Saturday, January 12, 2019 -
Today was to be the start of our weekly Bible study at noon. We got back from chow around 11:20-11:30. I was surprised to see “S” leaving on the next move. I asked him, “Did you forget our Bible study?” He shrugged his shoulders and said something like, “Sorry.” “J” was in bed asleep, and “C” said to wake him up and see if he was still coming, otherwise we’d just go to “C’s” cell and begin. I woke “J” up and asked him, and he said no. He’d taken allergy medicine right before chow. So off I went to “C’s” cell. He seemed grateful it was just us.
I explained to “C” that I was prepared to study Romans 12 with them, a study on the marks of a true Christian, which I had preached in River Oaks Church back in October (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBZd5VX_ee0&t=2s), but I really felt “S” and “J” needed to hear that, so we should save it. “C” had previously said he’d never read the story of Gideon, so we studied that. After we went through it, I read to him what I’d written in my journal about Gideon.
“C” said, “You know, you never explained to me what you’re doing in prison,” and I gave him as brief a version as I could. He told me he believes God has me here for a purpose. He said I’m the third person God’s put in his life that’s a “preacher,” and I am here to speak into his life and other men here. That was an encouragement. I told him again, I believe God wants him to be an evangelist. He told me, “Well, I know my grandfather, who is a pastor, would want me to share in his church.” We spent probably at least 1 ½ hours studying the Scripture together and talking about the Lord. He closed us in prayer, and I went to the small public room they call the card room, or library since it is where everyone puts the reading material they’re done with. On my way, a guy I knew who spoke Spanish was passing through. I asked him if he could translate a postcard I got from Canada that was written in Spanish, since my Spanish wasn’t so good. That sparked a lot of conversation – including conversations about the Bible and the Lord, since the postcard quoted a lot of Scriptures. He also told me, if anyone gives you a hard time, let me know, and I’ll help you out. He also warned me not to let people take advantage of me.
Later, a man who went to high school in my hometown of Waynesboro came to ask me questions about the Bible. Our discussion was interrupted by a Muslim who came into the room with some pizzas to cook. He got involved in the conversation, saying the Bible and the Quran were very similar, except that Jesus is not the Son of God, did not exist before He was born of the virgin Mary, and did not die on the cross, that someone else was substituted in His place. He said you have to do the research yourself and examine both in their original language. He said that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God – He never said it Himself. I knew that to be untrue, but could not think of a verse at that moment. That was actually of the Lord, because I went back to my cell, picked up a Bible, and started copying all the verses for the Muslim, at least that’s what I thought. God Himself called Jesus His Son in Matthew 3:17, Jesus called Himself the Son of God in Matthew 27:43, John 3:16-18, and said in John 10:30 that He and the Father are one. In Luke 4, the devil acknowledges Jesus as God and Jesus then confirms that fact to Satan’s face. I also threw in Romans 8:3, Romans 8:32, I Corinthians 1:9, and I John 5:12, even though Jesus didn’t speak it Himself.
After I finished writing out all of the verses, I went and shared them with the first man, who is really seeking the correct truth to believe in, and he told me that. I read each verse to him, and he seemed so enthralled. He said, “Can I keep this, I want to put it in a notebook I have.” I told him I wrote it out for the Muslim guy, but I’ll copy it for him and bring it back. I saw him reading it over and over again later. When I went to give it to the Muslim man, he said, “Yeah, but the original copy says something different.” I said, “No, I can show you the original language, and what it says, just take this that I copied for you and read it.” And that was that. Earlier, he had told me and the other man that he used to be a Christian until he became a Muslim in 1993. I asked him, “What made you a Christian?” He said, “because of my family.” I said, “How can your family make you a Christian when you have to decide to follow Christ yourself and make up your own mind to surrender your life to Christ?” I’d already explained to both of them, that Jesus had to have died to give His life for our sin to be the ultimate sacrifice for us.
In the end, I realize that the reason I couldn’t remember those verses, or even the instances of Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God, was because God wanted me to write them down, not for the Muslim man, but for the other. Much of what I said probably would not have been said if it wasn’t for the other man. The seeker heard the gospel from me twice tonight, the second time through the verses I gave him, which clearly presented God’s plan for our redemption. God works in mysterious ways, whether we know it or not, and it’s often in ways we can’t fathom.