A Word From Ron – The Best Bodyguards

After having heard the stories of how God was working at the prison where the Filipino government sent its most dangerous criminals, I really wanted to see for myself how our ministry was operating. The process of entering that maximum security prison was unlike any screening I have ever experienced. I am sure they would have never been allowed to be so “thorough” with visitors in the US, yet somehow that thoroughness gave me a sense of security about what I would face on the inside… until I was inside.

I expected to see bars and cells with inmates reaching and grabbing at you like you see in the movies and like I had seen in my US experiences, but as soon as I made my way through that last gate and into the courtyard, the clank of that metal door behind me woke me up to a frightening reality.

There were no chains, or bars, or cells. Just a big open courtyard, with shops, sports fields, and repair shops like I had entered an all-male village. There were basketball games going on, people selling food and drinks, and what looked like a renaissance era tool and woodworking store with all the tools you could imagine which then made me reflect on my rigorous screening just a few minutes earlier. Where did they get access to all these tools, tools that presumably they could also make into weapons. I suddenly felt a lot less secure as I walked straight through the center of the massive courtyard and into the makeshift church that the prison allowed our ministry to construct.

I clearly stood out as a six foot, blonde, fair skinned American and every eye followed me from the entry gate into the church. But as we made our way through the busy crowd it seemed as though a cloud of protection was around me. No one came close, in fact, they moved away.

It was curious to me that these, the most dangerous of the dangerous criminals in the country would move aside to let me through. Once in the church, I inquired of one of the men who walked with me, “Why did they move so politely?” His answer was one word… “Red”.

Red was the man I was there to visit, he was serving with our ministry in the Philippines. He was a member of the most notorious and dangerous gangs in the country and was considered THE most dangerous in the gang, and before he became miraculously saved, was the most dangerous person in that prison. I said, “but he is a Christian now” and my guide agreed. “Even though he is peaceful now, no one wants to take a chance. But he uses that influence for God and often is the only one who can bring two sides of a riot together. You couldn’t be safer in this prison than you are being with Red. He is the best bodyguard you could ever have.”

That experience came to mind as I read our passage for today which reveals that for those who choose to put themselves under God protection, He sends us protectors.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11–12 KJV

I had to reread this a few times and even do some deeper digging into the Hebrew version. We could take it to mean, the way it is usually read in English, that God sends angels to us to protect us and be in charge of us. But it really says he sends His angels as messengers on assignment with one responsibility, to protect us. They have no other job, no other authority other than to keep us safe. We don’t call them, we don’t call on them, they simply come on God’s authority, when we put ourselves under His care and protection. They will carry us in their palms when needed to ensure we don’t do something to hurt ourselves.

As I continue to read this 91st Psalm, it is so clear, the depths the Psalmist reaches to help us truly understand the Father’s love for us, His concern, His care, and the protection He so much wants to provide us with. Even when we do have to walk through the dangers of life, we will have to walk through them. But seeing those dangers all around us, He promises to protect us and sends His messenger bodyguards alongside of us… if we would just let Him!

Dr. Ronald J. Barnes, Jr.

President / CEO


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