Pilgrim Jim's Treasure Field
For where your treasure is, there will  your heart be also. Matthew 6:21 KJV
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MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE

Wednesday night had been an eventful time for me and I was very pleased that God had answered our prayers as Lester Lingle prayed for me while we were conversing on the telephone. I believe God delivered me from a hindering spirit that had been trying to prevent me from believing and understanding the word of God. Thursday was a new day and I was still marveling at what had happened the night before as I went to my job as a Parts Inspector at Post Products, the small machine shop located in Buchanan, Michigan, five miles from where I lived in Niles. I rather sheepishly mentioned to a couple of people at work that I was thinking of going to church that night. That opened some eyes. One worker grinned and said, "You gotta' be kidding". Later, another worker said, "I heard that you were going to church tonight, I'll bet the roof falls in." The reason I was thinking of going to church was to meet Lester Lingle, the Church Janitor who had prayed with me the night before. I felt some sort of bond with Lester because of what God did for me when Lester prayed. I didn't think that I knew him and I had a very strong desire to meet him. I went to church that Thursday night, the first time I had been in a church service in years. I met Lester and to my surprise, I learned that we had met once before a couple of years previously.

The following day, Friday, I was still thinking about the thought and idea that I might want to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. I knew that it would certainly be a different life and a different lifestyle than the one to which I was accustomed. I began to count the cost and weigh the pros and cons in my mind because I knew that such an undertaking would be a very big change for me. There was a man named Cecil Stewart working at the Machine Shop where I worked  and Cecil attended the church that I had visited the night before but he was not there that night. He had heard that I was there and was amazed. He said that he almost couldn't believe it because he knew that I was not the church going kind.

As I went about my job and the day wore on, something began happening within me. I started to feel guilty about some of the things that I had done all through the past years of my life, I was 28 years old. One thing would come to my mind and then another and I began to feel terrible and agonize over each incident or action as it played across my mind. I had never experienced anything like that before in my life. I began to feel very guilty and ashamed, because my life was being weighed against the teachings of the word of God and I was certainly coming up short. The scriptures teach in Ephesians 6:17 that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit, and the Spirit knows how to wield that sword with purpose and precision. I could feel my cheeks flush with shame, regret and guilt as these incidents from my past played upon my mind and spirit. I had never felt that way before and I realized that I was totally responsible for the shame, guilt and hopelessness of sin that was beginning to weigh heavily upon me. I knew that Cecil Stewart was a Christian and attended church so I thought I might receive some comfort and consolation from him. I went over to Cecil and told him what was going on within me. He looked at me for a moment and then said something that took me by surprise. Cecil said, "All I can say is, pour it on him Lord." That statement surprised me and I thought to myself, now, what kind of consolation was that? God must have heard Cecil, and under the "circumstances" what Cecil said was probably a word from God, because He certainly did continue to "pour it on", as I continued to go about my work as a Parts Inspector in the Machine Shop. The realization and feeling of guilt seemed to grow heavier and heavier and if you will pardon the cliches, I began to know very well who the biggest sinner in the world was. The biggest sinner in the world was wearing clothes that looked like mine and his feet were standing right there in my shoes. It was me.

Jesus said: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."  Luke 3:32 NIV

I was also still counting the cost and weighing all the pros and cons of becoming a Christian and the changes that I thought I would have to make, but the choice was becoming clear to me. I made the decision that I wanted to turn from the way that I was going and turn to Jesus, no matter what it might mean as far as changes are concerned. I remember, right there at work in that Machine Shop, I looked up, (no, you don't have to actually look up) and said, "Lord Jesus, I want to be a Christian. I want your forgiveness and your salvation more than anything else in the world". I didn't care who was looking or who heard me because I wanted to repent and I believed that Jesus was the answer. I knew that I needed him and I knew that I wanted him more than anything else. I asked the Lord to forgive me for all my past sins and I asked Him to come into my heart and life, and do whatever He wanted to do. That was the moment of truth. That was the moment that I became a born again, child of God. I didn't hear any bells, see any flashing lights, or hear any thunder or voices but the feelings of guilt suddenly left me; they were gone! The succeeding days brought evidence of many changes that had taken place in my life. The wonderful and amazing thing about those changes was that I didn't make them, Jesus did.

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6  NIV

And that's the way it was that day, the first day of Pilgrim Jim's journey with Jesus.

James Lloyd Clark

I have written a song about the events described in this and the preceding article  The song is entitled, "The Spirit Came".  Here is a link to the song.

 THE SPIRIT CAME   WMA  Words and music by Jim Clark

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