How Jesus Redeemed the Heart of a Killer
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- Format: Folded Tract
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- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 8
- Version: NIV
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On December 27, 2016 the Murfreesboro Tennessee Violent Crimes Unit and the Special Operations Unit surrounded my workplace and served a warrant on me for murder. I was booked into the Rutherford County jail and was housed in a pod with the most serious criminals.
I had a really big dark cloud hanging over my head. I was in so much bondage that I allowed the demons in my head to control my actions, behavior and attitude. One day a very big brawl broke out between two different gangs and I was in the center of it.
I was locked into the Segregation Pod for punishment, isolated for 23 hours a day with no TV and the only book I had to read was a King James Bible, which I pushed far under my bed. I was in misery, but I didn’t know that entire experience was about to turn into one of great blessing.
For the first six weeks in the Segregation Pod, I just paced the cell and worked on my court case. I was mad and frustrated that I got caught. I still had all those demons in my head, blaming everyone else around me and not owning up to all my many mistakes. Then one day I decided to open that Bible that had been sitting under my bed collecting dust.
The word of God became my entire world
Day after day I read the Bible as if I was starving for the truth. Somehow that cell didn’t seem so dark and depressing anymore. For the first time in my life I REALLY believed in God, accepted His Son Jesus and was led by the Holy Spirit. It was like a light bulb came on in my head, it really did, because it all started to become so clear to me.
Then I was sent back to the General Population. “Back to Gangland” is what I said to myself. The gang lifestyle was something that I was great at doing, and really enjoyed! But as I walked back in that pod, something didn’t feel right on the inside of me. The word of God had already started working on my heart because the things that I use to love doing, I started to lose the taste for.
I kept reading my Bible daily. I was so hungry for the Lord! I completely lost all interest in reading anything but the Bible.
Within a year, a jail ministry of former gang members began to teach at Rutherford. That was my first time ever seeing someone that had been a gang member but now gave their entire life to following and obeying Jesus. These ministers taught us to follow everything that Jesus taught, said and did. They were examples of walking in love and being led by the Holy Spirit. I will never forget that day because they had a “glow” on them that I wanted in my life.
You can’t serve two masters
One minister said to me, “Danny, Jesus said you can’t serve two masters because you will love the one and hate the other.” I looked at that minister with tears in my eyes because I knew that he was right. He went on and explained to me that it isn’t possible for me to obey Jesus and obey my gang at the same time. He said that everything in life comes down to the choices we make, or don’t make.
A few weeks later on June 20, 2018 at 8:09 a.m. I renounced the gang.
Fast-forward to August 2019, the week before my trial was about to start. Now it was time for me to get my “game face” on. These seven charges could send me away for the rest of my life.
Josh, my attorney, and I were going over our defense. We had a great plan. We set up my defense in a rare way, making it extremely hard for a jury to find me guilty of murder. I really was convinced we would win! There was one problem; our defense was built on a lie. My lie started with me knowing that it was a lie but ended with me believing that it was the truth.
I was really deceiving myself!
Before my trial started, Josh came one last time to prepare. The night before I read where Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The Lord was using His words again to work on my heart, because he wanted me to stop living a lie and tell the truth. Jesus’ words convicted my spirit so strongly and so deeply because I knew that my entire trial was going to be won off a lie.
This meeting wasn’t like all the others. We spent two and a half hours talking about God and reading the Bible. I found out that Josh was a minister too.
I was spiritually high as a kite! I knew then what I was supposed to do, but I still wasn’t going to do it! I just flat-out told God that I wasn’t going to tell the truth because I knew that meant accepting a life sentence.
My trial day arrived, and I still had every intention of allowing my lie to win my trial, instead of allowing Jesus to “set me free.”
After jury selection and instructions, we broke for lunch and I was taken to a holding cell. While sitting in that cell, the Lord was just on me! All I knew was that this was something that I didn’t want to do, but it was something that I needed to do.
I started to read from a notebook. In this notebook were written the lyrics of a song called “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. My eyes fell upon the lyrics “And then you look at the prisoner and say to me son, stop fighting a fight that’s already won!” Shockwaves went through my body and a flood of tears came pouring down. I cried so hard because I knew that was God telling me to stop lying and tell the truth.
The officers came for me and one asked me if I was okay. I told him that I thought that I was about to do something crazy.
The next step of my trial was “The Formal Reading of the Indictment.” The District Attorney stood up and read out all seven of my charges. “Danny Dashay Holmes is charged with Felony Murder, Premeditated Murder, Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, Especially Aggravated Robbery, Conspiracy to Commit Especially Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Burglary and Criminal Impersonation of a Police Officer.” I sat there knowing I had done everything the District Attorney read. I was deeply battling with the decision to tell the truth. My spirit was pulling me towards the truth but my flesh kept saying, “I don’t want to do life in prison.”
As I sat in that courtroom on August 19, 2019 I knew that this decision was what I was born into this world for.
I made the decision to obey Jesus
The judge asked how do we plead to the charges. Josh was ready to say, “Not Guilty”, but in that moment, I made the decision to obey Jesus. Boldly I told the truth. “Judge, I am guilty.” Pandemonium broke out. The judge was yelling and the officers were running into the courtroom to get the jury out while the judge was telling them to disregard everything they just heard me say. But I kept repeating, “I will no longer live a lie.” I decided to stand up for Jesus and allow Him to “set me free.” I was no longer worried about the life sentence because I would be doing time with Him.
Four days later, I was brought back into the same courtroom to explain why I decided to tell the truth.
As I walked into that courtroom it was clear that the Spirit was moving because there were so many people there. It was as if Jesus wanted the entire city to see His transformational powers, so God would be glorified.
With a jam-packed courtroom, I opened my mouth and gave all the glory to God. I explained to my mother and everyone else that I am blessed to be in this situation. Why? Because my entire life I have been fighting for things that have no value: gangs, money, cars, jewelry and drugs. But in that courtroom, I finally stood for something that’s priceless—God.
I am sharing this testimony with you not because I am “special”; in fact, I am not special at all! But because Jesus changed my heart and told me to go tell the world about Him.
Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Today I am physically in prison, but I am spiritually free! I won’t give up, let up, or shut up talking about how the Lord changed me.
And that’s what I now live for! To remain a disciple of Jesus Christ and to tell the world about how God so loved us all that He sent Jesus to die for us all. And how Jesus loved us so much that he didn’t leave us comfortless, so He sent us the Holy Ghost. That same love is available if you are willing to repent, confess and believe. Because only Jesus has the power to redeem your heart.
Doing Life With Christ,
Danny Dashay Holmes, Sr.