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  • PhilipZ

Day 71

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 -

I am supposed to work in the dining room from Sunday through Wednesday. On Monday morning I was switched from lunchtime (meaning I had to report at 9 am) to breakfast (meaning I have to now report to work at 5 am). I was grateful to learn that the guards come by our cells to wake us up from between 35-15 minutes prior to the move at about 4:50 am.

I also set my watch alarm, as well, but at 4:30 am it just doesn’t seem to awaken me at all. Well this morning, I woke up at 5:25 (the last time I’d looked it was something between 3 and 4), meaning I’d missed the move to go to work. Our actual work takes place between 6 am and 7 am, but we must report for count and our breakfast at 5 am, and then wait around for 45 minutes to an hour to do our job. I jumped down from my bunk, quickly got dressed in uniform, brushed my teeth and went down to the guard’s office. He told me he didn’t awaken me because I wasn’t on the list for today. So I’m grateful not to be in trouble with the authorities but confused as to why I wasn’t scheduled to work.

The lady who began the to help raise money for my legal expenses and provide a clearinghouse for information about my case sent me the book, “Red Sea Rules” by Robert Morgan, along with a study guide.

Well, God miraculously forced me to read the book before when I stayed up all night at our cabin on Shenandoah Mountain with my very sick wife. Knowing it would be senseless to sleep, I went to the bookshelf and picked up the little book simply because it was the shortest book there! But God intended me to read it as it indeed had a profound impact on me that night. And by morning Kathie was doing better, praise the Lord. When I got home, I made a photocopy of Morgan’s “Red Sea Rules” and they’ve been on our refrigerator ever since! Here are the ten rules:

  1. Realize that God means for you to be right where you are.

  2. Be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief.

  3. Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.

  4. Pray!

  5. Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.

  6. When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.

  7. Envision God’s enveloping presence.

  8. Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.

  9. View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.

  10. Don’t forget to praise Him.

I am very, very grateful to Janet for sending a copy of this, the most appropriate, encouraging book outside of Scripture that I’ve read that fits my circumstances since my arrest. But what’s really neat is as I re-read these 10 God-given strategies for difficult times, I have a workbook (study guide) to also fill out.

At the end of each rule’s workbook, I’m provided a place to record a journal for what I’ve learned (my reaction and intended response).

Here’s my journal entry for Rule #1:

God has placed me exactly where I am for a purpose. Perhaps it is to further test me. Perhaps it is to strengthen my witness and testimony for the Lord. Perhaps it is for the encouragement of others to stand for righteousness regardless of the consequences. Perhaps it is to give me a new vision and new direction for my life. Perhaps it is somehow the way God will call His church to repentance. Perhaps it is to draw me and my family closer to the Lord and in unity with one another. Perhaps it is to strengthen my dependence on God alone. Perhaps it is to remove any distractions or idols in my life, the life of my family, or my employees. Perhaps it is to be a witness for the Lord and to disciple new believers where I am placed. Perhaps it is for God to remind the church that we are called to, should expect to, and to even seek after suffering and persecution for His name’s sake – for righteousness’ sake! Perhaps it is to help call for unity among true believers, supporting one another in every way possible regardless of human, denominational, cultural, or geographical barriers. Perhaps it is so that I will take the time to write – perhaps even a book or multiple books. Or perhaps it is ALL OF THE ABOVE! No matter the reason or reasons, I KNOW IT IS GOD WHO WILL GET THE GLORY!

Only God knows what He has planned because of this ordeal I am facing, or actually, the ordeal Kathie and I are living through right now. Only time, and perhaps only eternity will tell.

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