UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
hope and is not affected by his environment. He is the most thoughtful person one could ever hope to meet in prison. His example draws those who are searching and prompts them to ask him, “What is it that makes you different? How can you have such a steady attitude and so much peace?” The kind, thoughtful inmate answers with one word, “Jesus!” Jesus is the best friend and family, an inmate can have. He will always be there for you and understands every thought, emotion, or feeling you have. Jesus will keep hope alive in you when there is no hope to be found. He will keep friends and family around or draw them back to you even if you haven’t seen them for years. Jesus can change you, even when you feel there is no reason to continue. He is a personable God who will add things to your daily life and touch your heart with things that no one else would think matters.
For instance, if it takes 123 steps from an inmate’s unit to the chow hall (which over the years one counted for something to do along the way), Jesus may prompt you to look up one day into a clear blue sky and see a bird flying over head. Doesn’t that beat looking down like everyone else at the sidewalk with bird crap and cigarette butts on it? Or perhaps during yard time, when one is sitting outside, the wind starts to blow and a smell or a feeling comes to mind and makes one have a sense of home. The birds may chirp and remind one of an old song that brings back many happy thoughts. A right attitude with Christ in one’s heart can make such a situation a wonderful peaceful gift from God. Someone else experiencing the same sights, smells and sounds may complain that the wind blew a paper or card off their table or try to scare the birds up by throwing a rock at them.
Having Jesus in an inmate’s life brings total peace of mind even during the most dreadful times. I once knew an inmate who was in prison for life. He wasn’t your average prisoner because he had never been in trouble before. He served in the armed forces and had a good paying job when he was framed and lost all. He was sent to prison. All he had on the outside was his mom and dad who loved him very much. While in prison, he started asking questions about God and Jesus. Before long, he gave his life to Christ and started talking to his parents about it. They had attended church years ago, but left the faith. The next thing you know he was telling others how his mom and dad rededicated their lives to Christ. Everything seemed good for this inmate other than the long prison sentence he had. Then one day, he was told to call home and found out that his dad had died. It was very difficult for him, but he trusted Jesus with it and continually was praising God. The next week, he found out that his mother died too. Now there was no one left out there for him. He was alone with nothing but time to do, but you would never had known it because this man again trusted in Jesus Christ with these difficulties and stood firm on the Word of God. He found hope and faith when it seemed impossible for a man to find any. Jesus gives supernatural peace that will remain with you forever.
I can remember a time when I was lonely and yearning for the comfort of a woman. I prayed to God and asked Him if He could send someone my way to write and help with this comfort problem. Two weeks later after that prayer, I received a letter from an old girlfriend that I had not communicated with for almost 16 years. She had been looking on the internet and found my name. She read my testimony that I had submitted to a ministry some time ago. She wrote to me and told me how it inspired her and rejoiced with me about the wonderful change that had taken place in my life.
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