Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shouts of Grace, written 1/18 through 1/19/04

On 8/2/94, I was sentenced to two 30 years sentences. One for Armed Criminal Action. The other for Murder. On 8/3/94, the Missouri Department of Corrections changed my sentence, without the permission of the courts, to 60 years and placed me under life sentence sanctions. 9 1/2 years later and almost 11 years into my bit, I wrote Shouts of Grace.

Upon being sentenced to spend my life in prison, God helped me express my soul through words. In those days, I was so closed in that I couldn't trust anyone. My heart wouldn't allow me, but God gave me His Word to find strength to trust in Him. He's given us His Word.

When I wrote it, I'd been in for over a decade. My D.O.C. time had reached 9 1/2 years. In retrospect, I could say I was relatively late in my bit, but the reality is that I wasn't. At the time, I had no idea when I'd be released. When I wrote it, I had no attorneys and my case wasn't in the courts. All I had was faith. I had faith in His grace. I had set my heart to serve, loved my Lord and believed Psalm 91:14-16's promise.
"Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation."
You might wonder where I got the title and the theme? The answer's in Zechariah 4:6-7.
"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it!"
You might also wonder at the tone of the words.

Why do I call Him the God of all these things? The answer is in His title. He's God. Now, I know one path of thought is that because He's God that means He's the one doing everything and that Satan really does nothing and isn't to be blamed. Another line of thought is that God does it all, so we should blame Him. And yet another line of thought is that God does good things, Satan does bad things. Here's the thing, God is...God. Whether He's in it, responsible for it or merely the source of strength we need to get through it, He's God and Satan is not.

At the time I wrote this, I wasn't concerned with those debates. I'd done that before, and found nothing but excuses. Over the years, I'd come to understand that God's power and influence over creation is far above my ability to understand, but His heart? hhhhhmmmm...that was different. His heart was revealed on the Cross. His heart was revealed in the purpose of His power displayed (1 John 4:7-9), so ...I praised Him. I shouted to Him. And I thanked Him that He is God and I am not. I still do.

That night, my concerns were for something more fulfilling. In that hour, my heart was concerned with His deliverance. In that midnight hour, I saw God's powerful desire to set me free, even more than He already had. He had free'd me throughout my stay in prison. He'd free'd me of fear and rage. He'd free'd me of the walls inside me. I had faith He would free me of the walls around me (which He did 5 years after I wrote this song). I desired whatever freeing He had for me on 1/18, 1/19/04.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6 
 Shouts of Grace
written 1/18 through 1/19/04, in the midnight hour
by Joshua C. Kezer, copyrights 2004

There has come a time in our lives
When we must make a decision
To shrink back or stay the course
To believe the lie or that He is risen

Now I believe God is in control
And I believe we will rise above this
Just as I believe Jesus is Lord
And I believe Satan is defeated (2x)

With shouts of grace (grace), shouts of joy (yeah)
Let the river flow and overflow
and gain control
With shouts of grace (grace), shouts of joy (yeah)
Let the world come and bow before Your throne
With shouts of grace

Can we see Him and what's all around us?
Do we see the angels.....surrounding where we are?
Open our eyes, Lord, and show us Your bounty
Make us to see, Lord, Your host standing guard

Build up within us a praise that is mighty
Make us to shout, Lord, an overcoming blow
Flow through us a wind that is living
Let us see, Lord, new life in the bones (2x)

With shouts of grace (grace), shouts of joy (yeah)
Let the river flow and overflow
and gain control
With shouts of grace (grace), shouts of joy (yeah)
Let the world come and bow before Your throne
With shouts of grace

(chorus extended) 
We will look to You, God of the mountains
God of the valleys
We will trust in You, God of the weak
God of the strong

And we will praise Your name, God of the plagues
God of the Blood
And we will follow You, wherever You lead
Wherever You go
Yes, we will bow before You, for we know
You are in control
God of grace

(instrumental pause)

With shouts of grace, shouts of grace
With shouts of grace, shouts of grace
grace, grace, grace (3x)

There has come a time in our lives
When we must make a decision
To shrink back or stay the course
To believe the lie or that He is risen

I hope you find strength in it, as I do every time I read it and reminisce on that night. I hope you're free'd, as I was. I've known dark night's of the soul. That wasn't one of them.

Prior to this, I'd shared this with a few others. Now, many of you. It excites my heart to know that people from all around the world will now share in this experience with me. Every time I check my stats and find that a new section of the world has read my blog, I get excited. To go from being inside a maximum security prison to maintaining a blog that reaches across the globe is definitely a sign of God's "grace".

I hope each of you takes the time to comment on this entry. Some of you may find it difficult to do so. I've been told that the blog isn't letting some people comment. Some of you might try going to the follow button at the top of the blog and choosing to follow the blog via that option. I think it will allow you to post a comment, once that's done. ...whether you speak English or not or if you're a Christian or not. Thank you for reading my blog.

Blessings in the name of Jesus Christ,



  1. Josh I am finding it hard to put into words what I feel as I read this, but I will try. We don't communicate as much as I'd like to, many questions I have wanted to ask but refrained from in respect of you possibly not wanting to share with me, but this here that you wrote is mind blowing. Every word grabbed my attention, every word helps me to see that the picture is much bigger than I thought it was. Seeing your story on tv, reading it online and even seeing the compassion you have for your fellow man did not bring me to the depth of "seeing" you until I read this. I rejoice with you in the victory you obtained through God's grace. I celebrate life regardless of the pitfalls and miry clay that may try to trip me up or suck me down. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. The internal joy you have radiates like a magnet, drawing me and I know others to the source of that which you are experiencing and who it is that supplies the praise you have in your heart on a daily basis.

    Josh, I love you as my friend, as my brother, as an encouragement and inspiration, and I thank God for you, pray for you every day, and thank you for encouraging me to never give up no matter what.


  2. I believe we are each given trials that may almost surely break us but in the end, God knew we needed those trials for a reason like wisdom, strength, empowerment, etc.. I have seen your story and was so moved by it, that I had to know the person who endured so much and was still a beacon of light for God because of those circumstances. Your trials and their resolutions are encouraging the hearts of others to passionately grow in the name of Christ. I myself find me wanting to know more every day because you affect my life in such a positive way.

    If ever you need a reason to smile, proof in what presence you have on this earth or think you do not affect people...please look around you. What happened to you was wrong but in the end, your experience and talking about it is changing people's perspectives and lives. That is powerful Josh and I truly believe God has a purpose for you that is greater than what we can perceive at this juncture in time.

    Thank you for using your experience in a positive way so that we benefit from it. Thank you for coming into my life and letting me be apart of your life to hear your testimony. Thank you God for Josh Kezer. The future is so bright with you in it. Remember these words when your heart is troubled because you mean so much to me and so many others.

    Here I am at 3:26 in the am on my side of the globe and supposed to be sleeping but you are on my mind. You do make a difference~

  3. Josh,

    Hope you don't mind me sending this as a Facebook message. I'm not able to send comments to the blog using my mobile web, and I only have access to a PC on weekends. I have a question about the song you shared with us today. Have you created sheet music for it yet? I'm a lover of music and, while I was reading it, I was trying to put a melody to it.

    I'll never be able to begin to imagine the challenges and atrocities that you must have endured during the years of your confinement. We all take so much for granted without even realizing it, especially the little things in life. For me to imagine how intense your passion for life must be is overwhelming. You were confined, but only physically. Your heart and soul were freed way before your body ever was.

    I'm also glad to hear that your viewer numbers continue to rise. I'm sure it brings your viewers much comfort in knowing that they are not only protected by their Lord and Savior, but also loved and cared for by others all over the world.


    P.S. Last week when I saw your book list (on Facebook), I took the first title and read it. 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese. I'm not much of a reader, but I couldn't put it down. I read it in one night.

    Amanda Gibson

  4. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful words on this troubling ( for me ) night.