Ed Lawrence, A sincere follower who has been forgiven much and loves much. My life is devoted to exposing people to Jesus and His love. Married 20 years to a very understanding woman who is second only to Jesus. Please welcome Ed as he shares Part 3 of his testimony of Salvation.
I was so enjoying my new found salvation! Life was good. I saw Jesus bringing new life, new thoughts to my mind daily. I was praying for more revelation, I wanted to know more of His power, His kingdom and this great thing happening to me. I was soon to find out! Learning to sleep well in a dorm with 100 men who are in for various crimes is a gift from God. You learn to sleep light and be aware of what is around you. One night around 3 AM I awoke, didn’t move, just opened my eyes and listened. I was astounded at what I saw. Fear gripped me as I saw two beings at the end of the dorm walk down the center of the bunks. One was tall , wore a long black shiny robe with a high collar. He had long black hair and a sinister beard. Beside this one was a small, hairy being, reddish hair, and only 3 ft tall. As they walked down the center, the big one would point to a bed and the little one would go over and bite the person sleeping on it. I thought, “wake up , wake up!” But, I was awake and this was real, what was more real though was the fact they were coming closer to me. When they got in front of my bed the tall one pointed at me and I looked into his black eyes. I had fear rise up in me and I could not speak. I tried as the little one came up to me and was inches away. In my mind I was shouting ‘Jesus’, but only a grunt came out my mouth. Praise God though, just as I was about to be bitten I shouted ‘Jesus’! I saw in the eyes of this being such a look of sadness, such a lost being I felt sad for it. But it backed away and they both walked through a wall and never came back.
Needless to say, I stayed awake the rest of the night seeking God on this. Why? He revealed to me that I was to not only know the power in the name of Jesus, but also the authority He has given to us that comes from just using His name; that demons really do flee when we use that name. They may not recognize Ed, but they recognized the name of Jesus spoken by one of His followers. I would reflect back to this time many times in ministry where demons had to be cast out of someone before me. I still will have a little fear, but I know and have confidence in the authority to tell that demon in Jesus name release them. So far so good!
The nightly services at Mt. Pleasant were going great, some of the visitors coming in had developed a trust in me and were asking me to speak during “their” time. It was such a blessing! I was a gusher, sometimes 3-4 teachings would come out my mouth without even studying or praying over what I should say as I never knew when I would be given the liberty to do so. One day, as I was on the way to the service, a counselor came up and asked, “Ed, if you were to be released tomorrow , would you have a place to stay?” WOW! I said “yes, but I will get back to you” (I was speaking faith). I immediately went to a phone and called one of the visitors who came to our church, Hal. I excitedly told him what I was asked by the counselor and asked him for advice. To my amazement he said that his son just moved out of a trailer on his property and I could stay there, wow! He had only known me from five or six services at the church! He continued on by saying he could get me a job where he worked if I wanted!! If I wanted??? I was in tears! I thanked him and went to report the good news to the counselor.
All that week, my mind was in a state of high energy. I had so many thoughts going through my mind. I was scared, I didn’t know what the outside was like. I didn’t know what life ‘out there’ was like; I knew only prison. How would I act if free? Would I go back to the lifestyle I had before? So many questions and concerns. Each one I had to ask God on. He was silent for some reason. But, I read the Word, built myself on His written promises and that the plans He had for me were good , not evil ,to give me a hope and a future. How I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That my God shall provide all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.
The next week, as I was leaving the kitchen I was called to the main office. I thought I was in trouble for something as that is usually the only reason people were called there. Perhaps my bed was not made right or something. Funny how we always think the worst at times. Anyway I went in and waited to be called. As I was sitting there, I had a thought, this is the first week of June. I got excited! I remembered what I wrote in the dirt, 6/90!! Could this really be happening? I was anxious now! Thankfully, the counselor called me in before I went nuts in my thought life. He said “Ed, I need you to sign this paper” I asked what this was. He said,” it is your release papers” I asked, “did I make parole?” He said, “no, this is a release warrant from the Governor of North Carolina. You are free soon as you sign it”. Oh my…I tear up now as I write this thinking of the goodness of Jesus!
I signed that paper as quick as I could. He gave me a check for $50.00 from the state. Man I thought I was rich! I went back to the dorm and packed up my stuff. A bar of soap, toothpaste, tooth brush shampoo and my Bible. Everyone was excited around me. My brothers were praising God and we did the parting thing as they walked me to the gate. As I was in between the fences, I looked back on my brothers, I would miss them. I did and did not want to leave. Hal, bless his heart was out front in the car waiting for me with his wife. I would have never thought the battle going on inside of me would be so intense. I was scared.
Walking through that last gate though was exhilarating though when I saw Hal get out of the car and hug me and said, “lets go” I never looked back…but, that did not mean I was not coming back! They stopped at a Waterburger hamburger joint and we went inside. I was so uncomfortable. I felt everyone looking at me like they knew I was just out of prison. Hal and his wife Linda noticed this in me. They said “relax, you are free and you are loved…” Oh how I felt that! I needed that and made the wonderful food that much more enjoyable. As we were eating they said I started work tomorrow, but for tonight to get first settled in. Then they said, “It is our night for service at Mt Pleasant, would you want to go?” Another shock! Go back? I just left! But, I just felt the peace of God came over me and I said, “yes, that will be good”. I thought though,’ what if they made a mistake in releasing me and I go back and I am back…what if what if…’ Once again the battle of my mind began…once again I would see the victory Jesus paid for all of us who call on Him are to walk in.
Life was good! I was working a real job! In my eyes the job the Lord had for me was a blessing, in my mind and body though I must admit, I asked God why! I got up at 4 am prayed, read the Word, and got ready to be onsite at 6 am. Once there, I would put on a white suit and hood, then grease my face and arms with a heavy coating of Vaseline. See, my job was working in a pole barn painting mobile home trailer frames that were stacked nine high. For 10 hours a day in the heat of North Carolina, I dragged a heavy paint hose over and under and through every cart of frames they brought in. It was never ending work. I would sweat so much that water would collect by the cupfuls in my sleeves and pant legs!
After 2 weeks I was asking God about it and He said ‘just quit’! Well, I was all for that, I was making $6.00 an hour after all, surely the Lord would provide more somewhere else. Little did I realize I was half right on that! So I went in and announced to my boss that I could not take the heat any longer…he looked at me and said, “will you stay if I gave you a dollar raise?” Well, I wasn’t expecting that and was caught off guard! So I said “sure, I will stay”. Over the course of eight months, I had this same conversation with my boss 4 more times. Each time he gave me a dollar raise! When I did leave, I was making $11.00 an hour and had some savings!
All the while, during this time, Frank and Aaron were picking me up in Concord North Carolina and taking me to various church meetings and events. I liked Charlotte as there were some very anointed ministries and plenty of opportunities to let God work in my life. When I first went to that city it was with Frank and Aaron, they took me to a ‘Carmen’ concert in the arena. Looking back I now see why, but, at the time all I can say is I was so…uncomfortable. I had never been around so many people before. I was experiencing high anxiety walking to our seats. What was weird was that in my mind, I thought everyone who looked at me knew I was a ex convict. Mind you now, I was among Christians who I felt were much better than me. Little did I know that this was a lie from Satan to try to stop what God wanted me to do.
Looking back now, after 20 years of freedom in Jesus, I have seen Him move to prove His Word true in my life. He has restored all and then some! I am married and enjoy living in a house that He gave us. I have had several businesses, and am currently a contractor for the Department of Defense. God is so very good in this as to do this work I needed a Top Secret clearance with the government. needless to say, He did it with no issues! I have spoken with 4 star Generals and high ranking civilians and been afforded opportunities to share my faith and even pray with them. The final chapter is not written yet, but I have faith that it will be just as exciting! Please feel free to share this with anyone. If He did it for me, He will do it for anyone!
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