A special memory from my years doing ministry with the incarcerated:
I met Marten at the juvenile facility. He’s 14 and incarcerated for the first time. He came to our Bible study because he said he’d “met God” a few days ago and wanted to officially surrender his life to Christ.
Said he used to attend church and youth group, but stopped going because “God didn’t fit in with my lifestyle of sin.”
I talked with Marten about the importance of turning away from sin and turning to God, and then depending on the newly indwelling Holy Spirit to empower him to live the Christian life. I explained that none of us can live the Christian life on our own power. He agreed and asked if I would pray with him.
Afterward he wanted to tell me his story: He was booked a week ago and given a very nice private cell in Oakwood 3. He came in frightened and angry with God. His fear diminished once he discovered his buddies were in Oakwood 3 with him! They assured him it’s not a bad place, especially with everyone together.
“But I was still angry with God for allowing me to get busted. I began cursing God and then I made a decision to follow Satan. My buddies and I began making plans to do all sorts of evil stuff after our release.
“Suddenly I found himself getting transferred out of Oakwood 3 and into Oakwood 4! I didn’t know anyone here! These guys are older and meaner. My room wasn’t clean like the other one—I had to clean it myself! Why did this happen to me?
“My fear returned worse than before. I began to think that God was punishing me for cursing Him and for giving my life to Satan. I was so scared I started crying like a baby and then I asked God to forgive me. I told him ‘I don’t really want to follow Satan, I want to belong to You, God.’
“Suddenly a peace came over me—a peace I had never before known. I knew it was God telling me He had forgiven me. I started thanking Him and crying even more, but this time I was crying with happiness. Ever since then I have been reading my Bible and praying throughout the day. I know God is real and I want to live for Him.”
He said, “Can I tell you something personal?”
I said, “go ahead.”
“I know it’s a sin to ‘do it’ with a girl when you’re not married. Right?”
“There’s a girl. She’s older—she’s 17. She called and asked me to come over Saturday night. We were going to ‘do it.’ It would have been my first time.”
“I got busted on Friday night. I’m so glad now, that I didn’t go over there. I know it’s wrong. I know God is real and I don’t ever want to sin again.”
It was God Himself who revealed His love and truth to Marten.
His story filled me with awe.
- Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
- SONG: I LOVE THE LORD – by Kathleen
[This life is temporary. This life is short. When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever. Where will the “real you” live? Will you live for all eternity separated from God? Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven? Learn more so you can make your most important decision: http://www.godlife.com/gospel/ and http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity
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