Retreat Nov 2023

As my parents are visiting this week, wife suggested a retreat. This is the first time we can go for retreat since Jul 2020 as Clara was too young for us to be away for the night.

As such, I decided to read Deuteronomy and Joshua for this retreat since these are the anchor books given during the Jul 2020 retreat.


Was reminded of all the verses concerning keeping all the commandments of God, of all the blessings in keeping commandments and curses in disobedience.

Apart from these reminders, 2 key messages stood out.

  • Reminded and warned not to fall into the trap of envy and comparison

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


  • Reminded and warned not to forget the Lord when He blesses us.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

40th month of wilderness

This was first brought to my attention during lunch with an elder from church and their family. Was sharing our wilderness journey and he mentioned in passing (with some seriousness) about 40 months of wilderness. In the context of “prayerfully the wilderness will end by 40th month”. Found it interesting but didn’t think much about it.

During this retreat, out curiosity, we counted. We had our last retreated during end July 2020. Starting from Aug 2020 as month 1, we realised end Nov 2023 would have been the end of our 40th month.

The dates weren’t planned, we “happened” to do it because my parents are visiting and can spend 1 night with the kids.

It’s kind of a bitter-sweet moment to realise we had walked 40 months of wilderness. My first reaction was to make my wife and myself recount it a few times to make sure we got it right. My second reaction was to tell my wife that “40 months of zero income is no joke”, that “40 months is not considered short”, that “we have quite a story to tell”

And technically on the last day of this 40th month, we really have our first dollar of revenue in the business. This is unplanned but it’s true. Hence technically from the point of view of income, it was exactly 40 months, spot on to the day. (of course wilderness journey is a lot more than just income!)

EVERYTHING is spiritual battle

During the retreat, I know I’m not at the right place. I know I’m not as close to God as I should be.

I had finished reading Deuteronomy and was going into Joshua but I knew I wasn’t at the right place. So I went into the Jaccuzi, played my worship songs, confessed and repented for all the recent “dirtiness”, impatience with people, temper at Sean, frustrations, anxiety at work, hardness of heart etc etc.

As I was doing these, saw a youthful, sharp chin, “beautiful” face in the sky. It oozes evil and I feel super unsettled inside. Straightaway I asked God what’s this I’m seeing. God immediately told me Satan. So I immediately fought as I’ve always done like an experienced army guy in the Kingdom. Binding Satan in Jesus name and cutting a few ropes that’s attached to me in Jesus name.

Suddenly Holy Spirit taught me in a “Spirit to spirit” communication and download that “EVERYTHING is a spiritual battle” Immediately I understood what it meant and I found the breakthrough I wanted.

EVERYTHING is a spiritual battle. The key word is EVERYTHING, everything in life, good and bad. the biggest and the smallest, the exciting and the mundane. EVERYTHING is spiritual battle. And the solution to EVERYTHING is spiritual-first. We have always taught our children to “pray, think, do”. To approach everything in life with this order. I think it summarizes the solution to a “spiritual-first” approach in EVERYTHING. To pray, think, do.

Let’s say we have a helper who stole from us, the approach is to pray first for the helper, for us to have wisdom etc etc. then think together with God what to do, then do it.

So I was reminded this does not apply to some areas, most of the time to bigger things in life, but it applies to EVERYTHING.

And then when I understood this once again, I found the posture of a commander in God’s kingdom again. The next thought was “since everything is spiritual battle, then I need a spiritual battle plan. Then I remembered that Book of Joshua is probably a book to learn spiritual battle plans.


Another theme leading to the retreat was about money. The main messages were about the love of money being the root of all evil. At night, as I was feeling unwell and was falling fast asleep, I heard wife playing a sermon. Its the sermon that I much wanted to join in real life but missed it and have not listened to. Thank God wife played it. Somehow I listened to it all instead of falling asleep. It’s about money and setting guardrails against greed and the love of money in business.

God spoke to wife about money too. How to steward etc.

Key message for wife

There were a few verses but I think this is the main. Very personal to her and quite an uncommon verse. Interesting verse to encourage wife to hold on to all God’s promises for us.

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

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