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Dear Tom,

You know, you're right. It really made no sense to post the kite story at all since I said that there's no amount of persuasion that will ever convince a man to confess Jesus Christ as his Savior from sin. And since it was even anti-climactic for you, well.....all I can say is "nuts!" Don't forget though, I did say that one was just for Ed.

Why, I doubt that I could even convince you of a particular sin in your life. Am I right? Don't answer that, Thomas. A good attorney would advise you that it isn't another person's job to convict another of their sin. It's strictly up to the Holy Spirit of God to convict of sin. So, "forget it, mister." Ignore it.

I realize now that I've really goofed in the letter to you. First I told you that I hoped to persuade you to believe in Jesus Christ through my own experience with God. And then later I told you that no man is capable of persuading another to believe in God, really. /OK, OK, so I'm full of baloney! / What I'm getting at, in a round about way, is that only the Holy Spirit of God can bring a person to the point of conversion to Jesus Christ.

So what I'd like to straighten out is this idea that the prayer I've said for you, that God would show you a personal miracle to convince you and only you, that's how I expect God to work out your salvation - not through Ed's kite story or anything I've said to you. I'm just here to lend credence to His reality by way of my own testimony. When on the cliff of decision, which is where I found myself in my bathtub one fateful night ( - no kidding), it's good to know then that others have made that leap of Faith and found Jesus' words were true: He really WILL catch you! I know that for me, remembering Jane H.'s testimony to me was important at the time. It got me to jump, in fact. Getting you there to the edge of the cliff though, Tom, that's the Holy Spirit's job.

Now, lest you begin to fret since you say you can't (or won't) believe in a miracle and have thereby sealed your eternal fate from any and all hope - "Stop!" (or, as one good Christian would say to another: "Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord!" - a Psalm)

From what I understand about Him, God doesn't want any one of us in heaven with Him any MORE than he wants the other guy. And I say that this is true no matter HOW you sing, Tom.[wink] He wants you there just as much as He wants me. So, what I'm getting at is this: He'll give you only as much proof of Himself as you require to get you to the edge of that cliff of decision, which is where you'll find this yet-mysterious Holy Spirit of His Whom (I've prayed) will visit you. Not knowing you well, or at all, I have no idea how great a miracle you'll require. But God knows.

The ones I like best though, are the ones which touch my heart, the one meant only for me, Rose of Sharon. The ones that convince me of His constant presence in my life. He says He's residing within me now, after all, you know. He's proved this to me many times when I've seen answers to prayers I've only "wished in my heart" for. Those are the ones that keep me fully devoted, fully in love with the mystery of God. Those are the ones that keep me coming back again and again to grateful worship of Him. Oh, man! You can't imagine how awesome this God I serve is!! (You're gonna wonder what kept you, Tom) And, since I know Him to be as fair as they come, Tom, I know that the miracle that God's going to show you when He visits you will be poignant - just for you. If you tried, there'd be people who'd think you were cracked if you tried telling them about your encounter. Can you imagine, for instance, Dr. Ed describing the kite story to his fellow pundants at the University and giving credit for such a "miracle" to God - right there on campus? No way. The event was just for Ed just as yours will be just for Tom, Tom.

As for my favorite verse about "believing prayer". My relationship with God has (finally) started to become one of an understanding that, heh, I'll do the asking - it's up to "The Man" to decide what to do with the requests. I'll say my prayers, with a healthy dose of "belief" that He's capable of every request (and full of Faith that He's heard me) but I've learned to trust His yea or His nay in my life. Like any trusting kid, I'll let Him decide what's best for me, I've decided. That lottery ticket I once bought? A "Nay". Tough luck. I'd probably have grown to really love the money, hating my siblings for wanting some of it, and squandered it shamefully on a Mazaradi. Oh, well. I've learned to pretty much limit my prayers to things I know He'll approve of, too. For instance, these prayers for the salvation of others who don't know Him yet? They're a "given". His desire is that "all would come to repentance - that none should perish." So I know that this prayer for you is in His will. It's those lottery ticket prayers that we try to slip in, justify to Him somehow, that get "iffy", Tom.

And it's good to keep in mind that His promises to answer prayer are based on some principles which He set down long, long ago. Way back in the first Israelite Age. Most Christians tend to forget about at least one. For instance, He tells us that "if [we] regard sin in our hearts, He will not hear our prayer." This one's huge. There are tons of people (Heck, I've *been* one of them) who'll imagine that after making their request of God to enter their lives, they can just keep on sinning away and still 'beg' God for petty miracles in their lives. Like He's a vend-a-miracle worker. Nada. They'll be disappointed every time. Then they'll start to think it's God's fault; or that this prayer thing just doesn't work. It can really devastate a gal's relationship with God, no doubt. It can bury it, in fact.

Well, I've kept you long enough. I don't know if I'm ready to dive into another debate about God with you, Tom. I'm sorry. I am in the middle of writing a book, as a matter of fact; and this chair I sit in to tap out these words gets harder and harder the longer I sit in it. That forum I was on became somewhat of an addiction for me and I was grateful several months ago when it crashed. I found that there was life beyond forum debates and I even made great progress on my book as a result. When you tell me that "I write beautifully"....you can't imagine the way that strokes my ego. You make we want to hang around to hear that more often. Seriously, thank you for that. I've never published as much as a poem before. This is a huge effort for me and so any ray of hope from an objective personality is a great encouragement!

Oh, just two more thing before I sign off. First, I insist that you email me when you feel you've encountered God, should it happen within the next several years and you recall this conversation. I always love to hear 'how' God answers the prayers said for others.

Second, don't ever under-estimate the value of the "leading" aspect that God affords those of us who consult Him on such things. I know without a doubt that He has asked me to write this book. Yes.... if you'd like me to put it that way, "He told me to do it." I say this, having become accustomed to the sound of His 'voice', which, "no", I've never actually heard. Yikes. No wonder this is hard for you to believe.

I asked, He answered. What more can I say?

Since then, when in need of further guidance as to various details of the book, He's been there all along to answer me there, too, which further confirms at least that I'll sell it to someone. No kidding. I'd be doing something else if I wasn't sure that there was some expectation of a binding around this effort. Look for me in print some day. It'll be found in the "Middle East/Prophecy" section at your local Christian bookstore. Time is short and I say this because of the physical evidence of Judah being re-gathered and in control of Jerusalem. A hint: no one is going to force the Jews out of Jerusalem, in case you've wondered. God has promised to defend them there (this last time) Himself. What a cool, cool prophetic calendar we have right there before our very eyes, Tom. I'm telling you, Tom, He's amazing. And there was never a more interesting time to be alive.

What more can a gal say? My prayer is that you'll say so too one day - and that you'll say it soon.

Shalom,

RoS

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