Mount of Temptation – Jericho

I was leading a group in Israel and Jordan and one of the sites we visited was Mount of Temptation – Jericho. We entered into Jericho in the evening of 7 Dec, a day after Trumph’s announcement of acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Jericho is Palestine and not Israel. The streets in Jericho were quiet as there was an economic protest where all shops and restaurants were closed. I have been to Jericho many times and this silence was unusual.

Somehow the silence reminded me of the silent march of the Israelites around the ancient city of Jericho. We did not go to take over the city neither were we on the march. Yet the silence in the streets indicated that something was to come. In the Biblical story it was conquering the Promised Land. We were there to see the land. 😊 On 8 Dec after we left Jericho early morning, protest and demonstrations broke out in Palestine, including Jericho. Thank God for His divine protection and timing for everything.

“When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there. Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days. On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.” Joshua‬ ‭6:8-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬ (emphasis mine)

On 7 Dec, our Jericho guide waited for almost 2hrs as we were late. Our itinerary was to head straight to Elisha Spring, Seed of Hope and to the hotel. Instead, without asking for our consent, he brought us to the foot of Mount of Temptation. Yes, there is a big shop right at the foot of Mount of Temptation. I was not too concern since shops were supposed to be close. A quick stop to see the mount from the base should not be a problem even though we were tight for time. When approaching, I saw the shutters of the shop down so there shouldn’t be any distraction. Guess what? The shop assistants came out in the dimly lit road with samples of dates and half the group were more interested in the dates than the significance of the Mount of Temptation. A side note, Jericho does produce good dates!

Mount of Temptation - Jericho<

was reminded of Achan who were tempted by the spoils of Jericho and secretly kept some despite God’s command against it. I find it rather interesting that the temptation of Jericho is still at work now, even in small things like dates and shopping. 😅

“But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.” Joshua‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I believe it is a personal warning God has for me this season even as I have come out of the wilderness and the first battle of “Jericho” comes with temptation in the most unexpected manner. Temptation is waiting in the dark corner to spring a surprise offer that I might not be prepared to resist. The spoils of the first battle, just like the first fruit, belongs to the Lord. Don’t even think about touching them as the consequences will be dire, just like the battle of Ai.

I pray that myself or anyone of us will not fall prey to such temptations. Let us fix our eyes on our Lord Jesus lest we be distracted.

Mind Processing

Mind Processing

Felt I needed to process through multiple things and not sure where to start. So I took my notebook and a pen out. Prayed and told the Holy Spirit to help me release what is inside to bring clarity. So I just drew and out came Mind Processing.

This can be traced within one pen stroke, meaning everything is connected by one line. Then colours were added. Took me possibly about 6-8 hours, using pockets of time over 3 days.

As I drew, I knew that God is opening up my mind to things that were stuck within me. Went through a session of emotional release in prayer for matters that had been troubling me for a while. Blockages were cleared so that the line could continue to form the picture.

May the Lord give me His vision and heart so that I will know what to do for 2018.

Tabernacle of David – Introduction

Picture from www.forerunnerhop.com
Picture from www.forerunnerhop.com

The phrase “restoring the Tabernacle of David” is a hot topic in some circles of believers. I had a lot of questions even though I have heard it being taught many times by excellent teachers of the Word. Somehow I was not able to get a hold of it. After each time I hear about the teaching on the Tabernacle of David, I cannot help but feel that I am not able to see the picture, not even the silhouette. The emphasis on the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David for the End Times increases my need to see the bigger picture. The importance of the Tabernacle of David cannot be put aside or ignored; yet my understanding seemed illusive.

My first hurdle was the emphasis on this phrase seems too heavy for its twice mention in the Old Testament, and one crossed reference in the New Testament.

“In mercy the throne will be established;
And One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David,
Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.” – Isaiah 16:5 (NKJV)

 

““On that day I will raise up
The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,
And repair its damages;
I will raise up its ruins,
And rebuild it as in the days of old;” – Amos 9:11 (NKJV)

 

“‘After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;” – Acts 15:16 (NKJV)

 

A list of other questions arose. What did we lose that we must restore? Does restoring the Tabernacle of David mean restoring worship? What direct implications do the restoration of the Tabernacle of David have to do with the coming back of Jesus Christ? There seems to be many dots that are left unconnected, with gaps in between. Many referred to the Tabernacle of David as 24/7 worship and intercession that never stops, modeled by the worship David installed in Zion. I have been involved in the Houses of Prayer movement as a musician and worship leader. The hours and hours of uninterrupted worship in the presence of God are complete pleasure for me. As much as I enjoy ministering to the Lord with music in worship, I am not able to see the relationship in the emphasis on the restoration of the Tabernacle of David and the End Times even though I have heard and pondered the points that many teachers and preachers spoke of. As you can see, I am a kind of slow in catching up in my understanding but I participated regardless because worship is pleasing to God because He deserves it all!

I embarked on this study to find answers in the Bible over the years. It was not intensive full time study, but through readings and meditations of the Word over time that the Holy Spirit began to show me. I used very little references outside of the Bible to understand the Tabernacle of David. If the Tabernacle of David is crucial, especially in the End Times, God will not leave it unexplained in His Word, which is “the lamp to my feet and a light to my path” – Psalm 119:105. With the help of the Holy Spirit as the illuminator of God’s Word, I embarked on this journey to understand the Tabernacle of David.

I first put everything together my scattered study over several years in 2013 when I had to teach the Tabernacle of David in Hunan Bible Institute. It took 9-10 class hours. It was intense Bible study for the Bible school students. A Bible study even though it was a classroom setting because most of them had to re-read Bible passages that they are familiar with and dig into verses that they are not as familiar. Questions were asked as they plough through the Word together and we all learned as God taught us all during the 9-10 class hours. I witnessed a renewal and exponential increase in their passion for the Word, worship and most importantly God. In preparation for the class, my thoughts were in point form and I elaborated verbally. I was receiving fresh revelations while I teach too! I am currently putting this teaching into proper writing, which is very different from verbal teaching. In a classroom context, the students asked questions to clarify and I could read their facial expressions and body language. The interaction also sharpened my clarity in this subject matter. In written form, my choice of words and explanation needs to be more concise so that it will not confuse. As I put various parts of the teachings into writing, I will post them in this blog. I do not know what will be the frequency and regularity of my posting but I will work on it whenever I can. Engage me in discussions about what I have written as I am still learning for I believe what I have is only a piece of the bigger picture.

The study of worship through the Tabernacle of Moses is a lot easier as there is a lot of detailed documentation of it in the Old Testament and heavily supported by archaeological findings. The worship instructed by Moses is very systematic and details are clearly recorded. It is like an instruction manual. Do this and God is pleased, which means all is fine. For David’s form of worship, there is no instruction of step one to ten. There is no stipulated protocol, except the short period of time in its expression in the Temple that Solomon built. In fact, it seems spontaneous and not bound by any law or rule. We learn about the worship in the Tabernacle of David from the Biblical narratives and the Psalms, which are completely different from the instructional law in the Tabernacle of Moses. The art of storytelling and understanding the heart of stories are increasingly less emphasized and practiced now, at least in Singapore where I live. Many of us get very impatient, especially with the older generation, when they reply our requests for help with stories. Often times if we stop to ponder, we will find the answers in the stories. If we look deeper, the stories reveal the root of the problem. The stories do not only give superficial solution but the wisdom to prevent the problem from recurring. The reply is more than the answer that we are looking for, if we are ready to receive it. Jesus spoke in parables, simple stories with moral and spiritual lessons, but not all understand the heart of these narratives. Principles and lessons can be drawn about the Tabernacle of David through the narratives and prayers. Yet, what is in the heart of the Tabernacle of David? It is God who declares, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Sam 16:7 (NASB). The heart of David is an important key, but the crucial key is to understand the heart of God in the Tabernacle of David.

Pushing Through Soaking

June is a time to complete things.

God is bringing healing to many people who have suffered from “hope deferred” (Proverbs 13:12) or what I call prophetic disappointments. July through the end of the year will be a time of “promises fulfilled”. Many things that God has promised you will begin to take shape. We will see lots of movement and relocation.

That being said, June is a time of closure for an old season that is coming to an end. Tie up loose ends, make preparations, and get ready to cross over to a new season starting in July.” – Doug Addison

This word hits me to the core as I can definitely identify with “hope deferred”. My life has been truncated by several significant sudden events that the automatic coping mechanism shuts down all hope. The promises of God are buried, dead.

A few months ago, the Lord puts in my heart the thought of going to Herrnhut, Germany and Jerusalem, Israel to spend time worshipping and praying in these significant places with rich spiritual heritage. It is to SOAK in the spiritual atmosphere where there are open heavens. It is to drink from the waters of these deep wells to be refreshed and renewed once again for the new season ahead. To shake off the dust, wash up and face the future with the confidence in God. It is amazing that this notion of almost impossibility is actually a reality with airtickets and schedule planned. God has been faithful to carry through the impossibles of this trip, for me and my prayer partner. We stand amazed by the power and grace of God through it all!

I am so excited about this trip. I have longed for a proper extended time-out with God. Setting off to the airport in less than 4 hours, my heart is bursting with restlessness in wanting to see what God has in store for me. Yet, another part of me is anxious about things I find it hard to let God at home. O God give me the faith and trust that I need to be fully at rest in You.

I will be spending time at YWAM Herrnhut (http://mission-live.com/) and Succat Hallel in Jerusalem (http://www.succathallel.com/). Just time with the God and His people to let Him speak and fill. I will write more as I learn from the Lord.

Keep well and God bless!

 

God’s Better Answers to Our Prayers

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked God for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for
– but everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among men, most richly blessed.

(The poem above is reputed to have been found on the body of a dead confederate soldier during the war).

A Tribute to My Daddy

I miss my daddy. Miss him so much. I was daddy’s girl. Miss the fun I had with him, the discipline he enforced on me, the gifts he showered upon me and most importantly, being who he was in my life.

Daddy was a strong warrior who fought hard and well with cancer. He was atheletic and well-built but was half his size when half his stomach was taken from him. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy took him to another level of battle. There was not one word of complain throughout all the medical procedures and treatment. Chemotherapy weakened him further and all he said was that food tasted very strange. Radiotherapy left huge patches of burnt skin on his back and it seemed that my heart ached more than he did when he endured it matter-of-factly. At times his face cringed with pain, even so, he rose above it by being attentive to those around. He treated the nurses and health staff with much kindness and appreciated very help. Even though he struggled so much physically, mentally and emotionally, he chose to enjoy life as much as he could. He learnt different senior citizen sports after the cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It was strange having daddy at home so often but it was good. I knew his days were numbered. My prayer to God was “do not take him home until He accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior”.

One day he collapsed at home. This time the doctor confirmed that he was not going to last. He was hospitalized for about 2-3 weeks with stronger chemotherapy. Not through the usual IV, but one that was inserted directly to his heart. Yes, he had a plug at his heart. The time came when the doctor alerted me that he only had less than 2 days. I stayed by him in the hospital throughout. He was in coma, not able to respond. I sat beside him and kept singing “Yes, Jesus loves you” tenderly by his left ear. The next day late morning, he woke up. In his weak voice he said, “I want to be baptised”. Our pastor rushed down that very afternoon and baptized my father. After the baptism, he managed to whisper some last instructions to me and a farewell… then he went back into “sleep mode”. His pulse was getting weaker. I continued to sit next to him, and held his hand. When it was almost midnight, I knew within me it was time for him to go. I kept my fingers on his pulse. True enough, not long after his pulse stopped. There was a glorious glow on his face with a smile. I believed he met Jesus. There is no other way to explain the glory reflected on his countenance.

Daddy fought his last 11 months with such grace. He taught me so much about endurance, and the giving of self. I am so thankful that my Father God is a God who answers prayers. He did not allow my daddy to be eternally seperated from Him. I know that although daddy’s presence is taken away from me now but I will meet him in the glorious Kingdom of God after the return of Christ.

Happy Father’s Day, my dearest Daddy! You are dearly missed.

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Proskuneo – School of Prayer and Worship

On 3-6 Jun 2013, about ten of us from my church, Bethel Fellowship, went to Proskuneo School of Prayer and Worship in Bandung, Indonesia. We are honored and priviledged that the school especially arranged for a special 2 days intensive sessions for us.

Proskuneo School of Prayer and Worship is started by Dr Niko, the senior pastor of GBI. Their vision is to raise up worship ministers who carry the presence of God and are also skilled musicially for the ministry to God as part of the vision to rebuild the Tabernacle of David. They have professional musicians who come to their school after their conversion to learn how to worship God through the gift of music. There are also those who do not have any musical background but desire to serve God through music. Their usual curriculum for local Indonesians is 2 months stay-in. For overseas students, their curriculum is one month.

The car ride from Bandung airport to Proskuneo was about 30min. Upon passing through the gate and into the compound, there is a sense of stillness – the quiet presence of God. Everything is neat and clean, well-organized. It is not in the anal meticulous manner but a sense that things are in order because they do it as an act of worship to honor the presence of God in the place.

Proskuneo Reception Counter. Photo by Andrew Cheok.

These students usually stay in their hostel bunks but they blessed us with lodging in beautiful houses in their compound. We went to look at their hostel bunks and they are really nice and neat (sorry that we didn’t remember to take photos of it). Each room can sleep 4 people. Instead of double-decker beds, they build a upper loft with 2 beds at ground level and 2 beds in the upper so that students don’t need to struggle climbing up the ladder to their upper deck beds. Each bed has a curtain around it for privacy and each room has its own attached bathroom!

Their hospitality is a demonstration of God’s love towards us. Every small details in hospitality is thought of, including fresh flowers in the bathroom and in the living area. They provided us with bottles of water and biscuits. These details awaken my other senses of worship to God, not only audio but smell, sight and touch too! The last physical sensory is taste. We had most of our meals in the school. They provided simple meals of 1 meat, 1 vegetable and soup with fruits. Each time I partake of the meal, I feel the love of God coming through the ones who prepare it as an act of worship. I was experiencing God in a different manner upon arrival to lunch even before the actual sessions started!

Proskuneo House – 4 houses in this wing of the compound. Photo by Andrew Cheok.
Each house has two rooms in each unit with a double and a twin room, including a bathroom and a living area.
Each house has two rooms in each unit with a double and a twin room, including a bathroom and a living area.
The Twin Room has a pull out bed that can sleep two persons. Photo by Andrew Cheok.

We had our first session after lunch starting with worship. The presence of God fills the room in the simple songs that we lift up to God. Pastor Joko, the principle of the school, was playing the guitar during worship. Pastor Esther, who is the wife of Pastor Joko, taught and gave deep insights. For the 2 days of teaching, the theme was Intimacy with God, which is so much needed in the fast-paced and task-orientated culture of Singapore.

Proskuneo Worship Session. Photo by Andrew Cheok.

Another interesting place in the Proskuneo compound is their prayer caves. Students and staff use these caves for their quiet time with the Lord. They have those who have lower ceiling (you can’t stand straight up in it) and some others with higher ceiling and thus if you can jump and stand in the presence of God.

Proskuneo Prayer Caves
Proskuneo Prayer Caves. Photo by Andrew Cheok.
Proskuneo Prayer Caves
Proskuneo Prayer Caves. Photo by Andrew Cheok.

Desperate for Wholeness

Life is full of ups and downs. For me, the past decade or so was plagued with significant downs that feel like a terribly strong person driving a punch into my abdominal with all his might taking all my breath out of me. Still, I pressed on and kept the faith. I continued serving the Lord, I lived my life and tried to enjoy it as much as I could. Yet within me, I was drained and emptied out. In my mind, I know that this should not be the case for believers as God is my everything. He is more than able to heal me and I should be rejoicing for the salvation of the Lord with the indwelling of His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of His promise. The truth of God that I am so familiar with was not aligned with what I was feeling within me when I laid everything bare. Did I miss something in this fullness in this life that Jesus promised for He is not a liar?

When our physical bodies are unwell, we see a doctor. What happens when our spirit is unwell? What happens when our emotions are so broken by the arrows of life? Inner healing ministry is not something new to me as I was exposed to it almost a decade ago. That exposure created a basic understanding of the make-up of our being, being body, soul and spirit. When any of these 3 parts are injured, our whole being is affected and we feel misaligned on the inside.The exposure was more to be equipped with some basic skills to minister to those who come to me.

I was desperate for wholeness and to live fully in the promises of Christ.

Last week, I went in search for Inner Healing ministries, praying that God will grant me some help through this. This new season is too important for me to miss out on God’s wave because of all the baggages I have. I need to offload them as they had stubbornly stuck to me even though I tried shaking them off. They became so heavy that I doubt I could run to catch God’s wave, not to say to even enjoy. There are many ministries out there which does inner healing. There are those that are very comprehensive and requires 10 weeks sessions going through all my history for a thorough “spring cleaning”. I did not have the luxury of 10 weeks and so I needed something that is a one-session based, at least for a start and if it is proven that I need more, then we will arrange again.

So I chose SOZO. It is a one session inner healing and I will start with this and see how it goes. It is a little intimidating to go for something like that, at least to me. To bare my heart to a team of people whom I have never met and for them to pray with me over matters that can be private and intimate. Thankfully, a friend came by to say hi before I entered into the room for my session. His familiar face brought much comfort! I had a team of 4 people and I can sense God’s love and gentleness in them.

My session was almost 3 hours! I think mine was a little longer than usual. They asked me some questions, not a whole list but some basic ones. What I realized in the whole session, it was not the counselors who were counseling me, but they were there to faciliate me to hear and receive from God direct. They led me in prayer, but mainly to ask God to reveal to me what were the lies that I had believe, the truth God wants to speak to me in the situation and blessings or gifts that God wanted to give me. The answers to these questions came from God to me direct. I will get words or impressions to the questions directed to God. At no point in time they actually gave me any advise from their lips, only to help me to understand and probe deeper what some of the impressions I received from God. They were also tuned in to the Holy Spirit to lead me to the areas that are wounded so that healing can take place. There were quite a number of wounds which I thought was not of great consequence were the ones which I felt the most pain when surfaced. These have unconsciously affected me and I didn’t even know! Each time a wound is closed, I sensed a weight being lifted from me. The lightness and freedom I felt, like shackles that weighed and bound me were taken off me. I cried lots, so much that my eyes felt so tired at the end of it. With my puffy eyes, I praise and thank God for His deliverance after the session.

This morning, I woke up with a smile which hardly happens as I am not a morning person! =)

I am still in the making for perfection when Christ comes, but the extra unncessarily heavy baggages have been taken off me so that I can move forward with lighter steps! Hallelujah!!

A picture drawn by one of the counselors for me during the session. This is exactly what happened!