WILL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOREVER
"THE YEAR OF JUBILEE"
Having had this amazing experience with the girl Vahram stated in one of his letters: "This has proved to me once again that if mothers and fathers would teach their children how to pray earnestly while they are still small, God would raise each of these little ones to be a hero of faith and prayer." Following the vision, meetings in Amman spread rapidly and the spiritual awakening reached new heights. This revival which started in a fascinating manner continued for nine months. Old believers from those days still relate how the sweeping impact of the Holy Spirit during those nine months brought genuine fear of God and deep reverence to the throngs who heard the message. These people say that the effect of that time can never be forgotten.
Vahram always spoke through an interpreter, but actually the Holy Spirit was communicating the heart-searching message, bringing into light the inner thoughts of many. Night after night, God in his sovereign power was leading seekers to salvation and newness of life. People leaving the meeting without having made any commitment would often spend that night and the next day in spiritual agony. They would wait for that crucial hour when the Holy Spirit would finally apprehend them. As soon as the meeting ended sinners would approach Vahram and tell him they were now ready to repent and to accept Jesus Christ into their lives. People returning home on public transport were singing hymns and testifying to others without embarrassment. In a brief time, news of the spiritual awakening spread everywhere. Amman had never before experienced such joy, excitement and seasons of refreshing.
Five percent of the total population of Amman were officially 'Christian.' A good proportion of these were attending the meetings during which they became true followers of Christ. In the meantime, a growing number of Muslims started showing up in the meetings. They had heard what was going on, and came to see for themselves. Some were converted to Jesus Christ. The news of this spread fast, and a certain anxiety surfaced. Conversion of Muslims, after all, was not part of the accepted norm. A Muslim could not abandon his religion!
Radio stations referred to this development with warnings attached: If Muslims continue to frequent these meetings and become followers of Christ, churches just might have to face closure. Naturally, this signal spread fear and Muslims became hesitant to attend. But believers visited interested Muslims in their homes and explained what following Christ meant. They encouraged and comforted recent converts.
After the meeting each evening, Vahram would be invited to a home for a meal. Usually some unconverted person present would come under conviction of sin. Sometimes, the person would leave the table, kneel down and settle his relationship with God. Then he would return with new joy to partake in the meal. Pastors were visibly revived; their sermons took on fresh vitality which warmed every heart. These were amazing acts of the Holy Spirit. The effects of the revival were the talk of the town.
One evening a young man who loved the violin was passing by. Hearing the sweet strains of a violin, he was drawn into the meeting. Soon he started to tremble under conviction of sin. He was converted and went home rejoicing. A young man, who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, was warned by his friends that the habit would kill him. To this he tried to joke about death, retorting, “Wonderful! Then you will be glad when you see my body carried into church!" He was trying to make light of his slavery to tobacco. Well, this young man came to a meeting one evening in spite of himself—probably in answer to much prayer. He sat down by the door so he could make a quick exit when the craving overpowered him. But he was so gripped by the message that he didn't go out even once to smoke! When the call to sinners was given, he jumped out of his seat and dashed forward. He repented that evening, becoming a liberated follower of Jesus Christ. He started to attend the prayer meetings. Smoking, drinking, gambling, womanizing and all other unworthy practices vanished. Vahram expressed his sentiments saying, "I feel as if I am in the Year of Jubilee described in the Old Testament<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. Slaves are liberated, heavy chains shattered, prisoners freed, sinners forgiven, and men and women shedding tears of joy. Believers who had fallen away, grown weak or who had stumbled on the pilgrim way have repented and come back to the Lord. This is a real revival. Hallelujah!"
Believers were constantly praying and witnessing to sinners everywhere, urging them to repent and turn to Christ. One evening a Christian fellow stayed with a Muslim young man until midnight explaining how he could be saved. He finally received Christ and was exuberant in his new-found faith.
At one meeting Vahram’s sermon was based on Daniel 6:10-23:- how the mighty God delivered his faithful servant Daniel in the den of lions, how He thwarted the schemes of evil planners and ultimately judged them. An atmosphere of holy reverence held sway over the entire congregation. After the message many repented, openly confessing their sins. One person after another called on the name of Christ. These meetings which did not follow a set pattern were climaxed with singing, testifying, conversions and prayer. Whenever Vahram preached, he depended on the authority and power of God's Word. In relation to this, he commented: "The Holy Spirit burned hearts like fire, cut them like a sword and broke them like a hammer." This was in accordance with the testimony of the Scriptures: "Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts: 'Because they have spoken this word, behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them' (Jeremiah 5:14). "...there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot" (Jeremiah 20:9). "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden..." (Hebrews 4:12, 13a).
The singing of hymns reverberated all around. Certain people in their homes who were convicted by the Holy Spirit would kneel down and repent right where they were. A soldier came into one of the meetings and complained about his spiritual lethargy. "I have been a believer for a long time, but I can't say that I am enjoying my salvation fully," he said. "I read the Bible, pray and attend meetings, but I'm not a joyful believer." The young man knelt down and prayed earnestly: "Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit" (Psalm 51:12). After his prayer the Holy Spirit directed him to this truth: "And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death" (Revelation 12:11). "Do you bear witness to others about the cleansing effect of the blood of the Lamb that you experienced?" asked Vahram. "No," said the young man, startled. "I wonder if that is the reason for my lack of inner joy." Vahram said, "You have answered your own question," and they knelt down to pray together. "Oh my Lord, I will speak to everyone of your love, grace and salvation. Please help me," prayed the young man. He made his commitment known to the elders of the church. From then on he enjoyed his redemption to the full. He constantly told others about Jesus, repeatedly expressing the enjoyment of his salvation in his revitalised life.
Vahram gave the following counsel to new believers: "Give yourself to prayer. Tell everyone that you are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Prayer and witnessing are the keys to a joyful Christian life. If you don't put these into practice, you will become barren and lethargic in your new life. You ought to know that the moment you were redeemed you were washed in the blood of the Lamb. To affirm this, start witnessing immediately, and in order to receive inner strength from God give yourself to prayer." Vahram always was careful to put into practice the advice he gave to others.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> cf. Leviticus 25:10
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