13 Jun

letter from Ken to Pilgrim

To My Dear Dear Fellow Pilgrims,
    “I have you in my heart, insomuch as both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel  you all are partakers of my grace”
     It’s been way too long since I wrote you dear people as a congregation.
     I’ll try to do better in the next six months or so.
     Many of you might already know that the half-way house date has been confirmed—Dec. 15th. On that date, God willing, I’ll go five minutes next door to the Riveside Regional Jail which has a Federal Half-way house program.
     THE GOOD NEWS: Reliable sources have it that I’ll  be sent home on home confinement within just a few days, likely within 72 hours; and by the grace of God, home by Christmas!! Please keep praying to that end.
      Home confinement means wearing an ankle bracelet until March 6th, 2018. But I’ll be able to go to work, and go to church once a week and to town once a week. On March 6th, if all goes well, I’ll be free on probation–which will last for up to a year.
     Reflecting back over this journey, I have an urge to “boast” in God’s grace and mercy a little, if that’s ok.
     Together, and with the prayers of many, we have stood the test.
     At the very heart of this legal case is a court system that decided a homosexual relationship should be equal to the marriage relationship—as our Creator designed it.
     God calls homosexuality sinful and does not recognize homosexual marriage. We believe the same, based on what God says in the Scriptures.
     As a result of the court system making a gay union equal to real marriage, a little girl was given two “mothers.”
     We have nothing but love in our hearts for Lisa Miller’s former partner.
     But we will give our lives for truth and righteousness, and we will not compromise with the spirit of the age–even if that spirit is backed up by the world’s superpower—-the United States of America.
     I remember being overwhelmed the first time I saw the criminal charge. At the top it said: “United States of America vs. Kenneth L. Miller.”
     But I’m no longer overwhelmed by it, and I do not fear whatever the United States of America can do to me.
     By God’s grace we will boast a little of His power toward us poor needy creatures, and testify that together we have stood the test without compromise. Even though there have been many times of weakness and trembling, by His power and strength and with the prayers of God’s people, together we have stood firm.
      Thinking of that brings me joy, even though the cost  has been very high.
      “For thou wilt light my candle, the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by Thee (we) have run through a troop, and by (our) God (we) have leaped over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect…” (Ps. 18:28-30)
     And now the end of this small hardship is in sight, and I’m very happy about that too!!
     We will keep on standing for truth and righteousness, and we will keep on loving those who do not yet know His love.
     Dear brothers and sisters at Pilgrim, I don’t see  how we could have made it without your support and prayers. but together, we “Can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.”
     Recently I was talking with a good friend of mine. He lived a violent life of drugs and crime, and handled a lot of money. At least one time  he was involved in a shoot-out with police. He was so violent and full of  hate that  he hasn’t had a visit in the 27 years he’s been locked up. (He has another 14 years to go, and will be 85 when he’s finally released, if he lives that long.)
     But 11-12 years ago, he surrendered his life to God, and is now one of the most gentle men I know in here. He radiates peace.
     We were walking along on the track talking, when he glanced down at  his watch. He said, “You know, I used to wear a $24,000 Swiss watch on this arm. But the $4.95 watch I have on now keeps time just as well.”
     It was a good reminder to me that “A man’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
     Doug has found Christ to be the Great Treasure, and now knows that if we have Him, we can be content, even in going from a $24,000 watch to a $4.95 watch!
     You might wonder what I’m doing with my time in  here. Now that summer’s here, we’re out on the compound a lot, mowing, watering and trimming. It’s good to be busy.
      One of my side projects is trying to raise support for a re-translation / revision of the Martyrs Mirror.
     I’m about  half-way through reading it the second time, and it’s deeply affected me. The current edition by Herald Press is about 130 years old. The idea is to update the language either by re-translating from the Dutch, or through just revising it into more modern English from the present English. It would be republished into a multi-volume, well-indexed set.
     Rod and Staff is giving it consideration at the board level. If they don’t take it, I plan to keep knocking on doors.
     You can pray about this. It would be a huge undertaking.
     Recently I’ve been wading through Paul Johnson’s “A History of Christianity.” It’s a  concise history written fairly objectively, I think, by a Roman Catholic historian.
     He covers the “mainline Church” and doesn’t really trace the narrow path of the Pilgrim church down through the centuries.
     Reading this book at the same time as the Martyrs Mirror helps me understand better how radical a breach those first few re-baptisms were. To be rebaptized meant a complete and total break from the society that existed at that time.
     It was a break with civil law. It was a break with the “One True Church.” It often meant a break with one’s own family. And in many cases, it was a break with one’s job and possessions.
     Ultimately, for many it meant breaking with this life itself.
     Those people gave up everything. They were willing to make a complete break with the structure of contemporary society —for the sake of the Truth that had been revealed to them in the Person and Teachings of Jesus. By stepping out in obedient faith, they founded a New Society, the Free Church.
     They were non-violent dissidents, and they were part of the true Pilgrim Church that has always existed since Jesus was on this earth—even in the darkest times.
      May God help us to follow Christ in the same obedient faith, so that for His glory we may be the salt and light He has made us to be.
      May God bless you all, especially Vicky and Javan and the Troyer family this weekend.
      Love and prayers,