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Romans 8:1-4 (1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spir...

Friday, January 16, 2015

150116 Of Hebrews 4:12

Three decades ago, I was on a year long Bible outreach program. For two weeks, we posted an ad on the ‘church’ page, which ran in the local newspaper on Saturdays. On the second Saturday, we received a phone call from a man who declined to visit our Christian fellowships. He called every night with Bible questions. Why would he not visit? For the sake of clarity, I’ll call him “J”.

After a couple of weeks of daily calls, J revealed why he could not visit. He told us an amazing story, and it shows why Hebrews 4:12 lives for me and should imprint itself on every believer’s mind. Never devalue the power of God’s Word! J was in federal prison.

J was born and raised in East LA. He was quite intelligent, and quickly discovered that the way to get money was to sell drugs, but not to use them. He enjoyed violence. By the time he was a young adult, he was taken down in a sting and went to federal prison for twenty-five years. He didn’t like that, so escaped. They caught him and tacked five years onto his sentence. They moved him to another location where he escaped again and got another five years. He was moved to yet another prison, where he escaped again, so the judge tacked another five years onto his sentence. He got fifteen years just for attempting to escape. He pushed the envelope as often as he could, so one by one he lost every privilege he had. He was confined to solitary. Finally, he demanded a Bible, simply because they could not deny him that. Alone and bored, he started reading.

He told us that several times he grew frustrated and threw the book against the wall and called God a liar. He screamed and yelled, but boredom drew him into reading some more. One day, something stuck in his brain: God really existed. People really followed Him. Miracles really happened. He believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and believed that God had raised him from the dead. All the need for violence left him, and he was released from solitary. He had access to the newspaper, so searched for a church to answer his questions. He found our ad. It was the only one that listed ‘research’ and ‘teaching’. He knew that we would have answers and called. We were planning to run a Bible class. With special permission, he took it over the phone. For three hours a night for twelve nights, he sat on the phone, listening.

Would this work again? I don’t know. Ask God. Our ad appeared only twice, and to this day, I have not heard of another that has received this kind of response. As far as I know, this man is still in prison. Because of his history, he had been moved to other federal prisons frequently and without warning. Last I heard, he had changed locations twice, and is not scheduled for release until 2017. He quit writing me several years ago.

All hell can’t stop this man from being with the Lord in paradise. We will meet again.

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