The Perfect Word of God

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,[c]
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
(Psalm 19, NIV)

“Reviving the soul” — I recall how the Gospel of Matthew drew me in when I chanced upon it as a child; there was peace, stillness, calmness when I read it — something that was a rarity in a tumultuous household. Indeed, my soul revived under the influence of His Word.

“Making wise the simple” — the longer I walk with the Lord, the more I realise that though the Gospel is simple in its basic message, it isn’t simplistic. While in theological college we were admonished to read the newspaper with one hand and the bible in the other, I have been occasionally challenged by surprising spiritual experiences to read the Word from a new perspective.

Jesus Himself challenged the Scribes and Pharisees to read the Word in a different way when He said the Sabbath was for man, not man for the Sabbath. What a fresh and freeing perspective — and from the Lord Himself!

“Rejoicing the heart” — I was 31 when I first read the Gospels in its entirety. It struck me how welcoming Jesus was of women. Raised in an environment where the males, regardless of character or aptitude are frequently preferred over the females, I had expected Jesus after his resurrection to appear to one of his male disciples. That was the conclusion I anticipated.

I was astounded when He appeared to Mary. For a whole day, or more, I couldn’t get over it.

“Jesus — You love Mary. Jesus — You love women. Jesus — You love me.”

I still am astounded.

“Enlightening the eyes” — after reading the bible in its entirety, I found myself able to think better, faster, and with greater clarity. Much of the confusion that had plagued my earlier thinking disappeared as the Word gave me the grid through which to evaluate life and come to better conclusions. I think it’s no coincidence that some of the greatest universities in the world were founded by Christians.

“The fear of the Lord is clean” — I would juxtapose that with Jesus saying to His disciples that He had cleansed them with the Word (John 15:3). Somehow, coming to the Lord with reverence for His Word and reading it as a journey of spiritual discovery has had a cleansing, calming effect on spirit and soul.

The Lord is in charge. Be at peace.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A Time of Convergence

Growing older is a good thing; or, to be more precise, growing older with a healing community is a very good thing. To journey with a band of people who share similar values and goals, who are open about the brokenness in their own lives, and whom God uses to heal one another, is very precious. And to journey with those who have had more experience than you in your calling, and are willing to share with you their expertise, is invaluable.

In the past 24 hours I have been very aware of convergence. The past events in my life, the ups and downs, the times of togetherness and the times of separation are starting to make sense. It seems like everything is converging as He leads me on to a fresh path. I am embarking on a time of spiritual cleansing and renewal even as I join my newly-formed band of sisters and brothers for the next step in my journey.

Together with the psalmist, I concur:

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

You make known to me the path of life; (Psalm 16:6,11, ESV)

If I had a choice, I don’t know if I would still have chosen my life with all its really bad bits. But it has been invaluable in finding God, and in stumbling on those who are truly after God’s heart.

Leaving a Legacy Behind

“There’s no such thing as aging gracefully. We age in fits and starts,” my older sister declared.

As the youngest of five siblings, I am now watching the older ones age first. I have watched as the once strong and loud ones diminish over time as bodies start giving way, disease start creeping in. Once so sure of themselves, always walking ahead of me, I now have had to slow down so that we can walk in step.

I have seen others go through the ravages of divorce and abusive marriages and now, in their 70s and 80s, have found solace in gardening, switching to vegetarianism, making soothing drinks from plants that were common a few generations ago and spontaneously bursting into childhood songs, holding hands as they sang. I could be wrong, but I wonder if that was the way they coped with pain — by keeping busy and escaping into the past.

Then I look at how I have coped. I had decided early on to look squarely at the past, to see where I have undergone Type A and Type B trauma and to seek ministry for these once I knew where to go.

And even as I have been healed, I ministered healing to others and found satisfaction in watching them grow into warmer, healthier, more loving and more successful human beings as the fears and wounds that stunted their personal growth were dealt with, one at a time.

So, what is my legacy I hope to leave behind, even as I am now entering the winter season of life?

When I leave planet Earth, I hope to leave behind a group of people who have had their souls and spirits healed to such an extent that they become a force for good to those whom God will send into their path.

A Lesson from my Pilates Journey

Four months after starting Pilates exercises, I have a pretty good idea of the range of instructors out there — some very technical-oriented, others very free-spirited and creative in their exercises.

I need both. I need the physiotherapy-trained instructor to carefully put me through my paces in structured, fairly predictable programs. Good, but a bit boring. So I balance that with the free-spirited one who challenges me with new exercises in each session and leaves me invigorated. And, there were others who were just “okay”.

Then I decided to look at their credentials. The technical ones cited their degrees or certificates from various bodies; the “okay” ones had sports backgrounds but no certification.

The free-spirited one didn’t bother to cite anything.

Obviously, she has had good technical training. Her demonstrations were clear and precise but more important, she was quick to spot and correct any misalignment, and to lower the difficulty level for beginners like me. I could feel her passion for the sport as she cheered us on. She has many loyal followers.

I enjoy her boldness in being herself in a very credentials-oriented society.

In contrast, years ago when I was a cub reporter in The Straits Times, the bosses in an experiment hired a new employee that had a PhD in something or other. Weeks passed, and she couldn’t produce. She was one lonely woman in the newsroom. The veterans, many who started their career when degrees weren’t required and climbed the ladder through sheer grit, scoffed: “Got PhD, but cannot write.” Three months later, she was quietly let go.

In my journey, I have met those who have some credentials but cannot perform and everyone can see it; I have met those with good credentials, perform very well, but have naysayers on the side; I have met those who don’t cite worldly credentials but their life-changing, pioneering ways have changed my life and the lives of others and who have had to constantly deal with persistent, toxic criticism of them. They are like someone all Christians are familiar with.

Photo by The Nix Company on Unsplash

A Month of Goodbyes

My brilliant cousin, renowned in the UK medical world as an accomplished spinal surgeon, passed away from Covid-19 recently. We probably met once when we were children, but we never met again.

I was made aware of his achievements by his mother. After graduating from Nottingham University in the UK, he made spinal surgery his specialty and became an expert in his field. Some years ago, my aunt proudly announced to all the relatives that he was the first UK recipient of the Medaille D’Or from Madam Chirac, chairman of EEDCM, an organization that honors people with an exemplary professional life.

He made her proud, and we the relatives, basked in some of his reflected glory. When Covid made its way across the world he became an avid anti-vaxxer. In October, he caught Covid, was fine for a week, then became breathless. He was admitted to the ICU, sedated, intubated and ventilated. In November, the family was told to prepare for the worst. Then on Dec 13, the relatives were informed that he had passed away.

In the Oct 2 edition of The Straits Times, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung reported that unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to need ICU care or die, with seniors at the highest risk. Cousin Khai was only 55, not quite a “senior”.

Could he have lived, if he had taken the jab? We don’t know. And it’s useless to speculate — there are just too many variables.

Goodbye, Cousin Khai. Deaths of friends and family members below 70 years are always jarring. After all, we’re supposed to live from 70 to perhaps 80 or more (Psalm 90:10). Perhaps it was your time to go.

May you rest in peace.

Goodbye, My Friend

She wasn’t judgmental, she had a strong sense of justice, quick to leap to help, either lending a listening ear or praying for the best outcomes. She was willing to share knowledge in her area of specialty. She also set boundaries, saying right from the start to not cling on to her.

Being smart, popular, kind and caring it would be almost inevitable for most people to hang on to her. It was clear she needed space, and so I gave it to her.

When we were introduced in 2016, she was studying for her Bachelor’s; and after accomplishing that, she embarked on her Master’s. In the midst of all the academia, she moved house, and that house had issues for some time. Then, she learned her mother had cancer and she made sure she took care of her until she passed away. And then, she moved again.

In the last couple of weeks of my friend’s life, she was awaiting the results of two papers she had submitted, she was interning at a company that was keen to hire her… and then she had an aneurysm and a stroke and passed away.

Family and friends were shocked.

How to grieve, when she was half a world away? How does one have closure? And then a mutual friend said she baked a cake and ate it as a form of celebration of Kristan’s life. That was new to me, but it was biblical.

Deuteronomy 14 speaks of preparing and eating a special meal as a worship and thanksgiving before the Lord. So I did that, thanking God for the gift of Kristan, being grateful for the time we had together and the friendship that was formed in the midst of prayer battles. And while honoring the Lord for enabling me to know her for a season, eating a small meal while the sun was setting, I saw some of the clouds turn pink. And they were in the shape of a hand, as if waving goodbye.

Goodbye, my friend. Till we meet again at the meal that surpasses all other meals.

Introduction and Update 2022

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.

Kathlyn Tsang