from his book of verse, music, and meditations, "Think on These Things"
"I can't do it," I shouted angrily to God. "Who do you think I am? How dare I conjecture or make pronouncements about the word of God?"
There were other things I wanted to write, anyway. Things more commercial and ego satisfying. What makes me persist against all obstacles?
The answer came to me much later when I remembered the advice a man of God once gave to a ministerial candidate who was wondering if he should pursue his calling.
"If you can get out of it, do it," the older man said. "if you can't get out of it, then it is a true calling. If God really calls you, it will come to pass no matter how you balk against it. God won't let you alone, if it is his will. If it is anything else, you will be able to drop it and probably should."
I guess that is why this book is not in the waste basket. My excuses, distractions and lethargy wouldn't work. I couldn't drop it in spite of myself.
I was moved to incorporate ten of my original music compositions as leads into some areas that are often confusing to Christians. There are many stumbling blocks, but I have transcribed ten subjects to think on.
If you don't believe that the Bible is God's word to mankind, then what I have written will seem "foolishness" to you.
If a writer approaches the Bible literally, he immediately loses a percentage of readers who believe that scripture can only be spiritually interpreted. If he suggests that any Bible day rules apply to contemporary society he drops another group of potential readers. If he intimates that he has a special anointing to interpret God's word, he might lose everybody.
A Soviet author, I. Kryvelan, wrote a "truthful book about the Bible" describing it as a pack of lies, and that it lacked any "scientific approach to the natural laws of science." He expressed amazement that the Bible is still popular.
According to Kryvelan, "There are not and never have been any supernatural miracles or phenomena. They can all be explained logically or scientifically. Actually most of them never took place but were figments of man's imagination. They certainly do not apply to this time; man is too intelligent." Krevelan was obviously unable to apply or interpret what he could not understand.
At the other end of the spectrum, a little child sings, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."
There had to be a good reason why Jesus encouraged us to have a childlike faith in the Bible, even though such a childlike intepretation turns off those persons who believe man's mind to be the ultimate.
I suggest that Kryvelan himself wasd unwittingly quoting from a Bible; Satan's "bible." Satan is devious. Instead of putting his bible under one cover, in outright competition with God's Bible, he slips quotes, paragraphs and pages fro;m his "bible" into other literature, here and there, where it is more subtly absorbed.
After Jesus was gone and time had passed, the Bible began to take shape and eventually attain its present form. How could writers at that time remember everything that had been said and done with accuracy? The answer is from Jesus himself. He told his followers that he would be leaving, but that God would send the Holy Spirit in his name, which would teach them all things and bring all things to their rememberance.
Before he left, Jesus also told his listeners, "I came not to bring peace, but a sword."
The cross of Christ looks very much like a sword to me; its blade piercing the earth and its hilt upreached to Heaven.
The sword has struck and is striking now, cleaving the earth and its people asunder. Breaking up homes, families, marriages and countries.
You can't be on the fence for Jesus. Either you are for him or against him.
When Abraham Lincoln was running for President, he was asked what was his religion and he quoted from God's word. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first great commandment. And the second is like unto it; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
I don't know if the name Kryvelan will ever wind up becoming a household word like Lincoln's, by quoting from Satan's "bible." But we have our choices; we take sides, and the master whom we have chosen to serve will influence our actions, and our words. I have made my choice. Have you? Your life may depend on it!
Did you know that the unpardonable sin is the sin against the Holy Spirit?
Bible readers are familiar with the story of Pentecost, describing the descent of the Holy Spirit upon a congregation of believers. Pentecostal chuyrches still preach the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but most churches don't take it seriously for our time. That doesn't really mean too much because most people didn't take it seriously on the day of Pentecost either. When the disciples began speaking in other languages , observers shrugged it off. "They are drunk," they rationalized. At least it was a simple solution for the disbelievers and not the variety of complicated rationalizations our present psychologically oriented society would offer if such an event occurrred today.
According to many Christians, the Holy Spirit is still infilling the followers of Jesus today, but if eye witnesses will not believe such events, very few others will take it seriously, merely on the basis of hearsay.
One day I was talking to a doctor I had known for years. One of his colleagues, a devout Christian and excellent M.D., had left the clinic and we were discussing him.
"Religion is all right," my physician friend said, "As long as you don't take it too seriously."
I am glad he didn't feel that way about doctoring, but this seems to be the consensus of a lot of people. "Don't take it too seriously."
Another professional man, when he was told we though his church was getting away from the word of God, said, "I don't worry about things like that." When quizzed further, he stated, "I can live with it." Some day, however, he will also have to die with it.
One of my co-workers divorced his wife because she was "too religious."
Why do some people take God seriously, and others not?
When Mount St. Helens erupted, Sunday, May 18th, 1980, in Washington State, scientists had a field day with their predictions, calculations and instruments, trying to tell what was happening, what had happened and what was going to happen. They may have missed the whole point that was revealed to a professor at a Christian college who noted, "What happened at St. Helens shows that God is still in control."
Many people believe that events such as Pentecost were for Bible times only, whatever that means. As far as I am concerned these are still Bible times. We can not break history up into night and day. It started at the beginning and will end at the finish and everything else is in between.
There are many good books on prophecy, showing that what is happening in the world today is exactly what the Bible predicted.
The argument that it all ended with Christ is not valid. Pentecost, for example, occurred after Christ's death, and so did miracles of healing by Christ's disciples. The number of months or years these events took place after the crucifixion isn't relevant.
Shall we forget it all, because Christ died?
Using the same logic, maybe we should discard the theory of relativity because Einstein is dead, or stop using the telephone because its inventor is dead. The founders of the Constitution of the United States are also dead, so maybe we should chuck the Bill of Rights.
Jesus said that his followers would do the works that he did and even greater works, and he further asserted that God would give the Holy Spirit to those who ask for it. Instead of negating these things, perhaps we should pray for them to happen.
But we must be careful what we pray for.
Ralph Davis, was a devout Christian. Frustrated in his attempts to do God's work in his job as a meat cutter, he prayed for God to use him and God did just that, but not in the way Ralph would have chosen.
Ralph came down with cancer and went through mutilating surgery and torture. Wasted away and terminal, the doctors sent him home to die, nothing more could be done for him.
God had broken him and brought him to the very bottom before he stepped in and healed him. But Ralph was never to be a meat cutter again, he was to work for God.
With his Bible tucked under his arm, and wearing a cross, Ralph became a familiar figure in his area; visiting cancer patients, encouraging them, praying for them, laying hands upon them and witnessing to them of the restoring power of God, through Jesus Christ, his son.
"If I had known what God was going to put me through before he could use me," Ralph told me one day, "I think I would have backed off." But he didn't back off and in one year Ralph's ministry did more in the name of Christ than most people do in a lifetime.
Would the disciples of Christ have gathered together for the Pentecostal experience if they knew they all would eventually be persecuted and killed for their activities for Christ. Or would they have backed off? I don't believe they would have walked away. The destiny of those whom Christ calls, seems to be foreordained. The commitment is through a power not of themselves.
We may not take God seriously, but he takes us very seriously when we make a commitment to him, and there is often visible evidence of his reaction to our overtures.
Bruce Anderson was in a serious automobile smash-up when he was 16 years old. More dead than alive he was rushed to a hospital with multiple injuries. Major surgery kept him alive for a few days until a crisis came and the doctors scheduled one more operation.
"If he has the operation it may kill him" the surgeon told Bruce's father. "But if he doesn't have it, he will die for sure."
The distraught father gave permission for the surgery and turned his mind to prayer.
"Don't let my boy die." He implored God. "Take me instead."
The one in a million chance for Bruce worked and he came through the operation successfully, and although he retained some disfigurement from his ordeal, he is alive today, twenty years later.
Not so, his father. After the surgery they found Bruce's father seated in his car in the hospital parking lot, dead of an apparent heart attack. He was forty-five years old.
Shall we brush off such true stories as "coincidence" or had we better start taking God seriously? Bruce's sister, Sherry, a dear friend of mine, who was personally involved in this experience takes God very seriously. Must we personally witness such events in order to believe? If so, the Bible will not have much impact upon us.
Mary Webster worshipped her children. She served them and lived for them. They were her life. Out of gratitude for such blessings she asked God to let her serve him. Soon after, without justification, dramatically and shockingly bizarre, her children all turned on her, cursed her and abandoned her.
After a period of despair that culminated in her complete breakdown, Mary began to slowly recover. No sooner had the cycle turned upwards than God began to bring people to her feet and lead her to others. Troubled, sick, dying, suicidal, lonely people, Unbelievers, minorities, little children, scores of them, one after the other.
"I worshipped the children," she told me. "I made Gods out of them, and God's commandment says, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me, so he took them away from me to punish me."
She was wrong, but one of these days God will reveal to her that he loves her and was merely honoring her request to serve himn; but he had to do it his way. To ease the pain, however, every time her burden becomes too great, he brought her new sons and daughters along the way, from time to time, to love her and comfort her.
Although we must be serious about what we pray for, Christians have no need to worry about praying for the Holy Spirit to come to them.
The infilling of the Holy Spirit raised a Christian a little higher than he was before. He has more love and joy in spite of his surroundings, and he smiles more. If he still has most of his problems, he will now have a spiritual approach to counterbalance his worldly attitude to whatever befalls him.
Just what is the Holy Spirit? Jesus described it as the wind. You cannot really tell for sure where the wind is coming from and where it is going. The wind is invisible and moves freely where it wills, without containment. The Holy Sprit also moves freely where it wills, not restricted by natural laws, to infill those here and there who seek it.
Although theologians would like to pin point the Holy Spirit and describe it, or give it substance or a body, it is actually impossible to draw a sketch of the Holy Spirit any better than we can describe God himself. All we need to really know is that there is a Holy Spirit and that it is available to those who seek it.
Since I really got to know the Lord, I have been cursed, betrayed, belittled, rejected, degraded, scorned, hated and lied about. Knowing that this was also the fate of the disciples of Christ, and knowing where they are now, I can accept it more graciously.
From where I stand now, looking back and then looking ahead; if I had to do it over again, knowing what I know now, I am sure that I would still pray, "Holy Spirit fall on me."