Medically speaking, they did not know how I was still alive. In fact, I was
making medical history. A team from KU Medical Center were driving to Rolla
Memorial Hospital, filming my surgeries.
The next morning at six a.m., Dr. Young, as usual, came to see me as he
made his rounds. Walking through the door, immediately I heard him say,
"something has happened."
Something did happen. I contacted heaven last night, heard from the other
side that I would live, and faith filled my heart. I now had supernatural
knowledge-I would live!
I was in the hospital three months--just three months-and walked out well.
I finished my last year in high school, played basketball, received a
scholarship to play for Memphis State University, and went off to college the
following year. I had had my first experience with the gift of faith.
I knew God was going to do something before He did it. And He did it.
"Come On Up." After my first year in college, I felt the Lord's
call to full-time service. So I transferred from Memphis State to William
Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, to prepare for the ministry. I was on a
"full ride" at Memphis State but had no funds of my own to attend
William Jewell. So I felt impressed to write the Dean of the Religion
Department and tell him my situation. Dr. David O. Moore wrote back, telling
me to "come on up."
I arrived on campus with no money, just a sure knowledge that the Lord had
called me. I spent most of the morning registering for classes. Finally, my
counselor told me, "go stand over there in that line and pay your
You must understand, I'm terribly naοοve--a young lad who's been away
from his small Ozark town-population 800--for just a little while. We
graduated 20 boys and 20 girls in my high school class. My folks always left
their keys in our car, never locked our house when going out of town, and for
the most part, my dad did business on a hand shake.
I didn't know if it took any money to attend this school or not. I didn't
have to pay when I went to high school. Anyway, Dr. Moore told me to come on
up. So here I was, standing in line with the rest of the students. I was
watching them, each with their checkbooks in hand. I noticed they each wrote
out a check and handed it to the lady. Finally, it came my turn. I stood
there, awkward, not saying a word, with no money and no checkbook. The lady
eventually looked up, "young man, may I help you?"
I had to say something. "Ma'am, I don't have any money, but I know the
Lord has called me to learn how to preach." I heard the snickers.
She excused herself, scooted her chair back, and pointed with her finger,
"come with me."
I followed her into a back room. She pulled out a piece of paper from a
filing drawer, handed it to me, and said "here, we had one left; you can
It was a ministerial grant. All my tuition fees and books were paid. It was
my second encounter with the gift of faith.
I just knew I was to "come on up" and go to William Jewell
College. I don't know how I knew but I knew. I've long since learned-that's
the leading of the Lord. It's the gift of faith in operation. In both these
early cases, I had no doubts-none--that the Lord would take care of me.
Don't get me wrong, I was still a babe in Christ and had no idea what was
going on in the spirit world. I had no idea that I was operating in the gift
of faith. I was simply following my heart.
Brother Willard asked me to be the Youth Pastor at Six-Mile Baptist Church.
We made a wonderful team. He was a deeply spiritual man with a lot of common
sense. It came from his being a farmer. Brother Willard became my spiritual
father. He was a praying man. A man who believed in the moving of the Holy
Spirit and revivals. I remember those all-nite prayer meetings, usually in
preparation for the next evangelist.
There was one evangelist that changed my life-Brother Manley Beasley. We
usually had three to four revivals a year. It was Brother Manley's turn. I had
heard a lot about Brother Beasley, but had never met him. I was so excited.
Brother Manley preached all week on the gift of faith. My soul was stirred
like it had never been stirred. He told story after story how, through his
believing God, he was sustained in various situations time and time again.
Truly he was a man who believed God. His favorite line was "what are you
believing God for right now?."
I had always believed God for eternal things, but this was new-believing
God for money and houses and automobiles. Even the smaller things in life.
Brother Manley told how one time he forgot to pack his razor. And he had to
preach that morning. There was no time to run out and get a new one. He
believes God for a razor! It wasn't long 'till someone knocked on his hotel
door. "Sir, do you need a razor?" I sat spellbound all week,
listening to story after story after story.
Brother Beasley was an evangelist. He tells of the time he had run out of
money but was scheduled to hold his next revival meeting in another state. He
told the Lord, "Lord, I can't drive. I'll never make it in time. If you
want me at that meeting, you're going to have to get me there."
The Lord told him to pack his bags and head to the airport--that He would
provide a way. With no money in his pockets, Brother Beasley obeys the Lord.
He drives to the airport and gets in line for his ticket. He lives in
Louisiana but his meeting is in Denver. So Brother Beasley gets in the line
that departs to Denver. The line continues to get shorter and shorter. They're
down to one lady in front of him. He would be next. Suddenly the woman in
front of him begins arguing with the teller and says rather loudly, "I
didn't want to go there anyway!." She turns around, hands Brother Beasley
her ticket, and storms out. Brother Manley flew nonstop to Denver. And was on
time for his meeting. I could listen to this man preach and never tire. In
fact, let's listen in.
"Now neighbor, if you've ever received anything from God, it's been by
faith. God responds to faith. In fact, God does not respond to anything but
faith. Faith honors God; God honors faith, and that's it. God does not respond
to good works. Nor does He respond to sincerity. You can be as sincere as the
next fellow, and Jesus won't respond to your sincerity. What about the father
who came to the Lord one day and said, Master, heal my son. This father was
sincere. But Jesus said, if you can believe, I'll do it. Jesus responded to
this man's faith."
Brother Manley was from the deep south. He did have a way of putting
"Neighbor, it's not what you do for God that counts. It's what God
does for you that matters. Take those men over there in Hebrews eleven. The
book says, these men of God did great exploits through faith, by faith,
through faith, by faith, through faith-it doesn't even say by prayer, does
I was sitting there in that little country church taking it all in. Hanging
on every word. I was beginning to wonder what Bible faith was really all
"Baptists are great preachers of salvation by faith through grace.
Then we do everything else by works," he said, as he walked back and
forth in front of the pulpit.
His hour and a half sermons seemed like fifteen minutes. In fact, he made
the remark, "I don't preach sermons. I have a message. A sermon is
something you sit in your office and work up. A message comes down."
He went on to remark, "you won't see me with a note up here all
Brother Manley had these catchy little sayings that made you think.
"Which comes first? Believing or receiving? Do you receive and then
believe? Or do you believe and then receive?"
I had never looked at it like that before.
"Any of us can believe we have a thing once we have it. It doesn't
take any faith to believe you have something once you have it. No, neighbor,
you must believe and then receive."
This was different preaching than I had grew up on.
"Faith is acting on the Word of God. Declaring a thing so before it's
so, and it's never so until you declare it's so."
"Faith is believing God when you can't hear it, see it, smell it, or
Brother Beasley went on to preach that night on Hebrews eleven, verse two.
"We won't get out of this verse tonight," he said. He gave one of
the most informative, inspiring talks that night I had ever heard on that
verse. Really, the verse is easily overlooked:
"For by it the elders obtained a good report." He took it apart,
broke it down, and showed how these men of old got alone with God, how they
checked in to heaven, found the will and mind of God, how they "got the
report." then received the promises, were persuaded of them, embraced
them, and confessed them. It's all there in Hebrews chapter eleven, verse 13.
I just never paid that much attention:
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having
seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
"Neighbor, before I go to my next meeting, I get alone with God and I
seek His will for that meeting. I get the report. I ask Him how many souls he
wants to save, and I seek His will concerning the offering amount. I pray
until I receive his promises. 'God, you're going to save so many souls this
week, and the offering will be so much.' I'm persuaded of it. I test the
spirits. If I can't shake the numbers in my spirit, I embrace them, and
confess them. I write it down, seal it in an envelope, and mail the report to
a friend. If you don't, you'll chicken out. Once you've got the report, you
stand on it, no matter what the circumstances. No matter what you see, hear,
taste, or smell, and declare it so before it's so."
I was sitting there spellbound. This preacher was either crazy or brave,
one of the two. I wasn't sure.
"Neighbor, the gift of faith is unshakable. Abraham went around saying
he was a daddy before he was a daddy for years! He got the report. He declared
those things that be not as though they were-and then they were. Elijah didn't
just run outside and stop the rain. He got the report first, found out what
the will of God was, then acted. Now, the Devil will tell you, you're a fool.
But that's a pretty good sign you're on the right track. You're out there now,
if God doesn't come through, you're a fool and He's a liar. And that's where
the Lord wants us. God put you on the spot. Now you can put Him on the spot.
If God doesn't come through, you're sunk. But neighbor, that's where you need
to be, for Jesus gets all the glory. And God won't move on your behalf unless
His son gets the glory."
It was beginning to make sense.
Once I had got the report, once I had received the promise in my spirit
(God will do so 'n' so), and once I was persuaded it was the Spirit of God (I
couldn't shake it), then I was to embrace the promise, and confess it so
before it's so. And it's never so until I confess it's so. Wow. That's a new
I went away from the meeting that week a changed Christian. I was about to
get on a spiritual roller coaster. Brother Beasley warned us, "the Devil
will test you." He told how he had believed God for a certain offering
amount. The offering was taken and after the service, was given to him. He
counted it and was $23 short. He went on to his next meeting. Within the next
few days, he got a letter in the mail with a $23 check in it. The check had
slipped out of the offering plate, fell down on to the floor, and was
overlooked. The janitor discovered it when he was sweeping. "The money
was there all the time," said Brother Manley. "And I didn't need the
$23. But the Devil was testing me."
My first real test was around the corner.
I was attending classes at William Jewell during the day, and hurrying home
to get to the revival services in the evenings. I sure had difficulty
concentrating on my studies that week. While driving back and forth in my '38
Chevy, I would think on Brother Manley's messages. Something was happening.
The third day into the week's services, the Holy Spirit spoke, "I want
you to give all your money to Brother Manley..." Brothers and sisters,
that was over 30 years ago. I remember it as though it were yesterday. To this
day I know the exact spot where the Holy Spirit spoke. I was driving across
the Missouri river bridge, headed into Liberty, Missouri. I never drive across
that bridge but that I don't remember those words.
"I want you to give all your money to Brother Manley."
I was really wrestling with that. I wanted to believe God. I wanted to
believe what Brother Manley was preaching. But all of it! I couldn't shake it.
I did what Brother Beasley said. I tested the spirits. By the end of the week,
I was in a tizzy. I had been on a spiritual roller coaster. This was all so
new. I felt like I had to obey the Spirit of God.
I must say-what made it so difficult was, it wasn't even my money! Well, it
was mine, but the insurance company had just settled a hospital claim and had
given me $600 to pay off my hospital bill. I had the money in the bank, but I
owed $600. And the Lord wanted it.
I wrestled with the Lord, "Lord, the money's to pay my hospital
I couldn't shake it. The Lord wanted me to give all my money to Brother
Beasley. With fear and trembling, I went to the bank, drew out every penny I
had, and waited for this evening's service. I sat there during the song
service with every dime to my name in my pockets. Finally, the offering plate
was passed. I had told a friend of mine, Don Spaulding, that afternoon what I
was going to do so I wouldn't back out. "Don, God has asked me to give
every penny I have to this preacher. And tonight I'm going to obey Him."
Don responded, "well, I got to see this." He came and sat in the
service with his girlfriend. Don was looking at me; I was looking at him. And
with much trepidation, I dropped the envelope in the offering plate.
The preacher was right. I felt like a fool. In the natural, that is. My
mind was playing tricks on me. "You've done it now." But strangely,
I had great peace on the inside, even though I didn't have gas money to get to
school the next morning. No one at church knew what I had done. I didn't want
anyone feeling sorry for me and help me in the flesh. I had to know this was
of God. I was out on the limb now, really out on the limb. I had given my
insurance money to this evangelist. God had to come through.
(to be continued.)