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Monthly Archives: November 2018

How Would You Respond? – George Walker

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“How Would You Respond?”
By George Walker
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20-21).

A week ago, my intentions were to read the entire book of Job but I have not made it past the first chapter. We have plans but our Father has a better plan that overrides ours.

In the first chapter of Job we read that sons of God came to meet with God and Satan, the adversary, was in the midst of them. God confronted Satan: “Whence comest thou?” Satan said that he came from going to and fro in the earth. Satan was out looking for whom he may devour. The Lord asked Satan “Hast thou considered my servant Job, there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”

The Lord knows Job’s heart and knows that he will be faithful to Him no matter what the adversary does. What an honor it is for our Father to think this way of Job and what a great example it shows us on how to deal with the adversary.

The Lord tells Satan: “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” The adversary leaves immediately and takes Job’s oxen and asses. Then he takes his sheep and then his camels. And finally he takes his children away from him.

In verses 20-21 we see Job’s response. Job was hurt but he still conducted himself as a man of God. The adversary thought that Job’s fearing God was based on his wealth but Job loved the Lord God with his whole heart. This is shown in verse 22: “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Can you worship the Lord while the adversary is attacking you? Will you still love Him and confess: “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Be encouraged.

My Quiet Place – Carl Nunnery

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“My Quiet Place”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

Let’s say you hear two people having a disagreement when one of them makes the comment to the other, “go take a long walk on a short pier.” What they are suggesting to the other person is to basically go jump in a lake. This is their remedy to end the argument, right?

On the other hand, look at it this way: to take a short walk to the end of a short pier could be quite peaceful as well as allowing you some time alone to reflect and do some soul searching of your own.

The truth is, sometimes we do become overwhelmed and even confused by the things that we may be going through in our lives, and going to a “quiet place” will allow you to step back and focus on the things that were getting out of adjustment. Then you can see things more clearly. Eccl. 9:17 says “words of wise are heard in quiet.”

When you desire to be by yourself, it’s not a matter of being lonely. Instead it’s a quiet time you are needing when you can be one on one with God, to talk to Him and allow God to talk to you.

It’s from this meditation and prayer time that God reveals His love and glory to you on a more personal level which shows you how to regain your perspective and priority on the things that are troubling you without all of the daily distractions.

Now, let’s talk about these distractions in your life that cause you to lose focus. Who is the one person whose goal and objective is to confuse your thinking? To cause you doubt? That’s right, it’s our number one adversary, the devil.

Let me first say, God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). This is the work of Satan who is attacking you. I can tell you this, Satan is dedicated to his work.

Our fight against the devil is not an easy one, but one we can win. So when you feel the devil start to tug on your shirt tail, go to your quiet place and tell it to God. He’s got your back and He will put the devil in his place.

God’s word is our defense against the attacks of Satan. Psalms 109:29 says, “Let my adversaries be clothed with shame and cover them with their own confusion.”

When you go to your quiet place, even sitting at the end of a pier to be alone, God was already there waiting on you to get there, ready to pull you out of your despair and allow you to see things more clearly and show you His love and glory.

Love Your Neighbor – Carl Nunnery

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“Love Your Neighbor”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

If you were to see a dog pushing a cart with a goose in it, in a normal setting, you would probably have sad thoughts of the goose being the evening dinner. In today’s world, it has become a “dog eat dog” world, with little harmony, togetherness, kindness and above all, love for one another.

God has used many examples in the Bible to demonstrate how we are to have love for one another, no matter of: color (ethnic background), sex (male or female), size (tall or short, thin or heavy), looks (no matter the different shapes or contours from deformities or medical reasons) or speech (unable to talk, use of other languages or speech defects).

God looks beyond all of these to see who you may be from inside your heart. It’s God’s desire that we all love one another. In Romans 13:9-10) it says, “love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor.”

In Isaiah 11:6-7, God makes mention of the peaceful existence we should portray by using animals: “wolf live with the lamb,” leopard shall lie down with a goat” “a calf and a lion” “a cow and a bear shall graze together.” Then again in Isaiah 65:25, it says, “a wolf and a lamb feed together” and “a lion shall eat like the bull.”

God does not condone the mistreatment of one of His own created beings, whether they be human or animal.

In the beginning, God’s creation was the peaceful co-existence of all the beings He created. They were in perfect harmony, peacefulness, love and no fear. This is why Eve in Gen. 3:1-5 was able to talk to an asp or snake. Eve did not sense any harm or danger to be with or around a snake. Satan knew this, so he disguised himself as a serpent to deceive her.

It was from this point Satan was able to effect the order God had created by using our free choice He has given us in whether or not to believe the lies and deception of Satan.

My friends, remember this: greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4). We can have God’s intended peace and love for one another. It is within each one of us to do so.

A Day Is Not Enough – David Kurbaba

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“A Day Is Not Enough”
By David Kurbaba
Kinross Correctional Facility, Kincheloe, MI

We celebrate Thanksgiving today. It’s a day we are supposed to be thankful for all that has been given us throughout the year. I have been thinking of this and asked myself why do I need “A” day to be thankful?

A day is not enough. I need every day to be thankful and it still wouldn’t be enough. Though I struggle with the love of God, I do know I am truly and fully blessed. He has been faithful to me from his conception of my being. One day my heart will know without a doubt the love of God, but until then I will be thankful for all he has done for me. This thankfulness includes you.

I am truly thankful for you for your willingness to be a part of my life without regard to what I’ve done in my past. I thank you for being there when no one else would. I am thankful that you listen to His calling to be a part of my life. I am truly thankful you have not walked away from me when my words hurt. I by no mean ever meant to hurt you and I never will intentionally try to. Please know, you are truly cherished and I pray you will allow me to remain in your life until we are called to be with Him.

Thank you so very much. May the love of God bless you and yours always.

U-turns – Raymond Carr

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“U-turns”
By Raymond Carr
Lakeland Correctional Facility, Coldwater, MI

Life was pretty much normal growing up. I lived a sheltered life until I started experiencing life-changing events (we are the sum total of all our experiences). At 8 years old I was molested by an older cousin. Then, at 10 years old, my parents divorced. I didn’t know how to process or express how I felt about these events, so I began to cry out for help, but these cries were misunderstood as “I was just being bad.”

During this time I was placed in special education and diagnosed as learning disability and dyslexia.

My parent’s divorce was a nasty one, where I was caught in the middle as a casualty of war. I lost my mother to anger and I lost my father to substance abuse. I became angry with my parents and in my genius thinking I decided to get back at them by misbehaving, but I only hurt myself.

At the age of 15, I decided I wanted to be a big drug dealer like Tony Montana in the movie Scarface, but I acted like I didn’t see the end of the movie. I had the potential of going to college on football and track scholarships but those dreams were dashed after a fight and I was expelled from school. I wasn’t a street-guy, but I tried running the streets anyways. Like many young boys, we looked at jail and prison as an occupational hazard or as street credibility, but didn’t think jail or death would happen to us. As I force-fed myself this abnormal culture that caused me to live in my community as a predator, my life spiraled out of control.

As a high school dropout, I had limited to no education or skills, leaving dead end jobs to make a living. A lack of education and incarceration goes hand in hand, the less education the less access to the economic success desired. I began to make poor decisions – drinking and smoking marijuana, and keeping bad company as well. Then, one night I made a horrible decision that left a man dead and me in prison. Upon entering prison, I tested at a 3rd and 4th grade reading and math level (I could not aid in my legal defense). I was faced with the reality of my actions and thoughts, and I chose to better myself and help others with the freedom I do have. I began to serve God, educate myself, work within civil organizations to make a difference inside of prison and on the outside in our communities. I discovered the art of writing and authored several books.

The road to redemption and transformation was a process of finding myself. I discovered who I was by trying to be someone I wasn’t. I thank God for U-turns.

Apply As Needed – Walter Bass

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“Apply As Needed”
By Walter Bass
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

One day while at work I was cooking something in the steam kettle and I wasn’t paying attention to how close I was to the kettle, that at this point had been going a while and was really hot. Not paying attention to how close I was, I went to reach for something and my arm was too close to the kettle and I was burned by the steam coming from the kettle. My arm never touched the kettle but it was close enough to get burned by the steam. Talk about a burn!

Although painful, the burn wasn’t a bad burn but I definitely lost some skin and needed some medical attention. After seeing a nurse, I was given a medication that I was to apply to my burn twice a day. When I read the directions on the tube it said to “Apply a generous amount to area as directed or as needed.”

What hazards in your life are you too close to? A lot of times we get too close to situations or people that can cause damage to our lives. We have to constantly stay vigilant of our surroundings and watch what we get close to and what we allow to get close to us. The steam burn was bad enough, but it would have been a lot worse had my arm actually touched the kettle.

That day it was a kettle but tomorrow it could be another danger. For some of you, your kettle is drugs, alcohol, a bad relationship or simply temptation. We must watch and pray and apply the word of God to our situation.

In order for my burn to be healed I had to apply it to the area twice a day or as needed.
And just like my burn, in order for your situation to be healed you have to apply the word of God to the area. You have to apply a generous amount twice a day or as needed. My burn required that the medication be applied twice a day but depending on the injury and the person, the directions said “as needed.”

Whatever your situation, the cure is in the application. You may need it more than twice a day and just like the directions call for, you can use it as needed. The word of God applies to all situations and I urge you to apply as needed.

Take a generous amount and apply it to the injuries in your life. Take a generous amount and apply it to the infected areas of your life. Take a generous amount and “apply as needed.”

Who Do I Want To Be? – William Walker

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“Who Do I Want To Be?”
By William Walker
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

A million places that I’m destined to be
Between us two I sense commonality
Michelle also brought up in the projects
Curious where life’s taking me next
Made me think about what’s at stake
Couldn’t make one mistake
She wanted to know about me
Through poetry I explain in a story.

Experiencing injustice 1994 to 2018
A nurse and greedy lawyer who didn’t keep it clean
The incident came like yesterday
There I was didn’t have nothing to say
Still gassing me with pepper spray
What added to the improper medical treatment
Trish stooped below a heathen
How do they expect me to keep my mouth shut when I’m living off thirty bucks?

The cruel and unusual punishment is still going on
Imagine two dying parents and siblings not even answering the phone
Wondering when will this madness end
Couldn’t believe my very own friend would be the reason I’m serving life in the pen
Prior to my incarceration I dealt with constant aggravation by sorting out the many complications.
In spite of all this I gained a family
in Christ they showed me how to cultivate right
There was a reason why he created four seasons.
In due time when I have the chance to shine It will be God’s glory not mine
Waiting patiently to receive time served
It’s crazy thinking life won’t take a curve

The person I want to be
Definitely has nothing to do with me
It’s only about planting a seed
Watching it grow in the community
Paying off the debt I owe to society.

The reason vengeance followed me
Pertaining to Mark who didn’t deserve death I took a journey up north to finally
rest.

A million places I’m striving to be
Started when this vision came to mind
Spending time with Tricia I plan on making mine.
It’s crazy having these discussions
Reading the expression on Michelle’s face was a reminder to reach a better place
Finally when all the programs I finished
The deep seated issues diminished
Every step I decided to take
I made certain that my heart wasn’t filled with hate.
Counted the blessings God has given
For it was written how Jesus applied forgiveness
The Holy Spirit provided what I lacked
By showing gratitude to everyone.
The person I am today isn’t about me
Only for revealing God’s glory
How do I define my life living in Christ
It’s like a husband sitting at home without his wife.
All the goals I carried in my mind
Were all designed to give back to the family left behind
When I am released from captivity
I’m reporting to my parole agent
Expecting him to provide a safe haven
Extending my hand to North Ridge Church
Eliminating all the past hurts
Not only did they give me a new identity
But a second opportunity
To give back to at-risk children in the community
Made to carry out God’s mission
For some reason they ask who do I want to be
The only place on my agenda
Wherever God needs me.

The Straight and Narrow – Carl Nunnery

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“The Straight and Narrow”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

A railroad track seems to be going straight ahead, but yet as it disappears into the distance, we really don’t know where it may be going or where it may be leading the train. This could portray a lot of people’s direction in life as they appear to be going straight but their destiny is cloudy and uncertain.

Does the road you are traveling seem to be going nowhere or in circles? You don’t have to be one of those macho men who think they never have to ask directions because it isn’t cool to do so.

My friends, God is our source of information. He says, “if any lacks wisdom, ask God who gives it to all men” (James 1:5) and “then by doing this, God shall direct thy path” (Prov. 3:6). “Wisdom is profitable to direct (Eccl. 10:10).

This is a very easy recipe for success.

The truth is, no one can get to Heaven on their own. The good news is, the cost of the trip has been paid by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross (1 Cor. 6:20) and our ways have been directed (Psalms 119:5). All we have to do is follow the Lord’s directions and we will reach our desired destiny.

Remember, “the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:14).

Free At Last – Carl Nunnery

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“Free At Last”
By Carl Nunnery
Farmington Correctional Facility, Farmington, MO

One day you get up and say, “I can’t take it anymore. I have to get away!” So what do you do? We get in our car and off we go. It really doesn’t matter where, just away from yelling and screaming, horns honking and tires screeching, all the hate and anger, bills and bill collectors, all your worries, people arguing and cussing, or when things just don’t seem to go as planned.

Finally, you get that long awaited feeling you have been needing. You know, that special feeling where you can just raise your hands high in the air and say, “yes.” You can say no worries at all, just a sense of peacefulness, a feeling of being free. Carefree, you might say.

Here comes the reality check where the time comes you have to fall back to earth where you must once again face all the issues you thought you left behind. It’s like that old saying, “you can run but you can’t hide.” This saying is more accurate than you might realize.

You see, we can never truly run away from our problems, but have to deal with them head on. So you ask yourself: who has all the answers; who can offer help with my problems to deal with them; who can show me and give me strength to face each day in a new light; who can give me that feeling of being free?

My friends, I can tell you with all certainty that we will all go through hard times; times where you may feel overwhelmed and weighted down. But it’s how you choose to look at them that can affect you.

Here comes some awesome news for you. In Matt. 11:28, it says, “Come to me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”

Are you kidding me? Is it really that easy, you ask? Yes, it is my friends, and it can be done right now. God loves you and knows what you are going through. So you ask, “Why is God allowing me to feel this way?”

The truth is, God is blameless, it is you who allowed these feelings to come and weigh you down. God has always been there for you and offering His help to you. All you have to do is ask for it.

In Luke 11:19, it says, “ask and it will be given to you.” It’s that moment God will come into your life by you inviting Him in. No, God may not take all your problems away, but instead give you the strength and courage to deal with them in a newness of life.

Can you imagine the feeling that you will receive when you ask God to remove your burdens?

In John 8:36 it says, “if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”

So yes, you can be free – that same feeling of peacefulness that you felt in that car ride.

Never Too Late To Grow – Walter Bass

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“Never Too Late To Grow”
By Walter Bass
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

This writing was inspired by books and scripture: The Purpose Driven Life; As A Man Thinketh. Rom 8:12 and Rom 12:2.
It’s never too late to start growing. Mental, emotional, and spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. We must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing.

Nothing shapes our life more than the commitments we choose to make. Our commitments can develop us or they can destroy us, but either way they will define us.

Many of us are afraid to commit to anything and just drift through life. Some make halfhearted commitments to competing values, which lead to frustration and mediocrity. We also make full commitments to worldly goals, such as becoming wealthy or famous, and end up disappointed and bitter. Because every choice we make has eternal consequences.

We must chose wisely and not sit back and go through life casually. The first step in growth is to start changing the way we think. Change always starts first in our mind. The way we think determines the way we feel, and the way we feel influences the way we act. Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruit of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.

When we imagine or visualize what or how we want our life to be it is no doubt filled with, beautiful ideas and joyful pictures. We have to cherish our visions, and cherish our ideas because the beauty that forms in our mind and in our thoughts will grow into our desired condition and environment. If we remain true to our thoughts and visions, then we can build and shape our world around us.

But we must remember that good cannot keep company with bad. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit just as a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Light doesn’t have fellowship with darkness and keeping bad company can corrupt good character. Our growth is continual and must never stop. We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind and we must choose daily to live a good life devoted to God.

Lastly, we must not let our body govern our mind but let our spirit govern our mind because the mind that is governed by spirit, is life and peace.

My brothers and sisters today I pray for the renewing of your minds, I pray that God guides your heart. I pray for strength because I know sometimes we just get tired in our walk. Sometimes we think enough is enough and we just can’t do it anymore! I pray that when we can’t take a step, God will carry us. I pray that in midst of our storms we learn to dance in the rain because God has placed his word and his song of Love in our hearts.

My brother, my sister I pray these things in the name of Jesus.