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Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Whisper – Chad Apsey

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“The Whisper”
By Chad Apsey
Newberry Correctional, Newberry, MI

Daily it seems I am swimming through testing
In a depth to keep my soul from resting
The waves are swift and tide high
Its vast expansion embraces the sky
The evil one shouts “you’ll never tread”
And “why even try you are better off dead”
He tugs at my feet trying to pull me under
Attempting to drown my life and its plunder
Soon a gentle breeze begins to blow about
Within it a whisper to swallow the devil’s shout
“This quiz you’re taking will not forever last”
“For I have shown you all you need to pass”
“Keep your eyes fixed upon me and you will stay afloat”
“I’m with you in this flood, you need not a boat”
“If you feel your focus fading and it seems I’m not around”
“Rest assured you’re not lost because in my name you were found”

The Living Hope – Chad Apsey

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“The Living Hope”
By Chad Apsey
Newberry Correctional, Newberry, MI

Three concrete walls and a fourth made from bar steel
Has become my new dwelling, absent from comfort and appeal.
A cage so secure it could detain the most destructive of beasts,
Constantly reminding me that I’m a criminal, for a short time at least.

Time often creeps to an idle as it boasts its length in a single day,
While freedom gloats of its escape, teasing that it ran away.
Isolated from humanity and nearly every luxury I’ve ever known,
As I enthrone in my penance for the discord I have sown.

The monotony of the light hours command the mind to ponder,
While the night seems to invite the thunderous chaos to wander.
Force fed boredom engineered to make a rigid fellow break,
Segregated from society as if a sea creature in a freshwater lake.

The day extends nothing of reward except for a brief phone call,
And the height of anticipation is funneling into the chow hall.
I’m a prisoner in this system and incarcerated in my own mind,
The sentence I have been given also imprisons those I’ve left behind.

No matter how I paint this atmosphere I find myself in,
How I choose to punctuate this sentence determines its ends.
I have allowed my Saviour to invade this space I occupy,
For He encourages my thoughts and relates to the tears I cry.

He has taught me to be grateful, and this is more than just gloom,
How I feel His arms around me when His presence fills this room.
A promise of blessing and protection He reminds my anxious soul,
When I feel I’m shattered in tiny pieces, He reminds me I’m made whole.

It is with His strength only will I endure this merited season,
To attempt it alone would convict me of treason.
Although the climb may appear steep, it’s only a gentle slope,
For no grade is impossible when you walk with the living hope.

Who Are You Serving? – Osceola Foster

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“Who Are You Serving?”
By Osceola Foster
Chippewa Correctional, Kincheloe, MI

I commend the devil for being a great provider of illusions. He (the devil) allowed for me to avoid servitude by instilling illusionary promises. Those promises were then fueled by my greed. The greed and selfishness led to abandoning my morality. The morality that so many believers, believers in Christ, instilled in me and educated me with.

Whenever we are not providing services for others, we are serving the devil. Whenever we are not spreading the joy and belief in the gospel, we are serving the devil. Whenever we are selfish in our thoughts and or our hearts, we are serving the devil. Until we fully surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, we are serving the devil. Until we accept/acknowledge him (Jesus) our personal Lord and Savior, we are serving the devil.

Now carefully look into the mirror while reading this over again. Now confess to whom you’ve been serving!!

God bless you brothers and sisters

I Went for a Walk – Jill Miller

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“I Went for a Walk”
By Jill Miller
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

I went for a walk this morning to see what I could find. Lately my mind has been playing tricks on me. I keep telling myself everything is ok – but the smiles I force are only covering the tears. And those tears, well they are just negativity. I need time to talk to God and hear what He has to say. So I started my walk as early as could be. As I took my first couple of steps I could feel my aches and pains. My muscles were screaming at me. I knew it would take a little bit for them to remember the joy. As I kept moving along, I could feel my body relax. I picked up the pace, but only just a little bit as I wanted to just enjoy. I took in a deep and cleansing breath and could feel the cool, crisp air. I closed my eyes for a second as I remembered how much I love the spring morning breeze. I began to talk to God as I knew He was there. I looked up towards the sky and noticed how he had painted it so beautifully. As if it was just for me. I thanked Him for life and the beauty all around. As I continued to talk I heard them, the birds. They were singing their stories – almost as if serenading me. I smiled because I knew He did that just for me. No matter where I walked the birds were all around never stopping their songs. He knows how much I love to hear them. I paused in my talk just to take it all in – He knew what I was doing, so He kept His patience with me. I took a deep breath and noticed the lovely smell – I looked all around and wondered how I could miss the flowers blooming. They were reaching for the sun and giving off their beautiful scents. Red, yellow and purple too. Then I noticed how green the grass was. Somewhere in the distance I could hear the faint sound of someone mowing and the smell of fresh cut grass flooded my nose. If I hadn’t already said it…”Good morning God!” My talking was still at a pause, but I know that He knew what was on my mind. I smiled, I took deep breaths and I absorbed His beauty all around. After a little bit, not even sure how long, I focused and was beginning to talk again. I shared how much negativity had been clouding my thoughts. He knew. He knew that I was questioning things – such as; how can He (God) love me – and how and why do others love me – and even though they say they do – do they really? I didn’t feel deserving of love, deserving of friendship. As I paused to wait for His voice – to wait for His answers, I noticed people walking around. I wondered how long I’d been walking – but then went back to focus on God! I heard someone speak my name, as I focused ahead I noticed a friend, and a hug with greetings followed. A very short chat and back on my path I went. After a few more minutes, I heard my name spoken again. It was a couple more walking my way. More embraces and greetings and along on our ways. It continued to happen every few minutes until I turned to go down what seemed a quiet road. I wanted to get back to God and the talk we had started. I figured I should start heading back home as I wasn’t even sure what time it was. As I continued on, my thoughts went back to Him. I apologized for the distractions and said I was ready to hear what He had to say. I waited, as I continued to walk down the road. I didn’t hear Him, but I knew He was there. But then I realized He was talking to me. I smiled. He knew I would see. He loves me so very much! He shows me every single day. The beauty and life all around. And don’t forget He sent His only Son to die for me. Yes, He loves me why would I doubt. I’ve made mistakes along my journey, but I’ve asked Him to forgive. He has forgiven me and He loves me still. My sins to Him are all forgotten. I raised my hands in thanksgiving as the tears began to fall. He wasn’t done yet as He showed me the answers to my questions. He said, “beautiful child – you didn’t think you were deserving, but you remember all those people who greeted you – hugged you and said they loved you? You see – I sent them to you, along you path in hopes you would see. If I love you – and you love me, and I love them – and they love me, then why my child wouldn’t they love you too? You are deserving! You are amazing and people do care for you very much.” He said, “I have plans for you, not to harm you, but to prosper you. Keep your faith and don’t lose sight of your goals. You’ve come a long way and even though you have a ways to go – I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” Then He smiled, I could feel it. As I arrived back in front of my home, I felt the tears streaking my face. I thanked Him for everything. I knew I could get through the day, because He was there with me and He loved me dearly. You see…I went for a walk this morning to see what I could find. I found what I needed, and what I needed was Him!

Prophecy – Todd Graham

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“Prophecy”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional, Ionia, MI

Reveal Your future to me
It’s all laid out in prophecy
To view it I must only see
Your Word teaches what will be

Armageddon and destruction
Judgment and salvation
But all believers have won
Accepting Your gift of salvation

Forces created King of the North
To tame the terror of the South
The Beast power opens its mouth
Giving the antichrist his birth

It’s all part of Your Divine Plan
So Jesus can make the last stand
Made King of kings by Your great hand
Destroy Satan’s power towards man

Nations will never again fight
Governed by Christ’s glory and might
The deserts will bloom in delight
No one will fear the dark of night

The earth will again know peace
When Your Spirit to all is released
Then human nature will cease
As Your great blessing increase

New Jerusalem comes down
Hear all creations rejoicing sound
The Father joins Son on the ground
Where communion with man will be found

Behind the Razor Wire – Todd Graham

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“Behind The Razor Wire”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional, Ionia, MI

Here I sit contemplating damnation fire
Surrounded by a border crowned with razor wire

Though I can’t touch, it shreds the core of my soul
As I’m forced to surrender to others’ control

Hidden eyes look upon my face and watch my back
Stradling the line drown in a world of white and black

Emotions of anxiety, doubts and fears
They flavor the salt of my blood, sweat and tears

The razor wire cuts a painful dividing line
Separating me from all that I thought was mine

Lessons can be very difficult to learn
Mistakes kindle the fire in which my heart burns

With head bowed, hands folded, I fall on bended knee
Then I hear a small, quiet voice speaking to me

It’s not a shout or yell like those that echo here
But a pleasant, soft whisper in my minds ear

Filling me with His strength so I can overcome
Giving me wings like eagles so I’ll fly, not run

Hear Him say, “The razor wire can’t keep Me away!”
“Your call for rescue has been answered today.”

“Though you may be inside a land you don’t know,
I’ll lead you to My People where My River flows.”

“Together you’ll share the living water that’s free,
And seek to rely upon Me more deeply.”

When that crown on the border sparkles in the sun
My thoughts now are full of the wonders of God’s Son

His blessings are now what fills my heart with fire
As daily He restores me behind the razor wire

Seed Time, Harvest and Purpose – George K. Walker

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“Seed Time, Harvest and Purpose”
By George K. Walker
Macomb Correctional, New Haven, MI

“While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” Genesis 8:22.

As long as the earth remains there will always be a time to plant (seed time) and a time to pluck up that which was planted (harvest). God’s word is very clear on this. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” While reading this morning the words seedtime, harvest and purpose stood out to me.

I have worked in Horticulture for over ten years and what I love about it is the transformation process. Every year when we go out to start readying the soil to plant seed in it men always say: “that soil is dead, nothing will grow in that.” I always say: “what better place to bring new life.” The word tells us that we have to die to self to live for Christ. We have to ready our heart so that the seed – God’s Word – can come in and bring us new life. In our new life in Christ we are to go out and tell people how the blood of Jesus Christ has changed us. This is God’s seed growing in us.

On my job after we have readied the soil, planted the seed, and watered it, the seed germinates and the plant grows. We weed it and cultivate the ground around it and then the plant starts producing fruit to be harvested. After God’s seed in us has grown and we allow Him to shine His light through us by what we say and do, it will bear fruit to be harvested. We will see people confessing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is the fruit for God’s harvest. God’s Word says with loving kindness, people will be drawn unto Him. As believers we all are husbandmen! Our purpose is to plant the seed of God’s Word in people. Then, water the seed by praying and fellowshipping with them. Then God will give the increase. Jesus tells us in Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, the harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into the harvest. What season does God have you in right now?

Two Sons – Hunter Tokar

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“Two Sons”
By Hunter Tokar
Carson City Correctional, Carson City, MI

I am a father of two young men, Dakota (17) and Damian (13). While I love both of my sons there is somewhat of a difference in our relationships. Dakota is not my biological son, Damian is. I have been in Dakota’s life since he was 6 months old and he had never known or had contact with his biological father. He carries my last name and he is just as much my son as Damian is.

They were supposed to visit me last week, however Dakota did not come because just two weeks earlier he had, for the first time in his life, made contact with his biological father and had gone away with him that weekend in order to meet a half-sister he never knew he had.

Now apparently some people feel that was supposed to upset me and I was supposed to be hurt or angry or both. But honestly I wasn’t. I was happy for my son. I was excited for him and grateful that his biological father was being so kind to him and extending love toward him. I don’t feel jealous or angry or any of those things. I feel grateful that God gave me the opportunity to be a father to Dakota at a time in his life when he didn’t have one. Grateful for the awesome earthly father and mother I have who have gone out of their way for the last 10 1/2 years to make sure I have regular contact with my sons. Grateful that I have a biological son in Damian so that I have had the privilege of being both a biological father and an adoptive father. Father’s day is coming and I am thankful that I am a father of two wonderful sons. I am also thankful that Dakota will be able to spend this father’s day knowing his biological father. How could anyone not be happy about that?

However my prayer is that Dakota’s search doesn’t end here. I pray that Dakota comes to know his true heavenly Father and I pray the same for my younger son Damian. You see as of today they are both unsaved. Now that bothers me. I want both of my sons to know their heavenly Father. I was 39 when I got saved and I regret that I didn’t give my life to Christ sooner. But just like Dakota decided when it was time for him to search for his biological father, he and Damian must decide when they are ready to have a relationship with their heavenly Father. They know about him, from the witness of myself, my parents, and my amazing wife, but they don’t know Him personally. I can’t do that for them, they have to do it themselves. My prayer this Father’s Day is that my sons would seek a relationship with their true Father. I’m sure you pray the same for your children.

In Christ,

Hunter T.

Confession – George K. Walker

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“Confession”
By George K. Walker
Macomb Correctional, New Haven, MI

Confession – admission, declaration, or acknowledgement of sin or faith, especially in worship. The term can be divided into two primary responses to God:

1. The Confession of sin.
2. The Confession of Faith.

Both are very important in our walk with God. The confession of sin is presented as the individual acknowledgement of sin by the penitent sinner. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” Proverbs 28:13. We are reminded that God faithfully forgives the sins of those who confess them: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. Confessing our sins brings forgiveness from our Father.

Confession of faith is acknowledgement of and commitment to Jesus Christ. When we publicly declare that Jesus is Lord, then Jesus will acknowledge us to the father. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” Matthew 10:32. By faith I confess that Jesus is Lord and according to God’s word if I confess the word and believe it in my heart it will come to pass. “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which be saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” Mark 11:23.

Confession of our sins and confession of our faith in God are both needed and important in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Now I ask you, have you confessed either today?

Testimony – Gerord Robinson

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“Testimony”
By Gerord Robinson
Macomb Correctional, New Haven, MI

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Growing up, I always wanted attention and wanted to be known within my peers. So everything I did was for those reasons, to get attention and to be known. Most of my life I was not being who I am now because I always acted a certain way to fit in with the crowd I was around. The way I talked and thought were acts of what I wanted others to believe about me, which eventually led me into prison. While being locked up and in a dark place is where I called on God because I was tired and exhausted and wanted help and He heard my cry and he changed my life. He showed me that He loves me, He told me that I am special and that I fearfully and wonderfully made and I don’t have to act any longer, I can just be. I gave my life to Christ and ever since I’ve been peaceful, the tiredness and the exhaustion wore off. This made me think, the only reason I was so tired and exhausted in the first place was because I was doing so much acting instead of being my true self. I came to figure out my true self is who God created me to be, my true identity.