Monday, June 19, 2017



By Ada Nicholson Brownell

A few miles down the river from Moab, Utah, is a miniature Grand Canyon, Dead Horse Point. Vast scenic deserts, snow-capped mountains, aspen and pine forests, are all encompassed in a single view.

Red rock canyons with spires and pinnacles reach as high as fourteen hundred feet off the canyon floor in almost unbelievable color variety. The rock formations are fantastic giant monoliths of colored stones, wind-sculpted scenes that are breath taking, leaving little to the most fertile imagination and much to challenge the most exacting color photographer.

Two thousand feet below this point, one can trace the rugged Colorado River as it winds its way through the canyon.

Dead Horse Point got its name from what now is a legend. A wild horse herd in search of water in the hot, dry desert came to the point. They could see the river below, but the steep precipice made it impossible for them to reach it. The sight of the water was probably what kept the horses at this point, but looking at the life-giving waters was not enough—and the horses died from thirst. Their bones testified to that.

How many people today are standing on ‘Dead Horse Point? In Christian America they know where they can get life-getting water. Some talk, plan, and have good intentions—putting off their day of Salvation until they die—still thirsty.

Many have said, “Someday I am going to take seriously this matter of preparing for eternity, but their resolutions always are for the future. Suddenly death strikes and it’s too late.

Jesus said to the woman at the well, If thou knewest the gift of God … thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water” (John 4:10).

This woman carried within her a heart that longed for spiritual satisfaction. She may have felt she was miles from the answer when she came that day to the well where Jesus rested, but Jesus had the answer to her need. She might too have looked and longed, for there were many barriers and precipices between her and the life-giving waters.

She was a social outcast, a hated Samaritan. By her own sins she had place herself in this dry desert place where even social fellowship with other women was denied her. It must have seemed that his sinful woman would surely die as she had lived—longing for spiritual reality. But however inaccessible that River of living water had seemed to her as she approached the natural well, Jesus made her see the answer to her longing heart was hers for the taking and she eagerly grasped her opportunity.

A famous film actor who died not long ago left behind him a strange testimony. He had stood on the peak of fame and had lived in luxury, his wealth enabling him to enjoy anything this world has to offer.

But there is thirst that can’t be satisfied with fame or frolic. And while this man tasted one pleasure after another, there must have been a strange consciousness he was missing something—something this world wasn’t giving him. So forcefully was this feeling of emptiness stamped upon his life that, instead of having his initials monogrammed on his personal belongs as so many famous personalities do, all of his belongings were marked with a question mark! And he seems to have gone in God’s eternity without the question answered and the emptiness filled.

Yes, this man must have driven past many churches—and he must have had access to a Bible in which the answer to his biggest question could be found.

How like this was King Solomon’s testimony up to the point where he summed up all his disappointment in all the world offered him, and having tried everything he said, “All is vanity and vexation of spirit, and there is no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

But thank God, he did not stop here, but turned to correct supply for his lack and said, “But I will seek him whom my soul loveth.”

A teenage hoodlum did just that. Though he had been raised in Christian home, this boy found himself as it were on a high barren rock—a user of illegal drugs, and in trouble with the law. Nothing had satisfied his spiritual thirst, but he surrendered his heart to God—and just in time. Soon after his conversion his former companions—the pals with whom he doubtless would have been had he not given his heart to God—were in an auto accident. One was paralyzed and the other killed. Today this young is an evangelist preaching the gospel.

The horses at Dead Horse Point could not reach the river. The sinner has but to take what God offers. No matter on what point in life’s arid desert you may find yourself, His blessed call comes to you now, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

--Copyright Ada Brownell

Monday, June 12, 2017


Note: This article and others that appeared recently here first were published in The Pentecostal Evangel, and will be part of a book soon to be released.

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

The orange rubber raft loaded with three men and a small boy churned with the foaming rapids. Suddenly the convulsing waves flipped the occupants into the turbulent water.

  Don choked as the currents sucked him under. He panicked as he thought of his little boy, Gerald, but reasoned the boy would be OK because he had a lifejacket on.

Desperately the young father tried to swim, but the current was too powerful. His nostrils cried for air as his lungs pressured him for oxygen.

The waves tossed Don high enough to gulp a little air, then sucked him below again.  His body slammed against the boulders. It seemed he couldn’t hold his breath a moment longer.

The young man was exhausted; his lungs ready to explode. He was about to give up his frantic fight with the river when his face rose able the surface again—this time long enough to see Gerald clinging desperately to a large rock, his life jacket barely hanging from one shoulder.

“Dad! Help!” Gerald screamed.

Don was sucked Don under again, but new strength flowed through his body. He had to get to Gerald.

Fighting the current with every muscle, he mentally cried for God’s help.

Suddenly he shot out of the swirling rapids and swam to his boy. He laid his son on the river bank, then collapsed at his side.

Fortunately a person on the shore had seen the raft overturn, and the other men were in the process of being rescued. Soon someone gave Don artificial respiration.

When an ambulance loaded up Don and Gerald, Don thanked God for life—and that he still had his son. He was glad he didn’t give up.

The salvation of many a boy can be credited to his father who didn’t give up. Not just his physical salvation, but spiritual also.

I remember a man whose son went through a period of rebellion that was about to destroy the boy’s relationship with God, as well as his relationship with his parents. But his father wouldn’t give up, even though it seemed the boy did everything to discourage him.

The father stood firm through it all—and at the same time showed his love. But most of all, he prayed.

Every evening after work, instead of relaxing while dinner was prepared, he went to the basement to pray. He wasn’t ashamed when he got so involved with talking to the Lord that everybody in the house heard him.

When he sat down to dinner, he didn’t care if his eyes were red from the tears he’s shed. All that mattered was his boy’s salvation.

In time the son’s rebellion changed to submission. Today he is a minister of the gospel.

Many boys are crying, “Dad! Help!” Maybe not in those words. To listen to their talk one might get the opposite impression. It may seem the last thing they want is help from their father. But the cry is there, though they won’t admit it.

Dad, your son needs you. Don’t give up. He’s fighting currents too strong for him. Perhaps his life vest is only hanging by a string. He could be in danger of “drowning” in the waves of sin.

You may feel you’ve struggled to the point of submission. You may think it’s hopeless, but hold on in faith. Keep praying. Keep loving. There’s strength and salvation to be found through Christ in every situation.

Believe with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me” (Philippians 4:13).


Thursday, June 8, 2017


By Ada Brownell

There’s a line of an old popular song that says, “”How can it be wrong when it feels so right?”

It’s possible to be fooled by our feelings.

A middle-aged man left his wife and four children. While attorneys arranged the divorce settlement, the man began living with the woman he planned to marry. He changed churches, sat by his mistress, and took an active part in church functions.

Everyone in the church thought the couple was married, until someone who knew the man visited the church.

When his sin was exposed, the man told the pastor, “I never felt more at peace with God in my life.” He tried to justify his conduct by his feelings, regardless of the Biblical teaching on the subject.

WE tend to place too much importance on feelings. It is true that joy and peace—both important by-products of a close relationship with God. But how we feel does not necessarily indicate our spiritual condition in His sight.

One pastor remarked recently that in his counseling sessions he is finding it necessary to put greater emphasis on obedience to Scripture.

“If the Bible says it’s wrong, it’s wrong no matter how you may feel about it,” he said.

How can we guard against being fooled by our feelings?

First, we should get a proper understanding on conscience—which probably contributes to our feelings of peace or guilt.

Conscience is defined as “the moral sense” and was given prominence by God when He made a new covenant with man by writing His laws in human minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:10).

An Indian described conscience this way: “Conscience has three corners. It stands still when I when I am good, but when I am bad, it turns around and around in my heart, and the corners hurt. If I keep doing wrong, the corners wear off. Then it doesn’t hurt anymore.”

In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote of in sensitive people whose conscience has become “seared with a hot iron” (1Timothy 4:2). In his letter to another church Paul pointed out that some people are “past feeling,” meaning their consciences could not be pricked (Ephesians 4:19).

Next, we should examine ourselves to see whether peace has come over us because we have fed our egos. A good feeling may come from satisfying our desires and lusts or for building ourselves up.

Ego enhancement is the basis of most illicit affairs, according to some counselors. Some people are willing to sacrifice everything they hold dear to satisfy their egos.

Third, we should ask ourselves if the feeling of peace comes from doing what is easiest.

When we face an obstacle or a mountain of work, there is the temptation to look for an easy way out. It is much easier to give up and slide downhill than to conquer a mountain. It is obvious, however, that we probably will be injured by giving up and sliding down than by continuing the struggle and reaching for the top.

Nevertheless, a good feeling envelops one when he gives up responsibility. I remember well the peaceful feeling that came when I gave up certain church tasks over which I had lost sleep and shed many tears. Inactivity takes a load off one’s back, but the sense of relief may not indicate one is doing God’s will.

Fourth, we should consider whether our sense of peace comes from how society views our conduct.

Society today accepts the murder of millions of unborn babies. It condones all kinds of sexual sins –and even crime sometimes.

Recently at a state university someone informed the sponsor of the campus newspaper that one of the young men elected to student government had been arrested, was on probation, and was obligated to make restitution of several thousands of dollars. The newspaper sponsor simply shrugged his shoulders. He said, “So what?” and pointed out that other student government officers were of similar reputation.

Society may refuse to look at something as sin, but we can’t measure our conduct by society’s rules. God’s Word is the only accurate guide.

Finally, in analyzing our feelings of peace we should ask ourselves whether we have sincerely sought God’s will.

Someone has said God isn’t interested in revealing His will to satisfy our curiosity. God wants us first to be committed to doing His will—then He will lead us.

We know it is God’s will for us to obey His Word. He will never lead us to act contrary to the Scripture.

Because something feels good does not indicate it is God’s will. Sometimes doing God’s will won’t feel good. It might be painful and frustrating, as it must have been to Paul when he went out to preach and landed in prison.

Yet when it’s all done, we will have reached the desired goal, as Paul did. Even though we have to endure perilous times, we can have the joy that is unspeakable and full of glory because God is with us. He will keep us in perfect peace if we walk with Him.

--The Pentecostal Evangel, Feb. 6, 1983