"By The Mercy of Yahweh"

Jayson Vreeland

My testimony is probably not that much different from many others. All basically start and end the same way. A transformation has happened within the person, and they have gone from a wicked sinner who cared only for their self, called by God unto salvation, and then, after being born again, they live a life of obedience to Godís will and establish their life on the principles of the Word of God.

I was incarcerated in 1997 at the age of 17, and Iíve been serving a 76 with a 51 year stipulated sentence. I didnít have much time on the outside before coming to prison, so my life wasnít full of violence, drugs, and unbelievable stories before getting locked up. I had no time for all of that. Being young, I took a bad turn very fast.

Around the age of 14 I began doing drugs, and drinking with a new group of kids. I wasnít liked very much by the kids I went to school with because I have a bad skin condition called Psoriasis, and when I went to a new school I met new kids who knew nothing about me. They just saw a kid who would do crazy things and do a lot of drugs with them. I donít think I would have been crazy and reckless if I hadnít been picked on previously. Iím fairly certain that the only reason for my acting so stupid was just so I would fit in. I wasnít picked on with this new group of kids. In fact, I was turned to for a place to hang out or whatever they needed. I was probably being taken advantage of, but it was better than being picked on and fighting all of the time.

I had a lot of fun, and the next year is when my life changed dramatically. I was hanging out at this guyís house whom I went to high school with, and we were getting high. I was out on the deck and he was on the phone with a girl we went to school with, whom I thought was gorgeous. He called me inside and said that she wanted us to go to her house the next day because she wanted to party and have sex with me. I was all for it! We hung out the next day, but she had the worst trip from Angel Dust that I had ever seen, and so we left. She told us to come back the following morning. So, we went to her house again, and we were back to partying. I was on anti-depressants, and with the Dust, Weed, and Whiskey I drank, the partying was too much for my body to handle, and I passed out around 11 A.M. and didnít wake up until 1 A.M. the next morning. I had overdosed and I was told that I stopped breathing twice in the ambulance.

A week later I was back in school, and the girl and I started dating. I didnít do many drugs while we were together because she said she didnít want to lose me. I asked her to marry me a year later, and she said yes. I was 17 and I wanted her to be my wife and have a family with her as soon as possible. She was my whole world and I couldnít imagine not being with her. Unfortunately, a month later, that is just what happened. She left me! I was devastated.

While election is a Biblical doctrine, manís accountability is in no wise diminished by this truth. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." ( Rom. 3:23 ) None are righteous (Rom. 3:10 ) and all are dead in trespasses and sins ( Eph. 2:1). There comes a time when the person being moved by the Holy Spirit realizes their sinfulness and the need of forgiveness. They repent of their wicked ways and become born again. A true conversion will become evident by the life style the person lives after repentance. If their fruits are wicked, such as those spoken of in Gal. 5:19-21 and Eph. 5:5, then they have made a false profession of faith. A truly born again Christian will bear fruits of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Gal. 5:22-23 ).

I was blessed by my gracious God to become saved during my time spent in the county jail, and I have praised Him every day for saving me from my wicked ways. I began to read the Word of God frequently because I was hungry to know as much about Him as I could, and there is no better place to look than in the Scriptures. I saw in the Word that I was made a child of God ( Gal. 4:7 ), adopted into Godís family ( Gal. 4:4-5 and Rom. 8:15 ) and made an heir of God ( Gal. 4:7 ). I found it to be a wonderful gift that made me holy and blameless ( Col. 1:22 ), safe from the wrath of God ( Rom. 5:9 ), and hidden with Christ in Yahweh ( Col. 3:3 ). I was honored to be a part of His family, and out of love and obedience for His gracious gift of salvation, I saw the need to always strive to be godly and not give in to the temptations of the flesh. Itís a war between the flesh and the Spirit ( Gal. 5:17 ), and I have seen that the only way to be godly is to be less worldly. I needed to give up my old wicked ways and be about the Lordís business.

I began to study a lot of religious books by Puritans and Reformers and started to compile a library full of wonderful resources that, Lord willing, I pray will be a blessing not only to myself but to others. Through realizing my interest in church history and theology, Iíve been led by God, through His sovereign direction, to see that my gift in the body of Christ is in the position of a teacher and a researcher. My interest in church history has been leading me on a fruitful journey of research to comprehend the diversities that have arisen in the body of Christ, dealing with theological debates such as the Lordís Supper, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and many other topics. One area in particular that I am interested in is the false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. This church is not a part of the body of Christ because they have so many heresies that contradict the Word of God and make Christ less than completely responsible for redeeming His people. They do not believe the sacrifice on the cross, nearly 2000 years ago, is sufficient to save a person without working and earning further forgiveness themselves. Church history is filled with murders, banishments, and many other wicked acts of the Roman church such as not allowing the congregation to read and interpret the Scriptures for themselves, which is evidence of their being contrary to the Word of God ( 2 Tim. 3:16,17 ). Iím sure I could spend many years reading and compiling dates and events to help others see the errors of Roman Catholicism, and Lord willing, I will do just that.

"A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air;
Yet in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleases Thee.

Naught have I else to do
I sing the whole day long;
And He whom most I love to please,
Doth listen to my song;
He caught and bound my wandering wing
But still He bends to hear me sing.

My cage confounds me round;
Abroad I cannot fly;
But though my wing is closely bound,
My heartís at liberty,
My prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul.

Ah! It is good to soar
These bolts and bar above,
To Him whose purpose I adore,
Whose Providence I love;
And in Thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind."

Jayson Vreeland
New Jersey State Prison
PO 861
Trenton, NJ 08625