by Rayford Johnson
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The Levon Davis Story
A little over 14 years ago, Dr. Levon Davis was surrounded by a very different set of circumstances. He was sitting in a prison cell at the California Youth Authority in Los Angeles, California. He had been given a life sentence and was waiting for extradition papers from Florida as he was confronted with drug trafficking charges and the death penalty. Dr. Davis had participated in a double homicide during a drug deal gone bad, and had arranged what was to be his most electrifying and heart stopping date with an electric chair.
“You don’t wake up and just say I’m going to kill somebody. Events have happened in your life, that has brought you into this mentality,” says Davis. “It takes a few friends dying to lose feeling. A couple times of that, and you have no feelings about taking another person’s life. You don’t feel sorry, and you have no remorse,” explained Davis. “Money became my god, and the sale of drugs became my life. This type of lifestyle led to all types of crime, sin, and every possible ungodly thing that you could think of. People think that drug dealing is a glamorous life, but they don’t see the background of it; the stress; the callousness; it has no value.”
In 1993 I wrote a feature story for the Sacramento Observer on Levon Davis, who was then at the California Youth Authority (CYA) in Stockton. The story was entitled “From Crime to Christ”. I got to know Davis through volunteering for the chapel ministry at CYA, which I performed for a couple of years until I became a Correctional Youth Counselor (CYC).
As a CYC, I’ve become familiar with the term “jail house religion”. This is a phrase used to describe an individual who claims to be transformed by the power of God, because of an emotional experience and lives the Christ life up until parole is achieved, or until peer pressure within the prison walls becomes unbearable; in the end, the individual regresses to carnality. This wasn’t Davis’ pattern. I recognized something different in him.
I recognized and discerned through my observation of Davis that he wasn’t practicing “jail house religion”. He was a ward that had been divinely promoted to assistant the prison pastor with chapel services in the correctional facility. His Christian walk was solid and unwavering, and he expressed genuine empathy and remorse for his crime and his victims. Davis displayed great gratitude for God and the power by which he was miraculously exonerated from the pending charges in Florida; charges, which could have resulted in a death sentence. God was definitely demonstrating his true existence in Davis’ life and blessing him, but Davis often mentally struggled with whether or not God had forgiven him for his past sins. A struggle he says, that finally ended when a guest minister at the institution delivered a message about Moses.
The minister shared with him the life of Moses, before he had surrendered his life to God. He explained that Moses, an anointed man of God prior to his own knowledge, had killed an Egyptian man and buried him in the sand. “That really convinced me that God had forgiven me for the things that I had done,” said Davis.
Davis felt a purposeful desire and obligation to utilize his time wisely for the Lord and his many victims. “I did every program they offered in that place [CYA], carpentry, auto body; I went to seminary by correspondence.”
Davis now preaches God’s word and gives his testimony to the free and incarcerated, knowing that the power of God’s word can change even the most hardened heart individual. He’s blessed to be a living beneficiary and witness of that power. “I’m not supposed to be free. The only reason I’m free is to preach the gospel,” says Davis as he reflectively leans back in his chair at Starbucks Coffee House and smiles.
His acknowledgement of his purpose also brought a smile to my face as I reflected on where this mighty man of God came from, where he is now, and where the Lord is taking him. Preaching the gospel is what he has been doing since December of 1996 when he was paroled, and he hasn’t missed a beat in the Lord’s battle for lost souls yet. He’s a solider for Christ.
From 1996 to present, Davis has served the Lord in numerous capacities. He is currently the pastor of Blessed Faith church in Sacramento, California and has successfully led this church for the past 5 years. He has founded a Bible College along with his wife Latrina of 3 years that is accredited up to the doctorate level as well as having served the Lord as a traveling Evangelist for 2 years. He has earned a Master’s degree in Divinity as well as an honorary doctorate degree in the same. In only a few months, he will have earned his doctorate degree in Christian Counseling and to add to his professional and spiritual portfolio, Davis owns and operates a construction company and a Christian music studio. His slogan for the music business is, “If I can’t sell your character, I can’t sell your music.”
God is concerned about the character or heart of people, and Davis was blessed to learn this from a senior correctional youth counselor at CYA named Cozetta Gray. She introduced this modern day Apostle Paul to his personal Lord and Savior.
“I never heard it like that; it was like God was talking directly to me. I could feel the love; the love coming out of this little lady. I could feel the love of Christ. She really melted me,” says Davis. Later that evening after lights went out; Davis prayed a simple but sincere prayer on his knees that would change his life forever. “I said, God if you are real, then come into my life, but if you are not, then get away from me, and don’t bother me any more!”
“I guess I said the right thing, because at that very minute, I felt a warm sensation in my stomach, and I knew it was God at work. Before I knew it I was on my feet just bawling, clapping my hands, and saying thank you Jesus. I felt clean. I had joy, peace, and a sense of freedom that I can’t explain,” Davis testifies. Soon after this cleansing experience, Davis became a disciple and studied under Darwin Benjamin, a Christian counselor, and Chaplain, Carl McAllister a former ward of the CYA.
The next divine encounter Davis says he experienced was in the same year at a bible study meeting. “We had just begun to pray when everything went black; I couldn’t hear what was going on in the room. All of a sudden, it looked like the heavens had opened, and a pulpit was descending on a cloud, and big, block, yellow letters rolled across the black sky that said, “Preach, preach, preach!” From then on, I began to get trained in the things of the church and its ministry. God gave me His word in a new way, and I spoke under the authority of the Holy Ghost.” I recorded Davis’ quote about his vision about nine years ago. After he paroled, our paths did not meet again for about 8 years.
A few months ago, my wife, who sings in our church choir, informed me that our choir had been invited to sing for a church in honor of their pastor’s five-year anniversary. So, my family and I drove to the church. The parking lot was full, so I dropped my wife off in front of the church while my daughter and I cruised down the street in search of a parking space. We found a spot, and as we walked up to the entrance of the church door, a smiling older gentleman, who is an usher, hands me a program. As I scanned the crowded congregation to look for my wife, I looked up in the pulpit and in the seat of Honor was Dr. Levon Davis, seated proudly next to his wife. Immediately we made eye contact and simultaneously two big “Charlie Brown” smiles formed on both of our faces. We both signaled with hand and mouth gestures that we needed to talk after the service, and we did.
Though Davis thanks God for all the skills he learned at CYA, he states that his true passion in life is to win souls. I’m a firm believer that his passion is being realized by the love I witnessed being expressed toward him and his wife by the members of Blessed Faith church at their five-year anniversary celebration. I know he’ll continue to do great things through Christ.
(See Video of this Testimony@:www.Thugexposed.com)
By Rayford L. Johnson
Author of "Thug Mentality Exposed"
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A great story and evidence of the cleansing blood of Jesus.Sometimes the devil whispers to us our darkest sins and tells us we have not been forgiven. But we know all sins are forgiven by jesus when we repent. blessings.