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Testimonies for Jesus from Prisoners on Death Row

Anthony Joseph Farina Jr.

Country: USA - Florida Prison (Death row)

Greetings, in the Glorious Name of our Most High God; Who is, And Who was, and Who is to come again; Jesus Our Messiah.

I share my testimony with you, so that God might get the Glory and Honor for what He has done in my Life. I encourage you that God is no respector of persons, what He has done for one, He will do for another.

I asked Jesus to come into my Heart and Save me in a jail cell in 1992, as I was facing murder charges.

After trying to do things "my way" for some years, and hardening my heart to the Spirit of God. I came to the full realization where doing it "my way" had led me. Today I am on Florida's death row, under a sentence of death. The wonderful thing is I have but one Life, and that I have freely given it to My Saviour.

For most people, I think the realization of being on death row would scare them. But I can honestly tell you that I have more peace in my life today, than I ever had. And although, I am physically in prison, I know that I am free (spiritually), unlike before. Why? Because The Spirit of God has come to dwell in my life.

As a child, I learned about God and salvation through Jesus' Blood. I had an Aunt and Uncle who were committed to, and deeply loved The Lord. They often took me and my sibling to Church when we were around them. But this was not much, because my Mom moved us around alot. Up to the age of 13, I cannot recall starting and finishing a school year in the same school. my Mom used to send us kids to Church on the Sunday School bus, or when Church was close enough to walk to. For the most part though, I grew up with the understanding that God was someone you called on when in alot of trouble. You make certain promises to God, for example: "Oh God, if you only let me out of this, I promise to do so and so". That was my understanding of God.

I grew up in a home with parents who were alcoholics, who thought that buying beer was more important than buying food. My step-father was a very abusive man; verbally, physically, and mentally. As the oldest child I received the brunt of his abuse. Finally, I had had enough, and cried out to God asking Him to get me out of that situation. Well, after he beat me one night, I decided to go to the police station to report it. The answer to my prayer was I was removed from my home and put in a group home.

My Mom was told, if she left my step-father, I would be returned to her.

For the next two years I heard nothing from her or my sibling. It was as if I no longer existed to them.

Well, this experience was what started my rebellion. Looking back now, I see- that not only did God not turn His back on me, but He was in complete control. But the fact is, I turned my back on Him and started running from God.

Shortly after my 15th birthday, it was decided that I would be placed with my Christian Aunt and Uncle. Which I now see was God's Hand upon my life, and I am grateful for. For it was they who sowed the seed of faith in my life. About this same time, my Mom reappeared in my life. Needless to say I was greatly confused and torn. For although, in my heart I wanted to be with my Mom, I was still very angry with her. So I moved in with my Aunt and Uncle and they enrolled me in a Christian school. And every time the Church doors opened we were there. But at this stage in my life I felt that God was being forced on me.

It was at this time I started experimenting with drugs. I was trying to be the exact opposite of what they were trying to teach me. Shortly after my 16th birthday, I ran away to be with my Mom.

This was the worst decision I could ever have made. From this point on my life took a downward spiral. I dropped out of school, started using drugs regularly, and basically did I what ever I wanted to do.

The Spirit of God tried to speak to my spirit, but I was running from God.

I wanted to be loved and was searching for peace. I was filling my life with all kinds of "things", trying to find this peace. By the time I was 18, I had two children by two different women, neither of them living with me. So I tried to fill this void in my life with one of my children. I thought having my child in my life would fill the emptiness I felt in my spirit. So I moved my daughter, her mom, and step-brother in with me. I now had a family to care for. I decided that if I could only get my hands on some money, that I would be able to get unto my feet. This lead me to certain decisions which landed me on death row. All the while God was saying, "I Am the Answer".

I would now like to share with you what God has done in my life since I have made Jesus The Lord of my life. As I have already said, it was in 1992 when I asked Jesus into my life, but in many ways, I had simply fallen back on the prayer "God get me out of this."

It was in 1996 when I finally got tired of doing things my way. I made a commitment to get my life Right with The Lord. I asked The Lord to remove from my life things that I thought were not Honoring Him, and to fill me with a deep hunger and desire for His Word. I started reading and studying God's Word daily, and having a daily prayer time with God.

By no means has my life been perfect since then, for walking with God is a matter of growing daily.

But Let me tell you, The Lord Jesus has filled my life with His Grace and Peace. I have learned what it means to be Loved and to Love. God has shown me how to Love Him, with my whole spirit, soul and, body. And how to Love my neighbour as myself. He has truly made me a "New Man" from the inside out. Which only He can do! we can change the outward, but when there is a inner change, a desire for the Ways of God, instead of the ways of the world- that is the Work of God.

I am truly at peace now with who I am, and where I am. I have such great joy in my life. I have no fear of what man can do to me. The worst they can do is kill my body. And they can only do that, if it's God's Will. Their worst would be the best, because they would be sending me home to be with My Lord.

For to be absent from the body is to be present with My Lord Jesus. The Lord has taught me to say like Paul, "For me to Live is Christ, but to die will be gain."

I do not know what is going on in your life, but we are all on death row, in a manner of speaking. For it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment.

If we are born twice( physical & spiritual-born again) during this life we will only die once (physical) , but if we are only born once (physical), we will surely die twice. (physical & spiritual)

If your spirit is empty today and you are searching for that peace like I was, then turn to Jesus and put your complete Trust in Him. For without The Grace of God, there will never be any Peace.

No matter what we fill our lives with, or how busy we get, we will never find something to take God's Place. Only He can fill whatever is missing in our life. I do not know what tomorrow will bring me, But what I do know is that for the rest of my life and throughout eternity, I look forward to worshipping and praising My Lord Jesus.

In closing, I would like to share with you three scriptures that have come to mean a great deal to me lately.

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (nkjv)

"And He (Jesus) said to me, 'My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in weakness' Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the Power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-16 (nkjv)

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who Lives in me; and the Life which I now live in the flesh, I live by Faith in the Son of God, who LOVED me and GAVE Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (nkjv)

May the Grace of God Work Mightily in and upon your life.

A servant, and child of the Most High.

Maranatha (1 Corinthians 16:22)

 

Anthony Joseph Farina Jr. # 684135

U.C.I.    P1204

P.O. Box 221

Raiford, Florida 32083-0221