Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WHY I STUDY THE BIBLE

My spiritual journey began in earnest while I was still in the Navy.

I visited Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach and began reading. The more I read the hungrier I became for spiritual understanding.
This continued throughout the remainder of my enlistment.

When I got out, I was still lost, not knowing much of what I wanted to do with my life.

I bought a motorcycle and began a “Then Came Bronson” thing as I set out to tour Florida.

The first place of interest I stopped was in Tallahassee.

I do not recall the details, but somehow I met Peter.

He invited me to a meeting on the campus of Florida State University for Campus Crusade for Christ. I was intrigued.

Here were all these people my age having a good time while professing to be Christians.

The two did not fit together from my experience. It was okay to have a good time, and it was okay to be a Christian; but the two never mingled. They were separate parts of one’s existence.

After I finished my tour of Florida, I ended back in Pensacola—after a brief stay in Tallahassee.

Peter had graduated and was considering going for his Master’s degree. I encouraged him to check out the University of West Florida for no other reason than it had a gorgeous campus.

He did, and soon moved to Pensacola.

During this time, I was up late at night at the Old Firehouse Drive-In drinking coffee and reading the Good News For Modern Man, which was a New Testament version in a small paperback edition. It had simple pencil drawings scattered throughout its pages.

I was fascinated with the content.

Peter and I found an old abandoned house in downtown Pensacola that was being used by squatters and rail-runners.

We rented it and began to fix it up.

I had a vision of filling it with renters to help pay my college tuition.

He had a vision of making it a house ministry.

It became a house ministry known as the One Way House.

My hunger had not abated.

I would read for hours. I was reading the Gospel of Matthew and would sometimes read it a couple of times a day. This went on for about six weeks.

Then I began to apply what I was learning.

By this time I had dropped out of college, but I continued to go to the student union almost daily. I would take my Bible, sit down with a cup of coffee, and begin reading.

People started coming over and joined me, asking questions and starting discussions.

This eventually grew to a very large gathering so that we had to put two tables together to accommodate everyone.

One day we were discussing a passage from 1st John. I do not recall the passage.

A brother overheard one of my comments, and began to challenge me.

I responded a couple of times, but it became evident that he was wanting to start an argument rather than search for the truth.

The Holy Spirit brought to my mind the verse in Matthew where Jesus said to “agree with your adversary quickly” (Matt. 5:25).

He asked a question and I said, “Yes.”

He asked another question, and again I replied in the affirmative.

“So you’re a liar, then,” he stated.

Again, I answered affirmatively.

That ended the conflict.

Two days later he returned to the table to apologize, but in the meantime I had gained respect from many of those visiting the table who until that point had not been sure of what to believe.

The Word of God “worked!”

I had agreed with my adversary, ended the conflict and avoided being dragged into his prison.

On another occasion, we were having one of our evening meetings at the house ministry. 

There was a visitor from Tampa who had been with us before. I think his name was Tom.

A man came into the room from off the street (our doors were always open). Someone asked him his name, and he replied, “Jesus.”

Tom looked at him for a moment, then turned to me and asked, “Dale, do you believe that Jesus is Lord?”

“Yes.”
“Say it.”
“Jesus is Lord,” I said.

Tom looked at the person next to me and asked, “Jeff, do you believe that Jesus is Lord?”
“Yes.”
“Say it.”
“Jesus is Lord,” Jeff replied.

Tom did this all around the room, everyone responding in the affirmative and carrying out the final instruction. So, it was not as if one could be embarrassed or made to look different by participating.

Tom addressed our newcomer, “Jesus, do you believe that Jesus is Lord?”
“Yes.”
“Say it.”
“Why?”
This went on back and forth for quite some time until it became evident that the newcomer was not able to “confess that Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:3).

Again I saw the power of the Word of God revealed in its practical application.

I put this particular one to work a few weeks later out at the college. There was someone about whom I had doubts as to the reality of his experience with the Lord.

He was a part of the Baptist Student Union, though he himself was a Methodist.

Something occurred during a discussion at the table with only one other person present that reminded me of what Tom had done.

I did the same thing, asking the other person first before asking the one I suspected. Not able to control myself very well back then, I got frustrated, pointed my finger at him and said, "Larry, say Jesus is Lord."
He bit my finger.
He never did say "Jesus is Lord." 

There have been many other incidents such as these throughout my life that have only served to strengthen my belief in the veracity of the Bible.

And that is why I continue to study this magnificent book to this day.

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2 comments:

  1. as I recall I bought you coffee and you destroyed my doctrine, pretty much on a daily bases. That hunger and love for he truth was infectious - it changed my life. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've told that story often often, brother. Didn't know the part about infecting your heart for the truth. That's a good thing. Glory!!

      Delete

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