The Lord put this on my heart to write on 4/8/22. As I wrote this, the words just flowed like “someone else?“ wrote them and I can truly understand how the Apostle’s and others in the Bible were inspired by the Lord to write “his words”. I believe with all my heart that these are his words, through me, intended for all of you. He put it on my heart to write these words while still incarcerated. While it will appear they are mostly Bible verses put together, it will make complete sense to a mature Christian that this is how the Lord would speak to us-through his word.
It’s human nature that we want to know why. Why did this happen? Almost 7 years ago, Pastor Kevin told us “God has a plan, we just don’t know what it is yet”. All I could do was keep praying and asking him why. I could only pray for his protection and provision over me, my family and friends. When I entered the dorm at ycp the 1st night and saw a cross under the bunk above me-I knew I was going to be ok. Later God revealed his 1st verse to me on “why I was there”. Gen. 50:20 is Joseph speaking to his brothers after they sold him into slavery, lied about him being killed, and landed him in a prison. Later, he was put incharge of the Pharaoh. He says, “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” It wasn’t until I was working on this to read to you, I noticed v21 says, “So then, don’t be afraid, I will provide for you & your children.” We serve an awesome God! If you all can give me a few more minutes, my story doesn’t end right there. At the time, II wasn’t sure what he meant, but over the next 3 years in captivity, his plan became crystal clear. Paul, who wrote a large part of the New Testament-while in prison helped bring my purpose into focus. There were things I needed to do first before I could fulfill his purpose on the outside. Changes he needed me to make. Romans 2:1, 4,5 & 6, Paul tells us we need to not be judgmental of others, and not be so stubborn as to not be so stubborn with an unrepentant heart. I had to stop thinking I was above being where I was. I’m not entitled, and pride can keep us from God’s intended purpose for us. “We’ve all sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Our sufferings produce perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, Who has been called according to his purpose. My purpose was to witness, evangelize and lead others to salvation. To be an example and a light in darkness. Never once was I afraid, never had a bad roommate (well once), never did I need to fear. “If God is for us, who can be against us? A verse I’d repeat often. So why me? I’m nice, kind, not violent, Romans 9:19-21 tell us that God anoints some of us for special purposes and some for common use. That’s ok, he’s the potter and we’re his clay. I’ve learned forgiveness & without it your heart grows bitter. Love is patient, kind and not proud. It’s not self-seeking, it doesn’t dishonor others, it doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. So, forgive even if others don’t forgive you. I have forgiven for Christ’s sake as he has forgiven me. I’ve learned I’m not a people pleaser, but a servant to Christ. I was a people pleaser which led to my demise. God has a plan for all of us, Eph. 1:11-12 tells us this ‘that in him we were chosen having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything with the purpose of his will, in order that we who put our hope in Christ might be for the praise of his glory. Like Paul, I was a prisoner for the Lord, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received from our Lord. Be completely humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love. Don’t let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful to build each other up. Be kind, compassionate and forgiving, just as Christ forgave you. So, I come back again to why? I want you to know that what happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. It became clear throughout the prison, I was in chains for Christ, just like Paul and Silas. Because of chains, I led many to know the Lord. Because of the foundation my parents and grandparents gave me, I have now grown my faith to teach others. Not everyone came to my defense or to support me. May it not be held against them, so that but the Lord stood by my side so that through me the message might be freely proclaimed. (2 Tim. 4:16-17). Continue to remember those in prison, as if you too gather with them and those mistreated as if you yourself are suffering. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace to those trained by it. Phi. 3:12, Not that I’ve already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Jesus took hold of me. I don’t consider myself yet taken hold us, but one thing I do, forget what’s behind and strive on what’s ahead. I press on toward the goal of the prize for which God’s called me. (2Tim 1:8). So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me as his prisoner. Rather join me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God. (2Tim 4:7) I have fought the good fight, I’ve finished the race, I’ve kept the faith, and may God of hope fill you all with joy, peace as your trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.