Behind Locked Bars

By Alex Rodriguez

"I'm 19 years old and I'm a black male. I was born and raised in the USA. I committed a crime of armed robbery in 2013. I took a guilty plea of eight years to serve in prison and seven years on probation."

About the Author

Alex Rodriguez is the Director of Evangelism and Field Services for the Voice of Prophecy.

View more posts by Alex Rodriguez

The following is the continuation to our intro. It comes from a letter we recently received from one of our incarcerated students. I hope it is a blessing to you.

"When I was on the outside of prison, I was very evil. I didn't respect God or Jesus. I was stubborn, lazy, disobedient, and full of the lusts of this world. I never studied the Bible. I never opened it up to read a single word.

"But at times in my life when I faced tough situations, I cried to God. But I didn't understand why. I didn't believe that Jesus died on the cross. So I never had faith in that. I just would pray to God. But I had doubts that God was not listening to me, so I stopped and gave up. 

"Time after time, different things happened and different people came into my life to get me to believe. But I kept refusing! It took for me to come to prison to find God. At the beginning of my sentence, I was still refusing until I faced a situation of these gangs trying to stab me, and I ran to the hole for safety. I sat in the cell day after day crying and worrying. I was scared and I didn't know who else to turn to until I picked the Bible up and started reading it. It hit me and I started crying. I started praying. Ever since, God has been walking with me even when I fall, fall, fall. I keep getting up and work to learn how to not fall.

"I have been on and off, but this came up when I moved in the cell with this Jewish guy. He told me, "How do you expect to learn to obey God when you don't study the Bible?" Time after time, he has encouraged me to sign up for a Bible study or just simply study the Bible and not just to sit around in the cell and do nothing. So I said OK! I received the VOP/Discover address from him. I wrote in and started your studies. 

"Now as I have been doing these studies and reading these guide books, it has brought tears to my eyes and given me more knowledge and understanding about Jesus Christ our Lord. My faith has gotten so much better in Jesus Christ. I now feel the love of Christ when I read these guide books. My attitude has changed and I see the world totally different. I want to go to heaven and I want Jesus to take me. My desires for the world and the things in it is fading away! I want what Jesus has to offer me. I want to meet my Father! Face to face!

"I'm still working on my flaws and these wrongdoings that still fight against me. But I feel if I keep allowing Jesus to work his wonders in me, I would soon overcome them all. I feel as if I'm not ready for Jesus to come because I feel like I'm still unworthy, unholy, unclean and evil. But I believe as I continue to walk with Christ, I soon will walk in victory!"

What a blessing. God is faithful and true. His Word, through the Holy Spirit, will transform even the most corrupt heart. To our student who wrote this letter, and to those who have read it, I offer this encouragement: We are not saved because we are good or have attained. On the contrary, we are saved through the merits of Jesus Christ. Salvation is not an issue of feeling, but a trust in the Word of God clearly expressing that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) The Christian can have confidence that his or her sins are covered, in that the Bible tells us Christ covers us with His righteousness when we turn to Him. Because of this, we can joyfully await the coming of the Lord. So take courage! Have confidence! Know that Jesus has forgiven you, and look enthusiastically toward the heavens, for Jesus is coming soon to take His people home. 

If you'd like to experience the free Bible studies that have changed our student’s life, visit this page!