UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON

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For example, I can tell you that I am sitting at my desk writing this book and many perceptions of a man sitting at a desk writing a book can come to your mind according to your environment. You could be thinking about a desk in the living room, or study. You could be thinking of a desk with a nice view through a nearby window. The facts that were omitted about the man writing a book could be the most important which need to be understood. They would provide a much better understanding of the environment or condition of the person writing the book. If one adds that there is no window, but only a cold brick wall and the writer doesn’t have the room to himself, then a much different picture begins to develop. Further descriptions would include that his roommate (bunky) keeps walking in and out of the room and distracting him. Also, there are people yelling right outside his door and making all kinds of noise and all he wants is a little quiet time to think and write. Now the reader has a whole different picture of the “condition of the writer”.

The reason I want to write about a new Christian in prison is two fold. The main purpose is to educate people in the free world about what Christian friends or family in prison are going through while serving God and growing in Jesus. Hebrews 3:3 says, “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also.” How can you, who are in the free world, know what it is like to be chained to those in prison if you’ve never taken a step in their shoes? I hope you will take some time to read this book and understand what it is like, so that your friend or relative in prison can grow in Christ with your support and live godly lives when they get out.

The second purpose for this book is to help Christians who are in prison. This book can help a Christian inmate understand and deal with others in prison. By reading this book, you can better understand how to prevent negative events from happening in your life right now. The more we understand who we are in Christ and who our loved ones are in Christ, the stronger we will become.

One of the most powerful, mind altering problems one faces in prison is distractions. Distractions can come quickly or slowly. There are good ones and bad ones. Some distractions can save life and others will destroy life. Distractions are like a bomb which will suddenly disrupt and take control of the mind. The one thing a person in prison uses the most is his mind. Distractions can cripple a person mentally from doing the things he wants to do or be. By understanding the distractions that one will face in prison, you will be able to help your friend or relative in prison to either overcome these distractions or avoid having them altogether. Christian inmates should also pray that the Holy Spirit would inspire and help them to avoid distractions like I did while writing this book.

Before going any further, I would like you to know a little about myself and what God has done and is doing in my life. My name is Eric LaBarge and I am incarcerated in the Michigan Department of Corrections in Detroit, Michigan. I have been in prison since 1999. On July 12, 1999, I was caught on the run in Mississippi and was sent back to Michigan to await my sentencing and go to prison. All my life, I had played the church game. I believed I was a Christian since childhood, but I never lived my life for Christ.  My life was far too important to me. I wasn’t about to let God have any of it. At that time, my understanding of who a Christian truly is was far from the truth.

This was not my first time in trouble. I had been in prison in the mid-1980’s for a couple of years. Also, I had been in and out of county jails a few times. During this time,

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