"The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Hello, my name is Joel. I am a sinner saved by grace, God’s grace, that is. I am a man who has experienced deliverance from the grasp of darkness. And today, I walk upright in the light of Christ.
My parents divorced when I was pretty young. My sister and I continued to live with my mother. After my father’s departure, my mother succumbed to mental illness. Unfortunately, this left my sister and me to “raise ourselves.” The torment of loneliness, abandonment, and uncertainty permeated my innocent heart and soul. At the age of eight, I had become disillusioned with this life and the love it was offering. It was only a matter of time before I reached for the hand of Satan in the form of a marijuana cigarette, and this marked the beginning of my near-fatal sin-induced demise. After the succession of poor decisions, misbelief, and compromises, I became a full-time crack addict that lasted twenty-eight years. Eventually, it was painstaking to acknowledge my skeletal reflection in the mirror, a mirror that so bitterly mocked my bondage. And then, finally came God’s miraculous light. My sister had been delivered in Christ for several years, bringing the Teen Challenge program into my seemingly hopeless world of degradation. And just in time, because thoughts of suicide were now becoming the center of my attention.
On June 16, 2003, I entered the Teen Challenge induction center in the heart of Newark, New Jersey’s urban jungle. I did not come to search out Christ’s heart but only to attempt to stay clean for a year. But much to my exceeding joy, I can say now that Jesus was there waiting to search my heart. I did not know it then, but I realize now that God had given me the so precious and necessary gift of brokenness! He had prepared in me a receptive heart to receive this life’s only truth: His Son finally. Little did I know that the hole in my heart was Christ-shaped all along.
I gave my life to the Lord in a public confession only ten days after arriving at the center. I graduated from the induction center and began a more exhaustive pursuit of God’s heart. Here at that training center in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania, I fell in love with Jesus. I then began to study the scriptures and learn of God’s promises. I found that my faith in His Word and in His love had the power to “repay me for the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25) I found that He had a plan for my life, “to give me a hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29:11) Praise God! He said I was a new creation in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17) At last, I had finally found TRUTH!
Then it began--God restored the trust I had betrayed among my loved ones. He restored my wonderful mother’s mind and our once strained relationship. He renewed my heart and transformed my entire perspective of life and my fellow man. He gave me His love, the only love that cannot disappoint or fade away. He gave me a calling and taught me the meaning of life--To love and serve God. As a result of my devotion, He has continued to bless my socks off to this very day!
Again my name is Joel, a sinner turned saint saved by loving grace. May God bless you!
Joel is a Men's Ministry Director at The Potter's House which is a safe place for men & women to recover from addiction, to experience Christ-centered discipleship, and embrace their God-given destiny for their lives. For more information please visit their ministry site at https://thepottershouselancaster.com/
Purchase Joel's book by clicking on the book cover below.
Joel's testimony from the VictoryEmbraced book was featured on CBN's The 700 Club