Knocking on Heaven’s Door

He was married to a wonderful, dedicated and beautiful Christian young lady. He was a hard-working man who had served his country in the Navy at the end of World War II. He was a member of the church and even taught Bible classes at times, but . . . something about his life was not right and he knew it.

Joe Ford had met his wife, Mary, in high school when a romantically disposed aunt purposefully placed him at the same table with her at the Junior-Senior Banquet. Mary Lummus was a beautiful, smart and extremely dedicated and surrendered Christian young lady. These two teenagers had no idea of the wonderful things God had planned for their lives.
When high school graduation came about, Joe enlisted in the United States Navy and served his country during the last days of WWII. There were no cellphone calls, or internet texts, just the good old U.S. Mail. We don’t know what all was in those letters, whether on her part, his part or both, but what we do know is that they fell in love.  When Joe was discharged from the Navy in September of 1948, he had a very special mission in mind and that was to make Mary his wife. She agreed to the idea with one caveat; the cigarettes he smoked had to go. If getting this wonderful lady to be his wife meant having to quit the habit, it was a done deal. He stopped smoking immediately, and they were married about 90 days later.

Their life together included family obligations when Joe’s father was diagnosed with a brain tumor that required surgery. This young couple went home and began working his father’s farm and helping in his father’s recovery. He began teaching some Bible classes at church and even wondered about the ministry. These thoughts caused him to enroll at a liberal Baptist college. He enjoyed his studies but still knew that something wasn’t right.
The college he was attending warned their students about a well-known evangelist who was coming to their area. They were told not to go hear him preach because his doctrinal positions didn’t all agree with the view of the college. When he heard that information, he knew that he had to attend those services, and that is exactly what he did. It was one of the best decisions he would ever make in his life.

When the special speaker finished his sermon, Joe knew what his life was missing. He was religious but he had never personally settled things with the Savior. That night, Joe Ford was born again and his life was forever changed. He realized that God was calling him to give his life in full-time service. He answered that call and a lifetime of preaching to and loving people began.
Great men who have become Godly leaders of exceptional Christian organizations are usually well-known for the efforts to lead and teach others to follow in their footsteps. This is exactly what happened one night when the leader of Tennessee Temple College, Dr. Lee Roberson, came to Texas.  It was a special meeting and Joe was in attendance. He listened carefully and God moved him to approach Dr. Roberson who always made himself available after the service to those wanted to speak with him. Joe was told that it would be a great blessing to him and his family if he could come to Tennessee to complete his training and that is exactly what they did, and they found that the blessing of being at that place truly occurred.

After graduating from Tennessee Temple, Joe and Mary took their three kids and went out into the ministry that God had planned for them. This period of their lives included pastoring four churches and seeing countless souls saved and many grow in grace under their teaching. Joe pastored four churches in the next 20 years.

During these years Joe’s hearing began to fail causing them to leave pastoring in 1976 and return to Tennessee Temple to work for the college. They had left school with three children and returned with six children, as God had abundantly blessed them. Amazingly, all of their children have chosen to serve the Lord in some capacity.
Joe and Mary Ford with children and spouses

Toby & Rita (Ford) Weaver – ministry – TTU Grads

Dennis & Mona (Ford) Clark – ministry – TTU Grads

Mark & Suza (Ford) Rasmussen – ministry – TTU Grads

Joey & Jacqueline Ford – ministry – TTU/Pensacola Grads

Bill & Lyla (Ford) Curtis – ministry – TTU Grads

Rusty & Lisa (Ford) Smith – ministry – TTU Grads

13 Grandchildren-18 Great grandchildren
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Early in their married life this couple learned how to knock on Heaven’s door for their own hearts, for their ministry, and for their family. God answered their pleas that they might live a godly life, and that is exactly what He has given them for over seven decades. God has given them:

• An amazing life of service

• A wonderfully dedicated family

• The joy of a long life together

All of these blessings came because of God’s wonderful amazing grace.
As the shadows lengthen on the days of their lives, they await God’s call to come home where they will experience the face-to-face reality of Paul’s words in II Timothy, chapter four and verse eight.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

If you desire to experience these kind of results in your family then you need to learn to knock on Heaven’s door like Joe and Mary Ford have done. We have all been invited to do this and we have even been directed to come into His presence. The question here is: Will we?

Isn’t God’s grace a wonderful thing!?
Roger Allen Cook

I love to write stories about God’s grace. If you have a story I should consider, please contact me at: