Wednesday, May 3, 2017

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
    I knelt at an old fashioned altar. The conviction of the Holy Spirit gripped me and I felt guilty, unworthy and lost. Hot tears coursed down my cheeks as I realized how I had offended our Heavenly Father and had for years rejected the call of the Holy Spirit to surrender my stubborn will and receive Christ's embrace.
   The Words of Jesus Himself came loud and clear: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man will hear My voice and open the door, I will come in unto him and will sup with him and he with Me.” (Matt. 11:28).
    The words of Jesus were warm and comforting, telling me that He had not left me, even though I had heard His voice before on several occasions without responding. His patience and understanding, kindness and mercy drew me to Him as His Spirit penetrated my hardened heart with the most compassionate forgiveness and grace. I wept unashamedly in godly fear, repentance and faith as I invited Him into my heart and life.
   What really happened to me? Naturally, I received God's forgiveness as His peace filled my entire being. And my thinking changed as I wanted only His will instead of my own. I didn't want to think, do or say things that would offend Jesus my Lord and Saviour. And my life did change dramatically!
    I knew that I had been forgiven. My guilt was gone and I felt clean, pure and liberated from condemnation. Although, I didn't know the Scriptures, the work was already done! What had happened to me had already been written down by St. Paul: “Therefore if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor.5: 17)
   The things of the world faded into oblivion as a new world opened to me. It wasn't a struggle to break away from bad habits like drinking, smoking, cursing and other worldly passions. Suddenly, I could see clearly what a fool I had been in putting Jesus Christ on 'pause' while seeking my own agenda. I could see the stupidity of trusting only in myself and the fallacy of putting faith in the empty, selfish, corrupt world system!
    I was no longer alone. The Saviour had entered my being. He had taken up permanent residence in my spirit and brought His love, peace, joy and eternal Life into me. I was free from fear, lust, unrest and torment. I was, indeed, a new man in Christ! The old had suddenly passed away and as the tears kept coming, they were tears of joy and freedom.
   But, what did happen to me? Jesus Christ had accepted my invitation to come into my heart! The first thing was a feeling of cleansing, forgiveness and peace! All guilt, fear, condemnation and unrest was gone. An unbelievable purity invaded my spirit and mind as Jesus Christ made His presence felt. There was an absence of struggle bringing total rest.
    The Word of God was no longer 'rules of conduct' but life-giving manna, words of instruction, encouragement and peace. In short, I had been born again by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. I had become a member of the Body of Christ and my name was inscribed in the Lamb's Book of Life! I felt relieved to know that my name was recorded in God's Book and that no man could remove it, or remove Jesus from me! (Rev. 3:5; 1:8; 17: 8)
    I didn't know that many years ago, Jesus promised: “And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are One.” (John 10: 28)
   And again, St. Paul thrilled me with these awesome words: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come; Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35-40)
    Shortly thereafter, by God's grace I was baptized with the Holy Ghost and Fire. What an experience that was and still continues until today! Jesus promised: “If ye then, being evil, Know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him?” (Luke 11: 13)
    So desirous was our Lord Jesus Christ in wanting everyone to receive the Holy Spirit that He was willing to be incarnated, suffer the humiliation and agony of death on the Cross and be RAISED from the grave, so that He could destroy death, SAVE us from our sins and fill us with His very own Life!
    Before Jesus Christ could pour His Spirit into us, He had to pour out His precious BLOOD on the cross to cleanse and save us! 
    He had promised: “And He said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
    “And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but TARRY ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be ENDUED with power from on High.” (Luke 24: 46-49)
    “To whom also He shewed himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God:
    “And being assembled together with them, commanded that they should NOT leave Jerusalem, but WAIT for the promise of the Father, which saith He, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1: 3-5)
      John the Baptist had specifically declared our Lord to be both the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world, and the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost and fire.  
   Jesus recounted the day when the Holy Spirit fell upon Him in the River Jordan when John the Baptist baptized Him in the water: 
   “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the Heavens were opened unto Him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from Heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16).
    Please Note: I will continue this testimony in the future. My conversion to Christ occurred in July, 1957 in the Flamingo Motel in Prince Albert, SK during our vacation enroute to visit my parents Ingvar and Anne Solbrekken on their Family Farm 1/2 mile west of Norquay, SK..
    We were very committed Lutherans but were shocked into Bible Reality when my father was healed of long standing gall bladder infections while listening to Rev. Oral Roberts' Radio Program and baptized with the Holy Ghost and Fire a few days later in his home.
      I realized that that in order to be a genuine Christian I had to have someone pray with me who knew Jesus Christ personally, rather than just reciting creeds and memorized prayers. And I also knew that my precious Mother and Dad were such people.

    These miracles had so impacted me and having decided to meet God in a personal way, my lovely wife Donna and I drove from Prince George, BC to Saskatchewan and more than just renewing my Confirmation Vow (age 14), I was baptized with the blessed Holy Spirit and fire! Hallelujah!