The Resurrection Makes All the Difference

by Joy Dyer

(Note: Jeanette’s testimony was first published in the MCM in 1992.)

As a child I used to have dreams that it was the end of time and that the Lord had come and I wasn’t ready. It was a horrible feeling. The last time I had the dream I kept saying over and over, “I’m not ready.” I saw a pulpit come down out of the sky with a man dressed in a suit behind it. I didn’t understand it. I thought I would see Jesus dressed as He was when He was alive.

We moved quite a bit so I would go to the church that was closest, preferably a Baptist one. I didn’t go regular as I didn’t want to be reminded of God. I lived to the lust of my flesh and I am sure my guardian angel would turn his head many times to think ... she surely needs amazing grace!

There were two tragic deaths in our family which made me think of the Lord and the reality of death, but they did not change me. The Lord really started dealing with me in May of 1966. I was married with 3 children and lived in St. Augustine, Florida. I had chosen 3 different Baptist churches, first a large one, then a medium sized one, and then a very small one. None of them had what I was searching for. I felt very desolate.

One day my husband and oldest child went to the car races. I stayed at home with a 2 and a 4 year old. All of a sudden I felt as if I was going to smother, it was so hard for me to breathe. I thought I was going to die. I didn’t want to, I was concerned about my children. I didn’t have any friends there and only knew my neighbors by first name. I left the house and went to one of my neighbors and asked them if they would get a message to my husband that I was very sick and needed him to come home. They looked at me blankly and said they would but they showed no real concern. I went back home and waited. No one came. Finally in desperation I got down on my knees and started crying out to the Lord. I told Him I didn’t want to die. I wanted to vow something, but in my mind a scripture would come saying it would be better not to vow than if you vowed and couldn’t keep it. I tried to think of something that I was sure I could keep so I vowed that if He would let me live that I’d serve Him for the rest of my life.

Within a week my husband transferred in his job to a small town, Macclenny, Florida. We knew no one there so I cried for three weeks. I felt like this was truly the worst place I had ever been. Finally I comforted myself by saying that we wouldn’t be there long for my husband’s company transferred him to a new town every year. (We ended up staying there for eight years).

A Bible school was going on at one of the local churches, a Church of Christ, and my children went. I started going to the church there on a regular basis. That was where I met Dotsy McPherson. The church had a revival and I was baptized into the church, (I had been baptized at 9 years of age into a Baptist Church).

I didn’t understand all their doctrines but I liked the people. I loved music and they didn’t have musical instruments in their church. I began to question a lot of things that I read in the Bible that just didn’t seem right. They explained to me that all those things had passed away. They wanted to make Sunday school teachers out of both Dotsy and me. We didn’t want to; we didn’t feel qualified. I showed them in the Bible where it said “Let the women keep silence in the church.” They told me that it didn’t mean Sunday School. We finally gave in to do our duty and ‘taught’. They found we were willing to work so they gave us quite a few missions of good works. I attended that church longer than any other one, but I wasn’t satisfied. I still had a desire in my heart for something I didn’t have. I dropped out after a couple of years and didn’t go to church anywhere.

I decided to visit a Baptist church in a nearby town. I attended a ladies prayer meeting in one of the homes. I didn’t know anyone else there, but when I left I knew a lot of gossip about people that was given out in the form of a prayer request. On the way home I told the lady that had invited me how I felt and that I didn’t want to go back. She agreed with me but she was the Sunday school teacher and she had to go back. I went a few more times but dropped out again.

Next I went to a Methodist Church but I can’t even remember anything about it. I decided to go back to the Church of Christ. Dotsy and I were put in charge of cleaning the church with another lady. We saw each other regularly and discussed a lot of things we didn’t understand. Dotsy and I began to pray together in my home. During this time a verse kept going through my mind, “There is a way that seemeth right.”

I listened to a religious station on the radio that had all brands of religion on it. At a certain time each day I heard Brother C. Parker Thomas. I remember well the song that was always sung, ‘This is the Day of the Lord’. Then Brother Thomas would read from Matthew 25 about the wise and the foolish virgins. He mentioned that they had a Midnight Cry Messenger paper and one article was about women in the ministry. I wrote to request the paper. It took so long for it to come that I think I’d just about given up on it. But it came! Brother Thomas wrote a short letter to apologize for taking so long but that they had been to a convention and this was the first chance he had to answer. He invited me to their church in Jacksonville, which was about twenty-five miles away. I threw the letter away and thought to myself, I’m not driving twenty-five miles to church.

I was really impressed by the paper. Brother Thomas asked each one to pray about the paper as they read it. I agreed with everything he said until at the end, he started telling of the angels visiting them. I thought that was far out.

About this time at a Sunday night service in Macclenny, Dotsy left early and told me she couldn’t stay any longer and would call me the next day. When she called she told me she couldn’t go back any more. This was very unusual for Dotsy because that was the only church she had gone to. I didn’t go back again. I told Dotsy that the Lord would have to send us a church.

I took about a month to realize that the Lord had shown me where to go. I called Dotsy and asked her if she would like to go to Jacksonville to the church I’d heard on the radio. She agreed to go with me. I’d thrown away the directions so I called Brother Thomas on the phone and got directions to the church. During the conversation, Brother Thomas said, “Lady, if you’re coming here with your little doctrines, we don’t need you.” I needed that! It got my attention. I called Dotsy and told her what he had said and we both agreed that this must be a group of honest people.

We made the trip to Jacksonville and found the church. It was a very small and old one in a run-down neighborhood. Brother Thomas didn’t preach that day, there was a black missionary visiting. When the people began to sing they lifted their hands and worshiped the Lord. I could feel the Lord’s presence so strong. I went back that night. I drove one hundred miles in one day. The next Sunday morning we went back again. Brother Thomas walked by us at the end of the service and laid his hands on our heads. We went back that night and the service was so anointed. At the end of the service Brother Thomas asked the people if they believed that God was speaking. Although there was not an altar call I left the bench and went up front. So did Dotsy. There were several others there also. As I stood there I thought, “He didn’t give an altar call, what do I do now?” Then I said, “O God, have mercy upon me.” At that time my hands went straight up in the air. I didn’t do it, my mouth began to praise the Lord verbally, something I had never done before, and while all this was going on, in my mind I could hear another voice saying, “Why don’t you get out of here, you don’t have to believe all this.” God was so strong, the voice was defeated. I heard Brother Thomas tell the people that the Lord was really doing something for this lady. I felt so good until words can’t describe it. We floated home. The next day I told Dotsy that even though I didn’t believe in the Pentecostal movement, I believed I had received the Holy Ghost.

The next Sunday at church Brother Thomas said, “Some of you think you have the Holy Ghost but instead devils have left you.” A voice spoke (not audibly) to me “If you can’t get help here, Jeanette, there is no help for you.” I felt that it was from the Lord.

I’ve been with the body now for over 22 years. God is still working on me and will continue until I draw my last breath or He comes to take us home.

One thing that really convinced me that Brother Thomas’s preaching was from the Lord was that he would say exactly what was wrong with me and he didn’t even know me nor did any of the other people. Dotsy and I could talk about something during the week and he would bring it out in his message.

It took a while for me to come to saving faith since I had not heard the true gospel before. No one had ever told me to count the cost. I didn’t know from the heart that Jesus’ blood takes away all our sins. For almost a year every time Brother Thomas would give an altar call I would go forward. I don’t exactly know when I came to a saving faith, but I did. Praise God! When I first went I said, “I’m not going to be baptized again. I’ve already been baptized twice.” But when Brother Thomas preached on baptism I was convicted that I had never been baptized into His Body. Then I could hardly wait to be baptized. I’m a slow learner: it’s line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. Praise God, I now have the joy of the Lord and the peace of God that passes all understanding. My sins are gone.

I would encourage anyone reading this letter or listening to the broadcast to seek the Lord with all your heart and if you are one of His sheep, He’ll lead you. I ask each of you to pray for me. I thank God for bringing me this way.

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