June 26, 1998

Dad's Story

by Randy Keith

As a boy in 1945 I lived in a typical small southern town. All of us were involved in what was to be called the war to end all wars. Of course, we all now know that the man who called it that was not a prophet of God. Some were actually fighting while some of us were still at home, but we were all emotionally involved in that terrible war which ended on September 2, 1945.

In May that year a revival was started in what I think was the second largest church in the town. As a church its personality was one of stiff, albeit friendly and maybe even Christian, competition with the largest church in town. Of course, they wanted to become as large or larger but certainly never as "moderate". Some in the smaller church would even suggest that the biggest church was "liberal" in their worship and interpretation of God's Word.

People didn't think of that as a very nice thing to say about folks in that area in that era. We now refer to the area as the "Bible Belt" of the country (some in a not so nice way) and I am convinced that in that era even sinners were more attuned to the voice of God than many so-called Christians are today.

You would think, looking back with a little knowledge about human nature, that this was a perfect time for a revival. Folks were already praying hard for our nation and especially for our soldiers in the war. I doubt, though, that this revival will ever be referred to as an example of what you want your revivals to be like. I believe most of the members liked the evangelist's preaching.

However, although my memory isn't too clear on this point, for the entire two weeks I don't remember a single "sinner" going forward during the "altar call" to get saved. Except for members "rededicating their lives to Christ" there was certainly little activity. Naturally everyone was always glad for the Christians to rededicate their lives, but in this area of the country, a revival's success was usually measured by the number of folks who got saved.

I personally don't remember too much about the proceedings. I don't remember a word that was preached. However, I was already more than a little concerned about "where I'd spend eternity". I was being raised by God fearing parents and was certainly very much aware that there was a wonderful place called heaven where any one with a lick of sense wanted to live after they died. I knew as much or more about the alternative and was not too excited with my current prospects. With every revival service the feeling that I should respond to the "invitation" grew stronger. My heart would race and my ears would burn so hot I figured every one could see them. I just knew that I was already feeling the heat from my future abode, but I couldn't seem to get my feet to move.

After the regular service on the last Thursday evening before the revival closed, there was a prayer meeting in a small Sunday School room in the basement of the church. Fewer than ten people were in attendance but I won't tax my memory with the identity of but three of them. My mother and I were there and Jesus was there. I already knew about Him. When I left that little room that night I knew Him. No, most folks wouldn't call it a very successful revival as revivals went in those days, but it was the most successful revival of my life. No, it wasn't Christmas, but for one little boy it is the night Jesus was born because that night He was born in my heart. That manger scene means nothing without the birth of Jesus in your heart.

I am sixty two years old this year and except for some time off for "bad behavior" that is the birth of Jesus I have tried to celebrate in my heart and life daily ever since. After all these years our relationship is still not what it should be from my side. I have come to love Jesus more with the passage of time. Although I still love Him with imperfect love, I am secure in the knowledge of His perfect love for me. I am trying each day, ....... well, nearly each day, to understand and apply a little more of His love to my life. It may sound a bit selfish to some that I seem to just concern myself with His love for me. However, while you can't do anything to stop Him from loving you just as much as He loves me, at the same time I can do nothing to cause you to appropriate His love for you.

I can tell you that this story is true.

It is my story of His Story. His Story is history. Your story is still future. If you have not already done so there is still time to celebrate the birth of Jesus today .... for the first time .... or again.

To the World With Love,
Randy Keith

Personal note from Sherry:
This story was written by a Christian man; a wonderful, loving man; a great man of God; and a man I am PROUD {but not in the sinful way! *Grin*} to call my Dad! I love you Dad, thank you for raising me as you did! Thank you for teaching me about Jesus! Thank you for letting me know that you love and are proud of me!

Thank you Kay Graves in Texas, for passing this along from "Sherry's Inspirational list" whose motto is: "I do not write 'em, I just pass them along." She is Sherry Rudd, smkeith@aol.com, a.k.a. Rudd-man's wife, a skydiving Resident Ground Photographer whose home page is http://members.aol.com/smkeith/index.html.