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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Right Heart – Jonathan Southwell

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“Right Heart”
By Jonathan Southwell
Cooper Street Correctional Facility, Jackson, MI

Papa, put a right heart in me. Take away the anger that burns like a fiery sun, threatening to consume all of us. Replace it with compassion so abounding it eclipses everything else. Take away the feeling of inconvenience that bubbles up like a geyser shooting to the heights and depths.

Replace it with a joy to serve, filling me until I can do nothing but laugh. Take away the dark things that my mind obsess upon like a drug, needing, wanting, again and again. Replace it with brilliant love that radiates like a bright super nova across dark skies.

Take away the overwhelming sadness that pulses like a ripple on a lake, never ending. Replace it with abounding peace, the likes which can only be found in the quiet places.

Take away the unforgiving that eats at me like an ulcer, never satisfied. Replace it with understanding, as if I have walked a thousand miles in their shoes.

Take away the root of bitterness that festers its twisted seed like cancer buried deep with no cure. Replace it with unwavering patience to seek out and stand strong In the face of the advancing storm.

Papa, replace the strong heart in me with a right heart.

Innocent – Jonathan Southwell

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“Innocent”
By Jonathan Southwell
Cooper Street Correctional Facility, Jackson, MI

I will never know,
Could never understand your strength,
To walk in it, to rely on it,
It is too much for me.

You endured through torture for me,
Through violent hatred meant for me,
Through bloody beatings that were rightfully mine,
Through cursing, belittling, recrimination,
Which belonged to me.
You were innocent, truly innocent,
I could not begin to fathom how You must have felt,
I cannot seem to get Your love,
No matter how hard I try I fall short,
You carried my cross and the weight of my debt,
One that I could not pay,
Because I was born into iniquity.
You wore a crown of shame for me,
You did not cry out as spikes were driven through Your flesh,
Unscarred by sin.
You did not speak a word to the world that hated You,
Instead You saved a condemned man, like me,
Who deserved to die.
You were more worried about a mother who needed a son,
A disciple who needed the love of a mother,
A people who needed to be saved.
You held the crushing weight of my debt to You,
You did not give up when our Father turned His face away,
Maybe it was too much for Him to see His Son like that.
He got a bit choked up and He needed to compose Himself.
Maybe He rejoiced in the moment,
Now it was finished,
But he knew what it cost You,
Something we could never figure out,
Because we are like a leaf on the breeze,
Tossed to and fro and then gone.
We were never innocent like You.

You Are Not Alone – Loren Slough

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“You Are Not Alone”
By Loren Slough
Chippewa Valley CF, Kincholoe, MI

You Are not alone,
Jesus’ Blood will bring you back home,
One that keeps his Oath to the End,
Yes it’s my savior, and he will heal the mend,
Word after word, yes he has kept,
Saving ever tear, that we all have wept,
The glass can be full, if all we do is seek,
Climb the Mountain, and see the Peak,
For the time will come, when you need a Friend,
You are not alone, from beginning to End.

Right Where I Left It – Loren Slough

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“Right Where I Left It”
By Loren Slough
Chippewa Valley CF, Kincholoe, MI

Casting shadows haunt me day and night,
Enduring pain and misery is my everlasting fight,
Adding the price that my mistakes have cost,
digging up memories of the people I’ve lost,
Wondering where my faith is, weighs deep on my mind,
Looking for my savior, my heart is trying to find,
Logic thrown out, when it comes to the man,
Reality is life with mistakes, and this is what I have ran,
My marathon is lost without thy power,
Show me thy light, please show me this hour,
Reveal to me what I’ve lost over the years,
I’m down on my knees, can’t you see my tears,
Where is it at, my Lord and Savior,
The faith that you gave ne, God it has so much flavor,
I know you can show me, even it is a tad little bit,
What did you say? It’s right where I left it!
Isn’t that so true in all our lives,
Never realizing that Jesus never lies,
He is the hidden treasure that is really never lost,
It is always right were we’ve left it, Yes it’s Jesus Christ and he has paid all of our cost.

Engraved – Loren Slough

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“Engraved”
By Loren Slough
Chippewa Valley CF, Kincholoe, MI

Engraved in the palm of his Hands,
A Christian life is God’s perfect plan,
Christ among us, should be our action,
Spreading in his work, should become our reaction,
My people are sleeping, please go wake them up,
Learn the 10 milestones, and take the jump,
Birth, Baptism, Forgiveness, and the Supper,
Conformation, Marriage, Ordination, are some others,
Healing, Sickness, Death are the Past,
Resurrection starts it over, the one thing that lasts,
Don’t become a Couch potato Christian, and be alone,
Jesus is our Sanctuary, please come back home,
Have you seen the look of a sunset,
Close your eyes and picture it, it is something you will never forget,
So take your shoes off, please come out of the cave,
Come stand by Jesus, and feel the ocean wave,
For when you find yourself down on your knees, and deep in tears,
You see Jesus died for us all, and he has been saving them for years,
He will say Rise up and be a new man in Life,
For you see, accepting him, you walk this path and become his wife,
So clap your hands, and sing a song,
Close your eyes, and speak the truth so we can all walk along.

Count the Stars – Loren Slough

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“Count the Stars”
By Loren Slough
Chippewa Valley CF, Kincholeo, MI

Discover his peace, come close, come near,
With our Saviour Jesus, you have nothing to fear,
Look at the sky and count the stars,
Search you heart, and shred the bars,
He may seem so far away,
But all you have to do is ask him and he will come and stay,
So look to the sky and count the stars,
Jesus Christ is our Saviour, the Cadillac of Cars,
So our drive may be smooth from day to day,
Though the bumps in the road try and keep us away,
Look to the sky and count the stars at night,
For Heaven is Eternity, and he will be there to fight our fight.

There is Love – David Kurbaba

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“There is Love”
By David Kurbaba
Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

Greetings. It has been a while since I’ve written and I thought it was time to do so.
I would like to give God great praise for His mercy and grace. He has brought me up from the depths despair and placed me on the shores of hope.

This is not just some nice way of speaking of God. These words are as true as the fact that we need air to breath. I was a man of great hate and anger. I was abused by the people that God gave me to as a baby. They all but destroyed the soul that was inside the fragile vessel of a clay body. They took the precious gift and abused it like it was but an object to do with as they pleased.

From the time I turned 18 I ran as wild as I could. I hurt everyone who crossed my path. Noone, and I mean no one, was spared from my wrath.

I came to prison when I was 40. I turned 52 this past July 6th. In the time I have been down I did the “Prison Religion” thing. After years of faking it, I finally learned that what I was missing was a personal relationship with my Creator, who I call Jesus.

After learning that and several years of hard looks into my own soul I have been able to forgive those who hurt me. Now, I still have tough days, when those days come I press on with knowledge that my Savior is right there by my side. Do I fail? Yup. I fail a lot. But that’s the beauty of His grace and mercy. He knows I will never be perfect. He knows I will fail many more times before he calls me home. But each time I fail I learn.

Each time my ego, my pride, my selfishness lets me down, He never does. His grace says, I have you, His mercy says I forgive you and His sacrifice says…I LOVE YOU.

When I think of this I get overwhelmed. Who am I that such love is bestowed upon? I finally learned that answer. I am a clay body with a soul. I am a soul with a FATHER who sacrificed all for. I am the precious gift that was given to those who misused me. Those who were missed used themselves. It took me 52 years to get to where I am today. Though I dislike everything about prison, prison saved my life. He saved my soul.

I would like to share one more thing with you. I do not know what the future holds for me. I do not know His plans for me. I know they are not to hurt me. Though it is not promised that life won’t spew some misfortunes on me. If it does, He’ll be there. He says that he wants me/us to prosper. He wants me/us to love and be loved. I can tell you this without a shred of doubt that this is true. How can I say that with such conviction?

Well, after 30 years of not talking with any of my siblings, my sister Diane reached out to me yesterday. I received a 3”x4″ card with hand written words inside. Please allow me to share them with you. For these words were written by my sister, they are words of God at its finest. Here are the words of love.

“Hi David, 10/19
As much as you hated our father, I never expected you to use his name. That being the reason it has taken so long to track you down. But now there you are and here I am. It’s been years, we’re both to blame. I know you’ll probaby never get out of there. I know what you are accused of but I don’t care. I love you David. It was always you and I against them. Let me be here for you, phone calls, mail, packages, love. Maybe even a visit. Remember I’ve been where you are, I know how you’re feeling. I am here David whether or not you accept, it’s totally up to you. (She proceeds with her address and phone number) This is not a joke! It is me! Love you, your sister Diane OX”

Did I cry? Like a baby. I have been without any form of family for 30 years. The years of the abuse stole the early years and hate and anger stole the rest. My Creator, my Savior, My Father is restoring all of it. I know without a doubt that He will finish the work He began in me. Will reaching back to my sister bring my brother Michael back into my life? Will reaching back to my sister bring my daughter Felicia back into my life? I do not know. What I do know is that God brought my sister back into my life. He lifted me from the depths of despair and placed me on the shores of love.

I pray that you find hope within these words. They are words of love. No matter how far down one is, there is one bigger and stronger than all else who can place you on the shores of love.