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Engraved – Loren Slough

“Engraved”
By Loren Slough
Chippewa Valley CF, Kincholoe, MI

Engraved in the palm of his Hands,
A Christian life is God’s perfect plan,
Christ among us, should be our action,
Spreading in his work, should become our reaction,
My people are sleeping, please go wake them up,
Learn the 10 milestones, and take the jump,
Birth, Baptism, Forgiveness, and the Supper,
Conformation, Marriage, Ordination, are some others,
Healing, Sickness, Death are the Past,
Resurrection starts it over, the one thing that lasts,
Don’t become a Couch potato Christian, and be alone,
Jesus is our Sanctuary, please come back home,
Have you seen the look of a sunset,
Close your eyes and picture it, it is something you will never forget,
So take your shoes off, please come out of the cave,
Come stand by Jesus, and feel the ocean wave,
For when you find yourself down on your knees, and deep in tears,
You see Jesus died for us all, and he has been saving them for years,
He will say Rise up and be a new man in Life,
For you see, accepting him, you walk this path and become his wife,
So clap your hands, and sing a song,
Close your eyes, and speak the truth so we can all walk along.

How to Know When God’s Called You – Kevin Bastian

“How to Know When God’s Called You”
By Kevin Bastian
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

Many people go through life waiting to be told what to do, but the Lord is gracious enough to let you bounce from wall to wall. He allows this because He knows in the end those He’s called will end up in the same place. They will end where he wants them, whether they take the long way or not.

Ever wondered why you have survived things others who have experienced similar things haven’t? Some who are taken far too soon are taken because God has a task only they can handle. This is also true for those who survived. This is only true for those who trusted God. Maybe you have lost a close friend or family member; I pray that before they were taken they gave their heart to God. Even it was their last breath, know it still counted.

My point is this — ever think maybe that person was taken so you have your own personal guardian angel protecting you? I’ve come to believe and trust God enough to understand that He takes people home that He needs. Just like He saves those He needs. He takes them at that time because if He lets the world corrupt them more than it already has they may not be able to handle the task He has for them.

Take a child 2-6 years old. They count on all lessons to be taught by Mom and Dad. Now if they are taught about the good in the world everything would be fine. But as they go through life experiencing things the world has to offer their thinking changes. Someone who only knows pain can handle all aspects of pain. So if someone came along and shows that child love they still sit and wait for the pain to come. Because those who were supposed to love them showed them only pain. So pain is the only way they know they’re loved. It’s sad but true. So if God had a task for them that involved large amounts of pain, they’re qualified. I thank God that no matter how much pain we feel in our lives, God will lead us to someone who shows us only love, so we know we are able to heal even when we’re hurting.

This lifestyle would allow those who have experienced traumatic events to be able to understand, guide, and relate to someone with a similar life story. We all have been through things that strengthen our testimonies. If you have been abused you can teach and help those who have been abused. You can now help them heal. If you have been a drug addict and alcoholic, you can help other drug addicts and alcoholics. If you lost a child either through tragedy or you hurt your child, you can help those who have lost children in similar ways you have.

I can keep going, the list goes on. It doesn’t matter what you have done or been through, the world has someone you can relate to. Someone who understands the fight and storms you’ve experienced. Our experiences and losses are someone else’s chances to heal; someone else’s blessings. Always remember the life you lived. Your hurts and struggles are a blessing in disguise. Me personally, I was abused physically, sexually and emotionally. I witnessed my siblings being abused, molested and misused for so many years that all we seemed to really know was pain. Yet at times we came in contact with those who only showed us love so we were able to partially heal.

I’ve been in foster care separated from my siblings for years now. I currently sit in prison. Though I had some healing for years I carried around bitterness which led me to be divorced and childless. Yes, in this prison and through my losses God graciously led me to those who helped me heal, people who understood me and my past. People who weathered similar storms. I’ve come to help others as they helped me, and likewise I’ve seen those I helped help others. It’s called the chain effect. That’s how amazing God is. The Devil tries to destroy constantly, but God steps in and says “hang in there my child, the Devil can only destroy the
weak but you are strong.” Society rejects the broken spirits, those who have been hurt the most, but they embraced those who haven’t needed anything their whole life. My friends, they reject us because no matter how hard they tried to break us, we survived their attacks and judgments, amazingly with much love still in our hearts. Most of all, we became stronger.

Job, a faithful steward of God, lost everything temporarily so God could test and strengthen his heart and use his losses as a lesson to all that God can give and take away. One thing He never gives is pain, only love. Yes he allows us to get hurt because He knows that pain will one day be a blessing, like all the pain He endured was and is our blessing.

Take an old car for example. It’s rusty, covered in dents but is still a beautiful picture, the rust as blood and the dents as bruises. Just because they covered his body on that cross didn’t make the picture any less beautiful. God sees the beauty underneath the layers of the blood and bruises, like an artist he who looks at a piece of paper and sees a beautiful masterpiece before a single line is drawn. It’s the same with our lives before we were even in the womb. He’s planning on our loves, hurts and all. My friends, everyone who’s fought the Devil and survives comes out bloody, bruised and broken. God only has plans for the bloody, bruised and broken, because he knows the strength of our heart and our faith in him to heal all our wounds. Remember, the Devil is dirty and he uses our many sins against us – they are a book we wrote for him to use. So in the midst of a fight with the Devil you need only say Father heal me,
and your strength will be restored. So you can keep on fighting.

At times it may seem like you will never win and the pain is too much, but hang on and use that pain to lead someone to trust in God as you have. Because every time you lead someone to trust in Christ for him to heal, Satan becomes weaker.

For example in Acts 3:1-10 Peter and John were walking into the temple when they came across a lame man who had been lame since birth. They didn’t offer him many alms like he was asking, no they said in Acts 3:6 I have no gold or silver but what I do have I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazereth, rise up and walk.” Now yes they could have given him only what he asked for, but the Holy Spirit revealed to them a chance to let his lameness be healed to show the awesome power of trusting God and putting faith in the resurrection of Jesus; a chance to further the kingdom of God. The ones who suffer the most are the very ones God uses the most, because their testimony can relate to a lot of people.

If you have suffered little you can only help a little, but if you have
suffered much you can help many. Acts 3:16 says “by faith in his name has made this man strong and faith. That is through Jesus gives perfect health.” So you may feel beaten and paralyzed, but you too can walk again, when you believe. Trust and obey God and put faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. When you overcome many storms it gives people no choice but to believe that Jesus can heal all pains.”

How Christians Should Treat Sinners Part 1 – Rick McGuire

“How Christians Should Treat Sinners”
By Rick McGuire
Newberry Correctional Facility, Newberry, MI

At times, in fact F—A—R too frequently, it’s rather embarrassing–depressing, even–to hear, to see, how the redeemed ones talk to, talk about, act around, and act towards those who have not received the Gift of Salvation (…yet). Our Handbook on How to Have a Habit of Holiness and Happiness Between Here and Heaven (a.k.a., the Bible) instructs us in a straightforward fashion NOT to develop deep, time-consumptive, rather involved relationships with ANYone, EVERYone, who is NOT a child of Almighty God.

“(14) Do N-O-T be YOKED TOGETHER with UNbelievers. For what do RIGHTEOUSNESS and WICKEDNESS have in COMMON? Or what FELLOWSHIP can LIGHT have with DARKNESS? (15) What HARMONY is there between CHRIST and BELIAL? What does a BELIEVER have in common with an UNbeliever? (17) ‘Therefore come out from them and be SEPARATE, says the Lord'” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15, 17; NIV).

But don’t ABANDON them, either. T-H-A-T-‘S not scriptural. The key to knowing where to insert boundary markers between ourselves and the lost can be determined by zeroing in on the wording in the above verses–“yoked together,” “in common,” “fellowship,” and “harmony.”

Let’s start with “yoked together.” The primary definition for the word “yoke” is a wooden crossbar with two u-shaped pieces which encircle the necks of two animals–usually oxen–which are used for pulling heavy loads, such as a plow or wagon. From this idea comes the additional understanding of becoming bound, tied, joined, linked, or united to someTHING or someONE. The way that a yoke is designed, BOTH animals receive IDENTICAL weight, pressure, responsibility, and the like. This allows them to act as a team, working towards one common goal.

In verse 14 above, the emphasis is placed upon N-O-T being “YOKED together with UNbelievers.” Here’s another way of translating those words:

“Do N-O-T try to WORK TOGETHER as E-Q-U-A-L-S with [g] those who do N-O-T LOVE the LORD . . . [l]” (2 Corinthians 6:14; NIV)

And the reason you D-O-N-‘T–with such individuals–“WORK TOGETHER as E-Q-U-A-L-S,” is because…you’re N—O—T! YOU think, speak, and act as guided by the Spirit of CHRIST. THEY, as by the spirit of ANTIchrist. Therefore, in the analogy of yoking two animals together, you’d be MISmatched–as if one of the two oxen was noticeably larger, stronger, healthier, more energetic, etc. than the other–and therefore UNsuitable for the task before you. Which, in THIS instance is friendship or some other close association between you two. To restate the phrase of being “yoked together with unbelievers,” an intimate relationship with such a person would be as possible as SUCCESSFULLY mixing oil and water together. It AIN’T gonna happen. (Bad grammar, but good truth.)

Now let’s take a look at the words “in common” as used in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 above. Even though a different Greek word was used for each of the two instances therein, they have the same overall meaning: “what is common between,” and “shared.” The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, the Unabridged Edition, defines “common” as “belonging E-Q-U-A-L-L-Y to, or shared A-L-I-K-E by, two or more or A—L—L in question.” What belongs E-Q-U-A-L-L-Y to or is shared A-L-I-K-E by righteousness and wickedness or a believer and an UNbeliever? NOTHING. Absolutely N-O-T-H-I-N-G! The goals, plans, visions, dreams, ideas, wishes, wants, desires, agendas, choices, thoughts, reasonings, etc. of each pairing are TOTAL O-P-P-O-S-I-T-E-S of one another. They are as MISmatched, as IMPOSSIBLE to be in agreement with, as UNLIKE, as DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED to one another as the EAST is to the WEST. Did you know that there is literally NO WAY to go both EAST A-N-D WEST at the exact…same…time? Also, if you were to go east, you’d NEVER, EVER, E-V-E-R run into WEST. It is likewise true that if you were to head west, you’d NEVER, EVER, E-V-E-R run into EAST. T-H-A-T-‘S how absolutely INFEASIBLE it is for righteousness and a believer to have ANYTHING in COMMON with wickedness and an UNbeliever.

“Fellowship” is the next word on the list to examine to see what its deeper meaning is in 2 Corinthians6:14; the Strong’s Concordance states that it can be defined as “the C-L-O-S-E ASSOCIATION between persons, E-M-P-H-A-S-I-Z-I-N-G what is COMMON between them.” So, what possible C-L-O-S-E ASSOCIATION is there which E-M-P-H-A-S-I-Z-E-S what is COMMON between–belongs E-Q-U-A-L-L-Y to or shared A-L-I-K-E by–light and darkness? NONE! Since “darkness” is the ABSENCE of light, and “light” is the ABSENCE of darkness, N—E—I—T—H—E—R is capable of existing SIMULTANEOUSLY with the OTHER!

My Story part 2 – India Porter

“My Story”
By India Porter
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Ypsilanti, MI
Part 2

I was in a prison inside of a prison and at the time the only solution for me was suicide.

I sat there on the bunk staring at my wrist deciding which way to cut my veins with the razor blade. I looked at the blade then go back to my wrist it was like a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other one saying “Go ahead and do it, what do you have to live for.” I thought and then the next moment, another voice saying “Nooo don’t do it India, think about your son!” I was confused and frustrated so I just laid down on the bunk and pulled the wool covers over my head it was about 3’oclock in the afternoon and I didn’t wake up until the next morning. I got up fully aware of the previous day, feeling so miserable and depressed. It took all of the strength that I had to get to the shower and get dressed. But as I was putting on my clothes something in me on the inside rose up and a voice so demanding I didn’t even recognize it as my own. I pointed up to the heaven and said “God if you are real, you change my life and change it right now.”

I finished getting dressed and went on my way. That Sunday I went to church and it was as if God sent this woman specifically for me, she preached my whole life and at the end said, “Turn to your neighbor, and tell her after tonight your life will never be the same” I did as she instructed and I knew that at that moment something happened. I went up to the altar call I can only say that my conversion was very radical, Jesus met me right where I was that night on the gymnasium floor at WHV Correctional Facility. It was Nov 18th 2007 and my life has not been the same I don’t know who may be reading this and I don’t know what you may be going through. Maybe you are like I was almost 9 years ago at the very end of yourself ready to give up and end it all, well I have news for you I know someone who is able to take the weight of life off your shoulders, someone who can heal the wounds of your past and can give you beauty for ashes. His name is Jesus. I promise you my intentions is not to preach to anyone or offer any type of religion I present to you an invitation for a living, active, thrilling relationship with someone who is so devoted to your well being that he died for you Jesus is so concerned about every area of your life. Maybe no body ever told you this before or you may have been told that you have to do this or do that, then you just might be good enough well I’m here to tell you not so with Jesus. He is willing and waiting for you to just say the word, whatever it is on your heart call his name and tell him about it, ask him to help you and I promise he will meet you right where you are.

To everyone who reads this, I pray that you be blessed by it. Be blessed
India

What I Can’t See is Present – Terri N. Reese-Green

“What I Can’t See is Present”

Psalm 23:64

by Terri N. Reese-Green

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

I see that man or woman following me on the freeway. In line at the bank. In line at the store. In the Valley. Huron Valley. They follow me in the gate. I can see all this but what I can’t see is goodness and mercy is following me. So it’s hard to believe God but I can believe everything I see. The only thing is the Word of God doesn’t lie. Romans 3:4. If God said goodness and mercy is following me even though I can’t see it – I should believe it.