Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out with the old, In with the new, from a prisoner's perspective

Bu Johnny White

This is not a new year's story. This story is written by convict Johnny White, serving a 50 year sentence for the death of a Rockford woman during a drive-by shooting at her house. The term "gang banger" is what street gangs go by in Rockford. Of course they have their "bad" names for each gang, but "bangin" is the general term for being a member.
Johnny previously shared part of his story on the blog titled Rattlesnakes, Whoopin', and Hollerin'. This one is quite different. I will be posting it in its entirety over the next few days. 
I found it compelling. 
* * * *

"Ellis, come to the door and cuff up."
"Why? What's up?"
"You gotta new celli. A young guy at that."
When are these people going to put someone in this cell who's more my age? Sure doesn't take long for them to send another cell mate my way through the  never-stopping revolving door.
"Once I get you cuffed Ellis, I'm going to need you to step to the back of the cell.
I've been here over 20 years. I know the routine.
"It's just procedure, Ellis."
The fellow they bring in here is young.
"Why don't you give him some pointers on how things work around here. How to carry himself. Maybe help make his time go a lot easier."
"What makes you think I'm fit to do that job, Chief Stash?"
"I remember 20 years ago when you were the new guy comin' in. You tested and broke every rule in the book Ellis."
"Well not all of them!"
"Most of them. But today you're a man who tends to keep himself out of trouble."
"I guess things aren't the dame these days. I have come a long ways. Shoot, I still have a long ways to go."
"Inmate  Phillips, this is your celli. His name's Ellis. If I can give you any advice, it's this. Listen' to what he has to say. He's seen it all behind this wall. His advice may keep you out of  trouble. May even save your life."
Stash  clanged the cell door shut and left.
Phillips shrugged."Why they always slamming doors around here Pops?"
I looked him over. "First, I'm not your pops. If you're lookin' for a daddy in this place, you're in trouble. My name's Ellis. If you haven't noticed, this place is old and falling apart. So they need to slam the doors to make sure they're closed."
Phillips shrugged again. "I didn't mean no disrespect callin' you Pops."
"None taken. What name you  go by?"
"They call me Smoke," he answered, a touch of adolescent pride in his voice.
"Who is it you refer to as 'they'? You a gang banger?"
"Yeah, I been bangin' since I was 12 years old. My boys and I, we from the eastside of Rock-Town."
"Oh yeah. I'm from that town as well. East and west side. I used to run back and forth. Who is it you ride with?"
"Alley Boys! We the baddest when it comes to the town's streets."
"Smokey, every banger that comes through this place says their hood is the baddest. I used to say the same thing. I know a lot of older dudes from the Alley Boys. Most are dead or in this place now."
"How you know my O.G's family, Ellis?"
"I used to run those same streets. I used to be part of the Devil's Click. I'm  past that part of my life now, Smoke. I learned the truth."
Phillip's brows arched. "Man, you Devil's Click?"
"No. Used to Devil's Click!!!" I emphasized the words.
"What's your aka? Your bang handle, man?"
"They called me Drop. That name is nothing but a mistake from my past, Shorty. Once I learned the truth, I changed. Hopefully you will too. Lot of guys don't, or they choose to ignore it."
"I ain't no sell-out, Ellis. I'm Alley Boy all the way until six feet under."
"You'll either learn you already been sold out, or you'll be six feet under quicker than you think. Let's put that aside for the moment. Let's put this cell in order.

Part Two to follow.

When That Which is Perfect Comes . . .

By Andrew Wommack 

Mark 16:20 "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

MARK 16:20

The Lord confirmed the preaching of His Word with miracles. If Jesus and the first century Christians needed the Word confirmed with the miraculous (Heb. 2:4), then we do too. There is no scripture that says these miraculous signs have passed away.

Some people have interpreted "that which is perfect" in 1 Corinthians 13:10, as being the complete Bible. This has led them to believe that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. Although God's Word is perfect (Ps. 19:7), it is not the "perfect thing" that is referred to here. 1 Corinthians 13:8 does say that tongues shall cease, but it will not happen until "that which is perfect is come."

In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says, "when that which is perfect is come, we shall see face to face." This speaks of seeing the Lord face to face, instead of vaguely, as through a dark glass, as it is now. Some might argue that this is speaking in a symbolic sense, instead of literally face to face. But the next comparison in this verse says that then, "when that which is perfect is come," we shall know all things even as we are also known. There is no other way to interpret this, except as a description of when we will stand before the Lord, after this life. Then we will be face to face, and know all things even as also we are known. "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see Him as He is." I John 3:2.

Verse eight says that at the time prophecies fail and tongues cease, knowledge will vanish away. This is talking about the next life, or the new heavens and earth, because one of the signs of the end times is that knowledge shall increase (Dan. 12:4).

So the "that which is perfect" that Paul speaks of, cannot be the Bible. It has to be either our glorified body, or Jesus at His second coming. Either way, these verses establish that until "that which is perfect is come," tongues and prophecy will remain. They are still valid gifts, and even today, it is God's will to accompany the preaching of His Word with miracles.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rattlesnakes, Whoopin' and Hollerin'? Former Satan's Disciple's letter

Rattlesnakes, whoopin' and hollerin? Not exactly.
This involves the story of a police woman's literal visit to Hell, a reporter's contact with the former leader of the Satan's Disciples street gang, and the letters between them which show how God's love never fails.
It is more than that.
Readers will see the  "more" as the story unfolds.
Let's begin it with the latest letter I received from Johnny White, in prison since 1998 for the drive-by shooting death of a young woman in Rockford, IL. At that time Johnny was the Satan's Disciple street gang leader.
He first contacted me at the News Office where I had been writing a series of articles on a wrongfully convicted prisoner who is also serving 40 years behind bars. He convinced me he knew something about that crime, so I corresponded with him.
Over the next several years, Johnny and I slowly developed a relationship of trust. His letters to me are a story in themselves, and one I hope to write some day.
Johnny responds to the blog posts I wrote about the gift of speaking in tongues, which began in December.

Thank you for sharing your personal experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of speaking in tongues. I never told you about my own experience, but I will now.
It was 1995 and I was wanted on some warrants in  Rockford, so my father sent me stay with family members in Lost Creek, Kentucky, which is up in the hills.
My great uncle Joe lived at the bottom of the holler and still drew his water up from a well. He did have electricity though. Uncle Hoe had one condition for me if I was allowed to live with him. I had to go with him to Sunday service.
My idea of church in the back wood hills of Kentucky was of rattlesnakes and people whooping and hollering. The service wasn't like that at all. It was a quiet Baptist Church, that is until a lot of the church goers would start talking in weird languages, mostly to themselves.
Being young and lacking in manners, both my cousin and I would make fun of them and laugh at their "language." At least until Uncle Joe would turn that eye on us that said we were close to gettin' it.
Sunday was the only day of the week Uncle Joe stayed sober and the one day to take him seriously.
That day, me and my cousin Tommy were being disrespectful at church again. Uncle Joe took us both outside and asked, "Why do you find it so funny that people are talking with God?"
We didn't have answer. I asked him, "How is God supposed to understand what they was saying?"
He told me, "That's God's language."
I was missing home and had been so bored that the Holler Church service was at least something to do. And instead of laughing and joking, I actually listened from time to time. One day it seemed like the Reverend spoke directly to me, almost as if he knew my past and my secrets.
I started to feel horrible, scared, and really had the compulsion to pray. I just didn't know how, or what to say. So I sat there with tears streaming down my face. I didn't even know I was speaking until after the service when Tommy began to make fun of me and say that I was just as crazy as everyone else at the service. He said I began speaking in the same way those church goers were talking when they talking.
I don't really know what happened to me that day.  I was just a young gang banging punk from Rockford who was in tears from hearing the Reverend's words. I still don't get how he seemed to know me like that. I never experienced this language again, but reading your experience has given me a better understanding of what took place in my spirit that day in the hills of Kentucky.
I plan to read up on it in the Bible and it will be edifying. Edifying. I like that word and just wanted to use it. I would like to know what you described in your blog as your "Abraham moment."
Thank you for your friendship and for your words which have helped me grow in my faith.
Johnny White

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I Wish I Didn't have to Admit This

What a Shock

I wish I didn't have to admit this.
After I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues (see my Dec. 1,2,3 posts) I expected the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23) to just appear in my life. I'd be so holy.
Actually, I did overflow with love, joy, and peace.
However, I cannot say that I never again lost my patience, never behaved unkindly, never again told a "polite" lie, or spoke out of anger, or lost my self control.
What a shock! I'm not perfect?!??
How can this be? I hunger and thirst for righteousness, yet I still have this fleshly nature which wars against my soul? Oh yeah. Just ask my dear husband. Of course he may exaggerate my faults.  Just a little.
 Why didn't the old things pass away and all things become new? 
The Spirit of truth led me to I Thess. 5:23. and impressed on my understanding that I am a trinity created in the image of God. It is my spirit that is a new creation. My soul has to be renewed. My body will be made new at the resurrection.
As I renew my mind with the Word, wrong thinking and wrong doing passes away and all things become new. This is a process. I still have to fight battles when I am tempted to be someone that I do not wish to be, just as Paul wrote in Romans Chapter 7.
Paul said, "I die daily so that it is no longer I ( my former self) but Christ who lives in me." Some people think this means we live in aging bodies which die a little each day and that's partly true, however it has a greater meaning.
I have to die to my fleshly desires daily.
I also found that praying in the spirit makes that easier. For instance, it would be so easy to excuse my irritable words by saying, "Well Lord, no man can tame the tongue." (James 3:8).
The Spirit whispers, "Yes, but I can. Put the words of Jesus in your heart for out of it the mouth speaks."
When I complain: "Father. I tried to crucify my flesh but I got one hand nailed to the cross and there was no way to nail the other hand," the Spirit whispers, "Yes but I can. Abide in the vine and you will produce fruit."
There have been challenges from without that threatened my faith walk. There have been disappointments. The storms of life happen. Those trials are what make believers into over comers. 
I Thank God my house is built on solid rock.I thank my God I speak in tongues. It is a mighty weapon of warfare.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

By Rick Renner
 devotional author
IS THERE A SPECIFIC WAY TO PRAY about each instance that comes into your life that will remove every obstacle and foil the enemy’s strategies against you in that situation? A phrase in Romans 8:26 sheds some light on that question: “… for we know not what we should pray for AS WE OUGHT….” That phrase “we ought” comes from the Greek word DEI, which means NECESSARY. Thus, this phrase refers to something that MUST be a certain way. So this part of verse 26 could be translated, “…We do not know how to pray according to the need, as is necessary to pray, or as that need exactly demands.”
Some needs demand a different kind of prayer. And this verse here says that without the Holy Spirit’s cooperation in prayer, we don’t know how to pray as each need demands. But thank God, His Spirit comes to remove our weaknesses and to HELP us in our inadequacy to know what to pray!
How does the Holy Spirit actually help us? We know from the word “helpeth” that He partners with us in prayer, grabbing hold of the obstacle and pushing against it in conjunction with us to remove that satanic blockade. I’ll share a little more later about how the Holy Spirit partners with us in prayer in other languages-- but today I just wanted to give you something to THINK ABOUT! – Rick Renner
Like ·  · Share
·         Top Comments
Penny Robichaux and 1,402 others like this.
Write a comment...

Joy Harrelson I pray in tongues everyday because the Holy Spirit knows best how to pray and knows whats needed in each situation.
Tim Cracknell Thanks Rick your insights on this are ground breaking for me.
Genny Longwell I pray often:) building up myself on my most holy faith ,praying in the Holy Ghost!
Jimmy Barrett Praying in the Holy Spirit gets me threw the day and taps in to the mind of the spirit for Gods plan!
Linda Boyd Praying in tongues works for me.
Joe'l Centrone Reming Keep these coming!!! Thank you!!!!
Paula Rhodes- Rush Thanks for sharing...that was very helpful to me this morning . Definitely something to think about.
De Primeaux Praying in the Spirit is the Anointing that breaks the yoke and this is what I needed today!! This is my answer- need to pray in the Spirit!!~ I know this Bro. Rick but God used you for that Ramah moment and for that I greatly thank you!!~

Monday, December 15, 2014

Stopped Caring About Fellow Man

Police Officer Lt. Daniel Furseth explains why . . . 

Today, I stopped caring about my fellow man. I stopped caring about my community, my neighbors, and those I serve.
I stopped caring today because a once noble profession has become despised, hated, distrusted, and mostly unwanted.
I stopped caring today because parents refuse to teach their kids right from wrong and blame us when they are caught breaking the law. I stopped caring today because parents tell their little kids to be good or “the police will take you away” embedding a fear from year-one. Moms hate us in their schools because we frighten them and remind them of the evil that lurks in the world. They would rather we stay unseen, but close by if needed, but readily available to “fix their kid”.
I stopped caring today because we work to keep our streets safe from mayhem in the form of reckless, drunk, high, or speeding drivers, only to be hated for it, yet hated even more because we didn't catch the drunk before he killed someone they may know. Never less, we are just another tool used by government to generate "revenue".
I stopped caring today because Liberals hate the police as we carry guns, scare kids, and take away their drugs. We always kill innocent people with unjust violence. We are called bullies for using a taser during a fight, but are condemned further for not first tasing the guy who pulls a gun on us. And if we do have to shoot, we are asked “why didn’t you just shoot the gun out of their hand?” And when one of us is killed by the countless attacks that do happen (but are rarely reported in the mainstream media) the haters say, "Its just part of the job".
I stopped caring today because Conservatives hate us as we are “the Government”. We try to take away their guns, freedoms, and liberty at every turn. We represent a “Police State” where “jackbooted-badge wearing thugs” randomly attack innocent people without cause or concern for constitutional rights. We are Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Rodney King all rolled into one lone police officer stopping to help change an old lady's tire.
I stopped caring today as no one wants us around, but instantly demands answers, results, arrests, when a crime takes place. If a crime isn't solved within the allocated 60 minutes it takes CSI on television, we are inept, incompetent, or covering something up. If we do get “lucky” it was just that and everyone with a Facebook account can post wonderful comments of how “they” would solve the case and how “we” and not nearly as clever.
I stopped caring today because a video of a cop six states away, from a department that you never heard of, screws up and forgets his oath of honor, thus firing up an internet lynch-mob of cop haters because “we all do the same things” even though 99% of us work twice as hard not to end up in the news and to still be “the good guys”. We are "militarized" because we wear body armor and kevlar helmets when shots are fired or rocks thrown at us and carry scary looking rifles even though everyone knows that they are easier to shoot and are more accurate than a handgun or a shotgun.
I stopped caring today because the culture of today’s instantly connected youth is only there to take and never give back. To never accept responsibility for ones actions, but to blame everyone else instead of themselves. To ask “what is in it for me?” versus “what can I do for you?” To idolize gangsters, thugs, sexual promiscuous behavoir, and criminals over hard work, dedication, and achievement. To argue that getting stoned should be a right, yet getting a job or an education is a hassle. To steal verus earn. To hate versus help.
Yes, I stopped caring today.
But tomorrow, I will put my uniform back on,.................... and I will care again.

Lt. Daniel Furseth
DeForest Police (WI)

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Age Poem Asks What If?

A New Age Poem by
Ganga White

 What If?
What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?
What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water--the rivers, lakes and oceans?
What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self knowledge?
If love was the center of our being

By Ganga White

After examining the ideas in Ganga's poem, I have a few What-If questions to ask:.

What if Love is not expressed by tolerance?
If instead of tolerating it when a child walks a dark and dangerous road,
What if Love shines Light on the path which leads that child to safety?
What if our words become prayers based on God's word, offered to Him who alone can make a Difference that mere man cannot?
What if our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and He sheds abroad His great  love in our hearts To be poured out to others, a love which is impossible in our human frailty?
Holy water? Where is that? The rivers, lakes and oceans are polluted. They shall be renewed at the return of the Lord who will make a new heaven and a earth.
What if the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, not self-knowledge, for His words says the heart of man is deceitful and wicked.
What if we ask Jesus into our hearts to renew us, fill us with Himself, His righteousness, His Peace, His joy, and it overflows to bless others around us?
What if His Way is the only path to abundant life?

What if we don't find it?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why Did God Confuse the Language at the Tower of Babel?

Could A Common Language
Usher in World Government?

I am amazed by significance of language in the story of the famed tower of Babel  in Genesis 11. Those people were attempting to build a tower that reached to heaven. 

God  decided to stop it by confusing their language. As a result, they were scattered across the whole face of the earth by God.

The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

While various explanations of this verse suggest the tower to be the first 
attempt at a one-world government and also a ziggurat for the purposes of star worship, the unity of their language is what God says will give them power to achieve whatever they want.

That is astonishing. Power to achieve whatever they want.

God clearly opposed this unity of language and stopped the tower's construction. What the builders wanted to do was not in accordance with His will.

Can it be that when the Holy Spirit is poured out on believers in the book of Acts, their new prayer language is the reversal of this confusion of speech?  A spiritual prayer language in an unknown tongue which unifies God's people in order to usher in His kingdom on the earth?  

Most theologians believe that the anti-christ will control Earth through a one-world  government. In order to do that effectively, he will need the ability to communicate. 

Consider the Internet, which can translate any language at the touch of the key board. Could this technology be the increase of knowledge spoken of by Daniel in 12: 24,  "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." 

I see speaking images on TV and internet every day and knowledge increases exponentially. What does all this mean?
Watch and pray. Look up, for your redemption draws nigh. Luke 21:28.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014



First I want to thank those of you who have sent word that they are learning from this blog about the biblical gift of tongues.
Second,  I want to emphasize once again that although this is an admittedly mysterious gift, it is completely supported in scripture, both Old and New Testament (regardless of some church doctrines). The verses are noted in my previous two blogs.
Third, I will say again, nobody wants to be deceived or get into a fanatical emotional experience that has no place in true worship.
Now on to my own seeking experience. Having satisfied my intellectual need to see true biblical support for the gift of speaking in tongues, I began to earnestly desire this prayer language--not unto men for no man understands it, but unto God.
I asked the Lord to show me which church I should be attending. He led me to the story of the woman at the well. Jesus effectively pointed out that the true worshippers are not--at the mountain or temple or 144th Baptist, Bapticostal, Evangelical, Roman Cathli-shionnary, etc.--but they worship in spirit and in truth.

Okay, Lord. That's what I want to do. I've been praying to receive this baptism of the Holy Spirit and I want to worship You in this spirit-inspired language and in truth, just as the apostles did throughout the New Testament. Why am I not receiving it?

By this time, I was so spiritually hungry for more of God. Yet I did not know how to receive. I had the following dialogue with the Holy Spirit over the next several days:

Lord, I want the real thing. I don't want a counterfeit. The Holy Spirit answered (He doesn't speak of Himself but brings to my remembrance the Words of Jesus):
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he (the child) asks for  a fish, will he (the Father) for a fish give him a serpent?

So I don't have to fear a counterfeit? You won't let me be deceived?
If ye then, being evil,(natural) know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Heavenly Father, I'm asking for the Holy Spirit. I believe this is a good gift. But nothing is happening. I no longer doubt this gift is for me. What I doubt is my worthiness to receive.
2 Cor. 5:21
For He made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (And in Rom. 3:21-22) Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:21–22).

This is too wonderful! Lord, you mean I can receive in Your righteousness and not my own? I don't have to do a lot of good works first? Confess some more sins? Repent again? What do I need to do?
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Does that mean I am supposed to keep on asking? Seeking? Knocking? I don't know if I am insulting You by my persistence, but I'm not giving up.

And so it went.
I kept going forward at every meeting asking for prayer to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I held on. I let go. I did everything those tongue-praying believers recommended. I felt I must have shrunk a few inches from hands laid on my head.  
I pestered the Lord for weeks and months.
Finally one Sunday night, disappointed and discouraged, I stopped at a red light on my way home from a service and said, "Lord, I've been seeking and praying. I don't know what else to do. I'm giving up. I'm just going to open my mouth and start praising You."

Before the light turned green, I heard my own voice speaking a beautiful language that I had never learned. I knew it was language, having taught French and English, I recognized syllables and cadence. I did not know what the words meant, but I was so gratefully joyous that I drove around for an hour or so praising God in this wonderful new language, rejoicing and laughing with Him.

I knew I was experiencing the real deal described in the book of Acts. All I had to do was open my mouth!

Regarding my honest fear about the counterfeit, here's the wonderful confirmation which the Lord in His wisdom gave to me. In 1 Cor. 12: 3 I read: "Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit."

Two of the words I spoke in this private prayer language sounded like: Yay-shoo-uh Ha-Mu-shee-uhk.
I had 
no ideas what those words meant until later when I happened upon a Jewish-Christian broadcast. They are Hebrew words: Yeshua Hamashiach. They mean: Jesus the Messiah.

What more do I need? I could NOT be speaking those words "except by the Holy Spirit."

From that moment on I never doubted the experience. That was only the beginning of a new prayer life in Christ. Tomorrow I will describe what I call my Abraham moment.