TITLE: Week-long Revivals
By Verna Mull
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When I was a young teenager, our church sponsored a week-long revival meeting. (one seldom hears of this today)
As a little girl, I truly felt that I was a Christian. My parents read the Bible each day, and we knelt and prayed together . Of course, being a somewhat normal child, this wasn’t always taken as seriously as it should have been. My brother, who was 5 years older than I, often looked at each other, grabbed our glass of milk and drank it just before kneeling. Our parents always prayed so long before our turn that we would see how many times we could make the milk come back up and re-swallow it, before it was our turn to pray. We would peek at each other and hold up “finger numbers” to compare how we were doing. (Not much of a testimony to my thoughts at that time)
Another reason that I had the “feeling” that I was saved, my mother always made me kneel and ask God’s forgiveness each time that I misbehaved, and this always made me feel so much better.
Many Sunday afternoons, we went to a church gathering at Iver and Vera Jepson’s home.. This was just a nice group of Christians who gathered to worship. There was always a minister to speak, and someone that would take the kids for a “sword drill” (looking up verses in the Bible) and that was about the only time, other than Sunday School, that I ever opened my Bible on my own, but, I thought that I was a Christian.
Also, my mother tried to teach me not to be critical of others when I didn’t know what they had been through. Really, It seems that I had a deep love for people; but being shy, it was seldom expressed, yet, sometimes I’d try to be observant and help anyone that I felt was struggling with something. I was sure that was what Christians were supposed to do.
There were some days that I experienced a little nagging of uncertainty about where I was in God’s plan. When I was about six or seven years old, this was nagging me, and the idea came to me that if I could throw a little rock over the first support band of the windmill, then, I would be assured that I was born again. If it didn’t make it over on the first throw, I just kept trying until it went over. Then I would feel so peaceful----until, somehow, there would be another conviction, and a repeat of the last endeavors! How could I have thought that God would accept that?
Well, back to the 7-day revival meeting! I was 13 years old, and the evangelist was John Long. He had a good sense of humor, and the young people all loved him. Now I know that revival is usually to encourage and help people to grow in the Lord, but this preacher never stopped there, and spoke very intently to us young people about where we were in our lives with God.
He held a Bible reading contest for the youth. He even was able to hold an assembly at our school to kick off this contest, at the beginning of the meetings. We were challenged to read the Bible, keep track of the chapters read, and meet at the church immediately after school, when he recorded how we were doing, and had a short devotional for us. There were to be prizes, and, being competitive, I carried my Bible everywhere that I went. For the first time, I began reading the Bible on my own.
As I read God’s Word, there began to be a tugging at my heart. I’d outgrown the stone-throwing by this time but I still wasn’t certain what was wrong. Well, I don’t even remember whether I won that contest or not, but I gained the most important thing in life! I had been drawn to go to the altar several nights before, but I was delayed by shyness, by having professed to be a Christian (which I suddenly realized that I was not). I am sure that I made every excuse that other people make for not accepting Christ. Even as I read the scriptures, I felt that I was obeying God, but I knew for sure that I had never truly given Him control of my life. I had never asked Him to dwell in my life, and the Spirit was so sweetly moving me to make that life-changing commitment!
That last evening of the revival, I made the decision that I must settle things with Christ, and the moment the altar call was given, I stepped out into the aisle. I truly believe that Christ really came into my life, the moment that I stepped out of that pew. All of the excuses and shyness left me, and a huge burden was lifted from my heart.
The altar was filled with young people, many who didn’t even attend that church. I have had the privilege of worshipping with some others that knelt there that day.
Well, I am a strong believer that there is still room for 7-day revival meetings. I often think “what if this one would have closed on day 6?” Would I have gone through life thinking all I had to do was to live a good life? Only God knows that answer; but for me, how I praise God for the urging and strength of the
Spirit on that life-changing, last evening of that revival meeting!
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