Precious memories – the seeds of revival

“The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD,” Psalm 126:3-4.
I have been asked to speak on the subject of memories of blessed days long ago. When I start recalling the happy days of the 60s and 70s, it is the same, regarding time, as me looking back to the days of the ‘Home Rule’ crisis and the formation of the Ulster Volunteers when I was in my twenties!!
That puts in perspective just what it is we appear to be doing in the eyes of the 20-years here tonight!!
For some here, the 60s and the 70s are but as yesterday!
But for others it is ancient history indeed.
Well, irrespective of our viewpoint, the 60s and the 70s were wonderful days of revival blessing within the Free Presbyterian Church.
 
I. IT WAS A TIME WHEN THE PRESENCE OF GOD WAS VERY REAL AMONGST US!
As the Lord Jesus preached it is said “The power of the Lord was present,” Luke 5:17. That is how it was back then in prayer meetings in church and gospel services. I can recall meetings in which you were fearful of opening your eyes during the seasons of prayer, such was the sense of the Lord’s presence!
II. IT WAS A TIME WHEN THERE WAS WIDESPREAD CONCERN AMONGST SINNERS!
One of the most exciting things at the services was seeing who was in! You looked for the unlikely visitor, one who did not frequent the house of God and what a thrill when you spotted someone of that class! It was not mere idle curiosity but a prayerful anxiety that gave way to joy when you saw someone who had been prayed for in the meeting.
 
III. IT WAS A TIME OF JOYFUL CONTENTION AND WARFARE!
That may seem strange for the two are not obvious bedfellows! But they are in days of blessing.
“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name,” Acts 5:41. That is but one example! “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you, Matthew 5:10-12.
We are enabled to rejoice under such trouble. Acts 16:25, Hebrews 10:32-34.
 
IV. IT WAS A TIME OF FEAR AMONGST THE ENEMY.
1 Sam 14:13-15. The word ‘trembling’, refers to a fearfulness of heart and mind. Many times the enemy was defeated by the fear of the Lord that came upon them. Joshua 2:9, Judges 7:21, 2 Kings 7:6-7. We saw ‘OT’ days back then.
V. IT WAS A TIME OF SOUL WINNING AND CHURCH-PLANTING.
It was time of families being united in christ, of prodigals coming home and new congregations formed!
In the years between 1967 and 76, five congregations were formed and constituted out of the work which began in Lisbellaw.
This was the Lord’s doing and not man’s!!
There was a manifesting of the power of Pentecost!
Acts 2:41, 47, 4:4, 6:7, 9:11.
“Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses,” Isaiah 44:2-4.  May the Lord do the like again in our day!

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