UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON

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imagine in the future. Keeping him growing in Christ and on the right path now is not only critical for his eternity but keeping a friend or loved one focused on God can have a ripple effect to many others in the future.

Besides the future, mentoring the new Christian in prison can help him to live his life in prison for Christís honor and glory! There will be multiple times of great joy, comfort, peace and adventure in growing in Christ. I have many times that I read something in the Bible and find so much peace and truth from it that I just have to go and share it with someone else. Unfortunately in prison, sometimes it is hard to find another brother who will really understand your inner joy and excitement in what you are learning. That is another good reason to stay in good communications with your friend or loved one in prison - so that he can always have a way to communicate that joy and growth to you. It will not only bless him but it will bless you as well. Many times I wrote about the new things I was learning from the Bible to someone outside of prison. It gave me great joy.

Letter writing is a great way to communicate because the writer can take time to answer the otherís thoughts in a deliberate way. It provides a way to share oneís own personal times of love, joy and peace in your own growth in Christ. Letters can be read and reread many times by an inmate for encouragement. It could open the eyes of your loved one to some spiritual growth in his own life that he hadnít realized before he read about your experience.

Many times, I would just keep doing my daily Bible study and praying with nothing exceptional happening in my life. Then out of the blue, another brother comes to me with a problem that he is having and we talk and pray about it. Shortly afterwards, God would bring to mind the different events in my life that helped me get to the point where I could help this brother in Christ with his problem. Days like that bring great rejoicing for a growing Christian and his faith will strengthen more and more.

Growing in Jesus Christ is an adventure. When one has spent years of his life living for himself, living for Jesus gives so much more purpose to life. It gives a sense of true being that was never known to the new Christian before. The comfort and joy that it brings takes one to a higher level of living. A new Christian growing in Jesus will start to experience accomplishments that seem to come out of nowhere. He will find joy in working harder to be all that he can be on his job even if it is just a janitorís job, just to please his Father in Heaven. Name calling and insults wonít seem to bother him like they used to because he knows God approves of him and loves him unconditionally. There is a peace that lives in a Christian that is hard to explain, but very comforting to know that it is there. Material goods become less important to self so one becomes much more generous. Helping another with a need before his own need is satisfied will make his heart fill with joy. The joy of helping another makes one forget about his own need.

Reading the scriptures is always an adventure. Itís like digging for gold. There will be many days that something in the scriptures will appear like a treasure uncovered. Everything comes to a stop and a new and wonderful truth about God and how he loves us is revealed. It takes the rest of the day to meditate on such a treasure and absorb the full meaning of it in oneís life.

Appreciation for the simple things in life grows. Getting up in the morning, every morning can bring such a feeling of true joy and praise to God. New feelings and experiences like these are part of the adventure of growing in Jesus. It is a tremendous change for a person whom a short time ago had no purpose in life other than seeking self-

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