Darrell Dunn's Testimony-Continued
The Night I Got Saved!
The first week of May 1954, Dr. J. Harold Smith was to preach for a week in the First Baptist Church of Moore, Oklahoma. Every message was to be on the subject of the second coming of Christ. Our Pastor had announced the special meetings and encouraged our church in Midwest City to go as a group on Monday night, May 3, which we did. I sat with my Sunday School class and teacher. But, I didn't hear a word the preacher preached! It wasn't because I didn't want to hear, because I did. It had been three weeks since the night I had been "left behind", and it was still very fresh in my mind. As a matter of fact, I wasn't sleeping very well at night and my schoolwork was suffering. I just couldn't concentrate. The Holy Spirit, with His convicting power, would not leave me alone. I kept arguing with Him about certain sins I didn't want to give up and friends I didn't want to lose. He kept reminding me of what happened that terrible night. Still, it seemed that sin and the devil had a stranglehold on me. It was like I was bound and chained, unable to free myself from sin's bondage.
(Truthfully, that is exactly what was happening. In my own strength and ability I could not break free from the chains of sin that bound me. It would take something or someone stronger then I was to do it. I just didn't know at that time that Jesus Christ has "ALL POWER" (Matthew 28:18) and that He alone could set anyone free from the chains of sin. In Luke 4:18, Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, TO PREACH DELIVERANCE TO THE CAPTIVES.." Praise the Lord! Jesus is the only one who has the power to break the bondage that binds anyone and everyone! That is exactly what He was about to do for me!)
The reason I couldn't hear that first night is because I sat next to one of my best friends, Jack Davis. Apparently he wasn't saved at that time either, because he paid no attention to the message and seemed to have no desire for the things of God at all. Instead, the devil used him to distract me the entire service. During the message, he wanted to whisper and play to while away the time. He took out his ballpoint pen, pushed down the button on top and held it close to the pew in front of him. By pushing the pocket clip in, it caused the button to pop back out. As it did, it would hit the pew and make just enough noise to thrill him and distract me. I couldn't believe it! I wanted to hear the preacher. I needed to hear the message! I didn't know what to do. A couple of times I elbowed him to get his attention after he had hit the button, and frowned with as much facial expression possible to get across the idea that I wanted him to stop. Let's face it; we were both "young and dumb"! Naturally, he didn't get the idea. He thought I wanted him to do more of it! "Click, click, click," he continued. Now what could I do? I couldn't very well stand up and say out loud, "Hey Jack! Stupid! Cut it out! I'm trying to hear the message!" No-o-o, I couldn't do that. It would not only disturb the entire service, it would probably ruin it as well. So, I suffered to the end of the service, determined NOT to sit with Jack or any other friend tomorrow night.
The next night, May 4, 1954, several individual families were planning to go again, but not as a church group. So, it wasn't necessary for me to sit with my class or anyone else for that matter. While making the fifteen-mile driving trip from Midwest City to Moore with the whole family, from my assigned place in the back seat, I finally spoke up and said, "Mother? Daddy? Can I sit with you in the service tonight?" Slowly, they both turned their heads and looked at me with astonished expressions. Slowly mother asked, "You want to sit with us tonight and not your friends?" A little embarrassed, I nodded my head, "Yes". After turning his head to see the road as he drove, then back to me again, daddy asked, "What's the matter, son? You sick?" Quickly I replied, "No sir, I just want to be able to hear what Preacher Smith has to say tonight in his message. I sat beside Jack last night and didn't hear a thing." There was a long pause as mother and daddy looked at each other. Finally he spoke up and said, "Sure, you can sit with us tonight, if you really want to." I smiled and said, "Yes sir, I really do." So, it was settled. I could not remember that last time I sat with mother and daddy in church, but I was glad I was going to do it tonight.
The church auditorium was filled with overflowing. We had gotten there early enough to get a side pew near the back. The auditorium had three section and could seat between three and four hundred comfortably. However, there were more people this night than there had been the night before. There were so many people needing seats, that the ushers had placed metal chairs in both aisles on each side of the center section, leaving only about two feet of space for the aisle. As a matter of fact, metal chairs had also been placed at the end of each pew along the walls, eliminating the side aisles completely. A large number of people were standing along the back wall behind the last row of metal chairs there was well. The windows were opened to allow large numbers of people to stand outside to look and listen through while the Evangelist preached. The presence of the Lord could be felt from the very beginning. It was going to be a night to remember!
That night J. Harold Smith preached a message on the Great White Throne Judgment room Revelation 20:11-15. It was very graphic and powerful! I don't remember the outline of the message, but it seemed to me that I was the only one he was preaching to in the room that night. In the pictures of my mind, I was the one standing before that throne, "Lost" being proven guilty and deserving of eternal torment in the liquid Lake of Fire! I knew I deserved an eternal Hell! I chose to sin, on purpose! I was deliberately disobedient to the Word of God that I had heard preached and taught by my pastor. I loved sin! I preferred things that were "wrong" to those that were "right"! I was guilty because of my own wicked choices. The verdict had already been given.."Guilty"..and recorded by the God of Heaven and earth. I loved "darkness" instead of "light", which is Jesus Christ, the "Light" of the world! As a result, I was "condemned already" to an eternal Hell, according to John 3:18 and 19! My only hope was to accept the mercy of God offered through the blood of Jesus Christ by receiving Christ into my heart as Savior and Lord before I died or God's patience ran out on me! If I refused, I would literally be rejecting Jesus Christ and any hope of ever having eternal life in Heaven! Because Jesus clearly stated, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but my me." (John 14:6) Without question, I couldn't get to Heaven without Jesus Christ, the Son of God, living in my heart! (I John 1:12)
I knew that I was "lost" I knew I needed to be saved! I knew that God loved me (John 3:16) and that Jesus died on the cross for me. "But God commendeth (openly showed and poved) His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US." (Romans 5:8) I hated my sin and personal wickedness! I didn't want to die and go to Hell to spend an eternity in a liquid Lake of Fire. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15) God even gave us a partial list of those who will be in the Lake of Fire. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murders, and whoremongers (those who live for sex), and sorcerers (not just psychics, etc., but also drug addicts), and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (dying eternally; never able to stop the pain and suffering of death)." (Revelation 21:8) I didn't want to be among those who would be tormented day and night forever! "..and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb (Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God): (11) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night..."Revelation 14:10b and 11a)
By the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, a "war" was going on inside of me! It was a battle for my eternal soul between God and the Devil. And, my decision, whatever that would be, would determine who I would obey and follow, as well as where I would spend eternity! Let's face it; nothing in this world, not money, things, or pleasures, is worth going to Hell forever! Jesus warned in Luke 8:36, "For what shall it profit a man (person, male or female), if he shall gain the whole world, and LOSE HIS OWN SOUL? (37) Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Sad to say, too many sell their eternal soul for paltry few things of this world or for a few minutes of pleasure off and on for the few years we call our life, which are short compared to eternity. These things cannot satisfy or bring true happiness and joy. The time for me to make my decision had finally come. The message was finished and the invitation to be saved was beginning.
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