March 7, 2019
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.
“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.
“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,
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