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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Temptation – Ida Hunkins

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“Temptation”
By Ida Hunkins
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

Why are you like this,
I don’t understand.
Just get out of my life,
Stop tryin to hold my hand.
I don’t even like you
And I really hate
That I want you
So please just leave me alone,
Don’t you get it?
Me and you are through!
There’s no place for you in my world.
So why you keep tryin to come cut me?
Why you keep tryin to lure?
I know you want me back,
As all temptations do.
But to think of goin back,
To think of givin in to you…
Just helps me to remember
Just how disgusted I am with you.
You ruined my life
And turned my days
Just as dark as my night
You beat me up,
And tossed me around,
But believe me, temptation
I’m always ready for another round.
For you’ll never get me down.
So you just keep trying with all your might
Because today temptation
You will not be winning this fight.

Love Feast – Terri N. Reese-Green

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“Love Feast”

By Terri N. Reese-Green
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

Today’s sermon is called “Love Feast.” 2 Peter 2:13 and Jude 12. Now love feast is an entertainment in which the poorer members of the church partook in things furnished from the contributions of Christians restoring the Eucharistic celebration. But whether before or after maybe, the true account of the matter is probably that given by Chrysostom, who says that after the early community of goods had ceased the richer members brought to the church contributions of food and drink of which after the conclusion of the service and celebration of the Lord’s Supper, all partook together by this means helping to promote the principle of love among Christians – the intimate connection, especially in early times, between the Eucharist itself and the love feast has led some to speak of them as identical. The love feasts were forbidden to be held in the churches by the Council of Laodicea (AD 320) but in some form or other continued to a much later period. They still exist in the Greek churches, the Wesleyan love feast was a deliberate attempt at their revival. We study from this all scripture that has been given about love feast. Scripture readings are Jude 1:12; Ezek 34:8; Matthew 15:13; 1 Cor 11:20-22; 2 Peter 2:13; Romans 13:13; Luke 21:34; Eph 5:18; 1 Cor 5:11; Matthew 18:17; Gal 2:12; Acts 10:28. Now here is where things change. We found that after studying things start to change. It’s like as others speak about the love feast it turns into a race, and not calling someone unclean that the Lord has made clean. Then Jesus comes in with John 4:9 where He meets the woman at the well. And then we have Acts where James refuses to eat with those who are not Jews. So we can conclude that there are different cultures, involved in the word of God. Some Greek, some Hebrew, some Latin, and Lord knows what else, so it takes careful study in the word of God before we can teach a person how to live. One scripture says to study to show thyself approved unto God. 2 Tim 2:15 so we can divide the word of truth. We cannot just grab a scripture here and there and conclude how a person should live.

God bless you,

Terri

 

 

Free From Sin And Its Power – Terri N. Reese Green

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“I Am Free From Sin and Its Power”

By Terri N. Reese-Green
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

Praise the Lord. Today’s sermon will be called “I Am Free From Sin and Its Power.” When I write something about the word of God it is what the Holy Spirit has revealed unto me. Let us go to the first book of Saint Peter 4:1-4. The very first verse is what I believe in. It says, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” What are we saying today as Christians that we have not suffered with Christ the same way? I believe Romans 6:7 – we died with Christ we live with Him now. I believe Gal 2:20 that I am crucified with Christ. I believe Col 3:5 that Christ helps me to mortify my member upon this earth. I believe 1 Peter 2:21 for even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffer for us leaving us and example that we should follow his step. Also Matthew 16:24, I believe. Wow I should have called this sermon “I Believe.” Many of us don’t believe what Christ says we are, but we believe when man tells us what we are. But I am going to believe the voice of Christ. There are so many things that the Holy Spirit would like to teach you but we don’t have time to let Him. We haven’t even tried to allow the Holy Spirit to work and we are still ourselves sinners. Jesus said I am the Lamb of God that take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Terri

 

Every Man Is A Liar – Terri N. Reese-Green

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“Every Man is a Liar”

By Terri N. Reese-Green

Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

Praise the Lord everybody. Today’s sermon will be called “Every Man is a Liar.” Many times I have had to ask myself why did God give me His word? Why did He give me a mouth to speak His word? And I have learned that God gave me His word so I can give it back to Him. I study to show myself approved to God – not man. The word of God says in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” I can believe God or I can believe man. After all who woke me up this morning? Numbers 23:19 says “God is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent; hath he said and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make good?” Why can’t we as Christians believe what God says we are? Why do we keep looking at ourselves and saying opposite of God. Is this a Christian? And what is this saying about…”It’s not what you do it’s how you do it.” The church is full of Christians that think they can hide from God. Todays Christians are still running through the garden thinking they can hide from God. How can you believe when God says nothing can separate you from His love but you can’t believe the rest. You’re a liar. And John 8:44 tells us about the liar. Let us study the word of God and stop listening to everybody else. Let the Holy Spirit teach you.

Terri

 

My Old Self – Jill Miller

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“My Old Self”

By Jill Miller
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

Dear Old Self,
Here I sit looking at you
Wondering if you are feeling it too
You though you could do it all on your own
Look where it got you – here, all alone
Surrounded by darkness tried and true
Would you do it again if you only knew
These feelings inside are beginning to numb
Waiting on mail that never does come
The friends you thought you once had
Left you alone and feeling sad
If they only cared what was truly in your heart
They would have been there from the start
But now where are they, you do not know
Self, it’s time to wake up and let them go
The ones you called family – you set aside
But now, you can no longer run and hide
The secrets you held from them all along
Your family, they are still beside you loving you strong
It’s time you realize your mistakes and move on
Your error in judgment is now gone
You admit you need help – you can’t do it alone
Sometimes all you need to do is pick up the phone
Give it all to God and don’t take it back
He will carry you home and pick up the slack
Now here you sit, your lesson learned
A new leaf you have now turned
Your spiritual growth, your outlook anew
Your family awaits, they know it’s all true
Your loved ones have been there even though you couldn’t see
Their hope and faith is in the woman they knew you could be
Your family sees your changes, they’ll stand proud at the gate
A new life you’re starting –
Oh, Lord – I can’t wait!
Sincerely,
I Love you to the moon and back
and with that, I promise to never look back

 

Retroactive Faith – Amy Black

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“Retroactive Faith”

By Amy Black
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

I have some things I’d like to say about faith. Of all the things asked of us to have, faith is the easiest we can do. Faith is the essential part of what we hope for, and the outward sign of things we don’t see.

Basically, all we have to do is believe the things we want or ask is happening and will become clearly seen in God’s time. I always thought of the things I have faith for; like snowflakes. A virtually weightless perfectly unique blessing that travels from heaven down to our lives. When the snowflakes are close enough we see them, when they are not, we still know they are coming. And we wait on them, knowing they will be here – one day. It’s almost like making any wish come true. Just by believing it will. The words we say serve to give life or kill those things we have faith will come to pass. Prov 18:21 says that the power of life or death in the tongue. And those who indulge it will eat the fruit of it for life or death. In other words, I can speak life or death / failure or success to other people, myself or my personal circumstances. So for 26 years I’ve been in prison. Since the age of 16. I am 41 years old now. During these 26 years I have continued to see myself as free again. I talk about my life as if I will be, because I have faith that my God’s desire is for me to be free to give my testimony and encourage other people to have faith also. For instance I buy clothes, shoes etc. for myself for when I get out. I talk about plans I have and places I’d like to go.

Dreams I have that I will one day fulfill. I speak life into the faith I have in my future. God wants what is in His will for each for each of us to have. His word tells us that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him. 1 Jhn 5:14-15. It hasn’t always been easy to speak positive like this even in my darkest moments I had to hold on to the word given to us by God. I had to have faith. I had to believe what I couldn’t see. No matter how I “felt” at the time, and I’m here to tell you there have been some really hard days – very long nights, and enormously painful “feelings” I’ve had to pray through.

Faith keeps me at peace at the end of each storm. On Monday January 25th 2016 my faith was realized when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor to abolish all life without parole sentences for people like me, who were convicted as minors (18 and under). This decision was/is to be applied retroactively. I thank God for the peace I’ve had during my waiting period. For the grace that God gave me to get through the hardest days and mostly for the faith that continues to live in my heart and shine through my life for the future ahead of me. No one could have convinced me that faith is a waste of time. Because the word promises us the opposite. It’s the only thing we have time for. Faith is the main component for everything in our lives. It’s my prayer that you will let faith be the main number one desire of your heart. Have faith in what you believe in, also have faith that everything else that “is” – really is what’s best.  God designed our lives and everything in it. Believe in God. Please – there is no other way. With God you can have peace in the worst of circumstances, you can have joy where there seems to be no joy. Faith in God will always bring you through. I thank God every day – in Jesus’ name – for the faith that I have and the peace of mind and heart it brings.

 

Holiness Stinks – Terri N. Reese-Green

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“Holiness Stinks”
By Terri N. Reese-Green
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

Praise the Lord. Today’s sermon will be called “Holiness Stinks.” Now when most of us hear this we say what on earth is she talking about? In the book of 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Paul tells us that the word of God can have a smell that some cannot stand to smell. Well, the word of God being preached smell wonderful to God because the smell comes through Christ. But for some it is the smell of death. The word of God to some just stinks because it’s holy and when a person that lives holy and preaches about holiness the smell can be bad. So don’t feel bad when someone gets up in the middle of God’s word and leaves. It is just that your message smelled good to God (in fact was a sweet smell) but to others outside of God it smells bad. Don’t let this stop you from preaching God’s word and don’t take it so hard when you hear something about the smell of God’s word that you didn’t know.

God bless you,

Terri

The Word of God Part 2 – Jonathan L. Clarke

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“The Word of God part 2”
By Jonathan L. Clarke
Gus Harrison Correctional, Adrian, MI

Continued…….

Isaiah 55:11 says,

“So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

When God equips us with a word, He gives us the strength and ability to carry out and perform His word. God not only gave me a word/message, but He connected a promise to His word. The promise was that for those who held onto God’s word, He would plunge us into ministry! So, forgiveness served as a sort of baptism officially into ministry.

I really enjoy swimming, so when I dive underwater for short periods of time, it’s second nature. My lungs and body know not to panic. Not so much when you are unexpectedly dunked underwater by a friend horse-playing, or your earthly father as a child growing up, who holds you underwater just a few more moments than we were comfortable. Instinctively, we fight to get back up above water. And this is one of my points of emphasis: when God gives you a word; whether it be His written word or a word He speaks into your spirit, you need to be willing to fight to continue in God’s word.

When you get dunked in the water by your earthly father, and you get back above water, there’s you dad standing waist deep in the pool with one of those whimsical smiles on his face. Mom on the other hand (who is safe poolside) lovingly instructs dad not to play too rough with the children. But there is dad standing there, not really giving any explanation other than he wanted to test you to see how you would apply his swimming instructions.

Well, our Heavenly Father already knows how we are going to react to our trials and tribulations, but the testing is more so for our growth and development and to help others.

In closing, I want to encourage you to go inside your prayer closets, search your hearts, and forgive! Forgive everyone who has ever offended, wronged, or even physically harmed you. It might take more time to work through some hurt(s) than others, but through God you will accomplish your goals. And forgive yourselves. If God can and has forgiven you, we can forgive others and ourselves.

God has given me a message for 2016, and I’m going to be sharing it with you throughout the year. The word is God has done a new thing us, and it’s time to walk in it. You know after God forgave the children of Israel and brought them out of Babylon, He gave them a command, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old” (Isaiah 43:18).

I look forward to sharing about this message with you.

In the name of Jesus,

Jonathan L. Clarke

The Word of God Part 1 – Jonathan L. Clarke

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“The Word of God part 1”
By Jonathan L. Clarke
Gus Harrison Correctional, Adrian, MI

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us such a rich heritage in the things pertaining to life and godliness; not only in this lifetime, but throughout our eternal inheritance in the kingdom of God. Therefore, we will forever dwell bountifully (with more than enough) throughout eternity. This means that God will always supply for all of our needs according to His reserve of riches in glory when we arrive there (Philippians 3:19-20). Hallelujah!

We must learn to develop our relationship with God, trust Him in every area of our lives (apply His word in our lives even when it doesn’t make sense in the natural), and allow God to order our steps. This will ensure that we walk in love; thus fulfilling God’s plan for our lives!

I’m grateful for the opportunity Voices for Christ has blessed me with to serve others through inspired messages. This is rather new for me reaching out to others; besides my family members, and the brothers incarcerated with me. However, this is one thing that I do know, the same God who transforms men and women’s lives who are incarcerated is the same God who by His power is transforming lives beyond captivity. Hallelujah!

Last year, at the beginning of 2015, God blessed me with a message for the Christian brothers here. It was that 2015 was the year of forgiveness! And before I jot down another tittle, let me acknowledge that you probably heard and received that 2015 was the year for this or that. By no means am I implying that their message didn’t come from God. However, there are different times and dispensations appropriated in Jesus Christ determinative of the season we are in, and God’s desired will. (God’s plan for our lives). So, last year could have very well been the year of new beginnings for some and forgives for others, or it even could have been both a year of new beginnings and forgiveness for some. Let’s look at Ephesians 1:10. It says,

“that in the dispensation of the fullness of times (this is during the final dispensation, however, there are separate degrees of dispensation before the complete fullness) he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him.” (NKJV)

From the Nelson’s Study Bible, this is what the commentary says regarding the word – dispensation.

“1:10 The word translated dispensation means ‘house rule.’ The English word economy is derived from this Greek word. The word refers to God’s administration or arrangement of all history to fulfill His plan of salvation. While God never changes, His plan for the salvation of humanity has distinct phases. In context, dispensation probably refers to the time when God will establish His eternal kingdom.”

We are being gathered together in this church age in preparation for the final step of our eternal glory. “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12) Our God is working out His plan for our salvation, and there is an order of His operation.

God permitted the children of Israel to go into Babylonian captivity for a decreed 70 years (Daniel 9:2). In the fullness of time, God had also decreed their forgiveness. Although at the completion of those 70 years, God’s forgiveness of the Jews was complete (Daniel ch 9). However, the manifestation of the Jews forgiveness was just the beginning. Much like when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God has forgiven us our sins past, present, and future. However then, we must start to walk out in the grace of the favor of God’s forgiveness!!

I would be remiss if I didn’t express that no sooner than I set down my pen from initiating the word on forgiveness, the challenges rushed in like a flood. Thank God He blessed me with the spiritual eyes and awareness to realize that my faith was being tested with the word He had just given me! Praise the Lord! The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus Christ came to give us abundant life. (John 10:10)

Luke 8:11-12 says,

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts.”

The devil’s desire was to rob me from receiving a harvest based on God’s word; however, he would have settled for hindering or discouraging me for a season, but the devil is a liar!!

 

Prayer – Steven Wei

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“Prayer”

By Steven Wei
Gus Harrison Correctional, Adrian, MI

Prayer was initially for me an issue of confusion. Wondering if I was doing it right, saying the right things, praying for the right things, etc. Through Jesus’ intercession for me, God answered my prayers, many manifested quickly where they involved teaching me His Word and Will.

First, I learned to pray in Jesus’ name. Then I learned that the Lord’s Prayer is a ‘manner’ of prayer like a guide. I learned many of Jesus’ prayers and copied them in ways that were from me and applied to my situation. I was taught that many psalms are written as prayer and praise and worship. I was then taught that God through Jesus desires constant communication with us…. communion. He desires no tradition, no ritual, just hear felt talking to him. God knows our thoughts, our hearts, our deeds, our words, he knows our needs before we do, he wants us to speak to him through the Son who is one with God.

And once I learned more of God’s word on other topics and in my heart, I was taught God wants us to praise and thank him in faith in our prayers as well as pour out our hearts to him. Praising and thanking him means we trust him, we know our prayers are given and his love is too great for us to fathom. In Jesus’ name, I thank God for teaching me at His pace and his decisions. He does it right.