Day 21(Christmas Day)
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Today I slept in till about 8:30 am, and I knew the phone lines would be terrible. I wanted to be sure to speak to Kathie, my mom, and Victoria, and the other kids at home today, but figured I’ll have to wait an hour at least for each call. I brushed my teeth, went downstairs and realized there was just one person in line for the phone, so I called my mom, since I’d rather hear all about what happened at home after the fact (later), and knew Mom, like me, was all alone. It was a good conversation, and she made my morning by saying before she hung up that my call was the best Christmas gift she could have gotten. I know that she is really praying for me.
I went back upstairs and read the Daily Bread devotional, and my daily Proverb, and some of Romans, then went to check to see if Kathie had emailed me. Dr. David Chigurapati (I was his best man in his wedding) called Kathie to encourage her, and he did praise the Lord. God ALWAYS has a way of coming through at just the right time. He gave Kathie some encouraging verses, and she shared them with me. He gave me Romans 4:3-5, which emailed and shared with her: “And not only this, but we also exult 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.” God has repeatedly told me through others and through His Spirit, this tribulation will be short-lived, and I shall be home soon. God will restore all, and give me a new thing to do. Praise His Name! Praise His Name for His son Jesus whom He sent to be the propitiation for my sin and yours, who suffered far worse than you or I could imagine, so that we may love and rejoice in Him! Praise His Holy Name!
The lines for the phones have been absolutely deplorable all day, and I opted rather than wait in line for hours, I’d wait till after the Christmas service at 2 pm. They did have a special Christmas dinner for us at about 11 am this morning. We each had a whole Cornish hen, cornbread stuffing (dressing), corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin pie. There was no way I could eat it all (but I did eat all my pumpkin pie)!
The Christmas service was packed – I would guess maybe 80-100 men. We took communion, which was awesome. The chaplain had a good message, stressing that God sees the insignificant person, using the shepherd as an example. He said we serve a God who makes the impossible happen on a daily basis! We can do the possible, but God does the impossible. Jesus called the rabble to build His church. Look at the disciples. He calls the unlikely so it will be God who gets the glory. That way, no one can look at the person, but they will say, “IT MUST BE GOD!”
I am praying that in my situation. God is going to deliver me in His perfect timing, I believe. He keeps verifying that to me in many different ways. But it’s got to be a way in which HE ALONE GETS THE GLORY.
I got back from the chapel service right before the 4:00 count, and went down and stood in line for the phone, putting me third after the phones came back on at 4:30. When I went down to stand with a magazine (Christianity Today) about 4:10, someone came up with the idea of a written list, and soon there were 18 people on it! Was I thankful to the Lord I was third. Standing in line for the phone, I read an article on the Kachin Christians in Myanmar the government was trying to eradicate, leaving 130,000 to flee to scores of camps for those who’ve lost their homes and villages. The chief of the largest camps’ consistent message to these destitute people, who are being ignored by the western church, is, “BE PATIENT AND HAVE FAITH.” There it is AGAIN! God is trying to embed that on my mind. Be patient and hope! And surrender and trust!
When I finally got to connect Kathie by phone at around 5 pm, she put me on speaker, and I spoke with her and Victoria for a while. Then Cory came in with Evelyn, my six-month-old granddaughter. And I spoke the rest of the time with her (and a little bit with William), while she squealed back at me! Boy, was I thrilled! I’d have to say that was the highlight of my Christmas day.
In another article in CT, people’s attention and prayer were brought to the horrible predicament of the church in China, which the Chinese government, under President Xi Jinping, is repressing. In 2016, one pastor and his wife stood before a bulldozer ordered by the government to destroy their church. “Bury them alive for me,” an angry member of the demolition team reportedly said. The bulldozer did. The pastor managed to dig his way out, but his wife did not make it. I am now convicted to pray specifically for both the church in Myanmar and China. Again, I wonder how long till the U.S. government will be bulldozing our churches here in America. It seems few Christians are willing to stand for our lost freedoms. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, but very few among Christian leaders, conservative politicians, nor those in the Christian and conservative media said a peep about Ken Miller and myself being put in prison for refusing to compromise the Word of God. Neither of us was guilty of any crime. Both of us were offered the opportunity to plead guilty and testify, but that would have meant that we believed God’s Word not to be true – the infallible Word of God. I will not, nor will I ever, be privy to the government’s desire to call evil good and good evil! I will gladly sacrifice my life for God’s Word. Yet, unless more Christians are willing to take the same stand, and speak out about the injustices and targeting of Christians and God’s truthful Word, here in our own country, we ultimately will face the same persecution as they are facing in many parts of the world – China, Myanmar, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, North Korea, and many other places.
Wake up, Christians in America! The day is coming – and much sooner than you realize. Kenneth Miller and I are living proof.
On another note, I am beginning to believe maybe God wants me to begin a Bible study in my cell block here in prison. There seem to be a number of believers here, but not a great deal of spiritual maturity. Please pray with me towards that end, as I put out some feelers.