Rapha

He was lying down on his hospital bed, looking frail and despondent. The doctor told his wife that there was really nothing much they can do now after removing the tumor, chemotherapy wasn’t a solution either since his frail health could not take the beating.

As I entered into the hospital ward, I greeted my Indonesian friend, who has been my prayer partner for the sick each time she comes to Singapore.

This is the 3rd Cancer sufferer we have prayed for in 1.5 months, and the 5th one for me since I have started praying for the sick, and he is the 3rd one whose cancer has either shrunk substantially or disappeared after intercessory prayers, and is on his way to recovery.

The Cancer story is a familiar one, most of us have knew someone personally who have suffered from it;

The person has cancer in a specific area in their body. There is surgery, weeks and weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. During treatment, the cancer shrinks and disappears.

Then after some time, and after experiencing some pain and tests, the person find out that the cancer has returned. But this time it is in their liver, their lungs, their blood etc. They go through more rounds of chemo and radiation, but the cancer cannot be stopped. Eventually a difficult battle over a course of few months – few years, they die.

Why do we get cancer patients? There are national statistics to show that Cancer is the no.1 killer in Singapore, where 14 people on an average die from cancer everyday.

Chemotherapy kills more than just cancer, as most of the time, the patient is left in a vunerable state with a compromised immune system, with little defences left to prevent any other cancer cells from reproducing.

So amongst the cancer sufferers that I have been called to pray for, more than half of them turn to prayer when there is no other choice, i.e., medical alternatives.

 

Praying for the Sick

I have a prayer partner locally whom I meet weekly for our prayer meetings and part of the mandate we have been given in our intercessory prayer ministry, is to lay hands and pray for the sick and burdened.

This have worked out to an average of one sick person to pray for a week, since God opened the doors for me to pray for the sick.

Late this year from September, I took on this new thing that God has been challenging me to do since May. I know fully well that I am just a vessel, and I am glad to surrender myself to be a conduit that He can use.

All I did really, was to avail myself to pray.

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I am aware that there are many who do not believe in the power of God’s healing, some are even skeptical when they see the lame walk and the blind see in church services.

God still heals today.

But in the sea of conflicting voices on the issue of healing, there are many, even church leaders and teachers do not fully believe in healing for today.

Well, all I can say to this is, it is only when you have laid hands on prayed for a sick person and have witnessed the person fully healed from their illnesses, you will know that God is our healer, our Jehovah Rapha.

Rapha in Hebrew means ‘He (God) has healed’.

 

A Ministry?

One doesn’t need to be tied to a church to do able to do a ministry, or have to be a leader in a church to be able to do this.

The Pastors of the church that I am now attending are fully aware and supportive of what I do, and keeping them informed of this independent ministry provides me with accountability.

Ministry is

Kyle tags along for these hospital visits from time to time, and I feel there is nothing wrong with him meeting frail and sick strangers, and learning how to pray for them.

I don’t just pray for comfort for the person, I pray for the person to be fully healed in Jesus’ name.

Praying ‘in remote’ for healing is effective, but a more effective way is to be able to minister and to lay hands on the sick to pray for God’s healing. Sometimes all it takes is just one prayer, while other times, it takes more than one session of prayer.

I have found that some individuals have illnesses that can be likened metaphorically to onions :), as the ‘layers of infirmities need to be peeled off ‘ through more intercessory prayers.

Sounds radical?

If you have met me 2 months ago before I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (at home, with my mom as a witness, and not in a church btw), I would not even consider doing this. As it does take a certain kind of boldness to go and pray for strangers. I have learnt not be bothered with what people think of me, but be fully focused on what God thinks and what He wills for me to do.

Abide

So be it Cancer, any illness or ailment. As long as there is an open door for me, I will go to lay hands on the person and pray.

 

The Kingdom of God 

Do I think of myself as some sort of healer? Definitely not. If you understand why Christians pray for the sick and how they are healed by God.

My belief and acceptance by faith of the work of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, is just the first step of being a Christian. As Christians develop our spiritual walk with God, we are to take on this mandate to do the works of Christ. Which are to do the same things that He did while He was here on earth.

Which is to; minister the good news of Christ, and the power of Christ (the Holy Spirit in us) works through Christians who are fully surrender to God, to heal the sick, cast out demons (yes, I have done that too…smirk all you want :P) and even raise the dead (nope, haven’t tried yet).

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‘…the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.’ – Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV

 

When Christians abide closely in Christ and step out and do what God has called us to do, the signs and wonders of Christ will begin to follow us.

So if anyone asks what I have been busy with lately, I would say that I am busy about my (Heavenly) Father’s business, being somewhat like an ‘Ambassor of Christ’, to bring reconciliation with this ministry of prayer and healing.

And yes, God works with the limitations I have as an ordinary mom of one. All I did was to avail myself.

My limitations have never been a factor to consider with God. As with my limits, He is able to show Himself strong, to be limitless.

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——-

 

There are other ‘Ambassadors of Christ’ who are functioning in this ministry of healing, through this organization known as the Healing Rooms. A friend whom I exchange notes regularly serves with this ministry.

A good advice coming from this ‘veteran pray-er’ for healing and miracles, is that, to never stop laying hands and praying for God to heal, even if the person dies after praying for them (this can sometimes happen due to God’s sovereignty). As this ministry has never been about our abilities as ‘pray-ers’.

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I am not part of the Healing Rooms ministry, as my family commitments at this point do not allow me to be serving at these Healing Rooms in the afternoons and evenings.

Nonetheless, I feel privileged to be sent whenever God opens the doors for me to pray for others.

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The Search for a Church

Right after entering this new season of my life, I started my journey of looking for a church. Why the change? After all, I seemed to come across as being really ‘pleased’ with my decision of not belonging to one for quite some time.

In fact, I have heard that there were some people that that I know were irate about what I wrote on this blog previously, saying that I will stumble well-meaning Christians not to attend church, and one even saying that ‘I am not Christian’ :)

Well, I stated it quite clearly in my past post is that have expectations of what a church should be like, I don’t want to waste my time attending any church thinking that I am safe or godly being in a place that is not right. We don’t just go to church for friendships (fellowship), and no one is guaranteed a place in heaven just by attending church faithfully on Sundays. Especially when there is no true allegiance to God, or genuine heart transformation, or a discipline to walk with God daily.

There has to be a confirmation from God that a particular church is where He wants me to be, as I am not willing to settle for any less.

 

What are the factors important for you in a church?

Recently I chanced upon a post from a Christian author who did a survey of this question, ‘If you were searching for a new church today, what are the factors that will be very important to you?’

Sharing some of the answers that he got,

1. Truth being preached

2. Safe place for my kids

3. There has to be prophetic worship, prophetic ministry, anointed prophetic word-centred preaching, prayer and prayer ministry and outward vision

4. Fellowship-worship-Doctrinally Pure-and a leadership that is not afraid of the spiritual gifting that God puts in people

5. Friendships

6. Pastor that know God’s heart and can lead and teach accordingly

7. More God, less talk of people

8. Manifest presence of God

9. None of the above: only whether or not I am called to be there

According to the writer, point 9, is the correct answer, although I would be ideal if all 1-9 points were fulfilled, although I would think the majority of churches in Singapore fulfill points 1, 2, 5, 6, while point 8 is subjective. Really subjective.

Before I go on, I would like to address that by no means this is a post to show that ‘my church is better than yours’, and that I take pride in my ‘knowledge.’

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I have to agree that I do know more than the average Christian as I take the time to read, research and search through the Bible. And pray daily that I will grow in the spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of God, and that I may know what is the hope of God’s calling on my life (Ephesians 1:17-18).

I pray the same for you too, dear readers, that you will be a good berean to search out the word of God (Acts 17:11) and that your eyes of understanding will be enlightened to God’s will and His calling on your life.

All I hope by writing this post, with sharing my take and experience of my own search, that might provide some additional insight into your own search for a church.

 

Have We Started asking God what He wants us to do in Churches? 

Here is something biblical that most of the people surveyed here didn’t include it in as one of the factors, which are actual words from Jesus, nonetheless,

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which was also from Matthew 21:13, and this verse in Isaiah;

Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7

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What is it about prayer meetings or gatherings, that Christians tend to shun it or take it as last priority? Thinking that it’s embarrassing to have to pray out loud in front of people or that it not for me.

Most of us know what we want when it comes to the churches that we select. However, what we deem important for majority of church goers, similar to what is written from the will on God? (To know the will of God, spend time in the bible).

Btw, it is not a case of me vs them, as I am now an officially a church goer, since a month ago.

 

My Priorities in Selecting a Church?

In an ideal world, it will be great if all churches fulfill all points 1-9. And rather enthusiastically, I will share that the new church that I have started attending fulfills all points 1 – 9, including the one about prayer that I brought up.

The church leaders are focused on making their church ‘A House of Prayer’ by having intercessionary prayer gatherings twice-thrice a week for 2-3 hours. It was through their prayer meetings that I discovered this church, which I have started attending regularly.

I am still discovering more about point 5 so far, after all, friendships are build over time. But as I have encountered so far, the people in this church are genuine and warm-hearted, especially the leadership.

A rare thing for the leadership to know who are the people who attend their churches these days, notably in the sea of bigger or mega churches where some of the Pastors don’t even know who attends their churches, and tend to be very concerned about the tithe that are brought into the church by the members.

When I found out from the one of the Pastors, that the mission of the church is to help people to love God wholeheartedly and seek Him fervently, my heart leaped, as this was fully in line with my spiritual walk with God. There is also an on-going focus to prepare the church to be an end-times church, so there are often very convicting sermons preached about how to prepare for Jesus’ coming for the church.

At the last church service, the Senior Pastor continued on his series on the Sermon of the Mount, a study into what it meant by ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ (Matthew 5:8). Towards the end of the sermon, he called for people to come up to the front and kneel with him, to re-affirm our commitment to God. All of the 40+ people seated, came up to kneel together with the Pastor in front and there was not dry eye left in the room!

Interestingly, there is no children’s ministry for this church yet, as the congregation is really small (40 going on to 50 people now, like a big cell group!). But K didn’t complaint even when he had to sit next to me for that 2.5 hours during church service. He even wants to go back regularly, as he said he felt Jesus’ presence strongly during their service.

I have learnt never to underestimate a child when it comes to spiritual things, often their faith and belief will astound an adult.  A child can know the truth and difference sometimes better than an adult, when it comes to the manifest presence of God!

So for sure, this is not a place for people who ‘play church‘ :P. So don’t contact me out of curiosity what church is this, rather, do feel free to drop me a note if you are in search for a church and are keen to visit this church.

 

Prayer or Worship?

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What I have experienced in this church, is that I get plenty of goosebumps all over during their no-frills worship session, just with 1 worship leader with his guitar and two other members playing the electronic keyboard and a set of drums. It’s more than just a worship leader being anointed to lead in worship, it is the strong presence of the Holy Spirit in the place which cannot be denied!

It’s confirmation for me, that a church does not need ‘super-star’ worship leaders with great voices, a choir, or even lighting effects. It is very bright in the room all the time, but I felt a deep sense of reverence for God and extremely humbled in the church, to a point that I am compelled to take off my shoes and knee down during worship.

I have consistently experienced the same in this church during the prayer meetings.

I would attribute to the church’s focus on prayer, as one of the main key factors to usher the presence of God very strongly in their midst.

Revival is surely in this house of prayer!

—-

Here are some controversial insights from John Burton about worship and prayer that I fully agree with;

‘Today’s pop worship culture better take notice. The incense, the worship is holy. It’s for God. It’s not to enhance our personal experience! It is not perfume for us, it’s incense for God! 

I’ve become increasingly grieved at how popular worship events can draw thousands while prayer meetings draw few. The call to prayer is rejected. 

Even more disturbing is how easy it is for people to blend in, raise their hands, dance at the altar and enjoy even truly anointed musical worship – while not legitimately worshiping at all and not being grieved over their immaturity, sin and lack of radical commitment to the cross of Christ. They celebrate some presumed freedom while not being locked in as prayer-driven people, broken and fervent warriors. No sacrifice. No surrender. Just a pursuit of a personal supernatural experience. I’m becoming more convinced than ever that many of these supernatural experiences are certainly supernatural, but not holy.’ 

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Be prepared to see things differently as you read more from here.

Are we in dire need for revival in Christian-dom as a whole? I believe so. And I think spiritual revival in churches will be ignited when churches have a strong focus on being Houses of PRAYER.

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Exit Mediocrity

After my birthday this year, it finally dawned on me that I have barely a couple of years before hitting middle-aged.

My child and family is one of my key priorities. While work may be important to put food on the table, but it is secondary to these other priorities.

So what else gives meaning to a life of a Christian woman?

I chanced upon this video from Francis Chan, a Christian Evangelist and Author, which succinctly communicates an analogy that demonstrates my attitude towards a life of a Christian in general. Sharing these quotes from a 4 minute extract of his sermon,

“The Bible teaches that what I do during this little red part (ie. my life on earth) determines how I am going to exist for millions and millions and millions of years forever (eternity). So why would I spend this little red part trying to make myself as comfortable as possible, enjoying myself as much as I can. Paul (the Apostle) says I am going to live my life for this mission, I am going to spend my life, invest my life for this moment when I cross that finish line. See, I am going to forget about all these stuff I am going to enjoy, I am going to be a runner, just looking at that moment when I face God, because when I face Him (pointing to the red part), I don’t get this chance over again. We get one chance at this life on earth. And it can end at any second for any of us. We got one chance at this, and then it comes eternity.”  

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If a Christian thinks that by having a comfortable life, with a beautiful home, successful career, having to take vacations whenever and wherever, enjoying material wants and experiences without having to worry about finances, and having amassed enough money for retirement. While, possibly doing evangelism when it is convenient, is depiction of a successful Christian life…

Then, mediocrity will likely be the path he/she will take as a Christian.

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Here’s a good sermon to read from AW Tozer (1897 – 1963), could get offensive for some people, but it does put a mediocre Christian life into perspective;

‘Now, does that describe you? You’re a believer, you’re saved; you know that but you’re ordinary and have no outstanding abilities or qualities; not distinguished by spiritual superiority at all; just following the customary ways of the church. Now, I leave it you whether it describes you or not, but I have observed a lot and I do observe that as well as pray and I find that most Christians are mediocre. 

Now is thus the best Christ offers to us, my friends? Is this mediocre, undistinguished, half-way-up-the peak business, is this the best that the Lord offers? I do not think so; it’s our own fault…

When there’s a sermon preached or a book read the gist of which is ‘take thy cross and follow, go on unto perfection’ why, people begin to ask questions and bargain with God. They say, “What will it cost? What will it cost me to be that kind of Christian? What will it cost me in time? You know I don’t have much time. Will it cost me in money? You know I have a family. What will it cost me in labor? You know that I work hard. What will it cost me in relationships? I don’t want to give up my friends.” As soon as you hear a man, looking in the face of Jesus Christ and saying, “Master, I’d like to follow you all the way but it’s too costly.” You have a poor, mediocre wretch on your hands!”

It has been more than 50 years, but I don’t think much has changed in the Christian world. Mediocrity seems to be commonplace.

I am determined to leave this mediocrity in my Christian walk. But like what Tozer mentioned in his sermon, it does come with a cost, cost of not being convenient, uncomfortable, isn’t safe and often it isn’t that popular either.

So what’s in it for anyone to be a Christian?

The perception you will have, will be hardly anything, especially if you think this life on earth is all there is. If so, I sympathise with the state of how life is for most of us, no matter how much possessions we have, or how happy a family we have now, we are all stuck in a rut of mediocrity.

Instead of being stuck in this rut of life, you could be blazing a trail where no ruts will exist, a path that God has uniquely created for you. Only you are made and qualified for this unique purpose, and likely you are the only one who can fulfill it.

Do you know what is your purpose in life – a special assignment that is assigned to you by God? I am not surprised if 90% of people reading this, are still discovering answer to your purpose, even if you are a Christian.

So what will it take for you to break out of mediocrity and this rut of life? Isn’t it time to find out what’s the unique path in life that God has created for you to take?

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Incidentally, there will be a Christian apologetics conference held at Covenant EFC Woodlands on the 5-6 Dec 2014 on the topic of ‘What does it mean to be Human?’, one of the key speakers is Os Guinness, the author of ‘The Call’.

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‘The Call’ is a classic that centers on understanding what it means to be called by God.  Os throws out the modern notions of calling as merely fulfilling an obligation or living out an occupation. This is not a “how-to” book that will help readers find our true calling from God, but instead, a calling is an experience of understanding God’s purpose for life and living that life in the will and drive of Christ.  We are called “to be” more than we are called “to do.”  Our calling is about who we are, not about what we do. Although the ‘doing’ will flow out of a true understanding of who we are.  “The Call” gives a clear guide to understanding this call from God, and practical steps to living it out both in being and in doing.

Read about more on the book, ‘The Call’.

There will be special price discounts if the tickets of this conference are purchased before 1 Nov, at an early bird price of $50 per person. To read more about the speakers, and to find out more about the purchase of conference tickets here

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