Pilgrim Jim's Treasure Field
For where your treasure is, there will  your heart be also. Matthew 6:21 KJV
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THE GROWING HUNGER

I know not from whence it came, the gentle, wisp of a thought that I might want to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. The thought seemed to gently float across my mind like a feather floating in the breeze. I wasn't happy or content with the way my individual life was going and some recent developments were causing me to take a closer look at my life. I knew that many things were wrong and something was missing but I didn't know, or couldn't pinpoint exactly what was missing. I felt guilty about some of the areas of my life. I did not go to  church,  and my life certainly leaned, or maybe even fell over backwards, in the opposite direction with entirely different interests and pursuits, but the wisp of a thought, I might want to follow the teachings of the bible, kept returning and becoming a little stronger each time. I was somewhat puzzled about the thoughts, thinking it to be very unusual, and everybody knew that my lifestyle, actions and words were contrary to the teachings  of the word of God. I certainly didn't have to tell anyone that I was not a Christian, and did not follow the Lord, they knew, but the thoughts kept returning.

We had a bible, little used, but I found it and began reading some of it at night, just here and there in the book, not necessarily anything specific. The words and passages started to become interesting to me and I began to read more and more, somewhat amazed at some of the passages, especially some of the teachings of Jesus. From somewhere, a hunger to read and understand the word developed within me and I spent even more time reading from the bible. I did not know at the time that God's Word was beginning to take root within my soul and spirit and the Holy Spirit was making it real to my heart. I remembered that as a little boy, just learning to read well, I had sat down with Mom and Dad's old family bible and had read some of the stories that it contained. The teacher at the little country school that I attended also regularly asked us to memorize a scripture verse from the bible and then quote it in school. If I had trouble with the verse that I had been memorizing I could always fall back on the little short verse in John 11:35, "Jesus wept". But now it was different because there was a real desire to believe what I was reading and a desire to understand it's meaning. Very unusual. I had read about the jailer in the city of Philippi who came trembling and said to Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."  Acts 16:30-31 KJV

One Wednesday evening, something strange occurred as I was silently reading from the bible. I will not attempt to explain or add to what happened, I'll just tell you the truth, as it happened to me. While reading from the bible and desiring to believe and understand what I was reading I suddenly sensed a very strong presence that made me uncomfortable, and a silent, but strong, voice that spoke to me within, said, "Why don't you throw that bible down on the floor and curse it, it isn't true". I had never experienced anything like that before in my life but I knew from reading the word where that voice was coming from and I knew that I needed to do something about it, but what!   I sensed a strong, discomforting, evil presence and feeling and could not get rid of it. It was as if a battle was taking place within me as I tried to read more from the bible but could not concentrate on anything that I was reading. I did not attend church anyplace but I went into the kitchen and picked up the phone book and looked under the heading of Churches. I dialed the number of a local church that was at the top of the list and wondered if I would get an answer because it was getting late. Finally someone answered, it wasn't the Pastor, it was the Janitor, who was there cleaning the building for Thursday night's service. I didn't know him but I told him who I was and what was happening with the bible reading and the strong, silent voice that had spoken to me.

The Janitor's name was Lester Lingle. Lester told me that the strong presence and voice that spoke to me was the devil. I told him that I had more or less figured that to be true but I couldn't get rid of the influence or whatever it was. I wanted to rid myself of the evil presence because I wanted to read more of the word of God and I wanted to try and believe and understand it. Lester suggested that we pray and he surprised me by making this statement, "Now, Jim, we're going to pray and something is going to happen". He said that very emphatically and he sounded like he was sure of what he was saying. Sure enough, when he started to pray and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, something definitely happened. The cold, discomforting feeling and presence left me. I could feel it go and this rough, callous, sinful heart of mine began to experience something that I had never sensed before in my life. I didn't understand it but I knew it was real. I was sitting on a high kitchen stool while talking to Lester and as the evil presence left me, a soft, warm, comforting presence began to come in to take it's place. I had never experienced anything like that before. I grew weak and almost slipped off the kitchen stool. I began to cry and let me tell you, that was very unusual for me. I knew that God had done something to get rid of the evil presence and He had done something for me, and I still know that fact today. I have always been very thankful that Lester Lingle answered that phone when I called and that his faith in God was real. God had Lester and me exactly where he wanted both of us that night. When Lester, in faith, called upon the name of Jesus Christ, something good and powerful happened, no question about it.
".......The effective, fervent prayer of a righteoous man avails much."
From James 5:16 NKJV
 

I didn't understand it all but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had done something for me. The devil had tried to prevent me from understanding and believing the word of God but when Lester prayed and God answered that prayer, the devil had to leave. God delivered me from that hindering spirit of unbelief.

Jesus taught in a parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it."  Luke 8:5 NKJV

"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."  Luke 8:11-12  NKJV

Since that Wednesday night I have found comfort, instruction, understanding and joy while reading and studying the word of God and contemplating the teachings found therein. I am amazed and thankful for the power of God's word. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
Psalm 119:105   NIV

"For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double edged sword,  it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,  joints and marrow;  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12  NIV

And that's the way it was that day, in Pilgrim Jim's life.
James Lloyd Clark

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