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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TESTIMONY TIME



It was a small church holding at most a hundred people. Seldom was it filled except at the Annual Missionary Convention time.

So many missionaries came and told of their ministry. While I was excited about all of them, I was most impressed with the little old ladies who worked with the lepers binding up their oozing sores and exposing themselves to the disease. Living in the filthiest conditions where the smell would cause one to retch. They had a dedication that is hardly known in today’s world. They had given their lives to Christ’s ministry to the despised and unwanted.

After these many years their memory still humbles me. They knew and experienced John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” They truly laid down their lives for those they cared for.
This small church we attended helped to support these and others who were sent out to minister to body and soul.

It was at the altar in the front of this church that I was born again. The memory of the transformation within me is as real today as when it happened. I didn’t know what was happening to me as my sin was removed from me and then the Holy Spirit came in to dwell.

Both the knowledge and the feeling have never left. What a gift the Holy Spirit is.

The messages were straight forward. Sin was sin and holiness could not be mistaken for anything but walking in the light of GOD’S word.

The people were old time Pentecostals who were there at the beginning of the last century outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Because of their experiences in the early years they seemed a little strange to me and when they got up to testify you could tell they were from this early time. Sometimes they wouldn’t stop and the congregation would start singing to get them to stop preaching and sit down.

The name of the church was at first “The Glory Barn,” and it remained so until the people felt it would be more dignified to change it to “Bethel Tabernacle.”

Much of my life revolved around there. My spiritual life began there. I met and married my wife there. My children were born while attending there. It is no wonder I still have ties to that church in my memories.

The congregation left that building and moved to another location and changed the name to “Bethel,” this is where my children grew up. Finally the strong supporters of Bethel moved away and after awhile the church closed its doors. Today there is no Glory Barn, there is no Bethel Tabernacle, and there is no Bethel.

One day there will be no people left on earth who hold old Bethel, dear in their memories.

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