By: Tina Cook

In December 2011, I stood and faced a group of my peers and shared what I called “Jesus: The Reason for the Season.” They, like me, were prisoners at a local jail. It was a pivotal moment in my life. It was the moment I publicly announced that I was going to stop allowing the enemy to defeat me with his lies, so I could begin walking in the victory of the cross. Today, I walk in that victory as a free woman. I decided to share these life-changing words that became my only and most important successful New Year’s resolution. I figure that if there is anyone who needs a resolution that truly works, they can share mine. Also, it is a tribute of gratitude for the life Jesus gave so that I could have one in abundance!

“God laid this testimony on my heart over a week ago. I committed myself to sharing it. Then, for good measure, I made myself accountable to Texas* and Donna* to include me in the Christmas Pageant. I’m glad I did because Satan has sure been working on me…telling me not to do it…whispering in my ear that people will laugh at me and wonder who I think I am to stand up here…that y’all will gossip to one another: ‘Do you know why she’s here?...how many times she has been here before?’ But what I have to say is not about me, or even from me. It’s all about Jesus: the reason for the season. John 3:30 tells me that I must decrease so that He can increase; More of Thee and less of me. And, I’ll just tell all y’all right now: I’m getting pretty tired of being me…so here goes! “I came to Port Manatee for the first time on Dec. 29,, 2010. Since then, I have served a 60-day sentence, an 83-day sentence, served 78 days then bonded out only to return 2 weeks later, which I am awaiting sentencing on now. Each time I left here, I knew I did not want to come back. But, in spite of that desire, I have spent most of the past year right here at the Port. Romans Chapter 7 describes this dilemma! Verses 18-20 state: For I have the desire to do what is good but I cannot seem to carry it out! What I want to do I don’t do…and, what I don’t want to do, this I keep on doing! This dilemma is not uncommon for a lot of folks! That’s why God’s word offers an explanation and solution in the remaining verses of the chapter. Verses 21-25 ascertain that: When I want to do good…evil is right there with me! There is a war being waged; a battle is going on between my spirit and my flesh. God and Satan are fighting for ME! ‘What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?’ Jesus! I believe…y’all, I truly believe…that I wasn’t arrested, I was rescued.

“Jesus was born not so He could come to earth and plead my innocence. He was born so He could die on the cross for my guilt. I don’t need a lawyer…I need Jesus! The Righteous Advocate. The ONLY Mediator. (By the way, He’s never lost a case!) Philippians 2:9 declares: God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names. Jesus…The Messiah. The Light of the World. The Bread of Life. The Good Shepherd. The Gate for the sheep. The Great I AM. Jesus…friend of sinners. The Way, the Truth, and the Life. Living Water. The Word of God. The True Refuge. Jesus…Lord of Lord. King of Kings. Bright and Morning Star. The Lion and the Lamb. The Everlasting Father. Jesus… Prince of Peace. The Sun of Righteousness. The Head of the Church. The Alpha and the Omega. The Teacher of teachers. Jesus…the Son of God. Immanuel – God is with us. The Cornerstone. The Great Physician. The Resurrection and the Life. Firstborn of Creation. Blessed Redeemer. Jesus…The Savior of the world. Born to die so that I, Tina, an unworthy sinner could live, not in shame, but in glory and righteousness as a daughter of The King. I’m a princess, y’all! I’ve rededicated the vow I made to God way back in 1985; I told Him that I was repenting of my sinful ways and that I am not going to come back here and live out of a gray bin** anymore!

Jesus…The ONLY hope for me. And, He’s available to us all!!”
By: Tina Cook
Director, Athens-Limestone County Family Resource Center

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