Stories

Story 3
God is Faithful

BILLY’S STORY

I was brought up in a non-Christian home but when I was about 18, I attended a coffee-bar in the Baptist Church in Saltcoats. I remember being quite impressed by the minister. I then went out with a girl who went to this church and I attended a couple of evening services, where this same minister was preaching. I didn’t really think much about it, but then in November 1970 I met a girl called Joyce, and so we started to date. She invited me to come to church with her on a Sunday morning. I did, but it was not a great experience.

She and her family then moved to Kilwinning and, when I heard that she was looking for a Baptist Church, I was able to tell her about the one in Saltcoats. I occasionally went with her on a Sunday morning but then she suggested we could go at night. After doing this for a wee while, it got even worse! Joyce then suggested we go to the YF (Youth Fellowship). This was not good, but I was in love, so I started going along and met a few people I knew from school. It was lively and people were smiling and having fun – not like at church. I remember thinking, “I could do with a pint of that”.

In May 1973, the YF were going to a “Play and Praise Rally”, so I went along as I was now in the badminton team. After the play came the praise. I remember thinking that life seemed to be really good when I was among Christians and, when the guy was speaking, I was convicted that I wanted to be more like them. So I asked Jesus to come into my life. Then came the really embarrassing bit, when the guy doing the talk was asking how long we had been Christians. When it got down to less than a week, it was only me!

I had become a Christian but my lifestyle didn’t change that much. Perhaps there should have been more follow-up by the church but there was very little, if any. It wasn’t until 1979 that I realised that Jesus had to be Lord of my life as well. So that made a difference and I started to grow more as a Christian. Do I have any regrets? Only that I didn’t make the decision earlier.


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Story 4
Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash

MARIANNE’S STORY

By summer 2016, my life was in a mess. I had been on drugs for 30 years and for 20 of those years, I had been “chasing the dragon”. In a short period of time, I had lost everybody I was close to. I was depressed, anxious and very angry. I was mentally unstable and violent. I was hearing voices in my head - they led me to self-harm and, in all, I was heading for an early grave. I had been heavily involved in the occult in my teenage years but did not realise that I had opened a door for demonic forces to mess up my life.

Then – just about literally – the hand of God came and held me and this began a healing process. In October 2017, I stopped taking heroin and then, after two weeks, I took it again. By that time, I had been watching Christian preachers on the You Tube, etc, and God was clearly working in my life. After I had this relapse, I was deeply convicted about my need to repent deeply for my actions and to receive mercy and forgiveness. I was totally broken in spirit and fully understood that I needed a Saviour and “Master” of my life. I told Jesus to take my life and to save me from myself. I surrendered everything I was to Jesus Christ.

From that time, things began to change. I stopped taking drugs and the anger and violence went, along with the depression and anxiety. For about a year after this, I felt I was burning inside. All that Satan had used to keep me in bondage was being burned up like chaff.

When I first took the step of attending church, I had no boldness of spirit but I was able to believe that Jesus had made a covenant with me and He had set me free. I am still far from perfect but I am a totally different person. The Bible, which I devour now all the time, explains that I am “justified” - that is, God regards me like I never sinned; the charge sheet is blank because Jesus took responsibility for ALL my wrong-doing. However, as life goes on, I am being made holier in actuality each day by the Holy Spirit, who now lives in me. The Bible calls this “sanctification”.

Anyone who has not begun living humbly under the mighty hand of God hasn’t even begun to live. Simple faith is amazing. My life has done a complete turn-around and I praise my Lord every day. I am Christ’s - and the really good news is that He is mine! May He reign forever in my heart and in His church - and together may we turn the world upside-down!