EXCERPTS OF REV. MANLEY BEASLEY SR. BIOGRAPHY

Man of Faith – Instrument of Revival, Author: Ron Owens

The challenge of writing anyone’s biography is the capturing of not only the historical facts of a person’s life but the essence of who that person was. And when it comes to the life of someone like Manley Beasley, you are faced with an individual whose life was his message, and whose message was his life. The message of prayer, faith and dealing with adversity that Manley lived and preached was forged in the foundry of experience; all these experiences contributed to the intensity of the words of his message, his writing and his interaction with people and God used him to minister to people in countless ways, even more effectively.  Who and what Manley was is well articulated by his brother-in-law and fellow minister of the Gospel, Mike Gilchrest, while moderating Manley’s Memorial Service, July 13, 1990, at First Baptist Church, Euless, TX.

"Manley's whole heart was set on glorifying God in his mortal flesh and his union with Jesus. It was like a marrige intimacy and relationship that was so unique, it was almost mystical. And this relationship was for better or for worse, in sickness or in health, until death took him into the presence of God." This book does not follow the line of traditional biographies, though it does contain biographical information. This is a "message driven" biography that incorporates excerpts from messages Manley brought to churches small and large, to international conferences and from the stage of national conventions.

         Ron Owens-- January 2009

     

 

 
REV. MANLEY BEASLEY SR.

Testimony:  “Manley Beasley was still in his twenties when I first met him. He was preaching a revival meeting at the Castle Hills, First Baptist Church, in San Antonio, TX, where my good friend, Jack Taylor was pastor. Jack told me about this young man and urged me to come. What followed was an encounter that began a friendship that lasted until Manley’s death in 1990.

He was an imposing figure in those days. His jet-back hair and his fiery passion for the Lord set him apart. I will never forget that first night when I met Manley Beasley. After listening to him preach, Jack and I took him to the motel. He insisted that we come in for a season of prayer. And pray we did! I had never heard anyone pray like Manley Beasley, He will pace the room as he prayed, and accenting many sentences with a breathless, “whew!” He talked to the Lord with an intimacy that I had never known. In many ways my encounter with Manley shaped my own walk with the Lord with an indelible stamp that is still there today.

His preaching was so challenging always calling for repentance and godliness. At Castle Hills by the end of the week the revival had come. That week, in that church a movement of God began that deepened and matured for years after that. The stories that surfaced from that week are still like experiencing the Book of Acts all over again!  

During the years that followed, Manley lived with multiple diseases that could have killed him. However, God had different plans for him. He seemed to preach each message as if it would be his last, and indeed it might have been. He preached with an urgency that few men have known. Then one day one of my greatest privileges became a reality. I became Manley Beasley’s pastor. The last 13 years of his life he and Marthé were members of First Baptist Church of Euless, TX, where I was a pastor. Where most would strategize ways to meet the needs of their lives, Manley relied only on prayer. He never asked for money, or sent out a list of needs. He simply went to the Lord for his provision and the Lord always met his needs. He was the prototype in our generation of a man of God who walked with God in simple, yet profound faith. This book is about the man and his message. His story is a story of faithfulness of God to those who walk with Him.

Jimmy Draper

President emeritus of Life Way Christian Resources

 The wind shifted suddenly to the north, turning the spitting rain into ice sleet as I waited for the evangelist to exit the airplane. He was already three days late for our “revival meeting” scheduled that first week in December 1972. He had phoned me each of the previous days to say that health considerations were keeping him in the hospital. He urged me to continue holding the services, however, until he was strong enough to preach himself. Finally, he had arrived.

I was at the gate, waiting in eager anticipation for our evangelist’s appearance. This has been the first series of revival services I’d scheduled as the new pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church, Tulsa, OK.  The evangelist appeared at the plain’s doorway. My heart sank as two flight attendants help him into a wheel chair. Stretching out his hand he said “Well, brother, what are you believing God for during these days?” It was a question with which I was becoming increasingly familiar: a question he’d ask each time we spoke, including the day I first call him to invite him to our church. I reply, “I am trusting we will even be able to meet this evening.” “Oh, we will meet all right” laughed Bro. Manley, “otherwise I wouldn’t be here. And we probably have just the folks in attendance that God will use to do His work in your church.”  

Bro. Manley possessed a remarkable capacity for communicating and illustrating out of his own life the important truth that faith is made complete by the volitional choice to act in obedience to God’s revealed will. Citing the example of those on the roll call of faith (Hebrews 11) he would remind his hearers that faith was not simply a matter of thinking, or of feeling, but acting in obedience to God’s Word. He was fond of reminding audiences that sometimes believers must “act like it is so, when it is not so, so it can be so.”

 From that December in 1972 until the day of his death Manley Beasley became my friend and mentor. Bro. Manley’s message of faith never changed, but my life was changed as I began learning what it means to walk by faith. Bro. Manley willingly allowed me the privilege of drawing wisdom from the book of his life. Read on, and you will discover in this biography of his life that the same privilege can be yours!

Tom Elliff

Sr. V.P. for spiritual nurture and church relations.

International Mission Board, So. Baptist Convention.

The life-choices her son was making weighed heavily on Vera Mae Beasley, when she told her pastor that she needed to talk with him right away. Manley had again left home, headed for yet another voyage somewhere across the seas. This last visit at home had not been a happy one. He had again been drinking with his friends. She was in desperate need of a word of counsel. She needed someone to talk to. “God, how far are you going to let Manley go?” Pastor Webb dropped by the next day, a Monday. Once more Vera Mae walked him through the story of her wayward boy who, at age 14, had left home as a Merchant Marine to sail the oceans of the world. She walked about his drinking and gambling. She described how discouraged she felt when he returned home for brief visits between tours. She told her pastor that all she had to hold on to, was the promise she’d received from the Lord at Manley’s birth and again when he was dying at age of two – the promise that he would live and that he would grow up to be a preacher. They didn’t know that when he had left home that weekend he headed for the Port of New Orleans. At that moment he was looking for a ship on which he would work his way to the Orient.

Manley would later recall how, that Monday, perhaps even as his mother and Pastor Webb had been praying, he suddenly was overwhelmed with a desire to return home. He couldn’t shake the urge, so he counted his money and found that he had just enough to buy a ticket from New Orleans to Port Arthur.  He could hitchhike home from there. He would not understand until later that this desire was the prompting of God, the Holy Spirit, the One who had pursued him around the world and now was about to accompany this wayward, chosen child, on his last few miles home. Home! In God’s providence a youth-led “revival” was being held at First Baptist Church, Port Neches, that week. Manley was persuaded to attend the Friday evening service. He had not been to church in so long. Several of the young people then talked him into joining them the next morning for a “breakfast service” He agreed because his first cousin W.C. Beasley, a decorated WWII hero, would be the speaker. He listened intently. He really admired his cousin.

Manley returned to church that evening. Cecil Pemberton, one of the young people in the church who had recently surrendered to preach, was the speaker. At the end of the message an invitation to respond publicly was extended. As the invitation was coming to a close, Lee Wilkerson, that year’s, Baylor University Homecoming Queen, left her place in the choir to go stand beside a handsome young man in the congregation. “Are you ready to give your heart to the Lord, Manley?”  she asked. He said nothing. His mother prayed. Lee took his arm and the next thing he remembers, he was standing at the front.  In looking back, Manley recalls his having already began to cry out to God for forgiveness as he has listened to his cousin, W.C. Beasley, share his testimony that morning. Now, as he took the hand of the pastor Webb, no question existed in his mind that the transaction had been completed. The prodigal was finally home!  For his mother, however, this was but the first step in God fulfilling the promise He had made to her – a promise that only a few of her prayer partners knew about, a promise that had never been shared with Manley because, as she told her friends, “I don’t want another ‘Mother-called’ son in the ministry.”

Now, there he stands… It must have been through tears that Vera Mae watched her boy walk to the front of the church again, a few weeks later, this time to tell the pastor that he felt God had called him to be a preacher. There he stands – the son who had been born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, that little baby who was almost black as coal, who was not able to breathe. That little boy whom the doctor said would not live. Now there he stands. You can almost hear her whisper: “God, I promised you that if you let him live I would give him entirely to you. And you let him live, Oh God!”

Henry and Vera Mae had lived all their married life in Rockport, MS. Henry was 16 and Vera Mae was 15 when they vowed to be faithful to each other ‘til death would part them. When Vera Mae took those vows, however, she didn’t realize what life had in store for her. Despite not having gone beyond the eighth grade, Henry soon became a successful businessman in this small community of the Pearl River, located just 60 miles south of the State Capital of Jackson. He developed a 40-acre farm where he grew tomatoes and other vegetables, which were shipped by truck all over that part of the United States. Life treated them well. They eventually were blessed with five children; three daughters, Henry Mae, Joyce, and Patricia, and two sons; Manley and Kenneth. But then things started to take a turn for the worse. Henry became addicted to alcohol. Sometimes under its influence, is personality changed. Though he never seriously harmed the children, his dear Vera Mae suffered greatly. When sober, however, he lived the life of a hard-working man.

Regrettably, Henry’s addiction began to affect his business. Eventually he lost the 40-acre farm, the trucks, and their lovely “house on the hill” where Manley was born.  Then, one day, Henry announced that they were going to move to Texas… And so it was, in the spring of 1945, just as WWII was winding down, the Beasley family headed west where Henry had a job waiting. Unknown to Vera Mae, Manley was suffering from Dyslexia, a condition no one knew anything about back then. Dyslexia results in people having difficulty with language skills such as spelling, reading, writing, and sometimes speaking. Is a condition that often leads to problems in school, in the workplace, and even in relating to other people. It leads to stress and many dyslexic students become so discouraged they don’t want to continue in school. And this was exactly what was happening to Manley. He was becoming so frustrated and angry that he began to lash out at the school system and society he thought were to blame for what was happening to him. And so it was that a loving mother, not knowing what else to do agreed to let Manley see if he could join the Merchant Marines. He applied and was accepted, but only after lying about his age. He gave them a 1929 birth date, rather than 1931, the year he was actually born.

This was a whole new world for young 14-year-old Manley Beasley as he moved from the flatlands of East Texas to the rolling waves of the ocean. He departed June 13, 1946, aboard the Gunner’s Knot, headed for Yokohama, Japan. Though he no longer had to face the frustration of not being able to keep up with his school peers, he would now be confronted with the challenge of adjusting to the life of a sailor. He would have to quickly learn the discipline and requirements of life at sea.  And learn he did, as attested by his eventually becoming the ship’s cook and his several years of service while circumventing the globe two times by age 16.

These would also be years when God’s grace would be extended in great measure to this teenager, for in God’s providence, in the midst of the rough and tough existence of a sailor, God was pursuing this wayward child. God was holding on to him, preparing him, even in his rebellion, for that day when he would be used to touch countless lives around the world.

These would also be years when God’s grace would be extended in great measure to this teenager, for in God’s providence, in the midst of the rough and tough existence of a sailor, God was pursuing this wayward child. God was holding on to him, preparing him, even in his rebellion, for that day when he would be used to touch countless lives around the world.

 Pastor Webb was surprised at how soon it was, after his conversion, that Manley sensed God’s call to be a preacher. He may have questioned the validity of such a quick decision on the part of anyone else, but being aware of the promise Manley’s mother had been holding on to for years, he knew that this was no ordinary moment. “Brother Webb, I believe God has called me to preach. What do I do next?”  What do you say to a young man who dropped out of school when he was 13 because of his not being able to keep up with his studies? What advice do you give to someone who has little reading and writing skills? How do you counsel this most unlikely candidate for the ministry? Pastor Webb knew that his response would probably determine the next steps Manley would take. Actually however, unknown to either of them, God had already prepared the way for this “prodigal come home” pastor Webb was about to be His messenger.  “Manley, you are going to need to go to school. You must improve your reading and writing skills. Though your memories of past school experiences are not the best, you must now take it seriously.” Manley knew this and he was ready to put forth the effort, but how? Pastor Webb added: this encouraging word, a word that Manley held on for the next several years: “Manley, if God is truly calling you to preach, He will make a way for you to go to school.”

Six weeks later, Dr. W.M. Ethridge, Vice president of East Texas Baptist College in Marshal, TX. paid a visit to pastor Webb, who told him about Manley. He arranged for them to meet. Dr. Ethridge was so struck with Manley’s sincerity and depth of faith that he told him he would give him an opportunity to study at the college by waving the usual high school diploma requirement. He said that if Manley made it through the first year with passing grades, he would be allowed to continue. Manley registered that next semester and roomed with Pastor Webb’s son.  That first year proved very difficult. It did not help that his father resented the fact that his son was going into the ministry. But in spite of this, Manley would retreat to Port Neches as often as he could for encouragement and counsel from his pastor and to pray with his godly mother. He struggled but persevered and ended the year with passing grades.

Testimony:  “I had the glorious privilege of serving as Manley’s pastor for six years. During those years, he was my teacher. He taught me many things, but the first and most important thing he taught me was about prayer. The first time I had Manley in a meeting, after the service he announced that we were going to stay at church to pray. We prayed until 1 AM. Next morning at five o’clock, I heard a knock on my door and there stood Manley, I said: ‘Is there an emergency?’ He said: ‘There sure is, We need to pray.’ We went back to the church and prayed until noon. That was the beginning of a glorious revival in our church and community.

“I will never forget what Manley did the third day of that meeting. He wrote something on a piece of paper, sealed it in an envelope and said ‘put this in your Bible, then read it after I am gone.’ He had written down everything he was trusting God to do, and I tell you, it was exactly what happened. I wasn’t used to that. I had always preached and hoped something would happen. I would pray and hope to get an answer some day.

On July of 1990 Brother Manley went home to be with the Lord at the age of 58.

 He Received the Promise - Even though he was not very old as we measure a life's span; he left behind a legacy of faith that was rarely seen in his generation. We pray that he will be honored and the Lord glorified by this attempt to share this legacy with all who would live a life of faith that is truly pleasing to God.

The Test of Faith - There came a time when Manley believed the Lord gave him a choice of complete healing or daily healing. Manley chose daily healing because for him it was an act of faith that each day the Lord had to heal him to the point that he could get out of bed. During those years he had more confinements in the hospital, as well as trips to Europe and revivals all over the United States. He led Bible Conferences, revivals, and shared his personal testimony with others dealing with illness.

Standing Firm in the Faith - Over the ages there are men that continue to stand true to both the message and the methods of God. One such man was Manley Beasley. In 1970 Manley was stricken with diseases that the doctors stated were terminal. He went from 210 Ibs.  to a meager 140 in a few short months. Practically every muscle in his body collapsed. Just before this occurred the Lord had begun to teach Manley how to live by faith

He Received a Word from God - the Lord gave Manley a verse in Psalm 128:6 You may live to see your children’s children.

The Walk of Faith - His walk of faith began in earnest. For the next year his condition grew worse and he spent it in the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. His mission field for that year was the hospital. Believing that what God had promised He was able to perform, Manley continued to give the glory to God and ministered to people that the Lord sent in his path through the hospital. He knew when God was finished with him in the hospital that the Lord would raise him up and allow him to continue to minister. That year confined in the hospital God provided for the Beasley family and ministry as if he was still traveling and preaching. For the next 20 years God continued to allow Manley to minister to people and share what he has learned about the walk of Faith.”

A Message taken from the biography of Rev. Beasley:

When I say “praying something through”, what does that mean to you? Or, when I just say “praying”, what does that mean to you? There are many good definitions of prayer, but to me, prayer is communion and communion is not just man talking to God but God talking to man. In other words, if I am carrying on a conversation with you, I am not only talking to you, but you are talking to me. Sometimes a preacher will say to me, “Bro. Manley we had a great prayer meeting.” I will then ask him “what did God said to you” that usually confuses people. You see, if what you have said something to God that has not caused God to say something back to you, there is no communion, so, have you really prayed? Prayer is more than a one way conversation.

Check the prayers in the Bible and you will find that not only did they speak to God, but God spoke back. Even when Paul prayed regarding his torn in the flesh, he prayed three times. He prayed until he had some kind of answer. I believe that we are to pray until we have an answer in our hand or in our heart. That is a broad definition, but it is specific enough to literally change your life. Sometimes when God talks to you, He places the answer in your hand. It is a literal answer. But sometimes the answer is in your heart. God speaks to you through His Word and you have that witness in your spirit and you really know what is going to happen.

Years ago, every evangelist who came to our town would go to my Daddy’s house and lead him to make a decision. The decision would last two or three weeks and he would go right back into sin. They did this with good intentions because they knew I was praying for him. Then one day I went to the woods, determined to stay in those woods until God gave me an answer about my Daddy – either in my hand or in my heart. I stayed there several days and when I came out of those woods God had given me two verses, 1 John 5: 14-15 that says: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” That “have” does not mean that you are “going to have” it means that you “have it right now.”

When I came out of those woods, I knew that my Daddy was being saved. You know what I did? I went and told Marthé first, then I went and told my Daddy that he was being saved because I had that perfect assurance – no yet in my hand, but in my heart – that my Daddy was being saved. God had spoken. In those days I was a pastor, and every Sunday when we would have lunch with my parents, I would look at my Daddy and say, “I love you and you are not going to hell. I have an assurance that you are being saved.” He did not know how to handle that kind of witnessing. Every one to that point had him pray a prayer, but he would soon go right back to sinning. Let me tell you, when you are born again, you don’t go right back to sinning. You are a changed person.

Sometime later, when I was in a meeting in Houston, TX, I was praying early one morning and the Lord said to me, “This is the day.”  I walked out of that room, went straight to the pastor and said, “My Daddy is going to be saved today.” He thought I was crazy. But later that day Marthé called me and said, “I believe your Daddy got saved this morning.” He had gotten under such conviction that he thought he was dying and he had called a doctor. The doctor who came was a Christian, and after thoroughly checking my daddy out he looked at him and said: “There is nothing wrong with you physically.” And right there my Daddy realized what was happening. He was under such conviction that he thought he was dying. He was saved that morning. Beloved, prayer is communion. When we are ready to pray until we have the answer in our hand or in our heart, we will begin to see God do what only He can do. That is exactly what happens.

One of the most encouraging words I have ever received in my life came from my pastor who ordained me. He knew about my past. He knew that, because my dyslexia, I had not been able to learn to read and write as a young teen-ager. He knew I had dropped out of school in the 7th grade because I had been under so much pressure that I was about to go all to pieces. He knew how my mother, by the wisdom of God, let me join the Merchant Marines to travel all over the world, and before I was sixteen I had gone around it twice. But my pastor also knew of the power of prayer. When I was wondering how I was going to make it, he told me, “Manley, whatever lack you have in life, if you are doing what God calls you to do, prayer will make it up.” I determined that from that point on, for whatever issue in life, I would stay on my knees until I had an answer in my hands or until God spoke to my heart.

The kind of prayer we are talking about releases God to do what He alone can do. This is the kind of prayer that comes to the Lord and stays before Him until an answer is in your hand or in your heart, whether it takes a day, a month or a year.

Note by Ron Owens:  In light of his reading difficulty, Manley had asked God to help him learn to read just well enough to understand the Bible. Not only was his prayer answered, but God gifted him with the ability to speed-read. Whereas most of us read one line at a time, Manley was able to understand the content of entire paragraphs at one glance. God answer our prayers exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think

 

 Testimony:  “Bro. Manley’s excited voice greeted me on the phone, “Philip, I have great news! I have just talk to the people at Liberty University and they are going to give you a full scholarship. All you have to do is to show up in two days.” I didn’t know what to say as everything was already in place for me to attend Louisiana College. I managed to get out the words: “I appreciate what you have done, Bro. Manley, but I feel God wants me to go to Louisiana College.” Although that may have sounded spiritual, I knew how hypocritical it was. I had not really prayed where I should go to school – I just wanted to go to Louisiana College. Bro. Manley has been praying however. He had begun praying the moment he’d heard that I had stopped running away from God and had responded to His call to ministry. After listening to Manley’s urging I finally said what amounted to “thanks, but no thanks” 

Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang again. Bro. Manley wanted to speak with my Dad. This was serious. Twenty minutes later, Dad sat me down. “Son you are the only one who can make this decision, but Bro. Manley is so concerned that you are making a mistake that he has been weeping on the phone.” I knew then that I better start seeking the Lord. I needed a word from Him. For the first time I did just that. “God, how can I know where You want me to go to school?” I had no sooner thought those words than in my heart I heard: “Start reading in Timothy.” I read of Paul’s admonition to his son in the faith to remain in Ephesus while he – Paul - went on to Macedonia. I then turned to Titus and there it was again – another young man doing what Paul asked him to do. The message could not have been plainer. God was giving direction for my life through Manley. He was my Paul. I was to go to Liberty!”

Philip Robertson, Pastor

Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville, LA

What is Faith? During 1970’s and 1980’s names like Exciting Eastwood. MacArthur Boulevard, Castle Hills, First Baptist Euless, plus a host of other churches, large and small, were like second homes to Manley Beasley – places that his life and ministry touched on a regular basis. Though much could be written about his relationship to many churches, a very special bonding developed between Manley and a pastor, staff and congregation in Tulsa, OK – a relationship that not only impacted that church and city but extended to many other parts of the world. It is the story of Manley Beasley and Exciting Eastwood.

In 1972 Tom Elliff became pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church. Having been exposed to the moving of God’s Spirit on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the revival of 1970, Tom knew he would forever be dissatisfied with business as usual. He began to wonder how he could set the future spiritual course of these people that God had put under his care. Eastwood was a church that had just been holding its own for a number of years. Tom had heard about Manley Beasley, who had been at death’s door and who was being used of the Lord to create a hunger for revival in the hearts of God’s people. Tom contacted him. A meeting date was set for the first week in December.

He also arranged for Ron and Patricia Owens to lead the music. They arrived, but Manley didn’t. He called Tom on Saturday to say he was in a Dallas hospital. Tom preached on Sunday. Manley called from the hospital on Monday – Tom preached Monday night. The same on Tuesday – Tom preached. Finally on Wednesday, Manley showed up in a wheel chair, wrapped in a heavy winter coat, looking as though he should have stayed in the hospital. Then to top it all off, that evening Tulsa was hit with one of Oklahoma’s worst ice storms in years. With Manley finally there, Tom was not about to cancel a meeting just because there were two inches of ice on the ground. Two hundred showed up for the service. Manley preached, sitting on a stool. He didn’t have the strength to stand. When he finished he just sat down. 

There was more happening however, than met the eye Tom recalls a conversation he has with Manley before the evening service. “What do you want tom?”, “What do you mean Manley?”, “Son what do you want to see happen here at Eastwood?”, “Manley, I want God to bless. I want to see people saved…” The next morning Manley called from the motel and asked the same question. Tom gave him the same answer. Manley preached again that night, Thursday, sitting on a stool. When he finished, he sat down. After the service he asked Tom the same question: “What do you want?”.  Friday morning he called again “What do you want Tom?”.  This time Tom responded:  “Bro. Manley I have been listening to you and now I think I know what I really want. I want to see Jesus. I want to experience the fullness of His life living in me. I want this personally and I want it for my church.” “Son, I think revival has come.”

Tom recalls: “Manley preached that night, didn’t give an invitation, got sick after the service, and was gone Saturday morning. But the message remained: it was the message of faith. We had heard things that we had never heard before, and that message was sown so deeply into the hearts of the members of Eastwood Baptist Church that for years to come we had our compass set. Manley taught us in those few days the principle of getting a word from God, then showing us that faith was simply cooperating with God in what He has said. Manley out it this way: ‘God’s Will is revealed by the Holy Spirit, through the Word. He taught us that faith does not just believe that God can do something, but faith is acting on the basis of what God has said.’”  That message revolutionized Eastwood Baptist Church. In a relatively brief time went from 500 in attendance to 1,000 to 1,500, to 2,000, to 2,500. Before long Eastwood became known as, Exciting Eastwood.

The church started a summer youth camp in the Siloam Springs area of Arkansas, an annual event named Faith Week, in honor of Manley and his message. Church youth groups from all over the United States began participating. The camp continues to this day, thirty-six years later. At the camp hundreds have been called to preach.  Missionaries around the globe today first heard God’s call during Faith Week.  Manley ministered there every year except one – every year that is until the Lord took him home.

Testimony:  “Manley Beasley was one of the most dynamic preachers on faith I have ever met. I will never forget when I first heard him in Dothan, AL. where my uncle, Henry Johnson, was pastor for over 30 years. The city was experiencing an outbreak of revival in the Civic Center. Manley was staying in my uncle’s home. As a young man, having just become pastor of the Open Door Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, I had the privilege of spending four or five days with Bro. Beasley. “I remember the little booklet on faith that he passed out. I will never forget the Scripture he quoted from Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Then, he made this statement, “faith is believing something is so, when it is not so, in order for it to be so, because God says, it is so.”  From that time on Manley Beasley’s teaching on faith and his Faith Workbooks have literally changed this preacher’s life.”

Danny Lovett, president

Tennessee Temple University

Testimony:  “When I knelt down on the sidewalk in front of the bar, in Houston TX, was to ask God for mercy and forgiveness, my life was instantly changed. Though my name, Iris Urrey, would always be on the record books of the Goree Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections in Huntsville, TX, in God’s record book, my past was wiped out the moment my name was entered into The Lamb’s Book of Life. I had been made a new creation – I had been born again. I have a new ID. With the ‘new birth’ came an immediate sense that not only I was headed for heaven, but that the way I would live from that moment on would be completely different, because I was a new person – well, I was soon to learn just how different it would be. I met Manley and Marthé Beasley. When I lived in the world, and worked for the world, I thought like the world and followed its way of operating. But when God moved me from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light I didn’t plan to live that way anymore. I knew that from that point on, God was going to be my source of supply, not just for some things but for everything.

“So, I began to look at other believers to see how they lived this different kind of life. What I saw, however, more than anything else, were people who claimed to be Christians but who still seemed to be depending on the same things the world depended on.  I heard preachers on television begging for money. I saw churches planning budgets the same way the world did. I was confused. I didn’t see anybody whose life could not be explained in human terms, then, in God’s goodness, I ended up in a meeting where Manley Beasley was preaching. This man spoke about trusting God He talked about faith. It thrilled me. Though I was still just a young believer, I recognized “truth.” When he finished, I ran up to him and said, “I am an ex-con and a saved prostitute. I want to know more about what you said.” He laughed and told me that I needed to talk to his wife. When I met Marthé, she told me that in a few weeks they were going to have a “Deeper Life Conference” at First Baptist, Euless, TX. She invited me to go with them. She said that Manley, Run Dunn, Jack Taylor, Miss Bertha Smith, and some others will be there.  I had never heard of any of them, but I was excited.

 “I stayed with the Beasley’s that week. When we were at their house between services, Manley would tell me stories. I would sit on the floor. He would read the Bible to me and talk to me just like he would to a little child. I was hearing what I had thought being a Christian really was from the time I was saved, but this was the first time anyone explained it to me. I began to understand what walking by faith meant.  I knew right then that this was the kind of life I wanted to live. I soon learned, however, that it was not going to be easy – but with God’s help and the encouragement of Manley and Marthé I was determined to learn it and walk it.

“I admit times occurred when I would really get frustrated with Manley. He watched me struggle to believe God for certain things, such as wanting to go to the International Congress on Revival in Europe. He told me that I would have to trust God for the money. He would ask me, “Iris, are you going to go with us?” I would say, “”I hope so.”  He would say, “Well, you are not going, because it is going to take a lot more than hope.” I would get mad.  He told me years later how in those early days of my learning the walk of faith, he wanted to help me out financially. But he said he knew that if I was going to grow, my faith had to be tried and tested. To the glory of God, I never missed any of those Congresses on Revival. I have seen God work miracles in so many other situations. And He is still doing it in our family and ministry as my husband, Blue, and our son, Denim, look to God as our Provider for everything we need.”

-- Iris Urrey Blue

Duane and Iris Blue Ministries, Lucas, TX

 Testimony:  “My coming to Christ created major difficulties in my life. I had two scholarships to Louisiana State University. My mother held high aspirations for me. When I told my family, however, that I sensed God calling me into the ministry and that I wanted to transfer to Louisiana College, a Baptist school, they made it clear that they were not going to contribute a penny toward my education. I didn’t know how I was going to afford the tuition of a private institution, but I felt I had to make the move. Not long after making the transfer, friends of mine invited me to attend a “revival meeting” in a small rural church where a man named Manley Beasley was preaching. That night I heard things that would forever establish the foundation of my Christian life and ministry. He spoke about the life of faith. As I listened my heart began to race. I had no idea that such a life was possible. I came under such a deep conviction that I had to get off by myself, even though it meant my getting up in the middle of the message. Outside the church, I made an old tree my altar. As I wept before the Lord, His Spirit began to minister to my heart and faith began to rise in my soul.

“The next morning I had to go to the administration office to see what might be worked out for me to pay my bills. I asked how much I owed for the remainder of the semester. The attendant pulled up my record and with a puzzled expression said: “you don’t owe anything.”  I was shocked. He went on to say that the Sammy Tippit Scholarship Fund had taken care of it. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. That was my name, but, “what scholarship fund?” Who is paying of this fund?” He replied, “The source has asked that it remain anonymous.” I ran to my room, fell on my knees and poured my heart out to God. He had begun to teach me the walk of faith. This was the first step that has resulted in my traveling to more than eighty countries to preach the Gospel. I have watched God provide millions of dollars to bring the message of God’s love to a lost and dying world. God has never let me ask for money, but rather to trust Him to meet all my needs. It all began when I heard a man named Manley Beasley teach what it means to live by faith. Manley’s message that night in a little country church taught me that I could actually trust God for anything – anything, when I knew I had heard His Voice. This walk of faith has turned into an incredible adventure, the adventure of following Jesus.”

-- Sammy Tippit Ministries International

San Antonio, TX  

The fight of Faith

“The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character. The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting.” Oswald Chambers.

 Testimony:  “Manley Beasley was the greatest man of faith I’d ever met. I had read about faith; I had preached on faith; but Manley was the walking personification of faith.  In August 1988 he came for Sunday and Monday meeting at our church. I had spoken to him about concerns I had. Though we were making some progress, I felt at times that I was trying to roll a rock uphill. The congregation was showing little interest in going on spirituality. Just before he preached on Monday evening Manley said to me ‘You will know when I am through tonight if your ministry is over here.’  He spoke out of Isaiah 6 on, ‘Who Wants to See the Glory of God?’ It was one of those moments when the presence of God was so evident. Twenty years prior, this church had experienced a mighty movement of God. I longed for a rekindling of that fire. I was encouraged at how many had returned for the Monday evening service. I thought surely no one could stay in their seats when the invitation was extended. My wife and I immediately went to the altar and began to pray.  A few moments later Manley walked off the platform, placed his hand on my shoulder and said; ‘Now you know .’

“With 400 in attendance, the only people at the altar were the staff and a few members of the congregation. When I faced the congregation I saw blank stares – I knew it was over. God had released me from that ministry. Less than a month later the search committee from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA, contacted me for the fourth time and immediately my heart began to turn toward them. I became their pastor in December.” 

-- Michael Catt, Pastor

Sherwood Baptist, Albany, GA

Count It All Joy

When Manley first became ill, God impressed on him, that he would be given two options:

1)     The miracle of an instantaneous physical healing, or

2)     The miracle of living day by day by the grace of God.  

Knowing his own heart and the danger of becoming prideful in what God would have done – or having the passage of time diminish the wonder of God’s miracle of healing – he chose the second option. He chose to live day by day by the grace of His creator. He knew that this would keep him constantly dependent on God for the very breath he breathed. Manley knew that life’s greatest lessons are learned in the school of adversity. So rather that asking God for deliverance from his affliction, he trusted God for the grace to live victoriously in his affliction. During those years of living in the presence of death, the resurrection life of his Lord was so manifested that touched the lives of countless others. 

An interview with Ron Dunn:

Ron: “I first met you in 1972 at the So. Baptist Convention in Philadelphia, PA. You had just been released from the hospital in Houston. When they wheeled you into the room where a number of us had gathered, my first thought was, ‘this man is about to die, if he hasn’t died already.’ You barely could raise your head. I shall never forget the very first thing you said to us: ‘Folk, God won’t hurt you.’ Do you remember that?”

Manley: “Yes I do”

Ron: “What I want to ask you now is: what do you mean by that? It sure look as though you were hurting. Personally I was going through a period when I thought God was killing me.”

Manley: “At the time of suffering it may seem that God is hurting you, but when you had passed through that valley of suffering and are able to look back, you see the benefit of it all. You literally forget the pain.  You realize that as you have been able to turn adverse situations over to Him you have learned the purposes He has in them for you.”

Ron: “Are you saying that at the time of the trial there may not be anything but darkness and confusion, but once you are through it, you can see what God intended and that it was for your good? The reason I asked this is that many of us, where we are in the midst of suffering, feel such desolation and despair that we are not sure God is anywhere around.”

Manley: “True. In spite of how we feel, we must hold on to some facts about God. One of these is that God is in charge. He is always aware of what we are going through. What is happening to us is limited by Him, according to His will and purpose. But even this may not always keep you from a point of despair. The last time I was hospitalized I hurt so badly that I would cry. That was when I found myself in a battle between the emotions of doubt and despair and the promise of God’s Word. I had to hold on by faith in spite of my feelings.”

Ron: “In other words, there is a deeper issue in this besides whether or not you feel good, or whether or not you even live.”

Manley: “Yes, The most unique point on this matter of suffering is that there is always the ‘God-ultimate purpose,’ which is to correct us and enlarge us and bring us through for His glory. The Apostle Paul reached an understanding of the ultimate purpose of God, as did Job, and this happened as God enlarged their capacity through suffering to understand His purposes. Job was able to discover this as he went from hearing of the ear to the seeing of the eye.”

Ron: “You first began getting ill in 1970 and since then you have many near-death experiences. I understand that this past year has been the worst ever. Has your attitude toward suffering changed from the first time you became ill? What about your attitude during what you have recently been through? What I am trying to say is that it is easy for us to form certain opinions about suffering if we haven’t done much of it. After being in the crucible for some time, our beliefs change, our praying is different. Do you pray differently now than when you prayed the first time you got sick?”

Manley: “Oh yes. Y pray differently now because I am not ignorant of what God is up to. No, I don’t ask God what is going on, I just say, ‘Lord, I know you are doing a work. I want to cooperate with you.’ Yes, I have changed somewhat, but I have not really changed in my views about God and healing, I just react differently. The first time I struggled with death both physically and spiritually. This time I struggled with death physically but not in my spirit. You have to realize that most people never face death but once. I have faced death every day for almost twenty years.  My ideas about life and death have matured over the years. I am conscious that I am supposed to be death. I could be dead. If it were not for the sustaining life of God, I will be dead today.”

Ron: Obviously, what you are saying is that the greater issue is the glory of God. So, tell me: do you think that God is glorified in a greater way that if He had instantly and totally healed you?”

Manley: “That is a good question, Ron. In the early days of my illness God spoke clearly to me that I could be healed if I asked Him to heal me, or that I could stay as I was and have to trust Him to keep me alive every day.  I made a deliberate choice to trust Him to sustain me on a day-to-day basis because I knew that if He had heal me instantaneously, it would not be long before His miracle would be something in the past, something that would grow dimmer. I choose to have to depend on Him every day rather than have an experience that ten years later I would forget. This way I can’t forget because I have to depend on Him for a miracle today.”

Ron: “So, when you preach today, you are not talking about something that happened years ago but something that happened this morning when you got up. In other words, you are not just proclaiming truth, you yourself are the proclamation. People like me are ministered to by you, just as much by the miracle of your still being alive today as by what you say.”

Manley: “I have come to the realization that my life is as much the message as what I say is. I am finding that sometimes when I am helped to the pulpit that people will stand and applaud. At times I have wanted to rebuke them. Then the Lord rebuked me by showing me that they were not clapping for me but they were clapping for what the Lord was doing in me by just keeping me alive. It is for Him.”

Ron: “That brings me to a very important question; does God have to take us through suffering, of one degree or another, in order to really use us for His glory?”

Manley: “I don’t find anything in the Bible that says a person must go through a time of brokenness and suffering in order to be used of the Lord. My conviction is that it is probable. The examples we have in Scripture of those who were greatly used of God were folk who went through some kind of breaking. I say some kind of braking because it would be very foolish of me to suggest that the only suffering that God uses is physical, because for some, emotional trauma is as great a suffering as anyone would want to experience. Then there is what I call the trauma of environmental activity such as finances or family. This kind of trauma can actually lead to emotional brokenness and even physical suffering. I also believe that suffering can be God’s answer to a desire or prayer on the part of a Christian who wants, no matter what it will cost, to go deeper with God – to know Him more fully even though they do not know what valley they may have to go through. God sees the desire of that heart and allows certain things to happen that will conform that child more into the likeness of Christ than anything else could.” 

Ron: “When you were recently released from the hospital, I phoned you from Georgia. You told me a little bit about what was going on, then you made a statement that has intrigued me. You said: ‘God has shown me some things that I don’t think people are going to want to hear.’  Now, I know that you get many calls from hurting people all across the country who want to talk with you because they know ‘you have been there’ Do you find, however, that many of these are really wanting a simplistic answer rather than the truth?”

Manley: “Ron, this is perhaps the most difficult thing for me to communicate at this time. I am still trying to put together the things that the Lord has shown me… This last time in the hospital they told me that I literally died six times. My heart stopped beating and I stopped breathing. When they told me this, I wondered why God did not show me Heaven like I understand others have experienced when they were supposed to have died. I asked the Lord about that, and three weeks ago He showed me that if I had seen Heaven I would not have wanted to come back. That’s a simple but factual answer. Sometimes, however, answers are not that simple. I sense that when some people call me, they either are looking for healing or an aspirin kind of answer, you take it in a few minutes the headache is gone. That way the purpose God has for the suffering would be totally lost. You see, suffering is a vehicle that God uses to teach us. When God shows you some revelation of Himself, suffering keeps you from exalting yourself. Paul had received so many heavenly revelations from God that he could have become important in his own eyes, so God kept him humble through suffering.” 

 

"Come Help Us Celebrate the Life of Manley Beasley"

So read the announcements on the marquee of First Baptist Church Euless, TX, that Friday, July 13, 1990. And they came. They traveled from across America and beyond. Man and women, old and young arrived at the service to pay tribute to a man whose life and message had changed the course of their own lives… People from every walk in life expressed gratitude to God for having Manley Beasley’s life intersect with theirs.