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; Who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.

“And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed upon us through the prayers of many” (II Corinthians 1:6-11).

Again, at this five month mark, thank you for your prayers. And for the cards, letters, gifts, meals, and calls (for Kathie). Words can’t fully describe our appreciation, and I thank and praise God for you each day! Please don’t stop praying!

In His service,

Philip

Letter from Prison

Dear Friend,

If you believe God put me in prison merely to be a blessing to others, it is only partially true. I am now convinced that He has me here for another purpose – to learn and grow in Him and His Word. Of this, I have become truly convinced. For example, never would I have taken such significant portions of each day reading and studying God’s Word and listening to the voice of His Spirit. For what he may be preparing me for, other than my own edification, I do not know, nor can I speculate.

I also learn a lot from others, including my friend “C”, who miraculously came to the Lord when he hit rock bottom in an isolation cell. He’d lived a life of self-pleasure, a wanton lifestyle of addictions, violence, sex, and misery. His mom had just died. And the mother of his two youngest children and his sister had also just died of heroin overdoses. So they locked “C” in isolation, afraid he might become violent.

Every time we study Scripture together, it seems “C” reminds me that one word should exemplify the life of a true Christian – obedience! And this is very true. I see it reinforced over and over again as I read through the history of Israel and Judah in the first half of the Scriptures.

Everything seems to hinge on the obedience of God’s people. Life versus death. Health instead of disease. Prosperity instead of drought, famine, and calamity. Peace rather than war. Victory instead of defeat. Joy and happiness rather than despair and sorrow. Confidence and courage rather than dread. Wisdom and knowledge rather than confusion.

However, with obedience comes other characteristics and attributes we find clearly portrayed throughout the Scriptures. God blessed when the people and leaders turned to God for direction. When they forgot God and did what they thought right in their own eyes, not seeking His directions and advice, God’s directions and blessings and victory were not there! We see this over and over again!

And this shortcoming, trusting in our own judgment rather than seeking God’s direction and advice, becomes more and more prevalent the better and easier life becomes for us. And that’s when pride can easily set in, as it did for the kings of Israel and Judah. They start out well, seeking God’s direction, and God blesses them in every way. But then one day they skip the step of asking God first whether they should do something specific, or go up to battle. This often leads to their downfall and destruction. Look at the examples of Saul, Solomon, or Joash. That’s why Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes later in his life.

Jesus Himself reiterates this principle when Peter began to doubt his trust of the Lord to keep him afloat as he stepped foot on the Sea of Galilee’s surface. As soon as Peter’s faith began to waiver, he began to sink.

And, as “C” constantly reminds me when we look at Scriptures together, it all comes back to obedience. Our obedience is predicated on our love for our Savior, who gave Himself for us. And hence we should give our lives willingly to Him in complete obedience – out of a true love that never wants to destroy the intimacy God intended us to have with Hm.

This is why God compares our relationship with Christ as that of a bride. We are the bride of Christ; He is the perfect groom who gave His life for His bride. This “submission,” or obedience out of sheer love, is the picture God intends between a man and wife; for a husband must love his wife as God loves his church.

Thank you for your continued prayers and letters of encouragement!

In His Service,

Philip Zodhiates

He is Risen!

Chicks, eggs or bunnies! That’s not what Easter is about!

Easter is about a Lamb.

The perfect Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world for the entire world.

The Risen Lord brings peace, salvation, our name written in the Book of Life, hope for today and strength for tomorrow, provision and healing.

Do you have these things in your life? Are you looking for me? Surrender to Jesus today:

Seek the Lord today: repent of your sins, ask for forgiveness and receive Christ as your Savior.

This is not easy believism – repentance is a turning from your old ways and turning toward Christ’s ways. Its a 180 degree reverse of direction for your life.

If you have done this, walk worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus. Strive to be Christ-like in all your actions and thoughts. If you don’t know how, join a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching Church.

We each have a vacuum within us that only Christ can fill. So, if you have gone from one bad experience to another seeking to fill that void, reach out to the Lord. He will not disappoint!

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! THE TOMB IS EMPTY!

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISABELLA!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISABELLA!

Oh, how we wish we could say it in person!

Today you are 17 years old and have been away from us for 9 1/2 years. We pray everyday that you and your mom are safe and thriving – serving the Lord wherever you are.

We are praying that you will return to us when you turn 18 – next April 16!

Read about Isabella’s story here:

https://419fund.com/projects/isabella-miller-2/

Two men have already served their prison terms for helping Isabella escape abuse at the hand of “the other mother,” while Philip Zodhiates just began his 3-year prison term in December.

Read Philip’s story here:

https://419fund.com/projects/philip-zodhiates/

Consider donating to their funds as a present to Isabella today on her 17th Birthday!

Back in Business!

419 Fund is now back up and running after a 2-week hiatus (aka an attack from Satan). Our webmaster could not figure out the problem, until he finally discovered that an email had gone to a no longer valid email address, which involved paying the annual license fee to our crowdfunding platform.

We are ready to receive donations once again.

AND we have a new missions opportunity in the middle east. Check out “Diapers for Christian Refugees.” This is a ministry of William Murray – the Religious Freedom Coalition.

Click here to learn more: https://419fund.com/projects/diapers/

Call for Revival!

A CALL FOR PRAYER FOR A REVIVAL IN OUR NATION

March 18, 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

Thank you once again for your prayers. I can see and feel the power and effect of them in very real ways. God continues to provide me with His peace and joy. Our daily prayer circle each evening after 9:00 count continues to grow with more and men joining us each week.

But my real joy comes from the in-depth study of God’s Word just a handful of other men join me for. This past Saturday, they were like little kids in a candy store, as we looked up various places in scripture where it speaks of us having to go through “thlipsis” – the Greek word found in Romans 12:12 where Paul tells us to be patient (or persevere) in tribulation. The actual root meaning of the word is to “crush, compress or squeeze.”  It is a grievous affliction or distress, a pressure or burden of the spirit of man. We are crushed like grapes in a winepress, or olives being formed into olive oil. The outcome is something pure and tasty and pleasing. Until olives are aged and pressed, they are of little value. And so, we.

But, what I enjoy, is when the men get so excited not just about the issue at hand, but when they can’t stop reading, but say, “Well look at what it says a few verses later — wow!” They can’t seem to get enough! I love the tangents we go off on!

My prayers, since I have been here, is that I might exemplify a life truly transformed by the Holy Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

I encourage you to invite your neighbors and acquaintances to study God’s Word with you in your home, and to share such similar excitement. I remember while in college having the same experience, but in spite of God’s prompting, I failed to obey to do the same later in my life! If every believer would reach out in this manner, I believe it could revolutionize the nation for Christ!

But our secret weapon as believers, I am becoming more and more convinced, is prayer!  That’s why we are told to pray for our enemies repeatedly, and even for those who persecute us.  As long as we pray for them, they can never achieve victory. It is an impossibility!  For there is hope even in martyrdom. Our hope is an eternal hope, a concept our enemies cannot grasp.

I pray specifically, for circumstances and divine appointments with God’s elect servants for my enemies and for the convictions of the Holy Spirit to reveal their depraved and sinful nature to themselves, and their need for reconciliation with God. This would indeed be the greatest miracle, just as it was in my life at one time! And, so I pray their lack of peace and their emptiness might torment them in such a way that they realize only Christ can fill that void, and once they repent and turn from their sin, embracing Christ’s shed blood on the cross for the redemption of their sin, making Him Lord of their life, their guilt and anguish and emptiness will be lifted and they will find complete freedom in Christ! That is the miracle I long for more than any other.

And prayer, I am becoming more acutely aware, must be the secret weapon we utilize in calling our nation back to God. Only then, in unified and concerted prayer, will revival break out in individual hearts in a massive way. And in turn, revival will sweep our nation!

We must pray this passion for revival will be instilled in the heart of pastors throughout our once great nation, and that revival might begin within their own hearts, and spread to their congregations, into the homes of their parishioners, out into their local neighborhoods, communities, schools and places of employment!

And pray that God simultaneously will raise up godly men and men completely surrendered to Him to enter every walk of life – particularly, those areas we believers have greatly abandoned in past years to the devil’s soapbox. Places of influence such as politics, the courts, media, education and statesmanship.

Indeed, Satan is our number one adversary. He is our enemy. And so, we must fervently utilize our secret weapon – prayer – in these areas, as well.  Let’s cover the whole gambit of warfare in prayer, until an army of godly warriors is raised up to be the example of what righteous leadership should be.

We believers, myself included, have neglected this powerful weapon for way too long. And it is a weapon, for which the enemy has no defense!

Thank you again for standing in the gap for me, Kathie and my family. I feel very unworthy, but greatly appreciative!  Let’s wield the power of prayer to come against not just your and my enemies, but against the power and delusions Satan has over the eyes of so many people in our country and throughout the world – even many who claim to be Christians.

May God bless you. And thank you!

In His service,

Philip

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16

Perseverance

March 7, 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

It is hard to believe this week marks three months that I have been in prison. My comfort level has greatly increased since the first few weeks, although it was extremely evident many were praying and I was surrounded with God’s angels, I was frightened to be entering prison. Thank you again for your ongoing prayers.

God continues to give me favor with other prisoners. There are now six who pray in our circle each night and between four and five of us who meet at least weekly to study the Bible.

I must say the most difficult thing is for me to be here in prison while my wife of 38 years is suffering at home with pneumonia. She is hoping to be well enough to come see me this weekend, which marks one month since her last visit, but I’m still uncertain she’s well enough to make the trip without causing a relapse.

Yet Paul tells me, we must “exalt in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “A Christian life proves itself not in words, but character. No one is a Christian without character. Those who do not persevere experience nothing that will build character.” I do not know if Bonhoeffer was inspired by this passage when he penned those words, but he well could have been.

But what did Paul mean by tribulation? It could have been sickness, persecution, being falsely accused or ridiculed for Christ’s sake, financial hardships, hurting relationships, and more.

James says,

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)

The crown of our life is our hope, and it does not disappoint! No matter our sufferings, God’s love has been poured out to us within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given us!  Because of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are able to endure anything Satan may send our way.

Peter says,

“But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.” (I Peter 4:12)

Some have told me they did not have it within them to endure what Kathie and I have gone through, yet I believe when that time comes, the Holy Spirit will provide you with the supernatural grace to endure. It’s not much different than when one faces death, something which I’ve been privileged to personally experience (I have written about this in my Journal). We think it will be a difficult experience, yet when the time arrives, the Spirit of God provides such joy and peace and anticipation it is inexplicable!  That’s the working of the Holy Spirit.

In the meanwhile, before tribulation hits you (and each believer is promised it will),

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

As we stand firm and persevere, the Holy Spirit will provide the grace for us to endure, and this produces character. So, what is character? I believe it is the fruit of the Spirit, which “is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, (and) self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

I write similar thoughts down on a daily basis – what God reveals to me – and send it home. I do not know if any has yet to be posted on line and apologize if it has not (I have no internet access), but I know my family is hopelessly behind in the transcription particularly when I get very inspired, or verbose, depending on one’s point of view!  Please pray someone would help to undertake this task.

As I close, I want to thank again each person who has provided, notes, letters, cards, books, meals for Kathie and William, and even financial support.  All of it is an immense encouragement! But most appreciated is your prayer support!  I covet your prayers, and know it is what is sustaining us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please continue to pray especially for Kathie’s full recovery!

In His Service,

Philip

DONATE TO PHILIP’S ATTORNEYS’ FEES: https://419fund.com/projects/philip-zodhiates/

No Pillows!

February 14, 2019

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued prayers, support and the mail that I received from many of you. I cherish every prayer and every piece of mail that I receive.  Often, when I read the encouragements you send, it brings tears to my eyes.

I’d imagine, Kathie is going through even a more difficult time than I am here in prison, which is actually quite an easy-going life – except for NO pillow, a very uncomfortable mattress and repetitious food and very boring. I have much to be thankful for and praise the Lord for.  I am certain that my brothers and sisters in the Lord imprisoned for [their] faith in other nations have it much, much more difficult than me.

I am also grateful for those organizations and attorneys who’ve filed Amicus Briefs to the United States Supreme Court on my behalf.  My understanding is that my case is the first on their docket for this year, scheduled for conference on Friday, February 22, to decide whether r not they’ll take the case. So, please pray!

God has given me a fair number of opportunities to speak into the lives of other men here in FCI Ashland and I covet your prayers in that regard.  God has given me great favor with other men in our unit, for which I’m thankful.  I feel very unworthy in this role and desire to represent my Lord and Savior in an impeccable manner. We have a short prayer time each night with a number of men now, and I lead a Bible Study each Saturday at noon in my unit with two or three other men. Neither of these events were going on prior to my coming. At this point, there are two men in particular very eager to learn everything they can about the Bible and living a Christian life.

At times, I do get very homesick, but God is sustaining me. His Spirit can just overwhelm me in inexplicable ways, and I am so grateful when that happens.

One late afternoon, walking back to my building from supper, I looked up to see a perfectly formed, probably 4-5 foot “V” formed on the side of my building. The first thing I thought of was that it was a sign from the Lord specifically for me. It was a cloudy afternoon, and I’ve never seen before in all my years, the sun and clouds form such a perfectly, straight sign. It was so incredible and so I thought, or the devil gave me the thought, that it was just an imperfection in the brickwork on the side of the building. But, the next day, it was not there.  I am convinced, it was a sign from God just for me!

I do not know how or when God will provide the victory, but I know it will be in a manner that He alone gets the glory. In the meantime, Kathie and I are called to be patient, endure, and wait upon the Lord’s perfect timing.  In the meantime, I enjoy spending extra time studying God’s Word and praying.

Thank you for standing with us. I know without you it would be very, very difficult. God bless you!

In His Service,

Philip

Knowing God

The Bible is very specific as to who and what God is and what He is not.

In Psalm 145, King David beautifully lays out who and what God is.

Verse 8 – The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and of great mercy.

You may be going through a tough time right now, but if you turn to the Lord, know that He will see you through. God uses the hard times to get our attention and turn us back to Him. He IS full of compassion and is tenderhearted toward those who love Him.

Verse 9 – The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.

Romans 8:28 says that “ALL things work together for good. . .” The Lord has a bigger plan and He sees our future.

Verse 17 – The Lord is righteous in ALL His ways, and holy in ALL His Truth.

Trust and obedience are the way to God’s heart.  Trusting Him in everything and walking obediently in His statutes.

Verse 18 – The Lord is near unto ALL those who call upon Him, to ALL who call upon Him in Truth.

If you have lost your way, or cannot find happiness in anything you have tried – drugs, homosexuality, alcohol, transgenderism, religion – anything to fill the void in your life – call upon the Lord. He will not disappoint. God made us for a relationship with Him.

Verse 19 – He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry, and will save them.

His Truth is found only in His Word – the Bible. The Bible was written for man “by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [set of beliefs], for reproof [disapproval], for correction [process of correcting], for instruction [directions] in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect [complete], thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16-17

2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise . . . but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.”

If you do not know Him, cry out to Him, He will hear you!

I John 5:13 – “These things have I [Apostle John] written until you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

He is a good, good God, full of mercy and loving kindness, and He wants you to know Him.

 

Piano lessons

TRUE STORY…

At the prodding of my friends I am writing this story.  My name is Mildred Honor. I am a former elementary school Music Teacher from Des Moines, Iowa.

I have always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons . . . Something I have done for over 30 years. During those years, I found that children have many levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the prodigy, I have taught some very talented students. However, I have also had my share of what I call “Musically Challenged Pupils.”

One such pupil being Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson.

I prefer that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby.  But Robby said that it had always been his mother’s dream to hear him play the piano, so I took him as a student.

At the end of each weekly lesson he would always say, “My Mom’s going to hear me Play someday.”  But to me, it seemed hopeless, he just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up.  She always waved and smiled, but never dropped in.

Then one day, Robby stopped coming for his Lessons.   I thought about calling him but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had decided to pursue something else. I was also glad that he had stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

Several Weeks later, I mailed a flyer recital to the students’ homes. To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify.

He told me that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to his piano lessons, but that he had been practicing.  “Please Miss Honor, I’ve just got to play,” he insisted. I don’t know what led me to allow him to play in the recital – perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all right.

The night of the recital came, and the high school gymnasium was packed with parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program, just before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he might do would come at the end of the program, and I could always salvage his poor performance through my “Curtain Closer.”

Well, the recital went off without a hitch, the students had been practicing and it showed.  Then Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled, and his hair looked as though he had run an egg beater through it. “Why wasn’t he dressed up like the other students?” I thought. “Why didn’t his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?’

Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen to play Mozart’s Concerto No.21 in C Major.  I was not prepared for what I heard next.   His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories.  He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent!  Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his age.

After six and a half minutes, he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was on their feet in wild applause!!!  Overcome and in tears, I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy.

“I have never heard you play like that Robby, how did you do it?”  Through the microphone, Robby explained: “Well, Miss Honor, remember I told you that my Mom was sick?  Well, she actually had cancer and passed Away this Morning. And well… she was born deaf, so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me play, and I wanted to make it special.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that evening.  As people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy.  I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.

No, I have never had a prodigy, but that night I became a Prodigy . . . of Robby. He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for he had taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe even taking a chance on someone, and you didn’t know why.

Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995.