The Gentle Hand of God

COMMUNITY MONDAYS

“How did you ever become a Christian? You were never ‘religious’!” said my sister-in-law. My father was even more dramatic, announcing to my sister, “She’s going to be a missionary!” (I guess he equated being a Christian with being a missionary). How did it all begin?

It began in early childhood.

My siblings were going to an Anglican school and the Bible was part of their syllabus. I went to a secular school where mother was teaching and it was more convenient for me, the youngest, to be schooled there. I was an avid reader, poring through everything I could find, and one day, I found the New Testament.

When I opened the pages to the Gospel of Matthew, a supernatural calm fell on me. The Presence and Person of God was rising through the words in this holy book, and I was at peace. My first encounter with God was through the Word.

Almost immediately after, my mind was attacked by weird thoughts. “That was strange,” I thought.

Days later, I went back to the Gospel, and there was again, that wonderful peace and calmness of Jesus coming through the words. And shortly after, the attack on my mind came again.

That was my first experience of spiritual warfare. And it did work on me, a child. I associated cause and effect, and didn’t continue with the Word.

When I was 11, my second brother died suddenly in an accident. He was only 16. The vicar in that school and his wife, New Zealanders, comforted my parents during that time of grief and loss, and invited us to church. My parents went.

My first time in church, I marveled at the atmosphere of peace in the midst of all the activity, and looked forward to the breakfast of hot tea with milk, biscuits, cheese or egg cucumber sandwiches served in small rectangles of white bread piled neatly together. Church was food, drink and fellowship.

I was put in Sunday School and the vicar’s wife looked for me in that class. I don’t recall what I was doing, perhaps colouring, but when I looked up, I saw the bluest eyes I had ever seen looking back at me. I was totally mesmerised, drawn in by the depth and clarity of her eyes. Jesus was looking at me through her eyes. Church was care, compassion and the love of Jesus.

Some months later, the vicar and his wife returned to New Zealand and my parents didn’t like their replacements. So, we never went back to church either.

But I never forgot Him.

Psalm 121

A Song of Ascents

A guided meditation

May the pictures and the verses speak to you

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.


The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. (NIV)

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South Korea, Dec 2021

Pictures by Abby Chua



The Trojan Horse Gift

Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction. Deut 7:26 NIV

A client’s baby daughter could not sleep well ever since she was born. For two years, there was no peace for the family at night. She wondered what was wrong, so she called us in.

The first thing we saw in her house was an occult symbol over her front door. As we walked through all four floors, we noticed the most oppressive place was her daughter’s room. But we sensed the cause of that spiritual oppression was elsewhere — it was hanging over her front door.

So I said, “Let’s remove it, take it out of the house, put it in the rubbish bin, and see what happens.” She did so, removing the last traces of glue attaching that object to the door before wrapping it in a plastic bag and putting it in the garbage bin outside her house.

Then we went back to her daughter’s room. Remarkable difference. Gone was the heavy, foreboding presence — the air felt fresh and clean.

A year ago, the client had asked me to cleanse and bless her house and the object wasn’t there. So I asked her what happened. She said: “The next day, my mother-in-law brought the object and said it was a present for us. So as not to offend her, we hung it on the front door.”

This is what I call the Trojan Horse Tactic. God’s ancient enemy knows that Christians would not knowingly bring a “detestable object” into our house. So he uses well-meaning relatives and friends to give us a loaded gift, and even though we’re not comfortable with it, we feel obliged to keep it.

(A Trojan horse is a term derived from Greek mythology — the Greeks were besieging the city of Troy and it was impenetrable. So they left a “present” outside the city gate and pretended to sail away. It was a massive, beautifully carved horse that was hollow — Greek soldiers were hidden inside. The citizens marveled at the horse and pulled it in. The soldiers came out at night, opened the city gates and the army destroyed Troy).

So what do we do if we get a Trojan horse this Christmas? I reason like this: When a gift is given to us, it is ours, therefore we can do what we like with it. We can keep it, give it away if it’s a duplicate or if we think someone else needs it, or we can destroy it if it’s loaded with occult issues.

If someone really loves us, they won’t be offended if we tell them the reason. Perhaps they may even learn to check with us first before buying. If they get offended, then there’s something else at work — the gift is actually not a gift. There’s a hidden issue. And depending on how close you are to the friend or relative, you may need to spend some time figuring out how to healthify the relationship.