I started adult life with great natural gifts, but with no thankfulness or appreciation towards God for those gifts. I looked down on others and lived my life with a sense of entitlement, a conviction that rules were made for others, not for me. I floated from pleasure to pleasure till I spiraled down into personal crises and catastrophe. At the very bottom of that spiral, I recognized that there was no good in me, that the blood of Christ had been shed for me, and that God could replace my sin-trashed and directionless life with His new life. I was finished as Lord of my life; Jesus Christ was now Lord. God’s Word, not my whims and human reasonings, became the moral and spiritual compass of my life. In the decades since the Fall of 1971, I have watched God form me into an encourager and builder instead of a critic and destroyer.
‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;’ Revelation 12:11
There is a place inside each of us that KNOWS God exists. When He chooses you, you realize there is no reason why, as you certainly can`t be good enough. There is sin. God is Holy and cannot tolerate even one sin. Yet He still allow His children into His presence without condemning us, thanks to the blood sacrifice of the perfect Lamb. But when He truly has you, you find Him irresistible. You`ll WANT to know Him, obey Him, worship Him. You will be changed–born anew–not like you were before. Here`s a wise saying to remember: `If you is what you was, then you ain`t.`
Although I had attended church irregularly and I knew who Jesus was and believed in God, I was a hippie as a teenager in the early 70`s. I found myself caught in the culture and lost interest in doing well in school–just graduating from high school became the goal. I lied, cheated and even stole from stores a time or two (under the influence of “friends”). Getting into bars at 16 was not difficult, with a legal drinking age of 18. I was definitely a rock-n-roll concert-going partier, believing it to be “cool” to be slightly high with pot and/or alcohol. I was even exposed to the Bahai` faith as a teenager following a gathering at a home after a Seals and Crofts concert!
It took many years for me to heed God`s call. It wasn`t until I had my first son in 1982 that I realized how important it was to be involved in a church, and had begun listening exclusively to Christian music and programs on the radio rather than secular music. My growth in the faith was nurtured largely by coworkers, and blossomed in 1991 while at a very difficult, demeaning job for a year, at which there was a weekly prayer study during lunch. There was a young black Pentecostal lady, a Messianic Jew, a Catholic, a Southern Baptist, and me, who was very ignorant about all things related to Bible study. I remember asking what angels were, really! Many are like I was, with broad misconceptions about these created beings who cannot become humans any more than people can die and become angels. A former warlock-turned-disciple-for-Christ, who was a coworker for many years, taught me much about both the ways of Satan and Jesus. God placed so many people in my path to guide me along the road to learning about Jesus, including those from the Church of God, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Latter Day Saints, Disciples of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, and a plain Christian church where I first committed to membership. A few years later, at Mt. Carmel Christian Church, I was baptized with my then 10-year old son.
I became a Baptist in 1998, and have the closest church family at Cornerstone Baptist Fellowship. Everyone here is willing and ready to love and accept those who love Jesus and have a strong desire to understand God`s Word. We share each others joys and sorrows, and frequent feedings with time to visit (fellowship). Pastor Stan teaches truths of the Bible with love, even though sometimes it can be difficult to hear. It`s not a church that goes out of its way to be popular with the masses, just accountable to God! May God bless you with a desire to know and serve Him above all!
Brenda Hamilton Sistler is blessed to be a part of Cornerstone Baptist Fellowship. She`s very aware that there is nothing in or about her that God would be `impressed with` to choose her for salvation, and is forever grateful for His mercy.
The 10 Commandments haven`t been eradicated, as some claim; rather, they have been fulfilled in Christ Jesus (who says quite plainly that He did not come to abolish them).
Everyman will still be judged by those same commandments – yep, all ten.
Thankful tonight for God`s grace to know that I have broken all of them (because they stand as one). If He had not shown me my sin, I`d have no clue of my greatest need – the need for my Savior. Not to save me from my sin…last time I checked, most of us greatly ENJOY our sin, and have no honest desire to be `saved` from it…but to save me from the wrath of God, which is the certain consequence of sin – ANY sin – apart from the substitutionary life and death and resurrection of Christ Jesus!
ALL PRAISE TO HIM!
I’m Vicki Snell. I lost my husband to cancer in 1997. In the spring of 1998, I moved to Florida to assist my widowed Mother in Barefoot Bay.
I had grown up from early Sunday School through college years attending the Presbyterian church. In Florida I attended my parents’ church but did not connect to the older congregation. I have been in recovery from addictions and bondage to self for many years. I made a habit of going to the beach to worship God`s creation on Sunday mornings. I missed the big picture but enjoyed the vast horizon and knowing that I am but a grain of sand on the beach.
On Easter of 2000, my daughter and grandchildren came from Orlando to go to church with me. My daughter had been saved and was a born again Christian. Due to the time change that morning, we were late. Sitting in the back of the room I felt the Holy Spirit drawing me to commit myself to attending this church. I resisted until the following Wednesday but was compelled to return to that church. In my parent`s church I had not heard that I was to invite the Lord Jesus into my heart and be born again. The calling was so strong that I invited Him into my life in April of 2000. I soaked myself in God`s Word as a thirsty person desires a cold drink of water. God`s Word began the process of transforming my thoughts, and my mind opened to a way of life I had not experienced. The Lord led me to purge myself of worldly speech, actions, relationships, what I read and watched on TV and movies. I was gifted with mercy and compassion for others as never before. I was always co-dependent; now I am Lord dependent.
I was called to Cornerstone Baptist in 2007 to teach Sunday School. A good friend became my precious husband and we serve our church family in love. I have been blessed to teach Vacation Bible School for 6 years now, Oh, how I love being part of teaching children God`s Word with words, actions and songs! My old ideas of life have been transformed from ‘It`s all about me’ to ‘What can I do to be of service to my family and others?’