It Had To Be My Way (NIV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: NIV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the NIV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
From the time we are old enough to understand we hear about “change.” We must change our attitude, we must change our temper, we must change the way we talk. People promise that they will change, even leaders promise changes, but talk is easy. If man talks from his mouth without the guidance of God, it is just that … talk! Change that comes about by man is dictated. But when God is part of the attitude of change, there is a new perspective to how change occurs.
My name is Neil and I have served many years in prison. I am not happy about it, but I am glad because prison saved my life. It provided me with the unique opportunity to know Jesus, and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and grow into a loving relationship with my heavenly Father. I would go to prison for twice my current time just for that relationship that I have with Jesus Christ. That’s how important God’s unconditional love is to me.
BEFORE I TRUSTED CHRIST
I knew about Jesus when I was a small child. I always believed in Him. I was taught in Sunday School and read the Bible with my mom and grandmother. As I grew older I stopped going to church and reading my Bible. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe anymore, but because I wanted to do what most teens want to do—have fun and live my life on my terms. As I enjoyed my “freedom” I started down the wrong path. I disrespected my mom, I was hanging around with the wrong crowd, drinking, and selling drugs … I wanted to be down.
I was so filled with bitterness and rebellion. I hated everyone who got in the way of my doing my own thing. I felt that anyone who tried to help me was in my way as I developed an “I don’t care” attitude. I ended up becoming an alcoholic; I burned a lot of bridges and ended up in some very bad relationships. I cut myself off from people when they got too close, or when I got what I wanted and didn’t need them anymore.
This attitude and being on alcohol had robbed me of all the things I could have had in life had I been a sober person and in touch with God: a college education, a good career, and loving relationships. I was in and out of jail most of my young adult life due to drinking. I conned or stole what I wanted and had no sympathy for whoever got hurt in the process.
HOW I TRUSTED CHRIST
I was convinced that everyone else had problems, except me. This thinking led me to believe that no one understood me or loved me. I felt under-appreciated, and furthered my depression and self-medicating with alcohol. The more I drank, the worse I felt. The worse I felt, the more I drank. It was a vicious cycle, headed for a certain death.
One day while I was in prison my cell mate invited me to church. I said that I would go because I thought I knew all about Jesus, so what would it hurt. At the Bible study I heard people talk a little about their lives and thought “these inmates are just like me—broken.” But they had one thing I didn’t have, and that was the love that comes from trusting God. One of the inmates, after learning of my story, told me that God loves me even when I do wrong. I didn’t believe him because everyone judges me, and no one forgets my mistakes and the first opportunity they get, they will throw it in my face. This is the thinking that Satan had blinded me with, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
But this inmate was so convincing that I wanted to believe. He advised me to read 1 Corinthians 13. He called it “The Love Chapter.” That night in my cell I read the Love Chapter and got to verse five and read that love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5-6). I was so shocked I fell to my knees and prayed for forgiveness and for Jesus to come into my life and show me this unconditional love. And He did … and He has! From then on I have been a different man. I now have joy! Jesus isn’t just my Savior and Lord, but He’s my friend!
SINCE I’VE TRUSTED JESUS
Since I trusted Jesus as my Savior I have grown a heart for Him. I care about things and people that I took for granted. I care about reading and studying my Bible. I care about talking to God each day through prayer. I grow closer to God every day as my walk with Him strengthens. I have a conscience now and care about people and situations, and am convicted if I do wrong. Previously broken relationships are now mending. I am excited that, even though I am in prison, I have this new opportunity to be a loving father, husband, brother, and son. My mom has become my big encouragement. She tells me she loves me and I realize now that she has always loved me, but I was too selfish and self-centered to see it.
Now you know why I am glad to be in prison … because it’s where I really met Jesus. I knew about Him and who He is, but as Job said, “now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5). It may seem that my past was ruined but I now see that God was always in control and there never was a “Plan B,” just a second chance. Thank you Jesus.
“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way” (Psalm 142:1-3).
IF YOU want to become a Christian, stop what you are doing right now, turn your heart to God and put your trust in Jesus Christ. You could express your faith in a prayer like this:
“JESUS, I thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I ask you to forgive my sins and I repent in Your Name. Please make me part of Your family. I believe in you, and want to live for you. Thank you for giving me eternal life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”
If you have put your trust in Jesus, you are now part of God’s family. Read your Bible every day, study your Bible, talk (Pray) to Jesus every day for spiritual growth and guidance, and be sure to tell someone else that you have accepted Christ and are now a Christian.
NOW … WALKING WITH CHRIST
A fellow inmate and brother in Christ pointed me toward Purpose Ministry when he found out that I needed a good Bible and Bible study course. I wrote to Purpose Ministry and not only received a great Bible and Correspondence Course, they also sent tracts that were written by inmates like me.
It is my prayer that this testimony will result in another inmate receiving the Light and Love of Jesus my Lord, Savior, and friend. Purpose Ministry is an important part of my Christian walk and has helped me understand my relationship with Christ.
Thank you Purpose Ministry, and may God bless you in your ministry to mentor and disciple inmates like me, thus furthering the kingdom of God. Thank you for all you do for the inmates in prison. Your support, your encouragement, prayers, your advice, and sincere concern for us does not go unnoticed. Without Purpose Ministry consistently being available to inmates, there would be many who would never hear about Jesus because they only hear through the faithful witness of those whom Purpose Ministry has mentored and discipled who then share their faith with others. As Christians, we are able to serve God right where we are!