I Just LOVE The Word, "But!"

I entered a writing contest recently.  My hopes were high as the winner would receive a complete book publishing offer and I so want my book published.

To make a long, story short, I didn’t win.  In fact, I didn’t even place.  I know, so discouraging.

One thing is for sure, the story I submitted was ‘my story.’  The one the Lord gave me.  IF He wants my book published, it will happen in His timing, and not mine, and I am definitely OK with that! 

I’m thankful for the days I spent reflecting and remembering what the Lord first did for me some thirteen years ago.

Most of you know where I come from.  My hope is that maybe someone will read it that doesn’t know Jesus as Lord, and maybe, just maybe, the words I wrote will be used to plant a seed; a seed that will grow and grow and take root into the powerful name of King Jesus.

This, is my story . . . . . . .

For 28 years I was foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. I lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  BUT, when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved me, not because of any righteous things I had done, but because of his mercy. He saved me through the washing of rebirth and the renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, I might become heir having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7).

I was a drunk, an adulterer, a manipulator, a thief, a liar, and a mother of a 4 year old child.  I lost everything and had nowhere to go.
At the age of 28, On July 7th, 1998, after a series of events that brought me to desperation, I quit drinking, smoking and doing drugs.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I had made a mess of my life.  I was tired of living a life of lies.  I was ready for a change.
I ended up at a place called Olive Baptist, on the corner of “Hurt and Hope.”  It was then I was introduced to The Most Excellent Way Ministry (a Christ-centered Drug and Alcohol Support Group).
During these meetings I began realizing the need for Jesus in my heart.  For months, I kept trying to “fix” myself.  I kept telling God, “Let ME ‘fix’ this and then I will come to you.”
On October 19th, 1998, in my 1970’s gold chair, in my 640 square foot apartment, I read a piece of paper my friend had given me with the plan of salvation on it. 
It read:
Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 10:9&10;, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Lord I am a sinner.  I believe you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.  I believe in His death and His resurrection.  I believe that through Him I may have eternal life.  I ask you to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart.   Amen.
When I first read through the scriptures and prayer, I read for understanding to see what this really meant, what was REALLY going to be required of me.
I remember thinking, “reading this does not ‘save’ me.”
I re-read Romans 10:9&10;, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
I said to God, “I can’t do this on my own.  I don’t want to be one of those people that live one way during the week and be somebody else at church.  I want to be real.  My family is going to think I have gone off the deep end, Lord.  I can’t do it without you.  It’s all or nothing.”
It was then, the third time I read the scriptures and the prayer, that I believed in my heart that Jesus was Lord.  What was required of me, nothing but believing.  Jesus had already made the sacrifice.
My life has never been the same.  Perfect, oh gracious no; without trials and hardships, no way. But with Him and through Him, He has given me victory and taught me lessons through each one.
In addition to the restoration of my family in the last thirteen years, I’ve witnessed rededication to the Lord by my mom and aunt.  My daughter and brother have also come to know the Lord as their Savior.  I have also been given a husband and two additional children.
My hope and prayer this day, this very moment, is that if you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that you will know Him today.
He will change your life forever.
Continuing, To Walk In Victory,
Stacey
In case you didn’t get the reason for the title of this post, it is because of the word, ‘but’ in Titus 3: 3-7.   “I once as foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. I lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. BUT  . . . . God
Wow.  Pretty cool, hugh!  Guess what!  HE can do the same for you!  

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