Joy

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Several years ago,while being interviewed by the head Chaplin of a women’s prison, I was asked the strangest question. She asked me what my platform was. I had been doing prison ministry for a little while. 
The only word that came to my mind when I thought about why I wanted to continue in prison ministry with brokenness. When I look out on a room full of women, all dressed in white I see hurt, shame and brokenness. 
I know that if God can fix me he can fix them.

Brokenness this is not the platform that I would have prayed for. Under the circumstances of my life, brokeness is something that I understand. 

As Paul writes in Philippians 4:11-13   not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content . I know how to be abased and I know how to be abound. Everywhere and in all things I’ve learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

In spite of the brokeness of my past,  I have true joy. I believe that the power of the Holy Spirit can move mountains. Because Christ has strengthened me, I am involved in healing ministries.  I mostly work inside of Texas womens Prisons, but I love to help women on the outside as well.  
I am the volunteer coordinator for Cross Prison Ministry. I am a trained leader in post abortive healing in the Restore ministry.  I have a certification in Christian counseling, specializing in addiction and recovery. I am presently in school for an undergraduate certification in Biblical Studies.

I do not tell you these things to brag about me, but to give you an insite of the mountains that I have seen God move. That being said,  I will tell you that I have not always been a Christian.  I was saved and baptized in the spring of 1998. Before that and until 2008. I was saved but God was not the Lord of my life. I had lots of things to work through.  There were a lot of things in my life that I didn’t want to give up to serve God. There were a lot of things in my past that I hadn’t dealt with yet. There was so much confusion about who I was let alone who I was in Christ.

I recently saw a post on Facebook that said “I need you to love me until I’m me again.” Christ does that for us. God has a plan for us before ever born but sin rail roads us in another direction.

In order to want someone else to be saved or to get back in their race you have to be thankful for what God has done for you. It’s not often that you want someone that you love to have something that you don’t even care about. I want people to have what I have in Christ. Healing.

Being grateful is a learned behavior. Baby’s are not grateful for their mothers milk they just expect it. We are not interested in the blood of Christ if we don’t know we need it. The adage is true.. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. 

During a word study in Luke 22:19  I came across the word “eucharisteo” it means to give thanks.  The root word in eucharisteo is charis, meaning grace. Another word derived in this word study is chara, meaning joy. 
If I have this right.. my joy is dependant on my thankfulness. I am thankful for God’s grace. It doesn’t really matter how I  feel, if I can find something to be thankful for, I can have joy.

I deserved eternal punishment, instead, I received grace. For this I am eternally grateful. In exchange for my gratefulness “The joy of the Lord is my strength. ” Nehemiah 8:10

We do have an adversary, who walks around like a roaring lion looking for that which he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

He hates sobriety and people of honor, he hates ministry and evangelism,
he hates churches and unity, he hates families and love, he hates grateful hearts and joy. He hates us, he wishes to destroy us.
If the adversary can steal our joy… He can trick is into dissension, self pity, judging others, unforgiveness, ect…we have to refuse to live in that bondage. We must be sober, be vigilant. We must have wisdom. We must love one another.

Ephesians 5:15, 17-21 NKJV

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

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