Monday, December 13, 2010

Keeping Christmas

I am not much of a story-teller, yet here I believe is a good little story given by the Lord, when I thought of how I could encourage and edify Ms Liz Mah, a Christian sister in Malaysia, afflicted with stage 4 lung cancer. When it seemed like everything around her had collapsed in June 2009, this sister experienced a special touch from the Lord. Not that she was healed of her cancer, but she experienced the love and forgiveness of the Lord, and that touch has transformed her perspective of the Lord, and so she has re-started an earnest journey with the Lord, even as she is still in her affliction, trusting the Lord to sustain her, even as she perseveres and anticipates the healing touch from the Lord.

A special touch from the Lord always transforms. It is my belief, because the Lord have “spoken” to me, of my church (the church I attend), in the renewed life of sister Liz Mah, and in my own renewed life, that in God’s transformation touch, often, there is the laying hold of the perspective that we are to serve our Lord even as we are not “completely fine”. I have seen it in my own Senior Pastor’s life, and recently a young but mighty servant of the Lord, Philip Mantofa, of Indonesia, has shared that in his 30,000 strength church, sick people, and people in afflictions, serve to pray for the sick and others in afflictions, even when their own conditions are not yet healed and resolved by the Lord. It is not a matter of working for our salvation (sozo), but it is a matter of embracing the understanding that love and faithfulness always go before the Lord (Ps 89:14b), and we are the extensions of the Lord that spread out that love and faithfulness even as we herald his coming into all spheres of life of our fellow men. He is holiness, righteousness, and justice, this He cannot compromise (Ps 89:14a) (because it is His very nature; very important to lay hold of this, too), yet He desires to come and move in love and faithfulness towards the pinnacle of His creation, Man.

We, Christians, are God’s heralds, and as heralds of such a king, we are to be the aroma of His fragrance of love and faithfulness; and we can be, in big and small ways, in great endowment or little giving, in giant act of kindness or little gesture of love, in giving a great sermon or a little and timely word of encouragement, in giving great and earth-shaking prophecy or just a little word of knowledge, in travailing intercession or a little prayer, in serving as a minister or a heart-warming usher, in praying for the sick or just giving out a word that bless another (even more), and in giving advice in great wisdom or just identifying and staying with one in affliction.

My own affliction, I have not shared, it is still perhaps, not the time yet, but I see a pattern of the Lord at work, and I can see that pattern in my own renewed life, and I can see it in Liz Mah’s transformation. As I have said, we are not working for our salvation (sozo), yet God’s grace has been seen to be extended to those embracing the kind of heralding for our King as I have just mentioned. In Pastor’s Philip Mantofa’s church, it is not uncommon for the sick “healers” themselves being healed by the Lord as they were praying for others who were afflicted. We actually do not need to have a person healed by the Lord before he could pray for another to be healed (although we can do that, to “pass on the healing”), a sick can pray for another sick, for it is the Lord who heals, not man, not the sick man or the healed man, but the Lord, solely.

As usual, I rattle on too much; here is the story, and the relevant part of the content of the email I sent to Liz:

Keeping Christmas {Liz, wrote an article on her blog, and this is the title}

ROMANS, xiv, 6: He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord....

Liz, a beautiful sermon, and a good extract too {Those interested to read Liz’s article, can click on the “Keeping Christmas” above}. I believe as long as we bear in mind and honor Him in regard to His holiness and righteousness, when we regardeth a thing, a day or a thought, and do it as regarding it unto the Lord, it is likely that it pleases the Lord.

Here is a story of 3 men (friends) stopping at the bucket of the Salvation Army, commonly put up at this time of the year, Christmas Season. The first man, thinking about how blessed he is, to have his little boy healed of his prolonged cough, just in time for this year's Christmas caroling, drops a $10.00 into the bucket. In his heart, as he drops that off, he utters to the Lord, "I thank you for my boy, and for your healing for his cough. Use this to bless a child. Amen."

The second man, a rich man, saw what his friend, the first man, did, and he whips out his Gucci wallet, and drops off a $1,000.00 note into the bucket, thinking in his heart, "Now, my 2 friends can see how generous I am."

The third man, on seeing the rich man just dropped off that $1,000.00 note, says a prayer in his heart, "Lord, you have seen me and my family through these past months, and I am very thankful. I have barely enough to last the family for the remaining days of this year, yet Lord, take this $2.00, and multiply it.” As he is about to drop the $2.00 note into the slot of the bucket, a gush of wind comes, and the note flies off his hand. It lands in front of a gentleman, and when the man picks up the note, it flies off his hand, and it lands in front a lady, and she does the same, and the note again flies off her hand, and it lands in the midst of a bunch of school kids chaperoned by a teacher.

The teacher says to the kids that they have to return the $2.00 to the lady (they thought the note belongs to the lady), and they go over to the lady, but the lady says that the note flew off the hand of the gentleman a short distance away, and they all go over to the gentleman. The gentleman tells them that the note came from the man standing at the Salvation Army bucket, and they all go over to that third man.

The man puts the $2.00 note into the bucket in full view of everybody. The kids decide to give as well, and every of the 20 kids, pushes in a $2.00 note into the slot of the bucket. The gentleman puts in a $100.00 note, the lady, a $50.00 note, the teacher, $10.00 note. The crowd around the bucket attracted many other onlookers, and they too give, some $2.00, some $10.00, a few, $100.00. There was even a rich lady who pushes in another $1,000.00 note. The third man kneels on the pavement, and thanks the Lord.

The first and the third men regardeth their giving to the Lord, and that pleases the Lord, but not the rich man with the Gucci wallet, although he gave the most. He did not regardeth it unto the Lord. The third man's sacrificial giving, even though it was a mere $2.00 note, pleased the Lord to answer his prayer, and multiplied it many folds. It is not how much, it is whether or not, it is regardeth unto the Lord. It is not how much, it is whether or not, it costs us anything. May we all keep this beautiful story from the Lord, in mind, as we keep this Christmas.

I have left out other parts of the email to Liz, but here is my prayer for her. If you are already serving the Lord in some little way, even in some intermittent but consistent fashion, or have now decided to do so, or be more consistent and intentional in those good things that you are already doing, may this prayer be appropriated into your life even as you read it:

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and your family, as you regardeth all to Him.
May He heal you as you persevere in Him.
May He renew your mind to receive His Lordship wholeheartedly and unwaveringly.
May He flood you with the peace and joy of His Spirit.
May He keep you in all righteousness.
May He be ever faithful to you.
May He lead you all the way,
Even as you are determined to follow Him all the way.

Lord, such is my prayer for sister Liz Mah, {and NOW also for those who have set their hearts to be the true heralds of you, the Almighty King, the Holy God, and yet, is the God of love}. Amen.

I have been following Ms Liz Mah’s blog entries for many months now. I used to leave some comments on her blog, but her site no longer allowed for comments (as unkind souls had abused, by sending offensive stuff), and I have been communicating with her via emails. Her blog link is this: Liz’s adventure. I am not related to Liz (she is married and have 2 kids), but I would be glad if you could keep Liz in prayers, even if it is for a period of time. Liz is expected back to work (employment) in Jan 2011. Pray for this aspect as well, as she prepares herself to confront that added challenge.

Lastly, blessed Christmas to one and all, and a Happy New Year, too.

Anthony Chia – Lord, you have sent us into the world. Sanctify us {set us apart for your sacred use} by the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17-18). Amen.

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