Firsthand Faith [no. 7 ]

Shake Well Before Using…

In July 2004, I stood before a judge and plead guilty to trafficking methamphetamines. The judge sentenced me to 20 years do 10. By law, I would serve at least 40 months before I was able to come home. I knew that this was my last chance at a “real” life but was unsure just how much prison could teach me. During my first week there, I decided to pick up my Bible and make use of this long venture. I read the entire Bible in 40 days. During that time my eyes were opened to more than I have seen in my 23 years of life and I began to understand more of who I was on the inside rather than who the years of drug use made me. It was at this point that I learned it was not what prison was going to teach me, but what God was going to show and teach me. Once I had that peace of mind, I wanted to know more of what I was to learn.

Three months into my sentence I got my GED and started teaching other inmates the GED. In every camp that I was sent to, I started a Bible study. I used every second of my day to walk and talk with Jesus and I do not mean, “Dear Lord please help me,” I mean I talked to Him like he was standing right there with me and my only friend. I studied the prayer of Jabez and I daily repeated the verse my wife gave me shortly after I was locked up, 1 John 4:4. If I was feeling lost, I would repeat 1 John 4:4 one hundred times until I did not feel lost anymore because I stood on what that verse says. Prison can teach you things but I am living proof that God can teach you more. I took all the drug classes that I could and spent 39 months learning about God as He was teaching me about myself. There is one thing that I wondered for years and that is, “why, if God was so loving and compassionate, would I go through so many hardships?” Well, satan can do the same things God can except for one difference and that is he must have permission from God to do them. If you do not believe me, then read the book of Job in the Bible.

Have you ever wondered why some things say, “Shake well before using?” It is because all the good stuff settles to the bottom; it is the same with your walk with God. Sometimes, we have to be shaken before God can use us. I was shaken to the core of my being during my prison time. I came home in 2007 after only spending 39 months, when by law, I had to at least spend 40 months. Notice I spent a month less than what man said I had to spend, because God can do all things. I got a job, went to college and graduated in 2010 with honors. I now use all of what God has “shaken me up” for to help other people. I challenge each of you to try to walk and talk with God. I also challenge you to stand on what the word of God says and see just what He can do in your life. What will it hurt to see what reading the Bible will do for you? Remember, sometimes we must be shaken before we can be used.  ||  Joseph Julian

Sometimes we will find ourselves at a crossroads.  Knowing heaven awaits at one end and hell the other.  I believe that as Joseph came to read His word and walk with His Elder Brother, he began to understand that God is much greater than a crossroads and any constraints of a cell.  When we walk with Him, when we choose to surrender, it is then we truly find purpose and receive REAL freedom.  The world sees chains and metal bars…  But when you walk with Christ, hand in hand, you see The Kingdom.  There are no chains with Christ.   And, when we tune our ears to Him,wherever we may find ourselves…  Whether we turn to the left or we turn to the right, we WILL hear His voice telling us this is the way, WALK IN IT!  (Isaiah 30:21)  I love his heart and am so thankful that God choose to cross our paths.  This one is screaming Jesus!  And in his words, “BAMM!”  Take that Satan.

xo,

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Author: Natalie

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