Monday, January 31, 2011

(Tune: Amazing Grace)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
To those who know the Lord
But what of those who still are bound
And do not have His Word?

The many dangers, toils, and snares,
Through which we daily go,
Are nothing to compare, Oh Lord,
With what the heathen know.

Ten thousand years to sing His praise
Bright shining as the sun,
While lost men suffer endless days,
Their torment never done.

Since grace has meant so much to me,
My zeal must never dim.
I'll give myself, Oh Lord, to Thee,
To take Thy grace to them.
(Copied from the blog of a dear friend.  Author unknown)


I was saved January 30, 1996.  This year in my Sunday school class I decided to take a break from my usual lessons (Queens and Princesses in the Bible) and start with the basics.  Number one on the list of course was salvation.  We talked about the 2:1 and the 1:2 ratios of deaths to births.  I explained that you could either have two birthdays and one death; or one birthday and two deaths. ( John 3:1-6 and Rev. 21:8) 

All of you who have ever taught or spoken to young girls know how it is when you don't think anyone is listening.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised!  Thursday before last one of the girls in my class (one of the rowdier ones) came up to me and asked me what I did for my birthday.  I said, "My birthday is in October".  to which she replied, "No, you know what I mean.  Your other birthday."  Then I said, " Oh, that is not until next week." 

The truth be told, I hadn't really planned to do anything special for my spiritual birthday.  Well, I have decided to share my testimony as my gift for my second "birthday".  So here it is:

I grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in a family that wasn't exactly Christian.  I remember going to church a few times as a small child - either on a bus or with my mother and her boyfriend.  I have to say that one time we went to a church called the "Jesus Church" and it was the most fun.  There was a lot of singing and people were shouting and running around and all sorts of stuff!  Well, mom grew up a baptist and she didn't like all that crazy stuff in church so we never went back.

One time I rode the bus to church with my friends after spending the night at a sleepover with them.  It was bus #11 and we went to Windsor Hills Baptist Church.  At this time I was hanging around with mostly sixth graders; but I was in the third grade. I went to the sixth grade girls class with them (I was almost 5ft. and 100lbs. though so no one was the wiser!).  During the invitation time I remember the preacher asking for people to raise their hands.  I peeked and noticed that two of my friends raised their hands, so I did too.  A bus worker then ushered me to the front and I remember talking to a lady, shaking my head "yes", then praying.  After the service I remember everyone was so happy for me; I wasn't sure why.

Later I visited other churches, mainly as a result of their bus/van ministries.  I remember going foreword on my own during one invitation service especially.  The personal worker who dealt with me asked me if I had prayed to be saved once before...flashes of my earlier invitation experience crossed my mind..and I said, "yes".  She proceeded to give me assurance verses; but for years after I struggled with doubt.  At this time I was twelve years old. 

Soon after that we moved.  My grandmother, who was a member at Windsor Hills, gave our address to her bus workers.  They transferred it to the Jacksons, (Tyrone and Sharon who are now missionaries in Trinidad) and they came and visited us on a Thursday evening and invited us to ride bus#8 to church with them on Sunday.  Mom said it was fine for us to go; but she wasn't interested. 

We went, and my brothers and I became faithful riders on bus #8.  Later I was asked if I wanted to go to Christian Camp (Triple "S" Christian Ranch in Rosebud, Ark.), Youth Conference, and finally to Winsdor Hills Baptist School.  I don't even remember asking my mom for permission.  I went to all of the above.  During the missions conference (January 30, 1996) a missionary wife gave her testimony. In it she stated that she was on deputation to go to the mission field; but she knew she wasn't saved.  She had grown up in a Christian home and was the daughter of former missionaries; yet she had never asked Christ to become her Savior.  I thought to myself, If she wasn't saved then surely there was the possibility that I wasn't saved either.  If you know anything about the missions conferences at WHBC, you know that they begin the services with a song, then a testimony, then more singing and maybe a skit, then preaching, then handshaking time, then more singing, then more preaching.  Well, her testimony was the first testimony.  During the break for handshaking I rushed to the front and told Mrs. Jackson that I HAD TO TALK TO HER.  I just knew that if I didn't get saved right then that there was going to be an earthquake or something and I was going to die and split Hell right open!  She said there wasn't time and I had to wait.  Would you believe that I don't remember another thing that happened that night, except that when invitation time FINALLY came I was the first one down the aisle.  That evening I prayed to be saved and the next I was baptised. 

Honestly, I cannot tell you whether or not I was saved after the first time I prayed in the third grade, or in my eight grade year.  The Bible says that in order to be saved all that is required is a child-like faith. (Matthew 19:14) What I can tell you is that after the evening of January 30, 1996 I have never doubted whether I was going to Heaven or not.  I claim this date as my spiritual birthday and I am happy to share it with all you today.  My challenge to you is that you tell someone your testimony today also.  It is such a blessed experience to relive!


Dear Pastor and Praying Friends,

The year 2010 was an exciting year of change for our family. We moved from North Carolina to take a church in Arkansas, we visited our families in Oklahoma and California for the holidays,  Aaliyah celebrated her first birthday, and we found out that we are expecting to have another baby in early June of 2011. The Lord truly has been good to us!

We praise the Lord that Lighthouse Baptist Church of Newport, Arkansas also experienced many changes last year. In our last letter we reported that we were experiencing a steady increase of visitors and members, and boy was it great. Unfortunately the steady growth did not continue; but we are encouraged by God’s word, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalms 126:6). The year 2010 ( specifically September through December) allowed us to experience the joy of seeing ten souls saved and one baptized!

As many of you know, we have been praying for ten men to join the church and become faithful, active members.  This past Sunday we had five men in church. We pray that this will be the year that we reach that goal of ten faithful men; then next year we can start praying for ten more! In closing, please continue to pray with us about the following:

• Wisdom about our church van which currently is not running
• Housing in Newport
• Financial Wisdom
• A safe delivery of our little one expected in June
• Ten men to join the church and become faithful, active members

In His Service,

Pastor Raymond Beckles

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beckles Baby Two!

Just in case you didn't know...We are expecting baby number two!!!!!  What a pleasant surprise.  I am also happy to announce that I may just be able to have a water birth.  When I was expecting Aaliyah I did some research which included my watching a video entitle: "The Business of Being Born".  This led me to further research and the desire to have a water birth; but in NC that wasn't an option (according to my doctor); so I was so pleased to find out from my midwife (of seven years and 100 births under her belt!) that I could have a water birth at no extra charge because she has access to a birthing pool.  What a blessing!!!  Beckles #2 is due June 8, 2011 and I can't wait to meet him or her. 

P.S. Raymond is voting for an him...the picture is not of me, I just thought it was neat!

Until next time,



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