PEARL P. POE
In the spring just before I was twenty-four, I was working on the railroad. I bought a young
cow from a neighbor. She was to be fresh in a few days. I was to give him so much for the cow, and if she brought a male calf, he was to pay me $5 and get the calf before it was a week old. She had a nice heifer calf, and I gave it to my wife. We let it have plenty of milk and fed it good. It grew fast. One day in early October, my wife went to see her folk. When I passed by my neighbor’s, I saw a dressed baby beef hanging in his yard. When I got home, there was $5 and a small piece of paper, saying, “I came up and got my calf.” It was then worth about $40. I became very angry and purposed to go to the road, fight the man, and kill him.
I was soon on the road and I could hear a wagon coming. I knew it was my neighbor. Then,
for the first time in ten years, I heard the voice of God: “Pearl, what you do on earth you will have to give account of at the judgment, and what you do not do, you will not have to give account of.” I turned and climbed through the fence. I would not look back. I could hear him passing, but God had spoken. I went home, picked up the milk pail, and when I came to the lot, my cow was there looking for her calf. I told her my wicked neighbor had murdered her calf. And I patted her on the neck and said, “I am sorry.” She looked at me as if she wished she could speak.
I sat down to milk, and when I was about half through, I was thinking of God speaking to
me again and I said, “Praise the Lord.” It frightened the cow and she ran from me. I called to her and she stopped, raised her head high, and I told her to come back, for I was just praising the Lord for speaking to me. She trusted me and returned to the lot and I finished milking.
I had become discouraged, thinking that I might never be saved, but now God had spoken to
me and it inspired hope. The next day I resigned my job. I told the man I worked with that I was going to move to Oskaloosa, Iowa, straighten up, and be a Christian. I moved to Oskaloosa, got work on the M. & St. L. railroad, building cars. It was not until about the first of the year that I became deeply convicted of my sinful life through another dream.
I saw a black object light near where several of us railroad men were. I said, “That is
Satan.” Just then I saw an angel passing through the air going southeast, and slowly I said, “The angel of the Lord. I am following Him.” I seemed to go without human effort. I was soon in the center of Africa. It was noon; I saw the sun nearly overhead. I saw a rainbow with a strange color in it. I said, “This is the sign of the end of the world,” and I knelt and prayed “O Lord, clean me out and fix me up for heaven.” There was a great blast of fire and I was in it, but felt no harm. I awoke, went back to sleep, dreamed the same dream again, and prayed the same prayer, but this time I came back to my work on the railroad. As I returned, I asked God to deliver me, and told Him I would serve Him. I awoke again, but not to go back to sleep. I was pondering the dream in my mind and could not sleep. When I left for work that morning I took a chew of tobacco. It tasted awful. I spit it out and have never taken another chew, nor craved it, since, and that has been over 34 years. God was answering the prayer I had prayed in my dream, by cleaning me out and getting me ready for heaven.
Conviction for sin deepened. I had not been in a meeting for over five years, and I had
become so discouraged during the last year that I had been tempted greatly to end my life by self-destruction, but God prevented.
I became desperate in my seeking and praying. I spoke to the man with whom I was
working and told him I was quitting sin and was going to give my heart to God. He said, “You are too wicked.” That only deepened the conviction. He said, “Anyone who curses like you do, won’t get saved.” In my desperation that night I went into a spare room, got down on my knees, and prayed, “Oh, God, I am through with the life of sin. If You never forgive me and I die and go to hell, I will go serving You.” I meant it. That night at the supper table, I looked my wife in the eyes and said, “Wife, if I straighten up and live a Christian life, will you?” She smiled, tears filled her eyes, and she said, “I have been waiting a long time to hear you say that.” I said, I am going to.”
After supper I picked up a little old Bible that I asked for when my grandmother — my
mother’s mother — had passed away As I read it, my wife said, “Aren’t you going to lodge tonight?” I answered, “Wife, I have been lying to you. I have been going to the show, not to the lodge, then stopping at the pool hall, but I am not going any more.” Who was preaching to me? The Lord. He had convicted me of sin and I was through with the whole mess of it.
That night (a Saturday) a leaflet, announcing a revival meeting at the Lighthouse Mission,
was placed on our porch. I said, “Wife, let’s go.” We did and she went forward. The old devil, the deceiver, said to me, “You have done all you can do now. Just profess it,” and I did not go to the altar. The Lord showed me that if I professed, I would be a liar. I went home, but not to rest. I rolled and tossed most of the night. In the night I told the Lord that if He would just let me live until I could get to the meeting Sunday afternoon (they did not have morning service), I would go forward.
I sat on the front seat and cried through the preaching. When the altar call was given, I felt I
was bound; I could not go. My feet would not move. I was crying aloud now. Finally, I fell — it seemed I was going; to hell. But between where I stood and the altar, in my falling I cried in desperation, “Oh, save me, Jesus.” When I hit the altar, I was saved, reclaimed, and I knew it, for the love of God came into my soul. I had lost love for all people a while before this. Oh, I
respected them, but love was gone. I went home, erected a family altar that to this day I have kept up. I told my wife, who was so glad I had gotten saved, that I supposed I would get my call to preach again. I will never forget her looks and words: “Again? I never knew you ever had a call to preach or I would never have married you.” I said, “Yes, I backslid over it, but have never told anyone.” And I am sure that the largest percent of backsliding today is because God has asked individuals to do something they are not willing to do and they grieve the Holy Spirit. That night as I prayed, God spoke, “Now, will you go preach for me?” I said, “I will, Lord.” He said, “Would you be willing to go to Africa?” I said, “Yes, Lord, anywhere,” and I meant it, and it holds good today. I will go anywhere He calls. He is my leader, my All in all.
That night I had a vision. I was standing in a beautiful yard with fruit trees to my right and
tall fir trees to my left, and a beautiful house behind me. I was looking west in the evening. The lane was over-arched with limbs of elm trees. I saw a man walking slowly toward me. I recognized that it was Jesus. He said, “Follow me.” We were in front of the house. We crossed the lane, went through a fence, and, after we had walked some distance, He turned and faced the place I had left. He said, “See that beautiful home?” I said, “I do.” He said, “That represents the homes of America. See those fruit trees?” “Yes.” “Those represent fruit-bearing Christians. See those tall fir trees?” “Yes.” “Those represent preachers in America. Follow Me.” We were soon in a barren land; not a living thing — no trees, no weeds, nor grass. Jesus sat down Hindoo style, and began to pick up handfuls of black, sandy, loam soil. He said, “See how rich this soil is?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “This is in the heart of Africa. I have many millions of souls here that have never heard the gospel. You sow the seed and I will reap the harvest.” I said, “I will.” Then He said, “East of here England has her breweries — the whirlpool of hell, and thousands are drowned in it each year. The Catholics and Mohammedans are pressing in on the North and West and thousands more are deceived by them and will be eternally lost.”
The next morning as I was going to work, I found a picture of Africa describing exactly
what the Lord had showed me in the vision. I overtook a group of the railroad men with whom I worked. I was a new creature — happy in the Lord. They saw the change in my looks, my habits, and my talk. One asked, “What has happened to you?” I said, “The Lord Jesus has saved me and He is in my heart.” One of them spoke up, “Ah, you can’t get it that way — get so good all at once you quit everything.” I said, “Thank God, I did.” Some said, “Oh, you will soon be back.” Some gave me a day, then a week, a month, six months, a year, as time went on. But it only made me more determined to be true.
Without ever hearing a holiness sermon preached, I saw my need and became an earnest
seeker. Three days after I was converted I asked some of the men to come to the service and one came. They chose a song, “The Holy Ghost Has Come,” and it set my heart aflame. Several began shouting. I had never heard that before and, as they shouted, I thought of the man I had asked to the meeting, Satan took advantage of me and began to lie to me. He told me that man would tell the other men at the railroad and they would make fun of me. Satan put his disapproval on the shouting and stirred carnality in me until I was angry. I was sitting on the front seat and had made a couple of remarks that were not good. Just then the preacher, blest as he was and who could nearly have touched me with his finger, said, “Now Brother Poe, lead us in prayer.” I had only been saved three days and now in a state of anger and disgust. I was in no shape to lead a congregation in prayer, but I was honest. We went to our knees. All was quiet. I started to pray, “Oh, dear Lord, if
You will forgive me for being in this place, I won’t be found like this again. And if You can help some poor soul here, do it for Jesus’ sake, Amen.” Under the anointing the man preached on the need of salvation. When the meeting was dismissed, I would not look around until I felt sure all had gone home. I felt I never wanted to see again that man that I had asked to come. Satan gave me an awful tussle. When we stepped off the Mission steps to go home, I said, “Wife, we have started, we won’t quit. We will go to a certain church down town. They don’t act that way down there,” and they didn’t; they were too dead. Now wouldn’t it have pleased Satan if he could have gotten me in one of his refrigerator churches?
We had prayer after we got home and nothing more was said. We had prayer the next
morning before I went to work, but I went with a heavy load on my heart and mind. It became so heavy about 9:00 a.m. that I climbed up in the car for a moment of prayer. The Lord said, “Did I not cause you to weep over your sins?” I said, “Yes.” “Did I not make you rejoice when I forgave you?” “Yes, Lord.” Then He said, “I have a second benefit that will destroy this other feeling.” I began at once to seek for light and deliverance. I got out of the car and went back to work, determined to go through with Jesus.
Going to work that morning I had not walked fast; I arrived just in time to punch my card. I
did not want to meet the man I had invited to service. He worked several blocks from where I did – he at the north end of the rip track, I pretty well to the south end. After I had had my prayer, I looked up and saw him coming about two car lengths away. I went to the far end of the car that I was working on. He came around the car. When he got to one end, I would be at the other. That happened twice. He knew I was dodging him, so he crawled under the car and came up in front of me. He said, “How are you?” I said, “Not so hot.” He said, “I know what the trouble is. Old Satan tried to make you think I would tell the men and we would make fun of you. I saw it bothered you last night when they were shouting.” I said, “Yes, it is all true.” He said, “I came down to encourage you. Don’t give up. I am not a Christian, but when I get it, that is the kind I want. I enjoyed the shouting and my wife has that kind. She has prayer in our home and gets to shouting. About that time, Satan, the old devil, went sneaking away somewhere, as I told him he had done the tempting and accusing. I could hardly wait to get home to say, “Wife, come on, let’s get the children ready and go to the Mission.” She said, “I thought you weren’t going any more. “Well, we are. God showed me I needed something more — the second benefit.” Then I saw these words, ”Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” I wanted to see the Lord and became an inquirer for holiness. The only answer I received was, “Brother Poe, let the Lord lead you. He will show you.”
I waited a few nights. They were preaching repentance. At the close of the altar call no one
had responded. I said, “May I speak a word?” The preacher said, “If it is in the will of God.” I said, “I don’t know about that, but I know I am forgiven, and I know I am converted, but there is such a hunger in my heart for something more, I can hardly stand it. I am going to the altar and if there are any others who feel like that, will you come, too?” I was told that about fifteen others came, but I was there for myself. After earnestly praying for God to satisfy that hunger, someone said,” Ask God to sanctify you.” I did not know what the word meant, but I asked the Lord to sanctify me. Then, as I was getting along quite well in prayer and felt the nearness of the Lord, someone said, “Give up all you know and all you don’t know,” and that confused me. Then they
said, “Now you are the gift and Jesus is the altar. Get up and claim the work.” I arose and said, ”My heart is still hungry. I am not satisfied.”
I went home to pray it out, and about three in the morning I reached a place of utter
abandonment of my life to God. I arose to my feet and said, “O God, I will stay here till I die or be sanctified. Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee; it is all that I can do.” My will submerged into His will. My heart was purified and cleansed — the hunger has gone and I was filled. The Spirit said, ”Read the sixth chapter of Romans.” I did not know where to find it, but when I had located it, I read, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him,” and I knew that my old nature was dead and cleansed. Then, “As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” I knew I had yielded. If people will get under enough conviction to truly repent and get a bedrock experience of regeneration, with a clear witness, you won’t have to coax and beg and pull to get them to seek the Holy Ghost in His sanctifying power. God sanctified me ten days after my born again experience.
I was saved the third of January, sanctified the thirteenth, started preaching the seventeenth,
and from that day until June nineteenth, I missed only three nights in service and preached most of those nights.
Source: “The Power of God in a Redeemed Life” by Pearl P. Poe
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts