Peace to all in Jesus' precious name! It's probably about time you hear from me. I miss coming to our prayer meeting. Right now we have a time of testimony and prayer and teaching each evening at 7:00 in the outdoor pavilion--except for the evenings something else is going. Tonight's meeting will be chilly.
I woke up around 11:30 the other night; loud voices in the hallway just outside the door. I tried to shut out the noise and go back to sleep. I heard Karl, my bunkmate and ex-marine get up. I figured he'd give them a piece of his mind.
The next day he told me what happened. He stepped into the hallway and tried to quietly say something like, "Can you give us a little respect, there's men in here trying to sleep." One of the men shot back, "THIS IS PRISON!"
Karl replied quietly, "You're right, it is prison."
He came back into the room and I heard him rustling around.
HE PUT ON HIS BOOTS.
He went back into the hallway, and in a quiet but commanding voice said something like, "You were right, this is prison, can we talk about it more?"
He said the fellow took a look at his boots and skedaddled for the end of the hall-way, and he didn’t come down there all the next day.
Karl said that fellow had probably never been at a high security prison or a penitentiary. Because there they'd have beaten him to death for not being more respectful. He's probably right. I've heard some horrible stories.
How does an Anabaptist compare to a marine in a situation like that?
Let me mention what happened to me about a month ago. The same thing was happening. It was maybe 12:30 a.m. and the fellows were over there in that little room off the hallway, playing chess, thumping the pieces on the board as they moved, and talking loudly. That time I couldn't rely on Karl, he slept right through it.
So finally I got up. I went over to that little room, tried to be as friendly as possible and said something like, "Excuse me, we're trying to sleep over there."
The response was identical. "THIS IS PRISON, MAN!"
Somehow I didn't feel like pushing my point, so I walked on down the hall to get a drink. When I passed by again they were still playing noisily. I crawled back into bed and tried to go to sleep. I'd like to imagine I asked God to forgive them, but I don't remember, and that's probably being a little plenty generous with yours truly.
But after 15-20 minutes they moved and it was quiet!
No threatening action necessary!
Not that threatening action would be all that natural for me. Pushing 5' 6" and 139 lbs, I'm one of the smallest fellows in here. A lot of fellows spend hours working out on the weight yard every day, massive bodybuilders--and they're CRIMINALS. And I'm in here with them, mingling with them every day.
But I've never felt real danger.
One of my friends and brothers in Messiah is Steve. He's 6'8" and about 250 pounds. When we're together you get the long and short of it.
But the real reason I've never felt danger is because the Firstborn, my Elder Brother, is here with me. He's with me everwhere. And He's Incredibly Strong.
Nobody's gonna mess with me without first tangling with Him!
I've often thought about that terrifying scene on the Kano Plains near Lake Victoria in Kenya Africa, Nov. 6th, 2000. Three defenseless men huddled together, kneeling on the ground, crying out to God while the mob rushed toward them. Only God could save them, and somehow, He did.
We've all come through times of intense trial. And one thing we learn: God is faithful. We don't have to stress and we don't have to fight for ourselves because we're learning to trust Him to fight our battles.
"The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God through our Lord Jesus Christ!" The only weapons we carry are "The Shield of Faith" and "The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God."
Last time I checked, no concealed weapons permit was necessary for either of these.
This morning for breakfast, we had pancakes and syrup, oatmeal and a slice of pineapple that was really good. For lunch we had a hamburger with the fixings and fries that were almost better than McDonald's fries. Tonight is chef salad. We really have nothing to complain about.
Yesterday I was feeling "blah" just about all day. A lot of it was from the lack of sleep that previous noisy night. I felt emotionally drained, unmotivated and didn't use my time very well. And I didn't feel like being with people at all.
Sometimes a man needs to grab himself by the scruff of the neck and give himself a kick in the pants. So I went outside and walked in the cold bracing wind and cried out to God and resisted our enemy. And I discovered once again that if you really mean it, God answers our prayers and gives us power and new energy on the inside. And then our physical bodies are revived too.
"But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom. 8:11) This compares to Isaiah 40:28-31, "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength;..."
One of the many things I'm learning is that Jesus is our Mediator. Not only between us and God His Father, but between us and every person and circumstance. Jesus stands there in the way, inviting us to participate with Him as we interact with that person, with that circumstance. To the extent we accept His invitation is the extent we're able to love people as He does and to face our circumstances with wisdom and strength-- without fear.
When we forget He is there, or when we ignore Him, we go around Him. Then we interact with that person, that circumstance on our own. That is what it means to operate in the flesh.
Let's all remember our dear brothers and the court hearings next week, and earnestly pray.
Your brother in Christ Jesus