Saturday, April 27, 2019 -
“If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God” (I Peter 4:16). Thank you once again for your prayers on behalf of me and my family. This has been particularly difficult not just for my wonderful wife, Kathie, but for my 91 year old mother, who regularly reminded me in the days prior and even since having to report to prison, that my dad, Spiros, was also sentenced to prison for the sake of the gospel, many years ago – in Greece. Please especially be praying for my wife, Kathie, and my mom, Joan, who has been such an encouragement both to Kathie and me.
I could tell people I am languishing in prison, but that would not be true. For in the midst of my lack of freedom, I am truly blessed. Jesus Himself said “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)
The Lord, in answer to the prayers of so many, has indeed given me a ministry in prison. Plus, the abundance of time I now have to read and study God’s Word and spends time in prayer, and write this journal, is an added blessing. And today I finished reading the 50th book I’ve read since being in prison. All of this, I have no doubt, is preparing me for the next phase of my life that God has set aside for me.
As I‘ve stated before, I have much to be grateful for. Thousands of God’s servants around the world do languish in prison. For they populate prisons much worse, where they are beaten and refused access to God’s Word.
But the sad reality is, I may only be one of the first among many to come in what was once a great bastion for freedom to worship the One true God and to proclaim God’s Word freely. One of the first among many to end up in prison, here for standing on God’s Word and refusing to compromise. For we have now become the enemy in a nation where they call “evil good and good evil; where they substitute darkness for light, and bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). I, like Jeremiah, weep for the church that remains silent as many within its doors now give their approval to grave abominations because of their silence and refusal to condemn. Paul condemns this approval in Romans 1:32 to be as bad as the sin itself!
And so, I am convinced more than ever, the church of Jesus Christ in this nation is on the verge of being sifted and tried.
I pray that what has happened to me and to Lisa and Isabella, as pathetic as their situation is, may somehow be a wake-up call to the church. And that through my incarceration only God alone will be glorified. Prison is not as bad as I expected, and my heart is now broken for my fellow prisoners, many of whom, are paying a severe penalty for one bad choice. Jesus died for them just as He died for me!
So thank you for your prayers, and financial support. And for the notes and letters of encouragement sent to Kathie and me. I recently discovered the civil trial is set to begin right around Christmas. Kathie continues to struggle with pain. But we know we must continue to fully trust in God’s providence. I was contemplating today, how if for the first week all communications for me with the outside world hadn’t been cut off, as it was I would have never had begun writing this journal. But now I know, as difficult as that was, especially for my family, it was all part of God’s plan. And somehow, so is this whole ordeal. Somehow, what Satan has meant for evil, God will use it for good; and so I must praise the Lord in all circumstances for He has promised never to leave or forsake me!