The Results of Disobedience (NIV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 8
- Version: NIV
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My name is Terry and I was born in 1985 in Allentown, PA. I come to you in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God has blessed me with this opportunity to give my life testimony. It is my prayer that this story may catch someone’s attention, plant a seed, and possibly win many to the Lord. But it wasn’t always this way.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). I was born into the world, alive to it but yet dead, and not even knowing it. As far back as I could remember, life as a child was good. Although I had my ups and downs, both of my parents were in my life, they just were not living together. They would fight a lot, as drugs and alcohol played a big part in their lives.
My brother and sister and I would be at one house for a week, and then in the other house the next week, as my parents shared custody of us. We would learn two different styles of living, but we picked the way we liked best and wanted to spend more time at one over the other. It felt like my parents would compete for us and we would be going back and forth to what was the best deal at the time as to how we wanted to live—the favorite parent, because of what they did to “win.”
I did stay in school and played sports but in school I was not the best reader or speller, and I would act up and try to be the class clown. When it came to reading, whenever the teacher asked me to read, I made fun of the teacher or the classmates, and when that did not work, I would not show up to class. Because I was born in sin and I had no knowledge of God, no help or understanding, “you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath” (Ephesians 2:2-3).
When I was about 13 years old I started using drugs and alcohol so as not to deal with things, but during that time I had to fit in, to be cool. I also started making up excuses (reasons) why I didn’t want to play sports, or lying and saying, “I’m staying somewhere,” and did not do so, just so I could stay out late. We always had food in the house, the bills were paid, and I had the things a child needed or just wanted. I often wanted everything others had, and sometimes more.
I never knew how to treat a girl. I was mainly interested in seeing how many I could get. I never really knew what love was, but acted like I did. In the street life, selling and using drugs and lying to everyone, not caring and just wanting to be looked at as better than anyone else, it was my nature to do wrong. I got through High School with the help of a girlfriend I had at the time. I didn’t do it for me, I didn’t think I needed school. I could not read or spell at all but wanted to make my family happy. I did all I could to fulfill my desires and by doing so it stopped me from listening to God speaking to my heart. God was calling out to me so He could help me, but I wouldn’t stay still. I was beat up, robbed, shot at, and was continuously having fights with my family, and yet I was alive. My family and friends still loved me even with all my lying. But yet nothing could slow me down enough to hear God’s calling.
I was now 21 and had a baby girl who was 2 years old and a woman who loved me and only wanted me to change. She prayed to God that He would help me, and tried to talk to me, but yet I still would not slow down to listen. So I came home one day and found a letter my child’s mother wrote to God that He would intervene and help me. I started a fight with her telling her there was no God and if there is a God we wouldn’t be fighting. Well, things did not get better. I was using more drugs and alcohol to deal with life, and to feel good.
All I wanted to do was to party; my last party before coming to prison was on September 6, 2007. It was my birthday. I went out with friends to have a good time and knew in my heart that God was speaking to me, trying to tell me not to go out. Even my mother told me, “Not tonight, because you’re too drunk. Wait until we can all go out with you together.” But I would not listen. I wanted to party and have fun. That night that actually changed my life forever; that night a young man lost his life, and I went to prison on September 7, 2007, with a sentence of 20 years.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). While I was in prison my life stopped. I was lost. I could not turn to the world for help; no drugs or alcohol. No family, no women, no friends; just me and four walls. A Corrections Officer (CO) telling me when to eat, shower and move. Crying and lost, I needed help! I did not want to live any longer. This man that the newspaper said I was, I was not. Family and friends came to visit. I received lots of mail, but it only helped for a time.
Then one day in late October, 2007 I picked up a Bible, but I couldn’t read. In 22 years of my life I had never read a book, yet I picked up 66 books in one, and while no one was around but myself and this Book (the Bible), I started to read. I had started to pay attention to what I was reading; listening, scared at first as the words I was reading showed me I was lost and dead in my sinful nature. I now wondered who could still love me or want to save me? Even when I was dead in sin, He still loved me and wanted to save me. He stopped the thoughts within me, opened my ears, made me sit down and listen. He showed me through His Word that it’s not me that can help myself, it’s only Him.
By His rich mercy, His grace and love, I can read and understand. I started to do Bible studies and read the Bible daily. I wanted more of this new way of life. I now felt loved. I began praying a lot and asking for help and forgiveness, but it was not until about a year later, in October, 2008, that I got down on my knees and prayed and asked for forgiveness for everything I could think about that I had done evil or might have done, even if I couldn’t remember it. I gave it all to God in the name of Jesus.
Crying out to my Father, I felt this weight come off me and this new joy come upon me. I was loved by God and I started loving myself also. I wrote my family and friends asking their forgiveness for all the wrong I had done to them, telling them about the joy I now have.
“That in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:7-10). Now I’m in a new life, a new walk with God. I’m in the world, but not of it. God has a plan for me and I just had to stop and listen. Now I’m His workman and by my Father I now know I cannot do anything on my own. Each day is a fight and I will stop and listen. I gave all my life to God and seek to live in the name of Him that saved me, Jesus Christ, so that He may receive all glory and honor.
In 2010 I was introduced to Purpose Ministry. They sent me a Bible, introduced me to a Bible Correspondence Course and have consistently helped me by providing encouragement, Scriptural guidance, mentoring and discipleship. I thank God for Purpose Ministry and the godly support they give to incarcerated men. They have made a positive influence in my life to keep me motivated and focused on Jesus.
If you know that this is the time when you should turn to God and trust Jesus to save you from your sin, pray this prayer: “JESUS, I repent of my sins, I ask You to forgive my sins and make me part of Your family. Thank you for saving me and giving me eternal life, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.”
NOTE: 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 that you have accepted Christ and are now a Christian.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Romans 10:9,10).