January 15, 2011

one more mall encounter

while out with my daughter and her friend the other morning, I got a word of knowledge for a right knee problem for a muslim employee in the shop we were in. he let me pray for it. he wasn't really willing to test it out, but God revealed it and I believe "what God reveals, God heals".

another mall miracle

so as I said in the last post, we were headed off to another Middle Eastern mall. A remarkable healing took place in one of the shops. A Filipino man had what appeared to be a broken right hand. He had punched a wall. It was swollen and he could barely move it. He was in a lot of pain. I took it in my hand and released the Kingdom. After about a 30 second prayer, I let it go and he began to test it out. He was able to move it and ALL THE PAIN WAS GONE. We were all rejoicing.

Then he asks me "are you a pastor"?

another Kingdom "run" through a Middle Eastern mall

I guess when you live in the Middle East "malls" and "miracles" go together.

Our first stop the other day was a hotel next to the mall we were at. Great White North and I were following up on a young muslim woman who came to Christ last spring after encountering God's Kingdom in powerful ways. She no longer worked at the hotel, but I got a word of knowledge for a back problem that one of the Egyptian muslim employees had the problem and let me pray for him. The power of the Holy Spirit began to touch his back. He said it felt hot and remained hot. He told me he'd call me when the heat subsided and tell me what happened.

Next we ministered to a Filipino man in our favorite donut shop (no, we didn't buy any this time). He is scheduled for eye surgery and let us pray for him. We had prayed for him before but obviously that hadn't been effective. This time he said he felt cold in his eyes. After about 45 minutes, we came back and prayed again (this time laying hands on his eyes). I am trusting that he won't need the surgery next month. Trusting that the Great Surgeon has done His Kingdom procedure!

After this we went to buy some lunch. I offered to help any of the muslim employees (all Egyptians) if they had any pain in their bodies. I told them my friend, Great White North, was a miracle worker and could help them! At that moment, I got a word of knowledge for the man I was talking to - a back problem. He had it. GWN prayed for him. He said it felt the same. I then asked if it was an injury/accident that had caused it. It was so I asked if I could pray again. This time he felt heat in his back. I told him I would come and check in on him in the next day or so to see if he was healed. I explained that if God reveals a condition, He intends to heal that condition. This was definitely a challenge to his world view as he was shocked that we weren't muslims - funny, because muslims don't heal the sick!

Our final encounter was with another Filipino in a rock climbing shop. I got a word of knowledge for his knee condition and we prayed. He said he could feel God's presence and it wasn't hurting when he tested it out. Probably he was most surprised that God had revealed it (they often are).

We asked a number of other people if they needed prayer during our time out, but no one else said they needed prayer. Just encouraged to see God showing up in the mall once again.

Can't wait to go out in a few minutes because Desert Princess and I are heading to ANOTHER mall. I guess we'll blog what happens when we get home.

January 13, 2011

releasing the Kingdom in a Middle Eastern mall

last night Celtic Lion and I went to a mall to hang out and see what God would do as we made ourselves available. It has been a crazy 2011 as I have seen a radical increase in the frequency of "words of knowledge" (1 Cor 12:8) for people. It just seems that God is releasing them much more. last night was no different.

as we walked in the mall, I decided to pay my phone bill and while in line, I got a word of knowledge for a neck problem. there were 2 clerks working and the first one didn't have the problem. the second, an Arab muslim woman, did have the problem. She was busy at that time, but we came back and got to pray for her. I had her lay her hands on her neck and we prayed for her two times. Most of the pain left. She asked, "How did you do that"? Desert Princess is going to follow her up.

right after leaving the phone place, as we are passing a woman's clothing store, I get another word of knowledge for a problem in the right hand. I walked in and began to engage one of the employees. I had only seen a customer when I was walking by but decided to ask the employee first. I said it out loud so that the other woman could hear. Neither the woman who worked there or a colleague who joined us had the problem. Guess who did? The customer. An Arab muslim woman. The employees were quite nervous to help me pray for the woman because of camera surveillance, so I decided to give the woman Desert Princess' mobile number and have her contact my wife for prayer. She eagerly took her number and seemed quite interested to know more about how we "knew" she had the problem and to be healed.

After offering to pray for a couple of others, who didn't need healing for anything (or so they said), I got another word of knowledge for lower back pain on the right side. There were only 3 people in the coffee shop. It wasn't for either of the employees working the counter, so the Filipino employee went up to the only customer, a Filipino woman, and she had the problem. At this point, it was time to get the employee involved in the miracle. I asked if she would lay hands on the woman's back and I would pray. I told her that she would "feel" something happening in her hand. Guess what? As we prayed, she felt electricity in her hand and the woman's back was completely healed. I gave these woman the number of a Filipino pastor and also Desert Princess' number yet again.

A fun night at the mall! I recommend trying these things out the next time you are shopping too.

January 09, 2011

the problem of evil (some reflections)

today I listened to a leading Reformed theologian (Augustinian/Calvinist) attempt to shed light on the philosophical "problem of evil". it was actually a very disappointing message as he gave no response/answer at all. He just admitted it was a problem and no Christian had ever successfully given a satisfying response to the issue. Really? Did this theologian not read C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain? Of course he had, but he wouldn't want to admit that a non-Reformed Christian thinker might have something valuable to say on the issue. A more recent effort would be Is God to Blame? by Greg Boyd (a simplified version of his scholarly Satan and the Problem of Evil). Again, Boyd isn't Reformed, therefore not mentioned. How about the early Christian apologists (2nd and 3rd Century). He didn't mention them either - and yet, a number of them gave a response to why there was evil in the world, even though God is all-powerful and all-loving.

You see the so-called problem of evil is a much bigger problem (insurmountable) when one's theology attributes to God a concept of sovereignty that makes no genuine room for the exercise of creaturely free-will. Or a concept of God that believes everything that comes to pass is somehow part of his "unconquerable will" (to quote St. Augustine, the first Christian to EVER suggest these pagan concepts). If we somehow have to appeal to God's mysterious decrees (or "secret plan" as Calvin put it), looking for a divine reason behind everything, then YES, the problem of evil is a massive problem. It is massive because essentially God Himself is the cause of the problem. To put it plainly, if you dig deep enough, God is the author of evil in the universe of the God of John Calvin and St. Augustine. There's just no other conclusion if you take their theological concepts to their logical conclusions. Not only that, but because they also assert (how I do not know) that God is all-good and loving, they therefore somehow must assert that the existence of evil is somehow an expression of that goodness and love. strange theology indeed.

thankfully, we don't have to find the source of evil in the world as somehow being sovereignly decreed by God. we can instead find the source of the problem in the misuse of the free will of God's creatures. that is what the early Christians did, that is what C.S. Lewis did and other "responsible" modern-day apologists. I say "responsible" because the other concept of God is a gross misrepresentation of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

why is there evil in the world? because people (and angels) have chosen it and continue to do so in the exercise of the own free wills. is God's will being done when we choose to disobey His will? absolutely not! Augustine was completely wrong. God's will is being opposed, thwarted and disobeyed millions of times each day. Every unloving act, selfish deed, slanderous word, rape, murder, etc. are all examples of His will NOT being done. But this is the world HE CREATED. A world where free creatures, can exercise their freedom for either good or evil. To stop each act of evil, would be for God to withdraw the gift of that freedom.

As C.S. Lewis so profoundly puts it, "God willed the free will of men and angels in spite of His knowledge that it could lead in some cases to sin and thence to suffering: i.e., He thought freedom worth creating even at that price."

In other words, the ONLY possible universe where love could be possible is one in which real choices can be made. It was worth the risk for God to create that world. One day He will put a stop to evil and suffering; they are only a temporal realities, not eternal ones for His children.

In other words, God had nothing to do with evil's entrance into the world. And He has nothing to do with it when it happens each and every day. However, He is so good, that He works to bring beauty out of suffering and pain. He is in fact so good at bringing good things out of suffering (which is a testimony to His unfathomable love and heart of redemption) that people 'mistakenly' think that somehow He must have been behind the evil in the first place. No, it wasn't being "allowed for a purpose" as the softer, modern-day version of Calvinism would have it. Evil is evil. Darkness is darkness. And "God is light in whom there is NO DARKNESS AT ALL".

So, there is a satisfying answer to the age-old problem of evil. That is, if you have the Biblical (non-Augustinian/Calvinistic) understanding of the God of love and why He created free creatures in the first place.