The Evangelist

One day an evangelist bragged during a crusade that his God was more able than all the other Gods in the town and the powers of the universe that the villagers worshipped put together.

Just then, rainstorm sounds started sounding overhead, threatening the progress of the crusade. The evangelist lifted up his voice and declared with confidence that if the rains fell, then he wasn’t a man of God; he would stop preaching!

Before he could finish his bluff, the rains began to hit the crusade grounds so vehemently, apparently in disregard to his declarations.

The whole town left the crusade grounds to their houses, shaking their heads in disappointment and dismay.

The evangelist, so distraught and angry, packed his belongings and left the town the next day.

On his way through the next town, he checked into a local drinking spot and drank himself into a stupor.

As he laid on the ground cursing God, an old seedy looking man tapped him gently on the shoulder.

“Man of God”, the old man began. But the evangelist quickly cut in, “don’t mention the name of God to me. He is fake. He is unreliable. I am no longer a believer in this God. A God who chooses to disgrace his servants. Leave me alone!”

But the old man would not let him be.

He continued, “I am the fetish priest in the village you just preached at. During your one week stay in that village, you destroyed all the charms I had made on the people for 45 years.

Your prayers and your words always came with some fearful fire and power. I tried so many times to eliminate you but i couldn’t.

My last chance came yesterday.

I had loaded my gun with gun powder lying wait on the mountaintop where I had a very clear view of you.

My plan was to shoot you from a distance since I couldn’t get close enough to you due to the fire around you.

But just when I lifted the gun, the rains came from nowhere, wetting my gunpowder and covering you in a cloud so that I couldn’t even see you.

All I saw was a bright man holding a sword in front of you. I was so terrified.

I concluded that your God was indeed all powerful and Almighty. That is why I’ve been looking for you since then.

I want to follow your God!”

The ex-evangelist bowed his head in shame!

 

Whether this is a true story or not it does illustrate the wondrous power that God possesses.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that He cannot do. What we may view as impossible, God makes possible.

But we must have faith in Him, total faith and trust.

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of faith. To have faith in the Holy Spirit will enable us to accomplish miracles.

When I was a teenager (many more years ago than I care to remember) one of my favourite books was ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale.

In Peale’s books (and he actually wrote several on much the same subject) he gave anecdote after anecdote showing how people who had thought positively had triumphed against great adversity!

We must never under-estimate the power of our minds. Often it is our negative thinking that causes us the most problems.

To think – is to be.

We are what we perceive ourselves to be. This, in many ways, is typified by one of my favourite poems, ‘if you think you are beaten you are’:-

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost a cinch that you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost;
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.
 

If you think you’re outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can!

This poem was written by Walter D Wintle, a poet who died in the early part of the twentieth century.

And Wintle certainly knew what he was talking about! Perhaps the most powerful – and influential – line of the whole poem is the last line – “Is the one who thinks he can”.

If you can think you can achieve anything then you are more than half way there. And if you have absolute faith that God will create miracle after miracle for you, then you won’t, of course, be surprised when these miracles become a positive reality.

Again, in my teens, I managed a folk group. One of the songs we sang in churches and in concerts was ‘We shall overcome’.

If my memory serves me correctly the words ran thus:-

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
Some day,
And it’s deep in our heart,
We do believe,
We shall overcome
Some day.

And another verse ran:-

God is on our side,
God is on our side,
God is on our side,
Today,
And it’s deep in our heart,
We do believe,
God is on our side,
Today.

And when God is on our side, who can be against us?

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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