Points to Ponder: The First Point to Ponder
Points to Ponder
The First Point to Ponder
Have you ever received a message years after it was sent; and yet, when it arrived it was right on time? This was my very first point to ponder.
At around age six, I saw myself in a dream with Jesus walking up a rocky incline. The scene was set, in color, inside a cave with perhaps a 10-12 foot-high ceiling. I stumbled up the rocks with Him just behind and beside me, holding my right hand. He was sure-footed and I was not. At the top of the incline was a great light. There was a throne within it. I could only see sandal-clad feet under the light, on a pavement. Some 26+ years later, I found that these accounts describe very well what I saw:
"...and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity" (Exodus 24:10).
"Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
Aspects of the scene were emphasized in my sight: Christ holding my right hand, my stumbling as opposed to His surefootedness, the light at the top (this was God). I was given to know that an understanding would come to me in the future. Being just a boy I thought little of it again. Then at age 13, with my dad in Vietnam, our church no help at all, and our new pastor failing my mom in pastoral care, I grew angry and thought to reject church and its teachings. Then as I entered my bedroom one day in 1973, the dream came instantly into my mind and I understood it. It was a message. Interesting that Psalm 73 summarizes my condition and God's assurance.
"Then my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by the right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory" (Psalm 73:21-24).
That dream coupled with church teachings I'd learned in Lutheran Sunday School helped me to not drift too far. Eventually, as I sought the Truth, the Lord drew near to help me know Him. Television and radio ministries prompted me to search the scriptures, to send for information, to question. A close friend witnessed to me; the integrity of her life and walk with Christ prompted me to earnestly seek the Lord, to know for sure that His word is His word.
While on a bike ride in 1984, I was talking to God, asking for some sign from Him that would clearly show me that the Bible and what my friend had witnessed to me about it was true. I encountered a man and woman along my route who had stopped me to ask this question: "Have you ever thought about what would happen to you after you die?" We sat in the backyard of their house to discuss whether the Bible is truly God's word. The man described many details and things I'd never heard of before. When they bid me farewell, they invited me to stop back.
Within a year of that visit, I drove by the location of this encounter, looking for that house. It was not there. Not even an empty lot was there. It took a few years, but I finally realized that I had been given the requested sign.
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels" (Hebrews 13:2).
Later as I struggled, honestly confessing that I did NOT want to go to church, the Lord clearly guided me to attend a local Methodist church. I'd been invited by the pastor to give a talk. As I walked up the steps, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly in my spirit, "This is where you will go, this is where you will belong." And I did.
By then I knew that Jesus Christ died for my sins, and rose from the dead. But to intimately know Jesus has been a growing experience. Only after I started attending church (Hebrews 10:25) did I really grow. How can one grow in the Lord while disobeying His word?
Because I desired God's will for my life, I sought mentors to guide me. I finally accepted the call to pastoral ministry because of love for Him and His word. My life is on the track it is on solely because of Christ and my desire to serve and to please Him.
Have you pondered the track you're on, and how you got there?
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com