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Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Son of Hope – Kevin Bastian

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“The Son of Hope”
By Kevin Bastian
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

When things go wrong in life we as humans often lose hope of things getting better. As Christians we forget to remember we will always have hope, no matter how bad things get or how terrible our choices are, as long as we believe, trust and obey Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection and teachings. This is our eternal hope.

Sadly, we as humans know living such a life is easier said than done, due to the emotions we feel and react to. When we are hurting we feel sad, when we’re lost we feel alone, when we fail we become discouraged.

Colossians 1 :27 reads “to them God has chosen to make known among all the glorious riches of this mystery which is Christ in you the hope of
Glory.” This means whether our human feelings or Christian morals are tested we can stand firm on one truth that Jesus Christ is our hope. Jesus’ death on the cross is what many refer to as blessed hope, because when he died our souls were cleansed by his blessed blood. Not just for our past sins and choices, but for our future sins as well. This hope is solidified in his death and resurrection as in John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

I personally can’t think of a scripture that shows God’s true and powerful love than this. This scripture proves nothing in this world matters except believing, trusting and lovingly living for God and his son Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean we have a free card to do what we want. All of our worldly actions and choices have consequences. It does, however, mean that if we repent he will be quick to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. A real dedicated Christian who only lives for God repents daily. We not only can believe in this we can forever hope in his love mercy and forgiveness because of his son Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. Hope is a belief that things will get better, that things will change, something good will happen. My friend, that something has happened when God allowed his Son to die for us. Jesus willfully died for us because he believed we could change. He believed we were meant for more than destruction. On the cross he asked his Father to forgive us, the very ones
who crucified him. Biblical hope is God’s grace, his undeserved favor, mercy, kindness, help and love.

Grace — God’s Righteousness at Christ’s expense. Psalm 33:18-22 reads “the eyes are on those who fear him who put their hope in him to keep them alive, who helps them when they need it, who give us unfailing love as long as we trust in his holy name.” This love and mercy is given to us by our heavenly Father and his son. Just as an earthly father loves his child and a brother and sister loves their sibling, with an unfailing love. Our siblings don’t always like what we do but they love us anyways because they see us for who we are and can be, not for what we’ve done. It’s the same with God. So if you’re struggling or suffering, put more hope in the Lord and less in humans. God will allow some things to happen because he knows we can endure and he knows the end results.

1 Corinthians 10:13 reads “no temptation has seized man except what is common to man and God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but when you are tempted he will provide a way out so you can stand under it.” This is done by boldly coming to the throne of God.

Hebrews 4:16. This means nothing will happen to you that you
can’t handle, this is only true for those who remain in Christ. When you remain hopeful about the future, you stop letting present struggles control your daily future walk with Christ. As children of God we have hope of our sufferings ending and entering eternal life. All hope for all has been freely
given to us by a merciful, loving God proven to us through the sacrifice of his son.

Peter explains this most perfectly in 1 Peter 1:3-5 “praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. From the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade, kept in heaven for you who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the end times.” Thankfully, we as believers can’t do anything to lose this grace as long as we continue to stand firm on loving and trusting God and his Son’s death.

If we had control of keeping this salvation and grace we would quickly lose it. Let’s face it, we can barely handle the blessings we already have because we as humans are trapped in this fleshly body, and we react to our feelings, emotions, thoughts and desires. Though some of our desires are okay as long as they agree with God’s laws and will. They many times cause us to overreact and lose things that we need most. The devil sadly is the king of this earthly world, and his goal is to get you to lose hope, because he knows hope for all mankind is Jesus Christ. As long as we lose hope he knows he’s one step closer to winning. So whether we are rich or poor, broken and abandoned, lost, lonely or scared, we need only remember to keep our hearts open to hope, joy, love and laughter — all things the devil despises. Sadly this does mean we will suffer and go through many trials, the devil’s attempts to break us.

1 Peter 1:6-9 reads “in this you greatly rejoice though for a little while you may have had to suffer in all kinds of trials. Those have come so that your faith of greater worth than Gold which perishes even though refined by fire may be proven genuine and may result in praise glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Hope is believing in things not yet seen but known in your heart and felt in your soul that will happen not because you make them happen. It just does because it’s God’s will. This is when you know your faith and love in and of Jesus is genuine. Because you are positive, loving, forgiving and strengthened through the trials you will face. It’s knowing and believing nothing in this world will keep us from our eternal home, or your end to suffering. Jesus suffered to give us hope. Why not suffer to give someone else hope? They need to know and see the true love and hope in and of Christ, by your trials and triumphs. Use your life experiences to give someone the hope you now have as a child of God a brother and sister of Jesus Christ, the son of hope.

Changing the World – Kevin Bastian

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“Changing the World”
By Kevin Bastian
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

Like me, many of you have probably seen posters on the walls of your classrooms that had quotes on them. One I remember in particular is the one that reads “one person can change the world, one small deed can change a life, one wish granted or chance taken can make the world of yours or someone else’s life better.” I don’t recall the exact words but it always had to do with making a difference and instilled, in so many generations to come, that they mattered. For me, this quote made me feel that I could be that one person whose dreams could come true, and I could change the world.

Like many of us, though, somewhere along the way we came across someone who was negative and didn’t believe in us. That one person affected us one way or another. I personally enjoyed proving others wrong. This continued until I got older and started dating. One thing I learned is always agree with them and life would be so much easier. Whether they are wrong, and all the facts in the world say they are wrong, they are still right.

Ladies, the same goes for us men on reading or asking for directions. We wing it at all times. Just let us wing it; after all, it’s just us keeping our creativity alive. This brings me to my message of how one person can change the world.

Satan, as you know, caused woman to sin by being deceiving. He didn’t lie, he just left things out and said what God didn’t. It’s like as kid our parents say don’t touch, that it’s breakable. They are thinking in their mind, how is it breakable? So we touch, we break. Satan used humanity’s natural curiosity against us with those few words.

Genesis 3:1 Did God actually say, you shall not eat of any tree in the garden? Eve responded with Genesis 3:2, “no, but God did say we shall not eat the fruit of the tree in the middle because you will die.” This is where Satan the serpent gets crafty and enticed Eve. Genesis 3:4-5 “surely you will not die, you will be just be like God when you eat it.”

I myself have been on this path of being more Christ-like. Many times I wish there was an easier path. That’s what enticed Eve. She wanted to be just like God in every way. It wasn’t enough to be created in his image, she wanted his knowledge as well.

Genesis 3:6 “so when Eve had seen that it was good for food and delightful to the eyes and could make her wise she ate and gave some to Adam to eat and their eyes were opened.” Now here’s where the men want to blame the women, but we can’t. Adam should have been a better leader. Women naturally want to make others happy and be seen as beautiful, anything that can help them they will do. Men are naturally strong, courageous, and mentally tough. Satan knew enticing Adam was impossible, that’s why he chose the weaker vessel. Now women don’t take that the wrong way because you also brought glory through the birthing of children. The birthing of Jesus Christ.

I’ve come to believe had Adam not ate of the tree sin would have not entered the world. I’ve come to believe this by reading Romans 5:12 which reads “just as sin came into the world through one man and death through one man.” Where in there did it say sin came in by woman? This is why we can’t blame women but by one man. Yes, woman caused man to fall and their beauty continues to entice us. That’s why we’re called to have self control. Men we are being followers instead of the leaders we were called to be. God created woman to be our helpmate, someone to comfort us. Not to lead us. Women’s emotions control them more than a man’s emotions control them. That’s why we are suppose to be the leaders because we are mentally tough and strong-willed.

This shows how one man changed the world for all. Romans 5:17, “for if because that one man’s (Adam) trespass, death reigned.” So here’s where Jesus comes in to change the world. If one man caused sin to enter by being unrighteous, it’s only fitting that one man’s sin brought death and condemnation to all.

Romans 5:19 “for as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners so by one man’s obedience many were made righteous.” God did this to show Satan that one man’s fall, a picture of Satan himself brought many down. One man’s death and resurrection by being righteous and accepting and loving of all can bring many back up.

Romans 5:7, “for one will scarcely die for a righteous person, how many more would die for an unrighteous.”

Romans 5:8, “but God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:1, “since we have been justified by his blood “faith” we have
peace with God through Jesus Christ.” Not many understood why Jesus was conceived through immaculate conception. It’s because sin lives in the seed of male. Jesus, though tempted by being born of flesh, was able to resist all the temptations we face daily, not because he wasn’t from seed of man. This wasn’t why he became righteous. He was righteous because he lived only for God’s purpose. This is what made him a pleasing gift for all the redemption of mankind.

Romans 5: 17, “because one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man’s seed, how much more will those who receive faith in blood, death, and resurrection the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Jesus freely shed his blood on the cross; arms stretched wide to say come to me my arms are open, I love you just the way you are. You’re beautiful and I love you. He freely gives you all he has because he wants to. All he asks is that you love him back.

I guess after all those years that quote of “one person can change the world” was written by someone who loved and trusted in our Lord and Savior enough to let his quote be his ministry that you matter to him, but most of all you matter to God. I hope that one day this message let’s others know they don’t need money or possessions just the love of others in their heart and they, too, can change the world just as that one quote changed mine and Jesus’ blood raining joy on me and all humanity changed all of ours.

So if you are a child of God and you too have seen this quote, share it
with others. After all, it’s talking about Jesus because He changed life for all forever, no exceptions or discretions in wealth, looks or status. Let your love of Christ and trust in his blood through faith change someone’s life. Go out and share this quote and what it meant to you.

How to Know When God’s Called You – Kevin Bastian

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“How to Know When God’s Called You”
By Kevin Bastian
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

Many people go through life waiting to be told what to do, but the Lord is gracious enough to let you bounce from wall to wall. He allows this because He knows in the end those He’s called will end up in the same place. They will end where he wants them, whether they take the long way or not.

Ever wondered why you have survived things others who have experienced similar things haven’t? Some who are taken far too soon are taken because God has a task only they can handle. This is also true for those who survived. This is only true for those who trusted God. Maybe you have lost a close friend or family member; I pray that before they were taken they gave their heart to God. Even it was their last breath, know it still counted.

My point is this — ever think maybe that person was taken so you have your own personal guardian angel protecting you? I’ve come to believe and trust God enough to understand that He takes people home that He needs. Just like He saves those He needs. He takes them at that time because if He lets the world corrupt them more than it already has they may not be able to handle the task He has for them.

Take a child 2-6 years old. They count on all lessons to be taught by Mom and Dad. Now if they are taught about the good in the world everything would be fine. But as they go through life experiencing things the world has to offer their thinking changes. Someone who only knows pain can handle all aspects of pain. So if someone came along and shows that child love they still sit and wait for the pain to come. Because those who were supposed to love them showed them only pain. So pain is the only way they know they’re loved. It’s sad but true. So if God had a task for them that involved large amounts of pain, they’re qualified. I thank God that no matter how much pain we feel in our lives, God will lead us to someone who shows us only love, so we know we are able to heal even when we’re hurting.

This lifestyle would allow those who have experienced traumatic events to be able to understand, guide, and relate to someone with a similar life story. We all have been through things that strengthen our testimonies. If you have been abused you can teach and help those who have been abused. You can now help them heal. If you have been a drug addict and alcoholic, you can help other drug addicts and alcoholics. If you lost a child either through tragedy or you hurt your child, you can help those who have lost children in similar ways you have.

I can keep going, the list goes on. It doesn’t matter what you have done or been through, the world has someone you can relate to. Someone who understands the fight and storms you’ve experienced. Our experiences and losses are someone else’s chances to heal; someone else’s blessings. Always remember the life you lived. Your hurts and struggles are a blessing in disguise. Me personally, I was abused physically, sexually and emotionally. I witnessed my siblings being abused, molested and misused for so many years that all we seemed to really know was pain. Yet at times we came in contact with those who only showed us love so we were able to partially heal.

I’ve been in foster care separated from my siblings for years now. I currently sit in prison. Though I had some healing for years I carried around bitterness which led me to be divorced and childless. Yes, in this prison and through my losses God graciously led me to those who helped me heal, people who understood me and my past. People who weathered similar storms. I’ve come to help others as they helped me, and likewise I’ve seen those I helped help others. It’s called the chain effect. That’s how amazing God is. The Devil tries to destroy constantly, but God steps in and says “hang in there my child, the Devil can only destroy the
weak but you are strong.” Society rejects the broken spirits, those who have been hurt the most, but they embraced those who haven’t needed anything their whole life. My friends, they reject us because no matter how hard they tried to break us, we survived their attacks and judgments, amazingly with much love still in our hearts. Most of all, we became stronger.

Job, a faithful steward of God, lost everything temporarily so God could test and strengthen his heart and use his losses as a lesson to all that God can give and take away. One thing He never gives is pain, only love. Yes he allows us to get hurt because He knows that pain will one day be a blessing, like all the pain He endured was and is our blessing.

Take an old car for example. It’s rusty, covered in dents but is still a beautiful picture, the rust as blood and the dents as bruises. Just because they covered his body on that cross didn’t make the picture any less beautiful. God sees the beauty underneath the layers of the blood and bruises, like an artist he who looks at a piece of paper and sees a beautiful masterpiece before a single line is drawn. It’s the same with our lives before we were even in the womb. He’s planning on our loves, hurts and all. My friends, everyone who’s fought the Devil and survives comes out bloody, bruised and broken. God only has plans for the bloody, bruised and broken, because he knows the strength of our heart and our faith in him to heal all our wounds. Remember, the Devil is dirty and he uses our many sins against us – they are a book we wrote for him to use. So in the midst of a fight with the Devil you need only say Father heal me,
and your strength will be restored. So you can keep on fighting.

At times it may seem like you will never win and the pain is too much, but hang on and use that pain to lead someone to trust in God as you have. Because every time you lead someone to trust in Christ for him to heal, Satan becomes weaker.

For example in Acts 3:1-10 Peter and John were walking into the temple when they came across a lame man who had been lame since birth. They didn’t offer him many alms like he was asking, no they said in Acts 3:6 I have no gold or silver but what I do have I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazereth, rise up and walk.” Now yes they could have given him only what he asked for, but the Holy Spirit revealed to them a chance to let his lameness be healed to show the awesome power of trusting God and putting faith in the resurrection of Jesus; a chance to further the kingdom of God. The ones who suffer the most are the very ones God uses the most, because their testimony can relate to a lot of people.

If you have suffered little you can only help a little, but if you have
suffered much you can help many. Acts 3:16 says “by faith in his name has made this man strong and faith. That is through Jesus gives perfect health.” So you may feel beaten and paralyzed, but you too can walk again, when you believe. Trust and obey God and put faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. When you overcome many storms it gives people no choice but to believe that Jesus can heal all pains.”

Where I Stand – Kevin Bastian

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“Where I Stand”
By Kevin Bastian
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

Take my heart take my hand,
show me that you’re where I stand Jesus.
Lead my life guide my feet,
let me rest in eternal peace.
Lord of light, bringer of peace,
who made all that my eyes can see.
You’ve opened my eyes to see past the pain,
when your blood began to rain.
My heart is heavy my mind full of doubt,
but by your side I’ll never be without.
Now I sit in this prison cell,
surrounded by the demons of hell.
I’m scratching, clawing at these walls,
feeling so hopelessly lost.
I can’t take this anymore,
confused and scared my knees hit the floor.
So I pray to you set me free show me the man you see.
It’s your face that I seek, it’s your love that I need.
So I give my all to the one true king, knowing that his blood sets me free.
Sometimes I may stumble, sometimes I may fall,
but you’re still there to save us all.
Placed on the cross for the world to see,
all the evil we came to be.
You died upon the cross one day,
to show the world the truth and way.
You’re changing my life and making it new, so now my Lord I live for you.

Your Testimony – Amy Black

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“Your Testimony”
By Amy Black
Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Ypsilanti, MI

The enemy that you are afraid of today will be your testimony tomorrow.

The World vs. The Christian – Delbert Faulkner

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“The World vs. The Christian”
Delbert Faulkner
Lakeland Correctional Facility, Coldwater, MI

Have you ever wondered why the Christian community is so weak? I have. I believe it is because too many Christians hang out with people of the world more than they do with other Christians.

1) Christians Should Not Be Hanging Out With People of the World.

A little leaven leavens the whole lump (Gal 5:9). May it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me & I to the world (Gal 6:14). Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Cor 5:17). Since we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, we should behave like it.

2) Christians Have Nothing in Common With People of the World.

The world’s focus is on earthly things (Phil 3:19); but the Christian is to set his/her mind on the things above, not on the things of earth (Col 3:2).

3) Since Christians Have Nothing in Common With Them, What is the Attraction?

Conduct yourself in fear during the time of your stay upon the earth (1Pet 1:17). Prove yourselves doers of the word & not merely hearers who delude themselves (James 1:22).

4) Many Protest, Saying, “We Are Trying to Win Them!”

As Christians, we have a duty to win souls (Eph 4:11-12). Christ is our model. He was “holy, innocent, undefiled, SEPARATE from sinners” (Heb 7:26); & yet, He was in contact with them for their salvation.

We should be friendly to sinners, but we are not to fellowship with them. Solomon was the wisest man ever to live, & yet he turned from God because he listened to his worldly women. If Solomon’s worldly women were able to turn him from God, those of the world can turn us! The Apostle Paul gave us sound advice when he exhorted believers to separate themselves from people who walk in spiritual darkness: What in common has righteousness with lawlessness? What fellowship has light with darkness? What part has a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Cor 6:14, 15). As Christians, we are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph 4:1). When worldly people speak well of us, are we doing our job? “I have given them Thy word; & the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14). “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). And yet, all too often, many Christians act if this world were their permanent residence.

5) To confess Christ is much more than lip service; it’s a life service.

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one & love the other, or else he will hold to one & despise the other. You cannot serve God & mammon (Lk 16:13). Whoever therefore wants to be in fellowship with people of the world makes himself as enemy of God (James 4:4; 1Jn 2:15-17).
An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, & he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicket (Pro 29:27). “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, & a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; & a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. & he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matt 10:34-37).

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living & holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good & acceptable & perfect (ROM 12:1-2).

Doppelganger – Todd Graham

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“Doppelganger”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Ionia, MI

I desire to be Your doppelganger
An exact copy of Your Example
Never looking back to how things were
Allow Your Spirit in my life make full

I desire to be Your doppelganger
So when others look at me they see You
Your Words taught me I’ll attain this for sure
As You desire that I copy You too

I desire to be Your doppelganger
Your Blood washing the stains from the old me
Fear and doubt covered over by Your Cure
Life bound to Your Law is how I live free

Restored – Todd Graham

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“Restored”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Ionia, MI

Restored, renewed, cleansed, free
This is what my Lord has done for me
Removed the filthy rags of my sin
Nourished a new man in Him to begin
He has restored me!
He has renewed me!
He has cleansed me!
He has set me free!

I was buried under my mountain
Weighted down with all of my dark sin
Your Word taught with Faith I could move it
Then You threw it to the Sea of Forget

Restored, renewed, cleansed, free
This is what my Lord has done for me
Removed the filthy rags of my sin
Nourished a new man in Him to begin
He has restored me!
He has renewed me!
He has cleansed me!
He has set me free!

Guilt and fear used to be my best friends
But you helped this relationship to end
Now my best friend is also Savior
And He’ll be by my side forever

Restored, renewed, cleansed, free
This is what my Lord has done for me
Removed the filthy rags of my sin
Nourished a new man in Him to begin
He has restored me!
He has renewed me!
He has cleansed me!
He has set me free!

Shame once lurked inside of my shadow
Waiting to pounce when I didn’t know
But Your Light put this darkness away
Now I stand inside your glow today

Restored, renewed, cleansed, free
This is what my Lord has done for me
Removed the filthy rags of my sin
Nourished a new man in Him to begin
He has restored me!
He has renewed me!
He has cleansed me!
He has set me free!

The Warrior – Todd Graham

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

I am a warrior in my own wasteland
Against the demon in my mind I take my stand
The winged beast takes flight as it hears my cry
A scream of a warrior who is not afraid to die
Head first into the eternal battle I fall
Ready and willing to sacrifice my all
To give up this life so that I might live
This is the greatest gift to myself I can give
Reaching the battlefield I see destruction before me
Charred and blackened ruins of what use to be
The walls that supported me internally
Have fallen letting Fear escape to be free
This will be my greatest enemy to face
As he rears his head to mock me in disgrace
Stalking me behind my rubble as if I’m prey
Little does he know he’s the one that will die today
Suddenly he stands before me with weapons drawn
Just as the Son breaks horizon with new dawn
Striking him hard with all His spiritual might
Placing fear into Fear’s heart taking away his bite
He runs off like the wounded animal that he is
Trying to ensure that for another day’s battle he lives
I must always remain at ready and be on guard
Knowing keeping Fear at bay will always be hard
This battle doesn’t have to be fought individually
For Jesus Christ has promised to be here with me