The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
Published 9:26 am Thursday, November 18, 2021
Conviction – The Work of the Holy Spirit
By Stephanie Williams Dean
Can you remember when you came to the profound realization that you needed a Savior? Well, Biblical scripture reveals to us that it is the Holy Spirit who brings us to the point of realizing that need. John 16: 8-10 reads, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness, and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me, in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment…” (NIV)
Men are convicted of their sin through the Holy Spirit – meaning the Spirit convinces us of our wrong ways. The Spirit produces a deep sense of guilt within us. “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart…” from Acts 2: 36-37 (NIV) shows us that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come and convict the world of sin – and He (Spirit) did. People were cut to the heart with a sense of guilt and shame.
It surprises me how clear we can be on the faults of others yet we can be so blind to our shortcomings. All positive estimations of ourselves clearly show the inbred deceitfulness that’s in our hearts – and lack of insight into our faults.
The only one who can convince men of sin is the Holy Spirit. How many times have we tried to reason with a person or bring him to realize he is a sinner?
Even preachers attempt to bring sinners around by making them see the wrong in what they’re doing. All to no avail. Do you know why that doesn’t work? We are not to convince anyone of their sin. When we do that, we’re doing the work of the Holy Spirit – a work that only He can do. The Holy Spirit must do the work. The Holy Spirit can convict the hardest criminals and those who are the most blinded to sin. We know this is true as we hear testimony over and over from those who have turned away from sin and turned their lives to Christ.
While it’s the Holy Spirit who convinces men of sin, He does it through us. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit has no way of reaching the unsaved except through the agency of Christians who are already saved.
John 16:7 makes it clear, “But, I will tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment, in sin because men do not believe in me.” (NIV)
The sin that God demands we repent of is the sin of unbelief in Jesus Christ. This is the only sin of which the Holy Spirit convinces men – not sins of adultery, murder, stealing, or others but that of unbelief. To reiterate, Jesus said, “of sin, because they believe not on me.” God demands one thing from us – that we believe in Him (Christ) whom He (God) has sent.
So no matter how much you’ve given up on someone – don’t! The Holy Spirit can convince men of sin and their need for a savior. You can share the gospel, introduce a person to scripture, but do allow the Spirit to do His work of convicting. That’s not our mission.
By N.R. Tucker
At this time in my life, I find Thanksgiving is the most relaxing of holidays. No gifts to buy, just food, family, and friends. It helps that I love fall. The changing colors of the leaves, the lower (finally) temperatures, and, if we’re lucky, lower humidity.
As far as the food goes, I consider Thanksgiving an easy day of cooking. That’s because the aforementioned family pitches in, and we have a potluck of sorts. As host, I stuff and cook the turkey. I was raised with a traditional cornbread stuffing recipe from my mother, who got it from her mother. No telling how many generations of Foster’s have stuffed a bird with the same mixture of ingredients. I’m thrilled that the family stuffing recipe isn’t the organ meats from the bird as it was so many years ago. As long as the oven is working properly, a turkey — stuffed or not — is simple. Set the right temperature, place said turkey in the oven when preheating is done, set a timer based on turkey size, and don’t open the oven door “just to check”. Let the heat do its job.
My mother-in-law brings ham as an additional meat. Attendees sign up (I do like a spreadsheet) for the rest of the dishes. Appetizers include deviled eggs, homemade cheese ball, stuffed mushrooms, raw veggies, and some type of salad. For side dishes, we can count on sweet potato pie (with pecans or marshmallows depending on who makes it), green beans, corn, and at least one salad. Desserts run the gambit from traditional pecan and pumpkin pies (sweet potato pie is a veggie) to cookies and cake. Drinks include hot apple cider, iced tea, and maybe a mimosa. Of course, on any given year, one of our cooks may go wild and bring something new for our palates to try.
Once the turkey is out of the oven, I remove the stuffing, turn the turkey over to a nephew for carving, and provide my sister-in-law with the drippings for her gravy. It’s a family affair, and we haven’t gone hungry yet.
When my husband was still in the military, and we were far from family, I spent most of Thanksgiving Eve and the actual day in the kitchen, to get a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the table. I like the potluck version better.
Today, I am most grateful that we gather every year and manage to have a fun day without drama. I wish the same for everyone.
A Trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway
By David R. Moore
Most people in this part of the country are aware the two-lane Blue Ridge Parkway runs from the southern end of the Shenandoah National Park at milepost 0 to the eastern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at milepost 469. The road was built for the pure enjoyment of Southern Appalachian scenery, winding its way past picturesque meadows, valleys, and lofty peaks. What is wonderfully unique about the road is that there are no stop signs or traffic lights as it follows the ridgeline of several mountain chains. There is a speed limit of 45 mph. However, most people drive slower, enjoying the landscape and taking advantage of the numerous overlooks, absorbing fantastic vistas.
Since it was near peak leaf season, we traveled midweek and followed Hwy 421 to Interstate 77 North. There was a dramatic slow-down of the traffic to a crawl as everyone seemed to want to get a good look at the ongoing road construction work. We exited onto Hwy 21 by Elkin and caught the Blue Ridge Parkway not too far after passing Roaring Gap and the road to Stone Mountain State Park. We turned south and soon stopped at the Stone Mountain Overlook to view that treeless granite crown. Temperatures in the low 60’s and with the light breeze brought freshness to your lungs. We were pleasantly surprised as we continued our southerly drive how few cars were out on the road that day. The turning of leaves was elevation-dependent, and trees at lower elevation still retained their green colors. We slowly made our way to Doughton Park, milepost 238. Here you can view the Brinegar’s log cabin and springhouse built in the 1880s and get an idea of how life was in the mountains years ago. We made our way to the picnic area, where we had a wonderful picnic lunch of cheese, crackers, sandwiches, and fruit in the quietness of nature. A few people were exploring the hiking trails.
As we drove the parkway arched by colored-filled trees, we enjoyed seeing the numerous scenic overlooks. Our last stop was at E.B. Jeffress Park, milepost 270, with a leisurely hike through the woods. We left the parkway catching Hwy 421 and made our return filled with a day of peaceful relaxation.
“A Thanksgiving Miracle”
By Linda H. Barnette
Several years ago John and I went to Tennessee to do some shopping in the Pigeon Forge area. The next day we rode over the mountains, through the Gorge, and headed home on I-40.
The beautiful fall day was suddenly interrupted by a violent thunderstorm with a downpour so heavy that we could barely see ahead of us. People kept driving way too fast, and it was not long before we saw that the red car in front of us was sideways in the road, having crashed into the car in front of it.
There was essentially nothing we could do to avoid a wreck. Suddenly, and I am talking seconds here, an 18-wheeler in the left lane pulled over just far enough for John to slip through the space between the truck and the car without hitting anything! It really was a miracle!! I remember crying and shaking uncontrollably for a long time because of the realization that we had missed a sure and sudden death because of the quick thinking of that one truck driver and also because John saw his opportunity and took it.
We finally got out of the storm and stopped in Hickory for a bite to eat. Eventually, I stopped shaking, but it was obvious to me that my body had prepared itself for the end.
Each time I think about that day I am so very grateful for that encounter with the truck driver and God Himself.
RWG Literary Corner
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