(The Briant George Story)
Jesus Did It!
By: Briant George
I’m an adopted child in two ways. First - because I was a child born out of wedlock, and my mother was given the ultimatum to either put me up for adoption or face a bitter divorce (along with the possibility of losing all her kids in a custody battle), it seemed best that I be put up for adoption. My grandmother, with the help of her attorney, fought for the right to be made my legal guardian and won.I have many fond memories growing up. Surrounding me were aunts, uncles and cousins who showered me with attention at family functions and around the house. I didn’t have a lot of material possessions other kids my age had, but our house was filled with love and laughter. (Money doesn’t buy that, does it?).
My grandmother loved God intensely, and she raised me in a healthy Christian environment. I was instructed in the things of God and the ways of the Bible. We attended church frequently. I was a good student in school; well liked, respected, and happy.
A highlight of my growing up was the first time I met my mother, her husband and my five brothers and sisters at their home in Fayetteville, N.C. I also recall feeling incredulous that my family had a house big enough to have multiple bedrooms; 3 bathrooms; a den; a nice-sized kitchen, and a swimming pool in their back yard. This was so different from my meager surroundings back home.
The entire trip left an indeclinable mark upon my young mind, and gave me a deep heart-felt longing to be united with my family – wondering why I was living apart from them and in the neighborhood I was in. Before going to Fayetteville for the visit, I hadn’t really thought much about the surroundings I was in. But shortly thereafter, it evidently did begin to matter, because rebellion began to manifest in me. Self-pity was the “gas” that fueled my engine.
I started associating myself with all the “underprivileged” people, for all the wrong reasons. I began to smoke, drink alcohol, steal candy and snack items, and other forms of mischief. Though I didn’t realize why I was doing all those things at the time, I look back on it now and realize it was my way of wanting to be accepted and to have “power” over those who had what I couldn’t afford to have.
Soon I began stealing bigger things as well as smoking dope. I began to skip school and be late for classes more often than not. At first the chastisement for my rebellion was fearful, until I built up a tolerance for it. My heart hardened, and eventually I quit caring.
It was during that time that I was sexually abused twice by another male. It left me confused – mixed up about my sexuality. For many years after I believed the devil’s lie that a man could give to another man what God only intended a woman to share with a man: true “Eros” love!
I then joined a well-known gang in my area and became more “wise” in the ways of evil. I even went so far as to steal from my own family.
I was incarcerated at the age of 16 … after subjecting my grandmother to countless court appearances. I served 24 months before re-entering society, only to violate parole within 90 days of my release. They sent me back to incarceration.
While incarcerated, my heart grew even more bitter. I served the remainder of my three-year sentence and was released again. Once home, I picked up right where I had left off from before, only by that time I was a little more careful in trying to not get caught again.
All this time my grandmother and other Christians would try to share with me the ways of the Lord, and encourage me to quit running from Him and relinquish authority of my life over to Christ. It went in one ear and out the other unfortunately. I was hell-bent on doing my own thing. I was angry, bitter, and resentful inside, and cared very little how God felt about things. The way I saw it, He hadn’t cared for me at a young age, so why should I care about what He wanted now that I was older?
I look at young men coming into the prison and I can read their life story without ever hearing the details. They are grown up boys just like I was … angry at life for one reason or another (usually a bad home life), bitter in their hearts, harboring resentment … and wanting to get “even” somehow – some way. Anyone with authority over them threatens to stand in their way of finding a little happiness, and when given the opportunity … that authority either must be destroyed, or at the least, disobeyed. Most believe authority cannot be trusted … so the only authority that they will obey is their own, unless it is conveniently self-serving to do otherwise.
I realize there are more men and women on the outside of prison who are just as angry at life (and God) as those who come to prison. When I look at these emotionally scarred people, I want to share with them that submitting to the authority of Jesus Christ is the most liberating thing a person can do … but the devil screams through every fiber of their being: “It’s the weakest (and scariest) thing a real man could do!” What a lie.
I believe I understand why a lot of people link up with the radical, militant element of the Islamic religion. People with pent up anger, bitterness and resentment in their hearts don’t want to change. They want a way to express that anger, and being a “militant for God” is a lot more appealing to some than letting God take away all that pent up anger, bitterness and resentment and replacing it with tolerance, forgiveness, and kindness … which is what the Holy Spirit excels in wanting to impart to disciples of Jesus Christ, if they will only allow Him to do that.
Anyway … back to the details of how life continued to spiral downward for me. After two years of being on the outside, I was handcuffed again. This time I was sentenced 4 ½ – 9 years, of which I had served 5 ½ years of being on parole. Once released from prison, I was no different. Sure, part of me wanted change in my life for the better, but I didn’t possess the “power” to change -- not Christ’s power anyway, which is the only power that will heal a hardened and embittered heart like I had.
I then was stabbed by over half a dozen guys, but fortunately, my wounds were superficial compared to what they could have been. I now realize God’s hand of mercy and loving-kindness had protected me, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I was blinded by the “god of this world”: Satan (see 2 Corinthians 4:4 for understanding) – because I refused to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
By that time I had amassed a daily cocaine habit of 4-6 grams, and at first I was able to buy these drugs without much problem. As time passed, my financial resources began to dry up as my dependence for more cocaine increased, which almost always becomes the case for cocaine users. This forced me to take more drastic measures to come up with money to support my addiction, and it led me to stealing from anybody and everybody, no matter how close I was to them.
A major robbery spree lasted a little over two months – sparking a citywide manhunt for my arrest by New York City authorities. I eluded them for about six weeks.
While running from the law, constantly running and looking over my shoulder -- God was still reaching out to me – pleading with me to quit running from Him and surrender to His authority and lordship. While holed up at one of my hideouts – high on drugs and out of my mind – my grandmother and two of my aunts came to where I was [To this day I still don’t know how they knew where I was hiding, though God obviously showed them somehow. They laid hands on me, anointed me with oil, and prayed God’s protection, provision, and subsequent salvation for me. Then they pleaded with me to surrender to the authorities out of fear that I might possibly be fatally wounded in a gun battle or any number of other things that could harm me.
It has been said that God often reaches out and delivers man at his lowest point … just when he hits rock bottom. (Actually, God is reaching out all the time, but it takes us hitting rock bottom before we’re willing to seriously begin walking in proper relationship with Him). My “rock bottom” was quickly approaching. I began to think about my past life. What did I have to show for it? In and out of prison most of my life; always in trouble with the law; disgrace and dishonor to my family. Lying, stealing, robbing, involvement in homosexuality; just to name a few of the things my life was about.
I decided the best way out was to take my life. Not with a gun, mind you, or by drug overdose, but by suicide nonetheless, albeit in a very convoluted way. I chose to have sex with two known, obvious A.I.D.S. carriers. Somehow I rationalized it was my way of getting it over with without all the mess.
When I was arrested, I was close to 30 pounds under weight. I was dirty, smelly and tired. I knew the constant tiredness in my body was due to the AIDS virus taking its toll. I was weak physically. I thought to myself: Good. I can quietly die in prison and no one will even notice.
Unbeknown to me … God had a different kind of death in mind for me. It’s the same “death” most have to go through before they truly become saved, born again teachable disciples of Jesus Christ. It’s called: “Dying to selfish desires.” (Followed with coming alive in Christ Jesus! He has to kill our “old selfish, sinful nature” to impart His “new God nature” in us. Read the sixth chapter of Romans for some understanding of this).
For the first time in almost 20 years I picked up a Bible and began to read it. I even began to pray occasionally, even though my motives weren’t always right or pure. I know God answered some of those prayers, so the spiritual seed was planted and was slowly being watered for me to be truly spiritually born again.
I was offered 20-50 years at first (which I promptly refused) then it changed to 25 years to life. Finally I was offered a cop-out (plea) of 15 years to life. This too I refused. However, I began to witness some strange things occurring both around me and within me: an attitude change.
Strangely, I began to run into Christians almost everywhere. At the prison I was housed in; at court; some Correction Officers: there were Christian believers all around me, and they showed me the love of Jesus Christ continuously. They told me they were praying for me, and they took the time to answer questions I had about the Bible and God. It was unreal how so many Christians were placed in my path during that time: it could only have been God orchestrating it!
One of my attorney’s advice was to take the cop-out plea and run, because according to him, I was doomed. I told him, “If it’s God’s will, I’ll either be released, or found guilty. I’m trusting Him to determine what happens to me.” His response was, “It’s a little too late to become religiously inclined now, Mr. George!” (He didn’t realize God’s mercy and grace are never too late).
One day I was in the cellblock -- totally bored with nothing to do. I came up with this silly notion to take a small Gideon’s New Testament Bible and get near my cell gate and perform a “mock sermon.” Don’t ask me why I came up with this ridiculous idea at the time. I began reading from several passages in the Gospels, and then I related how selfish it was for the guys not to share their cigarettes and drugs, but in a playful and chiding manner. The guys joined in and began to shout mocking “Amen’s!” and “Hallelujahs!” … encouraging me to keep on “preaching.” Everyone joined in with the mockery and it brought excitement to replace our boredom.
Then a very strange thing happened. The Holy Spirit took charge without my realizing it. In fact, I have no recollection of all that I even said, but there was no doubt the presence of God was on me. The “mocking sermon” suddenly changed to a “real sermon!”
Officers and inmates alike began to comment: “If you got serious, you could be a really good preacher! Can you imagine this: sinners encouraging another sinner to preach God’s Word? It was a very strange “experience” to say the least! I was stunned by it.
Not long after I was pronounced guilty of 16 counts of robbery one, four counts of burglary, possession of a loaded firearm, and possession of a controlled substance, I was sentenced under the Persistent Felony Offender Statute.
Naturally at first I felt devastated. I became despondent … then furious. I then vowed to be the most violent, rebellious, troublesome inmate there was! As I made my third trip to Upstate (prison) I saw my whole life flash before me, which caused a deep feeling of remorse and regrets as I thought many places I was passing by would be the last time I would ever see them in this life. I assumed I would never see my family members again. I had no children so certainly I would never have children come to visit me. All of these thoughts, and many more crossed my mind – needless to say, not being pleasant.
Upon arrival at “Reception,” in prison, I was made to wait until last to process in. Rather than simply get processed in like everyone else, I was called into the Supervisor’s Office to talk with the Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain to be screened. Because of my case (involving a politician), an attempted escape, and the extensive amount of time I was given (and my high-profile status), I was placed on the security watch-list.
When I entered my room I was told to sit down, upon which I was promptly informed that the prison authorities were aware of my prior attempted escape, and to not try to repeat my actions, because they would be futile. I was then asked how I felt about the sentence I had received and that they realized I had a large amount of time, and did I feel myself to be a possible threat to others, or myself? I paused for a considerable amount of time and responded facietiously, “I don’t know. I might kill myself, or kill someone else. It all depends on how I’m feeling at the moment.”
I was told to step back outside for awhile and I would be notified shortly of where I would be housed. Little did I know God was behind the scenes orchestrating the events. Shortly afterwards I was escorted to the Mental Health area of the hospital to see a psychiatrist, where the same questions asked me previously were basically repeated over again. I told the Doc the same thing.
I was then recommended for - and subsequently sent to - a “strip cell” where a person is not given any sheets, shoelaces, clothes and other items one might use to kill themself with. I was put under a 24-hour suicide watch, but praise God, I was allowed a Bible. After pressing and pleading with the medical staff about going to a regular cellblock, and receiving my clothes and some bed sheets, I was finally scheduled to see the doctor to be considered for possible release from “suicide watch.”
I entered the doctor’s office to be greeted by a pleasant looking Chinese-American doctor, who seemed abnormally soft spoken and polite. He asked me a number of questions, all to which I answered honestly. After some time he leaned back in his chair with a thoughtful look on his face and said, “Mr. George, you don’t seem crazy to me. Rather you seem to be highly intelligent, well-mannered, and articulate. You don’t appear to be anything like the guy described here in this folder.”
I mumbled some response and just shrugged my shoulders, not really knowing how to respond to that. Next he asked me what happened to bring all of this about? I answered, “I really don’t know. I guess a lot of mistakes and bad choices.”
Then he asked a rather odd question. “Mr. George, do you have your ticket?”
I informed him that I had yet to be written a “misbehavior report” since my arrival at Upstate.
He responded, “No, Mr. George. I mean … do you have your ticket to heaven?”
I answered, “I don’t know; I hope so.”
He said I need to be sure, and proceeded to share the gospel with me. (The “gospel” is the message that the second person of the Godhead died for the sins of humanity – that being Jesus Christ, or The Word [see the first chapter of John] - and was I willing to trust God the Father that His wrath was instantly removed from me if I turned my life over to Jesus Christ?]. After that he told me about the services held there on Sundays, and how good the ministers were, and encouraged me to go and check them out. He took me off the 24-hour watch and placed me on regular status.
That following Sunday I was led by the Holy Spirit to the Protestant Service, though I didn’t understand it all at the time. The way the officers were directing people to sit, I should have ended up in the back of the chapel. Instead, I was not only in the front pew, but also directly in front of the podium. Oh my … was God ever answering the prayers of my grandmother and her friends!
I don’t remember the message; the text; the name of the preacher: nothing. All I know is that God was speaking directly to me that Sunday morning, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit was heavily upon me, as God’s anointed word went forth. When the sermon ended and the preacher gave an invitation for prayer at the front, I quickly scrambled out of my seat and moved to the pulpit. Before over 200 hardened criminals I confessed my sins, and asked Jesus Christ into my heart as I wept like a baby. What a beautiful encounter with God it was!
When I got back to my cell … I was still crying rivers of tears, but something was different inside; something very much different. I felt clean and I sensed lightness, as if all the burdens I was carrying around for so long had finally been lifted off. As I gazed out of my window toward the highway through the pouring rain … crying tears of rejoicing and thanksgiving … I felt like the Holy Spirit was impressing upon me that just like the rain was washing away the filth and dirt from off of the streets outside, so were my sins being washed away in like manner. I just stood for a good while and worshipped God. After that I read my Bible for a while, allowing the Holy Spirit to feed me and comfort me through it. Thus I was spiritually born again that day, as Jesus speaks of in John 3:3.
I am proud and thankful to say God has completely transformed me according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, and I am a brand new creation:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
I don’t’ smoke, curse, drink, get high, fornicate, gamble, practice lying, read filthy books, cheat, talk down on people, nor have I had a fight with anyone for almost 10 years…by the grace of God! I love preaching and teaching and witnessing about the goodness of God every chance I get. God has allowed me to minister in song and I write poetry and other articles about spiritual things as I feel impressed of the Holy Spirit to do so.
My sentence has since been modified to 50 years to life (from 400 years) and I am confident that God will open the doors for me to leave prison when the time is right. God has blessed me super-abundantly in the past eight years as I have grown in my walk with the Lord, and understanding of His holy Word. He has kept me, protected me, guided and directed me – and He has demonstrated His faithfulness to me more times than I can remember. God has even blessed me with a wonderful friend, wife, and Christian woman to be my helpmate. He sent her here all the way from San Francisco, California … 3,500 miles away!
I just want to say in closing that God loves you, whoever you are reading this, and He can deliver your from any sin or stronghold imaginable; He can take your hurt and pain away you have known much of your life, if you’ll allow Him. If His love reached down to the pit of hell for me – one so undeserving – He’ll surely reach down for you. He’s just a prayer away … no matter how hopeless you feel life is.
I started my testimony by saying I was adopted two ways. You read about my first. The second is my “spiritual” adoption. I have been adopted into the family of God. As scripture assures all born again believers in Jesus Christ, it reads:
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together-- (Romans 8:15-17).
I’m quite certain the suffering I have experienced that put me in prison was caused mostly by anger and rebellion and selfishness, and of course, ultimately my drug addiction. But no matter what wrong and unwise choices I made in the past, the future is what now matters. I’ve been forgiven from the past, and the future lasts for eternity. If God grants me the opportunity to preach to sinners filled with anger and resentment and bitterness like I used to have, then to Him be all the glory! (I guarantee that if I get the chance, it surely won’t be any “mock” preaching either!). The many years I have to spend in prison serving out my sentence is like a blink of an eye compared to eternity. Sure … it’s no picnic in prison, but now I have someone who sits in my cell with me day and night, and never leaves me nor forsakes me. It’s the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He’s both inside me, and yet He fills the entire universe with His love! He is what I live for.
Do you have someone that special to live for … for eternity? He wants to adopt you into His family, I hope you know. If you let Him, you’ll never regret it, (providing you’re willing to die to your self desires) … nor will you ever be the same. You’ll become the new spiritual creation that has this assurance:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Do you want all that God has prepared for you in eternity? The only way you’ll ever have it is to put your trust in the One who has been given charge of eternity: His name is Jesus Christ. He died for you … that you can be adopted into the richest family ever imagined: The family of God.
Would you make the most important decision you could ever make and come join MY family?
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of the
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
To help us share the Best News every person needs to hear on this planet, randomly click FOR JESUS on just three (3) of the JESUS DID IT! links below. It will take just a few moments of your time. Please - that’s all you are asked to do. God will reward you! (Of course, be highly encouraged to forward one or more of these video clips to those who may have never heard what Jesus did for them on the cross ... or may need to be re-reminded).
JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
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