Dear Brethren,

MH17 Plane Crash

We are all saddened and shocked by the missile that shot down the MH17 Malaysia airlines on 17 July 2014. All 298 people on board died in an instant and these include about 80 young lives. It was an ordinary scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and everyone on board would not have thought this was their last night of their life on this earth. This is how apt the Bible described our lives on earth:

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
James 4:14

Let not anyone think that we control our own destiny and are the master of our lives. The Lord Jesus tells us the parable of the rich fool who said:

“And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Luke 12:18-19

It was all about self and his own selfish plan. Note that there are 8 “I”s and “my”s in his thoughts to himself. Did this man enjoy and succeed in his plans? Jesus said these words about this man:

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:
then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
Luke 12:20

Another important spiritual lesson to learn from this plane crash is that we must search and examine our own lives when we hear and see of such disaster. Almost of us have taken a plane before. It could have happened to us but today we are alive and well. What must we do? Jesus said these words to us that we must take heed:

“ I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3

Many of us have become spiritually complacent and lazy. We lose our desire to come to worship God and serve Him. We rather enjoy the world and have become self-righteous. Instead of repenting of our sins, we give ourselves excuses for our spiritual slothfulness and also blame the Church and other Christians for our sins. Beware of God’s chastening if we do not repent! Beware we shall all likewise perish if we do not repent of our sins!

Pray for Suffering Christians in Northern Iraq

Here is a report from Reuters news dated 18 July 2014:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul.

The statement issued by the Islamic State, the al Qaeda offshoot which led last month’s lightning assault to capture swathes of north Iraq, and seen by Reuters, said the ruling would come into effect on Saturday. It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract – a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya”. “We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.

We are so blessed in Singapore with peace, good jobs, good education for our children and safe environment. Do not take it for granted. Be grateful to God and love Him more. Pray for the Christian brethren in Iraq facing severe persecutions and death threat. May the Lord have mercy on us in Singapore!

Elder John Leong