by Barry Arnold
I have precious memories of several different paths that I have trod in my childhood. Some strike fear, some laughter and others real delight. In the area where I grew up, there was a small picnic grove where we enjoyed family fun. This grove, of course, had no faucets or plumbing. But how well I remember, what seemed as a boy, such a long path through the woods to the mountain spring.
There with a dipper and bucket, we were rewarded with cool fresh water. Then there was the path through the meadow and over the narrow crude bridge that led to home. Never will I forget the cold, damp evening when I was so scared. A school book slipped out of my grasp and almost went over the bridge into the cold swift stream.
Many remember the dusty, narrow, well-worn path where the cows came home each evening from grazing, to be fed and milked. Then there is that dreamy path where romances bloomed and led all the way to the marriage altar. So many paths we have traveled; some by choice, others by force. What memories!
However, today, as I fondly recall those neat and sometimes challenging paths, there is one special path that blesses me above all others. It is the pathway to purity and power—the pathway to Pentecost. I am so glad that Jesus marked out the way to those original disciples and they left foot prints for us to follow, because in my heart there is a constant cry for higher ground.
We Can Make It Too
Paths are always challenging, especially new ones. When we are trying to brave the storms and make the ascent, we should ever be grateful to those trusty, spiritual pilgrims who stuck to the path and received the upper room experience.
This is not a pathway that leads to nowhere. This path is bright with promise.
Those precious saints experienced the Pentecostal power time and again. Oh the encouragement they have brought to us. By God’s grace, we too can make it. It seems to me that somewhere around the cross, where my load was lifted and my guilt vanished, that I noted foot prints in the direction of the upper room. Before Jesus ascended, He commanded His disciples to strike out on this pathway. “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The command was clear but “Oh what a challenge!” Anywhere but Jerusalem, which, at that time, was a hot-bed of opposition. Can’t we go up to Bethlehem or down to Jordan? No, they knew the pathway, “the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” God sealed this truth to their hearts and continues to seal it upon our hearts today.
Of course, this is not a pathway that leads to nowhere like a Berk’s County road called, “The Road To Nowhere.” This path is bright with promise. “Who can deny it?” Jesus said, “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you!Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost!”
Food is appetizing only to those who are hungry. I have heard some pilgrims on this sacred pathway crying like the southern slave girl, Amanda Smith, who said, “O this hunger and thirst!” Then we heard the Master say, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst, they shall be filled,” and we joined the blood-washed as they sang, “Jesus come and fill me now.”
Persistence On The Path
Many who have made this journey tell of the obstacles they faced and the ruts they struggled over, realizing they could never make it on their own. So their prayers ascended often and with great fervor to the God who answers by fire.
Rocks of carnal ambition, potholes of conformity to the crowd, and many puddles of jealousy and bitterness were among the hindrances. Rough surfaces of criticism with sharp stones of division and rugged roots of self-will. “Oh how hard it was to die and old self to crucify!” The faithful band lifted voices and sang with gusto “Sing on, pray on, we’re gaining ground, O Hallelujah!” So confessing, adjusting, and laying all on the altar, they said, “Yes!” and “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.”
Nobody reaches the upper room who is just out for a morning stroll or a temporary sprint.
Nobody reaches the upper room who is just out for a morning stroll or a temporary sprint. With the disciples, it was not just an experiment that lasted a few days. Their hearts were set like a flint. Spectators come and go, real players stay in the game. The pathway, all the way to the upper room, demands full surrender and a faith that says, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.”
So often we are like the old farmer that Vance Havner told about long ago. The man spent his life eking out a poor existence on a small farm. After he died, oil was discovered under his house. He had untold wealth within reach, but he never knew what he had. He had wealth, yet he didn’t have it.
“It is for us all today.” Take courage, and press on! The pathway to Pentecost is wide open. “He shall baptized you with the Holy Ghost and fire.”
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