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Monthly Archives: August 2020

Faith and Trust – Keith Rappuhn

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“Faith and Trust”
By Keith Rappuhn
Macomb Correctional Facility, New Haven, MI

I hope everyone is healthy, safe, and staying strong in faith during these difficult times. God has put it on my heart to share with you what He has done in my life lately, and how important it is to have faith & trust when things don’t seem to be going right.

My bunky (Dwight) and I, as a team, train puppies for Leader Dogs For The Blind. Last week Dwight was told he would have to move to a “hearing impaired” housing unit. We would both move and it would be to a much better unit than we were currently in. The problem is that we had a female puppy, and we would have to give her up because the unit we were going to only has male dogs. Even though I knew it was all part of God’s plan, I still hurt and wondered why good times didn’t seem to last very long. I was told it would be a very long time before we got another puppy because the coronavirus had many services shut down or operating at a bare minimum, including Leader Dogs For The Blind.

I did a lot of praying, and just four days after we moved and were forced to give our puppy up, against all odds another puppy was brought to us! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! We were told that a team didn’t want to work together anymore and was quitting. Dwight and I were chosen to raise/train the puppy. And even more amazing is that the puppy, “Jewel,” is a female! The administration made an exception and allowed her in the unit with male dogs which had never been done before. I don’t know why they didn’t give me my original puppy back, and I didn’t want to press my luck by asking. Anyway, what seemed bleak turned into a real blessing. I thank God for that. The power of prayer!

Take care and be safe.

In Christian Love,
Rocky

Perseverance – Roy Anklam

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“Perseverance”
By Roy Anklam
Newberry Correctional Facility, Newberry, MI

P: PAIN: Without pain there is no reason for growth. In order to get stronger physically, mentally – and above all else – spiritually, one must be presented with the challenge of pain. Pain=Growth.

E: ENDURANCE: The key to finding the reason behind the pain you are experiencing is only possible when you endure long enough to free your mind to a point where you can reason with logical thinking.

R: RELIANCE: Now that you have endured long enough to logically process the hurt you are feeling, you must now seek Jesus and rely on Him and the word of God to see you through. This is called faith.

S: STRENGTH: When a human experiences pain they experience weakness through trauma. After you have showed your endurance to survive this immediate trauma, and you are now relying on your faith that is possible only through Jesus, it is time to evaluate who you really are in Christ, and what should your next move be.

E: EVALUATION: Now that Jesus has aided you through your pain, and your faith in Him has not wavered any, you must self-evaluate to find the direction Jesus would have you go toward, so that new growth can develop in your life. When you evaluate yourself, compare the good in your life with the bad. Always remember to seek Jesus through one-on-one prayer, totally giving Him all of your feelings. Ask for direction. You will get a response. Maybe not the answer you want, but guidance is going to come.

V: VALOR: Begin accepting what you cannot change and move forward with courage and bravery, because through your faith in Jesus and prayer, you know you’re stronger than any pain this world can throw at you.

E: EMPATHY: Always remember your pain is not yours alone. Put yourself in your loved ones’ shoes! Be strong for yourself and for those you hurt with you.

R: REAP: You are a stronger person because of your ability to accept and endure. Harvest the fruits of your newborn growth.

A: ALLOW: You must allow yourself to move forward in your newfound growth. For sure enough pain always returns.

N: NAVIGATE: Each time pain attacks it has a purpose, perseverance is navigating through each painful storm.

C: CLAIM: Your identity is in Christ and this will see you through your pain.

E: EDUCATE: Help others by sharing your testimony with them. Showing them how Christ always sees you through your painful moments.

A Thought – Nathaniel Smith

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“A Thought”
By Nathaniel Smith
Macomb Correctional Facility, New Haven, MI

Oranges still grow in the frost. God created it that way because He knows we need the vitamin C to help us heal during a season of cold weather.

Are you in a season where you need a nutritional touch? Both physically and spiritually? Do you find yourself in a season of frost? Then reach for your “vitamin C” (God).

God is good.

While I’ve Been Incarcerated – Timothy Rich

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“While I’ve Been Incarcerated”
By Timothy Rich
Oaks Correctional Facility, Manistee, MI

While I’ve been incarcerated the seasons have changed.

While I’ve been incarcerated outside life has continued.

While I’ve been incarcerated loved ones have passed away.

While I’ve been incarcerated new loved ones have been born.

While I’ve been incarcerated battles were fought, wars were waged and laws have changed.

While I’ve been incarcerated I realized I was lost. My home burned down, clothes and everything I once owned destroyed.

While I’ve been incarcerated I’ve been abandoned by the people I called friends.

While I’ve been incarcerated my own family has turned on me.

While I’ve been incarcerated I lost my mind. I have scars from fights, inner issues keep me awake at night.

While I’ve been incarcerated Jesus set me free. I followed His guiding light. He forgave me and let me know it was okay to forgive myself.

While I’ve been incarcerated I got my second chance.

While I’ve been incarcerated I made a promise to my sister I will always keep.

Inspirational Thoughts – Michael Rasmussen

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“Inspirational Thoughts”
By Michael Rasmussen
Kinross Correctional Facility, Kincheloe, MI

Here are some more inspirational words to share with others.

“Intention” – Growing up and dating, I was asked by many of the parents of the girls whom I dated, “What are your intentions with my daughter?” And then I would lay it all out in front of them with their daughter present. Their parents would love me for my truthfulness, which was to love their daughter the best way that I knew how, treat them with the utmost respect, be a true gentleman to them, propose to them after graduation and get married roughly three years after that. Unfortunately, girls at that time were not thinking that far in advance as I was and they usually broke up with me shortly thereafter.

Some girls and their parents took my intentions the wrong way after reading a letter that I wrote and instead of giving me the chance to explain myself, they decided not to listen to me and called it quits. Most guys back then had the wrong intentions when they dated a girl. They were always after “one thing,” but that wasn’t me. Some of those guys, married or not, are still after “one thing,” but me, I stay true to my intentions. I want to love a woman the best way that I know how, to treat her with the utmost respect, to be a true gentleman to her, propose to her and be married to her for the rest of our lives together. If that “one thing” comes into play, then it only comes into play because of her intentions and not mine.

Now, how about our spiritual intentions? Are they focused on God and the things of heaven or are they focused on things of the world? If our intentions are not focused on heavenly things, spiritual things, good things, then we need to change them and quick with repentance and prayer! So, what’s your intention?”

“Pray for others” – This is also known as intercessory prayer, which is the strongest form of prayer. Why is that? It’s because we are putting other people’s needs above our own. Some Christians are so Pharisaical when it comes to their prayers that they only focus on themselves. “I do this. I do that. And at least I’m not like that tax collector over there.” At least the tax collector admitted that he was a sinner. So, who do you pray for? Your family, your friends and their families? Your Christian brothers and sisters? For Israel? For Jerusalem? For those who are sick? For those who are in your life? If you don’t know who to pray for, then ask God and listen and He’ll tell you. Pray for your enemies. Pray for the fatherless. Pray for the widowed. Pray for those in prison. Pray for the sick. Pray for those in need. Pray for those who are in leadership. Pray for those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Pray for others because I’m praying for you!”

“Release” – Release me from sin. Release me from this world. Release me from here. I could go on and on about what to be released from, starting from aches and pains, to releasing the anger and hate that is inside of me, and ending it with releasing everything into God’s hands. When we release ourselves from the cares of this world and stay focused on God, we hear God say, “That’s My child,” and smile. Calmness, peace and rest are ours at this release. But He releases us into the world to be a testimony to Him, for Christ, walking in the Spirit and preaching the gospel! Release me, Father, and return back home so I can carry out Your will. Amen.

“Commit” – We make a lot of commitments in life, and some of them are lifelong. When we buy a house or a car, we’re committed to make monthly payments (along with all the other bills that go with them). When we get a job, we’re supposed to commit ourselves into doing our best at it. When we find that significant other of the opposite sex that we’re with, we commit ourselves to them (especially in marriage, which is a lifelong commitment). And when we have children with that person, we have another lifelong commitment to being a parent. When you have a membership to some place, you’re supposed to have a loyalty commitment to that place (like a gym or golf course). But what about God? We’re supposed to be committed, as Christians, for life to God. Not to a god, but to the God, the Father of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, the Creator of heaven and earth. A commitment to our faith, a walking testimony, proclaiming what Christ has done for us and what He can still do for others. A commitment to the body of Christ, the church, fellow Christians, who are not just Sunday Christians, or the ones that just play church, but full-time, God-honoring, God-fearing, God-loving Christians. Be committed to eternal life. Be committed to God’s word. Be committed to the gospel of Christ! Commit yourself today. Amen.

“Mindfulness” – Are we mindful of all the things that we do and say? Are we mindful of those that are around us? Are we mindful of God? As Christians, we’re supposed to be mindful of all of these things. The things that we do and say reflect who we are in Christ. Being mindful of those who are around us shows the Christ-likeness in us. And being mindful of God makes us aware of not just ourselves and others, but of sin, repentance, grace, mercy, peace, rest, love, kindness, gentleness, righteousness, pureness, holiness, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, keeping us on our toes and always walking with the Spirit of truth. Be mindful of everything.

Love Suffers Long and is Kind – Tolan Duncan

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“Love Suffers Long and is Kind”
By Tolan Duncan
Macomb Correctional Facility, New Haven, MI

As we may try to run from people that are unloving and unkind, God is still testing us to see if we will walk in this love. I am in a test of long suffering and kindness. I ran from one bunkie to another one trying to get away from what was a difficult living situation and to find myself with the same challenge.

The test is to see if I will love with the long suffering and kindness that God is looking for from all His children. I had to go to Scripture to see how to walk in love with these difficult people and I asked God what is He wanting me to get out of this as He has prepared to release me. So, I went to the love chapter, 1 Cor. 13, and it was right there, “Love suffers long and is kind.”

It couldn’t get much clearer than that. Regardless of what we are faced with, He wants us to suffer long and be kind in it to show the love that is of Him. We may find it easy for us to run from the situation; just distance ourselves so we will not have to suffer or be treated unkind. He desires for His children to walk in love and it is not conditional on the treatment but on the obedience.

I ran from one bunkie to another one to find out that the test is from the Lord and He wants to see if I will be obedient and loving even when the other person isn’t so loving or kind. He knows what we all struggle with and He has given us His Spirit to overcome these hindrances.

We have to see when it is God testing us and remain still and pass the test that is for our good always. We have to pass the test to move on to other growths in our walk in the Lord. I wanted to share this with you so that we can witness the fruit in one another as well as the correction and discipline that is needed in Christ’s disciples.

I’m glad that God has shown me that this is a test and to stop running from bunkie to bunkie. It is not easy to suffer like this but that’s why it is long. Why do we always try to put ourselves in the best situation and leave difficult people for someone else when God wants us to deal with them?

I see that I will be challenged with a lot of things when I’m out there and God is preparing me to suffer long in love and to be kind in love, even though it is difficult and unfair. People are used to mistreatment and so they may welcome it, but they are uneasy and unprepared for the love that is given to them regardless of their behavior.

It is not our concern if they receive the love that we are giving them. We are concerned with the obedience that we honor our Heavenly Father with. I see now that we will get rejected a lot by others as we walk with the Lord. I see what it entails when the Word says, “Fight the good fight of faith.” We will have to fight through all the mistreatment and meanest that people will throw our way.

We have to stand strong and be assured that God has our back and that He will work it out for our good. We must not be concerned for our own lives, but His will.

When God Chooses – Earlando Carter

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“When God Chooses”
By Earlando Carter
Muskegon Correctional Facility, Muskegon, MI

Jeremiah 20:7-9: O LORD, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak anymore in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (NRV)

When God chooses you for a purpose and gives you gifts to use for His glory, it is impossible not to use them. No matter what the circumstances are or the situation, that gift is going to express itself and God will get the glory in the process.

In my efforts to avoid the call on my life, I found the power of God always presented, within me, compelling motive to be complicit even during my most criminal endeavors.

One day I was selling drugs, or at least attempting to sell drugs, and one of my patrons and an associate approached me. Ultimately, instead of selling drugs, we spent the next hour or so talking about the excellency of God and how He changes lives. Who says God can’t use a criminal, even in his criminality?

And just like Jeremiah, I faced a lot of ridicule for being so openly obedient to the power of God in the most seemingly unlikely moments.

But being hardheaded, like Jonah, it would be just a matter of time before I submitted to the call of Kingdom Building.

Now there is such joy that I get from sharing my relationship with the Father, I don’t worry about the naysayers. I share as often as I am able with the people around. In this walk it is not about what is outside of you, but what is within. We must make the conscious decision to accept and pursue after the will of God.

And if you are concerned about your aspirations, let God in first and then begin to enjoy the rewards of Him granting your heart’s’ desire. (Psalm 37:4-7)

Be blessed and the grace and mercies of God continue to keep, protect, guide and prosper you.