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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Who’s Afraid of the Dark? – Carl Nunnery

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“Who’s Afraid of the Dark?”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

Can you remember back when you were a young child, alone in your room and trying to go to sleep? It was quiet and dark. You felt a sense of fear that someone or something was in your room and was going to get you? You had a horrible feeling of insecurity, right? Don’t feel bad or unique in this experience, many have also experienced this same exact feeling themselves at one time or another. It causes their heart to race and the mind to conjure up evil thoughts. The result of this would make you want to leave the light on while sleeping or to want someone with you in the room to feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep. This feeling of insecurity that is causing you to be afraid is caused by a mixture of different reasons, such as but not limited to being told stories about the boogey man or monsters, scary or disturbing movies before bedtime, or upsetting stories on the news of violence, some kind of psychological trauma in their lives.

So to get over or past these feelings and to calm your fears of darkness, you were told things like there is nothing in the dark, I checked, I chased them away, they’re gone now, or I got them, you’re safe now.

If you stop to give much thought as to what each of the above sayings implies, it was to suggest the fact that something was there. I don’t know about you, but the fact would instill or even greater the fear, causing you to think “what if they come back after I was asleep!”

Here is yet another good one, the granddaddy of them all. You were told, “what you can’t see can’t hurt you.” Wow, right? I mean if that was true, that would make all poisonous gases, diseases, germs and even Satan (a spirit) or the wind visible to the eye, which as you know they are not. We can only see the left behind effects of them. Again I will say, if that were true we could just close our eyes and all the bad things would be gone. Right? That is so very wrong to even suggest. However, some do try to turn a blind eye to deal with something they may be going through only to realize their failure, their problem would reappear. Trust me, nothing goes away by itself. You will have to be the one to choose to do something about it. Think about this if you will. If you turn out the lights in a room then close your eyes, it is pitch black and you can’t see anything. Does that mean God would not be there? I should say not! As a matter of fact, it is God who protects you against the things you can’t see or have any control over.

The truth is, there are things in darkness that can and will harm you. God warns us to beware of the powers of darkness. In Eph. 6:12 it says “our enemy is the cosmic powers that are present in darkness.” The Bible gives many references to darkness and its power. Here are just a few: Luke 22:53, Col. 1:13, I Cor. 4:5, and Eph. 6:12.

God is not saying to be afraid to go to sleep, but rather to be afraid of the darkness state of which one may be in and to who is controlling that darkness. Understand this, one can be in darkness anytime, day or night, not just at bedtime or whether you choose to close your eyes or not. This is true even on the brightest or sunniest of days. One could still be in darkness. No, I’m not suggesting that you will be experiencing a total eclipse of the sun every day, but to the darkness state of being in sin. It is in this darkness you are exposed to all of its evilness. In Prov. 4:19, it says “the way of the wicked is like deep darkness, they do not know what they stumble over.” It is this darkness that God warns us against and tries to pull us out of. Do you remember that scary dark room we talked about earlier? You turned on the light and you felt all better and safe? God has given each of us our own personal light switch that we can use to bring us out of the darkness and into the light. The light we turn on is that of Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us He is the light. Jesus is the light that removes all the fears and all the evilness hidden in darkness. The truth is, darkness can be a very scary place if you are not saved by the light of Jesus Christ. It is in this darkness that Satan attacks you and uses you. In Eph. 5:11 it says, “take no part in unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” So what makes darkness so scary in this world? (Darkness vs. Light)

2nd Cor. 6:9, fear of unknown vs. Heb. 13:6, don’t fear man

Eph. 5:11, things meant to harm you vs. (Ps. 18:28) Lord will enlighten darkness

Ps. 89:18, you are defenseless vs. Ps. 89:18, God is my defense

Rom. 11:25, you are blinded vs. John 9:25, turn from darkness to light

Jam. 3:28, you feel alone vs. Heb. 13:5, I will never leave you.

For those who are in darkness, it is not only a scary feeling but a lonely one as well because of the lack of the light and security.

The light of what Jesus Christ gives. The security of what Jesus Christ offers.
Now let me ask you some questions about darkness. Who controls the darkness?

Who controls the scary feeling? Who controls the loneliness?

I think you would be surprised at the answer to each of the above questions to be — you do!

Why? Because you have chosen to live in this darkness. Why? Because of the forces that dwell there.

That force is Satan and his angels. The truth is, sometimes when one faces difficult times, they do not “seek that which is above” (Col. 3:1), but instead choose to turn to Satan and his ways that will ultimately bring you into his darkness (2nd Thess. 2:9). It is this darkness that causes many things such as fear, separates you from God, causes hate, takes away the light of Jesus Christ, causes worry, confusion and doubt, causes insecurity, and leads to death.
All of these consequences of darkness can be taken away by you by choosing to turn to Jesus,. Believe me when I tell you Jesus is right in front of your face. He’s looking at you holding out his hand to you. He sees you in your misery and he is saddened by your darkened state. He’s waiting for you to reach out to him for his help, but you have to make the first move to get out of your darkness. Why? God can’t and won’t help those who don’t ask for it. You have to make that choice that God has given each of us. Do you remember that saying “God helps those who help themselves”? This is a real accurate statement. You help yourself by asking for God’s help and then God steps in and takes control. That is worthy of an Amen. That means you have to admit you are in the darkness (sinner). You have to choose Jesus as the light (saved).

When living in darkness, you might as well go through life with your eyes closed and wait for your own demise. It will happen. And there will be the heartfelt sadness of Jesus Christ who was there for you but you did not reach out to him to pull you out of your darkness.

Remember, the light of Jesus Christ is always on. Reach up to turn it on, you will see things as never seen before. This is God’s plan for you that no one be left in the dark.

In closing, (John 1:5) God is light. (John 1:4) Jesus is the light of men. (Matt. 5:14) We are the light of the world.

Look at things in a new light and enjoy your new walk on the bright side.

Getting Along – Carl Nunnery

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“Getting Along”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

Have you ever heard that old saying, “Where’s the love?” How about “Why can’t we all just get along?” Now if you will, just take a few minutes to give each one of those two sayings some thought as to what they are actually saying or meaning. I think the way people act or talk originates from the very birth of that child. No, I’m not saying that they inherited them in the sense of how we inherited our sinful nature through Adam, but rather by what they were exposed to at an early age during their growing youth. Young children will often mimic what they see or hear. You know, monkey see, monkey do.

In God’s word, it says “train a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6). God is saying parents are responsible for their children’s training or teaching. God knows as parents we teach them and train them, but ultimately it is the child’s decision or choice that will be displayed. So we should maintain a good, wholesome and moral environment. Let me give you an example of some of the contributing factors behind good children who grew up less than desirable. That means they displayed some form of rudeness, hatefulness or anger as adults.

During that child’s mental and physical development, the child may have been exposed to some form of abuse or neglect or a lack of supervision or guidance, down to the child being coddled or spoiled. A child being spoiled as a youth leads them to feel the need of getting their way or what they want when they want it. This is harmful because as they mature and get older and don’t get their way, they become angry, thus throwing an adolescent behavior. Another situation a child may have been exposed to is that of a broken home. This is a tragic experience for a child, not living with the mother and father. It tears that child apart inside which may cause some psychological issues to develop within the child. Then we have some factors that are manufactured by the individual themselves such as the act of rebellion or defiance, peer pressure or just plain poor choices. But the most damaging of all is where drugs and alcohol are involved. Again it’s from the choices the person makes themselves. In Rom. 12:21 it says “overcome evil with good.” This is a choice.

Any one of the factors mentioned, if not harnessed or addressed, can lead you to become a show off, a smart aleck or an overall hateful person.

Any one of these show a real undesirable characteristic and a real lack of parental guidance. Think about this, just as Christians should reflect that of Jesus Christ, children should reflect that of their parents, with the same love and obedience.

Anyone of these traits add to or determine our lifestyles, which affect the way you act or talk to others. These lifestyles we were exposed to and developed as a youth have now become our developed personality. Each one of us are unique in this way. We all have our own individually developed personality. Just like fingerprints, these developed personalities identify who we are inside. Some of these developed personalities are good and some are bad. When the good and bad clash, it produces friction in the form of anger.

Anger is an emotion that is stirred up within one’s heart, which is the center of our emotions. In Lev. 19:17 it says, “Do not hate your brother in your heart.” Then it goes on to say (vs. 18) “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but have love for your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 5:43). The Biblical definition of neighbor is a fellow creature. Did you notice in verse 18 it said to be love, not hate?

As one once said, hate and bitterness are like weeds with long roots that grow in the heart and corrupt your life. Hate in your heart is one of those bad emotions that keep a person from having brotherly love, which is a fellowship of man.
In Heb. 12:1 God tells us “to keep on loving each other as brothers.” When a person does not have love in their heart, they do not have God in their lives. I say this because in John 4:8 it says “God is love.” The absence of or lack or love in one’s heart opens the door for Satan, the devil. In Eph. 4:27 it says “anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil.”

Hate and anger causes dissension among you. You must control your anger and not let anger control you. These bad emotions cause us to say things that hurt one another and can often cause one to act out in a physical way.

When we respond to a situation in anger, we sin. We are choosing a destructive and ungodly solution to the problem. The key to being able to get along is having God in your life and obedience to His word. Nothing else will do.

In closing, let God, not your anger, determine how you should act or respond in a situation. Let your life be a reflection of God’s love in your life.

As a good friend once told me, “life lessons should be taught from the highchair level, not the electric chair level.”

My four keys to getting along are to love one another (Rom. 13:8), to be respectful of one another (Heb. 3:13), to be considerate of one another (Heb. 10:24) and to have God in your life (Matt. 22:37).

The truth is we all have things on our mind. Don’t let the wrong moods direct your path to anger. Think before you speak, never lash out on a fellow man as a way to vent your hostility or anger. Acting harshly in anger can and usually does have consequences. Let your truth, speech and actions reflect that of Jesus Christ.

My wish is that you be filled with the love of God.

The Golden Rule (Luke 6:31) “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

I Am – John Johnson

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“I Am”
By John Johnson
Baraga Correctional Facility, Baraga, MI

I have had my share of bathing in the sun. It races past my skin and charges the electromagnetic forces inside me. I inhale airs of love then exhale the carbons of hate slowly. It causes the curses of sleep to close my eyes. I awake seated upon the highest mountain, with stars at my face and the earth beneath my thighs . . .
It all influences who I am and encourages me to see things for what they are and what they may come to be. See, I am a fetus surrounded by dirt and water inside this green and blue belly. I am existing, a life inside the living. I am infinity, for I shall never die. I will expand and multiply. I am the Christ crow of the heavens and I spread my wings and fly . . .

Dear world, I am essential. I am prior to dust of the earth and will return to the universe to share with the angels my unified verse. I am gifted beyond curse with the choice of planetary transition versus unwillful stability. I am fertility, a transcendence influenced by Christ’s capability . . .

My friends, I am the seed of pleasure buried beneath this world of hurt. An experimentation born here first. A story of the watchers. God’s unintended manifestation of glory, engineered to “be life, “spare life” and “share life.” An infant god in God’s sight. The small star beside sunlight. A little piece of darkness amongst the entire night. This is what I am . . . the eyes assisting the inner heaven to see outright. I am the example of forever and forever in flight.

Shadow – Todd Graham

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

I wrestle with my own shadow
Even it is not on my side
Into Hades crevice I go
As deep as it is wide

Darkness surrounds all trapped here
Hear sounds of teeth gnashing
I can smell the stench of fear
All hope has come crashing

I’d been warned and knew what to do
To stay out of this place of doom
My shadow won and here it threw
Me to Gehenna fires plume

Like the rich man in the Bible
I long to warn family and friends
Without salvation we’re held liable
And sin took me to this end

There’s no party going on here
Can only hear calamity
No celebration to last the years
My shadow has betrayed me

I wish I had stood firm in The Light
Kept mine eyes fixed upon Him
Light would have replaced my shadows night
And I would have received freedom

Destiny – Todd Graham

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

We must resist the urge to tempt our fate
God isn’t One to necessarily wait
For patience is our burden to learn
On God’s timetable this world turns

We’re all given a choice of two eternities
It is up to us to chose which it will be
With Christ full of joy, singing in praise
Or the pit of regret for all days

Poor Lazarus was in such torment and agony
But the poor man was not able to give him sympathy (Luke 16:19-31)
Even the Prodigal Son knew to return
His father’s forgiveness he couldn’t earn (Luke 15:11-31)

“The last will be first and the first will be last”
As long as I’m in line and not to Gehenna cast (Luke 13:30)
All I must do is repent and believe
Then the ultimate reward I will see (John 3:16)

For God gave all mankind His Only Son
On the Cross telling the devil, “It’s done” (John 19:30)

Do You Feel the Love? – Carl Nunnery

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“Do You Feel the Love?”
by Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Center, Missouri

One thing that is for certain is that we all have “hurts.” We hurt in many different ways. The hurt I will be referring to causes severe pain, yet it is not the hurt caused by a scraped knee or cut finger due to some physical injury that you may have received. The kind of hurt that I am talking about is much deeper than the skin. What would you say if I told you there is a pain that can affect your heart, and that it can hurt so bad that you may actually think it is broken or malfunctioning and that it may even cause you to become ill? Make no mistake about it, the pain you feel from this hurt is very real and very serious. The hurt I’m talking about is located in your heart

Let’s look at some of the obvious reasons as to why your heart may hurt.
A death in the family
A relationship break up
A pet dies
You miss someone
A feeling of loneliness
A sickness or injury of someone

These are some of the most common reasons that affect and hurt the heart, but the one that goes most unseen is that feeling of being unloved. It is a silent pain that is not seen, but is carried by the bearer of it. So you ask “Does it show?” More times than not, it doesn’t. The bearer has become able to carry and conceal their pain. The truth is, many don’t want to face their hurts for some reason or another. They will bury them, deny them and cover them up.

Do you know what the worst thing about that person who is feeling unloved is? It is the fact that you could have stopped this hurt. You may ask, “If it doesn’t show, how are we to know?” In Romans 13;* God’s word tells us to love one another by using God’s instruction to us in His word. You will not be afraid to say those that everybody likes to hear said to them, and that is “I love you.” It’s amazing how just those three words can and does have an impact on a person and how it can affect their lives. I think at the end of every meeting or conversation with someone, it should end with “I love you.”

If you take it a step further, don’t let your own selfishness stop you from even calling or going to see someone if it’s only just to tell them that you love them.
Why is telling or showing someone you love them that important?” Here are a few reasons for this:
Above all, it’s God’s command to us.
It shows them they are loved.
It gives them a warm heart.
It shows that you care about them.
It could be the last time you ever see them.

Let me ask you, if you truly love someone, wouldn’t you want to tell them, show them, talk to them and see them?

Does this have to be a daily thing? No, of course not. But it should be. So many people put their own selfish needs and wants of their own first. This is not the kind of love God desires for us to have, the love of self. In Matt. 6:33 it tells us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God.” That means we are to put God first, to love God first above all. When we do this, it’s God’s love that fills your heart. It’s that kind of love that makes you put others first above yourself, just as Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus put our lives above his own. It seems now these days showing your love and telling someone that you love them has come in a distant second to not at all.

What happens to the person when they are not either told or feel loved? They can feel unloved, forgotten, disliked or shunned. My point is this, tell somebody you love them. Show somebody you love them. It can mean so much and it can make a huge difference in their lives. In John 3:16 it says “for God so loved the world He sent his only Son.” This comes from a God of love, for God is love (I John 4:16). God loves and God showed us. By God showing his love for us, he changed a multitude of people’s lives through his act of love. God’s love is felt in our hearts.

Can you imagine where we would be had God not told us or shown us how much he loves us? God shows us every day how much he loves us. Shouldn’t we reflect that same love to others? It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but one word, love, speaks volumes. A picture is seen, but love is felt.
Remember what it says in Romans 13:10. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor.” This brings up another good point. The word neighbor in the Bible means a fellow creature, not just someone who lives next door as the word neighbor would imply, but all of God’s creatures. As God’s creatures, that simply means we are his created humanity as recorded in Genesis 2:7 where it says “God created and formed man from dust” (Adam).

We are told in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” My friends, the whole creation is you and I. God’s creatures and the good news is the gospel of Jesus Christ and his love for us. In the gospel of Jesus Christ we read in Matt. 5:43 to “Love thy neighbor.”
Do you know what the most amazing thing about showing and telling someone that you love them is? How it makes you feel inside. And it cost you nothing. Love is a universal word that is understood by everyone in the world no matter where you may be or who you are. It is understood by all ages, young or old. The truth is, we may all have a different outward appearance, but on the inside we are all the same. On the inside we are all united by one distinctive member (our heart) and one distinctive creator (our God).

The sad fact is the use of the word love in a conversation is not used in comparison to the many other four letter words. It seems people choose to use the obscene and vulgar four letter words over the word love. Why is that? Could it be the lack of God in their lives? If God was in their lives, these vulgar and obscene words would not be in their vocabulary because they would have been replaced with love. As a test, try listening to a conversation. Each time you hear an inappropriate four letter word, insert the word love in its place. I think you will be surprised at the tone of the conversation. It seems most have forgotten how to use the word love in a conversation except when using it as love for lust (I John 2:16), for money (I Tim. 6:10) or for covetousness (Coll. 3:15).

When you were young, do you recall hearing your mom and dad say to you “I love you”? My question is, at what age do people think that it is not necessary to say “I love you” anymore? At what age do you feel that it is unimportant to feel loved or to hear they are loved?

When it comes to love, how will they hear it if you don’t say it? How will they see it if you don’t show it?

Remember, by telling or showing others you love them, it can change lives.
In closing, let me say that God has given each of us the power to love. This power can mend broken hearts and fill them with love. Use this power to God’s glory by sharing it with others.

God is love and dwells in all believers.

Satan vs. Sinner – Todd Graham

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“Satan vs. Sinner”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Ionia, MI

Myself and two friends performed this at church. It is written as a dual between Satan and a sinner. I sang Satan’s parts while my friend Demitrious sang the sinner’s and Ben blended things together singing the chorus. Title of the song is “Satan vs. Sinner.” Chorus is sung while the verses sung by “Satan” and the “sinner” are a rap:

(Verse One: rap by Satan)
I am the great accuser
I see you as a loser
Watching your failures everyday
Accept your fate without delay
Judgment is what awaits you
Just believe my lies are true
There’s no escaping from me
I created slavery
Sin is my dark task master
You can’t stop living in her
You made your bed so lay in it
Believe in my counterfeit
I am the one who’s in charge
I’ll make sure you keep living large
Give you money, sex, power
Simply be my follower

(Chorus part one)
Satan vs. sinner
And we know who’s the winner
That old devil can’t compete
Because sin, Jesus did defeat

(Verse two: rap by the sinner)
I don’t like the voice that I hear
Threatening all that I hold dear
Never stops hunting my soul
Always thinking he’s in control
All I have to do is drop down
Bow my face towards holy ground
Fold my hands and start to pray
Lord, please strengthen me this day
Then I feel Your love surround
Jesus’ voice is the only sound
Speaking loud and clear through Your Word
The sweetest message ever heard
Grab my Bible, turn the page
See it written from age to age
Scripture says from evil flee
Satan, get thee behind me!

(Chorus part two)
Satan vs. sinner
Christ is always the winner
Blood was shed, battle was won
When he hung his head, said, “It’s done!”

(Verse three: a rap between Satan and sinner. Satan begins)
That book in your hand I see
Is simply fables and stories
There was never a great flood
Wasn’t God’s Son who shed that blood
When you pray no one’s listening
Confess but there’s no forgiving
It is I who gives real pleasure
My example’s easy to measure
(Sinner completes verse:)
This book is the Word of my Lord
Who paid the price I couldn’t afford
Stories are my God’s honest truth
Given to man since the world’s youth
The prayers that are answered for me
Proves he loves, forgives and sets free
You offer pleasure unto death
God gives life through His Spirit’s breath

(Full chorus)
Satan vs. sinner
And we know who’s the winner
That old devil can’t compete
Because sin, Jesus did defeat
Satan vs. sinner
Christ is always the winner
Blood was shed, battle was won
When He hung His head, said, “It’s done!”

(Bridge: rap as a dual between Satan and sinner)
(Satan:) I’m coming at you with full force
Gonna make you turn to my course
(Sinner:) You’ll hit me with all you’ve got I’m sure
But I’m protected by God’s armor
(Satan:) Think that means anything to me?
I’m in control of destiny!
(Sinner:) You’re too late Old Fallen One
I’ve given my life to God’s Son

(Full chorus)
Satan vs. sinner
And we know who’s the winner
That old devil can’t compete
Because sin, Jesus did defeat
Satan vs. sinner
Christ is always the winner
Blood was shed, battle was won
When He hung His head, said, “It’s done!”

Should I Forgive? – Gerald Fletcher

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“Should I Forgive?
By Gerald Fletcher
Cooper Street Correctional Facility, Jackson, MI

Fresh out of gift ideas, a man buys his mother-in-law a large plot in an expensive cemetery. On her next birthday, he buys her nothing, so she lets him have it. “What are you complaining about?” he fires back. “You still haven’t used the present I gave you last year.” By L.B. Weinstein.

Here is a short story I came across one morning. It is by Xochitl Dixon.

“I arrived early at my church to help set up for an event. A woman stood crying at the opposite end of the sanctuary. She’d been cruel and gossiped about me in the past, so I quickly drowned out her sobs with a vacuum cleaner. Why should I care about someone who didn’t like me?

When the Holy Spirit reminded me how much God had forgiven me, I crossed the room. After working through our differences, we’re now good friends.”
In here, I go through that myself. I live in a house of thieves and liars. I hate thieves and liars, but here I am living with them.

Here is an example. I went to work one morning to wait for the boss to come in. One of my co-workers, a painter named Jack, was talking to a maintenance man named Terry about another co-worker, a painter named Ron, that he was sucking up to the officers in his unit by painting things they wanted done while we were painting the unit. We all know that’s what we do when we are painting in our units as Terry told that to Jack. I felt like I needed to let Ron know what Jack was doing behind his back. Jack had done the same thing to me behind my back about an untruth. He was not a true friend of Ron or me. I thought Ron would want to know what he said because I would want to know. So when I went to Ron and told him what Jack said, he went back to Terry to see if Jack said that about him. Terry said to Ron that Jack did not bring up his name and I was lying to him. As I said, I hate liars.

The Bible says “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Eph. 4:32).

“But choosing to forgive doesn’t condone sin, excuse the wrongs done to us, or minimize our hurts. Offering forgiveness simply frees us to enjoy God’s undeserved gift of mercy, as we invite Him to accomplish beautiful works of peace, restoring grace in our lives and our relationships.” By Xochilt Dixon.
Are you having a problem with forgiving another person? Do you live with a lying person? We need to pray for them about their lying and forgive them. It is in God’s hands and He will deal with it.

Brothers, keep praying for me. Dear Lord, help us give our grievance to You so that You may turn them into something good. Make us ready to forgive completely and earnestly.

Remember, forgiving others expresses our trust in letting God be the judge of others.