"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

by James Kendrick

A thief comes to steal. I know this because that is what I did to get the drugs and alcohol that I needed to 'kill the pain.' Nothing else in my life seemed to matter. I am talking about REAL PAIN that only an eight year old child could understand. After all, I had a reason, I told myself. You see, my father was executed in California's gas chamber in San Quenton for killing a police officer after an armed robbery. At eight years of age, I needed a Father. At the age of eleven I made the decision of a 'man': "I will kill a cop." I've been in and out of state hospitals, city jails, county jails, and prisons ever since. (I am now forty-two years of age.) Then it happened! I met the Lord face to face in a prison cell. That's when I realized that the Jesus Christ I had met as a little boy in an old country church was that same Man who said, "I will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you" and that He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is that same one who saved my life as I was lying on the ground with a bullet in my belly and the same one who stopped a knife from going all the way in my side when I was seventeen. He's, the same Jesus, who, after I committed an armed robbery, did not let me get 'blown away' while I was surrounded by cops with guns drawn and a helicopter above me. At that time I really wanted to die. The pain was more than I could bear. I could not handle it. Even the heroin could not stop the pain. Overdose after overdose, arrest after arrest, hospital after hospital, my world caved in on me. "SOMEBODY, STOP THE PAIN! PLEASE!" Sure, I knew about Jesus. I knew the Scripture. But, I did not know the Man for who he was, or what He had done for me on that 'ole rugged' cross. You see, He really did understand my pain. After all, He too was executed, and He had a Father. He was the only One Who could look down and see the hurt of the little boy who lost his father. He saw the tears that I cried in darkness. He understood the longings in my heart for a Father; someone who would love me no matter what mistakes I might make in life; someone who would reach down and pick me up when I fell; a father who could hold me in darkness after a bad dream. PRAISE GOD, friend!!! -- I now have a FATHER for Whom I longed. I am no longer a stepchild, but a son, Jesus said, "I have come to give you life, and life more abundantly." In Romans 8, Paul starts with "NO CONDEMNATION," and ends it with "NO SEPARATION." Amen! The judgment under the law is forever gone with those who are in Christ Jesus. I thank God for allowing me to come to prison. For it is here, where He set me free. If the Son sets you free, then you are free, indeed! Now I am a "New creature in Christ Jesus, and all things become new." Amen! The Apostle Paul could not have said it any better, "Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you shall finish it until the Day of Christ." (Phil 1:6) There are three things God did for me when I met Him in my cell in the Person of Jesus Christ: 1) He gave me a gift -- ETERNAL LIFE. 2) He performed a miracle -- HE CHANGED MY LIFE 3) He took me off the unemployment list and gave me a job -- to be a witness for Jesus. . Jesus tells us: 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Go out to the highways and byways and invite them to come in.' Praise His Good and Holy Name! Brothers and sisters, each of us should realize, as we find in Luke 4:18, that "The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed." Let us each pray for one another that each of us will continue to grow in the Lord and fulfill His plan for us each in our own life, that He has promised us 'more abundantly.

Reprinted by permission, the Christian Express