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Monthly Archives: April 2020

Freedom – Sharnethia Wells

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“Freedom”
By Sharnethia Wells
Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Ypsilanti, MI

I have been incarcerated for six years now and have accepted the Lord our Jesus Christ as my Saviour.

I talk to my kids and they’re always asking, “Mommy, when are you coming home?” I tell them I have three more years left in prison and now that they are older they still ask me why I’m not home yet. I tell them to just be patient. They miss me and want to actually see me instead of me telling them I’ll be home.

This is my freedom – Voices for Christ.

Seeking Him – Timothy Rich

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“Seeking Him”
By Timothy Rich
Oaks Correctional Facility, Manistee, MI

I got the news of my dad’s death in February 2019. That did it, it broke me down. My entire world went dark, I was already in prison. My mom had died the year prior. The weight was crushing, my heart was splitting, my soul was in utter darkness.

I turned to Jesus in prayer and read the Word daily. The Lord saved me. He wiped my tears, forgave my sins and set me free. He told me how He suffered and even died for me and He brought the light and life back to me and asked me to live for Him a new life free of sin.

You know what? He promised I would go to Heaven in the end.

Death – Michael Rasmussen

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“Death”
By Michael Rasmussen
Kinross Correctional Facility, Kincheloe, MI

For it is only the shell, the mortal body, that dies and decays,
When the breath of life is taken away
For the Spirit, our eternal soul, lies in sleep,
Waiting for judgment, to hell or a heavenly keep.

“My Father Is Bigger Than Your father”
My Father is bigger than your father
And let me tell you why
Everything you see
Around you and me
He built from sea to sky!
My Father is bigger than your father
And let me tell you when
Before creation
Through all temptation
For He has always been!
My Father is bigger than your father
And let me tell you where
No place on the ground
But He’s all around
In fact, He is right here!
My Father is bigger than your father
And let me tell you how
It is by His word
That He can be heard
Do you believe me now?

A Tattoo With Meaning – Michael Rasmussen

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“A Tattoo With Meaning”
By Michael Rasmussen
Kinross Correctional Facility, Kincheloe, MI

Oh, what a tangled web of sin that we weave, that leads us to the fires of hell.
But it is the love of God that shall lift us up on angel’s wings, and to heaven where we shall dwell.

I Am Here – Michael Rasmussen

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“I Am Here!”
By Michael Rasmussen
Kinross Correctional Facility, Kincheloe, MI

Even though I am not here, I am
You are my eyes and see Me in My brothers and sisters
Even though I am not here, I am
You are my mouth and speaking about Me with boldness and love
Even though I am not here, I am
You are my ears and hear My words being spoken and preached
Even though I am not here, I am
You are my arms reaching out to others and embracing them with a hug
Even though I am not here, I am
You are my hands touching lives and folded in prayer
Even though I am not here, I am
You are my feet walking in faith down the straight and narrow
Even though I am not here, I am
You are my love that is shown to others and expressed through your actions
Even though I am not here, I am.

Prayer – Michael Rasmussen

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“Prayer”
By Michael Rasmussen
Kinross Correctional Facility, Kincheloe, MI

I’m on my knees, head bowed, hands folded
Like a child about to be scolded
He knows the position that I’m in
As I admit to Him all my sin
Everything bad that I’ve ever did
Not like I could ever keep it hid
Tear filled eyes from knowing all the pain
Running down my cheeks like pouring rain
But He never raised His hand to me
Instead He showed me His great mercy
He wiped the tears away from my eyes
Lifted my Spirit up to the skies
Blessing me with blessings from above
Filling my heart with agape love
I know His love and know that He cares
He knows my needs and He hears my prayers
And I know that they may sound the same
But I end them in Jesus’ name!

I Am Not Nothing – David Kurbaba

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“I Am Not Nothing”
By David Kurbaba
Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

How are you friend? I pray this email finds you cloaked in the Love of God. I am doing well. God has been gracious to me.

I wanted to share with you a struggle I have had my whole life. When I was growing up it was drilled into me that I was nothing. I was told daily that I was nothing. Now, the real words used to belittle me is not the word “nothing.” I am choosing not to use the same words used to tell you of my struggle but would like to make sure you understand they were words of death, not life.

So, my whole life I was told these things, and as a child of the ‘70s you did not talk back to any adult, never mind your parents. So I always “stuffed” the pain and anger which came from these words deep within me. I grew up convinced these words were true, how could I not? These words were being spoken by people who were supposed to love me. If they said them, then they must be true.

As the years passed I became isolated within myself. I never said no, I never stood up for myself, and I never felt worthy. I obeyed everyone regardless of what they said to me or directed me to do. I was the perfect “nothing.”

When I hit the streets at the age of 18, I hit them with such anger and hate I left a trail of destruction in my wake. For 22 years I ran wild on those who crossed my path. But one thing stayed the same in my “adult” years. I continued to believe I was nothing. The words of my childhood remained the words of my adult life. I continued to hold them as truth. As I got older I got angrier but I never knew why. To say I drank is useless. I guzzled booze. The drinking allowed me freedom. Freedom from the words of death even though I didn’t know that was why I was drinking then. I have learned this truth through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When I drank I came alive, well at least I thought I was alive. The more I drank the more I could speak. However, the words I spoke were death to those I spoke them to. I got in many fights due to my words and anger.

When I finally came to prison at age 40, I was just one word, one drink, one outburst away from death. What I didn’t realize at the time of imprisonment was that God was already at work on my behalf. He allowed a certain person to enter my life who guided me on my journey of recovery from my past life.

After several years of painful work, I made great strides towards becoming the man I was created to be. One of the areas I worked on was the concept of not allowing others to talk to me in a degrading way, to hold those who feel they can talk to me in a negative way accountable. I was finally standing up for myself.

At first I bumped heads with many people. It seemed everyone felt they could talk to me in any way they wanted. When this happened it always brought me back to my childhood. I would see those of my early years standing there again saying those words of death to me all over again.

During these first few years of recovery work were hard but I pushed on. I finally learned that I cannot control others’ words or actions. I can only control mine. So I started “letting it go” but what the phrase really means is “stuffed it.” So what would happen is things would be good for a while. then BOOM.

It is said that God will allow things to happen in one’s life in order to help that person learn a lesson of life. I have always struggled with the way people talk to me. For me, that is my biggest thorn in my side. During the last 4 years I have had several “BOOMs.” I have snapped on inmates and officials alike. Every time it has been over how they talked to me. Well, it just happened again two days ago. I came real close to going to the hole. I told off a sergeant. It is not a secret that MDOC is not inmate friendly. What they say on paper is not what they do behind the walls.

So, as I laid on my bunk pondering the events of the day, I got mad at myself again. I knew that what we get for food a dog would turn its nose up to. I knew that the “authorities” spoke to every inmate in the same demeaning manner. I knew they looked at us with such contempt and disdain. I knew these things yet I still get off my square when I get served a 4″ hotdog, or when I ask a question to the one in charge and get spoken “at” with hate. So, as I laid there I asked myself, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, why?

My conclusion is that I still have much work needing to be done. My biggest “thorn” is my biggest area of work needed. I need to stop stuffing, I need to stop reacting. I need to stop my “pride.” I know I cannot control another’s actions or words. So why do I allow their actions or words to define my attitude? I allow it. I have a choice. When I know how a person is, I can either continue to interact with them or walk away. I can continue to engage in their way of life or I can stay engaged in Jesus’ way of life. I have realized that I am “nothing.” I am nothing to the world. However, I am something, no, someone, to the One that matters, Jesus.

Will I be able to allow the words of death that most people speak towards me bounce off me every time? I am unsure. If I can call on Jesus before or as those words are being spoken, then yes. However, if I choose to fight off those words on my own, then no. Turning the words of death into words of life is the goal. Not allowing another’s words or actions to have control over my words or action is the goal.

Does God allow tests in one’s life? I say yes. They are not to hurt us, they are to help us grow in His likeness.

Eph. 6:12-17, the Armor of God, may I learn to always put on this armor before heading out into the world and may you adorn this same armor.

He has Risen Indeed – David Kurbaba

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“He Has Risen Indeed!”
By David Kurbaba
Harrison Correctional Facility, Adrian, MI

We celebrate Easter this year like none other.
We are to take shelter behind the walls of our own homes. We say prayers to end this pandemic. We long for the day we can be face to face with another.

Me… well, I celebrate this day like I have for years. I ponder the resurrection of our Lord. I wonder what it was like the day He was nailed to the cross. I wonder about the mood that followed the day after, then the next. I wonder what Mary Magdalen really thought when she found the rock rolled away and no body. I wonder just how fast did “the one Jesus loved” run. I wonder if the hearts of the two Jesus met on the road really “burned within.”

Me…yeah, I celebrated Easter as last year but I found greater appreciation for Him this year than any other. Why? I realized that no matter how many times I fall, fail, mess up, lose sight, He suffered for me, He died for me, HE raised up from the grave for me.

Easter… A time to remember Him. I say, every day is a time to remember Him. Every day is a miracle. Every day is a day the Lord has made. Be glad in it.

God bless you and yours.

Keeping Satan Away – Julius Evans

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“Keeping Satan Away”
By Julius Evans
BC Unit, Amarillo, Texas

Many years have passed me by, by being incarcerated.
Praying to the Lord above, begging to keep Satan away at bay.
He is here, there, everywhere, trying so hard to stay, every single day.
But the Lord gives me the strength to keep pushing the evilness away,
As the Lord draws closer to thy heart.
He wishes me this love, there is no better life to live than with the Lord and for the Lord.

The Lord tells me, “I’ll never leave your or forsake you (Heb. 13:5)

Toxic In, Toxic Out – Marc Eisbrener

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“Toxic In, Toxic Out”
By Marc Eisbrener
Central Michigan Correctional Facility, St. Louis, MI

Our individual worlds are surrounded with the toxic conversation of others every day. Regardless of how devoted we are to The Word, we are bound to overhear or find ourselves in the middle of some form of toxic conversation. Whether that be judging others, profanity, anger or some other inappropriate topic, it’s very difficult to avoid. This is especially true in a toxic environment such as prison or when surrounding one’s self with toxic-minded individuals.

As our brains take in this toxic conversation, our way of thinking is being altered. It has been scientifically proven that what we hear alters our thought process and ultimately our actions. As a devoted Christian, I have found this to be resoundingly true. The more I purposely isolated myself from those toxic conversations and environments, choosing instead to listen to Christian radio, read the Bible or pray, I found that my thoughts and actions would change.

Gone were the thoughts of sex, money and alcohol, replaced with healthy thoughts of God, others and positive things I can do in the future. Gone were toxic things like anger, profanity, worry and stress, replaced with treating others with love, smiling more and conducting myself how Christ wants me to.

When I strayed, though, even for a few minutes I would find myself in the middle of the garbage with others, making judgments, gossiping, using profanity or partaking in a conversation about a topic that I knew was wrong.

Even when we try our hardest to not put ourselves in toxic conversation, sometimes it can’t be avoided. If we can’t walk away to avoid it, we need to recognize it and remember how detrimental it is to our brain and thought process. Catch yourself before joining the toxic conversation, instead turning to prayer in that moment.

Ask the Lord for His help, pray for the others having these toxic conversations. Ask Him for patience, compassion and the necessary discipline to achieve this task.

Addiction, abusive relationships, bad choices and ultimately breaking the law are all sins derived from exposure to a toxic environment or toxic person(s). These toxic situations or conversations have led us to a thought process that results in the making of a bad decision. WE CAN alter these thoughts and ultimately the acts that follow them. It will take hard work and discipline, but isn’t that the least we can do for all that Jesus did for us?

He has literally given us this tool for success. It’s called Faith. Do you want to not think about gambling, drugs, alcohol, stealing, money, sex, food or some other sin? Then alter your toxic environment! Don’t put yourself in a toxic conversation or situation that will ultimately affect your thoughts and actions. Stay in the word, listen to Christian radio, pray constantly in all situations and I promise you, your thoughts will change, your actions will change, your mood will change. Exercise the discipline that God gave you to do these things, the struggle will get easier.

Jesus knows we aren’t perfect, but He still sets the bar high for us so that we will continue to strive for the perfection he calls us to.