image_pdfimage_print

Monthly Archives: March 2017

I Await – Todd Graham

image_pdfimage_print

“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

Selling the Factory (Part 4 of 4) – Richard Wiseman

image_pdfimage_print

“Selling the Factory (Part 4 of 4)”
By Richard Wiseman
Roeder Assessment Center, LaGrange, KY

To desire wealth for the RIGHT REASONS is good and I believe we should ask for that. He may not and probably will not decide we need a limousine and a multi-million dollar mansion, but he might. Wealth is sometimes a byproduct of righteous living when our heart is lined up with God’s will. Sometimes it’s a test. Wealth is no sin. However, the desire for wealth, status and focusing our energies on getting these for ourselves is sinful.
Do not say to yourself, “I know I’m a sinner. I asked forgiveness. I’ve said Jesus is Lord and I believe God raised him from the dead. I asked Jesus into my heart and got water baptized so now I know I’m saved”, without a comprehensive understanding of what this really means. What about the rest of the book (the rest of the contract Angie didn’t read that clearly detailed everything?).
Psalm 25:14, “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him and He makes known to them His covenant”.
Many deceptions and divisions come from isolating and focusing on certain phrases or words or sections in scripture. Then people and demons put these together to form some sort of master-lock combination to get people to turn Right-6, Left-25, Right-11 and open but this is not God’s covenant. God’s covenant is called a mystery in places such as Col 4:3-4 where Paul, of all people, makes a prayer request, “…that I might make it clear…”.
Do not believe you can be saved without turning to God with your whole heart, enduring to the end, denying yourself, taking up your cross and dying daily to yourself. (Reference Luke 14, Matt 10:22; 16:24-28 and everything else between Gen 1:1 and Rev 22:21!) These are obedience to Jesus and prove our faith in Him.
The factory has to be willfully and completely turned over to the new owner as we cooperate with God the Holy Spirit allowing Him to come in and do as He pleases. This is His right! This is faith that pleases God.
Many false teachings today encourage people to keep our factory running without selling, rather using God as an expert advisor and logistics resource making it more efficient and profitable if we pray, tithe, go to church and be nice to others and have faith believing God will give us what we want.
This is applying biblical principles to worldly endeavors to gain wealth and status. This is covetousness, idolatry, sensuality and a whole world of sin cloaked as Christianity. Lies! Do not be deceived!
Being effective in the ministry (serving others) and proclaiming the gospel, making it clear while giving selflessly to whomever God puts in our lives, communicating God’s love to everyone in order to grow in godliness and bring the lost to salvation is being prosperous and successful. Success is being effective!
Our treasure is in heaven!

Selling the Factory (Part 3 of 4) – Richard Wiseman

image_pdfimage_print

“Selling the Factory (Part 3 of 4)”
By Richard Wiseman
Roeder Assessment Center, LaGrange, KY

Part of the work spoken of in John 6:27-29 is clinging to Jesus and seeking God’s will, kingdom and righteousness first and then these necessities will be given along with whatever else God decides we need which may or may not include a quality of life we feel entitled to or desire. God’s will for us may be to become a martyr for Him after living an effective life of poverty (worldly poverty), 2 Cor. 11:22-29.

• Matthew suffered martyrdom by the sword in Ethiopia.
• Mark died at Alexandria after being dragged through the streets of that city.
• Luke was hanged on an olive tree in Greece.
• John was put into a cauldron of boiling oil but escaped death and was banished to the island of Patmos.
• Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downward.
• James was beheaded at Jerusalem.
• James the less was thrown from a pinnacle of the temple and was beaten to death below.
• Phillip was hanged against a pillar in Phrygia.
• Bartholomew was flayed alive.
• Andrew was bound to a cross, while he preached to persecutors until he died.
• Thomas was run through the body at Coromandel, India.
• Jude was shot to death by arrows.
• Mathias was first stoned and then beheaded.
• Barnabas was stoned to death by Jews at Salonika.
• Paul was beheaded in Rome in Nero with a sword.

James 4:2-8 talks about these yet we use I John 5:14, Mt 18:19-20 and other similar passages to ask “in Jesus’ name” for the things we’ve decided are God’s will for ourselves. It’s the old “in Jesus’ name” magic password to get the genie in the bottle (God) to grant all our selfish desires (Jn 14:13 twisted). We think there’s a loophole of justification if we say “it’s for my family, to make my marriage stronger” or “to give a bigger tithe” or whatever.
Well, did Isaiah prophecy when he said “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”. Is 29:11, Mt 15:8-9.
Our friends and families need us to set an example, the one God gave us of selfless giving and emptying of ourselves and our things.
In the beginning buying and selling was never intended. We are meant to care for this world and share with each other freely. It takes real faith to believe we can live this way in this world today and be able to provide for our families. Do we not think that God can use sinful people to “gather and collect only to give to the one that pleases God” (Ecc 2:26) and then enable us to use this worldly wealth to communicate his love to as many as we can?
What does Luke 14:26 tell us? Lest a man put God before his family and even his own self he “cannot be my disciple”.
How can we train our families in righteousness while we idolize them and encourage them in coveting the things of this world by buying them everything they desire, then teaching them to hold on to it for dear life because it was so expensive or whatever. I Jn 2:15-17 says not to love the things of the world. The preacher in Ecc calls them vanity! I believe that looking at wealth as a means to bring people to Jesus is the correct approach which makes it only of value to us when we give it away!
Satan and his demons have worked hard right next to selfish people to deceive everyone, twisting the scriptures to lure those who don’t understand godliness and his way of doing things into a world of sin – idolatry, sensuality, coveting – parading these around as righteousness.

…continued

Selling the Factory (Part 2 of 4) – Richard Wiseman

image_pdfimage_print

“Selling the Factory (Part 2 of 4)”
By Richard Wiseman
Roeder Assessment Center, LaGrange, KY

Joshua has a plan and is not changing his mind. He takes Angie into the business office and instructs her to please empty out her office and move to a lesser office down the hall. More anxiety, less control, sellers’ remorse. She is doubting her decision and in her heart desires to have her factory back already. Angie is resisting Joshua’s right as new owner and CEO to do as he pleases.
He instructs her to take some time now to read the full text in both contracts that C-L-E-A-R-L-Y state his intentions to completely reform and rebuild this factory into something else. Angie just assumed “BIG THINGS” meant her idea of big things. She thought inside her own little box and did not consider that Joshua had his own plans for something totally different and that big things did not mean more financial gain for her family or more vacation time.
Angie had previously laid in bed with her husband and they reasoned with each other as they dreamed of their own ideas of a bigger better version of what they were already doing and a glorious life, and convinced themselves this is what Joshua wants too.
I think that many times we want God to come in and make our idea of rising to success happen faster and our personal factory more efficient. We hear the false teachers speak on striving for worldly success and prosperity assuming God wants to make every professing Christian a millionaire so we can satisfy all our desires and keep what we get along with everything we already have.
See I believe Angie misunderstood Joshua’s “plans for welfare, future, and hope” (Jer. 29:11), and “make your way prosperous and have good success” (Josh. 1:8) and many other similar passages. She thought her ideas and plans will materialize because it’s the best she could come up with and she’s so passionate about them.
She thought Joshua would turn her factory around when times got tough. There are others who are already successful (worldly speaking) and believe God will come in and make some upgrades so that what they have going will be better for themselves at which point maybe they’ll give a little more away after they secure what they want for themselves. Joshua’s ideas of success and prosperity were much different than Angie’s. We get our own ideas of these and don’t consider that God’s may be and probably are much different. Like Angie, we assume much.
We take these assumptions and press on in pursuit believing God intends to fulfill our desires. We ask for things “in Jesus’ name” as a means to whatever end we’ve come up with. We want the house, car, job, promotion, vacation, etc., and justify many of these as – for my family, wife, husband, or something other than self because, as professing Christians, to say “I want this for me” sounds selfish. Being honest with myself, I can see that many of the things I wanted to, and did, give to others (at the root of it) would make me look and feel good. This is sensuality and selfish desire – sin.
We should desire faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1:5-8). If we treasure and grow in these they “…keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful…” These are what we train the next generation in. We add giving charity to those who can’t take care of, or provide for, themselves (James 1:27) along with selfless giving with no desire for compensation or reward.
It takes little to no faith to lend or sell for profit and believe we’ll have food, clothing, shelter, and many other things our eyes and heart’s desire. We will say we have faith while relying on ourselves and conventional thinking to make the profit, and God to make our pursuits more successful because we pray, go to church a couple hours a week like a side job, hobby or social event, and give our little 10%.
God gave his best and all of it. As disciples (Christians) we are to imitate him. Faith says, “I will give away all I can and trust God to both define and provide for my necessities. While making our requests known.”

…continued

Selling the Factory (Part 1 of 4) – Richard Wiseman

image_pdfimage_print

“Selling the Factory (Part 1 of 4)”
By Richard Wiseman
Roeder Assessment Center, LaGrange, KY

Angie owns a factory. It is a well-established place, does lots of business and employs a lot of people. She is comfortable with the money she makes and is attached to her family business. This is what she’s always known and change is intimidating.
Joshua, a wealthy man with a wonderful reputation, has made several offers to purchase the factory. Angie has considered selling to him and in her heart believes it would be best.
Joshua has big plans that will benefit the whole community and more. He intends to expand the building and run a very effective non-profit community outreach facility at first with the potential to go national and maybe even global.
After years of going back and forth with offers and turn-downs, the economy takes a turn for the worse and profit margins are not what they used to be and now she’s working 85 hours a week or more.
Angie decides to sell and makes the call. Joshua is thrilled and an agreement is made. Angie doesn’t know what Joshua is going to do with the factory except that he has communicated “BIG THINGS” are coming and everyone will benefit.
Angie loves this town and people. She also has an emotional attachment to: the building she designed and built; her employees and patrons; her social status and quality of life. Part of the agreement is that Angie will continue to work in the factory in a high level management position. Joshua will be both owner and CEO. He is quite happy with the arrangement.
Angie is hopeful yet remains skeptical and doesn’t verbalize it but she has some major control issues and intends to see that this is done right and as much as possible she will ensure Joshua doesn’t come in and ruin the factory or town.
As far as she thinks, Joshua is going to make improvements, making the factory more productive and profitable. Maybe give it a facelift of sorts along with a new catchy name and advertisement jingle, better pay for the employees and, of course, she’s confident her working hours will be much less and there will be some vacation time.
While reading the sale and employment contracts she only focused on the parts that covered the big stuff like money, position and employees not getting laid off. She skimmed through the rest. Since the deal looked so good and the main points were articulated to her liking, along with Joshua’s sterling reputation, she didn’t feel the need to thoroughly read either one. Angie has assumed much.
Joshua is going to pay all the current employees to do much of the work he wants done to the factory so there will be no lay-offs as agreed. Production will stop on the day of transfer and Joshua will come in and take over as is.
Transfer day arrives and Joshua gets everyone together and announces that the first thing to be done is to clear out the building. Angie’s eyes get huge and anxiety swells inside her.
“We’re going to need s-o-m-e o-f t-h-e-s-e at least aren’t we!?! Some of them are brand new. [Laundry list of objections verbalized.] And this one over here I’ve had forever!”
“I’m sorry ma’am everything has to go,” Joshua simply replies.
“Can I lease a small section back from you so I can keep some of these? There’s no room at my home for them and they’re too big to go in any storage unit. I’m very attached to some of this stuff. You’re throwing away good equipment! What’s going on?!”

…continued

My Bed – Richard Wiseman

image_pdfimage_print

“My Bed”
By Richard Wiseman
Roeder Assessment Center, LaGrange, KY

[2-23-17 Journal Entry Excerpt]

“The waves of yesterday’s rebellion and disobedience will crash on the shores of today for a season, but this too shall pass. Although it is a new day, the sea still casts up the foam of iniquity as it lays it bare on the shoreline for everyone to see. The sea does not say to the shoreline, “Why do you bear my shame and expose it to the world?” The sea is relieved that the impurity is gone and is grateful for the purging. The wave’s calm, the sea is pure and peaceful.
The Lord is my shoreline and the grains of sand are the people He’s used to give my waves something to crash on when they were wild and out of control. Perhaps it is these grains of sand that bear the worst part, because it is my shame that covers them as the foam rests on the shore.
The tide rises and falls peacefully now, perhaps it will wash the shore and remove the filth with the help of the sun evaporating the impurities and taking them off into the wilderness of the heavens like the scapegoat.
I confess my iniquity. I am sorry for my sins. It still hurts. I know it will. There is no escape. No place to run. Nothing to do but deal with it and grieve over my life.
My bed is barbed wire laced with salt and alcohol. There is no rest. I toss and turn and at times it feels like these are sucking me down, trying to swallow me as they chew me up. How does a man be thankful for what he hates? How do I set down bags that are wrapped so tightly around my neck that if I touch them, I’ll strangle myself?
How am I supposed to live with myself when others won’t forgive me? How do I not let this affect my mental state? When I get out, how will I move forward when the pain I caused others stares me down every time I look at one of them in the eye? How will I keep from cowering into a little hole and trying to hide from these? This was my nature. This is how I always dealt with things. I’d run away and hide.
Therefore, logic dictates: to stay and fight is the only acceptable response. I feel like such a coward when it comes to these things. I should stand at the door with my tuff-guy attitude and a 12 gauge in my hands like a soldier. Dress for action like a man! This is what God told Job, time after time as he felt humbled and cowardly when God responded to Job’s cries. Stand up and dress for action like a man!…”

Alone at Bible Study – Richard Wiseman

image_pdfimage_print

“Alone at Bible Study”
By Richard Wiseman
Roeder Assessment Center, LaGrange, KY

[2-27-17 Journal Entry Excerpt]

“…I think maybe (probably) a reason some (most) guys quit coming to my Bible studies is because I talk over their heads too much or give away too much information at a time. I ramble on too. I know I do. I don’t mean to and I actually try hard not to. I’m not a good teacher. I think I’d do best as a janitor – keep my mouth shut and mop the floors and try not to run anybody off.
I just don’t feel like I handle what God’s given me responsibly. It’s like I tie a piece of string around the handle of a chainsaw and crank it up and start slinging it around. I don’t mean to. I’m so excited about the things God’s has shown me over the last 2 years and I subconsciously try to give it all to people in a 30 minute conversation. Guys who have no clue what the bulk of what I’m talking about even means!
If I can’t be trusted with these small things, how can I ever be trusted with large matters? I can’t! Not now. I’m not ready. At the rate I’m going I don’t know if I ever will be. So many wasted years. How could this have ever happened? I should be a teacher by now. Instead I’m a toddler in diapers still. No wise student would get up in the middle of the school year and try to start teaching the very class he hasn’t even completed yet! Where is the balance? How can a man ever know when to speak and when to shut up? It all seems like foolishness and folly to me. There is wisdom but she eludes me. I haven’t gotten to know her. I don’t know that I’d recognize her if I saw her.
Wisdom! Wisdom! Where are you? Why do you hide from me? Why do I feel like a blind man groping around in the dark searching for you? Do you not desire to make yourself known to me? Where else can I look for you my love? In love with one whom I don’t even know? I have heard of her. I have seen others with her. I am jealous. I desire to have her also.
Wisdom! Wisdom! Hear my crying out to you? Answer me and come to my aid! My nonsense has run amuck and is running around like chickens broke free from the pen in the morning. I think I should shut my mouth. Yet, I cannot because people around me come looking for you. They say, “Where is wisdom?” and again, “I’ve seen her with you, she’s left her mark on your forehead”. Yet I cannot see this mark. I do not feel her touch. It seems like a maze and I don’t know where I am or have any sense of direction. Wisdom! Wisdom! Wisdom, come to me. Make me yours!
Father God, open my eyes to see her. Show me her stops as she passes so I can catch her. I would put a ring on her finger and a chain around her neck. I would tattoo her name on my hands and forehead to make her mine as I am yours, Lord.
She is yours, Lord. Will you share her with me? I know where she is! She is within you. She is a stealth soldier in your army, undetectable to those who are unworthy and your enemies. She is indeed elusive. No one knows where she comes from or where she goes. She is like the wind, yet I grasp for her because you tell me I can catch her if I ask! I BEG, Father! Make her mine! Give her to me as a father gives away the bride. Walk her down the aisle and put her hand in mine. Perform the ceremony and tie us together in holy matrimony forevermore. Let our love for each other grow. I will love her. I will treat her well. I will respect her and treasure her.
How will I know what to say, Lord? For your own sake, I beg you to grant my request. Please don’t allow my lack of skill to continue. If you will not give her to me then shut my mouth for me. If my words are not yours and hers, I do not wish to speak. How will I bring you honor and glory if I speak like a fool? I try to give chunks of steak to a baby and milk to an old man. I carry my briefcase and books to preschool and my Bible letters to college. I don’t know which is which!
The most wisdom I’ve ever spoken is acknowledging my own lack of her and how she is not mine yet. I do believe! I do believe! I do believe you will make her mine. I do believe you will open my eyes to see her and my ears to hear her voice. I believe you will write her name on me and give me jewels to adorn her with. I know who my bride is and I know you will join us together. I long for her.
I stand and wait for her on the porch,ever watching the horizon, looking intently for movement and the first sign of her coming to me. I will run to meet her! The day approaches! I await.”…. Amen.

In Christ Completely – Todd Graham

image_pdfimage_print

“In Christ Completely”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Ionia, MI

I have the potential
To be someone special
Don’t want to just be
Running round as me
But be a man free
In Christ completely

I have wounds to heal
And true love to feel
Must not refuse to grow
Or let emotions flow
But be a man free
In Christ completely

Accept I am weak
And learn to be meek
Get down on my knees
Don’t worry who sees
But be a man free
In Christ completely

Don’t live in doubt
Or let my fears out
Accept a helping hand
Have strength to stand
And be a man free
In Christ completely

Promised Land – Todd Graham

image_pdfimage_print

“Promised Land”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional, Ionia, MI

Don’t let me perish from the Promised Land
I pray on Holy Ground I will soon stand

Bathed in the eternal glow of Your Light
You will heal my mind and restore my sight

So I may look upon the great expanse
And know I’ve been guided here not by chance

But by the direction of Your Great Plan
And the sacrifice of the God made Man

Showing The Way being the first of many
Teaching losing all is what sets us free

I’ve learned I can’t be perished from this place
Because I no longer bear my disgrace

Price of admission has been paid complete
In the Power of Christ there’s no defeat