My TestimonyBy: Joseph H. Murray
Since the time I was about the age of ten, I have been in company of Holiness people. It was not until I was 36 years of age that I became one of them.
I was discharged from the service of the U.S. Army in March of 1946 and farmed two years on my mother's farm in North Carolina. I then went into public works, having a number of odd jobs. I started to pass out Gospel tracts about this time, and the Lord began to deal with me concerning my work for Him. I never shall forget the time He first spoke to me out of the ceiling of my room in Henderson, N.C., words equivalent to this scripture: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). Other times He spoke to me in dreams. Once it was this, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished.” I took the Bible, after arising from my sleep, and found this written in St. Luke 12:50. This I knew to be the baptism of the Holy Ghost, for John the Baptist had proclaimed that Jesus was the one who was to baptize with the Holy Ghost in these words, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16). I had felt that I was unworthy of this great blessing, but now that His voice had reached the recesses of my hungry soul, I felt more worthy of His care and protection.
Soon after this I was invited to go to Florida for the winter with a friend who lived in Norfolk, Va. He also did missionary work with Gospel tracts. We loaded his trailer with Gospel tracts and other religious literature and started on our way. We arrived in Jacksonville, Fla., and worked for five days. Then we continued on to Sarasota there to remain for the winter.
Little David Walker, the boy preacher, was holding revival meetings in Bradenton, Fla., just eleven miles from Sarasota. We attended some of his meetings and were invited to attend services in the Gospel Tabernacle in Bradenton over on 7th. Ave. E. I found a hearty welcome and a free Spirit among the people there. Bro. Jim Roberts was the pastor, a cousin of Bro. Oral Roberts.
On a Sunday night, a Bro. from Louisville, Ky., was doing the speaking. After finishing his message, he asked all that did not have the Holy Ghost to raise their hand. I knew that the Lord had blessed me many times, but yet I had not received this experience. The devil whispered in my ear, “It's none of his business whether you have the Holy Ghost or not,” but I resisted him and raised my hand. When the invitation was given, I was the first to go to the altar. I poured out my heart to God and cried until it seemed that the warmth of the tears had bathed my very soul, but I did not receive my baptism that night. I had been taught that, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me” (St. John 15:26), meant that we would speak in tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance as they did on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2)
We were attending day services at this Tabernacle, and the Lord awoke me one morning about 2 A.M. He appeared to me in a vision and spoke these words, “It's your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (St. Luke 12:32). This happened on the 15th day of Feb., 1951. This date (Feb. 15, 1951) is recorded in God's book as the date of my birth into the kingdom of God. What the Lord spoke to me that morning reminded me of this scripture, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).
We arrived in Bradenton, Fla., for that day's service about 12:30 P.M. The Tabernacle was filled to capacity except for one empty seat on the rear row. The preacher was teaching on the baptism of the Holy Ghost as I took this seat. Suddenly there seemed to come a serene stillness upon the congregation. Instantly it looked as if every person in the building had raised their hands in praise and adoration at the entrance of His Holy Presence. I felt a trembling and quaking upon my mortal being. I arose to my feet and pressed my way toward the altar. I fell to the floor with the power of God upon me. In a few minutes the power that had taken possession of my body also took control of my tongue, and I began speaking a heavenly language without any effort on my part. This I knew from my long relationship with holiness people to be my Pentecost (Acts 2:4).
Dear friend, don’t ever look with pity or disdain upon people who have received this experience, for out of this select group is coming the bride of our Lord Jesus Christ. The invitation is extended to you now to become a member of His glorious Church, for by this baptism we are made a member of His body (1Cor. 12:13). “And He is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18).
Shortly after receiving my baptism I returned to N.C. to accept a job that was offered me. I was soon married to a fine consecrated girl.
We lived on this level for about 5 years. Then I began to feel the urging of the Spirit for a deeper walk with the Lord. I didn't know what to do or which way to go, but in the midst of these trying hours, the Lord came to my rescue. He came in the early morning hours when all was still and quiet. I was awakened about 4 A.M. and felt a glorious atmosphere in the room. I soon became aware of His presence there. He then appeared at my bedside and spoke these words to me, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:15–18). He did this a second time and disappeared.
For many years I have felt my responsibility to the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ but have thought myself incapable of doing the job and have failed. Since I have been afflicted and have been delivered, I have learned that we are not to use our ability but His. Now I feel no inferiority or superiority to any man but am what I am by the grace of God. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
I am resolved to make my calling and election sure from this time henceforth no matter what others do. “So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way” (Rom. 14:12–13).
To be called of God is to be selected, but to be sent is to be elected. In our national elections there are many candidates selected, but there is a less number elected to office, from this many. The scripture doesn't read, “How shall they preach, except they be called?” but, “How shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Rom. 10:15). No candidate is duty–bound except he first be elected to office. Therefore those trying to perform the works of God under a call to follow the Lord will have to be elected or anointed to do the job. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:13). To be hated for His name's sake is to be hated because of the anointing.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19).
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2Tim. 3:12).
“The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:11–12).
“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalms 119:128).
And now, in the continuing conclusion of the latter part of my life, after almost 22 years after my healing, I am compelled by the Spirit of our God to give this testimony of God's miracle–working power.
June first of 1959, I had an exploratory operation because of a malignant tumor in my right side. So much cancer was found in me that it could not be removed. I was wired up and sewed up with little hope of ever recovering by the doctors who were in charge of my case. But God, in His mercy, had dispatched an angel from heaven and showed a vision of his coming in my room and anointing me for my healing before the doctors started making tests to find my trouble.
I was placed on total disability by the V.A. from May 13, 1959, until March 1961 while recovering from my illness. After having had such a miraculous recovery, my pension was terminated. But let me state the authority by which it was decided that I was recovered. I was examined at Duke Medical Center, at Durham, N.C., V.A. Hospital, and taken to Winston Salem, N.C., and examined at what I suppose was a V.A. Hospital, and no trace of cancer to be found in my body was the verdict at each of these places.
But my gratitude goes to God and all that were used by Him in my healing.
The main source of help was the leadership and prayers of the saints who are workers in the Pioneer Tract Society in Henderson, N.C., especially Bro. G. C. Clark who is president of our tract distributing Society.
If this testimony is ever published, my hope and prayers are that someone else can receive encouragement to believe in God for deliverance, no matter what the case may be.
After total recovery from cancer in 1961, I went back to work and am retired after working 3 years part time and 14 years full time with the Durham City Schools Maintenance Department of Buildings and Grounds, as paint foreman the greater part of that time.
Romans 13:7 reads, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”
In the light of this scripture, I would like to pay respect and honor to Mr. D. D. Owens who confided in me and let me work with him those above mentioned years.
May God bless you is my prayer.
Joseph H. Murray