Thursday, February 16, 2012

Update on ministry at church services

Last weekend has been an eventful weekend for me at church. I have, for a long, long while, NOT updated my “little ministry” as far as it pertains to what I do in church’s weekend services. I have just clicked on the last article ("You need faith, and you need love") I put up under the caption of “Concerning my little ministry”, and the article showed up as being put up on 3rd August 2011, a whopping 7 months ago! What has happened? Was there no more flow? Yah, how come? Let me see…

When I actually re-read that last article, I realised I have separately dated that article, at the end of the article, as 12th July 2011. I understand from the article, the reason why I penned in the date at the end, which normally I do NOT do; it was to capture when I actually decided to venture out of the church to hold healing meetings outside, or at the marketplace. Although the article was put up on the 3rd August, 2011, the decision was made on the 12th July 2011.

As a side, I actually have since went on to secure a place, and formed a team, and started the marketplace healing meetings in October 2011, and last weekend, the church has suggested it could come under the covering of the church, something I had originally wanted, but was left unanswered by the church due to church leadership transition.

Still what were the reasons for no entry under this caption? The following combination of factors accounts for it:

1. I have been busying preparing for the marketplace healing meeting ministry – getting a place, a team, and the sermons or messages.
2. Much time was spent on articles filed under other captions, such as Divine Healing (new), and Christian Services.
3. I also got onto following Ps Prentis’ blog so very regularly.
4. Lastly, things somehow had “cooled” somewhat in church.

What exactly is point 4 referring to? The main thing was that the church had entered into the tail-end phase of leadership transition, with the incumbent Senior Pastor “letting” the Senior Pastor-to-be, to have a go at “running” the church, including the services. Indeed, the incumbent spent much time away, so that the new in-charge-to-be, has some liberty to act as he deemed fit. The incumbent finally formally finished his term at the end of the year, but he was off much earlier to clear his Sabbatical leave, etc. That transition has somewhat affected the regularity of the ministry times in the services.

Well, with new leadership, tweaking was inevitable; uncertainties set in; and when people were unsure what was going on, and their questions went unanswered, for there were not yet firm decisions, ministry as usual did suffer. But enough of that; may the new leadership quickly finds a firm footing and restores the much needed certainty. Of course, we have to be careful NOT to point fingers, for it was not easy for the new in-charge, for several pastors also exited the church.

Not wanting to dwell anymore on the negativity of leadership transition (leadership renewal is an inevitable part of life), I only want to say, in many settings, corporate atmosphere is important, and is part and parcel of what God does look at, especially it is a body like a local church. It is my belief that God considers the individuals as well as the corporate, where it is applicable. In other words, not much gets done, if He considers the corporate setting or atmosphere is important, but it, the corporate setting or atmosphere, is out (of order).

Jesus, for example, did NOT do much in his own hometown, because the overall atmosphere in that town was NOT right. For a church, it can be same, too; God could be looking at faith and the unbelief of the church, the agreement and unity of the members, and of the leadership of the church, and other corporate dimensions, including widespread sinfulness in members and leaders, etc, etc. Now, this is NOT in any way insinuating the new leadership is guilty of any of these, but it is just I am expressing my understanding of the place of corporate atmosphere.

Well, if you doubt my understanding, think about Jesus’ lack of ministry in his own town that I have talked about already, and consider the fact that the Word contains scenarios of atmosphere of lands and countries being “controlled” by principalities, and battles had to be waged to clear corporate strongholds, before break-throughs came. Clearly, when many are in agreement, the subject matter does become a stronghold, if it is a negative that is being collectively agreed.

Still I believed for the stretch of 7 months, God did NOT go to sleep (and I did NOT abandon my role), for the church; there must be those who were ministered by me or others, at whatever times where we squeezed or “sneaked” in a ministry time, allowing for words of knowledge, and praying for those in needs. However, often times, people just do NOT come back with their testimonies, and we thought people were NOT ministered to, or worst still, in the eyes or ears of some, words released appeared as a “bunch of craps” with no one claiming them. Later, I will share that a word I released in 2010 was received in, and it came to pass, and the person came to tell me last weekend.

Still, this blog and its entries here are very much about happenings that got to do with me, meaning generally, I do NOT deliberately go out of my way to report on the successes of other ministers; for, for one thing, this is principally a journaling of my ministry, and NOT that of others, and another, is so that, readers do NOT inevitably mistaken results of other people’s ministry being mine. In that sense, zero reporting here does NOT necessarily mean nothing was happening for others (other people in ministry – church Altar Ministry, principally). Because I was on-site almost every service, I of course, can comment that there was indeed a decline of VISIBLE manifestations of God was working, through a “NOT so unanimously agreed” period of altar ministry.

But to illustrate that I was still trying to be as active as possible, and God did NOT just switched off (it is untenable to consider God would just “turn off the tap” just because the Senior Pastor has retired {per se}. But of course, if given time, if God understands that people are quenching His Spirit, He is NOT going to be continuing His work, without teaching people a thing or two), I will share:

1. First of all, my 2nd occasion of praying and seeing a leg growing to match a longer leg. This 2nd occasion happened in Jan 2012, and I was hoping the person would submit a written testimony to the church but apparently the person did NOT.

2. Then, I will share about the 2010 word that has come to pass, that has gladdened my heart last weekend.

3. I will also share about my joy of seeing fruit coming from doing a little bit more to love others.

4. Finally, I also want to share an important prophecy given to the church over the last weekend – a case of prophecy given in pictures. I also believe as an encouragement, personally for myself, the Lord has also allowed a breaking of level for my all time-gift, the gift of singing in tongues. However, to avoid too lengthy an entry here, I will put out this last item, item 4, as a separate entry – Update on ministry in church services – Part II.

So, here are the elaborations for point 1 to 3:

Leg grew on the spot, and no more pain
In Jan 2012, after a usual Saturday church service, I stayed behind to see if any, needed prayers (I do this commonly, voluntarily). A woman, came up to the sanctuary front, limping, and walking with pain, and asked me if I could pray for her. She explained that she suffered toe fracture on one foot some 4 months earlier. Doctor told her that after 3 months she should be alright, but after 4 months, she was still experiencing pain in that leg, and worse still the other leg of hers was also painful, and both her legs were weak. She went back for doctor consultation, and x-ray showed that the fractured bones had fused back, but doctor was puzzled about the pain and weakness, and had informed the lady that she got to make return visits and run a few other tests.

I prayed for the woman, and after a while I asked if she still had the pain, and she said it was better, and she explained that prior to this, when she walked, there would be both pain and some sort of “needle poking” sensation coming on. But it was better already. She then said that she felt one of her leg was longer than the other. Because of experience, I know it could be true, and so, I asked her to move back to the first row of the pew seats; I asked that she sit down (upright), and I lifted both her legs. Indeed, one of the leg, the one that she earlier said, was longer, was way longer than the other; we are talking about a difference of more than an inch! After letting her know, I prayed for the leg to grow so that both legs would become of the same length; and the shorter leg grew. Although the heels were quickly aligned, the front portions of the feet were NOT exactly aligned. And so, I put one hand at the front portions of both feet, and prayed and they became aligned. I then asked the woman to try walking. When she tried, she said that she still felt one side (of her body) was still a little higher than the other, and asked if the floor was NOT flat. Yes, I believe the floor at the sanctuary was slightly sloped; and so I asked her to walk along the central aisle instead, which she did. She then exclaimed that all the pain was gone. Her husband, by this time has joined us, both exclaimed the surprise. The Lord has lengthened her leg, and healed her feet. Hallelujah, praise be to God.

The “lulus tinggi”
What is that, “lulus tinggi”? You will know what the phrase means, if you have studied Malay or knows the Malay language. I know because I studied Malay as a second language for 11 years, in the past. “Lulus” means “pass” as in passing an examination. “Tinggi” means “high” as in high is Mount Kinabalu (a mountain in Malaysia). So together, “lulus tinggi” means “high passes”.

This word of knowledge (or one may even call it, prophecy), was a word I received and released in 2010. Now, I have released many words over the period of last 4 years, and really, most of them I could NOT remember them off-hand (and so, the reason for my doing this kind of journaling as in this blog). This one I remember; why? Because it had the Malay phrase in it. It was the only one, of all the words I ever released, that had Malay words in it. And if I do NOT remember wrongly, when the word came to me, I actually saw the phrase before my eyes, meaning I could read it off.

It was and is strange, yet I am saying to you that, such do happen – the Lord giving a word, NOT in English, when obviously, I was in an English church service. Now, if it were Chinese, it probably would NOT surprise many, for in Singapore, languages commonly used, and commonly have church services conducted in, are English and Chinese (and Chinese dialects); in fact, I do NOT know of any church services in Malay in Singapore! If it were Chinese, it would surprise few, but it would surprise me, because I cannot say that I can read Chinese (Mandarin) even though I am a Chinese; I can’t, although I can converse in Chinese. But such simple Malay, on the other hand, was and is NOT a problem at all for me.

Obviously, the Lord had to give me in a language that I can understand before I can give it out. Still, I did recognize that it was exceptional that the Lord would show me Malay words, instead of English. But you know what, that also meant that it could NOT be a mistake, for I did not and do NOT think or imagine in Malay (for I do NOT even use the Malay language in daily life for years already). And so, on that occasion, I released the word to the effect of someone in the congregation, the Lord knew he/she was very concerned, desperate even, about the studies of his/her child, but the Lord gave the Word of “lulus tinggi”, meaning “high passes”; in other words, the child would come through with high passes. Of course, I revealed I saw the Malay writing, and that I knew Malay and so, I could release the word.

Last weekend, after the 8.30am service, a woman came to front of the sanctuary, and she related how I had given that “lulus tinggi” word, and she knew it applied to her, and she held to the promise of that word. She said the word had come to pass.

This woman revealed that back then, in 2010, when the word was released, the situation of her was like this: there were 4 people in the family, father, mother (the woman), a daughter and a son. The one, the other 3 had almost wanted to give up hope on, was the boy, the woman’s son. She related how the father and sister were thinking of giving up on the boy when the boy was “hopeless” even with his “N” levels studies (In Singapore, there is streaming; those pupils who are NOT grouped as the typical pupils who would be expected to be able to clear the “O” levels examinations, would be put to “N” levels, a kind of sub-O levels). The woman, the mother, afterwards, decided decisively NOT going to give up on the boy, and the boy went on to pass his “N” levels, with an aggregate of 10 which is pretty high pass overall (top “N” level students aggregate about 6). The boy then went on to take the “O” levels, and got an aggregate of 19, a good high pass, indeed. The boy, according to the mother is now enrolled in a Singapore Polytechnic.

This woman revealed that she too does receive pictures or visions from the Lord, but she still has not been able to interpret them; and she said, she was impressed upon by the Lord, to come up to me, and tell me, the testimony, and to tell me to continue on, with the release of the words the Lord gives. What an affirmation the Lord gives! I encouraged her to give a written testimony to the church, and I really hope she gets down to do that, for the church leadership needs to hear such testimonies, that indeed, members do receive in, the words released in services, and are blessed. A boy’s entire future is completely different, turned bright, because his mother heard the Lord’s word and received it in. I say, church services should be conducted to facilitate such God’s giving “life” to people.

I say, how true is the word said by Alicia, a sister member from the church, concerning why words of knowledge (and prophecy) and ministry time be accommodated in church services even when the church has a whole string of ministries such as healing, deliverance, family life, teaching, etc, etc, which people can contact and arrange separate meetings privately for ministry; “if the Lord wants to minister now, we minister now!”

You see, the problem with many of us, including church leaders, is that we box God; we are in effect telling God when He is supposed to minister – “God, you are NOT supposed to heal people here or give a word to people here, you should wait until a private session has been arranged, and then you can do it there!” Unconsciously, we are indeed expressing such audacity when we quench the desired moves of the Spirit of God.

Another one, a brother of the church said this: “You fear men or you fear God?” It is “tricky”, but there is important truth embedded in there; if you are asked by God to release His words, do you fear men (including church leaders) and NOT release it or do you fear God, and do as you are expected by God to do? Equally “tricky”, when applied to the leadership of church; do you allow time for such release of words of knowledge and prophecy, and the ministry to people thereof, or even just the ministry (without words), or do you give in to lament of men who said that such (time allocation) is wasting majority’s time, to attend to minority’s needs! Is such majority-minority argument the way of the Kingdom? Or is it the other way round, think about this: God said that the road and gate to life is narrow, and those to Hell are the reverse; majority is right?! Go with the majority?! Some food for thought, I say.

With a little more effort to love, fruitful is God’s harvest
Does God heal everyone every time? No. Did people get healed all the time when I prayed for them? No, but there were people healed. Were all people ministered when I ministered to them? No, but enough were. Did I ever make mistake releasing words? Yes, but few, and it became even fewer and fewer. In it all, I effort to love. Gal 5:6b – “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (If you want further exposition of this, read, the article of 3rd August 2011 which I mentioned at the start – “You need faith, and you need love”)

Think about it: If you are NOT a doctor, you would NOT be able to love someone who is sick? If you cannot make someone well from his/her sickness because you are no doctor, you can no way love the person? You may NOT be able to address his/her sickness, for you are no doctor, but it is really NOT ground enough for you to say, you could NOT love the person in affliction. You can effort to love, and people can receive that love.

That effort to love, and people receiving your love is the scene God is very happy to see. When we receive God’s love, we are touched, something is transformed within us; in other words, God’s love has borne fruit. When we love another with the love of God, when that love is received in, the person is touched, something within him is transformed; in the same way, God’s love borne fruit in us, our “God-love” bears fruit for God’s harvest. Love is primary (first), and it will give rise to primary fruit. What is primary is most important indeed.

When I pray for a cancer patient, minister to him/her, follow up with him/her, all in an effort to love with the love of God, and the person dies, do I produce no fruit, that I healed NOT, the person? No, I believe I have produced the primary fruit, the fruit of love, and God is pleased with that. May you catch this outlook that I believe all servants and ministers of God must have, and believe in.

This is what I believe the Lord was teaching me, in my journey of the last 4 years, especially in relation to a pair of cancer-stricken women, one in Malaysia, and another, in Singapore, who both, at the overlapping period, suffered stage 4 lung cancer. Both of them have passed away, now. I mean I have followed them through, not only praying for healing for them, but also included attending to their spiritual feeding and health, for many, many months, and that was a lot of time and effort, yet they still improved NOT as far as their medical conditions; hardly even once, did they say that my prayers had brought arrest to their medical conditions. Many a time, however, I received from them messages of how they were touched when they received prayers from me, including written ones (for one of them, was after all, in another country, Malaysia). I thought I was supposed to be primarily a healer-minister, but it is now apparent that, even so, that I am a healer-minister, I am first of all, a minister of love, that I am to minister the love of God to people.

I will just share how my heart was gladdened over the past 2 weekends over the case of Carolyn Quek, the Singapore woman who had the stage 4 lung cancer and has passed away on New Year Eve (the fuller case on Carolyn Quek could be found here:”Carolyn Quek has passed on, too“). Carolyn Quek’s husband, Anson, was NOT a Christian at the time Carolyn was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, but he has since given his life to Jesus. Carolyn, on the other hand, was a Christian way before they were married; yet for so many years (more than 20 years) of their marriage, Anson did not accept Jesus into his life. I am sure it was, in part, as result of Carolyn Quek’s strong faith and steadfastness in the face of her cancer affliction, and the love he saw in those (of course, there were others) who ministered to his late wife (and even to him) that he gave over his life. More importantly, the question of whether or NOT, Anson would follow through with his commitment to follow Jesus after his wife has passed away just before he was due for baptism, did ring in my heart.

Carolyn was NOT a member of the church I attend (for simplicity, I just say my church), but has come to attend the services of my church because I would be there. Carolyn decided to transfer church membership, and both husband and wife started attending the baptism/membership classes at my church; Carolyn needed to complete the course to transfer, and Anson, to be baptized to be a member of my church. Carolyn went home to be with the Lord before completion of the course (hospitalized, and so could NOT attend the last sessions), and she was NOT in time to be transferred, and her church (not my church) conducted the Christian funeral service.

I never insisted to minister to my church members only, and at no time I hinted any transfer was necessary, and so, Carolyn’s decision of transfer was in part attributable to the love and warmth she experienced. Anson, could opt NOT to be baptized at all, or he could go back to Carolyn’s church where 2 of their children (the 2 youngest) were attending. The weekend prior to the last, I witnessed his baptism at my church. I was so happy that indeed the affirmations he gave to me, on those hospital visits of mine, to pray and stay with Carolyn’s loved ones, including my visit of them at the hospital on Christmas morning, a few days before she passed away, were really heart-felt by Anson. In those occasions, he shared repeatedly how Carolyn was touched and how he was touched (this was despite Carolyn’s sickness did not improve, over the entire period!).

Actually, after Carolyn’s passing on, I continued to pray in my prayer times, for Anson that he would NOT back out of his commitment to follow Christ. Witnessing his baptism was such a joy, which I shared with his 4 sons. Last weekend, in one of the services, I again saw Anson in church, and the 2 youngest children (sons) were with him. I could NOT help but rushed over to say hello to them before they left the sanctuary.

Directly, I had NOT brought physical healing to Carolyn, despite the many prayers in church (almost every week, I prayed for her in church), but I efforted to give a little of God’s love, and the Spirit of God magnified it, along with those given by others (like Dr Alan Chin), and fruit formed for the Lord’s harvest – Carolyn’s husband, Anson, remains committed to the Lord, and Carolyn’s children, especially the 2 youngest ones, have experienced the love of God through his servants. One of them shared with me in the hospital at Christmas morn, that he would like to go to Bible school rather than normal school; he said God’s ways are the relevant ways. I believed God has put something good in this boy’s heart, even as he saw the Lord did NOT heal his mother. I spent a good one hour giving understanding to this boy.

Look out for Part II of this “Update on ministry at church services”.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – Lord, I thank you for your affirmation and encouragement. My prayer is for you to move the heart and mind of the church leadership to always be willing to facilitate your blessings of people, both your children as well as those unsaved. The ministry time in church services belongs to you and you alone. I want blessing for the people, and so, I pray for your strong hand of insistence over frivolous wishes of men, be they members of congregation or church leaders. Lastly, Lord, I want to believe that, that son of Anson, who said he preferred Bible school, he, Lord, you will continue to touch, and in turn, he will touch many lives, with his life, in the years to come. Amen.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From the Lord to the Lord this Valentine morn

On this Valentine morn, I particularly feel somewhat lonely, not that I have not passed through several Valentine Days ever since my ex-wife divorced me in 2008.  Perhaps, it is because it is the first Valentine Day, away from the matrimonial home that I used to live.  Although the Court granted the interim divorce order in 2008, I had been staying in the same matrimonial home still, for the subsequent years, until December 2011, i.e. I stayed on for more than 3 years, for the sake of my 2 children.  The long-drawn divorce proceeding (concerning all the ancillary issues, like care and control of children and their custody, and the split of matrimonial assets) lasted almost four years.  Since late December 2011, I have been living with my children in a small 2 bedroom flat, for the Court has finally awarded the care and control of the children to me. 

This morning after my daughter has left for school (my son is for the time-being, in a period of boarding, in his school), I was left feeling quite alone.  The children are much bigger now, compared to their ages, 4 years ago, when the divorce was instituted by the children's mother.  They are now both having busy schedules of their own, coming from their studying in the best secondary schools in the country.  In another short couple of years, they will be going to the universities, likely even to universities overseas. 

Perhaps, it was not just this morning, in the last couple of days, thinking about these things, was already arousing in me a sense of loneliness.  Although the divorce definitely left a void in me, and I was feeling lonely, especially in the early stages of the proceeding, somehow I just do not remember feeling awfully lonely in the past few Valentine Days, even though as far as I can remember now I was not celebrating any of those, with anyone.

I engaged in small things, doing a bit of cleaning in the house, here and there, and then I switched on the radio (to have some voice in the house), and tried making a holder for a dish-washing sponge.  Of course, it is Valentine morning, the radio is on the "you know what theme" - Valentine theme: love songs, flowers and gifts, etc.  Maybe it was not a good idea to switch on the radio. Well, it was still early in the morning, for I had got up  before 5.30am just so that I could prepare breakfast for my daughter and to see her off to school at the door.  It was still too early for me to get ready to go to work at the office.

Somehow, I started singing too, despite my lament of how the radio only made me feel more lonely.  Below is the song I believe has been inspired by the Lord, and I sang it back to the Lord.  With a little "editing", I named this song from the Lord, to the Lord as "The near you".

In the past, I have omitted to share about my personal life on this blog, other than those connected to my little ministry, and generally, to faith-related theme. Part of the reason was that there was then a legal case on, of the divorce; the another, was that it is generally NOT edifying for people to learn of divorce.  However, what has happened has happened, and we, as Christians, are to live transparent lives, it is perhaps time for me to open up.  In any case, it was not I who wanted to put asunder to the institution of marriage of God.  In fact, I struggled with this point - that the marriage was being put asunder, but in my case, I have finally (after much painful struggles) "heard" from God that He had accepted the facts, and so, I should just moved on; and from there, from the darkest time of my life, I began to surface from the bottom of the pit with the help of God. 

Make no mistake that I am NOT wallowing in self-pity or wanting back the past; the spiritual journey of the last 4 years, from that divorce, was most amazing relative to the previous many, many years of Christian life.  In my sorrowful period, God gave me the joy of touching lives to the tune of, in 7 weeks I touched more lives than I did in any 7 years period, previous.  God acted supernatural on me, and used me to perform the supernatural on others.  God granted me, words of knowledge and prophecy, used me to pray for the sick, and granted me favour in the eyes of church leadership and brethrens.  Many lives were touched in the last 4 years, and the Lord has healed through me; I have had 2 occasions of praying and seeing people's legs grew (to level up) before my eyes.  No, I am NOT promoting divorce or suffering, but I am saying in the most difficult period of my life, God unstealth-moded himself and took me into his bosom, cared for me, nursed me, and comforted me, and encouraged and helped me to rise up. 

Some of the most beautiful visions I had from God included "The Lord as the Papa Eagle" and "I, being saved by the golden sash of the Lord".  Both of these, if you are interested to read, are in a single article: "The Lord as the Papa Eagle" (the golden sash vision is in the appendix of the article).  It has been a fantastic journey, with you near, Lord.

The near you (morning of 14 Feb 2012)
I do not know what lie -- before me
I only know -- you are - with me
May I always feel this way -- about you
That you are always this way –- the near – you

May you - be near me
May you - be near me
May you - be near me
Al --- ways -

Lord, be near me
Lord, be near me
Lord, be near me
Al --- ways --

Then the sky will change
Dark clouds will scatter
The sun will shine again
And my spirit - will be up once again

Then the sky will change
Dark clouds will scatter
The sun will shine again
And my spirit - will be up once again.

And my spirit - will be up once -– again ---.

May your faith not in anyway diminished by the knowing that I am a servant of the Lord who had not been able to keep my marriage going.  Rather, may you be encouraged to see that the Lord is NOT far away.  May, if you are in any affliction of life, know that God can show Himself to you; call to Him, call to Him today.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions - Lord, actually when I started, I was NOT intentioned that this article was to talk about my "that affliction", and you know that I have had abandoned previous entries because that sensitive subject sneaked in.  This time, I'm letting it go, and so, may you help readers to receive only the positives of this entry.  Lord, may you also be pleased with the song crafted above.  Indeed, I like "the near you" so much.  Forgive me, for lack of reverence for your presence, and my many indulgences.  Indeed, forgive me that I often disregarded you, when you, by your Holy Spirit, were and are already indwelling me, regardless of my sensing you as being near or NOT.  Thank you, Lord, for journeying with me in the last 4 years.  In Jesus' most precious name, I pray and give thanks.  Amen.

PS: Marriage must be saved at all cost.  As far as it depends on you, you are to save your marriage.  I (and the church) have made all attempts to save my marriage but it was to no avail.  My testimony is NOT to show that it is alright to have a marriage break-up.  Please seek help if your marriage is breaking up.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Secret to our well-being

Preamble: This has been delivered as a sermon in one of my Divine Healing Meetings.

What a state, what a position!
There is a state in which we can say of God, in other words, we can declare it, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust"; where "Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence"; "He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.".

A state in which evil cannot harm you: "You will NOT fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness nor the plague that destroys at midday." "A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will NOT come near you.", rather "You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.".

Where is this state in which you can fall back on the backing of God; where "no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent", "For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways"; "they {the angels} will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone"; where "You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent”?

Where is this position from which God would say, in other words, God declares, "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him"; where God would say, "With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation"?

Where, where, where or How, how, how?
Where is this state, this position or this place, so beautifully portrayed as that which we could have? Don’t you want to be in that state? Don’t you wonder why you are NOT in that state? Don’t you wonder how you could get there? Where in Scripture, has such a state being described for us?

Anyone wants to venture a guess?
Yes, it is Ps 91. What I have narrated to you are verses 2-8, 10-13, and the last 2 verses, verses 15 & 16.

What do you notice? I have NOT included verses 1, 9 & 14. But before we look at those verses, which spelt out for us the key to the state described, let us be as one who truly wants to savour the food God has provided, His Word, in the verses that I have just narrated. Let us know the extent of coverage of God’s promises in those verses.

I am going expound on this Ps 91, in 5 parts, 4 “promises” parts, and the last as the secret/key part

Part 1 - Where we can declare
Verse 2: I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

In this state we can declare confidently that He is our refuge and fortress, our God in whom we trust. In fact, more importantly, when we are in this state, we must believe He is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust.

If you think you are IN this state when you are NOT; you are under delusion. But if you are IN it, but you still don’t believe you are in good hands, you too have a problem. When there is no operation of faith on our part, it is NOT pleasing to God (Heb 11:6), and the devil can know it, and can exploit it to our detriment.

What else can we declare?
Verse 3: Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.

You and I must declare and must believe that He will save us from snares (traps, trickery) of the enemies, and from calamities.

There are 3 issues, here: one, you have to declare it; two, which is the same as that in verse 2, you and I need to believe; operation of faith we must have. Lastly, you cannot willfully disobey God, insisting your own way.

Verse 4: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

I once had a vision of God as the papa eagle (you can read of it, in my separate article – The Lord as the papa eagle); and in Deu 32:10-11, we read of a very similar portrayal of the Father God coming as the eagle to tend to His children. Here, I believe the picture the psalmist had in mind, was that of a papa eagle, covering us with His feathers. Using His wings, He would bring you and I into His bosom, and there we will find refuge – protection, warmth and rest.

In that article of mine (link as given in preceding para.), I talked about, the vision was telling us that, the faithfulness of the Father God, as the papa eagle, is beyond question. When you do NOT see Him or you do NOT feel Him; it is NOT because He is NOT there, He is in stealth mode! Because of this faithfulness, God is our shield and our rampart (mounted defense).

As pointed out for verse 3, you cannot be stubborn, insisting your own ways, and stubbornness is self-pride - you think you know better and you want to come out from under His wings; you want to step outside of His shadow, and then you wonder why God does NOT protect you, and you wonder where His shield and rampart are. Scripture said in no unclear term, if you are proud (with self pride), God opposes you; and if He opposes you, no wonder you find NOT His faithfulness as your shield and your defense.

In the NT, there was the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and one point of the Parable is that the wayward son had wanted, and went outside of the “shadow”. He was treated like “dirt” outside of the covering of the father. Clearly the story had to say, he subsequently returned to his father’s house, and so, that parable should more accurately be named as The Parable of the Return of the Prodigal Son (Some people, the overly grace believers, expound the Parable to say that there was no returning to the father or penitence on the part of the prodigal son; that in my view, is NOT rightly dividing the Word of God).

Of course, by now, you should know we are NOT necessarily referring to physical location like a physical place; we are NOT. Physical, as in, inside a home, is only allegorical or metaphorical. What is more important is the person’s heart condition or state. It is still The Parable of the Return of the Prodigal Son if the story had developed to say, the repented wayward son sent words home to the father to come to fetch him, for he was too weak to journey home; it is NOT necessarily physical! So, when your heart turns contrite and you cry for the papa eagle, he shows Himself; before that He would be in stealth-mode; you just don’t see, but He is there!

Those who were at the TRF Meeting up at Tuas late 2011 where Ps Cynthia Oei spoke, concerning how the Papa eagle would fly swiftly to catch eaglets dropped off the nest before they could hit the ground when they failed to fly; she said to remember Papa Eagle could fly faster than we fall. Well, the vision God showed me, was that “He is already there, only you don’t see Him, for He is stealth-mode!” A vision of this kind changed how you and I look at God.

Part 2 - Where evil cannot harm you (unless God permits it)
Verse 5: You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

The terror of the night is referring to the bad things that wicked or evil people do in the camouflage of the night/darkness. Of course, it can refer to the terror of evil spirits.

Arrows that fly by day is referring to the many “wars” or “battles” that take place in the day time; indeed we face onslaughts (slander, libel, insult, discouragement, provocation, abuse, threat, etc) throughout the daytime, in our homes, in our work places, in the various activities and events we have to attend to, each day.

For all of these, we are able to summon our courage to face them. In this state we will be able to summon the courage that comes from knowing that we are living in God’s protection to overcome our fear, of any or all of these things.

Verse 6: nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Some more descriptions of troubles of life: calamities that come in most unsuspected times (stalk in the darkness), and threats that come at the appointed times (at midday).

Christians or not, we may have to face them (if you did NOT have to face some, count it God’s grace), the only difference is how Christians are supposed to face their troubles of lives - being able to summon the courage that comes from knowing that we are living in God’s protection to overcome our fear, of any or all of these things.

Verse 7: A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Yes, we are to face our troubles with full confidence in the protection of the LORD. A thousand may fall at our sides, ten thousands at our right hands but no harm shall come to us.

Is it always like that? Yes, if you are in that state or position. NO if you are NOT.

Verse 8: You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

We will only see the punishment of the wicked, and so, take care that you and I do NOT stray and be lumped together with the wicked, and be punished along with the rest of the wicked.

From here, you can also see, the punishment of God for the wicked can happen in his earthly lifetime, even when we know that God is long-suffering concerning the sins of men, desirous of giving time and opportunities for men to repent of their ways. So, you better NOT think that others got away in their life-time, you would too, if you try!

Part 3 - Where we can fall back on the backing of God
Verses 10-12:

Verse 10: then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. No harm will befall you; no disaster will come near you (near enough as to harm you).

Verse 11: For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; God will command his angels to guard you in all your ways.

Verse 12: they {the angels} will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. The angels will lift us up in their hands so that we will NOT strike our feet against the stones.

For those of us who have read the Temptations of Jesus, we will remember Satan actually quoted this verse 12, when attempting Jesus to throw Himself down from a high place. (Satan knows the Word, he may use it, but like Jesus, we can also use it against him {so, you and I have to know the Word because if we do NOT, we cannot use it against Satan or his minions})

I have elaborated earlier (against v4), that we are NOT necessarily referring to a physical place, but rather, the heart condition or state. The temptation of Jesus, also was confirming this point:

Jesus answered Satan saying, we should NOT test the Lord our God. Had Jesus actually listened to Satan and jumped off, do you think, by this verse 12 here, Jesus would be safe; it said, the angels would go and lift Jesus before His foot would hit the stone on the ground, does it NOT? The few verses here so affirmatively stated God’s protection is full-proof, and would never fail; but I believe it would fail, but it failed, NOT because Jesus was NOT in Heaven but on earth (talking about place {physical}); it would be, it failed because, had Jesus jumped, the heart condition/state of Jesus would have NOT been right with God (It would be doubting God/testing God because of doubt).

Verse 13: You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

When we come face to face, so to speak, with the beasts and the snakes (collectively, called the minions of Satan) we will have victory over them, and we will be winning over the great beast, the great lion (lion, being a powerful and majestic animal can symbolically be used to represent the Lord {Lion of Judah}, and sometimes, Satan or devil; in here, it is referring to Satan) and the serpent (serpent, most typically referred to Satan). When we have victory over the followers of Satan, we are winning over Satan.

These few verses tell us that we can fall back, or rely, on, the backing or resources of God.

Part 4 - Where God declares – When in this state or position or place, we even have God declaring in our favor:
Verse 15: He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Notice here that God did NOT say no trouble, rather, God said, “In his trouble, I will be with him”. God will NOT only deliver him but also honor him; yes, God does honor men but who? We will know in a little while!

Verse 16: With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

God said He will give such a person long life, and show him His salvation which NOT only includes the gift of life but also, healing and deliverance. The Hebrew word used for salvation is H3444, “yÄ•shuw`ah”, and its scope included eternal life (being rescued from Hell destiny), deliverance, divine help, and welfare which includes health, prosperity and victorious life).

Some people want to argue that the long life is NOT referring to our physical life on earth, but that portion after physical death, life extending into eternity. No, simple reading suggests it is talking about a man’s physical life, in the first part of the verse, and the second part is where God was saying, He would show the person His salvation, and in that salvation, it included the eternal life which would NOT end.

Part 5 (last part) - the secret part, a look at verses 1, 9 & 14 (of Ps 91)
Verse 1: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

The first clue the psalmist gave was he declared that he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

A shelter is a place of protection, so he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High is he who lives in the protection of God. He will be resting in the shadow of the Almighty God, NOT that there will NOT be any “disturbances” or troubles, but because we are confident of the Almighty God’s protection. This is an important understanding (that it was NOT that there would NOT be any trouble, and it was confirmed to us, in v15), so that you do NOT be dismayed in life thinking there is something wrong with you, when in fact we are in the world (fallen world) and will be exposed to troubles or “disturbances”. Jesus said this in John 16:33: …. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

How many of us are like the ones, the psalmist was talking about, living in the protection of God, and are able to find rest in that protection? All of us? All of us have the potential to live in the protection of God, and to rest in Him, but NOT all of us are availing ourselves to it.

Ah? The difference between those who dwell in the shelter of God and finding rest, and those who do NOT, is a choice; in other words, it is volitional. We have to choose to live in the protection of God. If you choose otherwise, you may NOT have the full protection and rest.

The psalmist actually repeated his opening lines of verse 1, in verse 9, but this time, he said, “If you make …”

Verse 9: If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the LORD, who is my refuge -

Why would one NOT choose that, to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, if it is a choice, like I said it?

The answer is: we are NOT willing to love God enough to listen to Him. Where does it say that there is a requirement to love God in order to be able to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, you may ask? The answer is found at verse 14.

There are those who said the answer is “a close relationship with God”, but if you break it down, it is still “God loves you, and you love Him back, and you are in sync with Him”. Whether you look at close relationship with God or you loving God, exposition is needed of what is comprised in that close relationship or loving God.

For the purposes of this message I will stick with what was clearly stated by the psalmist, i.e. loving God (v14), and even so, I will NOT be expounding much on what that called for (to expound on the subject of loving God would take separate
article), except to mention that obedience CANNOT be left out (I might in the future do a separate message as a continuation to this, to expound on what is comprised in loving God).

Before we go to verse 14, perhaps, it is important NOT skip saying a few words on such words as “dwell” and “abide” or “abiding” which are in verse 1. The “rest”, in there is referring to abiding rest. Basically, the 2 words implied, “staying in there, continuing in there”, like I dwell in a house on Bt Timah Hill, but I stay over at the Sheraton Hotel, I don’t dwell in Sheraton! There is a degree of permanence implied in dwelling and abiding. Likewise, the requirement of loving God, is also one of continuity, love and continue to love; just bear this in mind, even as we look at verse 14.

Verse 14: "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

This verse is the KEY to this beautiful psalm of protection. How do we get to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, and so be able to rest in the shadow of the Almighty God? Don’t just gloss over this verse 1 of Ps 91!

The answer is only one: Loving God. And Scripture teaches us that we are to love God with all of us, all of our heart, all of our soul and our mind (Matt 22:36-37 and Deu 6:5). You would have noticed that I said “love God and obey Him”, earlier on, even as I said I would NOT be expounding on loving God. It is indeed loving God and obeying Him, for “he who loves God obeys His commands, and he who obeys His commands is the one who loves God” – John 14:15 & John 14:21a. Because God’s love is ultimately, love unto righteousness (`ahab love), and we are to love Him back, also with love according to His righteousness, inevitably, our love for God, is tied to obeying His commands, for His righteousness, in a large part, was and is revealed in His commands, written or spoken, past or presently.

Many people like to quote “God is love”. I submit to you that it is even better to say, “God is love unto righteousness” or “God is `ahab love”. When we acknowledge His name this way, and we love Him back according to His righteousness, we get to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, and when you are living in the shelter of the Most High, you can rest in the shadow of the Almighty God.

Jesus talked about to plunder the home, one has to bind the strongman first (Mark 3:27). Likewise, to get to us, the enemy has to face God first; that is why we are very safe. God said, “I will rescue him; I will protect him”. So if you are asking, “How come I am NOT rescued or protected?”; maybe you should ask first, if you have been loving God, and obeying Him. His rescue and protection is assured, most assuredly, for those who have acknowledged Him and are loving Him, and obeying Him. Are you acknowledging Him, including acknowledging Him as God who ultimately, can only love you unto righteousness, and are you loving Him back according to His righteousness? It is a choice; you have to make the choice to do that. Why don’t to make that choice today, and stick with it, through thick or thin.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions - Lord, thank you for your illumination of this great truth in your Word, that indeed the key to our Christian well-being is in us loving you. May I always bear in mind that your rescue and protection is assured, most assuredly, for those who have acknowledged you and are loving you, and obeying you. Lord, bless this sharing of your Word; that many will begin to make that choice (to love you) to avail themselves of all that you promised in this beautiful psalm of protection. In Jesus’ most precious name, I pray. Amen.

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