11 Jul

Update #8

Dear Friends,

I lay awake in my bunk for a long time last night. I must confess something.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write an update for a while. The reason? Whatever I say eventually gets read by many people around the world.

There are some really, really good writers reading this right now. What can I say by comparison?

Is my paralysis due to pride or fear? Probably a mix of both.

God knows I’m not saying this to give an appearance of humility. I simply have to admit I’m still battling against my native sins.

How we need one another’s prayers! How we need to stay small and childlike! Otherwise, how shall we acquire grace? “…For God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

The desire of the human heart is to be great and rich. This is anti-Christ.

How can we break these chains?

The donkey who carried Jesus into Jerusalem might teach us. After people threw their cloaks across his back, and after Jesus took his rightful place, you no longer see or hear about the donkey in the gospel narrative. The donkey is hidden. Now you only see and hear the King riding in triumph.

We must channel our desires into becoming good bearers of Jesus like that donkey. To humble ourselves before Him, to break our hearts at the Cross, to let His Life and Light fill us. To remain hidden under His glory. To carry Him to the world so that multitudes might worship Him.

For the one seeking lowliness, to do the will of the Father is the most important thing. Rank, status, the “importance” of the assignment doesn’t matter.

Therefore an “unimportant” act such as bringing someone a glass of cold water in the love of Christ might be a far more significant act than, say, giving $100 million to a worthy cause. Because the former action touches the heart of God and has a reward, whereas the latter, if done by selfish desire, has no lasting reward for the giver.

I must testify to the joy and peace of Jesus which has come as a result of your prayers. I love Bernard of Clairvaux’s hymn: “Jesus Thou joy of loving hearts
Thou Fount of Life Thou Light of men.
From the best bliss that earth imparts–
We turn unfilled to Thee again!”

I will be frank again. I am as red-blooded as any married male. To sublimate natural desires for Christ’s sake and by His grace live a life of celibacy and chastity in a sex-crazed world full of temptation is not only essential–it’s possible. Bonhoeffer said it well: “Natural desire repeatedly mastered enriches the soul.” I must lift my hands in worship to the Savior Who makes all things possible.

We must exhort one another, pray for each other and live in frank transparency with our victories and failures if are are to overcome sin in these days, and if we are to have any hope of offering Christ’s redemption to the depravity all around.

The grace of God is still as potent as Paul said it was: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly IN THIS PRESENT WORLD.” (Titus 3:11-14)

Life here at FCC Petersburg has settled into a routine. Right now we are adjusting to the warm summer days and nights. These block housing units (no air-conditioning) can begin to feel a bit like ovens by the end of the day. But there are plenty of fans and we have all the ice we want, which is a huge blessing!

A prayer request: An inmate I’ll call “Henry” is in a severe trial. He’s a very sincere brother who apparently was handed a sentence disproportionate to his offense; a gun charge that netted him 17 years. In the three years since he’s been incarcerated, 3-4 family members have died. About year ago, his house burned down. His wife and daughter were not injured, but they lost everything. The insurance company has refused to pay damages even though the fire marshal ruled the fire was accidental in nature.

All this feels like the trials of Job to my brother and the years stretch out dreadfully ahead of him. Can we pray that his sentence would be reduced and that he could have the grace to face whatever comes?

Also, please keep praying earnestly for the ongoing legal case. I don’t have much info, but apparently at least one other party is still going on trial in Buffalo in early fall.

Linda and I and our family once again wish to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support in prayer, visits, letters and finances.

Peace and blessings,

Ken Miller 08464-082
Federal Correctional Complex
P.O. Box 1000
Petersburg, VA 23804