Today I went to the most beautiful funeral at Emmanuel Pentecostal for our beloved Rev. Cleveland M.Becton. No greater memorial can be given for someone’s life than to be known as a friend of God. Bro. Becton was adored by not hundreds but hundreds of thousands around the world. He left a lasting impact that will reverberate for eternity. This giant of a man preferred to hide behind the cross and manifested a life of humility, kindness and holiness that would be hard to duplicate. We were so fortunate to have him with us at Emmanuel Pentecostal these past 10 years after serving so many years as the General Secretary for the UPCI.
Bro. Becton had a special place in my heart for a reason few knew. In 1991 I was in a hit and run car wreck. My car smashed the concrete medium and when my head hit the steering wheel and the windshield shattered, my forehead was split open from temple to temple. The gash went across the bridge of my nose and narrowly missed my left eye. I never lost consciousness but remember a woman coming into the car and saying “Who are you? There are angels in this car.” I could feel them too and the presence of the Lord was so strong there was no room to feel afraid. I thought perhaps my time had come and was rejoicing in that fact. When the ambulance arrived they bandaged my head and headed for Parkland hospital. The paramedic must have had a twisted sense of humor because he asked me if I knew where I was. I said I was quite aware that I was in an ambulance. He said “Do you watch ‘Days of your Lives’ because this is your day?” I explained I do not watch television. Then he told me that the doctor who would sow me up would cut off all my long uncut hair because it was full of blood and shattered glass. I told him that God would not allow that to happen because angels listened to my prayers because of my consecration. He said “Who do you think you are? Samson or something?”
The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord and when I arrived at the hospital God had prepared the doctor who would sow me back together. He honored my request not to have all my hair cut off and painstakingly took the 150 stitches over a 3-1/2 hour period with no pain medication whatsoever. All the time I was praying and sometimes spoke in tongues. When the doctor got to the stitch over my eye frustration overcame him and he said there was no skin there to take a stitch. He said it was a miracle I had not lost my eye. I told him that the Lord had directed his hands thus far, and that if he took one more stitch, by faith the Lord would create the skin he needed. Skin miraculously appeared so he could stitch over my eyelid.
In time I recovered, and recall it as being one of the most wonderful times because when we are broken the Lord draws so marvelously close. When Jesus is all we have we find He is all we need. I wanted to share this wonderful experience of the Lord’s miraculous care during a horrific accident, and had hoped the church I was attending at the time would let me testify, but for some reason they didn’t let me. Inside I felt someone had to hear my story. I had remembered Bro. Becton visiting my church years before and the lasting impression he and his precious wife had made on me. The Lord put it on my heart to write to him. It took quite an unusual boldness for me to write to the General Secretary of the United Pentecostal Church and share my experience. Within a few weeks I received a reply from Bro. Becton. I remember when I opened the envelope, and saw the beautiful gold-embossed stationery, I felt I was about to read words from a king. Bro. Becton was so kind and gracious and told me how my testimony had ministered to him. No one can understand what an impact that letter had on my life. I shared that letter with Bro. Becton when the Lord brought him our way many years later. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 His words of encouragement in that letter written many years ago were indeed like apples of gold and this gentleman with his beautiful silvery hair was indeed a “picture of silver”.
Last weekend I was in Soledad, CA as a guest of Chaplain Grady Powell and his lovely wife of 41 years, Sister Mona. We had one service Saturday night and three Sunday. I just wanted the Lord to move and Bro. Powell gave me the liberty to let the Holy Ghost flow. I felt so inadequate because the hunger and sincerity of the nearly 400 men who attended the services was strong. However, the Lord is more than enough and His Spirit was strong in every service. Many repented and were seeking the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Three men at the last service were filled with the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. These men understand the concept of evidence because they knew it took evidence in a court of law to convict them. Holy Ghost conviction is different than this world’s courts. When the Lord convicts He brings us up out of our condition.
I remember telling the prisoners that they were “treasures of the deep”. There is a world underneath the sea that until recently was largely undiscovered. There are a multitude of different species and living creatures that inhabit the sea. Some are able to camoflauge themselves to keep from being devoured by predators. I told the men that when they repent and are born again of water and Spirit the blood is applied and the predators cannot destroy them . Our Lord promised that nothing shall in any wise do us harm. There is no way anyone can stereotype prisoners because they are a cross section of our society out here. They come from all walks of life and when they turn their life around and embrace this apostle’s holy doctrine they can be mightily used of God right where they are. “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in search of the depth?” Job 38:16. Somehow light filters down to the ocean floor, and this past weekend we felt like a great Light had pierced the darkness of that prison. Job 12:22 states, “He discovers deep things out of darkness and bringeth to light the shadow of death.”
I believe revival has hit Soledad and we will be hearing many more reports in the days and weeks ahead. I feel so blessed to be part of it.