Larry E. Whittington; Writer, Author

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My Conversion Story

or What I did to become a Christian

Growing Up,
Knowing I Should,
Deciding I Would
Intervening Week – Hell Week
Going Ahead,
Yielding and Obeying,

Junior High was my growing up years as I learned about the Bible and God. Our family went to church services quite often at the small church where my Grandparents went. There was always a lot of singing, preaching, and Bible studies. One time for a Bible Rally I remember we just sat together and read through chapters of the Bible. I also can still remember one vacation Bible school time when my Mom taught the creation story. We made little story booklets of the seven days of creation. It was all real to me.

In the church services Grandpa was often called upon to lead the church in prayers. He also would pray before mealtime at home. In my mind I can still hear the resonant sound of his prayers. He was one who lived what the Bible taught. Our family moved to a new town just before I started high school. There was no similar church there so we didn't go to church regularly unless we were visiting the grandparents. Mom didn't like missing church assemblies so at times on Sundays she would gather us kids into the front room and we would have a short session of some songs and Bible reading. I know at times I was not always eager for these sessions even though I knew it was the right thing to do.

After high school graduation I was able to attend college and was then also able to attend a church like we had attended in junior high days. I believed in God and the Bible stories. I knew Jesus was God's Son and he had died on the cross for our sins. I grew up knowing the Lord's Supper was for baptized believers and Jesus’s was to be remembered each Sunday through it.

During one Sunday evening service after I had been home from college for the week end, one older lady in the assembly noticed that I did not take the Lord's Supper. She knew that I had not been to any other service that day and she asked me why I hadn't taken the Lord's Supper.

I knew I needed to be a Christian before I took the Lord's Supper but I hadn't been baptized yet. In answer to her question as to why I hadn't taken the Lord's Supper I replied: "I not a Christian.“

Her simple reply was; "You know what you need to do, don't you?"

To that I replied; "Yes, I know."

With this she came back with; "Why don't you do it next Sunday?"
I don't remember what I said back to her but in my heart and mind I know I would yield my will and obey what the Bible taught. I would be baptized for the forgiveness of my sins the next Sunday.

Hell week began.

I knew that those who didn't believe God and obey the Bible’s commands would not go to Heaven. Because of this point I knew if I died before I made my confession and was baptized, I would not go to heaven.

That week I lived in fear of dying because of God's word. I spent time reading the Bible each day. I was in continual prayer that whole week. This was my time of repentance which God also requires of believers.

The following Sunday I yielded to the invitation song, made the good confession that Jesus is Lord and was baptized. Faith and obedience to God through his word finally brought peace to my life but it might not have come if it were not for a little old lady who was curious enough to ask a simple question. “Why didn't you take the Lord's Supper?"

Larry E. Whittington
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Joyful Trials

Sometimes we need a Happy Thought because of the trials we are in.

Living is a trial because living means growing and growing means change. God wants his children to change and grow continually by using our faith to persevere to the end of our lives. He wants all His children to be faithful till death.

The testing of our faith or the putting of our Faith to the test through trials develops perseverance. And James 1:2-8 says that perseverance or the continual using of our faith will finish its work or purpose which is to make us mature and complete so that we do not lack anything and are formed in the image of Christ. In each step of the way while we are growing, we will be more Christ-like and our lives will show that we have Christ forming within us. It is indeed a Happy thought that what we might see as painful and would be best to avoid is really to our good and to our benefit. In fact James even says that it is not only to be a Happy Thought but that it should even be considered pure joy whenever we face trials that test our faith.

Yes, it is a Happy Thought that a man is blessed who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

First draft 5/17/95. Revised 2/5/96. Larry E. Whittington
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Oh, do I have a happy thought for you today! It makes me happy just to think about it so let me share my happiness with you. The thought came to me from God's word (Matt. 7:7-8) so it is there for each of us.

We have a Father in heaven who knows how to give us, his children, good gifts. He not only knows how to give good gifts to us but HE WANTS TO GIVE US GOOD GIFTS. Sometimes our problem in not receiving from him may be that we are afraid of Him so we hide from Him by not coming to Him in prayer. Sometimes we may think He doesn't care so we don't go to Him with our needs. At other times we may think what we want might not be what He would want us to have so we don't go to Him with our desires. Any of these reactions to our misconceptions about God - OUR FATHER - will hinder our coming to God to ask for the desires of our heart. The happy thought is that God wants us to need Him – to really need Him. The happy thought is that God wants us to seek Him – to really seek Him. The happy thought is that God knows how to give His children good things.

He is the perfect Father who not only knows what is good for us but he also wants to give us what is good. He is the perfect Father who is perfectly able to give what is good for us.

Yes, it is a happy thought to know that:
1. God wants us to ask Him - so He can give.
2. God wants us to seek Him – so He can let us find Him.
3. God wants us to knock - so He can open the door to us.

Yes, happy are we when we let God know what we need and God is happy when He supplies them.

First draft I0/22/92. Revised 2/5/96 Larry E. Whittington
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God Is God

Psalms 46:1-11
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble, 2. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains tall into the heart of the sea, 3. though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolation he has brought on the earth. 9. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with tire. 1O. Be still, and know that l am God; l will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. 1 1. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The LORD Almighty says, "Be still, and know that l am God." As we read this a hush should fall upon us and around us because we realize that this is from God's word. This is from God and if we are still, if we stop to listen to his voice, if we are quiet and give ourselves to a moment of meditation, we will come face to face with the fact that GOD IS GOD.

Psalms 47:7-8 says, “For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.” Yes, God is God and he is also King over all the earth - the whole earth. He reigns over the nations. He rules from his holy throne. It should take only a little time and thought for us to realize this but we might be like some people that Paul met one time that he talks about in Acts 17:16-34.

These men were very religious and so to make sure that they were worshipping the real god they even had an idol with an inscription "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD". If God is God, it does us no good to worship him if we do not know who he is.

Yes, many people, even now, worship an unknown God. Do we? Do you? Do l? If we know that he is God, we should "seek him" and "reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." Acts 17:27.

But even though he is not far from each one of us, many people, even now, worship an unknown God. Sometimes it is even done while thinking that the true God is being worshipped. When we are trying to worship the true God, we will be trying to do our best to please him because we know He is God. We will be still - we will stop our complaining - we will stop our quarreling - we will stop having to have things go "our way". Our lives will be yielded to God and to God's way. Our lives will be spent in loving others. Our lives will be given to caring for other‘s needs. Our thoughts will be off ourselves and on others. Our wants and even our needs will come after others wants and needs. Others will be more important than ourselves. We will humble ourselves in serving others. (READ Phil. 2:1 -18)

Philippians 2:1-18 New International Version (NIV)
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

This is an enormous task. It is even a very frightening task. It is an undertaking that has to be decided on day by day and every day. It is not a "do it today if it is convenient" task.

It is not an "I‘ll start tomorrow" decision. It is the “dying daily” task. It is the task of taking up Jesus' cross daily. It is the exalting God and serving him in such a way that we see everything we do for someone else as being done directly to God and for God.

We yield ourselves to God and for God to be used in any way he pleases. If he wants to feed the hungry, it will be through our hand. If he wants to cloth someone, it will be through our hand. If he wants to care for someone by showing them love and concern, it will be through our love and concern. When we pray to God to help the needy we will then be seeking a way to do what we can to help the needy and God will answer our prayers by helping us help them. We will give our hands, our hearts, our resources, our lives to God to do his good pleasure. We will deny our self in order to do for others. We will humble ourselves in order that God can be exalted.

If God is God to us we will be diligent to learn God‘s will for our lives. We will learn what God wants us to do - even expect us to do. We will then live God‘s way. We will work God‘s way. We will pray God’s way. We will worship and serve God his way. We will be concerned about the things that concern God. If God is God to us we will make sure that our job, our recreation, and our companions don’t keep us from showing that we believe that God is God.

We will be continually expecting God‘s spirit to be working in our lives -leading us, molding us, shaping us. We will be continually looking to see how God is molding us to make us more like Jesus. We will be working out our own salvation with fear and trembling because we might only be thinking we are something when we are nothing at all like what God wants us to be.

In all of this we will be walking by faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." God is God. So let us live like we believed it.

Delivered in original form May l8, l 969 in Superior, Nebr. By Larry E. Whittington

Delivered at Oscoe Baptist Church Building in Spring of 1969 for Herb Steene by Larry E. Whittington

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It Is A Beautiful Day

“It’s a beautiful day today, but every day has been beautiful,” said Eve talking to herself. She was used to this since there were no other women around to talk to and her husband was off caring for the garden or looking for more animals to name.

“Yes, it is a beautiful day. It is a beautiful day to sample more of the kinds of grass, flowers and fruit here in the garden. There must be a thousand different kinds,” said the Serpent as he sampled another berry. This time it was a red one because the green one he tried first wasn’t to his liking. “Say Eve, have you tried everything in the garden yet?

“No, I haven’t tried everything. There are too many to try all at once,” she replied putting her hand over her stomach. “I think I have tried enough for a while. I’ll wait until Adam gets back from his adventures and maybe I’ll be hungry again and I can try some more then.”

“I have tried most of the trees on the edge of the garden but I haven’t gone to the middle of the garden yet. God said we were not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden or we would die.”

“I haven’t looked there either,” said Satan. “Let’s go and just look at it now. Maybe Adam is working near there.”

So with nothing better to do on such a beautiful day, off they went towards the middle of the garden. Soon they came upon Adam. He was looking under some bushes.

“Hi, Adam,” said Eve, “What are you doing? We are going to look at the tree in the middle of the garden.”

“Hi, Eve my love. I was going to bring an animal to you. I don’t think you have seen it yet. I have named it rabbit. It has such soft fur something like you but different.” And with that Adam picked up a small ball of fur with a wiggly nose and twitching ears.

“He’s so cute,” said Eve. “Can I hold it?” She asked.

“Certainly”, replied Adam. “None of the animals are afraid of us. They are just like pets.”

As she drew the rabbit close to her, she could feel the softness of the rabbit’s fur against her body. She liked how it felt.

As the three walked along, they were soon in the middle of the garden.

Satan then asked Eve, “Is this the tree God said you were not to eat of?”

“Yes,” replied Eve. “He even said we were not to touch it or we would die. But it sure does look like it would be good to eat.”

Then Satan cupped his hand close to Eve’s ear and whispered, “Of course it would be good for food. You will not die. God knows that as soon as you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing both good and evil. I got this straight from the unicorn’s mouth.”

When she saw that the fruit of the tree was good to eat and that it was pleasing to the eye and quite tempting, she took some and ate it and she also gave some to Adam to eat.

Whereupon they both knew they were naked and tried to hide among the fig trees. Satan mercilessly laughed at them. “Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, I tricked you. Now let’s see what God does to you.”

Adam and Eve were afraid to go anywhere. Eve put the rabbit down because it was not big enough to cover up anything. They stayed among the fig trees and tried to make something to cover up their nakedness.

That same day they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze. The Lord called to Adam, “Where are you?” Adam knew he was not talking to anyone else since He and Eve were the only ones there. Adam replied, “I heard you and was afraid because I was naked.”

“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the forbidden tree?” “The woman you gave me gave me some and I did eat.”

Turning to Eve God asked, “What have you done?”

Satan tricked me, “He said he got it straight from the unicorn’s mouth that it would be OK to eat.

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