Monday, January 03, 2011

Journal: December 25, 2010

December 25, 2010

Dear Friends,

As I write this journal entry on Christmas morning, I reflect on thd Scripture “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken way; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). As a prisoner for Christ, I see that it is God’s hand that gave me my family, children, and all that I had in freedom, but it is also His hand that has taken away these things in His wisdom and for His purposes. Though I sit in a cell, separated from family and friends and facing a day without any access to the phone, a shower, the yard where I could fellowship with brothers in Christ, I still am praising the Lord for His great salvation He has given me in His Son and all of the blessings He has poured out on me both in the past and in the present. I thank Him for the Bible education He gave me through Dallas Theological Seminary, allowing me to serve Him here in prison more effectively. I thank Him for the wonderful memories of the years I had with my wife and children, though His hand took them away. I thank Him for my brother Don and all my faithful friend at Grace Church including my Pastor, John MacArthur. All these He has not taken away. There are loving brothers and sisters in Christ in other states and countries whom He has given to me as special gifts, and I am thankful. I am grateful for the joy He puts in my heart despite severe trials, and this joy He doesn’t take away.

We must remember, dear friends, that whenever the Lord takes away, He will also give. Job received wisdom, insight, refining, comfort, a deeper understanding of God, and twice what he had including children. In my case, I humbly offer the following:

He took my freedom, but gave me a ministry to inmates whom I could otherwise never reach.

He took a life of busy activities, but gave me more time with Him, to dig into the riches of His Word and to gaze upon His beauty.

He took my children, but not my memories of them nor my prayers for them.

He took my comforts, to give me a refiner’s hot fire.

He took my wife, but gave me a broken heart so I could be more sensitive to the tragedies of others.

He took my reputation, to let me share in Christ’s sufferings and with all believers in history who have been falsely accused.

He took my happiness based on circumstances, to teach me contentment and to find my joy in Christ alone.

Finally, He will someday take me from this earthly home, but will give me a Heavenly home with no more tears, trials, losses or sorrows. Therefore, blessed be the name of the Lord!

Merry Christmas,



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