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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Character is the Tree — Terri Reese Green

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“Character of the Tree”
By Terri Reese Green
Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Ypsilanti, MI

Praise the Lord. The tree is the Holy Spirit, Christ the anointed one. Let us keep in mind that the Holy Spirit doesn’t come alone.
He has a family, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. (I John 5:7).

I would like to talk about the fruit of the spirit. We saw the fruit in Isaiah 53:1-3 is the fruit still despised and rejected of men. Also, if we allow sin in the tree we destroy the witness for Christ (Matt. 7:16-20). Also Psalms 22:6 tells us what the tree is.

I want to talk about the tree. Can the Holy Spirit live in an unclean temple. Yes, but if we look at Isaiah 63:10 He tells us that the Holy Spirit will fight against us. It’s important to study the Word of God. The tree is a house of prayer, the fruit is the person who is a witness for Christ. The fruit is a comforter for all who witness for the tree.

Character means everything. The fruit works from the Spirit, not you. You are no longer a part of the work. The Spirit is who lives.

Things Can’t Get Any Worse – Carl Nunnery

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“Things Can’t Get Any Worse”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

If I could tell you one thing for sure, that would be that we all have felt that things just couldn’t get any worse, or maybe you feel that you are at the end of your rope. You know the miserable feelings like: you are in a corner you can’t get out of; nothing you do seems to go right; you feel alone and nobody cares; you feel that nobody could ever help you; you don’t know where to go for help; or that you could really use a friend.

I am rather confident that you can relate to one or more of the above examples. It’s true enough, we have all felt this way at one time or another. You know the feeling where you don’t even want to get out of bed. You feel a huge burden of worry, fear, grief or confusion. You may even feel as if when you try to keep your nose clean and mind your own business it seems as if trouble always happens to find you. It’s not rare at all that we may find many who feel just this way regardless of who you are. So what causes you to feel this way? Could it be bad experiences, your own feeling of misfortune, you tell yourself trouble always finds you, you think you are the only one it happens to, or you ask yourself, “What did I do to deserve this?”

What all this negative thinking does is to set up you for a fall. You are a wreck waiting to happen.

Now what if I told you that all of these feelings were of your own making? Sadly enough, it’s true. People seem to work themselves into a frenzy over concerns or difficulties they may be facing. All of our feelings that we may be experiencing are a matter of how we choose to look at them. It’s kind of like how some will see a glass as being half empty while others may view it as being half full. The power of the mind can very easily lead you to a false conclusion or a state of feeling hopeless. The truth is, if you always look at all things as being bad, they will be.
I have painted out a very dim view of how some deal with their feelings and thoughts, and it’s all done needlessly. So why do they do that to themselves? Is it because they do not know where to go for help or who to turn to?

The Bible gives us a wide resource of where to turn to for help, such as: strength (Exodus 15:2), hope (Psalms 78;7), understanding (Luke 24:45), wisdom (Col. 1:9), leading (Psalms 5:8), worry (Matt. 6:27 and 6:34), comfort (Ruth 2:13) and love (11 Corr. 5:14).

When you feel things are so bad for you, it is because you allow it to be. God knows everyone’s heart and what you are going through and He gives us a way to help us cope and understand our feelings by giving us a refreshing way to look at our situation.

In all cases, things are not as bad as they may appear to be or that you make them out to be. Let’s say you cut your finger. You only see the blood and feel the pain. So what do you begin to do? You start to build it up by telling yourself I’m going to lose my finger, the pain is unbearable, I’m going to bleed to death or I’ll never be able to use it again.

Do you see how we let our imagination run wild and lead us to believe things that are not necessarily true? We allowed it to get the best of us, right? We allowed our present situation to appear worse than it really was. This is also true in how we look at other situations that we may face in our lives as well.

Have you ever given any thought about it may have been God who gave you these times in your life to make you stronger and wiser? The fact is, God does allow certain things to happen to test us. It’s not to confuse our thinking or to cause us harm or misery, but to test our faith in Him and to show us our need for God in our lives. God wants us to look at things from a different view; His.
We can refuse to trust God in our lives and refuse to seek His help and understanding, or we can trust in His ways to see things from His eyes, to feel his ways in our heart and to understand His ways are not our ways and to know God is with us to help and comfort us always.

What I’m trying to say is just this. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. Don’t look at things in a negative way. Things absolutely do happen for a reason and will all work out for good for those who believe and trust in God (Romans 8:28).

In James 1:3, it tells us testing of your faith produces endurance. And in James 1:2 it tells us we should consider our testing as pure joy. It all depends on how you choose to look at your situation. You can torture yourself by always looking at the negative or you can have peace and comfort in trusting God.
When you talk to someone who thinks they are in such bad shape and they only see the worst of it, this is nothing more than them having self pity. They refuse to see God working in their lives. God wants us to rely on him for all our needs, to allow Him to carry our burdens and to renew our minds.

Did you know that when you carry or display pity about yourself it can affect those around you? You are, in effect, wanting them to feel sorry for you. In other words, you are wanting them to share in your pity party. When something unpleasant may happen, pray to God for understanding and wisdom. And even in the worst of times you will find God’s glory waiting for you.

In closing, let me say this. If you think that things can’t get any worse for you, you are sadly mistaken. Don’t take that negative kind of thinking. Don’t test that theory. Turn to God. Trust in God. Have Faith in God. He can do more than you think.

From Here to Eternity – Carl Nunnery

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“From Here to Eternity”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

This writing is different from the other writings that I have done due to it being titled from a TV movie that I have heard about. I must admit to you that I have never seen this movie myself or even know what it is about. But still, the title of this movie came to mind when I thought about where we desire to spend the rest of our lives.

Think about it, from here to eternity. The here is where you are currently at in your life and the choices that you are presently making. As to eternity, that will be the result of your choices that you make that will determine where you will spend the rest of your life. It made a bell go off to remind me that we will, in fact, leave from here to an eternity. You’re probably thinking, “If I die, how can I go on to an eternity?” The answer is you don’t die, your body does. It is your spirit that will go on to an eternity.

Here is how that works. When God created man in his image (Gen. 1:26) that makes us a spirit as God is a spirit (John 4:26). The body is not eternal, the body is just a created vessel where the spirit dwells in. The body is not eternal and was not created to be.

When we consider our body, you have to understand it is not just a body. Our body is made up of a trinity. In I Thess. 5:23 it tells us the human body is made up of a body, soul and spirit. The body is temporary, the soul is your mind thinking, the spirit lives in the body. It never dies. It’s from God (Gen. 2:17).
Each part of the body’s trinity has its own distinct function, but what I want to have you focus on is the spirit. It never dies. In the body of a Christian, the spirit goes back to be with the Lord who gave it (Ecc. 12:2). That makes our spirit eternal. Sounds great so far, doesn’t it? Now for the bad news. Did you know there are two separate eternities? They are with the lord in eternity or with the devil in eternity.

Make no mistake about it, both eternities are very real. That’s why the title “from here to eternity” makes more sense than you may realize. It is the here and now that will decide our eternity. I urge you to read my writing that I wrote called “Death, What is Death, What happens after Death.” This will give you detailed information and a better understanding about what happens when the body dies. My focus now is on where you go from here and where you want to spend your eternity.

It is urgent that you stop to think about the here and now. The urgency is that the now could be your last day for you to decide or choose your eternity before it is made for you. This is the one single most important decision that you can make in your life, and you have so much riding on it.

Why is it so urgent? Simply this: In Matt. 24:44 it tells us the Lord is coming at an unexpected hour which means we don’t know the day or time of the Lord’s return. You could walk out your front door and your life here on earth could be over.

Have you ever looked back on something that you said or did and said, “I won’t make that mistake again.” That is all well and good. Learn from your mistakes, but when it comes to choosing your eternity there will not be any second chances to get it right. You must know which eternity you are heading for and approach each and every day as if it was your last day on earth because it may be just that. As I stated earlier, no one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s return.
In I Tim. 6:19, it says “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are doing exactly what Timothy had written in his book. You’re laying down a foundation against the time to come, which is the day of the lord (I Thess. 5:2-3).

Timothy goes on to say that they may lay hold of eternal life. Let’s break it down. To prepare for your future (store up), good foundation (the Lord Jesus Christ), the time to come (the day of the Lord) and lay hold on (eternal life).

Yes, we all can be assured of an eternal life, but it is up to you to choose to receive the blessed promise of it (Heb. 9:15) that will be spent with our Lord and Savior. If not, you will go on to the other eternal life, spent with Satan, in eternal hell.

The eternal hell as I stated is a very real place. You can read my writing “The Devil and Hell. Are They For Real?” I do explain this place called hell more in depth, but to give you some idea about what the eternity in hell would be like, here are a few scriptures. Conscience (Luke 16:24), in a fire (Rev. 20:15), in your spirit (Gen. 1:26), not consumed (Mark 9:44), in everlasting torment (Luke 16:28) and for eternity (Matt. 25:41).

My friends, where you go from here is your choice, in which eternity you choose to spend it.

God has made the way (John 14:6), the provision (Rom. 13:14) and the promise (Heb. 9:15).

May God direct your path from here to His eternity.

Forgiveness – Trina Peake

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“Forgiveness”
By Trina Peake
Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Ypsilanti, MI

I hope some will find comfort in the struggles of unforgiveness we face within our families and/or ourselves.

I love them all yet hate them,
the wrong that’s been done . . .
“forgiveness” why come?

They know not what they do,
in a big picture sense . . . It’s true.

When you know better, you do better
so you would think,
yet choice overrides by evil habits internalized.
When will they learn, how will they know . . .

It’s up to me to forgive and show
let the forgiveness I’ve been given flow
to those who know and don’t know.
It’s oh so hard . . . but . . .
Love conquers the hardest of hearts

Longsuffering for me He did,
poured out His life for mine
no temporary thing
but love eternal divine.

So when I think of them
my Jesus is thinking of me
I love you all and forgive ME family.

Be Positive – Joseph Jones

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“Be Positive”
By Joseph Jones
Ojibway Correctional Facility, Marinisco, MI
I am taking a AA 12 step class and this prayer was in the book.

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where there is hatred, I may bring love – that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness – that where there is discord, I may bring harmony – that where there is error, I may bring truth – that where there is despair, I may bring hope – that where there is shadows, I may bring light – that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted – to understand, than to be understood – to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.

This prayer has quickly become a favorite because it’s asking for self-improvement, not self-centeredness. Being in prison for as long as I have been, I’ve been able to find a community usually anywhere I go. This is my first level one and the short time most people are sentenced to here, don’t look at this place as a community and act accordingly. A community cannot be filled with people who are self-centered. We have to look out for each other.

Along with that prayer, I prayed for guidance to find out what to do. I have been led to step up more and lead by example. Don’t walk around with a woe-is-me attitude, change what you can and be positive. Make (live) the life you want, not the environment you’re in, change it.

His Loves Mystery – Todd Graham

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“His Loves Mystery”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Ionia, MI

The wonders of the world declare Your Glory
And my heart longs to learn more of Your Story
Your attributes are Holy and invisible
Yet I can feel You making all things possible
Your protective hand is there to guide me
Even though with my eyes I cannot see
My outer world may be trapped in despair
But the inner world is held in Your good care
Why is it you love an error like me?
Because through Christ my mistakes You don’t see
Blinded by the flow of Your Son’s Blood
My sins are covered by His Scarlet Flood
This gift I accept freely in Your Love
The greatest gift given to man from above
Thankful I am forgiven and set free
For to earn it is an impossibility
Flawed and broken the day I was born
Sin inherited when from the womb torn
Temptation is with me from cradle to grave
But through You I am not one of its slaves
Please continue to guide and discipline
Keep my spirit from the pit of oblivion
Will I see You when I take my last breath?
Or meet You in the sky not experiencing death?
Either of these scenarios is fine with me
Knowing no matter my end it’s You I’ll see
For now I’ll struggle with loneliness and pain
Knowing it’s all worth it when eternity I gain
To those I love who’ve turned and abandoned me
I forgive and pray that your souls too are free

A Broken Father’s Prayer – Todd Graham

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“A Broken Father’s Prayer”
By Todd Graham
Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Ionia, MI

I am proud to be a father
Not because of who I may be
This pride was born of hope
In the future that I could see

The story of a child born
To a broken man in hiding
A tale told through the life
Of a daughter of peace to bring

For as I struggled with my demons
It was you who was my anchor
Each time I feared I was failing
Your hugs would my doubt deter

From the moment you left the womb
I saw the vision of liberty
The clouds gathering before me
You parted to show a path to be free

While you never knew all that I am
It was you who gave me control
The love you gave unconditionally
Continually renewed my soul

Now we’re at my point of failure
When all truth finally came to light
And you are no longer by my side
I fear I’ve fallen into forever night

My mind constantly fills with images
Seeing you past, future and today
On my knees I cry out daily
God send her forgiveness I pray:

“Let her know she doesn’t have to understand
That none of my wrong is her responsibility
I need her to take all the shame and fear
And give it all back, place it all onto me

But if she truly now believes
Her life is better without me there
Please let her know I’ll honor her
And will keep my distance of despair

For I love her so much I must
Give her all that she asks of me
Even if her final wish is
That I stay away for an eternity

Lord, heal her heart and give her rest
May time be kind to her saddened spirit
Release her from the bond to me
Allow her to go to others and commit

For this father will endure life
Spent with a broken heart
But she doesn’t deserve the same
So please grant her a brand new start”

– Amen

The Best In Me – Raymond Carr

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“The Best In Me”
By Raymond Carr
Lakeland Correctional Facility, Coldwater, MI

There was a man who had wealth and could buy anything he wanted. So he went to the lower part of a town, some might say the poorest part of town. Howbeit, the other townspeople laughed at him and ridiculed him for buying land that they felt was inferior, cheap, second-rate and worthless. In spite of the naysayers, this man worked the ground every day. Then one day, years later, his land produced fruit.

Many times, all people can see is the dirt and don’t see how God is working beneath the dirt. But, GOD!

Vs. 5. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministries by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Vs. 6. I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Vs. 7. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Vs. 8. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

Vs. 9. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” I Corinthians 3: 5-9

Some people have been categorized as a loser, because of where they may be in life, or what they have done in their past, But God!

Unfortunately, some have bought into the thinking of devaluing themselves because of where they are or what they don’t have. But I am here to tell you today, that God is able to restore such a one, and that means ALL OF US!!!!

“And I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat until you are full and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who worked wonders for you; never again will my people be ashamed.” Joel 2:25-26

Faith is a Tangible Reality – Nicholas Butler

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“Faith is a Tangible Reality”
By Nicholas Butler
Marquette Branch Prison, Marquette, MI

Faith is more than some intangible force that is guided by unintelligible belief. In contrast to this nonsensical conception, faith is supported by reason, logic and evidence. The argument against faith as opposed to the tangible reality of its substance is a product of the late 17th and early 18th century Enlightenment Period.

Prior to the Enlightenment Period, belief in God was assumed. It was the building block for all of philosophy and by extension, all cultural norms, values, and traditions. During the Enlightenment Period, the definition of truth was attacked by philosophers such as David Hume, Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard and others. Attacking truth became a tool to devalue belief, which served as the means to create doubt and suspicion towards faith. Weakening faith by approaching life and reality through the lens of a worldview that focused upon the individual (secular humanism ) without the Bible as the starting point became effective as truth, belief, and faith were diminished and reduced to subjectivity and relativism. These philosophers have infiltrated seminaries and impacted theology in the twentieth century teachings of spiritual leaders and pastors.

The greatest enemy to truth, belief and faith is the secular movement which appeals to emotionalism more than intellectualism. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” This clearly is an admonition given by Peter to all believers. This is our responsibility and duty as we evangelize the world with the Word.

Reason is a powerful weapon which supports faith. Reason extrapolates upon a logical explanation that gives credence to a conclusion or some truth or fact. Reason is real and substantive. We reason through empirical evidence that the cells in our bodies are intricately made and composed of numerous component parts (cytoplasm, protoplasm, DNA, RNA, a cell membrane, and a cell nucleus). Subtract any one part and the cell loses its capacity to function and metabolize. Chance could not have brought these component parts together as evolution teaches and has no physical evidence to verify. Deductive reasoning, the ability to prove by reasoning, informs any reasonable and sound mind that the cell was created and designed by a Creator who created mankind. Inductive reasoning, persuasion, is also a strong argument as there is no physical evidence that can demonstrate chance has the ability to create the cell’s component parts, and natural processes which would blindly guide them to come together and form the life of a cell.

Traditional logic has been viewed as opposed to reason in much of philosophy. In spite of this, logic is a principle of reason that proves the validity of the thing argued and also establishes the criteria of validity of inference and demonstration. Logically when I consider the Big Bang Theory, I know that nothing can come from nothing to form and create all of the elements essential to life. Logic acts as a guide to reason to inform me that the very premise of the Big Bang Theory is faulty because Something is required to bring into manifestation all of the elements essential for life. To me, that Something is God.
Since faith stands on reason and logic, it must embrace evidence. Evidence comes in a variety of forms, direct/physical, circumstantial, and inferential to name a few. Many mainstream scientists teach that the laws of nature debunk the need and existence of God. Once again, if the premise of the argument is false, the statement must follow. The terminology laws of nature indicate possession, “the laws” are “of ” nature. Who or What is nature? Obviously, nature must be an entity outside of time and space in order to have laws operate in the physical realm. No other explanation can account from nothing deriving from nothing. That Something, God, is a Spiritual Entity, to reside in the spiritual is to take up space, therefore, spiritual beings are composed of matter. In the beginning of time, space, and matter, God was the only Being in existence, He spoke The Word by divine fiat which materialized into a physical substance, meaning the laws of nature are God’s hand at work. Nature is a euphemism for our Creator Yahweh. Thus, the laws of nature are direct evidence of the existence of God as their possession is owned by Him.

Faith is a living material substance as believers act out what they know, think, and feel through reason, logic, and evidence. God lives through the believer by this belief.

Changing Lives – Roy Anklam

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“Changing Lives”
By Roy Anklam
Newberry Correctional Facility, Newberry, MI

In my last letter to you I told you how Christ became my Lord and Savior. I also said how it happened at my Keryx weekend a few years ago and that we were getting ready for another Keryx weekend from September 14-17. I wanted you all to know how it went.

God is awesome. It was a blessing to be able to serve and be the hands and feet of the one who took the nails in His hands and feet for me so that I could be redeemed by His blood.

On Thursday when the 54 candidates came into the gym, you could see the hardness on their hearts. They didn’t want to shake anyone’s hand. They thought “What did I get myself into?” I knew without a doubt that God could and would soften their hearts of stone and turn them into hearts of flesh.

By Friday night though, they were speaking differently, thinking differently and acting differently. The more they worked the weekend, the more you could feel the Holy Spirit wash the gym. By Saturday afternoon, you could tell that these 54 candidates had a seed planted deep in their hearts. They just need a little more watering.

Well, when the angels came in to sing to them, that was all the watering that they need. I got to sing with the angels, I had tears running down my face because I knew God was using me to change men’s lives forever.

On Saturday night I spoke to God and told Him that when I am allowed to (so after parole) I am going to come back into the prison and sit at the table with two inmates and be their sponsor (the sponsor pays $50 apiece of their money for the inmate to go). On Saturday the candidates got to speak to us and you could tell the strongholds in their live had been completely destroyed forever.
On Sunday they do a cross ceremony. Fifty-four of 54 candidates accepted the cross necklaces and said these words, “I’m counting on Christ.”

It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we are allowed a program like this in prison. But with God there is always more. They do these life changing weekends in the free world. My brothers and sisters in Christ, please give this ministry a try. You will not be disappointed. Bring along your friends who are unbelievers because at the end their weekend they will be transformed also. God loves you, I love you, and that’s the way it’s going to be!