In 2020, my friend, NANCY CULVER THOMAS at age 77 fulfilled her dream of publishing a book of her poetry. She had asked to write the forward for this publication, and it was an honor to oblige her request. Nancy passed into her eternity, on August 25 of this year. I trust you will enjoy her work as well.
A Friend Un-Like Any Other
Beneath many a darkened sky
I consider the day that has passed me by
And pour forth y heart to the One
Who turns not His face away
Though the morning sun
Breaks another day!
He does not laugh at my earnest pleas
Or make mockery of me on my knees
But with patience unending
He listens to my every word
And I shall never fear to ever hear
Him say, Absurd.
I’ll be content to live for years
Amid life’s trials, doubts and fears
Knowing that I have a friend
Who’ll always listen and always care
I only have to speak His name
And bow in prayer.
What a joy is God’s promise to never leave us, not forsake us encouraging us to be strong and have no fear! (Isaiah 42:40; Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)
Nancy L. Culver Thomas
What Matters To Me”
Through the years, I have known Christians whose conduct resulted in their imprisonment. That some souls find their lives confined to such an environment should not surprise us: the Lord mentions visiting such ones in Matthew 25:31 – 40, saying, “Inasmuch as you have done it one unto one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me.” Just as anyone else, Christians receive the just recompense of their reward when guilty of breaking the law. While they must pay the consequences for their unlawfulness, many of these have repented of their sins, confessed Christ, and been immersed into Christ for the remission of their sins – all while imprisoned! Others who were Christians before their incarceration have sincerely repented of their sins and begged God’s forgiveness. Though they have learned their lessons and become obedient to the gospel of Christ, others know prison is their residence for the rest of their natural lives. They must bear the consequences of their actions, even if God has forgiven them of their sins!
While I have visited many inmates, most of them have corresponded with me. One shared the fact that I should refrain from using stick-on return address labels, and if possible, even stamps as the prison would remove them by cutting the envelope. He showed me the proof! It always amazes me when I note the length of their letters! They detail every action as though they need to share these facts with me. Yes, many share their regrets, their promises, and their earnest pleas. But most want to share their “lessons learned” stories and warn others to avoid the waywardness in which they engaged.
The apostle Paul was imprisoned only because the Roman government grew angry at his preaching of Christ Jesus. But rather than complain, he accepted his fate and wrote “prison letters” warning against sin, and teaching obedience to the gospel of Christ. He did so in great detail as he taught of Christ and our need to defend Him (Ephesians), of our need to rejoice regardless of circumstances (Philippians) and to consistently remember our lives are hidden with Christ in God, and therefore we should so live (Colossians.)
Some would never visit an inmate, and some would never read a letter written by one. But I urge you to read Paul’s letters! I urge you to “visit” him often! Such experiences are enlightening to our souls and profitable to our spiritual growth. Also, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it to Me.”