If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
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by Rab Allan
A TESTIMONY TO THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
My name is Rab Allan and I live in Kirriemuir, Scotland. I'm 28 years old, married with two sons, David, Robbie, and a daughter Talitha Rebekah. My wife Freda and I have been Christians since 1994.
I became a Christian whilst in prison, after a life of violence, drug taking and abuse. I was brought up the youngest of a family of ten; six boys and four girls. Violence and drunkenness had always been a part of family life, with my father being an alcoholic, and my brothers following closely on his heels. Physical and mental abuse was rife in the family from my father, especially after a drinking bout, which was every day and night. I often saw my mother being beat up by my father, which just helped to fuel my anger and hatred towards him. Quite often I would beg my mother to divorce him, but to this day she never has.
I can't ever remember playing a game with my father like any other kid. I started in a life of crime as young as 12, with shoplifting and stealing cars. I was in a gang in my teens called the "Elm Street Grave Diggers", always fighting other gangs with anything that came to hand. I was eventually put on probation. It was during this time that I looked at my mother, and saw the worry that I was giving her, so I decided that I would never bring the police to her door again.
My mother being of strong character never drank, or turned to drugs. After my commitment to stop the trouble, I became involved heavily with youth work, and became a figure within the community for fighting for the youth. As a member of one group we fought for a youth centre (which we got) to take the youth off the street. At the age of 17 I went to Africa on an expedition, to help build bridges and teach. On my return, I started again in the youth work, and worked with organisations such as The Princes Trust, Duke of Edinburgh and some others. My career in youth work seemed eminent.
At 23 I was going steady with Freda, and we both started working at the youth centre which we had fought for, on a part time basis. After a short time, I was accused of theft and sacked. Knowing that these allegations were wrong, and being sacked from something that I loved doing, filled me with anger and complete bitterness. I then went into a vicious circle of drugs, crime, sex and violence, thinking that this is what life was all about.
I became involved with some people who soon looked upon me as a leading figure, because of my ability to organise. Soon I was planning robberies and drug deals, and went deeper and deeper into despair. I tried to keep my hard man image up, and violence became a part of my life. Everything that I ever hated, I became. I was arrested and put on remand in prison for eight months, acquitted and within two months I was back in doing five years for assault with fire arms.
After six months at Barlinnie, I was moved to Shotts, but whilst I was at Barlinnie, a minister appeared one day at my cell, and told me that a friend of mine said that I had an interest in the Bible, and asked if I would like to go to a Bible discussion. I impolitely told him no, until he mentioned tea and chocolate biscuits. This being unheard of in Barlinnie, I decided that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all. When I was at the Bible discussions, I would sometimes try to put the minister down with silly comments about God, but one day I asked if I could have one of the Bibles and a booklet called "Ultimate Questions" by John Blanchard, which I was given. I tried many times to read them, but just could not understand what it was all about.
So my life continued with drugs. Taking drugs for a high, and selling or swapping them for extra luxuries. After my transfer to Shotts, I thought that I would make a name for myself, and had threatened one of the officers that he was going to lose an eye. Such was the madness and insanity that I was living in, that I had no feelings for anyone, neither my family, friends nor myself for that matter. People to me were worth less than items. I had lost all respect for anyone or anything. My reputation had to be sustained at all costs. I thank God that He got to me before I got to that officer or anyone else.
I was in my cell alone one evening after lock up. It was summer nights, so I had the light off, had put on some music, taken a trip (acid tablet) and waited for the trip to take effect. I never did get that trip. Instead, what I got was Jesus Christ. I heard a voice like a thought saying "turn on the light," but I refused to turn it on, preferring the darkness that I so much enjoyed. Several times I heard this thought, and eventually I turned on the light, not knowing that the light that the voice was speaking of was the light of Christ.
I found myself on the floor amongst all the dirt, with the Bible and booklet that I had been given at Barlinnie. I read the booklet about five times, and didn't know what it meant. Finally I was ready to give up when I noticed a small passage at the bottom of the page of "Ultimate Questions" which said that if I didn't understand what the message was, to ask God to show me. So I decided to try, and I asked God to show me the meaning. I then read the booklet again, asking questions out loud, and I started getting answers. The Bible became alive, and Jesus revealed Himself to me in that lonely dark prison cell.
I couldn't comprehend how simple it was to be saved from hell. I asked Jesus to forgive me and come into my life, which He did. My whole cell glowed, and I also glowed. My experience of Jesus was similar to that of the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road. This took place over a period of about ten hours between Saturday and Sunday.
On the Sunday morning, I requested for the first time in my life to go to church. When I got there, the minister was telling the story of the prodigal son returning to the father. That evening I returned to my Father. The road I was on led to death and destruction, and I was responsible for it. The road that I'm on now is the only way to Heaven and Eternal Life. That Way is Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)
You see He gave His life for you on a cross, to take the punishment of death that you rightly deserved. He was thrown in prison, tortured, spat on, mocked, whipped and crucified all for being innocent. Jesus was the Perfect Sacrifice. He was without sin, but took our sin upon Himself, but it doesn't end there at the cross. After three days He rose again, showing that His death satisfied the penalty for our sins.
Jesus is Alive. Don't take my word for it. Take your own [read the word for yourself]. Being a Christian isn't an easy ride, but a more often a rough one, but we are given the peace and ability to endure the hard times when they come. I received Freedom whilst in prison, but you don't need to be in a jail to be a prisoner.
If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9) Maybe you can relate to this story. Maybe you too have been through the same abuse. Maybe you have been involved in crime, and were afraid to back out. It's easy to put on a hard man image, but it's hard to admit when you're wrong. Maybe you're sick of being what everyone expects you to be. Well, God wants you as you are, and will accept you as you are.
If you were to die this evening, would you know where you are going? Do you want to know that you are going to Heaven? All who want to go to Heaven "must be Born Again." There is only one way to heaven. Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me." (John 14:2,6).
Do you know the One who died on the cross for you? Jesus said "except a man be Born Again he cannot see the kingdom of God. " (John 3:3) What does He mean? He means a spiritual birth where a person confesses his sins to Jesus Christ and accepts Him as Saviour. I am not talking about religion. What I am talking about is a real and living relationship with a real, living and loving God. This is the Gospel.
You don't need fancy words to talk to God. After all, He knows more about you than you do. You could say this simple prayer with all your heart: Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you died for me. I acknowledge that I am a sinner and I can't save myself. Please save me and forgive my sins. Lord take control of my life. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer with your heart, you are now a child of God. The Bible says "let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together." Hebrews 10:25 therefore you should now tell someone of your commitment.