|My Dad; the late Felix H. Thornton
People generally say a person has an "ear" for music, if he can play without
training. Really, it's a gift from God...not one of The biblical Gifts (I Cor 12:1), but nevertheless, it is His pleasure
to let some sense, in an inexplicable way, to know how and where a note sounds without touching the instrument. I've often
said that although having the "ear" is a blessing, the person with both that ability and proper training...now that
is a musician!
God gave me an ear for music, and also a certain talent for writing.
But without learning grammar, spelling, and especially typing, and college courses that taught me how to deal with the FCC
in bringing Radio Broadcasting to our area, I simply could not have done that work, nor my website, that at this writing,
has reached more than 50 countries, on every continent except Antarctica. And as I've quipped, "penguins can't
And the same training with the Call to Preach. Combine that Call
with the education to know the thinking of the writers in those languages of long ago, and the histories that agree with the
Bible...those two, together, help a minister to better understand. The Men of God who translated the Bible into our English
language, didn't come straight from elementary school to do that work; they spent years of study, to be able, with God's
help, to give us today's Word.
My Dad fought the Call for six years, arguing
with God that he didn't have an education. I heard him say, many times, that he "Got his education on his knees."
But how he wished he could have had the Bible training and study that the Apostle Paul had, before he took Jesus to the Gentiles.
That Apostle had training from his youth in Abraham's writings, and studied at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). And so
it's not our place to help God choose who is capable and who is not...especially in their training, and even in their
experience in the work.
God does, indeed, work in mysterious ways, because over
the course of Dad's ministry, thousands were brought to Christ. But the same can be said of Dr. Billy Graham, who had
the aid of schooling and television to reach millions. The difference, if there is one, is that Dad preached before tv, to
the poorest...the downcast...to many who had no hope, other than Christ.
THAT, for both, is the proof of the pudding!
I’ve noticed that some of my Conquest articles have taken on a new complexion since my wife
went to her new home. I don’t feel the same about passing from this life to the next. I like to use the
term “The Promise” that the Lord gives to everyone…that Christians will immediately be with loved
ones who’ve gone on, when our turn comes.
King David used that consolation we see in 2nd Samuel 12:23,
after his son by Bathsheba died; “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” And of course Jesus
showed the same comfort to us, as He hung on the Cross, when he told the thief hanging beside Him, who had become a believer
there, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
I’ve written about that in an earlier article, but for those of you who didn’t see it, I’ll give
my interpretation of those words by Christ. “Today” means now…assuring us that we won’t be
put in a waiting area until some time in the future. And “shalt thou be with me” means that He will go to
the same place with this person who’s dying at His side.
And the Bible clearly shows that the word “Paradise” and
“Heaven” are the same place. Revelation 2:7 is enough to convince us: “He who has an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which
is in the paradise of God.” And the tree of life serves double duty, also indicating that we’ll eat the
best of foods in Heaven.
The only ones who
should fear death, are those of you who haven’t given your heart to the Lord. I beg you to take care of that,
at this very moment. It’s the only time you’re guaranteed.