Tuesday, January 1, 2013

God's Glory and Presence

This is an account of the writer having seen God’s manifest glory.[1]

It happened on 3 December 1998.

Lying in bed, waiting for the bathroom to free up, I paged through an old Life Science Library publication I owned, entitled Mathematics.[2]  It surveys the wonderful world of arithmetic in its broadest sense, and the great minds who had labored in this field throughout the centuries.  Since this discipline is, in a sense (in my humble opinion at least), an exercise in logic, I was wondering about God's mind and whether most things in His creation could, from His perspective, be reduced to a mathematical equation, something like Einstein's E=mc2 or theory of relativity.

When I eventually got up, I wrapped a towel around my waste and left for the TV in the kitchen.   It was the first day of the Million Dollar[3] golf tournament at Sun City, near Rustenburg in South Africa, in which a select group of players competed for an obscene amount of cash.  Having been a golfer, I thought I would watch the invited players commence their rounds, whilst waiting for the bathroom to be available.

A “missionary” on “leave” from India occupied it.  His wife was away, visiting her parents in Potchefstroom.  His parents were at Sun City watching, among others, all the golfing action in person, with Tiger Woods as the star attraction.  (All of us were at the time staying with his parents in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa.)  Although both of us had been invited to attend the tournament in person, for reasons of our own, we declined the offer.  To me, Tiger Woods and all the other players plying their trade, however successfully, paled into comparison to the things of God.

When my brother-in-the-Lord eventually walked into the kitchen he handed me the “latest” edition of JOY!Magazine,[4] which he had received the night before from an aunt, suggesting that I let him have it when I am through with it.  Being on what he termed a “golf fast," he then left for the study, located directly across the passage from the entrance to the kitchen, as he usually did in the mornings, to have his "quite time.”

A few minutes later I also decided to leave.  As I turned and walked out the kitchen towards the passage leading to the bathroom, I noticed the passageway was filled with thick white smoke.  Alarm bells went off in my head!  Even though I could not smell anything burning, my immediate thought was that we were in danger as the house was on fire!

Wanting to alert my brother-in-the-Lord to our predicament, I instinctively shouted his name, saying, "The passage is full of smoke! Come and see!"  Not responding, I had no option but to step into the corridor filled with smoke.  From my thighs downward everything was obscured, leaving me unable to even see my legs or feet.  Glancing left, down the hallway, towards his parent's and the other bedrooms; I noticed the same layer of smoke throughout, covering the full length and width of the passage.  The hallway to my right was also filled with smoke.  Peculiarly, no smoke had filled the drawing- or dining room leading off it.

Sensing an emergency and the need to act quickly, I opened the door to the study to see why there was no response.

There I noticed the same static layer of smoke.  Rather than filling the whole room, as one would have expected, it only hugged one wall of the study, the one straight ahead of me, to my brother-in-the Lord’s right, who was sitting behind a desk.  The rest of the room was completely smoke free.  This struck me as odd.

Staring at me, my brother-in-the-Lord seemed totally at peace, oblivious, it seems, to it all, sensing no danger or cause for alarm.

In the corner, on the opposite side of the room, at the end of the layer of smoke, I noticed mist.  It was flowing right through the ceiling, moving in a circular motion—forming a pillar!  Dumbstruck, observing this extraordinary sight, it realized I was no longer looking at a house on fire—but staring at a living being!  I stood there transfixed, in total awe.

For reasons of His own, the Lord did not allow my brother-in-the-Lord to see any of it and, before I knew it, neither could I.   In an instant, as if into thin air, it had all completely vanished.

Trying to make sense of it, whilst attempting to describe to my brother-in-the-Lord what I had just witnessed, I suddenly recalled a similar incident, during 1995 in a Jerusalem apartment, when smoke also inexplicably filled a room.

God had blessed me by allowing me to live in Israel for almost three years.  At the time this occurred, I stayed in an apartment leased by a Syrian sister-in-the-Lord.  As far as I can recall, we were the only people residing there at the time.  Around midday one day, as I opened the door to the apartment, I was faced with a cloud of smoke filling almost the entire “entrance hall.”[5]  It looked like cigarette smoke; so much so, I was convinced that my flat mate secretly smoked (even though it was odorless and was more voluminous than ordinary exhaled cigarette smoke).

Staring at all of this, the landlady exited my bedroom.  She had been spending time there in prayer, said she.  When I asked her if she secretly smoked she assured me she did not, but her whole demeanor made me suspicious.

Thereafter I began noticing the term "smoke” throughout Scripture, both in relation to God (Ex 19.18; Is 4.5, 6.4; Jl 2.30; etc.) and Satan (Rev 9.2-3, 17; 14.11).   Not seeking God’s council, this unfortunately/predictably led me to erroneously believe or conclude that what I had seen originated from the demonic realm.

So, after all this, as I eventually headed towards the bathroom, I absentmindedly asked[6] Him, “Lord, what was that?” "My Glory and My Presence," He instantly replied.[7]  Although I accepted His answer, the magnitude of it all still remained a mystery.

In the bathroom I cursorily paged through the Joy!Magazine, making a mental note of the various articles, and the order in which I wanted to read them, when I noticed a heading entitled “Finding the Pearl of Great Price.”  Glancing down the page I then read these words: 

"The first thing that happened to me was that one night, after a revival meeting, I walked into a room after coming from the bathroom.  The whole room was filled with a cloud and at first I thought there was soap or cream in my eyes (I also thought something was wrong with my eyesight).  I wanted to go back to the bathroom but as I left the cloud was gone.  I called one of my friends that was coming down the hallway to come and see the cloud (as I did).  As I entered the room the cloud was gone (as in my case).
Just then another one of our roommates came in and I started to tell them what I saw (as I did).  As I was still talking the cloud came back and it was so thick we almost could not see through it (neither could I, but in my case it did not re-appear).  It was almost like a mist (the term I had used) and it moved like mist (exactly what I saw in the corner of the study).  We started shaking and manifesting but didn't know what we saw (I did not manifest, but neither did I know what it was).
 The next day we told our leaders what we saw, but they didn't know what it was either and just said ‘Wonderful, bless you, bless you.’
At the end of the week Bob Edwards, a well known prophet in Canada, came to give a teaching at the school.  He started to tell us about God's presence (the term the Lord used in response to my question) and how he would see it in the form of a cloud or a mist (obviously what I saw).  He also saw it in church as a mist above the people or on the stage or whatever.  Then we knew what we saw (me too, with God using this particular article to confirm what He had told me a few minutes earlier!).  Since that day I have often seen God's mist over people (regretfully I have not, but have longed, as Moses did, to again see His glory[8])."

Reading the aforementioned, I instantly knew that God has used this article to confirm what I had seen and what He had told me.  Telling me, ashamedly, instantly ought to have settled the revelation of Himself.  But for reasons of His own, He elected to confirm it via the article.  How seldom do we straight away, unreservedly and wholeheartedly, heed His voice!  Truly gracious and marvelous are the myriad ways in which He conducts His affairs, get our attention and speaks to all of us!

I have been blessed with wonderful encounters with the living God throughout the years, and have had the privilege of witnessing His hand in extraordinary ways, but the manner in which He does things never ceases to amaze me.  Needless to say, I was dumbfounded by the revelation of Himself to a mere mortal like me!

God’s glory to me was an Old Testament theological “concept” which I though I understood.  The Israelites, Moses and Ezekiel, among others, had the awesome privilege of encountering Him in His glory, but all of that I though belonged to the distant past.  Not for one second did I contemplate that we likewise could see and experience His glory today.

I have heard ministers of God talk about His glory on television and heard preachers mention it from the pulpit or in books but His manifest presence, experienced firsthand, truly astonished me.  I had seen Him, of whom all these passages of Scripture make reference, myself!  Who was I to encounter the living God thus?  In the overall scheme of things I do not matter at all! 

When Christians reference the eternal nature of Jesus they usually quote Hebrews 13.8: “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, today, and forever.  God’s revelation to Malachi is equally valid, “For I [am] the Lord, I do not change…”[9]  In the context of this posting, it means if He appeared to others in His glory in the past, He will likewise reveal Himself to some today.  He is truly not a respecter of persons.[10]

Three days after this incident Nicky van der Westhuizen came to preach at a local assembly, mainly prophetically confirming the assignments of various believers, including myself.

He shared how he received a prophetic word in which God stated that He was going to change the course or direction of his ministry, and how He did so on an extraordinary day in Cape Town.  From then on he too could see the cloud in the meetings he conducted.

Prior to this, Dave Hockey also ministered at this particular assembly.  One evening, which I unfortunately did not attend, he fell down under the glory of the Lord.  When someone called the pastor, he too fell down—and remained prostrate before the Lord the entire meeting!  Months later the pastor related to me how he saw a thick black cloud; that it was so heavy he couldn't get up from the floor.

Some of the other things Nicky van der Westhuizen shared were truly marvelous.

So even though I have read about God's glory in Scripture and in articles, and have heard about it from the "pulpit," I still didn't really relate to it all in a personal manner.  But having experienced the living God in this way, for days, weeks and months afterwards, almost in a daze, I wondered what it all meant.

Why did God come to me in such a way?  Having searched the Scriptures anew regarding God’s presence and glory, in light of this revelation, I am, for ease of reference, attaching some of my observations here.[11]  Based on these extracts, and your own study of Scripture (if you are inclined to do so, and I hope you are), you no doubt will draw your own conclusions.

Personally, I am of the opinion that we are increasingly going to experience God’s manifest Presence in the days ahead and that some of us are going to minister His purposes from or out of His glory.  This will be totally unfamiliar to most Christians and will astound many.

God’s Glory is a sovereign manifestation of Himself, as and when He pleases.  And yet, Moses saw Him in His glory after he requested seeing Him thus.  Some of us will likewise also powerfully encounter Him, on the face of the earth, as He goes about His purposes and we too interact with Him accordingly. 

May you and I be graced and blessed to experience Glory[12]—the living God in His splendor.

[1] I saw His glory in an extended open vision.  Such a vision is as real as looking at any person or object in person.  I know it was a vision only because my brother-in-the-Lord, who was in the same room at the time I encountering the Lord thus, did, for reasons only known to God, not see His glory.
[2] Unfortunately not a subject matter which is one of my strengths but which, for various reasons, intrigues me.
[3] Now known as the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
[4] Or so I thought.  It was actually the May 1988 issue.
[5] Actually, oddly, a vast open space, serving as a kitchen (with an adjoining dining room) with all the other rooms leading off it.
[6] “So I [Jesus] say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Lk 11.9-10, annotation and emphasis mine.)
[7] Via a “still small voice” (1 Ki 19.12) or what is also known as a “word of knowledge” (1 Co 12.8).  Please refer to footnote 10 for more detailed Scriptural references.
[8]And he [Moses] said, “Please, show me Your glory.” 19 Then He [God] said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Ex 33.18-23, annotation and emphasis mine.)
[9] Malachi 3.6
[10] Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Act 10.34)

[11] God's glory is often referred to as a cloud. (e.g. Ex 19.18)  I was also awestruck when I realized the obvious, that smoke proceeds from a ‘fire’ i.e. God's Presence. (Dt 4.24; Ex 19.18; Da 7.9) and that both a cloud and smoke are used in relation to God. (e.g. Ex 19.9, 18)  No doubt it signifies God's Presence—exactly what He had told me.
     Incidentally, the word "mist" only appears three times in Scripture (Ge 2.6; Ac 13. 11 & 2 Pe 2.17). However, the Hebrew word for cloud, ‘anan’ (Strong’s 6051), means "cloud; fog (i.e. mist); storm cloud; smoke," according to Vine's complete expository dictionary (see the attached) and it signifies a cloud mass distinct from clouds we can see with the naked eye.
     I also noticed the following.  God ('s).
·         led Israel with a cloud, i.e. His Presence. (Ex 13.21, 14.19, cf. 33.15-19),
·         reveals His glory thus (Dt 5.22; Ex 16.10),
·         came to his servants thus (Ex 19.9; Nu 11.25),
·         spoke to His servants from it (Ex 34.7),
·         spoke to all assembled thus (Dt 5.23-27),
·         dwells in thick darkness (2 Ch 6.1),
·         came to the Israelites thus when they worshipped in unity (2 Ch 5.13),
·         fills a place in this manner with His Presence (2 Ch 5.13, 7.2),
·         (does not?) allow(s) men to walk or move about in His glory (2 Ch 7.2),
·         Presence thus causes men to worship Him (2 Ch 7.3),
·         fire is associated with the cloud and smoke (Ex 24.17 See also Dt 4.24),
·         abides like this, sometimes for prolonged periods of time (Ex 24.18),
·         gave the law and other instructions from the midst of it (Ex 34),
·         glory rubbed off after Moses had been in His Presence for a prolonged period (Ex 34.29),
·         looked from it upon men (Ex 14.24),
·         acts from it (Ex 14.24),
·         intervenes from it to protect His servants (Nu 14.10; Nu 16.42; Nu 12.5),
·         ministers to and via men thus in relation to His divine plans and purposes (Nu 14.11ff; Dt 5.31),
·         came thus to Moses whenever He spoke to him (Ex 33.10),
·         showed Himself to others likewise (Ex 33.10),
·         came  "down in the pillar of cloud" and spoke from it (Nu 12.5),
·         instructs men from it  (Nu 12.4-9),
·         appears to men when they humble themselves before Him seeking His counsel (Nu 20.6ff) ,
·         settles disputes against His servants from it (Nu 12.1-9),
·         passes judgment from it  (Nu 12.10; Nu 16.11),
·         appeared “in the cloud,” “above the mercy seat” on the day of atonement (and possibly also at other times) (Le 16.2),
·         sanctified the tabernacle (and it seems Israel) by it  (Ex 29.43),
·         came down thus to deal with people who have spoken against His servants, and thus against Him.  (Nu 12.5, 16.42),
·         spread a cloud over His throne (Job 26.9),
·         is surrounded by "clouds and darkness" (Ps 97.2),
·         spoke to Peter, James and John from it in a vision  (Mt 17.5, 9),
·         appeared thus to Aaron as a result of a prophesy by Moses (Le 9.4-6,23),
·         "appeared" to the Israelites congregating at Aaron's first offering for himself and the assembled people, and "fire" fell on the offering.  (Le 9.23-24),
·         appearance thus had been prophetically foretold  (Le 9.4, 6, 23),
·         appeared at the inauguration of Joshua and spoke to Moses (Dt 31.14),
·         appeared in His glory (and acted) when the Israelites complained against his servants (Nu  12.5, 10; 14.10, 22; 16.42-44),
·         appeared when the tabernacle of meeting was finished, in that the "cloud" covered the tabernacle and God's glory filled it (Ex 40;34),
·         cloud filled the house and the glory of the Lord filled the temple, built by Solomon, after the ark of the covenant (along with all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle) was brought to it; prior to Solomon’s prayer of dedication (2 Ch 5.13-14),
·         leads people by means of  it   (Ex 40.36-37),
·         appears thus  (Nu 12.5),
·         fills a place thus (1 Ki 8.11; 2 Ch 5.14; 7.2),
·         Yeshua (“His salvation”) is God’s glory and must be proclaimed to the world as such  from day to day (1 Ch 16.23-24),
·         Wants us to give Him the glory due Him (1 Ch 16.28ff),
·         Name is Glory (Je 2.11; Ps 29.9),
·         Will plead His case again with Israel “face to face” before Jesus’ return (Ez 20.35ff).
     In addition it states that:
·         it the “cloud of the Lord” (Nu 10.34),
·         the Angel of God (Jesus) moved "in" it (Ex 14.19 See also Lk 21.27),
·         Jesus was taken up in a cloud (I suspect By God Himself) (Act 1.9),
·         Jesus will again “come in a cloud” (with clouds,” Rev 1.7 or “on clouds,” Mt 24.30) with great power and glory (Lk 21.27),
·         God's glory departed after the defilement of the temple and when the ark was captured, (Eze 10.4; 1 Sa 4.21 [cf. Ex 25.22; Le 16.2]),
·         God's glory will return to the temple in Jerusalem.  This is not Jesus, as the glory of God, but His glorious Presence. (Eze 43.1-7)  Oh, Hallelujah,
·         one can request to see God thus  (Ex 33.18),
·         is known as the “God of Glory” (Ps 29.3).

     The Evangelic Dictionary of Biblical Theology makes, among others, the following comments concerning the “Theopanic cloud:”
     “This sign of God’s Presence is termed variously.
·         pillar of cloud (Ex 13.21-22, plus eleven times),
·         a pillar of fire and cloud (Ex 14.24),
·         a thick cloud (Ex 19.9,16),
·         the cloud (Ex 14.24, plus thirty-three times),
·         and the cloud of the Lord (Ex 43.38; Num 10.34).”
     In addition it says. “The pillar of cloud motif - set fort in the exodus account and expanded in the prophetic announcements of the new exodus after the Babylonian exile - encompasses a rich complex of theological meanings and functions:
·         guidance/leading (of Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness to Canaan, Ex 13.21; Num 14.14; Ne 9;12; Ps 78.14);
·         a signal for movement (breaking and setting up camp, Ex 40. 36-37; Num 9.17-23);
·         protection from danger (as a barrier of darkness between Israel and the Egyptians, Ex 14.19-20);
·         the sustained, immediate, personal presence of Yahweh/the Angel of the Lord (Ex 13.22; 14.19, 24; 40.38; Num 9.15-16);
·         an agency of summons (to battle, Num 10.34-35; and to worship, Ex 33.10);
·         both a concealment and manifestation of divine glory (Ex 16.10; 19.9, 16; 20.21; 24.15-18; 34.5; Deut 4.11; 5.22);
·         the place of propositional revelation (as a oracular cloud, Ex 33.9; Ps 99.7);
·         the dwelling place/throne of divinity (over the tabernacle, Num 9.18, 22; 10.11; and in particular over the mercy seat, Lev 16.2) (“i.e. the Shekinah glory or a God ‘who dwells’”);
·         the locus of cultic theopany (for the investiture of the seventy elders and Joshua, Num 11.25; Deut 31.15; for the inauguration of the tabernacle, Ex 40.34-35);
·         shade/protection from the sun or storm (Num 10.34; Ps 105.39; Isa 4.5);
·         illumination (as a pillar of fire by night, Ex 14.20; Num 9.15);
·         and an agency of legal investigation and/or executive judgment (against Israel’s enemies, Ex 14.24; and against rebels within Israel, Num 12.5, 10; 16.42);
·         The remaining twenty-two new testament occurrences of the word ‘cloud’ appear in context of theophany, and encompass six theologically crucial, eschatologically related events or visionary scenes in salvation history;
·         the pillar of cloud of exodus, viewed as a type of Christian baptism in the time of eschatological fulfillment (1 Cor 10.1-2);
·         Jesus’ transfiguration, as a foretaste of the kingdom of God, during which the Father appears and speaks in a cloud (Matt 17.5; Mark 9.7; Luke 9.34);
·         Jesus’ ascension, explained by the angels as a paradigm for His return (Acts 9.1);
·         the ‘mighty angel’ descending from heaven wrapped in a cloud, announcing (against the escathological backdrop of Dan 12.7) that time should be no longer (Rev 10.1);
·         the two resurrected witnesses ascending to heaven in a cloud, described in the context of the escathological measuring of the temple of God (Rev 11.12); and
·         Jesus’ parousia, against the backdrop of Dan 7.13, as the Son of Man coming with/on/in a cloud/the clouds/the clouds of heaven (Matt 24.30; 26.64; Mark 13.26; 14.64; Luke 12.54; 21.27; 1 Thess 4.17; Rev 1.7; 14.14-16).”

[12] Glory is one of God’s names.  Jeremiah 2.11 declares: “Has a nation changed [its] gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory.”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


During December 1997, for reasons of His own, God brought me back to Vanderbijlpark, South Africa.[1]

South of Johannesburg
I hoped to live among Christians, desiring to enjoy meaningful fellowship, whilst awaiting clarification on why He had me return to the country of my birth.[2]
Previously, whilst residing in Israel, although for the most part living apart from one another, and being a decided minority, genuine born again believers gradually got to now one another through meaningful fellowship[3] and, for the most part, looked out for the best interests of their brothers-and-sisters in the Lord.
In South Africa, my experience with Christians had been very different.  Although professing serving and worshiping God, most Christians are in reality in pursuit of their own agendas and goals having adopted a “bless me” attitude towards the God they claim to know and love.[4]
Brotherly love[5] is something believers here displayed on a Sunday, from a respectable distance, or perhaps sometimes in their meetings, scheduled once or twice midweek, but rarely (personally, and) on other occasions.  In fact, it still is unusual to see many Christians meet on grounds other than that which had been pre-arranged (or when, God forbid, there is a crisis, urgently needing concerted prayer).  It disrupts their neatly arranged lives in which they reign supreme.  (Unfortunately, in my experience, almost 16 years later, not much has changed.)
An Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) pastor, whom I had randomly contacted towards this end, recommended that I get in touch with a family who “let rooms to students.”  They were members of his congregation.  Incidentally, living as I do falls way outside the paradigm of most Christians, and is often frowned upon, but this was not the practice/experience of New Testament believers, such as Paul and others.[6]
The pastor seemed indifferent and not particularly helpful, but I phoned them nonetheless.  They could temporarily accommodate me, I was told, for no more than two-and-a-half months, at R500.00 per month.[7]  It was summer holidays and the students they domiciled were only expected to return towards the middle of February, the following year.
They owned a small three-bedroom house in a smallish yard, facing the freeway between Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging.  It is situated around the corner from the (then) local "Vaal Technicon" or College.  It was a working class home with all the bedrooms next to one another along a narrow passage, leading straight from the front door, through the sitting room, onto the main bedroom.  The bedroom assigned to me was furthest from the main bedroom, adjoining the drawing room.

Cornwallis Harris home
(location of washing line circled)
White students lived inside the house.  The cramped servant’s quarters had been reserved for a black student.[8]
A small section of the fridge had been allocated for my personal items.  For breakfast, a table was generously set everyday (which the lady of the house provided).  Dinner usually consisted of a slice of bread, late at night, when the owners had retired for the day (so I would not disturb their privacy or them needing to use the kitchen at the same time as I did.)
With nowhere to store the few groceries items I bought (no space had been allocated to me in the kitchen), I stocked it in my clothing cupboard, carting back and forth whatever I needed to concoct something to eat.[9]  To purchase these items I travelled by black taxi or minibus to the town centre and back.[10]
Not owning a lot of clothes, I soon needed to do some washing.  When the landlord and his wife went shopping one morning, I took the opportunity to quickly chuck my clothes into their washing machine, not wanting to disrupt them whilst at home.[11]
Having forgotten something, the owner returned and almost had a heart attack.  He was furious that I dared using their facilities.  He wanted to know who was going to foot the electricity bill.  Then, totally unfounded, he deemed it fitting to reproach me, accusing me of undermining, almost usurping, his "man of the house" authority.
I was stunned and horrified, to say the least.  As an adult, no one has ever accused me of anything even remotely as nauseatingly humiliating as this.  “How did he,” I stood there wondering, “expect me to do my washing?”  There were no laundry facilities in town.  I had nowhere else to do my washing.  Clearly, given his outburst, a different set of rules applied to me.  Perhaps I was to attend to legitimate, normal everyday needs outside the house, under a tap, preferably in a portable basin (that I was to supposedly cart along with me wherever I traveled).  I had no idea how, in his eyes, I was to accomplish such a simple, regular activity.
I took the abuse without saying a word.  However, I can assure you, at times like these, and there had been many throughout the years in my walk with the Lord, I have, on occasion, wished I had been back in business for my own account.  Living in the lap of luxury, in the best neighborhoods  with the best money could buy (as I had been accustomed to virtually all my life), not having to put up with people like this (be they Christian or not!).[12]
It dawned on me that they took in students merely to supplement an inadequate retirement income—definitely not because they were loving or caring!
After his malicious verbal attack, I desperately wanted to get off his property.
A childhood neighbor  now in her late thirties, lay bedridden in an old age home, debilitated by progressive multiple sclerosis.  Knowing Jesus had made provision for her healing,[13] and having already spoken to her about it, I decided to, once more, head in her direction to find a way in Him, on her behalf, to counteract/deliver her from all the torment she had been experiencing.[14]
Whilst talking to her it began to rain, so I decided to wait until it subsided before heading back to my room.  As I eventually crisscrossed the sopping wet streets, I thought, "Now even the washing I had hung out will be soaked."
Winding my way through the suburbs, it became apparent that the downpour had been exceptionally heavy and widespread.  Even though I was still somehow hoping my washing had escaped the deluge, I soon held out virtually no hope of such a prospect.

Distance from the Retirement Home to my rented room
Walking down Cornwallis Harris, the (long, straight) street in which I resided, it became apparent that likewise it had experienced a cloudburst.  Approaching the house, I noticed it had not escaped the rain either.  By then I was convinced that all my clothes were going to be sopping wet.  Located on the other side of the house, the washing line was obscured from view.
Nearing the property gate, I observed something amazing.
Wherever I had walked, it had been sodden.  Even standing in front of the house everything was drenched, but a few yards further, the rain had suddenly stopped, leaving a “line” across the tar road.  The one side was saturated, the other bone-dry.  Usually rainwater runs off a slightly convex tar road making it impossible to determine where it actually fell.  What I was now looking at was totally different, unlike anything I had ever witnessed before.  It was as if the rain had deliberately not fallen beyond a certain point.
When I eventually got to my washing (hanging on a circular washing line), I discovered that, to my utter amazement, the rain had stopped, not reaching the laundry line, again leaving this side soaking wet; the other as dry as can be, as if it had not rained at all.
Not a drop of rain had fallen on my clothes.  From where I had set out, a distance of several kilometers  it had rained heavily—all along the way—but it all ceased inches from where my clothes hung and not a driblet had fallen from that very point onward.
I was flabbergasted and instantly knew that this was the doing of Almighty God. 
From the Scriptures I was aware that He alone causes it to rain (or not).  Moreover, that normal rainfall depicts God’s blessing and the withholding thereof His curse.[15]  God speaks via “nature.”[16]  Rain, among many other natural elements, is often used by Him towards this end.[17]  (Unfortunately, many are totally oblivious to it or, for that matter, the many wonderful other ways in which He continually speaks to us.[18])  Although still damp from having been washed, I had no doubt that His hand had restrained the rain from falling on my clothes.
Living in Israel during 1994, Oraleigh Bligh (at the time a 92-year old believer from New Zealand, who has resided in Israel for many years) once shared a telling incident.  After having washed her clothes, she too hung it on the washing line and then left to stock up on a few items at the Jerusalem suq, the local market.  Upon her return, she noticed it had rained on both sides if the washing line, without a single drop having falling on the entire length of the line—leaving all her washing bone-dry.
Inexperienced in God’s ways and word, I had my reservations about what she had shared at the time.  Here I was now being confronted with a similar situation.
Not only was God showing me how graciously He had dealt with Oraleigh, He was addressing and correcting my skepticism and perception of Him.  Moreover, it was His way of letting me know that He had witnessed the events earlier that day; aware of what had transpired.[19]  I encountered Him in an unusual manner that day, as others throughout the centuries had; knowing factually, that He alone determines where the rain falls, as Scripture so clearly records/teaches.[20]
I did not even bother to share what had happened with the landlord, his wife, or anyone else for that matter.  As I wrote this, I briefly wondered if they perhaps had observed the same miracle I did.  I seriously doubt it.
Self-centred,[21] self-serving individuals (whether one lays claim to being a born again believer or not) rarely experience God’s awesomeness and are not aware (or doubt) when or how He acts towards, via, or on behalf of those called to serve Him.[22]
As a believer, one always reveals the Jesus one knows to others.  One may lay claim to being born again, to be a child of Almighty God, but if one is still impoverished in one’s mindset and conduct, one truly does not know Him at all; it will always reveal itself in one’s deeds and/or actions towards others.  (1 Jn 2.1-6)
He will reveal one’s inner poverty not only to oneself, first and foremost, but also for everyone else to see, now matter how hard one tries to conceal it or pretend otherwise.  One may think that others are unable to discern the condition of one’s heart, but neither they nor God is fooled about one’s true state before Him.
One day, when we stand before the Judge of all mankind, we will come face to face with the living God, the One revealed to all of us through the Scriptures, whom we encountered (or not) and served (or not)—and receive (or not) the just rewards for all our actions.[23]
May we all seek and frequently experience Him prior to this event in His multifaceted awesomeness, and may such encounters radically and irrevocably change us, causing us to bear fruit eternally for His pleasure and to His glory.
Blessed be His wonderful Name forevermore.

[1] One does not always know beforehand why God leads one somewhere, e.g. Ge 12.1, “Now the Lord had said to Abram:  “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you ....”
[2] Unfortunately, the reasons therefore, although significant, cannot be dealt with here.
[3] “…  [we] bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship [is]  with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1 Jn 1.2-4, annotation and emphasis mine)
  Believers, not actively engaged in fulfilling their destinies in Christ are, in my experience, seldom have meaningful fellowship.  Their faith is mostly impersonal, centred on dogmatic issues, which is what they will mostly convey or try to “share.”  Unfortunately, many consider this fellowship.  I do not.  One cannot have meaningful fellowship with another believer, unless one has meaningful fellowship, first and foremost, with Him.  Fellowship, in the aforementioned Scriptural context, is to be intimately involved with a Person.
[4] They either want God to do something for them or desire to do something for Him—they rarely walk out what God had preordained for them, all the issues of Life flowing out of His Being, unfolding as, how and when He pleases.
[5] Scripture teaches: “… love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13.34-35); “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us …” (Ep 5.2); “concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” (1 Th 4.9).
   When tested by “a lawyer” as to “which is the great commandment in the law,” Jesus responded by saying “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and then added something astonishing, by saying, “and [the] second [commandment—on par with the first—i.e. exactly] like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Mt 22.34-39).  He emphasized it by adding, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Mt 12.40)
  In other words, everything all the prophets throughout the centuries have spoken and everything the law may possibly teach, is summed in a single sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
  James does not even refer to loving God, when he cites this command as the “royal law according to the Scripture!”  (Jas 2.8)  One would have thought loving God is far more important—but the two are of equal importance! 
  Jesus gave practical meaning to the term love. 
  James’ and Paul understood Jesus’ words in the overall volume of Scripture.
  The reason for all of this is beautifully dealt with by Paul in the book of Romans, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if [there is] any other commandment, are [all] summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  The next verse tells us why, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love [is] the fulfilment of the law. “  (Ro 13.8-10)
  All of this is should not surprise any born again believer because God Himself is love personified, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  (1Jn 4.8) (All the aforementioned Scriptural annotations and emphasis are mine.)
  Christianity, and the behaviour of its adherents, cannot be substantiated apart from all of the aforesaid.
[6] I even had someone recently refer to me as a “drifter,” not reflecting my walk (or track record) with God at all, but his perception of my “lifestyle.”
[7] In today’s money terms this amounts to R 5,380.63 or $ 621.03, assuming a compound growth rate of 15% pa over the period (and a R 8.664/$ 1.00 exchange rare at current levels), all of which I presumed, erroneously as it turned out, included reasonable usage of all their facilities (other than the land line), including water and electricity, washing and ironing.
[8] Although South Africa has had democratic elections the previous year, racism still prevailed in the hearts of people—even born again believers!  (The author subsequently lived in similar servant’s quarters (although spruced up in order to earn the owner a far better income!) in Muizenberg, for a while, renting a room from a lady owning a double storey property, which she had hoped to convert into an upmarket guesthouse.)
[9] Since I did not feel at liberty to do so, I never cooked a meal whilst residing there.
[10] Disallowed under apartheid and (still, in many instances) frowned upon by whites.
[11] Which, mistakenly/presumptuously, it turned out, I thought I was entitled to use.  (Please refer to footnote 6 for more information.)
[12] Be that as it may, if one is committed to one’s destiny in the Lord (and understand the importance thereof) situations like this always works to one’s favour (Rom 8.28).  Nowhere does one better learn to produce the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control,” particularly longsuffering and self-control, all of which reflects the very character of God, but in situations where one is unrighteously and wrongly accused of something.  (Ga 5.22; Ex 34.6)  No serious believer will divert his/her set course in the Lord merely because someone decides it appropriate to kick up a dust storm!  Besides, Scripture declares, “A fool’s wrath is known at once …;  A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.; Do you see a man hasty in his words? [there is] more hope for a fool than for him; A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips [are] the snare of his soul.”  (Pr 12.16; 29.11; 29.20; 18.7, emphasis and annotations mine.)
  The hallmark of a fool is someone who is wise in his/her own eyes.  (Pr 1.7)  Normally, one wastes one’s time to even share Godly truth with them.  (Pr 26.4; I will let you, for your own edification, contemplate the seeming contradiction of second portion of this text!)
[13] “But He [was] wounded for our transgressions, [He was] bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”  (Isa 53.5.  See also 1 Pe 2.24) In her personal bible, I noticed, all the healing passages had been marked by a friend, who had shared the significance thereof with her, but who had now moved, residing elsewhere.  Even so, she had not yet accepted Jesus as her Saviour or embraced His wonderful provision for her healing.
[14] During the course of our conversations, I learnt the man she had hoped to marry reneged on his commitment to her, and this, I am convinced, led or contributed to her physical condition and mental torment.  Even though I insisted that she forgave him, she absolutely refused!  I was sure Matthew 18.21-35 was relevant in her situation, as well as passages such as Matthew 4.24 and Luke 6.18.
  I have subsequently dealt with one other case of multiple sclerosis and the person was equally bitter.  In her case, her husband had been electrocuted at work and, although remarried, she blamed God for her misfortune!  She even turned against me subsequently, even though I tried to help her escape her dreadful condition!  (Personally, I believe they were both demonically bound.)
[15] “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, 4 then I will give you rain in its season …” (Le 16.3-4.  See also Dt 11.13-21; 28.12; 28.64; Am 4.7-8; etc.)
[16] “Then He shall speak to them in His wrath.”  (Ps 2.5)
[17] “I also withheld rain from you, when there were still three months to the harvest.  I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city.  One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered.  8 So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, but they were not satisfied; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.”  (Am 3.7-8, emphasis mine)
[18] For My thoughts [are] not your thoughts, nor [are] your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;  it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] for which I sent it.“  (Is 55.8-11, emphasis mine.)
   Once, sitting in a church service, I suddenly saw, in an inner vision, rain pouring from heaven.  My immediate thought was, “Wherever this downpour is falling things are going to grow like crazy.”  The pastor ministering were calling out people to whom God had already spoken personally regarding their destiny in Him, speaking to them prophetically, exactly depicting the truth of the aforementioned text!
[19] We know He is omnipresent, but to experience it is something entirely different.  Shortly thereafter, He divinely moved me to another Christian home, which although far more pleasant, presented another set of challenges! 
[20] Subsequently, I have encountered Him via rain in other equally astonishing ways.  Of course, some scientific “experts” will disagree with Scripture and what I have shared, but then their own forecasting and track record often make me, in turn, question their expertise!  Besides, there are many specific details regarding natural phenomena that simply cannot be explained by science.  Even if it can predict reasonably accurately, if one continues to question their theories, one often find that they can seldom fully account for it scientifically.
  For example, just yesterday I asked, in this instance, a medical specialist if it is true that “…the life of the flesh [is] in the blood …” as Scripture declares in Leviticus 17.11.  Although not a Christian, this cardiologist said it was true.  When asked, she briefly explained her hypotheses.  However, many medical professionals whom I have questioned concerning this in the past would totally disagree with her (and God’s revelation in this regard, I may add).
  Another example: a medical specialist with whom I discussed the spiritual causes of diseases (to which he was oblivious, not having been taught the significance thereof at University, despite God referring to Himself as “the Lord who heals” i.e.  Jehovah Rapha (Exodus 15.26), said (in trying to justify the enormous advances in medical science, negating spiritual issues), “We now what causes down syndrome.”  He then proceeded to name a specific gene, but when asked what caused this gene to malfunction, he was unable to answer me.  (To further complicate matters, a German physician, who has just returned from Germany where his father almost died from advanced Alzheimer’s, informed me today that chromosome 23 actually is the culprit.  Apparently, an extra chromosome is produced, in addition of the normal two.  When I asked what causes that he told me they know but as one, in turn, investigates that [and so on], eventually one arrives at a place where science has no answers [and therefore, in my opinion, unfortunately, no solution either].)  In practical reality therefore, the source of it is still a mystery and so is God to many in the medical profession, specifically regarding what He has to say about sickness, diseases and infirmities.  (Incidentally, the German doctor is sadly, despite all his scientific knowledge, unable to even be of value to his own father.  I related to him a particular instance where God had completely healed someone from this condition [after he had been delivered from demons].  Although listening with interest, he shrugged it off by saying he believed his father’s problem to be too advanced, i.e. beyond reversal.  When I began to relate Scriptural and contemporary instances of creative miracles, his whole demeanor changed.  He did not believe it was possible. 
  In order to help all of us, I invited him to a crusade I am planning to hold in the near future in Gugulethu, a huge area in which many deprived blacks reside, to witness—and verify— medical miracles personally.  He immediately backed off.  The area was way too dangerous for him to potentially risk his life!)
  God help us!  Without God, medical (and all other science) is woefully incomplete and as powerless as the men and woman putting their trust in it.
[21]But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”  (Jas 3.14-16, My emphasis)
[22] “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Ro 8.28, NIV)
[23] “You render to each one according to his work” (Ps 62.12)  “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”  (Mt 7.2)   “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”  (Re 22.12, annotation mine.)