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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Uncle Bob & Gran’s Garden – Richard Wiseman

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“Uncle Bob & Gran’s Garden”
By Richard Wiseman
Central Michigan Correctional Facility, St Louis, MI

In my grandparents backyard there is a garden that’s been there my whole life.  You can easily push your hand down 6″ and pull up a hand full of dirt and watch it run right out through your fingers.  Beautiful dirt.  Great for gardening.

I heard my Uncle Bob make a comment one time, “we’ve been tilling this ground for 40 some years” (maybe longer?).  The comment didn’t mean much to me at the time because I didn’t understand its implications.

Many years later I went to a rehab facility in Kalispell, MT called Wilderness Treatment Center.  I was there for about 3 months.  It was an intensive inpatient drug rehab on a working ranch.  Part of the rehab treatment was to do work on the ranch on the weekends. They were preparing a field for growing crops.  They plowed the field over & over, tilling it up. The plowing was very intrusive to the ground. The blades would terrorize the dirt and shred it up. As the plow went through and tore the ground, rocks would come to the surface.  It was one of our jobs to walk over the field, pick these rocks up and put them into a trailer hooked to a tractor, or a wheelbarrow.

That observation brings to mind what my Uncle Bob said years ago.  I realized that the garden dirt in our backyard did not just come that way, as I’d always assumed it had.  It took a lot of work and time to get it to be that good dirt.  It was hard work on my whole family as they all worked the garden together before I was born to turn it into good soil. It was also very devastating to the ground.  But, it was best for all and we all enjoyed the fruits (and vegetables) of the labor.  It’s much harder, or even impossible, to raise crops when the dirt is hard, rocky, and full of weeds.  Getting the dirt to where it is almost the consistency of sand is best.

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV) says,  “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance [patience], and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Take heart if you’ve been witnessing to someone with hard soil!  Hard bad soil can be worked into good soil!  If the ground could feel during the preparation process, it would be in a lot of pain.  If people knew what was best for us, we would embrace the tiller and plow blade, the SUFFERING we have to ENDURE, the working of our Gardener-God and being trampled over by other people He has working on us and our personal soil.  Good soil still requires work/suffering to maintain it!  There is no perfect soil on this earth.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 says, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will”.

Look to the hope of that good seed growing in good soil and be patient and know that God can do miracles with hard, stony, weed infested soil!  I’m proof of that!

Glory, honor and praise to God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ through whom we can be saved and who’s reign will be forever & ever!

Repent, Reverence and Restoration – George K. Walker

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“Repent, Reverence and Restoration”
By George K. Walker
Macomb Correctional Facility, New Haven, MI

At the beginning of every year we make New Year resolutions that we sometimes stick with for about three months before we go back to doing the same old things. This day God put three words in my heart and they are Repent, Reverence and Restoration.

Jesus tells us in Mark 1:15 “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Jesus is telling us that the prophecy is fulfilled and that the time is now to repent-turn away from your sins and turn to God. Jesus is the only one who can save us on judgment day. Replace your sins with turning to Jesus and believing in His life-saving death on the cross.

Hebrews 12:28 says: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” It is finished. That is what Jesus said when He died on the cross for us. Brothers and Sisters we have a kingdom that cannot be moved and it is because of the grace that Jesus Christ has given us. It is an honor to serve Him by holding up His blood-stained banner and bringing glory to His name. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

Jeremiah 30:17 says: “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.” God is a God of restoration. He is going to give us back everything that we lost. He will restore our health and heal all our wounds. No longer will we be called an outcast but the children of the Most High God. God loves us and is a just God. He will restore to us more than we can imagine.

Today is the day to repent of your sins and trust in Jesus, He will forgive you. Your relationship with Him will grow and you will honor God by raising high the blood-stained banner of Jesus. After Repentance and Reverence comes Restoration. Cling tightly to your faith and know that God will bring you through and you will be rewarded by God. God’s word cannot return to Him void and it will do what it says it will do – Amen!

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” Isaiah 55:11.

Every Day God Gives Us is a New Beginning – George K. Walker

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“Every Day God Gives Us is a New Beginning”
By George K. Walker
Macomb Correctional Facility, New Haven, MI

Jeremiah tells us in Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning great is thy faithfulness.” Some translations replace the word mercies in verse 22 with love. It is because of the LORD’s love that we – His children – are not consumed. We should celebrate the first day of 2017 but please let us be thankful for every day God gives us because that day is a New Beginning. Every day that God wakes us, up know that He woke you because He loves you and His love gives up responsibility and purpose. It is because of His love for us that we have eternal life with Him. With this newness we are reborn, and regenerated. We have become new because now the Holy Spirit rules and reigns in us. This gives us responsibility to the Love God gives us and we are to let that light shine in us by showing that love in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Question: Have you been an example today to the hope that is in you?

In verse 22, Jeremiah says: “It is of the LORD’s mercies (love) that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” The definition of compassion is to feel passion with someone or to enter sympathetically into one’s sorrow and pain. This made me think about Jesus becoming flesh and dying for our sins. Because of His love we are not consumed and His compassions for us fail not. When we are struggling with something, suffering in sorrow or pain, the LORD is sympathetic to us and He will deliver us from it. He is the king of compassion. Even when we were in our sins He looked at us with compassion and sympathy. He will not fail us. Question: Who have you shown compassion to today?

In verse 23, it says (paraphrasing) that the Lord’s mercy and compassion are new every morning. It is good to know that every morning we have a new mercy and compassion from the LORD. Every morning we should be thanking the LORD before we get out of bed. He gave us a new day to live for Him and honor Him with our service. Question: Have you thanked Him for giving you another day?

“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” John 13:34.

Be thankful for everyday that God gives you!

I Await – Todd Graham

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“I Await”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional, Ionia, MI

I await the Kingdom of God
I await the Word to be heard
All across the land near and far
God’s government will be restored

Christ will return with trumpet blast
Then all creation celebrates
The greatest party ever held
When my Lord comes back on that date

He’ll put to rest all arguments
And bring True Peace to all the earth
He’ll disband the armies of men
Give our quest for freedom new birth

No more orphans no loneliness
The sky and the sea will be clear
No more greed and no more sorrow
No one will ever live in fear

Lions will frolic with the lambs
The bears and the salmon will play
All humanity joins the peace
When Christ Jesus speaks on that day

He’s coming to prepare the time
To ready earth for the Father
For a thousand years He will rule
And end Lucifer’s reign for sure

God’s Holy City will come down
With His promise to never leave
He’ll open up the Tree of Life
For all believers to receive

The Hand of God – Terri N. Reese-Green

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“The Hand of God”
By Terri N. Reese-Green
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional, Ypsilanti, MI

The sermon is called “The Hand of God.” Isa 9:6 says for unto us a child is born unto us a son given and the government shall be upon his shoulders and his name shall be call wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace. And in the scripture God tells us that his hand is upon his son this is who he has chosen to bring you and me both out of sin with the blood of Jesus. In his death and his resurrection he is wonderful. He is our counselor, he is the mighty God. He is the everlasting father and most of all he is the prince of peace. For all those who will believe by and with faith. Jesus is the reason for the season. No one else has been born or died for you and me. Merry Christmas and pray that you and me will go into the New Year in Jesus’ name.

Terri

The Storm – Todd Graham

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“The Storm”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional, Ionia, MI

See the fine line of the horizon
Drawing my senses together
Stress building may cause it to break
Hearts not built for stormy weather

Need to seek shelter from the storm
Feel the winds whipping up in gale
My hair swirling around my head
Need to weigh anchor and set sail

The ship lists to left and right
See the waves break over her bow
The sea is flowing up on deck
There is nowhere left to hide now

Feel the explosions of thunder
Fingers of lightning fill the sky
Heavens open up in deluge
I look up and pray to know why

Run down the steps to below deck
And my body is tossed to and fro
Chain myself down in the dungeon
Now I’m shackled way down below

Feel overcome by the power
Of all the forces outside me
The ship begins to spin around
And my soul struggles to be free

Suddenly the ship breaks apart
The Son is shining on my face
His hands reach down to rescue
Saving me from shame and disgrace

Happy New Year!
Graham