Jim Porter

Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers

My heart overflows with gratitude as I think of what the Lord has done for me. Before God saved me I never knew that a man could live a day or even an hour without sin. I thought that everyone sinned more or less all the time. I really thought that I was a Christian. I had forsaken the old life, the old habits, and had joined the church. I thought that was what it meant to be a Christian, and nobody told me any different.

I’m glad that God sees men’s hearts. He saw me way back in the state of Michigan. We had a prosperous little business there and had things going our way. They had elected me as city clerk in the little town where I lived, but we became dissatisfied and came out West and settled in Portland Oregon. I know now that it was the hand of the Lord that drew us there.

I went to work selling furniture for a man from this place, and he invited me to one of the Apostolic Faith meetings. I told him I was a Christian and described the big stone church I was attending. I was accustomed to going to church. I sang in the choir, had been treasurer of the church, and was president of the Christian Endeavor Society. In fact, I joined that society because I was endeavoring to live a better life. I was an earnest worker in the church. I would read and pray every day as the Christian Endeavor pledges told us to do. I would go down upon my knees before God night after night and confess my sins.

I finally went to an Apostolic Faith meeting so I could tell him I had been there. It wasn’t like so many places where they had a card for everyone to sign or something to join. The Spirit of the living God was there calling hungry hearts. I sat close to the head of the stairs so I could slip out as soon as the service was over, but as I started to walk out of the church, a young man grasped my hand and put a real question to me, “Young man, are you saved? Do you really know that you are right with God?” I am glad he used those very words because those words found me out. It took me completely off guard. That was just what I needed. There I stood and cast my eyes to the floor. This young man never spoke a word about my church membership or my missionary spirit; he asked me if I was saved. I made some excuse; I couldn’t answer honestly for I had never known what it was to be really saved, so I evaded the question and beat it down the stairs, but the great God of Heaven talks to men’s hearts.

This young man never spoke a word about my church membership or my missionary spirit; he asked me if I was saved.

For days and days, everywhere I went, that voice was ringing in my heart, “But are you really saved? Do you really know that you are right with God?” It broke me all up. I couldn’t face it at all. I would have given anything to have said “Yes” when the man asked me that question. I got my Bible and compared what they had preached with the Word of God.

I had heard of the old-time religion. I found it took the power of the Blood of Jesus to take sin out. When God began to uncover the sins of my life, I saw I was no better than the drunkard or the dope fiend. There was no use for me to go back to the big stone church anymore, so I came where they preached real straight.

There is something about this old-time Gospel that pulls a hungry heart toward God. I came back, and it seemed that every word that was preached was meant for me. I didn’t sit in the back of the church this time. I sat close to the front. These people don’t give you the right hand of fellowship and let the sin remain in your heart; they want you to pray and get your name written in Heaven. So that is just what I did. When the altar call was given, I wasn’t the first one down the stairs, but I fairly ran down the aisle and was one of the first ones at the altar. I fell in a heap, with the tears streaming down my face and began to pray, “Oh, God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It brought the answer. I saw that I had sins that nothing but the Blood of Jesus could wash away. They rolled up before me as I prayed.

I had habits that no one knew anything about. God showed me the love of cigarettes that no membership had ever taken out. I used to pray about those things many times, but I never could get rid of them. I saw, too, that I had to go back and make restitution to people I had wronged, and that broke up my hard heart. I saw how I lived when driven into a corner. I saw I was a stumbling block in the way of others. I was a real hypocrite. That is enough to wake up any man. The people who gathered around me encouraged me to pray.

I saw that I had sins that nothing but the Blood of Jesus could wash away.

Jesus came into my life and saved my soul and broke every habit. He blotted out the old record, gave me a clean slate, and recorded my name in Heaven. It was real to me; I felt I was walking on air. I know a little bit about what Heaven is going to be like because He has given me a taste of it down on this earth. I know I am a child of the King.

The next day I went home and told my mother and my folks about the old-time religion. Mother said, “You don’t mean to tell me I am not a Christian, do you?” Mother was doing the best she knew; she was living up to all the light she had. I said, “Mother, I don’t know, but you come and see.” She went to the Apostolic Faith Church and saw for herself. She went to the same altar and received the same kind of salvation as I had. She is in Glory today, and I have the hope of meeting her there.

Before God saved my soul, I used to wonder if I was in the right denomination, but when I rose to my feet after God saved my soul, I knew that I was in the right one. When I go to work in the morning, the joy of the Lord is down in my heart. These days, I don’t have to go struggling along as I used to. Thank God I have found the power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It can come right down into a young man’s life, take the sin out, put the victory in his soul, and give him an inheritance with Jesus.

Some years ago I met with an accident and fell while working on the job. They took me to the hospital and had me on the x-ray table. They said my back was broken, but in answer to prayer by this body of believers the Lord raised me up, and I am fine today. I have praises in my heart that the Lord hears and answers prayer and I can say that it is good to serve Him.

There is nothing shaky about the old-time religion. It stands! It is real! I know if He can give it to me, He can give it to you.

The Lord has kept me for over forty-five years with victory in my life. I have worked among the mechanics and have been able to live a Christian life and sing of my Redeemer. The way is getting better every day, and I can say it is good to serve the Lord.