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ALL GLORY TO GOD. This is all new to me after so many years without the need for friends to suddenly ask for your friendship and your prayers is all new to me so Thank you & God bless my name is Steve. I was arrested in May 2004 after a long time on drugs, alcohol and a total lack of any sort of respect for anything, that led to me being arrested and charged. During my arrest I took a large amount of amphetamine and ended up in hospital, where my heart gave up on me and I died briefly having to be brought back to life by the hospital staff. When I went for sentencing the prosecution tried to enter the charge and the judge refused them. On passing my sentence the accumulated time for the 5 counts in sentence was 6 years however because the judge gave the counts to run concurrently I only got two and a half years in total, less half the sentence on license means 15 months inside. I started my sentence in Norwich Prison and was then transferred to Wayland Prison just outside of Thetford. I was still the same person at that time, as when I went in. I agreed to do a drug rehabilitation course and there I met a friend who was a Christian. Just before Christmas he asked me if I would come and support him in a carol service, he was taking part in. After a number of excuses for some time and the persistence of my friend, I finally agreed, and that is when God found an opening to my life. The realization that God had his hand on me even before I was ready to accept him, and what I now believe, with his intervention with the court case and giving me back my life during the hospital stay really hit home.On 30th January 2005 I was baptized after accepting Jesus Christ who is my savior by the blood that flowed from his body, his sacrifice, allows me a criminal, an evil person to come out of that life before, and to the new life with God that Jesus gives. During the remainder of my sentence up to my release in August 2005 my life was up and down, good and bad. Shortly after my baptism I could not fully accept the truth that God really had forgiven me and I tried to commit suicide. Afterwards things began to happen. I started to realize that the more we go for God, the harder the devil tries to break up our relationship with Jesus, and he plays dirty and uses every trick in his arsenal. During this time, I was doing a computer course, which I finished. I was offered woodwork but was told NO-WAY by security, I tried to get other jobs and every time I got the same answer No Not suitable. Then one Thursday the chaplain invited me to become a chapel orderly, I was over the moon and agreed to start on the Friday. By the Tuesday Security had said No Way. I was annoyed, felt betrayed and decided I had, had it with change. I rebelled and decided to go back to the way I used to be. That believe it or not lasted for about three weeks and during that time Jesus just would not let me go. You guessed it Jesus won over the devil and I started going back to the chapel again. During my sentence I have had a lot of support not only from the chaplaincy but also from the education department, the Governor and other officers, some of which are not Christians but noticed big changes in me since starting my sentence. It was on or about the 16th June 2005 that the chaplain said he had clearance of security and other departments for him to offer me now the position of Chapel Orderly and was I interested. You can imagine how happy I was. For a number of weeks I had been listening to sermons about training ourselves for God, and also confession and the way it cleanses the soul and breaks down the barriers between ourselves and God so we may become more susceptible to coming closer to our maker. On Wednesday 25th June I was talking to the other orderly and it was suggested during our conversation why dont I shave off my beard and moustache as it would not make me look so intimidating. I answered truthfully and explained that over many years I have psychologically relied on my looks to keep people away from getting to close to me, my looks were that of a typical biker, bald, beard, moustache and tattoos. I got back to my cell at dinner time and for the time I was banged up behind my cell door could not stop thinking about what had been said and my reply. I know God sees everything in my mind and heart so I know with me its got to be all or nothing with God. So I decided to remove my mask and shaved off my beard and moustache. When I had finished shaving I felt very vulnerable and scared, but once I saw people after we were opened up I realized I was ok. I got to the chapel in the afternoon and talked with the chaplain about things that had happened that morning. I also knew I had to remove a stumbling block of guilt that was holding me back from being closer to God. I told the chaplain about it and he explained that even though Jesus has already taken my sin away, it is still important for us to recognize our own shortfalls and offer them up to God. I felt a great weight had been lifted from my mind and I felt at peace with myself. I then went off by myself and read John chapter 14, where Jesus comforts, confirms he is the way and he is with us, also that if we focus and come to him then we also see God. Then the chaplain came in and we read the chapter together and shared our thoughts on this, then the chaplain asked if we could pray together, I agreed, and I can tell you this now, I have been on a lot of drugs in the past but when we finished praying I was so high, so high, I felt every emotion all at the same time and my body felt very different. I shared my feelings with the chaplain and he assured me that what I was experiencing was the Holy Spirit, Gods messenger and that because I had opened up to God and had come into Gods grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that God had done what he promised and Jesus had sent his messenger the Holy Spirit to comfort me and guide me. We had a meeting that evening and there was no way I was able to keep quiet about what had happened and any sort of order to that meeting went right out of the window, Praise the Lord, Praise God. For the last few weeks of my sentence I felt very anxious because of the change from imprisonment to freedom, how people would react, the Police, neighbors even Church congregations. I prayed about it with the chaplain and asked for Courage and Help from God. On the day of my release I was given a lift home by two Christians who Worship within the prison as visitors and this was my first blessing from God, the next one was that evening, I saw a police officer who knew me and we spoke and he agreed to come and visit me at home sometime over the weekend. Before he turned up I became aware by my wife that the police had brought back some items seized, when I was arrested, among them were knives, machetes and crossbows. You can imagine how worried I began to be, I am not even allowed to handle them yet alone have them in my home and they could put me back into prison for having these items. The Sunday morning I went to a local Church and was blessed greatly by the service, in the afternoon the police officer came round and I handed the items over to him much to his amazement. We then chatted about my change that had come about by my turning to God. In the evening I went to another local Church and every word of the reading from 1 Samuel and the explanation I felt was being directed at me, even the words of the hymns were directed at me. My wife kept looking at me with a look of disbelief that she could not understand what was happening, my explanation is that God definitely had his hand in this. Afterwards the minister invited my wife and myself back to his house for a chat and it is just amazing how God can still perform miracles and direct our lives if only we have the desire to follow his path that he has set down for us. If you think that these things I have written about are just coincidence then please give me your explanation, not even my wife who has not yet come to the Lord is able to do that. As for myself I believe it to be from God. My prayers go to the people who have offered me friendship either by their love for Christ or the non-believers who by their very caring and compassionate nature have encouraged me in my change. If this Testimony has touched you then please dont harden your heart to Jesus remember he died for you as well as for me on that cross. May the love that Jesus brings fall upon you now and never leave you. Amen
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Jesus is not only our example on this Christian pilgrimage, but He is also the One who endows us with the power and grace to keep running our race and to finish well. We are able to keep pressing forward, casting off distractions, discouragements, and disappointment because He is the One who is faithful to complete the work that He began in us.
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