Wishing I could start by saying, “I had a good childhood and God in my life from an early age.” Unfortunately, though, I cannot; it is not the truth. Growing up was a nightmare. My father was a psychopath who loved cocaine and alcohol instead of his wife and two children. Some may argue that I never had the chance to be a kid; this had an impact on why I turned out the way I did.
Armed with an explosive temper and filled with intense rage, he was unable to let one day pass without verbally abusing me and on most occasions my mother as well. If any of us looked at him the wrong way, all hell would break out. Fueled by alcohol and cocaine, he got so bad the three of us went into hiding.
Due to his provoking me to wrath every day and for a complete lack of training in which way I should go, what I learned forms me into the same person whom I hated. With my exposure to all his habits, I started drinking, doing drugs, using filthy language, stealing, lighting fires and breaking windows all before the age of fourteen. At an even younger age, I killed a couple of animals, chopped the heads off all my action figures, and broke mostly all of my toys. Some may argue that I was taught how to be a criminal.
Even with my attending Catholic school from the 3rd till 8th grade, to me, God did not exist. This is due to my belief that He never responds to any of our prayers for help to free us from this psycho. Unfortunately, I am never able to learn the true love that Jesus has for me while going there. In addition, my heart has never been receptive to religion.
As the years progress it becomes evident to everybody, except me, that I am self-destructing. I am on a spiral headed straight down. I am destined to be a loser.
Due to the lifestyle I chose to live, I was told I would accomplish one of two things; I would wind up dead or in prison. Just my luck, I managed somehow to do both.
After a night of partying at a friend’s apartment, I was found in cardio-respiratory arrest. Thank God for the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), who were able to resuscitate me using one of them electronic shock devices, like on the hospital shows, you know, when they put them paddles on your chest and yell clear, then shock you in order to get the heart pumping again.
After pulling out of a coma, five days later, all the staff were calling me, "The Miracle Man." I asked my mother “Where did this come from?” She tells me, “God did something special for you.” She goes on to tell me, “You were dead for approximately six to eight minutes.” Come to find out, according to modern medicine, three minutes without oxygen and the brain will die.
The emergency room doctor determined me to be brain dead after doing some tests. As my family arrived, he broke the news to them that he had me on life support and that I was brain dead. Therefore, my family had a big decision before them, which is if they should pull the plug and donate my organs. I know now, the reason why I never filled out a donor card at the registry of motor vehicles.
I thank God that He had someone who worked at this hospital insist on having some more testing done. I know it was His doing, due to the doctor writing me off as never coming back. Thank You Jesus for making all of those things that are impossible to man, possible through You. Along with that nickname, He also sent a preacher in to tell me, "God has a special purpose for you."
If you cannot tell, I truly believe that God is in full control and that all my circumstances are ordained through Him. There is just way too much evidence for me to think otherwise. I know the reason Jesus saved me is to tell everybody about all the things He has done for me throughout my life.
He has also given me the ability to see the spiritual works, which He has done for me. It is rather amazing when you learn God has been looking out for you your whole entire life. Whether the blessings have been good or bad in my eye at the time they were received, He has shown me through studying His word that, "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose", -Romans 8:28. Since most of the blessings Jesus has done for me were in order to save me from death, I realize He isn't going to let anything happen to me outside of His will.
This next thing I am going to tell you about is how bad of a wretch I used to be. This is something I put behind me a long time ago, on account of my hating the person I once was. I actually left most of it out of the book I was writing and I was considering leaving it out of this as well, until I felt God saying, "Don't hide the person you once was, because it shows how great my grace is."
With my being obedient to God ever since my sentencing, I will not change up now. I was charged with being a felon in possession of a machine gun with silencer and for possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Before we go any further, allow me to tell you how I got my first felony as an adult.
I was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, I was charged with "stabbing" someone in the leg. So at 19, it looked like I was going to jail for a couple of years, but I thank God because I didn't even see what he had done for me until the morning I wrote this, that He had His hand on me the whole entire time.
While at the police station, my father calls someone, and this person shows up having a severe speech impediment, telling me he is my lawyer. I am like, "Ok I am definitely going to prison", even though he tells me from the get-go that I will get no jail time.
Then my former probation officer while I am a juvenile delinquent tells the judge, he will put up a $10,000 surety for me to be released on bail. Finally at my sentencing hearing, I receive two years suspended. After this, did I thank or even acknowledge God - nope.
It was due to my having the worst disease eating me up on my inside, which just kept getting worse and worse. It consumed me for the first 36 years of my life. Now, I am not a doctor, so I hope I pronounce the name of this disease correctly, it is called, PRIDE.
After the indictment on several weapons, then the RICO Act, which stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt organizations. This charge stemmed from my being a member of a violent crew of Italians. I ended up getting charged with the following racketeering acts: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine, being a felon in possession of firearms, the Hobbs Act, which is robbery conspiracy (several home invasions), kidnapping, witness tampering, and murder.
On top of all that, I was also an abuser of pain medication and sedatives, alcohol, and steroids. As you can see from the picture, I was about 50 pounds heavier before I died. Along with all those, I used to abuse one of my ex-girlfriends. In fact, the person whom I was charged with "stabbing" is she.
While in the county jail, sitting in front of my cell, suddenly I feel drawn to the book cart. Getting up, I go over to it and seeing a Gideon's New Testament. After picking it up, I start reading it. Next thing, Jesus sends a chaplain, who relentlessly pursues me in order to get me to attend his bible study. After attending, one night in my cell, I take the prayer my mom sent me, and ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. This was in April of 2000.
For the next year or so people who received God's calling with a tiny bit of help through me read the word to me. This is due to my having a hard time controlling my eyes. They have been so bad at times; I was looking at things I did not want to see.
Yes, I know, that sounds a little crazy. Since the brain controls the eyes, along with every function of the human body, let me tell you what every doctor has said after seeing the MRI specs of my brain. I have heard the word Swiss cheese used in comparison to my brain. I have also listened to three neurologists say He will be, he should be, and how is he not a vegetable. My brain has also shrunk due to the encephalopathy (anoxic and toxic), which was caused by the lack of oxygen and the drugs they found in my system.
A year and a half into my walk with Jesus, I am transferred and for the next three years, I did not do much reading, so our relationship did not advance much. During this down time, the Devil stopped by and started some lies. They really hurt my pride.
Since I brought up the evil one, let me tell you what God told me in a vision, while half awake. He said, "Nowhere in the bible does it say that I and the Devil are enemies." He also said, "I created him to do what he does for your benefit."
I said, "Let me check the scriptures." After checking them, I was kind of in shock, because contrary to popular belief it is exactly as He said. In fact, the only place that gave me some confusion was in Matthew 13, in the parable, "The Wheat and the Tares." God quickly fixed that when He told me the reason why Jesus called Himself, "The Son of Man." In the parable explanation it says, "The enemy who did this is Satan." It is due to him being man's enemy.
Yes, I should have trusted the Man who wrote the bible, realizing it now that it was just a learning experience, makes me smile because it has let me know that He has much greater things in store for me. It is funny because a friend got on me after I told him I said that to God. He said, "Why would you check out something God tells you." I was thinking, "Because there isn't anybody going to believe that."
God did not fail to prepare me. He provided me with scripture to back up His truth. Isaiah 54:16, from God speaking says, "I created the destroyer to destroy." Revelation 12:10 says, “…the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” He could go before God and do what? Yes, His point exactly! While Job 1:6-12, clearly paints a different picture concerning their relationship than we are accustomed to believing.
If it was not for the Devil, then why should we grow spiritually? What l am saying is, if everything was peaches and cream, our lives would be perfect. Let's face it, if there was no evil in the world then why would we seek after God. I know one thing for certain, if the Devil didn't have his hand on me for the first 25 years of my life, then I would have never come to the Lord.
After an officer, who said he was saved handed me a bunch of blasphemous things concerning my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I was thinking how can anybody be saved and be laughing about giving papers like these to someone. I know one thing, the devil is a liar, just like John 8:44 says. You see, he plants a seed in a lot of people's minds that they have nothing to worry about because they said some salvation prayer or they go to church, or because they are a good person all the while their hearts are not right with God.
Anyhow, since I hated being locked up; I tried to kill myself several times. Now all the pills I stored up, which were enough to sedate an elephant, just made me go to the bathroom really bad, and had me sleeping for a couple of days. All the razors I took apart, somehow became as sharp as a butter knife. My last attempt, I tried to hang myself. Right when it looked like it was all over in comes a nurse and saves me.
After that I was released R.O.R. (Released on Recognizance), because my free attorney somehow managed to convince my judge that it was the BOP's fault. Since then, I heard a pastor say don't bother trying to hurt yourself, because God won't allow anything happen to His elect.
While on release, my judge ordered me to stay at a nursing home. After vowing to God, "If you let me out of prison, I promise, no sex until marriage." Well, I failed, miserably.
The staff at the nursing home was just a continuous flow of women coming and going. So I started seeing a couple different ones and stuff happened. What really happened, I yielded to temptation the first time. So it got easier and easier for me to defile the temple of the Holy Spirit.
After spending three and a half years in two different nursing homes, my judge agreed to give me a hearing so that I could go stay at my mother's. I was approved for 35 hours per week for P.C.A. services. Therefore I had 12 employees agree to help me on their days off. Since we all knew what was going to happen, God knew as well.
When the hearing came up, I got the news that it was denied, but my judge gave me a sentencing date. After hearing that, the Holy Spirit decided it was time to convict me for everything I did while on release. I felt so guilty. I felt like Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit and their eyes were opened. Feeling naked, I was ashamed.
So, I started praying again, asking God for two things. One was for time served and the other was for God to make me a better Christian. I prayed earnestly for around six months.
All the time ignoring God's efforts to help me become one. He tried using several people in order to bring me back into a relationship with Him, like I had back in 2000 to 2002. I just expected God to do it with no effort on my part.
I even ignored the voice of God which I heard as clear as a bell, when He spoke through my heart, saying, “Write about me.” I said I would put You in a chapter or two in the book I was already writing, then in a moment of honesty, I said, “I don't know what to write”, and that's how I left it.
When I went in to be sentenced, everything was looking good for me, until someone, who was once very grateful had a change of heart and now blamed me for everything. I know it was God's way of showing me His anger. After his change of heart, then my judge who was about to decide my fate had one as well. With his heart being hardened, he denied the downward departure that I really wanted, which would have allowed me to do all my time on home confinement.
Since God knows all things, including how I was, He knew exactly how to get my attention. I thank God that He permitted my other departure to be accepted because it allowed me to get 15 years and one month.
At the end of my sentencing, I saw three more hearts changed. My mother's and sister were clearly broken. Then the last heart I saw changed was one of total disbelief in there even being a God.
That was my heart. I convinced myself God did not exist and that the story of Jesus was some farce coined up by a bunch of idiots looking to get their names in a book. The next day, after I woke up in the detention center, Jesus restored my faith as He spoke through my heart again, saying in a loving voice, "I am real."
When I arrive at the federal medical center, due to my custody level, the case manager tells me they are going to hide me out in a locked unit for mentally ill people. After she tells me, I will finish all my time there, God shows who is really in control and that he has a different plan. Therefore, He moves me two days later.
Soon as I was in building 9, the devil immediately went to work on my disease. I am so thankful that Jesus allowed my pride to be destroyed, due to it being such a stumbling block in my walk with Him. It's amazing, once I was washed of my pride, I was then able to forgive. Once I was able to forgive, Jesus started opening my eyes to things in His word that I have read a million times but never seen and in my life that I've never regarded.
It is safe to say, ever since I made the conscious decision to fall to my knees and give it all to Him that this is the reason why my walk intensified.
One thing life has taught me is the importance of forgiveness. The large part of it came about while serving time. I actually feel a lot like Joseph, when he said to his brothers, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good..." Although I was born with just one sibling, which is my sister, God has given me many brothers, whom like Joseph, I had to forgive as well. Forgiveness is one of the biggest lessons I learned while being locked up, both how to forgive and how to ask to be forgiven.
The last weekend my mom came to visit me, I started telling her how God answered our prayers for a better life, when she fell into a job that she was able to earn five figures a month in the mid to late 80s. That allowed her to support us when we took off.
If you can't tell, God dealt harshly with me, but like the scriptures say, "To whom much is given, much will be required." I love Jesus for leaving me in the fiery furnace for an extended stay. It means a lot to know someone loves you so much that He will take His time in His discipline which He does for each and every one of His children.
While at the detention center, after the Lord restored my faith, I asked to speak to the pastor. We had a couple of in-depth conversations, each one made me realize my own spiritual inferiorities, especially when he told me that I was a double minded man and that I lacked faith. Along with those, he also said that I had pride issues, which made me ask, “What can I do to fix these things.”
The answer he gave me became a reoccurring theme for most of my questions. He would just hold up his Bible and point to it. I will admit it I didn't like it. I was looking for something a little more concrete.
It took me awhile, but I understand exactly what he meant by doing that. It's because the word of God has totally changed me. I have found life in the word. It has not only opened my eyes, but it has also given me faith and allowed me to know who I am in Christ, as well as what His will for me is. That being, through His power people will be saved from the words that I write.
God is the one who makes the world go round. I have learned that Jesus will change our circumstances if He wants, very quickly. The biggest change for me came after asking for the filling of His Holy Spirit daily. Thank you Holy Spirit because I know that without You, none of this would be possible, due to it being You who opened the eyes of my heart and allowed me to walk in the true Light.
Would you like to know what the best part of all this is? It is just the beginning. It took me just three short years of abiding in Jesus, like the parable of the barren fig tree, I am very thankful that the land owner, which is symbolic of God, did not have me chopped down. Due to the gardener, which is Jesus, because the Holy Spirit has truly fertilized me through the washing of the word, so that I can go and bear fruit.
God is truly awesome. I am talking about the way He will do anything and everything in order to fulfill His divine purpose. Upon revealing that He had His hand on me throughout my entire life, I ask, "Why did you keep me from doing time?"
Isaiah 55:7-9 says, Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
My reason for quoting that verse is due to the answer He gave me. That being, "You weren't broken enough." After pondering that for a while, it hit me.
Knowing in my heart that if I were to receive time, it would have given me some serious incentive to change my ways. If that were to happen, life would have been peaches and cream. Then there wouldn't have been anyone to write a book all about the grace of God, which saved the worst of the worst.
Jesus, thank You for putting all these people in my life in order to help change me into the person You want me to be. I will always remember and love every one of you. Thank You for letting me know that nobody but You can make a person into a saint.
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