image_pdfimage_print

Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Awakening – James Kerbleski

image_pdfimage_print

“The Awakening”
By James Kerbleski
Newberry Correctional Facility, Newberry, MI

My awakening began some five years into my prison term. It started with being transferred to a different facility. This was never fun – pack up, get on a bus, cuffed-up and ride for hours without a clue where you’re going.

This time, as luck would have it, I found myself hours from home with not one friend in sight. To make things worse, I found myself in a 14-man cell. That’s always loud and lights that are always on – just no peace and quiet. But still, I tried to get a routine – workout, play drums in a band and paint. But no matter how hard I tried, nothing worked. I was just living day to day with no real sleep, waiting to go crazy or find someone to fight. Then after months of bad days and this chaos, it all came to one moment and one choice. After being woken up one night and in a moment of rage where I was ready to get up and fight, I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I stopped, closed my eyes and prayed, “God I am done doing it my way and am ready to do it your way.”

Everything changed from that moment on. I felt a peace come over me and fell asleep before I knew it. Now in the days, weeks and months after, I found peace, joy and love in my life.

I have started reading the Word daily, found a great Bible study and as I am learning and growing, I am still waking up every day praying, “Thank you God, what is it I can do today.” Now my goal and mission is to serve God every day and try to help others find their way to God, too. Because I want everyone to be able to find the joy and peace I have found. I live in the Word now, not in the world.

Are You Hurting? – Carl Nunnery

image_pdfimage_print

“Are You Hurting?”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

Have you ever talked to someone and even though they displayed the look of control and happiness their eyes looked as if they were reaching out for you for help?

Many people have different things going on inside their heart that can’t be seen. They are hiding their problems on the inside and trying to deal with them on their own. This causes them to be torn inside. By that I mean if you were to picture them as a piece of cloth, while it looks to be complete or whole, when you look more closely you notice a tear in it, resembling their hurt inside. They are, in fact, torn by two emotions in two different directions at the same time.

Consider one emotion as being your inner peace that is tugging or battling your other emotion, that being the emotion of inner confusion at the same time. The friction makes you feel as if all is good one day and the next day you feel as if all the good you have put together has once again fallen apart for you. These inner battles can be one of many reasons to cause this conflict but still can cause that person to be at unrest and able to stay focused on the other issues that may arise.

What makes these inner battles so hard to recognize is that they usually are unable to be seen. It’s like a silent cry for help. They want help but don’t know where to turn or who to turn to.

When you walk up to someone that you may know, you can usually notice if that person doesn’t seem the same and that something may be bothering them. But if you approach someone that you don’t know, well, they will try to hide this feeling. They will talk as if trying to portray a pleasant disposition. You may be able to detect that something is not quite right and when you ask them about it, they will try to resist wanting to talk about it by saying they’re okay or “it’s nothing at all.”

Sometimes all it takes to see their quiet or hidden pain is to have a listening ear. When you find yourself in anguish, the Bible says in Ps. 55:16 to call upon God and the Lord will save you. God is that listening ear to us. We are to share all our struggles and pain with him.

In Matt. 11:28 it says, “come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” The pain inside us makes us feel as if there is a constant battle within us. Sometimes we feel like giving into it just to escape the pain because we don’t see any other way out. The truth is, the secret to our inner peace is our relationship with Jesus Christ.

When you feel weighted down with despair, look up to God who will lift you up. In 2nd Thess. 3:16 it says, “the Lord of peace gives you peace at all times.”

Don’t let the problems in your life control you. There is nothing that you cannot overcome with the strength of Jesus Christ.

My friend, you are never alone, even though at times of trouble you may feel as if you are. God urges you to call upon His name for His help in your time of need. God can calm the storms in your life and He can make the cloudy things clear. All the things that you are battling can be removed and you left with an inner peace through the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

Don’t let Satan have any part of your life. You must not give him any foothold to use against you. When you feel as if things are mixed up and you are being pulled in different directions, this is nothing more than Satan attacking you and it’s causing you to feel the confusion. He will make you feel as if you are beaten.

Satan is the master of confusion and deception, but the truth is, Satan has no power over you unless you give it to him.

In James 4:7 it says, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Call upon the name of the Lord and He will be there. God will be the one who will pick up the pieces that are out of place and put them in their proper order. Remember, God is not the author of confusion or disorder, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33).

Finally I’ll leave you with this. “In my distress I called upon the Lord my God. I called Him from His temple. He heard my voice and my cry comes to his ears” (2nd Sam. 22:7).

The Bully – Carl Nunnery

image_pdfimage_print

“The Bully”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

How was school today? “I hate it,” was the child’s reply. Not something a parent wants to hear from their child, so the questions begin. “What’s the matter” or “What happened?” The parents soon learn it’s not the school that their child hates but rather what happens to them while at school. The parents learned that their child was a victim of being bullied while at school. This was causing their child to focus more on the bully and how to avoid them than they were on the learning being taught at school. The sad fact is this behavior is rampant not only in the grade school level but in intermediate, high school and college as well. This is the evidence that bullying, if left unattended, does not go away. The truth is, it seems that every school has at least one who claims the title of being the big bully.

Let’s look at the actual definitions of the word bully. There are two of them: “a person who is habitually cruel to others who are weaker” and “to intimidate or to make fearful.”

Bullies are actually predators who prey on the weaker person. They feed off being cruel to them or just causing that person to fear them. Many don’t see the bully for what he really is. Here are some of the names the Webster Dictionary uses to describe a bully: gangster, hoodlum, a mug, hood, rowdy, mobster, goon, thug, punk.

Yes, the weaker are fearful of those who are stronger than they are and sometimes they are pressured into doing things that they would not normally do. The bully does this for his own self gratification as well as to impress the onlookers.

A lot of times you hear the smaller person say to the bully, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” Oddly enough, you never see them do that, do you? Bullies don’t like it if the odds of being successful are not in their favor.

Are bullies only at schools? I wish I could say yes, it’s only temporary child’s play but sadly enough some people never grow up. This means there are bullies almost everywhere. There are no age restrictions for being a bully. In Acts 8:1-9:4 it gives us a look at a big bully – Saul. Saul was a persecutor or bully of the early church. The word persecutor means to “pursue with harassing.”

It’s true, most bullies are found in schools. This is where the children are, but some actually do grow up and, ironically enough in a lot of cases, it’s the one who was the weaker or smaller person that has grown up into a more physically fit individual than the bully now is. Kind of like the old saying, “what goes around, comes around.”

That being said, would that make it right for the one who was weaker to seek revenge on the bully who is now the weaker person? I will respond to that question by what God says in His words in Romans 12:19. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.” So it is okay to seek revenge? No, of course not. Vengeance is the Lord’s and will always be. Think about this, the bully is the one who must carry the burden of his actions, which may be burning like coals inside him, knowing God’s judgment awaits him.

What effects does it have on a person being bullied? It could cause that person to have low self-esteem so as not wanting to be around anybody, then pushing them to a dangerous point. Everyone has a breaking point and then that person will snap and say, “Enough is enough.” Have you ever heard the saying that if you back a dog into a corner you’re going to get bit? It’s true. A person who is being bullied will finally say to himself, “It’s time to do something about it myself.” This is when it becomes a time bomb with an unknown time or place, it will go off.

You see, a person who is being bullied will not always tell anyone about it out of shame for himself, so they will come to two possible solutions to their problem: the bullied person takes their own life as an escape or the bullied person will seek to become the bully, usually with deadly results.

Sometimes the bullied person will seek to get their own revenge or justice or satisfaction. While guns or violence has never been the solution to a problem, as the past has shown, it not only has been but it also has brought some innocent people into harm’s way. Before it escalates to that, do as I suggested, talk to your child and look into their eyes. Every parent knows their child. They know and can tell if something is bothering them.

If you witness someone being bullied, If you are unable to take them away from the bully, go get someone who can. Report the bully to the proper authorities who will know how to handle the situation and if the police or parents need to be called. It is your duty to protect your child and to prevent the child from making a hasty decision to get back at someone for the way they may have been treated.

Another kind of bully is that which is produced at home by the treatment of their parents which has caused that child to take out their frustration on others. Report and stop bullying before it starts.

If you were to ask a bully why they act that way, they would boastfully reply, “because I can.” This is because the effort to stop them or to report them was not made.

Being affected by a bully in your life is a mean and cruel, even hurtful, experience to go through. It keeps you from being the best you can be. Don’t allow a bully to rob you of your potential. Don’t allow a bully to achieve his cruel acts at your expense. Point him out.

When you see someone being bullied, help them out of that situation. When the bully realizes their childish acts will no longer be tolerated or condoned is when it will stop. Being a bully to someone is nothing more than committing a hate crime against them. Let’s pull together against the bullies and stop them.

Peace be with you and have peace with one another (Mark 9:50).

God Changed Me – William Walker

image_pdfimage_print

“God Changed Me”
By William Walker
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

God is so amazing that he has changed my life in a 380 circle. To go from serving life without parole and receiving good time off my sentence is clarification that you can’t do anything without him.

God has given me a divine purpose to live for. How did I figure out what that divine purpose was? Well, I woke up this morning and the Holy Spirit told me to take a huge leap out on faith. Because my faith is growing stronger every day I already envision myself being released from captivity and delivered into a ministry that has a suitable wife not only waiting with patience but also anticipating what God has in store for us.

In conclusion, I have a friend I work with named Joe who has lost his family, hopes and dreams. I want to instill all that back in him in the name of Jesus. I want him delivered from prison so he can restore houses and provide guidance to those who are dumb, deaf, blind and seeking resolution.

I also want him to be part of the ministry as well. I speak these things into existence because the Holy Spirit embedded them in my heart. I already have faith that Joe shall eventually see and understand what God wants him to understand.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to not only be part of your ministry but a platform to bring others.

God’s Love – Tadario Sims

image_pdfimage_print

“God’s Love”
By Tadario Sims
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

God loves us regardless of how well we are performing. Sometimes we feel uneasy, wondering if we are doing enough to be worthy of his love. No matter how exemplary our behavior, the answer to that question will always be no. Our performance and his love are totally different issues, which we need to sort out.

He loves us with an everlasting love that flows out from eternity without limits or conditions. He has clothed us in His robe of righteousness, and this is an eternal transaction. Nothing and no one can reverse it. Therefore, our accomplishments as a Christian have no bearing on his love for us.

Even our ability to assess how well we are doing on a given day is flawed. Our limited human perspective and the condition of our body, with its mercurial variations, distort our evaluations. Bring your performance anxiety to him, and receive in its place his unfailing love. Try your best to stay conscious of his loving presence with you in all that you do, and He will direct your steps. Amen.

It’s been 10 years now, when I gave my life over to the glory Jesus our Lord and Father. Over the 10 years it was ups and downs. But I didn’t give up on His plan for my life. Now he has opened so many doors for me to help someone in need or just to bless them with a word from Him through me. I work for Him now every day I get out of the bed. And I tell you it feels so good to do the work of His grace and peace that He gives to us every day. Amen.

Being behind the wall got me to see what God can do for me when I am all alone just with Him in prayer. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord our God goes with us. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6: “I delight greatly in the Lord, My soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Isaiah 61:10: “Yet I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into Glory.” Amen.

Psalm 73:23-24: “Let your face shine on your servant, save me in your unfailing love.”

That’s what gives me my freedom every day by working for the Lord in Jesus name. And just to give someone hope who is struggling in their day, today walk with the Lord. Amen.

Until next time My brothers and sisters, let us give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. (Psalm 107:8). Amen.

The Testimony That Shamed Me – Anthony Pallitto

image_pdfimage_print

“The Testimony That Shamed Me”
By Anthony Pallitto
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

For many years I was ashamed to tell those who loved me the truth of that fatal night on Valentine’s Day. Every child needs the love, respect and affection for their overall development. With that in mind, I want to take you to a day when I just had reconnected with my girlfriend.

However, a door of opportunity opened to question a caregiver of the third prong of what every child is in need of. Within every parent affected with the disease of alcohol, my caregiver lied right to my face with a mask of denial. However, while he was doing this, he had laid down a hand gun on the countertop between him and I. So I pushed and pushed for some kind of logical understanding for a 21-year-old mindset young man. I would not let it go. I was not afraid of him anymore. While we both kept glancing at the gun on the table, while I threw question after question at him, he just continued to lie, adding more lies. Then the father and son kept looking at the gun and becoming louder with each other. Then all of a sudden, bang, bang, bang. The gun discharged and I woke up in a hospital bed 18 months later having no idea how or what had happened.

Yes, he broke me and I grabbed the gun and self-inflicted a bullet through the right side of my head. What a relief it is to finally unload all that post traumatic stress disorder I carried for so many years. But this is the emotional stressor I have to live with. But as children, we cannot choose our parents, but we can choose our responses. And now I will be transparent to all and everything. The light has illuminated my darkness.

The Honest Life of a Christian – Matthew Nawrocki

image_pdfimage_print

“The Honest Life of a Christian”
By Matthew Nawrocki
Newberry Correctional Facility, Newberry, MI

I had this pit in my stomach
And I wondered, “will it ever leave?”
My soul took a hit from all the feelings of uncertainty
Then I went into His house
And was acting like, “O, woe is me”
Until the worship and the Word began to point at my disloyalty
I’m sorry Father God for how selfish I could be
To say that I was trusting when my heart was like the wavy sea
My unstable mind has again been corrected
I count it all joy because I know I’m being tested
And this testing will produce what it’s intended to produce
If I let patience have its perfect work and do what it will do

So thank you for correction
Thank you for conviction
Thank you for Your guidance
Thank you for Your vision
Cuz now I see You more and that’s all that really matters
Becoming more like You is all I’m truly after.

Praise God.

Our Desires? Or His? – Matthew Nawrocki

image_pdfimage_print

“Our Desires? Or His?”
By Matthew Nawrocki
Newberry Correctional Facility, Newberry, MI

In 2 Samuel 12:13-25, David’s first son with Bathsheba died because the Lord afflicted him due to the sin that was committed. Afterwards, David sleeps with Bathsheba again and Solomon is born, and would go on to reign as king after David.

As I was thinking about this story, I felt as if it resembled what happens when we take things into our own hands, when we have our own desires and choose them over what God desires for our lives. I was reminded of the verses in James 1:14-15 which says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”

David was out of position as it was. It was the time when all the kings were off to war (2 Sam. 11:1), but David “stayed behind.” When David saw Bathsheba bathing his desire turned to sin, that sin grew in her womb, eventually that sin was birthed and we see the consequences of that birth – death; just as James would later say.

I sense God telling us that when we live out our desires and not His, they will never bear fruit. He tells us in John 15:5 that “apart from Me you can do nothing.” David’s example teaches us this principle. David’s child was the product of sin, and God could not bless it, nor will He bless ours.

Psalm 34:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Let’s instead delight ourselves in Him and allow Him to fill us with His desires and not our own selfish ones. As we see from David’s life, our own desires lead us into sin and death, but God’s desires produce life and success. As for me and my house, we’ll choose the life and success that come from living out His desires.

He is Not an Angry God – Matthew Nawrocki

image_pdfimage_print

“He is Not an Angry God”
By Matthew Nawrocki
Newberry Correctional Facility, Newberry, MI

He Is Not an Angry God?

God is not mad at us when we don’t worship Him. He isn’t upset for His own sake. He says, “Child, I have all of heaven worshipping me. I have millions of angels, the 24 elders casting their crowns before me daily, those who have died and gone to heaven worshipping me continuously; I’m not mad at you for not worshipping me. When you don’t worship me you’re hurting yourself. You’re hurting yourself when you don’t pray, or read my word, or fellowship, or worship Me, but I am not upset with you.

“Let this change your approach to living knowing that you are living from a place of my acceptance and not for it. You already have my approval as my children. When you don’t live as my child, you miss out on all that you could have by being with me, in my presence! When you feel distant, just return to me as I comfort you with my love and embrace you the way you were meant to be embraced! My presence never goes away, only your awareness of it.”

What a good God He is, and what a revelation for us to grab ahold of. The world, and even sadly the church at times, wants us to think that God is upset at us when we don’t do what He has told us to do. We need to learn the difference between the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the enemy, the accuser. The Holy Spirit is not a voice of accusation but of gentle rebuke and guidance. Those who truly know Him and are His know His voice (see: John 10:1-16). We can only know His voice by knowing Him and spending time with Him, reading His word which reveals who He is. I can assure you that God is not mad at you. He is calling for us to follow His ways not for His sake, but for our own. Those who travel that path understand that well.