Sandy Sasser

"His voice made the difference."

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My uncle in the Lord, Joe Murray, who has gone on to be with the Lord, loved to hear the song, "His Voice Makes the Difference." He was a very special man to me and I miss him. He knew what it meant to hear the Voice of the Lord guiding and leading him each day down the path to peace and joy. That very same Voice spoke to me one day in 1987 in my bedroom. In fact, It awoke me that morning and showed me where I was headed. It showed me the blueprint of my life at that time. Of course, I tried to persuade myself to think that it was only a dream and passed off many explanations as to why it could not be for me; but God does not make mistakes. That Voice was as real as a person standing in the corner of my bedroom that morning, saying "Romans 6:13." I rolled over and looked at the clock and it was 6:15 a.m. Oh, I thought, I must have been thinking about it being time to get up. The Lord would not let me be satisfied with THAT explanation! So, I decided that I would get my Bible and read Romans 6:13. It was this: "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." And it Continued, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." God had the blueprint of my life! How could anyone have known me that well?! I was living in sin, but trying to be a Christian. You know the kind that dabbles in sin Monday through Saturday, but attends "church" on Sundays, if you feel like it. After all, I was saved & water baptized - forgiveness was always there for my sin. Wasn’t it?? Let’s go back in time a little bit before I answer that.

From a child, I had always known about Jesus. I just did not know the real Jesus. My mother took me to several denominations as far back as I can remember. She could not decide between Baptist or Episcopalian (my maternal grandmother was Episcopalian). I remember participating in all the ceremonies of both. As a Baptist, I went to Sunday School, "church" services on Sunday morning and Sunday evening, Wednesday night prayer meetings, and vacation Bible school in the summer. There were services with "communion suppers", washing feet, and water baptism. I was baptized in the river and in the font (an inside pool behind the altar). As an Episcopalian, I was totally lost in words and actions such as genuflect (to bend and kneel each time you passed in front of the cross),Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, reciting the Apostles’ Creed, and again "communion of the Lord’s supper" where everyone drank real wine from the same cup that was passed down the line (a little different from passing out the little red grape juice and wafers). I always hated this because I didn’t want to drink after someone I did not know! My mother told me that she went back to the Baptist denomination because I told her that I was not getting anything out of the Episcopal services. Boy, was that ever the truth!

I do have one childhood memory that God keeps fresh in my mind - a token that He has always had His Hand on my life. When I was small, maybe 4 or 5 years of age, I had a cyst-like growth on the lower lid of my eye. My mother was a nurse in a surgeon’s office and took me in for an evaluation. He told her that he would have to cut it out and that it would scar me for life. My great-grandmother knew of a greater Physician! She asked that my mother allow her to take me to a tent meeting that was being held in our town before she decided on any surgery. I can see that big brown tent right now (you can imagine how big it looked to a 4 or 5 year-old) with the fold out wooden chairs and the raised platform where the preacher was. When I went down front to where he was, he bent down and asked, "Honey, do you believe in Jesus?" "Yes sir" I replied. Again, "Do you believe that He can heal your eye?" "Yes sir." He pinned an anointed cloth on my dress, laid hands on me and prayed and told me to thank Jesus every night for healing my eye. My great-grandmother took me home that night and I remember praying (still wearing the anointed cloth) with my mother and thanking Jesus for healing. I believe it was the next morning (but it could have been a few days - time does not matter - it is what He did) that the cyst rolled out of my eye. We found it in the bed!! Praise God! I do not to this day have a scar! I recently asked my mother if she could remember the name of the preacher that held that meeting. She told me she believed his name was Creech. My pastor, John Clark, said that his father, George Clark, knew a preacher named Creech. I knew nothing of the holy Ghost back then, but Jesus knew of me! I praise Him and thank Him today for that healing, and for the holy Ghost! God is REAL!!

Now, back to 1987. Thank God, I had a friend that I had confidence in (now my sister in the Lord) who I knew would give me a straight answer about the scripture in Romans. She attended home meetings, which I thought were a little eccentric, but there was something about her that I really trusted. So, I called her that morning, told her of my experience and read her the scripture. "What does that mean for me," I asked. She knew how I was living at that time and responded "you know what that means!" Well, I really did, but I did not want to face the fact that I was really a sinner who was yielding my members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. After all, I DID attend services at a Baptist denomination whose “get saved” doctrine had helped me hide all these years. So, I took her response, tucked it away (I did attend one home meeting with this sister in 1987, but at that time did not think that it was for me) and continued my life as it was. Until, August 1988. . . .

In late August 1988, I went to lunch with two friends, one of whom had told me about the scripture in 1987 and one who attended the same Baptist denomination that I was now attending. As we ate, my Baptist friend brought up a book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Would Be in 1988, that was prophesying of the Lord’s return on September 13, 1988. That was just two weeks away!! I could hardly swallow my food. I remember thinking, "Why do I feel so anxious? I’m saved." God would not let me by with that feeling. Praise God! Trying to dismiss myself without showing as much alarm as I was feeling, I left my two friends at the restaurant and went back to work. I remember feeling so afraid. I knew in my heart, I was not ready to meet the Lord. The saved doctrine did not feel so good at that moment. My Baptist friend tried to convince me that I WAS saved - just not committed. My other friend (now my sister in the Lord) was boldly saying that without the holy Ghost and evidence of speaking in tongues, you cannot be saved! I did not know WHAT I was - I just knew that at that moment I did not feel so saved. When I returned to work, I called the Baptist preacher of the place I was attending. I was told that he was on vacation! On vacation?! My eternity was at stake and he WAS ON VACATION!! "Well, you will just have to find him. I need to talk with him - now!" I called my friend who had told me that I needed the holy Ghost and told her that I was going to see my preacher. "Well, you can do that, but he will only give you a book on the doctrine of salvation." Boy, I thought, she thinks she has all the answers. I went that afternoon to talk with him, telling him that my friend had said that without the holy Ghost and evidence of tongues, I was lost! Of course, he had no answers that satisfied me. He went over to his bookshelf, brought back a book and handed it to me. I looked down and at my amazement were the words "The Doctrine of Salvation!" I called her and told her what had happened. I took the book home and tried to read it, but it really made no sense to me. The Lord did not return (as we all know) on September 13, 1988. My friend called that next day to see how I was doing. "Well”, she said, “the Lord didn’t come back yesterday, did He?" "No," I replied (feeling as if I had just escaped an execution). Then she said, "But, you know that He is coming one day, OR that you will die before that day and still have to face Him in the Judgment."

So, I blindly decided that maybe I did need to get a little more committed to the denomination I was attending. After all, that seemed easier than speaking in tongues! But, God, in His wonderful mercy, would not let go of me. As I threw myself more and more into Christianity, I felt less and less satisfied. On Sundays, when the "altar call" was given, I would clinch the back of the pew and pray for the feeling to go away and the song to end. I did not know where to take the feelings I had. I was supposed to be saved and I had "rededicated" my life so many times that it seemed useless to keep doing it. I attended Sunday School AND "church", sang in the choir, went to Wednesday night suppers, partook of "communions", kept the nursery and on, and on, and on. I remember singing one song from the choir loft, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." I was sobbing. I looked around - no one else was. Things just were not adding up for me to believe that I was saved. How could I still live the life of sin (and I was, even while attending all these Christian functions) and expect such a holy God, a righteous God, to forgive me time and time again when I KNEW exactly what I was doing and kept doing it!! I did not understand Christianity then as I do today, therefore, I thought that I was in a holy place. I did not know that the feelings I kept having were leading me to the answer - to repent and receive the holy Ghost. So the answer to the question in the first paragraph: "After all, I was saved & water baptized - forgiveness was always there for my sin. Wasn’t it?" Therein lies the false hope - believing that there is forgiveness of sin even if you don’t repent. The man who has no hope at all stands a greater chance of finding God than the one with false hope. At least when you feel there is no hope, you may cry out to God for help! On December 31, 1988, New Year’s eve, I remember being very sick with the flu. I was up most of the night just throwing up and aching in my bones. The next morning as I lay on the sofa, that same wonderful Voice spoke to me, "you have cleaned out your insides, now why don’t you clean up the rest of your life?" For the first time in my life, I knew what I had to do! I could not get off that sofa fast enough to call my friend who knew a man anointed of God named John Clark (I had met him once, and his father, George C. Clark, in the meeting in 1987) who had home meetings that were full of the holy Ghost. That next week, I went to a meeting in Henderson with my friend. It was January 1989.

At that time, I lived in Raleigh, NC, so the drive to the meetings on Wednesdays and Sundays in Henderson was about an hour. I was not what you might call a very courageous nor adventurous person when it came to being on the road late at night. But, somehow, the desire to seek God overcame all the fear of driving up and down that dark highway. The meetings were held in the home of two dear old saints, Uncle Joe and Aunt Myrtle Murray. Uncle Joe, big and tall like an old oak tree, with hair white as snow, always had a seat saved for me right beside him. At first, he scared me a little, but that was short-lived. I learned that beneath that sometimes gruff"persona", lived a man with a heart of gold, filled with the love of God for all those around him. A man who spoke his mind and stood steadfast for the Truth. I am blessed to have known him. Which brings me to another old saint who I knew but for a little while but whose impact on my life will live forever. . . . .

George C. Clark, the founder of the Pioneer Tract Society, was still living when I started coming to the meetings in January 1989. He was so meek and humble. I don’t exactly remember when I first knew that he was dying, but the Lord worked it out so that I could spend some time with him during his last days. Sister Lou Finch (my good friend and sister in the Lord mentioned earlier) and I visited Preacher Clark in the hospital during his last days. I remember feeling the peace each time I visited. Most times when you visit someone sick in the hospital it is to take them a blessing. With Preacher Clark, you always left with one. I asked him once for some words of wisdom while seeking the holy Ghost. He just looked at me and said, "Keep on keeping on." He really knew wisdom. On one of the last visits I made to see him, I remember looking into his eyes and saying "Preacher Clark, I know that you are going soon to see Jesus. Would you please tell him that Sandy Sasser wants the holy Ghost." He just smiled. He died on Thursday, April 20, 1989. On Saturday, April 22, he was buried. I remember the stirring in my soul that Sunday morning at the meeting to receive the holy Ghost. Brother Jimmy Tolle, from our family of God in Louisville Kentucky, and his wife were there. I just remember a portion of his message - "don’t be afraid to jump in the barrel and ride it across the canyon" (or something to those words). In other words, Have Faith in God! I could not wait to get to the center of that room where the prayers and spirit were falling. I remember praying and crying as the saints around me prayed. It was just as He promised - the holy Ghost fell on me and I heard myself speaking in tongues. But, this is the rest of the story. . . . .

As I received the holy Ghost baptism, I had a vision of Preacher Clark standing with Jesus, looking down, as if to say, "I told you so." It was wonderful. To have God bless me that way is something only to be understood and felt in the spirit. It was encouraging for a newborn child as I was. That was Sunday, April 23, 1989. There is so much more that I could say regarding how God has blessed my life over these ten-plus years. To be chosen of God, to receive His Spirit that leads and guides every day, to know that God loves you and has loved you from the beginning, and . . . . .

Romans 6:17 -18 "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed FROM THE HEART that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." I was no longer a servant of sin but of righteousness! I had been set free!

I would like to share a dream that the Lord gave me recently. In my dream, there was a man sitting on a bench. He looked homeless, emaciated, and very sick. It was hot outside and he was continuously throwing up. I saw him but had the feeling that I should not go near him. But still, I felt so sorry for him. It was as if he had resigned himself to his sick condition. I thought that just a drink of water would make him feel better. I asked my pastor if it would be alright if I gave him a drink of water. His reply was, "you can try, but he probably won’t take it." How sad that there are so many spiritually sick that won’t even take a drink of water. Bound in sin - - sick servants to a vile master whose only reward is death.

I thank God that He spoke to me in that bedroom that day. I thank Him that He patiently waited for me to take the drink of water. That He opened my eyes to see that the holy Ghost baptism with evidence of speaking in tongues IS the New Birth. What a difference it has made in my life! That small child whose eye He healed many years ago still believes and is still saying, "Thank you, Jesus."

As you read this, just know that it is worth everything to seek God, to obey from the heart when His Voice speaks to you, to receive His blessed holy Ghost, and to "keep on keeping on."

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