Volume. XX, No. 46
Sunday, 14 May 2006

From the pastors heart: Weep for what?

One of the sayings of Jesus that has left indelible mark in my heart is found in the passage of Luke 23:26-31, “And as they led him away . . . . 27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. 29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. 31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”  Jesus spoke it while He was led away to be crucified.  There are two inescapable truths that we must pay attention to: (1) The people following Jesus were urged to weep for themselves and their children, not for Jesus who was about to be crucified, and (2) there were reasons to do so - difficult times were coming.  During Passion Week, we think of the suffering and pain that Jesus had to bear for us.  The description of His crucifixion terrifies us and we feel so sorry about His agony.  It is true that we often weep as we think of His pain.  However, on the days when Jesus was led to the cross, instead of thanking those who were crying for Him, He advised them to weep for themselves and their children.  The obvious reason was that He knew that the fall of Jerusalem was going to come and that many people would be killed. However, His advice did not end there. During His earthly ministry, Jesus often predicted about the end time miseries and suffering, especially against the children of God. What I am trying to say is, of course, not to scare the believers as some cults have been doing by talking about the end-time signs and wonders, but to encourage us to pray for ourselves and our children. 

I have been reading a book, 50 Things You Want to Know about World Issues . . . But Were Too Afraid to Ask, by Keith Suter (Sydney: Bantam, 2005). It illustrates a few reasons why we must be ready to weep for ourselves and for our children by explaining the real issues in the world.  One of his articles is entitled: “Why were African Children Starving?” Traditionally, we have heard that there is sufficient food production in the world, but starving people are not able to buy food. However, there has been a growing concern that we may not have that much food in the world to provide enough meals for everybody. As the world population grows, and agricultural lands dwindle, more and more countries need to depend on imported food. Annually, about 77 million people are being added to the world population, and half of them are being born in six countries: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. According to Keith Suter’s words, “For the first time in human history, the area under cultivation is starting to be reduced.”  He also says, “China’s annual grain production is now declining each year in absolute terms.” Can we imagine a world-wide food crisis as we are now experiencing the world-wide oil crisis? I am pondering on Revelation 13:17, “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”  I wonder what it means that no one except the ones having the mark of the beast in the end time will be able to buy and sell. What are the things that those who do not have the mark want to buy but cannot? What was the message that John wanted to let us know when he said in Revelation 7:16, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat”?  They are the ones who “came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”. (Revelation 7:14).

Conflicts, fights, and terrorists’ acts are everywhere, and we just cannot see that they will end soon.  The fact that about 90 percent of the victims of modern conflict are civilians is especially depressing (p. 12).  Many Christian fundamentalists have been talking about the possibility of World War III. They have developed lots of theories about World War III and the end of the world.  Some of those scenarios are much too artificial and speculative.  UNESCO has tried to gain endorsement of the Seville Statement, which concludes that “Biology does not condemn humanity to violence and war. Instead, it is possible to end war and suffering it causes. To do this will require everyone working together, but it must begin in the mind of each person with the belief that it is possible.  The same human being who has made war is capable of constructing peace. Each of us has a task to do.” I do not want to see my children and theirs suffer through wars and conflicts. Therefore, I do hope that the Seville Statement is correct. However, we all learn and know from history that we are living in a volatile world. States and nations are not the primary sources of provocation of wars. A small group of terrorists can trigger a world-wide war at any time. They are not making up a nation or occupying any particular land. They are everywhere, and at any time they can strike against anybody, any group or organization, and any country. We have seen some of their attacks recently, including September 11. More and more dangerous weapons are invented, and technologies are being used to devise more deadly weapons against humanity. Some people say that there is little fear of World War III.  They may be correct.  However, what we must not forget is that there is little hope of world peace either. Jesus said in Matthew 24:6-7, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”  We ought to cry for ourselves and our children.  There will be less and less resources that nations will be able to use.  There is a higher chance of conflicts occurring in our children’s generation.

Have you thought about the possibility that water may be another deadly weapon used against one another? Today, it is oil that troubles us. However, it may be water tomorrow. Water is the single most important commodity for life on earth. There is no alternative to it. In fact, water-shortage is a more serious issue than climate change.  Australia is the driest continent in the world. The Australian government is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars to save the River Murray. Nowadays in Venezuela, water is more expensive than petrol. Israel and Jordan are trying to save the Dead Sea. “Ninety per cent of the diseases of the world are water related. Globally, one in two hospital beds is occupied by a person suffering from water-borne diseases” (p. 159). The World Bank reports that 80 countries now have water shortages that threaten health and economies while 40 percent of the world — more than 2 billion people — have no access to clean water or sanitation. More than a dozen nations receive most of their water from rivers that cross borders of neighbouring countries that are viewed as hostile. These include Botswana, Bulgaria, Cambodia, the Congo, Gambia, Israel, the Sudan, and Syria, all of whom receive 75 percent or more of their fresh water from the river flowing from hostile neighbours. It means that water can be a deadly weapon against nations.  Former Senator Paul Simon from Illinois, USA, recently authored Tapped Out: The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Do About It, in which he warns, "Within a few years, a water crisis of catastrophic proportions will explode upon us — unless aroused citizens ... demand of their leadership actions reflecting vision, understanding and courage."  Again I would like to relate this to Revelation 7:16.  Weep and pray for our children and theirs.

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 45: Which is the first commandment? The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev David Koo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Raphael Ng’s father, Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, & John Tann; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei and others afflicted with viral illness. "Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” (Ps 16:1).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - Cambodian pastors & believers; b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim; e) Church preparations  - 20th Anniversary Celebration; f) Journey mercies - Ps Ki (USA), Sis Serene Wong (S’pore); g) Evangel B-P Church - first worship service last Lord’s Day in KL - for Elder Dr Lim & Sis Yu Yuet Teng; h) Bro Winston Selvanayagam - message for next Lord’s Day.

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF & Wed Bible Study/Prayer Meetings & Choir Practices; b) Journey mercies - Dn David Yeo & Bro Simon Yeo (Adl); Sisters Grace Chung (Adl), Sooi Chin Gong (Brisbane/Adl), Helen & Samantha Heah (Adl) & Serene Wong (Shanghai).

Condolences to Bro Richard & Sis Yee Min Tee on the death of their grandmother.

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $13,685 for Pastor’s car.

Special Thanks to the YAF/Teens group for their faithfulness to God and their contribution to the mothers today.

Looking Ahead: 20th Anniversary Thanksgiving activities - Praise Night on Sat 3 June at 7:30pm; Thanksgiving Service on 4 June & Thanksgiving Dinner at Citi Zen Restaurant, Sunday, 4 June, at 6 pm. Please purchase your tickets for the dinner places ASAP. 



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