To God be the Glory

By Rudy Susanto

Ec 2:14a  The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness.

I was born in a small town called Muntok in Bangka Island. Bangka is one of the small islands just east of Sumatra amongst over 18,000 islands in Indonesia. As most of the Chinese in Indonesia, my parents practiced ancestral worship. I remembered holding incense sticks in front of the altar filled with food for the gods and prayed to my grandparent for protection and blessing. We did it to show respect to our ancestors and did not know at that time that we were actually worshipping the devil.

Although they were not Christians, my parents enrolled their children in a Catholic school. It was the only proper primary school in Muntok at that time. Once a week, some of my classmates would line up in front of the class and walked together with the teacher to a church located next to the school. As a 6-year-old, I was confused as to why I was not allowed to join them. “You are not a Catholic”, I was told. “They must been a very special people”, I thought to myself.

At the age of 8, my family relocated to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. In Jakarta, I studied in a public primary school and religion was one of the mandatory subjects. I studied Islam including Arabic language because it was the only class that was available then. We were taught that every one has an angel whose sole task is to count our sins and good deeds. At the end of our life, every person must walk across a bridge called Siratal Mustaqim to reach heaven. The bridge itself is very narrow, 1/7 of a hair in thickness, with the raging fire of hell below.  If our sins are more than our good deeds, we have no chance of crossing safely. We will fall into hell where we will be tortured forever. We were shown pictures of people in hell with demons tormenting them. I was so scared when I heard this. Since that day, I thought about learning to walk on a rope like the circus man on TV! I was only 10 but I was certain that my sins were more than my good deeds! In Muntok, I used to steal fruits from the neighbours with my friends, and disobey my parent. I felt helpless and very fearful of death. How could I be sure that I had enough good deeds to cross the bridge safely?

These questions propelled me to choose Catholicism as my subject on religion when I entered secondary school. I started to attend the Catholic Church regularly. About this time, both my older sisters became Christians.  At school, my best friends happened to be Christians too. As time passed, I started to realise that Catholicism is not exactly the same as Biblical Christianity.

Isa 52:7a  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news

From my sisters and Christian friends, I learned about the grace of God. God loves us and He does not want anyone to perish. However, all have sinned and the wage of sin is death. God gave His only son Jesus to die on the cross as the atonement for all our sins, and every one that confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in his/her heart that God has raised Him from the death shall be forgiven.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I was so excited when I learned the Truth. I finally found my answer in Jesus!

In 1984, I gave my life to Jesus, and all my fear of death completely vanished. Glory to God! Not long after that, the remaining members of our family- my little sister, mother and father also surrendered their lives to Jesus. The desires for God brought me to a spirit- filled church and a ministry where I later met a beautiful young lady who became my wife.

Rom 8:15  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."

The first time I met my wife, Berli, in 1996, I did not know that she was spirit-filled. One night when I visited her home, her brother-in-law was also present. He asked me if I had been baptised with the Holy Spirit. And I answered that if he meant speaking in tongue, the answer no. My understanding was that it was not for every Christian and it did not guarantee to improve a person’s character anyway. I had previously heard conflicting teachings about this topic, and I made a conclusion that since I still had not received it despite attending different meetings, it was not for me. I remembered that on one occasion, a minister made a remark that my human logic was making it hard for me to receive it. Despite all my disappointing experiences and misconceptions, deep down there was a longing in my heart to be baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

Berli’s brother-in-law then explored a number of Scripture verses concerning this topic with me. It is the will of God for us to be able to fellowship with Him intimately in the spirit. John 4:24 - God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. 1 Corinthians 14:2 - For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. Acts 2:4 -They were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit. God wants EVERYONE to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “But how do I know it is not from the devil?” I interrupted. He said “read Luke 11:11" - If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?

Since I was very self-conscious, he asked everyone to leave the room and offered to pray for me. After 10 minutes, I was on my knees speaking in tongue and pouring my heart out to God like a child for almost 2 hours. It was like a floodgate opened! I was still speaking in tongue while driving home after that! The words just bubbled out of my belly and I could not help it. I also received the interpretation of the tongues which I prayed, even though it was so foreign to my human mind.

It was almost midnight when I reached home. I met my little sister sitting comfortably watching TV. She heard me speaking in tongue and said “You must have just been baptised with the Holy Spirit!” When I walked past her, I knew instinctively that the Holy Spirit wanted me to lay hands on her to receive the infilling of the Spirit.

As I obeyed, she fell and started to speak in tongue too. Our walk with God has never been the same again!

To God be the glory!

optomised

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