God in People – Nov 4, 2015

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place, he watches all who live on earth—he forms the hearts of all who considers everything they do.”
— Psalm 33:13-15

Last Sunday during church as we were praising God, singing the song “Revelation Song,” something happened. While leading the song, I closed my eyes.  I often do this during worship to imagine, picture God.  So I was closing my eyes and had the feeling to just open them wide.  When I opened my eyes, immediately connected with an older man.  We smiled, and I moved to the next person, and then the next.  I remembered as this was happening about in the book “Tattoos on the Heart” about how he often would picture people he was talking to as God.  We were all created in is image.  I stood there and realized in that moment that God created everyone in that room.  I started picturing God right there in everyone’s heart.  This went on for the whole rest of the song.

All I could do was smile.  I wasn’t evening paying attention to the right notes or words.  I was more focused on God’s radiance in church.  Also realizing that God looks down from his dwelling place and adores every person on this planet.

How awesome is that?  He watches us. I can just imagine God smiling when he sees something pleasing.  I can imagine God weeping in great sorrow as he looks down on us. I sure do know that God does an awesome job at forming our hearts.  If you haven’t let God into your heart, you should give it a try.  He is the great physician!  The thing I love the most about God is…

He loves us with an unfailing love!

“May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
–Psalm 33:22

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Saturdays – Oct 11, 2015

I have been locked up for 10 months now, and I have never written about Saturday visits.  I have written about my personal visits, but never took the time to describe the emotional impact they have on inmates.  Saturdays can either be a happy or sad day for an inmate.  See, we as a society take time with family very lightly. Now I wouldn’t say that all people are like this.

There are some very tight knit families.  They get together a lot and cherish the time they have together.  In prison, this is different.  We don’t know when we will see our family members, and some of us will never see our families again.  Some inmates’ families disown them, write them off, forget about them; All this for various reasons.  Some times, a lot of times, inmates family members don’t want anything to do with them, because they messed up and are in prison.  Some treat their families poorly so they don’t want to see them.  Those of us that have family support love visits, but they are never long enough….2 hours.

When we have a visit, we are happy, jumping for joy and sad all at one time.  Happy to see them, hug them, but sad to see them go, but still happy.  We cherish every minute we have with our family.  I guess what I’m saying is… Don’t take your family for granted.  Enjoy, cherish every moment you have with them.  Most importantly, don’t hold grudges.  Remember that tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone!

I love you all!

No More Enemies because love wins – August 9, 2015

NOTE from Eddie’s Mom:  Eddie wrote this in August and wasn’t sure until lately whether or not he wanted to post it.  

Before I start the meat of this blog, I want you all to not worry about me.  In this very real prison conflict that I was faced with, prayer and God’s word was my weapon of choice.  In the end, enemies turned into friends and God answered prayers immediately.  I would not normally share a blog like this, because when my family and friends hear of threats of me being beat up… they worry.

But I tell you not to worry.  This is a blog letting people know that God is a protector among a lot of things.  That you don’t have to fight with violence, anger, harsh words, fists or knives.  That you can win battles with prayer and God’s word.  I hope that this blog will inspire people that are faced with very real, difficult situations; situations where people threaten you, want to hurt you, or you even wanting to hurt people; where violence might happen.  I know that for most people, this is rarely going to happen.  However, in my current situation, this is happening all around me.

This is only the first time in 8 months this has happened to me.  This blog is going to be extra long, but I felt like God is calling me to share this story!  Not only with you all but also with other inmates around me.  So please enjoy this very real story.

Tonight I was about to play Rummy 5000 with my Christian buddies in the block.  Well, this man came up to our table and started joking around with one of us.  Another inmate made a comment about why he wanted the other inmate to go in his room.  Without even thinking I said, “Yea, I know.”  Well, the man that was joking around got all mad.  Like seriously mad!  He said, “I am going to my room to get shoes on.  You come back here, and we’ll fight.”  Okay, honestly I was scared.  I didn’t understand why he was so mad.  I was just joking.  He was joking, we were all joking around.  I was so confused.

Well another inmate came out of his room and said, “I’ll go fight him”, and went back to his room. They didn’t fight.  They ended up just talking.

The guy that was mad went and took a shower and said, “Ed, come here.”  So I went back to his room.  He said, “Come in here.”  I said, “I’m not coming in there.”  I told him I didn’t want any problems.  I apologized for what I said, and I was sorry he took it seriously.  We were all just joking.  He said, “Come in here.”  He said, “Ok, it’s not you.  It’s so and so, he started it.”  I said, “Are we cool?”  and he said, “Yea, we’re good.”  However, then he started talking to people about it, and I still didn’t feel good about it.  After we finished our game of Rummy 5000, I went to my room.  Boy, did I fall to my knees and literally cried out to God.  I was on my knees on the cold, dirty concrete floor with my head on the ground.  I didn’t know what to do.  I asked God to help me.  I cried to God, “Help me!  Give me a sign, something!”  Then I stopped praying and I listened for God.  At that moment, scriptures started popping up in my head.  The first scripture was Luke 6:27-28:

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.”

Then, Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword.  It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit joints and morrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Then, 1 Corinthians 13:13

And now these three remain: Faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Then… Ephesians 4:26

In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

Then, 1 John 4:7-8

Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love.”

Then John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

At this point, I was thinking, “God, you want me to love the guy that called me names, cussed me out and wanted to beat me up.  How do you want me to do this?  Do you want me to give him trail mix? What?

Then I realized I had an extra bible.  You want me to go out there, tell him that God loves him, and everyone in here and give him a bible?  That’s what you want.  I was hesitant still.  He was playing chess, and I didn’t want to interrupt his game.  By the time he was finished, we were about to lock down for the night.  I went out to the dayroom.  Nervous, but I just had a moment.  I asked God to protect me.  I went up to him and said, “Hey, are we cool?” Then the lights flickered, which means we have to lock down for the night.  I said, “I think you’re a cool guy.  I have no problems with you, and I would like to talk to you more tomorrow.”  Now I know I am not guaranteed tomorrow, but I had to lock down.  I didn’t want to get written up.  However, when I locked down, we both went away happy and smiling. I fulfilled Ephesians 4:6 and I realized something.  I realized that what God wants me to give this man is love and friendship.  Tomorrow, I will ask him to help me with my chess game and God will come up in a conversation.  The greatest gift we can give someone is to help a person save their soul and show them God’s love; to point them towards the road of salvation.

“For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:17

Our job in this world is not to condemn the world but to love and save the world… yes, even our enemies!

Love wins!

You are the Light – Oct 24, 2015

“You are the light of the world…”  — Matthew 5:14

I read this verse in a book I am reading.  The author made a really good point about this verse of scripture. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.”  This is beautiful, but what is more beautiful is what Jesus doesn’t say.  He doesn’t say “One day if you are more perfect and try really hard, you’ll be the light.  He doesn’t say “If you play by the rules, cross your “t’s” and dot your “i’s”, then maybe you will become the light.”

He straight out says “You are the light.”  It is the truth of who you are just waiting to discover it.  Everyone has light in them.  No need to change.  Just discover it.  Be who you are!

You are the light!

Exactly Right – October 24, 2015

“Everyone is just looking to be told who he or she is, is right and true and wholly acceptable.  No need to tinker and tweak.  Exactly right.”  –Gregory Boyle

When I read these three sentences in Gregory Boyle’s book, Tattoos on the Heart, I stopped reading and re-read this statement again… and … again.  This statement is beautiful.  I have been meditating on this statement, praying and really taking careful thought to what this says.  This past week I have struggled with this.  There is a guy in the band who I wish I could just change his personality, change the way he acts… change him to who I think he should be.

We are all guilty of this in our lives.  We all do it even though sometimes we try hard not to… we still do from time to time.  A person isn’t the way we expect them to be, so we try and tweak or tinker with them.  This statement reminded me that God doesn’t do that.  He sees us for who we are and he loves us unconditionally.  He thinks we are exactly right.  He made us exactly right.  I believe that he wants us to love him and does get disappointed when we do wrong, but he still loves us unconditionally.

I challenge you to embrace and love people for who they are.  Also know that you are “exactly right.”

I love you all!