Victory and Freedom-Celebrating One Year

Hands across chest. Joy building. Under the water I went, and up I came, thrusting my arms into the air. Victory. Reaching my hands toward heaven in victory. Even before I hit the water, victory had already been won, freedom had already been given. Being up on that stage was already a victory because this day a year ago was completely different. This day a year ago was filled with despair and sorrow, but from the darkness I reached up to heaven and cried out to a God, and He reached down and grabbed me, and pulled me from the darkness and put me in a spacious place. That day I became a new creation, a new person, and beloved by the God of the universe. He showed me the riches of His love and knowledge, and He has allowed me to show victory to those who are hurting through His love for the past year. He has taken me farther than I could ever go. He has taught me more than I could ever have imagined and He has given me hope, joy, peace, purpose, love, freedom, and victory. I am not where I am because of myself but because of God’s love for me, God’s overpowering, overwhelming love and power. And now today as I came up from the water I remembered a verse I had read recently, Phillipians 3:13-14.

“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

And remembering this verse I knew God was wanting me not to forget where I came from but to move on to the next stage of my life. That this day was a jumping off point. My Dad had said earlier this morning that if I stayed focused and grounded in the Lord, God would do great things through me. And it truly made me realize over the next year and years I need to be intentional. I need to make sure and know that what I do everyday is intentionally grounded and focused on leading people to Christ. Satan does not take breaks, he never gives up and I don’t need to stop either. Everyday I have on this earth is a gift and I have to take hold of the Holy Spirit every day, asking Him constantly for His will in my life. But today is a day of freedom and victory and tomorrow I begin to reach forward to what is ahead, to the goal the Lord wants to accomplish in my life and ultimately life forever in Christ Jesus.

Have a blessed day ya’ll,
Joseph.

2012: A New Beginning, A New Adventure

Happy New Year to everyone. This year just flew by and I literally have no clue where it went. I started 2012 by getting kicked out of my house and almost getting fired from my job, but from the words of an atheist, I found hope and purpose, I found joy and peace, I met Jesus Christ. God used an atheist who didn’t even believe in Him, to show me that He had always been there, and that He wanted me to come to Him, even though I had nothing to offer. In my darkest hour of my life, Jesus Christ spoke through an atheist and brought me hope.

So on January 6th, a few days after Christ had spoken, I got down on my knees in my bed that was all I had left, and cried out to Jesus and surrendered my life to Him. That day I opened up the Word of God and read it for the first time in close to five months, and opened up to the book of Judges and read the story of a guy named Gideon. Gideon was the weakest and youngest son, in the poorest family in the land, but God used him to lead his people out of the bondage of a powerful nation. A few minutes after I read that story again, God showed me that He would use me just like He did Gideon. I was shocked. Thoughts poured through my head. “I’m weak. You can’t use me. Thanks for saving me God, but I don’t have any clue about You really are. I thought I did my whole life, but I never really did. How can I share your love with others, when I don’t even know how to be a Christian?” All these doubts and questions poured through my head. And then I heard God say, “I will use you. I will use your weaknesses, and they will become your strengths, because I am your strength. Lean on Me and I will make you a Gideon, leading people out of bondage through my love.” And for the next two weeks I read God’s Word, and I leaned on every word of His Word, and misconceptions of Him were broken, lies from the devil were ousted, truths were delivered and hammered into my heart.

Two weeks later, God showed my parents that I was a new creation and they welcomed me back into the home. I was stunned, I was shocked. I had drug my parents through my mud, through my dirt for the past three years since we had moved to Charleston and I had decided to go crazy wild and change my image of nice, shy, christian kid, that had been stuck on me in Savannah. And that day by welcoming me back in they told me by their actions that they would fight with me for the rest of my life. And over the year I received restoration, healing, forgiveness, in every area of my life. I had been on depression, bipolar disorder and ADD and ADHD and now I didn’t need any of those medicines. I received joy that I had never had before, peace in my body, soul and spirit, hope in something far greater than myself. Before I would wake up in the mornings and wish I hadn’t woke up, I wish I could feel something, anything. Everything in life, anything that I did, felt numb. I felt no pain, I cared about no one, I loved no one. I was a robot with no soul, because I had given my soul to the devil. But on January 6th my eyes were opened, and my life received purpose, and fulfillment. Over the next few months I shared with everyone I could about this Jesus who I had met, who had given me joy, peace, rest, love, fulfillment and more things than I can even list. John 10:10 sums up what Jesus came to do when He died on the cross for our sins. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Satan is the thief who wants to take your purpose that God has given you and kill it and plunder your life. Yes he does offers things that are fulfilling for a season, but don’t be fooled, they will leave you broken and hurting after. Satan does not care about you, all he wants to do is pillage your life. God wants to grow your life. He died so that we might have life and have it to the full extent. He is not holding you back, He is wanting to take you farther than you have ever gone.

Satan lied to me about that too. He told me I could find fulfillment in alcohol, drugs, relationships, popularity and so many more things. I always believed if I could just make it to that point I’d be happy. But then I would make it to that point and I wouldn’t be satisfied. But when I met God I found completely satisfaction and fulfillment. I always believed following God kept you from doing something exciting and adventurous. That God would wack you on the head if you had too much alcohol or did something too crazy. But no I was completely wrong. On January 6th I started an adventure, an adventurous life to following God. Over the last year I’ve been to Nicaragua and seen hundreds come to know the Lord God as their Lord and Savior, I seen people healed physically, mentally, spiritually (one of them being me). I’ve seen God take me to places I never would have gone before. A life of following God is audacious, bold, scary, and oh yeah its not going to be easy. Satan thought he had me all packed away in a box that said, “Hell bound,” but God stepped in and pulled me from His grimy, death gripped hands and now I’m alive. For the first time in my life I’M ALIVE! Yeah I’m excited. I should have died so many years ago. Never even thought I’d make it to my 21st birthday but I did, and I’m here to stay until my Father calls me home. But until then I’m on a mission: To tell every person, no matter what age, gender, race, of the LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST! We are all called to go into the world and make disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have seen God do miracles inside Target where I work. I’ve seen families healed, relationships restored. SO YES, I believe in the powerful hand of God. That if we as a nation dive head first into God, we will find fulfillment outside of sex, drugs, alcohol, money, any other gods that we have. He is the one and only God, and He is ready to take your life to a level that you never imagined you could go. January 1st, 2013 can be the moment that your life changes forever and become the life that God has always envisioned you having. A life full of adventure, surprises, and a Faithful Hand holding onto your as you walk through this life. You do not have to do life on your own anymore. You are loved, You are beloved by the God of the Universe and right here, right now He wants to have a personal relationship with you. Right now you can enter into this relationship with Him. Admit to God that you can’t do this life on your own, surrender all of your own desires, plans, dreams, die to yourself. Let God remake you into a man or woman filled with joy, hope, peace, purpose, love. Unlike any human, God will never leave you or forsake you. He will walk with you every step of the way, and then some. And one day you will go and live forever with Him. Accept the gift of His one and only Son dying on the cross for your sins, accept grace, ask for forgiveness of your sins and surrender your life. Get ready because God will transform you and you will never be the same, not even close. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB 

God is still in the miracle making business. Don’t ever think you are too far gone, or too rotten, or done too much, because Jesus Christ has already covered all your past, present, and future sins with His blood when He died on the cross. Don’t delay. Give your life to Christ right here, and right now. And then share His love with others and God will give you love unlike any that you have ever experienced.
Have a blessed 2013 ya’ll,
Joseph.