Friday, November 23, 2012

Jesus Is In This Place

It was the summer of 1969. I was 20 years old. My friend Larry Rodeffer and I had just finished our second year of college at ORU and were preaching revivals during the summer in Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. On this tour we held a series of meetings for 9 nights in my home community of Longs, South Carolina. We used the Ebenezer Methodist church building. Though thriving and growing now, it was abandoned with no congregation at that time, but in good condition and maintained by a family who who hoped to see church activities revived again someday. Larry and I were granted permission to use the facility for our meetings.

The little church building was filled almost to capacity with about 80 people attending our meetings nightly. The atmosphere was electric, and people came expecting to see the hand of God at work. Larry and I preached the Gospel, sharing the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was raised from the dead as Lord of all. We proclaimed that He had sent the Holy Spirit as His living Presence among us to reveal Himself. “He is here now to save and to heal,” we proclaimed. Great faith arose in the hearts of the people, and the presence of God moved over the congregation.

One Baptist lady, Mrs Bertha, came to the meetings with a very serious back problem. She complained that she was unable to do any gardening or housework because of the affliction. She stood before me praying silently and expecting something from God. I asked Jesus to touch her and laid my hands on her head. She immediately raised both of her arms straight up toward heaven, began to cry with joy, and started dancing. The Lord had instantly touched her and healed her back. She later told me how she went home from that meeting and began the next day doing garden work and house work with no pain.

As I walked into one of the meetings I saw a young man seated and wearing a back brace. He had been in a car accident and had broken his back. As I walked past him, he looked up and said, “I’m expecting God to heal me tonight.” I responded, “If you’re expecting it, you’d just as well get ready for it,” as I walked on up to the platform. When I finished preaching, Ernest came to the front for prayer. When I laid my hands on his head he began to cry saying, “I’m healed! I’m healed!”. He then went outside, removed the back brace, and began bending over and twisting around. He was healed. He went to his doctor in Loris, SC who confirmed the healing.

There were other testimonies of God’s intervention in the lives of people during those meetings. One lady was healed of psoriasis. Another was healed of a tumor. Larry and I were just 20 years old at the time and were moving in a child-like faith. We simply expected God to show up.

Great grace was present to bring forth faith in the people, and we rejoiced to see lives touched and changed. But the greatest joy of those days was the strong sense of the presence of Jesus Christ. It was as if He was physically walking among us. In one of the meetings I turned to see a little six-year old girl standing to the side and softly crying. “Are you okay? What is happening?” I asked. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Jesus is in this place. Jesus is in this place.” He was revealing Himself, even to the children.

I remembered the words of Jesus, “The world will see Me no more, but you will see Me…. And he who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14: 19-21). “


Beth said...

Thank you Billy! What wonderful things God has done for us and it's so good to be reminded of each!

Billy Long said...

Thanks for the comment,Beth. Blessings to you and David, our very special and wonderful friends.

Dr. Bob said...

Thanks Billy! If we truly trusted a Big God rather than a big government, our "health-care crisis" would be a thing of the past! Even church members are seeking entitlements from Uncle Sam rather than King Jesus. :0/

Dr. Bob said...

Thanks Billy! If we truly trusted a Big God rather than a big government, our "health-care crisis" would be a thing of the past! Even church members are seeking entitlements from Uncle Sam rather than King Jesus. :0/

Billy Long said...

Bro Bob, thanks for the comment. It was after this summer of miracles that you invited me to share at the seminars on campus. What a precious time that was.
Bless you,

(To all my readers, Dr Bob is Bob Stamps. He was the chaplin and campus minister at ORU during my time as a studen there. A good man, and a man of God. - BL)

Anonymous said...

Hello Billy,
I enjoyed your blog so much on this Thanksgiving Day. I'm forwarding it to Roy.
I'm thankful for you and him and Him. Jesus is dear to me and ever with me.
You are a blessing.
Modelle Hargrove

Low-Lee (and convert of Dr. Bob!) said...

Am I missing something, or isn't "Anonymous" Modelle Hargrove~?? :-) Anyway ... Wonderful story of your and Larry's revival days. I remember hearing the testimony of the guy in the back brace after his car accident - even though that was a very long time ago now. You have always had, and still have, a very wonderful anointing for ministry on your life. I realize that is manifesting itself in a different way these days than you may have expected, but it is no less real. Lives are still being touched by your faithfulness to Jesus. Honored to know you.

Billy Long said...

The feeling is mutual, my friend Low-Lee Lowell Lee. I have especially appreciated the friendships that have endured over the years, and have been thankful that you have been among them.