Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stars are stars, sand is sand

[Caveat: The views expressed here are solely those of the writer, and not necessarily represented those of the church(es) he attends or any fellowship(s) that he may be a part of.]

In the account of the battle at river Kishon, in Judges 5:20 (for the full Song of Deborah, see article – Judges series – Judges 5), it was mentioned, “From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera.”

A thought came back to me concerning a supposedly revelation received by a very admirable missionary preacher from a certain island (I praised God for how He had used him do the most fantastic work done (of building schools and churches, and reaching out to the lost ones) on the island. What is amazing is that this man was already old when he was first called. He was and is an inspiration to me, ah! you know now I am not so young). He spoke of Genesis 22:17, about the words of God to Abraham concerning the latter’s descendants being as numerous as the stars of the sky and as countless as the sand of the seashore. According to him, the revelation was that the stars referred to the descendants through the line of Isaac (son of faith mothered by Sarah), and the sand, the descendants through the line of Ishmael (the other son of Abraham, mothered by Hagar).

So when I looked at Judges 5:20 (again), I thought maybe he, the missionary preacher, was right, “the Isaac line” fighting here. But because this is my writing, I must make sure that indeed he was right, before I could pen it down, that such could be interpreted of Genesis 22:17 and Judges 5:20 here. When I checked other references to this “famous” stars and sand verse, I found that it was also used in Jeremiah 33:22 and Hebrews 11:12. The latter was a re-quote of Genesis 22:17 while the former, Jeremiah 33:22, was not; descendants of David and Levites {who themselves were ALL descendants of Isaac} were used in place of Abraham, and it was also spoken by the Lord. As such, in my humble view, I believe the stars and the sand did not represented in specific terms, the descendants from the lines of Isaac and Ishmael respectively. And so, the stars here in Judges 5:20, are not specific to “line of Isaac” at war. It remains as far as I can tell - a poetic description of the war.

This brings on 2 important points:

Firstly, when we are stating something we believe we got from God through personal revelation by God or through Holy Spirit’s inspiration, we should expressively say so. Of course, even to know this, i.e. “the piece of stuff is a revelation”, is in itself, not easy; depending on how much you already know of the Scriptures and how much teachings/preaching you have heard. Nonetheless, if it “sounded” to you as revelation, and it could not be clearly backed up by the Scriptures, you should qualify it with the words, “I believe….”. That is what I endeavor to do, in my writings. The idea is to give the reader or listener a flag that what is said/written is of personal belief, may not be widely held, and perhaps not completely/fully backed by the Scriptures. This is especially so, when it comes to an important issue/matter. The greater the importance and ramifications/implications, the greater must be the caution, and the greater is the need to expressly said that it is a personal belief or revelation, perhaps not backed completely/fully by Scriptures. Something that is not, or perhaps not, completely/fully backed up by the Scriptures is different from something that contradicts the Scriptures. The latter cannot be revelation by God or the Holy Spirit.
{Added 15/10/2010 - There is a 3rd category which I called speculation, and it can be more damaging than the "contradiction" category, for it is not capable of being "proved". An example, which I came across recently, is the equating of the tree of good and evil to "tithe" by a "famous" mega-church grace preacher. This is PURE speculation. Pure speculation designed to justify perversion of truths of God, must be avoided; and the truths of God need only be stated plainly, and obviously, not through deception.}

Secondly, what happens when we are wrong!? Before I say anything more, let me say that it is not my intention to attack the missionary preacher which I already said was both admirable and an inspiration to me. Only perhaps, he could have researched a little more before he publicly said what he said was a revelation. Nevertheless, I must say that he was addressing a smallish group of older people who were assumed to be mature Christians who would be quick to understand what revelation implied (including it could be wrong! Not that a revelation from God can be wrong but that such has not come from God but thought to have come from God), although such assumptions {concerning the audience} are not always correct. The preacher’s details were intentionally withheld so that easy identification is not possible, as I have said, the intention is not to attack the preacher.

To tell you the truth, I do not really know the answer to that question – what happens when we are wrong? Most definitely, we have to be careful with what we say or write. In the world, you can be sued for slander or libel, and in my country, this is world-famous! But we are not talking about or referring to the world, what I am more talking about is the implications with regards to God and in the Kingdom of Heaven/God.

Obviously, at times, it is really difficult to interpret Scriptures, but that should not stop us from wanting to understand Scriptures; and so it is at the least, the reason for exposition, of the words by pastors, preachers, speakers and even informed believers (who qualifies, as one, in itself, is again of course, subjective). We do not just, not do a thing because it is difficult. Of course, it is not easy, but the honors (by God, not men) also commensurate with the difficulty; the Scriptures said teachers or preachers of the Word get double honors. But the responsibility is also heavy; if we stumble others we are answerable to God, and stumbling others is a sin.

One brother in fact suggested to me that I should not be commenting on the Word of God. The brother, I believe, is aware that I am not a staff of a church, and I am not a full-time minister, but am only a long time Christian. Yes, that is not much of a qualification. In fact, I also do not have any formal diploma or degree in theology as of now. I only know that I must try to know the Word much, and with my knowledge, help some others to understand the Word, and maybe even point out some incorrect expositions of the Word, especially if they pertained to important issues that have significant ramifications/implications. Except for the "for my own knowledge" bit, which is a must for my own walk with God, all the rest are really none of my business. But if you think more deeply, much of faith work, is of the kind that is none of our own business, they are God’s business. But why do I do this writing, I wonder? People are doing it because it has been their job – they are preachers, pastors, speakers, etc. Why am I in this risky business anyway? Don’t I have enough areas where I could sin and incur the wrath of God? With writing on this blog, I created another “mine field” which I need not have to. If I claim it is God’s work, no one can say anything, but if that is so, any wrong I made here, I profane the name of God. I suppose I have no answer here, I will continue to write as long as I still have the desire {hopefully that, that is a sanctified desire, and of Him} to write, but I must continue to exercise care because I am handling the Word of God, and I pray that He may guide me in my writings.

Coming back to the question of what happens when we are wrong, I can only hope that, on matters that are not that serious, God will forgive us, and we all will end up in heaven, seeing each other and saying to each other, “I thought we have had different views on such and such a matter. Ah! Both of us are here, in heaven; and thank God for his grace and mercy despite our errors.” What about the very serious wrong/false teachings?

In relation to an important matter, circumcision, the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:12, as for those agitators {false teachers}, I {Paul} wish they would go the whole way and emasculate {castrate} themselves!

The Apostle John, in 2 John (a one chapter short epistle, I believe it to be written by the Apostle John), warned us that we may lose our eternal rewards if we subscribed to false teachings (that epistle was more particularly addressing antichrist teachings). If those deceived may lose their eternal rewards, those who perpetuate the false teachings must be facing more severe penalty. It also said that those who preach those deviated teachings (deviated from the teaching of Christ), are wicked. The Book of Proverbs, in Proverbs 3:33, gives us an idea of God’s position on the wicked – “The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous."

So God help us!

Anthony Chia - "Now the Bereans were of more noble character... for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11 NIV)

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Don’t play, play, words from the mouths of favored men of God can be powerful

In my separate article – Reserve glory and worship for God, practice honors, and grow in God’s favor, in the last section, I talked about men with God’s favor could do mighty exploits for God. If you like, you can re-read the article (the last section). For this article here, we are going to look at the power of the words, declarations or prophesies of such men.

Not on how to grow in God’s favor, at least not for now
I am not going into the subject of how you and I can grow in the favor of God, particularly, at least not for now, but if the Lord is willing, may He provide the revelations necessary for that separately. Neither am I suggesting that you can arm-twist God into loving you more, giving you more or favoring you more. No one can arm-twist God. But at the same time, it is not accurate to say that we therefore, need not be bothered with being good children of God. Our earthly father loves us (if he does not, it is because of his fallen-ness) right from the start, even from the moment of decision (of having children), through the moments of conception, pregnancy, and birth; all the time before we have even done anything. Such is a measure of the agape love of God with which He loves us from His decision of our creation. Such love is an agape love from Creation. Coming from God it is unconditional; rightly coming from our earthly fathers, it should also be. But this does not mean that we, as children of our earthly fathers, do not need to be bothered with pleasing our fathers. I believe we are wired wanting the approval of our fathers, and that there is nothing wrong with that. I believed it is the world which is wrong to teach children not to hunger for the approval of fathers or to please their fathers. Just because some fathers, because of their own short-comings, would not readily give approvals or are difficult to please, it does not mean that the solution is to ask children not to look for such. Without proper follow-ups, and instead of working on the fathers, such demands on the children only cause the hunger to be displaced, and come out again misdirected.

Drawing out the parallel
Although I am not particularly wanting to address this issue, it is brought out here because of the parallel that I want to draw out. We too, should likewise be more careful not to over-emphasize that we cannot do anything more to make God like us more, and so we should forget about trying to please God. Just like our earthly fathers would like us to do the right stuff; they would be pleased when we do those because they were for our good, God likewise, would like us to do the right stuff as well, and God would be pleased when we do those because they were for our good, too. When we have learnt to have the right attitude, mindset, and the spiritual maturity, greater authority and responsibility will be given us, greater exploits can be entrusted to us. When we walk right with God, His favor would be upon us, and He would even back our words. The desire to please God should be exhorted not disdained.

My intention is that we might have a desire to grow in God’s favor
We are going to look at a few examples of God bringing to pass the declarations or prophetic words of men with God’s favor. My intention is that we would have a desire to grow in favor with God, and with that favor fulfill our destiny as mighty conquerors for our Lord, Jesus.

Moses – let the earth opens its mouth and swallows them
As the first case, we will look at Moses. Those who read the article mentioned at the start of this article would know that Moses was clearly mentioned as a man with God’s favor, and in that article I talked very briefly a few of the exploits of Moses. For an example of God’s backing of Moses’ declarations or words, we are going to look at the incident of a group of Levites trying to usurp the powers and the sacred duties assigned to the High Priest. This incident was recorded for us in Numbers 16:

With them {including Korah, Dathan and Abiram}, were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD's assembly?" (Num 16:2-3)

Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, "Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them." (Num 16:15)

Moses said to Korah, "You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow—you and they and Aaron. Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the LORD. You and Aaron are to present your censers also." So each man took his censer, put fire and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly. The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once." (Num 16:16-21)

But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, "O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?" Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to the assembly, 'Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.' " (Num 16:22-24)

Then Moses declared this:

If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt." (Num 16:29-30)

See what happened:

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. (Num 16:31-33)

In verses 21 & 24, God only told, through Moses (and Aaron), to separate from Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their cohorts, because the Lord would put an end to the culprits. God did not say how the culprits were to be destroyed. It was Moses who declared how the end would come to the guilty ones, and the Lord made it happened exactly as Moses declared or prophesied. Don’t play, play!

Joshua – Lord, make the sun stand still
Next, we are going to look at Joshua; he too, declared, and the Lord made it happened. The background, of course, was that Joshua was the one who took over the leadership from Moses. Moses was not the one who brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua was the one. It was God who instructed Moses to pass his leadership baton to Joshua, and clearly God’s favor was on Joshua. God’s choice of Joshua was clearly shown to the people when God caused the parting of the Jordan river at the time that the Israelites had to cross over it into the Promised Land; although it was not as dramatic as the parting of the Red Sea, it was clearly to demonstrate to the Israelites that God was with Joshua, just as He was with Moses.

After crossing the Jordan, Joshua took Jericho, and then a city called Ai. All the people on this side of the Jordan (the west side) came to know, and became fearful of the Israelites. There was a city nearby, called Gibeon, and the people of Gibeon, through a deception, had come into an alliance with the Israelites (although it was through deception, the Lord honored the treaty made because the Israelite leaders had vowed by the name of Lord, to the Gibeonites).

When the Amorites, a huge people group living on this west side of Jordan, learnt that the Gibeonites had made pact with the Israelites, they became angry with the Gibeonites and wanted to destroy the latter. Five Amorite kings banded together to attack the Gibeonites. And when the Gibeonites sought help from the Israelites, Joshua led the Israelite army against the Amorites at Gibeon. Although we read in Joshua 10:8 that the Lord told Joshua not to be afraid for the Lord would give the enemies into his hands, God did NOT say He would made the sun stand still. It was Joshua who said it to the Lord and the Lord listened:

On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
"O sun, stand still over Gibeon,
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. (Joshua 10:12-14).

Of course the story ended with victory, and the 5 Amorite kings were killed. Wow! The last verse above recorded it, that the Lord listened to a man.

Gideon, I will succeed, and I will come after you
For the 3rd story, we are going to look at Gideon, a major Judge raised by God during the Judges period, a period of time in the Promised Land after the demise of Joshua.

Does Gideon have the favor of God? We read this in Judges 6:

Gideon replied {after the Lord appeared to him and told him that God was with him and that he, Gideon would strike down all the Midianites together with God}, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you." And the LORD said, "I will wait until you return." (Judges 6:17-18)

In Judges 7 we read of Gideon’s battle against the Midianties who were oppressing the Israelites greatly before Gideon came on the scene. Gideon “fought” 135,000 Midianites with only 300 men and won!

In Judges 8 we read that Gideon having won the main battle was chasing 2 Midian kings who made away with some 15,000 men. In the chase, Gideon came to 2 cities, one called Succoth, the other, Peniel. The elders/officials of Succoth refused to supply some bread to Gideon’s 300 men; the men of Peniel likewise refused. The people of Succoth and Peniel doubted that Gideon would be able to capture the Midianite kings. This was what the officials of Succoth said, "Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna {the 2 Midian kings} in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?" (Judges 8:6). Gideon declared when he returned in triumph, he would tear the flesh of the men of Succoth with thorns and briers, and would tear down the tower belonging to the people of Peniel.

The Lord granted Gideon success, capturing the 2 kings, defeating 15,000 men with 300 men, and everything said by Gideon concerning Succoth and Peniel, the Lord allowed them to come to pass. Gideon was able to go back, and did what he said he would do.

Jesus – may no one ever eat fruit from you again
For the last case, I will like us to look at the withering of the fig tree by Jesus, recorded for us in the New Testament. This particular act of Jesus on the fig tree was and is open to various interpretations as to what Jesus was trying to say through His act of cursing the tree or making a declaration against the tree. For now, I am not going to dwell into that; my intention is focused solely on the physical plain – God made the tree wither when Jesus spoke the words. In other words, God listened to Jesus, and brought Jesus’ words to pass.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany {go into Jerusalem}, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12-14)

In the morning {the next morning}, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!" (Mark 11:20-21).

I am aware that in the subsequent verses of the story, Jesus mentioned about having faith in God and with faith miracles could come to pass. Still undeniably Jesus had the favor and was growing in favor with God. The Apostle Luke recorded for us in Luke 2 that Jesus grew in favor with God since his youth. At 12 years of age, Jesus amazed everyone who heard him discussing with teachers of the laws in the temple courts in Jerusalem. In Luke 2:52, we read this written of the boy Jesus:

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Perhaps, favor and faith do go hand in hand. I do not think you will enjoy continual favor from God if you have no faith in Him. Perhaps, when you trust Him, you can attract His favor but I would not go as far as to say that He must favor you (God is sovereign, and He will favor whom He favors).

Perhaps, it is also right to say that as Christians, we are well placed to receive favor from God compared to non-Christians. Still we need to grow in favor with God if we were to do mighty exploits for God. I do not think everyone is the same (everyone may have potential, not everyone achieves his full potential), and if Jesus needed to grow in favor with God while He walked on earth, I believe so must we.

Of course there are many examples of answered prayers and prophesies that had come to pass, in the Bible; but I believe the few that I have selected here are clear enough to illustrate the potency of the words of men enjoying the continual favor of God. Aim to grow in favor with God.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions– Lord, I know you are sovereign; you will favor whom you favor. Nevertheless, Lord, I know it pleases you that we, as your children, aim to grow in favor with you. Lord, give me revelations of what pleases you that I may grow in favor with you, apart from faith (for it is impossible to please God without faith).

[Added 01/06/2011: PS: Another OT eg. is Elisha's declaration against an officer with unbelief (2 Kings 7:1-2,17-20)]

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Intercede for others – and you’ll be blessed too!

This is meant to be an encouragement; I have just started, far from being arrived
This article is solely for the purpose of encouraging fellow believers to intercede or pray for others (apart from our loved ones). In my Christian walk, if I just look at 3 matters, namely, hearing the Word, praise and worship, and prayers, I realized that I have been a consistent church go-er for years; I have not been doing too badly for my part to praise and worship God despite others thinking that I was (originally) tone-deaf. Since many years back after expressing my deep desire to praise and worship him, the Lord had over the years, especially in recent years improved my music senses; and because of my desire to praise and worship Him no matter what, and my desire to “fill the gap”, the Lord has honored me with gift of singing in tongues since some 20 years back. Over the years, this gift had grown from level to level, although today many in the body have been gifted in this area too. I feel the thing I did the least of the three, is in the area of prayer and intercession.

It is only in recent years that I have started to pray more, and more importantly intercede for others apart from loved ones. About 2 years ago, my life skidded down to the pit of darkness; I entered into the most difficult season of my life, desperate, helpless and lonely. For a time I was like what was depicted in the Bible – a voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted (Jer 31:14-16, Mat 2:17-19). I prayed and prayed but without breakthrough. I then solicited prayers but there were disappointments because some people were not keen to pray for me, despite the fact that they were the ones most reasonably be expected to intercede for my situation. I am still rising from the pit after meeting God when I persisted in prayer when I was at the bottom, in the most painful period of my life, which I have not fully come out from. One thing I learnt from the situation was that I must pray more, not just for myself but for others, despite suffering disappointments when people were not forthcoming to uphold me in prayer. But that is not to say that no people prayed and interceded for me. In fact, I believe a number did, and I am most grateful for those who did. For those readers who know my situation (still not the time to share publicly on this) and have interceded and helped me in one way or another, I want to say thank you.

As the Lord helped me to rise from the pit, I also started to pray more. I began to pray for the sick, and the Lord blessed me with words of knowledge for sickness conditions. Following that, I find myself attending my church ministry workers and leaders meetings, corporate prayer meetings, and even all night prayer sessions. Frankly speaking, I do not like to pray in the company of people, or for that matter praying (aloud) for people. I was too self-conscious and still is somewhat, but I tell myself it is what the Lord wants done, and so I have to do it. Of course, prayers and intercession are done in private and in public, both of which have their places. Now, while doing the above, I have made it a point to intercede weekly for some people – loved ones, and others I promised I would pray for them, or for people the Lord impressed upon me to intercede for a season. Yes, also not forgetting for the church services of my church.

Only after being desperate and helpless, did I fully embrace the need for the believers to pray and intercede for others, but you do not have to go through such painful experience to have your heart set to embrace prayers and intercession for people.

Before I come to specific testimony that I want to share with this article (typical of me, ah; long-winded!), let us go into the Word a little.

What does the Bible says about intercession?
There many examples in the Bible of situations where men of God would intercede for others, in some situations for those under their charges but at other times for groups of people or even unrelated people.

Numbers 21:6-9 – Bronze snake or serpent

6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them {after the Israelites murmured against God, accusing God of ensnaring them}; they {the snakes} bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people. 8 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

It is without excuse for people in leadership positions, not to pray and intercede for those under their charges when requests were made to them. In my home cell leadership many years back, I remembered I had to pray for cell members and others despite my dislike of praying in public. I had to force myself to do because it came with the territory, so to speak. I could have abstained from being a cell leader for this reason but I faced my fear. Last weekend, my senior pastor said something very relevant here, and that was that when we take up a role for the Lord, we can look to the Lord for help. Here we see Moses interceded for those under his charge, the Israelites on the journey to the Promised Land.

In Genesis 18, we see Abraham interceding for Sodom:

20 Then the LORD said {to Abraham}, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." 22 The men {The 3 Visitors; if you want to know who the 3 visitors were, read my separate article – Who are The 3 Visitors? } turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

You probably know the conclusion of Abraham’s intercession. From 50, Abraham “bargained” down the number to 10. The Lord agreed that if there were even 10 righteous people, He would not destroy Sodom. Some argue he was interceding for his nephew Lot who was living in Sodom. That might be true, but he could be interceding for just any righteous men who were in Sodom; in any case, he was interceding, and that is my point.

In the New Testament we also read of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation of believers to pray for everyone because it pleases God who desires all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4). In the Book of James (5:14) we read of what elders of the church should do when sick people come to them for help – they, the elders are to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. When we pray for the sick, we are interceding to God for their healing.

We also read of what the Lord is doing now, that He is seated at the right of the Father God – interceding for the believers (Romans 8:34). While He was on the earth, Jesus prayed for many – the sick, those unjustly treated, even for the dead to be brought back to life, and for many signs and wonders and miracles, demonstrating the love and compassion of the Father God.

Sometimes back I wrote on Jesus’ teaching on prayers. Of relevance here is part II (praying for another) of the 3-parts article. You may want to read that part II to understand that Jesus exhorted us to be persistent in interceding for the needs of others.

Also, when we look at the heart of God, we understand that God is the God of love and compassion; his heart is for the lost, the poor and needy, the widows and orphans, the oppressed and the afflicted, the weak and defenseless.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan summed it very nicely the attitude we should have. I believe it pays to look at the initial conversation before the story was related by Jesus:

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

After this, Jesus related the story of the Good Samaritan. You can read the story from Luke 10:30-37. I will just draw out the point pertinent here. To the priest who passed by, the man who was robbed on the highway or byway was not his neighbor. The same was the attitude of the Levite who also passed by. But not so, for the Samaritan; he had compassion for the half-dead man. A person in needs or in afflictions is your neighbor (neighbor in the 2nd commandment above) or friend (Jesus’ teaching on prayers for another, a friend in need is a friend indeed!), regardless, color, race or religion.

When we talk about prayer and intercession, we are not even talking about rendering material help like giving of physical care, money or food or accommodation and physical shoulder to cry on, so to speak. Yes, of course, there is a degree of giving demanded in prayer and intercession – you have to set aside time and energy, even sacrificed some activities you could have enjoyed during the time you used for prayer and intercession but this is what our Heavenly Father would be pleased with; and just for that we should engage it. Actually, it is also for our own good, just like when we praise and worship God, it is also for our own good!

Am I done yet? Ok, ok I am done. Next is the testimonial bit
The testimonial bit that I am trying to tell happened last weekend (16th – 17th Jan 2010). On 16th, Saturday, as usual, at the 4 pm service, in my church service there was a time to release words of knowledge and ministry thereof, the only thing was that after the release of words, a veteran brother in church was called on by the senior pastor to give his testimony of his recent experience of a stroke. This brother suffered a stroke and in a couple of days, through prayers by pastors and others, experienced very speedy recovery. By the way, the word I released without knowing such a testimony was being lined up, was that there might be someone with discomfort or pain in their chest (heart, chest pain/discomfort, hypertension, blood vessels problems, and strokes are related things). In my church, we believe that the testimony of Jesus (e.g. of His miraculous work) is a word of prophesy (that He might want to bring to pass similar thing). We saw several people responded to the words as well as the testimony, but not as many that I thought the testimony might invoke when the call was given for people with the related problems, including fear of stroke (or repeat of it) to come forward for prayer. For myself, I prayed for one man with the chest pain I described.

Wade the pool!
What was painted to you above on the Saturday service, was not that unusual, in fact nothing unusual; and so I did not really think much about it. What was interesting was that on the next day, Sunday (17th) morning, in front of the mirror before my morning wash-up to go to church, I had the impression that I had to “wade” the “spiritual Bethesda Pool” at the front of the church sanctuary (regular readers would know that I believe the front of sanctuary of the church that I attend has been consecrated as a spiritual healing pool, stirred not by angels but by the worship of the congregation), instead of prayer-walking around the two red lines bordering the area (the “pool”), and then to do my usual stuff of prayer and intercession, kneeled at the front of my usual seat in the 1st row pew. Actually, I did not feel very nice about that thought coming to me because I did not want to have all eyes (the congregation looking) to be on me, like I would be a Pharisee, trying to be “super-pious” or something. As a common practice, I would prayer-walk first, at least half an hour before the first service starts; so very few people would see me do what I do at the front of the sanctuary (only the early birds would get to see me prayer-walking the pool). The problem was that the thought was to “wade” the pool to and fro. As far as I can remember, I probably had walked in between the two red line markings (marking out a rectangular area in front of the sanctuary) only once (at most, twice) in all my past prayer-walks; I walked around the pool, I do not walk in the pool. I only remember the one time I walked in the pool from one end to the other, was to receive greater anointing from the Lord. When I left home that morning I was still quite uncertain what I would do, maybe I would “wade” the pool but I would not be doing the “to and fro wading” repeatedly for all to see.

Haiti, intercede for Haiti!
So, about an hour before the 1st morning service, I was at the sanctuary. As usual, the worship team was on stage practicing for the services to come. By now, they have grown accustomed to my presence at the front of the sanctuary even as they practice for the services to come. This prayer-walk around the “pool” was really quite a standard thing for me, meaning I almost always cover the same items in my prayer as I walk – I would pray for God to look from Heaven, the Holy Spirit to come, and come with angels, warring angels, healing angels and ministering angels; the positions thereof of the angels in the sanctuary, continued consecration of the place as the healing pool, a prophetic act of “oil tunnel” with me picturing the angels lining the pool (from the 2 red lines) with wings raised and touching each other from opposite sides of the pool, forming an angelic tunnel, and then the Holy Spirit hovering over the tunnel, dripping anointing oil, and healing oil onto the wings of the angels and from there dripped into the pool, so the pool was not a pool of water as such, it was a pool of anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. Since I have said so much about the pool, please indulge me to digress a little further. Some months back, while in a ministry workers and leaders meeting of the church, a sister whom I did not know, in a sort of a prophetic circle exercise, gave this vision for me: She said she saw me at the front of the sanctuary, and she saw droplets coming from above, and she said she could clearly see some droplets hitting the floor. This to me is a confirmation from the Lord what I have been doing at the front of sanctuary, week after week, were not products of my own imagination. I am still learning, but one of the ways that God speak is by putting thoughts into us. I cannot explain to you exactly, but I want to say that such thoughts if they are from the Lord, you kind of know they are not from your own. I have to learn to sharpen my “hearing” so as not to make mistakes.

Coming back, I would also be praying for the worship team and the speaker for the services. So, you see I do not think about other things during this time of prayer-walking around the “pool”. About half way through the walk, suddenly, I felt that I had to “wade” the pool, and the moment I stepped into the pool, the word Haiti came to me, I realized I had to intercede for the Haiti situation. It is unusual to me, but I had to obey, and so I did a “to and fro” wading of the pool, standing in proxy for the people of Haiti. I cried out to God for aids for the people, God to save people, to do miracles, heal people, send resources from heaven, including body parts, send help by men, came against spread of diseases because of too many bodies lying around, asked God to take care of security issues, of the looting, of the hardship of the people, that their basic needs of medical attention, food and shelter be met. I could not help but felt tears from the corner of my eyes.

So what happened?
Just that it may be complete, I want to say I did not “wade” the pool until near service time, so, not many could see what I was doing. I still get to do my personal intercessions for my loved ones, and that included my children, my mother, and siblings and their families. Of course, I did not forget to intercede for the so-called other people (not my loved ones); a few of them.

The followings would be, I believe, the areas that my little prophetic act, intercession, and obedience might have impacted:

First, I want to say that, on that Sunday night, somehow, I got to “catch” some TV news, and I learnt that at Haiti, after 103 hours (more than 4 days) under rubbles, a lady and man were separately rescued. On Monday evening, again, (I do not usually get to watch the TVs news), I learnt from the TV news that another Danish man had been rescued. Then later I learnt the UN chief was saying things have improved from the previous day. I am not claiming credit for any of these. I can tell you many people were and are interceding for the Haiti situation, but I also remember what my senior pastor shared before – he said he (probably including other pastors as well) prayed for big things around world and they have come to pass. Was he blowing his own trumpet, and exalting himself by saying things happened because he interceded? No, I do not think so. But we rejoice in the Lord, and encourage others, when, if indeed we have contributed, even if it was in a small way, the situation has turned out to be better. Imagine what will happen if everybody thinks everybody else will be praying and so he will not be praying. We can easily end up with nobody praying because unless we cultivate it, praying and interceding for people are not what our sinful nature will want us to engage in. Nowadays, I tried harder to attend church corporate prayer sessions for this reason. If everyone thinks that he will not be missed, we will end up with no one coming to prayer meetings except the pastors.

Second, when the same stroke testimony was shared in the two Sunday services, large number of people responded to the altar calls and God was at work, with people being slain and felt ministered. In the first service I was surprised so many people came forward to the “pool”. I ended up not even releasing the word of knowledge, since people with all kinds of conditions were already coming forward. This I believe is a “side” blessing for the intercession done for Haiti.

Third, and this, makes me want to write this article, because I believe I have been blessed too with a healing, even as I stood proxy for Haiti. Some months back I started noticing that I could not lift my left hand high up my back without pain. I did not know how it happened or when it actually became like that. Since inadvertently realizing that it was painful to lift my left hand high up my back, from time to time I would try and see if pain was still there, and it was. Recently I checked; it was still so. I discovered on that Sunday night the condition had improved a lot. At the time of writing this, the pain is no longer there.

I hope this article will cause you to think a little more seriously the need to pray and intercede for others, especially people in afflictions. If you cannot think of who to pray for, the Haiti situation still needs our prayers; you can pray for me too – pray that I will continue to grow in favor with God because people with His favor can do mighty exploits for the Kingdom; that is if you can believe God’s favor would not be wasted on me.

Anthony Chia – Prayer and intercession are good works, and are fruits.

PS: Just before I uploaded this article to the blog site, I saw this article on the internet that another, an old woman, has been pulled out from the rubbles of a Cathedral on Tuesday. You can read it here - - This story is no longer available on Yahoo news as at 16/03/2010.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Judges series - Judges 7

The way to read this article is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I have inserted a section on "Points to take note".
{For full listing of all articles in this series, click here}

Judges 7

Gideon Defeats the Midianites

1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, 3 announce now to the people, 'Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.' "So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. 4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go." 5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." 6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. 7 The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place." 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. [“In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her” – for this, God reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 men! Sometimes, I would daydream about God. I would think if only God would directly tell me what to do, then I would surely do what is requested without questioning. Many a time, I thought about why God did not just tell me what do to, surely I would obey. But would I really obey without questioning? Yes, God spoke to Gideon directly, but He also reduced the resource from 30,000 men to 300 men, to a mere 1%. From here we can see the faith of Gideon because he protested not.]
Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 During that night the LORD said to Gideon, "Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp." So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. [Although it was a figure of speech, all the same, the understanding is that the enemy’s army was really huge (more than 135,000 – see Judges 8:10). It is very interesting to note here that God voluntarily gave Gideon a sign despite having given a direct instruction to attack the enemy’s camp, and the assurance that the enemies would be delivered into his hands. God knew Gideon was afraid, who wouldn’t be, at the thought of fighting a battle with only 1% of the original strength. Yet we can say that Gideon was courageous.
I believe the courage, in the Bible, was about doing what was right despite being afraid. In Deu 31:6, Moses commanded Joshua to be courageous before passing the leadership baton to Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, to fight the “giants”, and to claim the land the Lord had promised.

- Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deu 31:6)

After the death of Moses, we read in Joshua 1:6-7, these words of God to Joshua –

6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. ]

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. "I had a dream," he was saying. "A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed." 14 His friend responded, "This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands." [I am not (yet) knowledgeable to tell you how to know that God has indicated a sign to you, but I say we must try not to miss the signs that God gives us. If I put myself in Gideon’s shoes, honestly I probably missed the sign. I tell you why: God said, “If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp ……” I might have put up a bold front and denied that I was afraid and not go down to the camp! Gideon was both humble before God and honest with himself.]
15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, "Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands." 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. [Like I said, I am no expert (yet), but do you just brush aside probable signs or are you like Gideon, acknowledge them, receive them and thank God for them, and swing into action consistent with the signs? Previously, we have read (see Judges 6:39-40) that Gideon having gotten one sign, asked for another. In this case, he did not ask for another. So how? Perhaps, his experiences with God guided him. He grew with his experiences with God, he was “learning the ways” of his Lord.]
17 "Watch me," he told them. "Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon.' " 19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. [Have you wondered why Gideon did the things he did here, I mean attacking the enemy camp that way? Strange thing to do, or was it not so strange? The more I dwell on this Bible character, Gideon, the more I realized that there is much to learn. Here again, what this is showing to me is that, again Gideon had been one who studied and got to know the ways of the Lord, including how the Lord dealt with the people and individuals in the past. I am suggesting to you that Gideon did not randomly decide to do something and ended up doing the thing that he did. Firstly, we did not read that God told him what to do except to attack the camp with mere 300 men. So why did he go to the camp to blow trumpets and shouted. I believe Gideon from his studies in the faith heritage, knew the significance of trumpet blowing and shouting that went along with it. In Numbers 10, God gave Moses instructions about trumpets. Separately, you can read all about them, if you like. Relevant to this act of Gideon is this:

When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies. (Num 10:9)

On top of this, being a warrior he must have learnt and remembered exactly how Joshua conquered Jericho on entry into the Promised Land. This is what is written in Joshua 6:5 –

When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." (Joshua 6:5)

What about the jars with the torches inside? What was the significance? What did Joshua bring with him to go round Jericho 7 times together with the trumpets? The Ark of the Lord. What did the Ark represent? The presence of God. There, do you see it? Gideon was symbolically bringing the Spirit of God with him to attack the enemy camp. The Spirit of God was represented by the fire of the torches. The torches in the jars were like fire in the cloud (over the tabernacle/tent) (Ex 40:38).

Not too long ago, I did a prophetic painting for myself, I drew a jar, and I sensed that the Lord was saying I was like the jar to hold and pour out water and fire. Water and fire are both symbols of the Spirit of God. You read in the next verse what happened when the trumpets were blown, and the men shouted and broke the jars, letting out the torches of fire. The Spirit of the Lord confused the enemies, causing them to turn on each other with their swords. 300 men were enough because they did not even have to exchange sword strokes with the vast enemy!

Before I leave this part of the commentary, let us learn something here, this is not just a nice story of victory. I receive conviction that we should learn as much as we can concerning the things of the faith, the faith heritage, how God dealt with the people, and individuals in the Bible, the ways of the Lord, how people reacted, how God reacted and acted, both in the ancient past and the not so distant past. Of course, we do not necessarily blow trumpets anymore, but there were many more recent ways of how the Lord was working in the world, we should learn about them, be open to them, and maybe even apply them in our own circumstances – be like Gideon.]
22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah."
So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.
[Sweet victory. Great victory. Through Gideon. Just to refresh, the many names mentioned here included some of the tribes of Israel - Naphtali, Asher, Manasseh, Ephraim (the latter 2 are part of the house of Joseph), and of course, Gideon himself was from the weakest clan in the Manasseh tribe. I find that knowing the 12 tribes of Israel makes it easier to relate to some of the stories in the Old Testament. You can always go back to my commentary for Judges 1:2 for the complete list]

Points to take note/learn:

1. In service for Lord, one must be attentive to God
This was the attitude of Gideon. Even after a double confirmation (with unmistakable signs of the fleece) from the Lord to fight the powerful Midianites and her alliances, with the promise of the Lord going with him, Gideon was still attentive to God, to what God wanted him to do to accomplish his mission. Remember I talked about “catering to God” in my points to learn in Judges 6. I talked about the hypothetical example of the one working with Billy Graham would cater to Billy; what more if it were God? Gideon was working with God; he catered to God. That is what we must also do, cater to God. Many church liturgies leave no room for this, sad to say!

2. Victory is meant to glorify God, and God alone
Whether we meant it or not, it is best for us not to use the word, glory on ourselves. I feel it is wrong for some preachers, even well-known ones to encourage people to use the word glory on themselves. Glory, presently, belongs solely to the Lord. All must be ascribed to the Lord; no one is allowed to take any of it for himself. You may want to read my separate article on “Reserve glory and worship for God, practice honor, and grow in favor with God”. God reduced Gideon’s army strength to 1% so that all glory might be ascribed to Him and Him alone.

3. Without faith you cannot glorify God
The Scriptures directly said without faith it is impossible to please God. I believe without faith you cannot glorify God, too. The Scriptures does, in fact, talk about doing things without element of faith at all as sin; and if it is sin it obviously cannot glorify God. Going to battle with 1% army strength really required faith, in absolute numbers it was 300 men against 135,000!

4. It is ok to be afraid but we must be courageous
God knew Gideon was afraid, who wouldn’t be, at the thought of fighting a battle with only 1% of the original strength. Yet we can say that Gideon was courageous. I believe the courage, in the Bible, was about doing what was right despite being afraid.

5. Be humble and be humble
In the last Chapter we have already discovered that Gideon was humble, and that was a likeable trait by God. We see here again Gibeon was humble before the Lord; had he not being humble and admit that he was afraid, and had he put up a bold front before God, he would have missed the sign given by God through the dream of one of enemy’s men about the loaf of barley bread crashing the enemy at her camp.

6. Know our faith heritage to know what to do
This again is a repeat of one of the points to take note of, in the previous chapter of this Book of Judges. It is just that I paraphrased it differently. Gideon knew what to do, to get to the enemy’s camp, to blow the trumpets, to shout, and to smash the jars to let the fires of the torches to come forth, all because he probably knew the significances of the available resources from his understanding of the faith heritage (as explained in the main body of the exposition).

7. Faith must be followed by actions consistent with the faith
Faith without action is dead; the Book of James tells us that. Gideon acted consistent with his faith in God. God said to take only 1% of the army strength and to go into the enemy’s camp of 135,000, he acted on it! Do we really believe God is good, God is in control, and He has our interest at heart, too? If we do, there should not be lack of actions consistent with that faith in our lives.

Anthony Chia – God, help me not to be a NATO member – No Action Talk Only.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

More variations have come

It should be short!
This article should turn out to be shorter, I hope, since it is now written sometime after the events, and so things that were not clearly remembered would be dropped; also I am in kind of a rush but I do not want to put this off any longer because even though I have taken down notes of the events, much details were omitted in my notes, the longer I wait, the more difficult it would be for me to recollect the details.

The Introduction
This will serve as a kind of journal for what I experienced over this weekend of 21 & 22 November 2009 at the church services at which I helped in the altar ministry. For this weekend, a visiting couple speakers were scheduled. From the first service which was the Sat 4 pm service, I could see that both the man and his wife were greatly anointed by the Lord in their ministry in the supernatural, including supernatural healings. It was indeed rare to find a husband and wife team where both were greatly anointed in the same area. When I saw them ministered to large numbers of people, I found that both were greatly anointed by the Lord; people would be slain or showed manifestations of the Spirit when prayed by either of them. When I helped as a catcher I came across one case of the wife praying for a huge guy, and when I say huge, he was really huge, yet the guy was slain all the same. I understood from the introduction given, this couple, probably in their fifties got married only a year ago after both their spouses of many years passed on. They claimed they were supernaturally arranged by God to be together. That could explain it; they were each already specially anointed in the same area of ministry by God before they were brought together.

Bursting, and more
Well, so much for the introduction for the surrounding circumstances. For this 4 pm service, I did receive some words of knowledge on sicknesses. They included pain in the area near to the hip, bad headache, problems with heart and lungs. But I did not have the chance to release the words because sometimes when the speakers were expected to minister at the end of their sermons in areas of healings, the church services might get altered to omit a ministry time (together with the release of words of knowledge) after the praise and worship, which of course would be before the sermons; and this was what happened at this service. Nevertheless, I went forward to help to minister and pray for people at the end of the sermon when an altar call was made. Many people came forward, some for healings, others for anointing of the Holy Spirit. What was interesting was firstly this: When I randomly approached a woman in the front to pray for her, she told me that she had a “cyst” in her kidney. I told her that I did receive a word of knowledge that someone was having pain in the area near to the hip. I took authority in the name of Jesus and commanded the disintegration of the cyst and it be absorbed into the body and be discharged, supernaturally. After prayer, this woman quickly revealed to me that when I prayed that prayer, she saw a vision of something bursting before her eyes. We claimed it that it was the cyst. Hallelujah.

All in all I prayed for 4 -5 people. I usually did not get to pray for so many people unless there was great number that came forward in an altar call, and there was time before the next service. There was great presence of the Holy Spirit in the place. One woman I prayed for, got slain. Another, a lady I know from many years back (Laura, she was a Sunday school teacher); when I prayed for her, she burst into Holy Laughter. For another, a man, when I laid my hand on his head I could feel great heat around my hand. Not entirely that I have not experienced or felt such things before, but this is the first time, I experienced multiple of them, all in one session. Maybe this would indeed mark greater anointing to come for my “little ministry”. Of course, unmistakably the visiting speaker couple brought on the presence of the Holy Spirit, and I have said in the past, I believe that the front of the sanctuary of this church has been designated by God as his supernatural healing pool, a spiritual Bethesda Pool which would be stirred, not by angels but by the worship of the congregation. All the same, may the good Lord in his good pleasure increase his anointing upon me so that I function even more effectively for him in this place as well as in any other place that He may bring me to.

Angelic Presence
We move on to the next day, i.e. Sunday 22 November 2009. As usual, about an hour before the first service I would be in the sanctuary to do prayer walk around the “pool” and to intercede for the services of the day, as well as for some people I have undertaken to intercede for, and not forgetting my children and my mother and my blood siblings and their families. Somehow this morning, not prompted by the events of the previous day though, I felt led to prayer walk the entire sanctuary which meant I would prayer walk all the key aisles of the sanctuary. Because of “constant use” my body is perhaps somewhat more sensitive to the Holy Spirit than others. My words of knowledge, particularly, on sicknesses, come commonly through sensations on my body. When I reached the sound console area, on the central left side of the sanctuary, I felt sensations on my body, but not the kind that indicated that words of knowledge of sicknesses. I stayed and moved around, praying as I went, the front area of the console. I kind of felt some presence but could not put a finger to it. So what I did was that I lingered before I moved to my usual spot at sanctuary front where I would kneel and pray until the start of the first service. The people in the sound console area (there were a few people there preparing for the morning services), part of the worship team, must have noticed that.

Why did I talked about the prayer walk, particularly, made mention of the lingering round the sound console area? This is why: Later in the releasing of words of knowledge and praying for the congregation from the pulpit, the speaker, the husband or the man, spoke out and said that he could see angelic presence right around the sound console area, and the angels were ministering to people around the area. What a confirmation!

Why are you smiling away!
I told you it will be short, but just before I end this article there was still one more occurrence I must pen down. It happened in the next service, the 10:30am service; I prayed for another Sunday School Teacher. When I prayed for her, I could see her smiling and smiling away. She was so full of joy. Afterwards, she told my son, Andrew who was also serving in the Sunday School, that when I prayed for her, she had a vision of a waterfall. And so, I knew why she was smiling away! Wow what a weekend encounter with the Lord!

It is short and it is sweet, right!

Anthony Chia – Yes, Lord, it was sweet of you to let me experienced such. Thank you, Lord for using me as your vessel of ministry. May I always remember it is an honor and privilege, by your grace.

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