“When will the inner healing process be complete?” I was asked the other day.
My answer was, “It won’t be complete as long as we’re alive.” Because the passion of God is for us to be His bride, without wrinkle or spot. Because His passion is for us to “Be holy, because He is holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
And because of that, He permits the devil to test us. His Son got tested, His disciples got tested. And we believers will get tested.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts (Proverbs 17:3)
God’s purpose for the test is that we be refined and be a better version of ourselves; the devil’s purpose is that we flounder and stay stuck in a rut.
A friend asked about the conflicts that she faces in community. I said these were opportunities for her to discern if:
It’s an old wound or wrong belief that is being surfaced for her to deal with;
It is the other party’s issue and nothing to do with her at all or,
More commonly, both are somehow at fault and both need to do better.
As we become a better version of ourselves, we become more wholesome, showing more integrity, shining brighter for the Lord. What we say and what we do, matches. And God’s purpose for our lives is made manifest.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus called out the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and embarrassed her? As an Asian growing up in an Asian society, it’s practically taboo to cause a person to “lose face”. But Jesus isn’t someone who’d just conform to cultural norms, as we well know. Here’s the passage:
43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke 8, NIV)
Here is someone carrying a deep, secret shame. A woman’s menstrual flow is considered unclean in biblical times, and to have it ongoing for 12 years, for the doctors to discuss her case and for this issue to be quietly whispered about in her neighborhood — she must have felt so alone and outcast.
And so, she hears of this man Jesus who had the power to heal. Quietly, she sneaked up under the cover of the crowds and received healing from the anointing that was just overflowing from Him. She desired to sneak away quietly too, but it wasn’t to be so.
Jesus called her out in public. Trembling in acute embarrassment, fear and shame, she testified to her healing to those around her.
There were a few reasons why Jesus called her out: First, this public testimony served to tell the neighborhood that she was “clean”, and there was no need to shun her. Second, making her speak out about it made the healing real to her. Third, it gave Jesus the opportunity to affirm her faith — not just because she went to Him, but that she persisted for 12 years to look for healing and didn’t give up. Indeed, she had faith that she would be healed, and she was.
But I also think that Jesus was enabling her to take a stance against the strongholds of shame and secrecy that had been haunting her for over a decade. In order to be free, she had to do the opposite of what she had been habitually doing, and Jesus made her take the first step.
Do you need to take a stance against the stronghold of shame and secrecy? For sin — whether you did it, or others did it to you — opens the door to shame, which opens the door to secrecy. Secrecy gives the enemy the power to mentally torment. Mental torment, as we know, often results in physical ailments.
Confession to the right person is powerful and effective to stop the cycle.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5, NIV)
It is difficult to be reconciled when betrayal occurs. If the betrayer still remains in the community, both parties would distance themselves. The usual reaction of the betrayer is to pretend it “never happened”, minimize it and brush it under the carpet, or just “disappear” without explanation. Or all three.
But that didn’t happen with Simon Peter. We know he had great difficulty forgiving himself when he realized he had betrayed the One he loved. Scripture records he wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). In a time of pressure, he folded. We can imagine the anguish in his heart, the self-accusations and self-condemnations as well as quite likely the attacks of the demonic on his mind.
But Jesus, the Master Reconciler, knew Peter had a good heart. He invited Peter back to Him and to his destiny in a series of steps.
We know that after His resurrection, Jesus appeared by the Sea of Tiberias while Peter and two other disciples were fishing. When John recognized Jesus standing on the shore and exclaimed, “It is the Lord!”, Peter jumped into the water to meet Him, leaving the other two in the boat. One can imagine the joy he felt, and also the shame, the deep sense of unworthiness, and also the deep desire to make things right.
At His request for fish, Peter immediately went to the boat and pulled the net of 153 fish ashore — all by himself. All his actions showed “I am sorry Jesus, I love You, please forgive me, let me make it up to You.”
But Jesus didn’t address the matter till after He had prepared breakfast and fed His men. The meal was important. We eat only with friends, and He showed Peter that he was included in His community.
Then came the three famous questions, “Do you love Me?” Each time Peter said, “Yes, I love you,” it nullified each of his previous denials of Jesus. With each “I love You,” Jesus gave Peter a command. First, feed his lambs. Then, take care of His sheep. With each declaration of love, came an increase in responsibility. It showed Peter that Jesus hadn’t lost trust in him.
When Jesus questioned Peter’s love for Him the third time, he was hurt, and he again affirmed his love for His Lord. With that third affirmation came the command to feed His sheep, as well as the prophecy that Peter would die by crucifixion. With the three declarations of love, Jesus re-established Peter’s office as an apostle, re-established his birthright to be one of the writers of scripture and his destiny to be a martyr for Him.
We’ve heard the story of the Good Samaritan numerous times. A lawyer wishing to justify himself asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” And our Lord launches into a story of this poor guy travelling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, who gets attacked by robbers and is left for dead. The priest and the Levite see his limp body and pass by, but the good Samaritan stops to help.
And Jesus says to the lawyer who asked the question, “Go and do likewise”. The Samaritan is the model do-gooder. So it seems.
But I wonder if Jesus was countering the lawyer’s legalism and emphasis on performance with another legalism: “Go and do likewise.” Was it meant to show the lawyer that truth without wisdom and God’s guidance is a trap?
I know of someone who gave two years of her time trying to help her neighbor who was in an abusive relationship. She listened to her neighbor’s story; she met the abusive boyfriend. She heard the daily quarrels, she was there when police were called.
My dear friend, whose motto is “Do Good,” asked me to come and help. I came, and after 2 hours of listening to her neighbor, I came to the conclusion that she didn’t want help, she didn’t want advice, she didn’t want prayer — although she had said so the day before. She only wanted an additional person to listen to her daily drama.
“One and done,” as my American friend would say. I left.
You cannot help those who don’t want to be helped — even if you see that they desperately need it.
Here’s another illustration:
A well-known prophet was the son of missionaries in Brazil, living deep in the jungle, next to the Amazon river. Every so often, his evangelist father would take his motor boat and chug off to preach the gospel to the villagers, tend to new believers, or go down the river a long way off to get fresh supplies. The river was unpredictable. Sometimes, there were storms and the waves would be so rough that ships could be wrecked in the rocks below.
On one such day, when his father had taken his boat down the river, a storm arose. The wind and the waves were violent, and a ship was wrecked. They heard sailors screaming for help. But there was only his mother and the children. He remembered standing there, watching the sailors struggling in the water and knowing that he didn’t have the strength to swim out, and his mother was standing at the banks, helpless, because she didn’t have the strength either.
After an eternity, they heard the sound of their father’s motorboat in the distance. Father had the boat, father knew where the rocks were, father had the strength and the equipment to help. And his father saved everyone.
Some of you may be struggling with the fact that you saw someone in need, and you couldn’t help. You were too young, or you didn’t have the strength, or you didn’t have the wisdom. And every time you hear the story of the Good Samaritan, you are reminded of your “failure”, and the devil is tormenting you with that memory.
God who sees all things, sees your heart. The Lord recognizes your desire to do good. He also knows that you didn’t have the strength, the wisdom and the resources to help.
Let go of that toxic memory; leave it on the Cross.
// Prayer //
I command the accuser of the brethren to leave; you will no longer condemn those who couldn’t help because they were too young, they didn’t have the strength, the knowledge, the wisdom to help someone in need; Lord, will you remove the poison of those accusations, restore their soul and give them peace. Grant them insight and knowledge of Your true heart towards them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
As a teen, my constant day-dream as I rode the bus to or from school was: “What would it be like, to be at the right place, at the right time, saying the right thing and to the right people?” What I was wishing for was synchronicity.
At 31, I had an encounter with Jesus Christ. Subsequently, He sent the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 (NIV)]:
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit… All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
The Spirit prompts us to use our gifts “for the common good”. We are to give messages inspired by Him. Words, spoken or written, can be like a surgeon’s knife; used skillfully, it can cut out a tumor; used carelessly, it creates great damage. So I learned to use my words carefully, and in the right manner.
God sets it up so that I’m with people who desire to be set free. Often times, I can help through my prayers and intercession; sometimes, I can’t. There’s something blocking and both my client and I can’t discern it. But when one uses words carefully, there’s no damage done. She hasn’t improved, but she isn’t damaged further either. It leaves the door open for another time, another session, using a different tool, to get freedom.
One superpower that I wished for, and was given, was the “message of wisdom” — words spoken at the right time, in the right place, and the right manner, to the right person.
Get healing for your issues, and don’t give up until you find the right therapist.
You know what your issues are: that loss of love, that childhood trauma, that sense of abandonment, that low self-worth — the list of hurts and wounds that the human race encounters is a long one.
And don’t give up.
Don’t give up just because the first therapist you saw was insensitive and you didn’t feel heard; don’t give up because the subsequent counsellor was judgmental; don’t give up because the next inner healing practitioner was jealous when God came in a wondrous way to minister to you and you became more whole (Yes, that happened).
There’s one out there for you, keep searching until you find.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I grew up in a non-Christian family and at 31, had a life-changing encounter with Jesus that resulted in a full-time call to ministry. I studied at Trinity Theological College, obtaining an M. Div before starting work in Wesley Methodist Church Singapore in 1997. I was in charge of the newly-formed Prayer Ministry and subsequently recruited a team of 40 to pray for the services on a rostered basis, introducing Conversational Prayer as the modality.
Amongst many other activities, I introduced courses from the Lifeway series such as Disciple’s Prayer Life, Experiencing God, and Spiritual Warfare, and spear-headed an overnight Concert of Prayer, the first of its kind in Wesley.
I also began a search for inner healing and deliverance modalities.
In my explorations, I went through different types of training, both locally and overseas. In 2008 I came across Restoring the Foundations (RTF) that was just beginning to set up in Singapore. I saw it was a good introduction to believers seeking freedom, and was subsequently trained in Issue-Focused Ministry. In early 2014, a spiritually sensitive and intelligent woman mentioned in a session that she saw an ancestral spirit following her. This was new to me. It did go after she told it to go, but the encounter stayed in my mind.
Later in the year, I attended a seminar on physical healing led by Dr Frans Cronje and realised he knew something of the phenomenon. Dr Frans then introduced me to Sapphire Leadership Group (SLG), founded and headed by Arthur Burk. Through his teachings, I learned to get to the root of spiritual strongholds, both in people and on properties.
In 2018, the Lord called me out of the church to set up Tree of Healing Ministries. I was very busy until April 2021, when it seemed like a switch was thrown and everything went into slow motion — I thought it was time to retire! Through a series of divine coincidences, He introduced me to HeartSync Ministries (HS) that was founded by Fr Andrew Miller, an Anglican who is also an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). I was pleasantly surprised to see that his modality is accepted and practised by both clinicians and non-clinicians.
So what’s the difference between SLG and HS? Broadly speaking, SLG deals with spiritual warfare — generational curses, spiritual entities, lifestyle issues and land issues (I famously had to get rid of an entity that had taken hold of a corner of a shared office I had newly moved to and was spooking my intercessors); HS deals with the wounds in the heart that result in inner conflicts and distrust of God. The two ministries complement each other.
Now, depending on the presenting issue, I and my clients can choose either SLG’s principles of spiritual warfare or HS’ modality of ministry to the heart.