Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 -
Last night, “E” came into my cell while I was reading, wanting to discuss a lot of burdens and struggles. He’s been coming to our prayer meetings and the chapel services the past few weeks, and we’ve had many previous discussions about the Lord and the Bible. He’s researched and visited a lot of different religions, and I was under the impression he’d already embraced Christianity.
His main concern last night is the fact even though they may say they are Christians, many people don’t act like they are Christians. I had to agree with him and told him that a lot of people think just because they’ve said a prayer that they can go on living as they please. Anyone can say a prayer, but the question is whether it is said from the heart, is the person truly repentant? To be repentant means one wants to turn from their sins and make Christ Lord of their life.
Yet, I told him, the Christian life is a transformation process that lasts a lifetime, as Paul tells us in Romans 12:2. Yet we cannot transform ourselves, or we will fail. That is why Jesus before He left, promised and gave us the Holy Spirit, who will help us to truly change if we are sincerely repentant. He’d brought his Bible with him, so we looked up and read a number of Scriptures together, such as Galatians 5, all about walking in the Spirit, and the rest of Romans 12. He asked me if I’ve always been a Christian. I told him I made that decision when I was young, but I had to do so myself, and it has been a lifetime of transformation. I then asked him if he had accepted Christ as his savior, and he answered positively.
Just then, Bone came into the cell looking for “E,” and “E” came out and told him what we were talking about, and asked Bone if he was a Christian. He said yes, and “E” asked him something to the effect of why, or how. Bone said, “Because my family were Christians, that’s why I’ve always been.”
I must have been shaking my head or something, because Bone looked at me and asked, “Well, what makes you a Christian?” I told him, “You accept Christ’s shed blood as forgiveness for your sin, repent, and make Him Lord of your life.”
Bone left, and “E” and I continued. He also asked me how he could better understand the Bible when reading it. I told him again, the Holy Spirit will help us understand. He told me, “Well, I read the Upper Room and the Daily Bread every day.” I said, no, you also have to read the Scriptures. When we are told to be transformed, it says “by the renewing of your mind,” and the only way to renew our mind is from the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. We read some more Scriptures, and I gave him my copy of Nabeel Qureshi’s “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,” because his testimony and the process he went through reminds me a lot of “E.”
About then, we were interrupted by “C,” who had a question for me, and “E” left.
This morning, I read the book of Titus, and I couldn’t help but think of “E’s” questions reading through it, and how Paul was addressing some of these same issues.
When I opened the door of my cell to walk over to the chow hall for work, there was “E” sitting by himself downstairs. I had just enough time to tell him to read Titus. “E” has told me several times how a relative had sent him a study Bible when he was in another prison, but he was not allowed to bring it with him. It was a different translation (he has the King James now), and included a commentary on the text of every page. If someone reading this could send me a similar Bible in an easier to read translation, along with good commentary, I will pass it along to him. It should come directly from a publisher or bookstore. Send it to Philip Zodhiates 18649-084, FCI Ashland, P.O. Box 6001, Ashland KY, 41105.