Gleanings from the Diary of William Fetler (Basil Malof)
A compilation by James Alexander Stewart
After the translation of our beloved Russian leader, it was my solemn privilege to look over his private papers and diaries. These filled me with a holy awe. I felt I was so un¬worthy of this task. As I read, they vividly brought back to me memories of the hallowed days of Revival work in Latvia, Estonia, and Poland. A holy awe filled my soul in these glorious days when the Shekinah glory of God was so manifested. So "up in Heaven" were we that I remember how shocked I was when a Russian pastor gave me a Reader's Digest to read on the train as I was beginning a long journey. I thought the brother had backslidden, because for weeks on end I never read a newspaper or magazine, HEAVEN AND HELL WERE SO REAL. Nobody who has not passed through revival meetings can fully appreciate the wonder and glory of the Lord's presence. Because God is so real, sin is so real. Our brother carried with him the atmosphere of God's presence. He lived before God day and night: "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before Whom I stand" (I Kings 17:1). He was mighty in intercession. He was mighty in communion. He had deep spiritual discernment, and a mighty unction for preaching, I believe, because of his trysting time. I hesitate to give you these extracts of his prayer life, as it is so sacred, and I only do so now in order that you, my dear reader, may be drawn likewise into a closer walk with God - James Alexander Stewart
2. DEDICATION & FAITH
3. REPENTANCE & RESTORATION
5. COMMUNION TIME
I thank Thee for this evening at Thy feet, My soul is rested; I have seen Thy face,
I have surrendered all to Thee complete,
Thou hast restored me by Thy matchless grace.
No sooner had I called Thee, when LO! At once I saw Shekinah's wondrous glow, And Thou wast there between the cherubim. Thy blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat. Now all is light, where everything was dim, And as a bride, my Bridegroom and I meet.
4: 15 a.m. A substitute for God I do not want. The Psalmist says, "All my springs are in Thee" (Psalm 87:7). That is my definite and final choice, Oh Lord, examine and search me and close up any spring in me which is not from Thee — nor by and for Thee. Dry up in me any fountain which is not united with Thee, the Fountain of pure spiritual life. I will consider everything as dross — as dust, unwanted, to be swept away — that God and God alone may be my supreme choice.
1 a.m. I am alone in my room. I have begun to talk to my own heart and to God. I feel very lonely in my separation from my loved ones, in this strange place. And yet, I am very glad I can speak to God. Took this verse as an encouragement and promise, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20). Thought tenderly of the whole family and prayed for each one.
No time for prayer? Jesus had only three and one-half years to do His work, and yet how much time He spent in prayer and communion with God. He accomplished the work of a lifetime because He spent so much time in fellowship with His Father.
Was blessed by reading the prophecy of Joel, chapter two, and struck with the words in verse 12: "THEREFORE ALSO NOW". Oh, my God, this passage outlines Thy way to revival and renewal. May I truly rend my heart and not my garments. May there be no outward show. I claim the promise of blessing now in my own life and work. Glory to God! Amen! Amen! "
3 a. m. "Oh Heavenly Father, at last I am alone with Thee. Now I ask the aid of the divine Spirit to pray through me in mighty intercession for my beloved Russia and Slavic people. Let there be mighty movements of the Spirit in my heart during this prayer season."
For several days my mind has been occupied with several weighty spiritual concerns. I have realized the ever-increasing importance of prayer. Christ has said, "Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Absolutely nothing. We often undertake Christian work as if we could do God's work without His help and blessing. I must not be too busy that I cannot pray. The Bible says, "Ye have not because ye ask not" (James 4:2). The disciples worked hard the whole night, but caught nothing because they tried to fish without Christ. After a brief fellowship with Christ in the morning, they caught 153 large fish!
Was waiting and longing to have a quiet time with God. At last I could take my Bible reverently in my hands and I began to read the last book in the Old Testament. Again, from the first words, I am impressed with the majesty, depth, and miracle of the Bible. There is none like it. WHAT STINGING REBUKES! WHAT DECLARATIONS OF ETERNAL TRUTH! WHAT MIGHTY REVELATIONS OF THE ESSENCE AND GREATNESS OF GOD! "I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts" (Mai 1: 14).
A great curtain has been pulled aside that I might see the majesty and might of God. "Oh Lord, Thou hast spoken to me out of Thy Word. I have heard Thy voice. I have been refreshed in my soul. Keep me faithful to Thee and to the covenant of Levi (2:4) that the law of truth may be always in my heart and in my mouth — that I may walk with Thee in peace and equity."
I met God again tonight. Praise His holy Name! My meditation was the second chapter of Philippians. "Let this mind be in you" came with great force. Oh to be spiritually minded! A spiritual mind is automatically closed to any evil and open to good and holy impressions.
1 a.m. "Now, therefore, I, the least of all Christ's servants, relying upon the grace and help of the Lord, would like to begin a season of earnest praying and fasting, to humble myself anew before God."
"The Lord has been very good to me today." I have wrestled much in prayer during the last few days, especially one day, in order to get through to the Throne of God, where the sun shines continuously and where the heart beats in unison with God. Oh how good it is to come nigh unto God!
Ezekiel 9:8 came to me with great power: "And I was left". Was there any reason why they were taken and I was left? Many there were of the same age as myself, and they were cut off. The "why" to this question must remain unanswered. We know why Ezekiel was left. He was to be a SIGN to the House of Israel. He had a definite plan and purpose to fulfil in the plan and purpose of Jehovah, (zek. 4:36). In verse 4 of chapter 9 we have another reason why he was left. He was a marked man; marked by the hand of an angel of God and he had to go through the midst of Jerusalem setting a mark upon the foreheads of the spiritual remnant who sighed to God, for the iniquity of the people. So he says, with great surprise, "And I was left." But what about us? Can we think of any reasons why we were left in this New Year? I shall praise God in my soul for the refreshing season He graciously gave me in fellowship with Him by the Holy Spirit last night. Again I could say "Abba, Father!"
"Lovest thou Me more than these?" (John 21:15). "Lovest thou Me" (16). "Lovest thou Me?" (17). "The others may be better men than I, but I wonder if they can love Thee more than I. Thou knowest all about me, and knowing all, Thou knowest that I do love Thee with all my heart. I do love Thee, Oh Christ, my Saviour! None is so precious to me as Thou — nor can they ever be. What THOU does not approve, I also do not approve in my heart. Save me, O Lord, from everything that displeases Thee, for to please Thee is my highest aspiration and joy."
What a precious promise, "Thou shalt call His Name JESUS; for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). "I appropriate anew and in its fullest meaning this promise of God on this Christmas Day. What greater promise can there be to a weak mortal child of dust? Lord, I surrender anew my whole life to Thee; my spirit, my soul, and my body. I pray Thee, fulfil this promise in the greatest measure possible in the light of this human being. Let no sin have dominion over me. Turn my weakness into strength by Thy mighty power. Use me once more as Thy voice, crying in the wilderness. Oh Lord, take me and undertake."
"If there is anyone in Dallas who seeks Thee this morning with all his heart, who confesses all his sins, who holds nothing back, who surrenders everything to Thee, who wants to live only for Thy glory, LET ME BE THAT MAN. I come to Thee anew, with broken and contrite heart, in utmost humility, and beating my breast like the repentant Publican."
The coming of the Holy Spirit is a seal that everything has been put right between God and man, for where sin moves out, God moves in. I thank God that I was able to spend a good deal of the day alone with Himself, to seek His face anew; to find Him as my gracious Father and trusted Friend. As I was meditating and turning my heart toward God, suddenly there came again my conversion hymn of long ago, "Safe in the arms of Jesus — Safe on His gentle breast — There by His love o'ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest." Then I knew that when tribulations come, everything will be all right. Now I am placing myself again in His mercy and at His complete disposal — He knows my heart and deepest longings.
1:35 a.m. The great hidden and neglected truths of the Bible are beginning to dawn upon me after all these years. I am now 64 years of age. I spent yesterday almost the whole day fasting, and in the measure of the hours in which I fasted, the desire for God laid hold on me. How do I know that I really love God? I cannot live without Him. I am only happy when Jesus is with me and miserable when He is absent. Oh, Father, I love Thee with all my heart! I have a great longing after Thee like the cry of a child who wants his mother. God meets with me; He is there right beside me and floods of praises are within me. As a child is soothed by the appearing of his mother, when she takes him by the hand, so my heart is immediately calmed. The darkness and oppression is gone; the light of His presence shines again. It is well, it is well with my soul.
Published by The Russsian Bible Society