The watchman is led to share the following for the benefit of a novice disciple of Jesus, who wants to learn reading the Bible with the purpose of following Jesus as a disciple, and practice fasting and seeking God more closely. Please do not think that we always talk about our own fasting experiences. Jesus taught us not to boast about it. The sharing in this blogger’s blog is for the purpose of learning and helping those who, like him, are learning and seeking to know more and more about God and the matters of God, and how to read the Bible as led by the Holy Spirit, and live our lives as disciples accordingly.
Fasting, reading the whole Bible and seeking God means you must be prepared to accept the consequences. Often you get to know God a bit more through reading His words with more spiritual sensitivity. Jesus called this blessed, as you are ‘setting your mind on the matters of God’, and not on the matters of man.
What are the consequences? In the watchman’s experience, it means agreeing to accept the words received through the Holy Spirit. Even when it may mean incurring considerable cost (in terms of time, money, effort, loss of comfort, physical inconvenience, mental anguish, emotional vulnerability etc.), there is no option.
The recent series of events started from practicing daily fasting, reading the whole New Testament in a week, and practicing spending more time before God, praying and singing in the Spirit. Another intercessor alerted him to watch the VOA (Voice of the Apostles) 2013 which was on at that time. So he watched a number of meetings at random online. He received the prayers and anointing by faith at a distance, without encountering much physical sensation. He just believed in the Spirit-filled words of God.
After it was over, he continued to watch and listen to some of the speakers’ previous sessions recorded elsewhere. One thing that stood out was the reality of the speakers’ faith and relationship with God, especially the Holy Spirit.
Why were they so close to God? Most of them have and are still spending a lot, some all, of their time with God. God is real to them in everyday living. Their entire life is God-focused. Jesus is not a mere name to be called out in times of need. Jesus is the closest living friend. The Father is not a distant indifferent deity. He is really a Father to His children. The Holy Spirit is not mere knowledge in the mind. He is the might of God. The power within them. No part of their ministries is done without the awareness of the ever presence and dynamic power of the living trinity God.
This reality of God in their lives makes the difference. The watchman prayed and believed that he too, can have this reality.
Prior to this, he has been on this spiritual journey to see God in the Bible for quite sometime. He did encounter God’s reality (in the Spirit-filled words) from time to time. But lately he noticed that the spiritual progress had decelerated.
So he prayed and asked the Lord, based on Jesus’ promise to answer the disciples’ prayers. His prayers were answered. First he was told that he needed to know God’s love. The sharing by Heidi Baker had answered his prayer. Love motivates her. Her whole ministry is based on showing Jesus’ love (God’s love) to the hurting one before her.
The thing that stood out was that she went to look for them to love. She did not wait in a church building for the Lord to bring them.
Love means being vulnerable. The watchman learned. You may get hurt. You may be made use of. You may pay a price that you never want to pay.
But he was led by the Lord to read the four gospels again. So he read. By the time he read Luke and reached the last three chapters, he was led in his spirit to read Luke again! He was in a hurry to read John on the Jewish Yom Kippur day, but he never manged to do so.
Why was he required to read Luke again? Jesus showed what love looked like to individuals. He healed the multitudes. But he also stopped for the one hurting individual on his way. Sometimes he went out of His way to look for that one person!
During the Sunday after the Yom Kippur, the watchman and family worshiped together. After that he spent the remains of the day exercising and singing in the Spirit, interceding with another intercessor.
The next morning he woke hearing the two familiar statements from Heidi Baker: “Love looks like something” and “stop for this one”. Which one? He asked. But he immediately knew it was a hurting kid. The Lord prompted him a number of times but he was always busy with schedules and agenda. The Spirit said, hypocrites follow schedules and agenda. Jesus told them off in the synagogue. He challenged them in Luke 6:9, “I will ask you one thing: is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?” After that He healed the man with the withered right hand. The religious hypocrites were filled with rage.
Jesus equated healing a man with withered right hand with doing good and saving life. healing and saving go hand in hand. On the other hand, not doing what He did was equivalent to doing evil and destroying life!
Many confused sticking to schedules and agenda with doing good. Jesus had demonstrated many times it is not so. Even synagogue (church) worship services can be modified or stopped, for the sake of healing and saving a person.
Again, in Luke 13:16, Jesus healed and made straight a woman who had bent over for eighteen years, reprimanded the religious hypocrites, “So ought not this woman…whom Satan has bound-for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”
Could He not healed both these two persons on the following day or at a more convenient time, so as not to incur the wrath of the religious leaders? Of course He could. But He chose to respond immediately when He saw them suffering under the bondage of infirmities, which in the later case He stated its origin from Satan!
In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan who had compassion for and helped a Jewish man who had been robbed, wounded by thieves and left half dead by the roadside, Jesus clearly reiterated the importance and urgency to respond to the hurting person in one’s immediate presence. (Luke 10:30-37)
Coming back to the watchman’s story, he was further convicted by what Jesus said in the verses from Luke 14:13, 21, 23. “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.” “go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.”
The kingdom of God must be filled with the number that God has prepared for. The servant is commanded to go out quickly and bring in the people. Who are these people? The same whom Jesus had personally stopped for. The hurting ones.
Right after this parable Jesus told the multitudes what it took to be His disciple. Count the cost. Bear the price. He said. Nothing, no one, not even yourself can take precedence over Jesus.
So that same day the two intercessors (watchman and junior) traveled ten hours and looked for one hurting child (latchkey kid junior junior newly back to school) assuring that her grandma would come by the end of next month, treating her pasta, ice cream and bread pudding, and before they left, they told her that Jesus loved her. She beamed and replied, “I know!”
The word of God said, Jesus stopped for this hurting child. Love looked like Jesus.
(Amazingly, the elder’s back and legs did not hurt despite not having sufficient training previously in walking, standing and traveling on public transport! The mind too felt refreshed just as the spirit prospered, just as apostle John had prayed in 3 John 2.)