I Give Myself Away – July 12, 2015

About 2 months ago, I wrote a blog called “Lose Yourself in…” and I talked about losing yourself in the Holy Spirit.  Be passionate about God and lose yourself in Him.  Today at church I had the best worship experience I ever had.  Just in case you don’t know, I am in a close custody prison.  I am the lead singer of the band and lead worship for all the Christian Services along with the band.  This week on Tuesday (July 7th), I was introduced to the praise song “I Give Myself Away”.  I had never heard it, but fell in love with the song.  It starts with the chorus “I Give Myself Away.  I give myself away, so you can use me.”

These words are so powerful because God wants to use us in this world.  He wants us to love people and let people know that God loves them no matter what.  In order for us to be disciples, servants, saints, we need to let God be the creator of our life and use us in ways we never thought possible.  It says in John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

God not only sent his son to save the world, but he also created us in his image to help save the world.  And in 1 Timothy 2:3, Paul says “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  Notice he says ALL people… So this song is a gentle reminder to hand our life over to God.  To allow God to use us in any way he wants to save ALL people.  At the end of the song, the lyrics say, “My life is not my own.  To you I belong.  I give myself, I give myself to you.”

God created you and he wants you to love him and love his people.  Your life is not yours; it belongs to God.  Allow God to guide your life, pilot your plane.  Give yourself away so God can use you in powerful ways!

“I Give Myself Away”

I give myself away
I give myself away
So you can use me.

Here I am.  Here I stand
Lord my life is in your hands.
Lord I’m longing to see
Your desires revealed in me.

I give myself away
I give myself away
So you can use me.

Take my heart, take my life
As a living sacrifice
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I place them in your hands.

I give myself away
I give myself away
So you can use me.

My life is not my own, to you I belong.
I give myself, I give myself to you.

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Live! – July 7, 2015

“When I passed by thee, I said unto thee, Live..”
Ezekial 16:6 (KJV)

This verse reminds me to live a Christ-like life.  To live a Christ-like life is not always easy.
It is a life where you literally drop everything for Christ.
It is a life where you walk like Christ walks.
It is a life of purity with your main focus on Christ.
It is a life where you live every moment loving God, Loving people, helping God Save the World.
It is a life of living for only God and not worldly pleasures and sin.
A life of living earnestly for Christ.

Not only did this verse remind me to live a Christ-like life, but an incident that happened to me today.  I try to live a Christ-like life every day.  But we are human and sometimes we slip up and don’t realize it.  Or we slip up thinking people aren’t paying attention.

But the thing is, if you are living a Christ-like life, people are ALWAYS watching.  I mean always.  They sit there and wait for you to slip up.  Recently I have been really showing God’s love to people.  Not beating them down with a Bible, not judging them, not criticizing, and not condemning people.  Just loving them and listening; answering questions when they ask…

Well, there is one guy, he is 27, who has been asking a lot of Biblical Christian questions.  He can’t read well, and he isn’t super smart, but he is an awesome guy.  He went to church and the message really hit home with him.  He met with the Chaplain today, and he came to me and said, “I am dedicating my life to Christ.  Will you help me?” And I said, “Absolutely.”  Well, about 10 minutes later, another inmate asked me if I wanted to go in with him on a Race Poll (gambling).  I said “Yes,” thinking nothing of it.  I just do it for fun!  I can live without doing it, and have only done it 3 or 4 times.  I don’t have a problem.  If I would win, I would trade the food items for stamps or give it away.

Well, we were picking our drivers and the guy that dedicated his life to Christ said, “You can’t do that.  I look up to you!”  I said, “I won’t do it anymore.”  He said, “I am giving up dirty pictures, and I need your help in this journey.”

You never know when people are watching you or looking to you for help in their journey.  Always be strong in your walk, and your life.

Live!

First 4th of July in Prison – July 5, 2015

Most prisoners would say “Just another day in prison.”  But I am not every prisoner.  Yes, I am in prison, away from my family, away from the freedom of being able to go wherever I want to go and whenever I want to go.  Yesterday made me realize how nice we have it in America.  We have the opportunity to make choices.  There are some countries where you can’t make choices.  The United States is a very rich country.  Yes, we have poverty, homelessness and starving people, but there are a lot of resources for those people that they can choose to take advantage of.

There are countries where they have millions of starving, homeless people and they don’t have help.  I also realize that even though I am in prison, I have it better than millions of people in this world. I am not saying prison is awesome and full of luxury, because if I said that, I would be lying.  It is prison.  However, we have it made, compared to the starving family that struggles for food even though the parents do work.  Or how about the millions of people all over the world, starving and stricken with disease?  A lot of times we say, “Well, they choose not to work.  They get what they deserve.”  But surely, if one day you lose your job, can’t find another job, get sick and can’t work, and then end up in their shoes, you would wish someone would help you.

I get 3 meals a day, clean water, a shower every day, hygiene products.  I get to work.  I have a bed, blankets and sheets.  I have clean clothes all the time and 99.8% of the time, I don’t feel unsafe.  There are people in this world that can’t say any of that.  There are millions of people in this world that don’t have a choice to be safe.  Their countries are run by some militant terrorist group, and they could be killed at any time.

I know that I am stepping on some toes by saying what I am saying, but I tell you this.  It is time that we, as Christians, and Americans step up and help these people.  Also it is time to be thankful for what we have; thankful for everything.  We have to stop taking things for granted.

As I ate my hot dog and hamburger, loaded with chili, cole slaw, ketchup, mustard, and mayo with a side of baked beans, green beans and a chocolate cookie for dessert, I thanked God for the food and realized that I need to be more of a blessing to those starving.  I can’t help but think of the starving when I eat anymore.  Yes, I got to watch fireworks on TV, but is the 4th of July about fireworks?…. Is Christmas about Santa Claus?  Is Easter about the Easter Bunny?  So ask yourself this question.  What is the 4th of July really about?”

Choices – July 5th

Note from Eddie’s Mom:  Eddie forgot to title this blog post.  So I titled it “Choices”.  We all have a choice.  We can be a slave to this world (and worldly things) or we can be a slave to God.  Be a slave to God!

So this past week, for some odd reason, I was allowing these things to control me.  It caused me to not show God’s love to people like I normally would do.  I was very weak against the evil.  Once the devil gets a hold of you, it is a hard fight out.  I prayed hard, reached into my bible, meditated, listened to Christian music and thought about the tools my counselor gave me.

Then on Friday, I called my grandparents.  I was still in a funk, off-balance and of course, grandparents notice these things.  Even over the phone.  Yes, they are that good.  Haha.  My grandfather said, “What’s wrong?  You don’t sound like yourself?”  And I gave a “No, I just have allergies” answer and eventually said “people were irritating me, and I will send a letter about it.”  Then my grandmother asked “What is your word of the day?”  Well, I just got done reading my bible, so I wasn’t sure if she meant something from the word of God or a word.  So I asked for clarification and she said “Your Mom’s is ‘Joy’”.  And I said, “Love”.

After I got off the phone, I thought about my word and it reminded me of God’s love and how we are to love others.  So I turned to my bible, and I came across John 15:12 which says, “My Command is this: Love each other as I have loved you!”  –John 15:12 (NIV)

And this verse led me to multiple verses of how God loves us, how we should love, how Jesus humbled himself and loved.  How God loves everyone, and this list goes on.  LOVE is a major theme in the bible.  Then finally, this is where I closed my bible, because it summed up my whole week. How I will deal with these situations in the future.  After I read these verses, my bad week was closed, destroyed and forgotten.  These verses reminded me of how I need to love:

“But to you who are listening, I say:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  — Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)

The Good in the Bad – June 28, 2015

“They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”    –Hebrews 12: 10-11

This morning I was reading my morning devotional and the verse was Hebrews 12:2.

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The devotional said that we need to always fix our eyes on Christ and not ourselves.  It was a great little devotional, and I might have to copy it word for word for another blog.  I always go to my Bible and read the whole chapter that the verse is from.  I like to get the full context and understanding of the verse.  As I came to verses 7-11, it got me thinking about what has happened over the past year and 3 months.  I only wrote down verses 10-11 in this blog.  Feel free to read from 7 to get the full context of the verse.

I realized last year that when God loves you and accepts you as his son or daughter (read Hebrews 12:6), He will discipline you.  See, the last portion of my unsaved life, I lived in intentional sin.  I treated people like garbage.  I was demeaning and verbally abusive to my wife and kids.  I worshipped control, anger, money, lust, food and in general, things.  Worldly desires.  All the while, I had seen nothing wrong with how I was living.  My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, wife and kids became scared and more and more distant.  I may have talked to my grandparents once every 3 months.

When I talked to my parents, it was to tell them about me and my life and to get praise, acceptance.  I had no friends and people didn’t want to be around me.  Then on April 21st, 2014, my wife and kids said enough and reported me to the police for the criminal things I did.  At first, I felt much pain, sorrow, anger, abandonment and the list goes on.

Then I went to church on Sunday, April 27, 2014 and decided enough is enough…. Because of my criminal actions and my behavior, I was facing 140 years in prison (minimum).  I couldn’t live the way I was living, and I had to trust God and hand over everything to Him. He had taken a 2 x 4 upside my head and woke me up! Making me realize that Jesus was the way.  I gave my life to Jesus that day.  I went to the cross and asked forgiveness and repented of my sins.  I also lit 5 candles that day.  One for my wife, and one for each of my children.  I prayed for healing and restoration of my family.  I handed God everything and made Him the pilot of my plane.

Out of this situation, by letting God in control, I got 16 years instead of 140 years.  By giving Him control, I have more peace and happiness in prison than I did living my old ways.  I am able to minister to people, the lost and broken inside prison.  I have been able to use my gift of singing to spread His message.

Also, I have stronger relationships with my family than ever before.  Through faith in God and letting Him take control, I have begun to live a more Godly, peaceful life.  At first, the discipline was painful, but in the end it is what I needed to turn my life around.  Now I still fall to sin, but it doesn’t control me.  I am no longer controlled by the sin that once controlled me, but I am in no way perfect.  I still have struggles I deal with, but I keep running forward for the prize.

Allow God to hold your hand and guide your life.

Love you all!

Eddie

Mud Dauber – June 28, 2015

Yesterday, I was outside on the yard and there were a whole bunch of these huge, hornet-horsefly-looking things flying around the beach volleyball court.  They were chasing each other, about 20-30 of them, and you could keep walking right through them and they didn’t mess with you.

muddauberSo I walked a few laps and then noticed this one inmate that I talk to, sitting against the wall near the volleyball court.  I wasn’t in an exercise mood, so I sat down and talked to him.

While I was sitting there, there was one of those things, about 2 feet in front of me, digging a hole.  He told me they were called “Mud Daubers”.    I never saw them or heard of them.  I kept watching this little guy, and it was so fascinating.  He would crawl into the hole and then back out with a bunch of dirt in his little hands.  Some ants came near to him and he played with them like a dog or cat would play with a bug, worm, fly… then he would eat it.

He kept digging and digging and never bothered us.  So today I went to the same area to see if my Mud Dauber buddy was there.  Well, he wasn’t… But I sat there and talked to the same guy.  Today at church, he was reminded of his salvation ad how he wants to give complete control to God and how he hasn’t always done that over the past 30 years.  He has backslid at times, and actually cried at church.  He cried while we talked.  It was an amazing thing to be a part of at that moment.

So as we were talking, my buddy came back and he had something green with him.  He was flying with what looked like a piece of grass.  He went in his hole, and when he went in, I got closer to see what it was he carried to his hole.  Turns out, it was one of those bright green grasshoppers.  He had killed this grasshopper and brought it back to his net to eat.  He goes in his hole for a while, comes out and grabs the grasshopper and drags it in his hole and doesn’t come out for probably 5 minutes.  I thought this was amazing!  I was in awe of God’s creation.  God has created so many amazing things.  Look around today and enjoy God’s art and creation.

Love you all!

Eddie

(Note from Mom:  If you come across them, just fyi, they DO sting.)

Violent, Angry and Unlovable

Recently I have read 3 books that have been very influential in my spiritual journey.  Every book has put an emphasis on God’s love and how God loves everyone.  The book I am reading now says that you can’t have love without freedom.  God gives us freedom to do whatever we want.  However, if or when we decide that we want to follow him, he is standing there with arms wide open.  No matter what you did, how long you lived that way and so on.

Today I thought of a past time story that I will never forget.  Ever.  A couple of years ago, our family bought an “unlovable”, violent, angry Iguana.  This was a full grown, hating, angry, hulkish Iguana.  Every time someone would walk by his glass aquarium, he would attack to the point where he started bleeding from hitting the glass. She told us he would attack to the point where he started bleeding from hitting the glass.  I felt bad for this Iguana and the pet store wanted him gone.  She told us that he would whip us with his massive, hard tail, bite us, etc.

We bought him and his long glass aquarium for $30.  We took him home and we put him in our daughter’s room. I put on baggy jeans, a long sleeve shirt, a baggy fleece and some gloves.  I was determined to love and tame this violent, angry Iguana.  I put my hand in the cage to lift him out, expecting to be whipped or bitten or both.  I was nervous.  As I pulled him out of the cage, he tried to whip his tail a little, but didn’t get me.  He calmed down, climbed up my arm and onto my shoulders… What happened next almost made me cry.

He closed his eyes and started licking my head like a dog.  He just wanted to be loved and get out of his cage where he couldn’t even move.  We named him Freckles and he was awesome!  He became so tame that we sold him to a traveling zoo and she took him out to different events.  So awesome!

I thought of this story because of something that happened today.  There is an inmate in Segregation that lives here.  he will never e in general population… he will be locked down 24 hours a day, allowed to come out 10 minutes every day to get a shower.  To take this inmate to a medical appointment is an act of Congress.  They have shields, a fire extinguisher of potent pepper spray, and a video man to record everything just in case they have to take him down.  See this is a very angry, violent, prisoner.  A lot of times, he will throw feces at officers, and he resists a lot.

Now I don’t know all the details about him, his mental health history.  I am assuming he is just violent and angry, because there are prisons that cater to the mental health inmates, and we don’t have a mental health sector.  I guess what I want to know is… who has shown love to this man?  Who has told him that there is hope?  Who has told him that God still loves him?  And I could go on and on with questions.  Could he be like Freckles?  If no one loves this man, then we will never know.  God loves everyone, and He commands us to do the same!

I love you all!

Love,

Eddie