WILL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOREVER
NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER
The teenager who had come from Sungurlu to Istanbul to establish himself in his trade harboured within a deep craving to discover the living God. His intensifying search in Istanbul finally led him to the God of salvation. The Holy Spirit was now using this man, once a seeker himself, to bring countless other seekers to the same joy and blessing. Eventually a genuine revival occurred, spreading from house to house and from one end of the city to the other. It was not organised by any human ingenuity or commercial interest. The Holy Spirit with His own authority and sufficiency drew many a simple person to the riches of God. Vahram was used to bring the prodigal life of many to a halt. He elevated the concept of faith to a plane above a routine religious exercise. He guided lives from uselessness to total usefulness.
The revival resulted in lively gatherings where the redeeming power of Jesus Christ was experienced in wayward lives. The sole guiding principle was God's Holy Word; the evident power was that of the Holy Spirit and of the Lord Jesus Christ, who effected the new birth. The God to whom Vahram belonged was the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory, constituting one holy being, creating, redeeming, sanctifying, revealing, teaching, strengthening and ultimately rewarding or judging all mankind. Vahram knew how to discern God’s voice and obey it. In his thinking this was the prerequisite for usefulness to bring salvation and purpose to lost people. As stated in the Scriptures: "For the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (II Corinthians l0:4, 5). The Word of the prophet Zechariah in the Old Testament was being fulfilled: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice" (Zechariah 4:6, 10).
Vahram's success in the service of God derived from his total dependence on God's Word, always referring to it for the support of his words. He used it systematically in every situation and applied it to every difficulty. He believed that the Word of God was trustworthy, speaking to man's condition. Whether selling and distributing the Scriptures, quoting them from memory or preaching, Vahram knew how effectual God's Word was. Varied experiences in his own life confirmed this stance. When he would say to anyone, "Look what is written!” this word came over as an underpinning of God's authority. Vahram's messages always were saturated with truths from the Word. He would never waste his time uttering a word insupportable by the Holy Scriptures. Without formal education or theological training, uninformed about the classics, lacking knowledge of languages, still this servant of God was able to come alongside thinkers and intellectuals in his unconventional manner. He could open up the most profound subjects because his inspiration was the Word of God and his instructor the Holy Spirit. And his heart was burning with zeal.
In this admirable dependence upon the Word he trained himself to write simple poems. Reading these, he would call his hearers to repentance and new birth. ‘Spare time,’ or ‘killing time,’ were not in his vocabulary. In an unoccupied moment, he either prayed or jotted poems on scraps of paper. He was intent on sharing every blessing and joy he experienced with others. It was his delight to relate any new spiritual insight to his fellow-Christians. Teaching God's truths to new believers was extremely important to him. Along with studying the Word, he taught the new believer to be a praying person. To those just starting in the faith he would suggest topics of prayer including the request, "Please pray for me." Through this he would lead them into effective intercession. He had no training in psychology, but he seemed intuitively to know how to address the most intricate problems and delicate situations.
Vahram had absolute faith in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to heal, but he was never known as a 'healer'. He would certainly have objected to such a designation. He believed that anyone's prayer of faith could bring healing. Suzan Hemshire was a new believer. One day, he went to her home. He was suffering with a bad earache, so he asked her to put her hand on his ear and pray in faith to the Lord. His request sprang from his own deep faith. He now wanted to impart this same faith to her. Suzan prayed. The next day he visited her again and gave her the cheerful news, "The Lord healed my ear in answer to your prayer."
In one of the house meetings a substantial sum of money had been given. It was sent to brothers and sisters in Haskoy with instructions to use it to help a needy family. A New Year's Eve service had been arranged at the Haskoy church. In spite of the snowy weather and that the church was surrounded by a vast cemetery creating an eerie atmosphere, many came. People in the neighborhood were also invited. On the way a few believers met a child looking for a house. But alas, that house had just collapsed and the family had retreated to a poor shelter. The meeting was postponed, and the believers all hurried to the market quite a distance away. They bought as much food as they could carry and then returned, presenting it to the destitute family. The poor people couldn't believe their eyes. "You are angels sent from God," they said. In this way the brothers and sisters showed that social responsibility and spiritual witness go hand in hand. "That was the happiest New Year's Eve I ever had!" Vahram remarked later.
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