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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Strong Foundation – Yumar Burks

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“A Strong Foundation”

Today is a good day for me. I have been reading my word, and it came to me. When God said in Luke 6:47- 49, “Whosoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man who built a house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” And it hit me so hard, God’s word is the foundation for us and if we never stop believing, our foundation will stand strong. God’s word has given me a strong foundation. I have been in a lot of streams in my life. I know we all have. Thanks be to God for His love, for us all.

I pray for you all that God’s word will help you have a strong foundation. I know the stream may same long, but it’s almost over for you. Give God the glory right now. God bless you all.

Yumar Burks

Life’s Important Teachers – Anthony Pallitto

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“Life’s Important Teachers”

If you just stop mentally long enough, there is a lesson in everything you look upon. I read a passage in a book by Thomas Merton that said: “Many have planted seeds of practical and theoretical wisdom in us by their formal instructors or by the way their example shaped our lives… “. I believe it was 2003 when I first met my mentor who I originally met in 1997 via prison. I was right away attracted to his energy imminently. He had an inner joy that I was in need of for my survival.

Before I even came to prison I was locked up in prison, a mental prison. But that is another piece at a later time. However, this mentor I had who we will refer as viaticum had such a way to reach me despite all the noise going on in my head. In my eyes he was perfect in every way. He always had not only an answer, but a better question for me. I was in need of everything from self-confidence to finding that silver lining in everything. I now know how to agree to disagree in all walks of life. Coming from a disadvantaged home life family I had a toxic sliver in my innate self worth that viaticum showed me how to turn a negative into a positive.

Viaticum will always be the brother I never had. I am at that point of realizing that our best teachers connect us with the teachers of their teachers so as to form in and through us a lineage of wisdom that predates our births and will extend beyond our deaths as we pass on this lineage of instruction in turn to those who will follow us. Our depths to our life’s teachers are as great as our responsibilities to be bearers of instruction and wisdom for those who are being entrusted to our mentoring. I implore to all of you to plunge into the depths to find the wisdom of God in everything.

I have another mentor now, that I follow, HIS every example I try to emanate as well as HIS walk. HIS TEACHER is the SUPREME OVER ALL, EVERYTHING, FROM THIS END OF THE EARTH TO ALL AROUND TO ALL ENDS. I am speaking of CHRIST JESUS, MY LORD AND SAVIOR. HE IS THE WAY TO THE SUPREME TEACHER AND OR GOD OF ALL . . .

At this time, I ask all of you this: What images, words, or sentences in this piece most resonate with your life’s experiences? In what ways do they connect to your life? So hit all of us back at VOICES FOR CHRIST and share your testimony * * *

Thanksgiving and Petitions to God – Kevin Hall

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Thanksgiving and Petitions to God

Thanks be to God for the things in my life being brought more and more under God’s control. Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit have become so real in my life. Thanks for all the truths that have and continue to be made real in my life. Thanks to our Lord God for not giving up on me and for dying for my sins; for making me a new person inside; that their experiences are renewed daily within me. Even though I have been saved over 4 years ago it is like I was just saved; the salvation experience has never faded away.

The evil one tries to create doubt in me yet still I know that God and Jesus will see me through; that what is at the end of those trials is far better than I expect and better than I am able to hope for. I am always far better off for going through them. My faith grows stronger each and every time.

I pray that sinful desires and thoughts will no longer be a part of me. That this “mountain” will be removed as far from me as the east is from the west, and that it will be cast into the sea of the abyss. I pray that I will give my all to God and Jesus and that I will allow all of God and Jesus to live inside, with and through me. That they will increase and that I will drastically decrease. I give thanks and pray that all that God Almighty, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior has shown me and revealed to me will come to pass as God will allow it to – or faster. That God’s Will will be done all the more and that my plaguing sins will forever cease.

Kevin Waite Hall

Why Do We Have Faith – Harold Lee Wilson II

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“Why Do We Have Faith?”

An excerpt from the book, “Being Ready for Battle,” by Harold Lee Wilson II

My personal definition of faith would be a deep trust and belief in someone or something, with expectations for future events. It is easy to claim that we have faith in God. It is easy to memorize keys verses of the Bible, and may be easy to adopt them in our lives. It is easy to praise God, to pray to God, to walk in love, and to greet fellow Christians. Faith is easy to claim.

My question to you, however, is where you got your faith. How exactly did you come to believe in the power of God, the salvation of Christ, and the guiding of the Holy Spirit?

Listen to this profound statement:

“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

These words came directly from the mouth of the Son of God. Jesus tells us that our faith need not be large and great. The smallest of seeds, the mustard seed, grows to be a huge tree. We are called to have faith the size of a mustard seed. Doing so will allow us to do anything. Nothing will be impossible for us. A simple command will cause massive changes in our lives. Our thoughts will be a direct contact with the One in Heaven. We will learn to overcome all that Satan throws in our paths. We will be victorious.

Having faith requires us to focus on the future. We must learn from the past, live in the present and have faith in the future. Having faith means that we do not worry about what tomorrow may hold. We put the faith we have that Someone greater than us will watch out for the days to come. We show our faith by living each day for THAT DAY. Should we plan for the future? Of course. But that’s only if we do so in accordance with the will of God. Out faith will be exposed in our lack of worry, not lack of planning.

One of the best ways to have faith is to keep our ears open to God’s voice. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) We have faith by listening to whatever truths God may decide to impart upon us, whether through His Word, a preacher, a teacher, a pastor, or through His voice directly touching our hearts. It is easy to overlook the urging of the Holy Spirit. If we have closed our ears to God, trusting instead in our own understanding of the Word, we have come to show faith in the wrong thing, the wrong person/Person.

If we have faith, our hearts must be open to instruction. A few days ago, I experienced this first hand. In a matter of a single hour, two people attempted to help me on my walk. One I felt had attacked my faith by asking me if the knowledge I was gaining in Christ was head knowledge or heart knowledge. I was amazed that someone I barely knew felt they had the right to challenge my walk because I was so into God’s Word. But, I had to think over what he was saying. Could he have said it easier or more lovingly? Yes. Did he have a teaching behind his words, a lesson for me to hear? Also, yes.

Shortly after, another person told me that I hadn’t been Christian long enough to be a teacher for Christ. He said it was a maturation process. At a point, he even belittled my desire to write for God, to teach others by use of a pencil and paper. As you can imagine, I was heated. I just knew God was leading me to write books for Him. But, this man had a point. I needed to have humility in my walk and to allow myself time to grow in Christ before I tried to teach others about Him. I have since asked God for renewed guidance and humility. (I have a few issues I need to discuss with this man later today, too, about how I feel led by the Spirit to help him in his walk.)

If we say that we have faith, we have to be willing to listen to whatever guidance God may give us and send our way. Do not harden your hearts against any lesson. It may come from the most unlikely sources. This doesn’t disqualify its meaning or the purpose that God has behind it. We have faith when we listen AND INTERNALIZE what we are being told. Keep your ears open–I know God has a message for you.

The Lie We Live – Harold Wilson II

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“The Lie We Live”
by Harold Lee Wilson II

What is life but a vapor
A whisper
A torrent of dust particles
One chasing another
In an endless cyclone
That we call living
What meaning does it hold
When we have to lie
About who we are
Or hide what we feel
Or think
Or believe
In order to make
In order to be someone
In order to survive in a world
Where survival is but an endless game
And a struggle
Each day a mask we don to hide behind
“This is me”
We say to the world
While our heart breaks
At being told
It has be quiet
To be silenced
For just a little bit longer
Until we are accepted
Granted entrance
Given a handshake
A hug
A smile
Or we are held back by others
They do not understand
Nor do they care
Who we are
What we are
Why we are
They hate with blind eyes
With deaf ears
But claim to be our masters
Our betters
Our saviors
Our friends
This lie I live is tearing me apart
Each day a terror
Fear and confusion
Rule me
Control me
Direct me
Guide me
To surviving in a world
Where I am hated
Where I am lost
Where I am hopelessly not me
In order to live
I must live a lie
I should not
Will not
Can not be me
The true me
The inner me
For I am not like those around me
I am not them
They are not me
They do not understand
And once again
I will lose all I have
And all I am
And all I could be
So, I will wait
Wait for the day
When the lie I live
Is no longer my lie
And I can finally
Eternally
Peacfully
Live my truth before all
And my Truth is in Christ

Questions Without Known Answers – Harold Lee Wilson II

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“Questions Without Known Answers”

by Harold Lee Wilson II

Have you ever wondered just what leads God to pick the people He does to follow Him? What causes God to look down from Heaven and say, “I pick YOU”? What leads Him to see a sinner like me and decide I am worthy of His grace, love, peace and salvation. Why do we even ask these questions? “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). I don’t understand His reasoning…almost ever.

For the 32 years that I have been alive, I have had to deal with life in ways many people cannot understand. I was a practitioner of Witchcraft. I was an addict of food and love. I lied, stole, and destroyed relationships. I couldn’t be faithful or control my tongue. I slept with other men for money, attention, or affection. I manipulated both friends and family. I used, abused and refused those I was supposed to love. I did all I could to be noticed, focused on or treated as superior to other people.

Yet, GOD CHOSE ME. He has removed my desire to swear, and did so in 2 days. I still have the sexual urges, but I am slowly learning to control them. In the 2 months I have been Christian, I have controlled my appetite on most days (and, hence, lost weight), have dived head first into learning and studying God’s Word, have turned my back on the practices of my former religion, and have begun to write and plan multiple books for Him. I attend Celebrate Recovery, James Group, and Protestant Services. I have come to love God, to love a Holy One Who loved me way before I even believed He existed (1 John 4:19), He has moved mountains in my life and made my paths clearer than they ever were.
I want to share my story with all who will listen. God took a queer, overweight, balding sinner who lied, cheated and manipulated as often as possible and made him into a devout, educated, new creation. I cannot thank God enough for what He is doing in my life, and the lives of those I care for. I want to SHOW you my testimony, versus simply TELLING you. I am a new man–a new creation–molded and shaped by God and His awesome power. Allow me to be an example of what God can do and who He can make you become (Philippians 4:17). I’d love to tell you more! God bless you all.

Angelic Tears – Harold Lee Wilson II

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“Angelic Tears”

by Harold Lee Wilson II

Verse One
She wakes up every morning
Wishing it all would end
She goes through this world
With no one to call a friend
She feels so alone
Bruises that won’t fade
Fear is all she knows
Look at what this world has made

Verse Two
He thinks he’s found respect
While he’s bangin’ with his crew
He’s seen all kinds of pain
Can’t think what he’s been through
His “boys” keep him busy
Doing all kinds of wrong
And when the gunshot sounds
His life won’t last too long

Chorus
And an angel sheds a tear
For the voice no one can hear
For the one who lives in fear
For the heart that can’t grow near
And an angel bows its head
For the life too soon dead
For the one who lives in dread
For the soul that can’t be fed
And an angel sheds a tear

Verse Three
He feels nothing but shame
He lives a secret life
One he thinks of ending
By rope or gun or knife
He’s been hurt by so many
There’s no place for him to go
Living a life – a lie
Too many people already know

Repeat Chorus

Bridge
A voice from the heavens
Calls down to the one
Who is hurt and destroyed
Living a life on the run
“Come to me, all you who labor
And I will give you rest”
The choice we have to make
That’s the ultimate test

Repeat the Chorus twice

Dear Jesus – Todd Graham

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“Dear Jesus”

Oh, Lord, help me to remember this isn’t about me
But about all the others You want me to see

Help me to remain silent when that is called for
And boldly speak when you open a door

Control my emotions so in others I can feel
All the things that through me You want to reveal

Show me in Your strength it’s ok to feel weak
Teach me the true meaning of one that is meek

Give me energy to offer a hand to lift others up
Not close my eyes and pray they’ll simply shut up

I want to be seen in Your Word every single day
Not for show, but an example to love and pray

There are so many out here running around lost
Use me to show them you have paid the cost

Todd James Graham

My Testimony – George K. Walker

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My Testimony (part 2)

Praise the Lord, Family! My name is George Kevin Walker and I am a child of the Most High God, thanks to the blood of Jesus. However, I was not always a follower of Jesus, I was a follower of the devil. I used to be a drug user, womanizer, liar, robber, murderer, and an alcoholic, but by the grace of God I am still here. Before I came to prison I had a comprehension problem. I could read and spell but if you asked me to explain what I just read I couldn’t. This caused me to have low self-esteem and growing up in a family where Jesus is Lord and education was next, I clung to the streets. By the time I was eighteen, I was in prison with a life sentence still drinking, using and selling drugs.

One day while intoxicated a voice told me “no matter how much you try to destroy your life, I won’t let you.” And in 2009 I rededicated my life to Jesus. A little later I started going to Church, Victory Bible College, Celebrate Recovery, The James Group, and Secondary Service. I just immersed myself in any and everything that has to do with Jesus. I totally submitted to God and He has shown me that through the blood of Jesus, I am forgiven and in right standing with God. I no longer drink, use or sell drugs (Glory to God), and through God’s wisdom I write a Newsletter for our Church. Hallelujah! I thank you Jesus for your mercy and grace upon me. One last thing: if God will use me, then He will do the same for you!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

A Lesson on the Life of Joseph – Nicholas Butler

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“A Lesson on the Life of Joseph”

The Bible demonstrates that Joseph was an undisciplined teenager, allowing his father’s favoritism of him (Gen. 37:3) to inflate his ego as it relates to how he treated his brothers. That attitude likely fostered a sense of entitlement in Joseph, which resulted in him belittling his brothers and elevating himself over them by giving bad reports to his father (Gen. 37:2). When his father made him a tunic (Gen. 37:3), this action bolstered Joseph’s attitude of entitlement and emboldened him. The tunic equated power to Joseph.

To exacerbate his undisciplined attitude, he revealed a dream to his brothers about binding sheaves, and his sheaf arose and stood upright while the brother’s sheaves formed around him and bowed down to him (Gen. 37:7). The brothers were already jealous about their father’s affections towards Joseph because they saw their father loved Joseph more (Gen. 37:4), this alone was fostering hate in their hearts and this dream only intensified that hate. We can assume that Joseph’s immaturity likely pushed his brothers away from him, which served to create insecurity in Joseph.

That immaturity and insecurity brought Joseph before his brothers and father again with another dream about the sun, moon and stars bowing down to him, representative of his father, mother and brothers (Gen. 37:9-10). While his father confronted him about this dream, he still pondered it, but the brothers were envious and jealous of him (Gen. 37:11).

Joseph’s brothers left to go feed their father’s flock but because they were taking too long to return, Jacob sent Joseph to go and check on them (Gen. 37:12-13). When they saw Joseph, they plotted to kill him (Gen. 37:18-19) and throw him into a pit and tell their father that a wild beast attacked him and tore him apart (Gen. 37:20). However, Reuben stepped in and said, “No, were not going to kill him but place him into the pit until we decide what to do with him.” (Gen. 37:21-22). The Bible does not tell us where Reuben left to, but when he left, Joseph approached and his brothers attacked him, ripping off his tunic first and then they threw him into the pit (Gen 37:23-24).

Here was Joseph, trying to check on the well-being of his brothers, and when he finally found them, they snatched him up, stripped him of all that he held important, his attitude of entitlement to royalty was being shredded by his own flesh and blood, everything that comprised his attitude was being thrown into that pit with him, and he became the complete opposite, a slave (Gen. 37:26-27, 36).

This incident brought Joseph to learn humility and to stop elevating himself above others, God was with him and prospered everything he did (Gen. 39:1-3), even Pharaoh saw Joseph’s God at work, and I believe this was so he could win Pharaoh’s trust and be placed in that powerful position as supervisor (Gen. 39:4). But God was not done working in Joseph’s life, the power he obtained from God’s favor, likely enticed Pharaoh’s wife to seduce him, as the Scriptures inform us, “after some time” she cast her eyes upon him and wanted Joseph to lie with her.” (Gen. 39:7). Joseph declined her offer, and after several attempts, she set him up and told Pharaoh that he tried to rape her (Gen. 39:8-20), then Joseph was placed in prison. God was still with Joseph and showed him favor with the Warden (Gen. 39:21-23).

The Bible tells us that the chief butler and the chief baker offended Pharaoh and he imprisoned them. Then, within a year’s time, they both had a dream that Joseph interpreted accurately through God (Gen. 40:1-23). Joseph told the butler to make mention of him to Pharaoh (Gen. 40:14) but it took the butler two years to do this (Gen. 41:1), he only remembered because Pharaoh had dreams that required interpretation. Because Pharaoh believed the interpretation, Joseph was freed from prison and placed in charge of all Egypt (Gen. 41:28-41) but this time God’s plans were about to manifest themselves, and bring the actualization of Joseph’s visions as a youth to fruition (Gen. 50:15-18), as his brothers became his servants.

Joseph’s story is so relatable to all of us today on so many levels, but the lesson that I wish to convey to all readers, is that, when we keep God first in our lives, meaning “in all” of our thoughts and do not deviate from him, the blessing will come.