We are at war with an invisible and potent enemy—Satan and his demons. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It is a difficult fight against an invisible enemy but not impossible. Scripture tells us how, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph 6:11).
We are also at war with an invisible germ—the coronavirus (COVID-19)—which has spread throughout the world. To protect themselves, the doctors and nurses in hospitals put on their “armour”—Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The Singapore government has also put in place protective measures to stem the tide of infection indigenously and from overseas.
As a Church, we must do our part to protect ourselves and society. Since the suspension of social gatherings of 250 or more since 20 March 2020 which affect churches conducting their Lord’s Day services, we have decentralised our worship service by having two services instead of one—8.30am and 10.30am. We keep the Lord’s Day holy by worshipping Him in His house. We want to put God first because we need Him most of all in such a perilous time. We want to worship the Lord and seek His face and favour, to plead for His protection on us, our families, our church, our nation. That is our spiritual duty for we know that God is the only One who is powerful to save. Thus, in such a time, we are called to pray fervently for God’s help. 2 Chronicles 20:9 says, “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” We are reminded that “except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Ps 127:1b).
God is in control but we must also be responsible. Our founding pastor—the Rev Dr Timothy Tow—often said, “Self help with God’s help is the best help”.
Lord’s Day Service Goes Online
Our decentralization into two services was short-lived. On 24 March 2020, the government imposed even stricter measures. This time “All religious services and congregations will be suspended. Places of worship (e.g. temples, mosques, churches) may remain open for private worship and essential rites, subject to group sizes of 10 persons or fewer at any one time.” These stricter measures kicked in on March 26, 11.59pm.
Let us follow the guidelines given by our government. In 1 Peter 2:13–14, we are told, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” We want to do well.
This new ruling is meant to be protective—we do not want the coronavirus to spread like the way it has spread in China, and now in ASEAN, Europe, and USA. Prevention is better than cure, and containment is better than confinement. Thank God there is no total lockdown yet. We pray we will not get there.
We will henceforth conduct our services in the virtual world of cyberspace, worshipping the Lord from our own homes until the restrictions are lifted. This of course is not ideal, but we have to make do. Let us do our best to fulfil our spiritual duties despite the setback. One thing is for sure—we can still worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24). Wherever we may be, He is there, He is with us. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20). Although we do not see each other personally, losing out on fellowship with one another, our fellowship is still there in the Lord and still felt albeit in spirit.
Pastor will lead in worship and preach the Word as usual. Follow the worship service in True Life’s YouTube channel. The service will start on the Lord’s Day at 10.30am. It will remain accessible throughout the day. So, you can participate in the service later in the day if you wish. The weekly with the order of worship and hymn sheet will be sent to you. Please print out the weekly and hymn sheet and use them during the service. You are encouraged to worship the Lord together with others in groups of not more than ten. If you have a small family, you may want to invite another family or two to join you. Those who are single or alone are encouraged to gather as a group for worship, again no more than ten.
Let’s pray that this will pass soon. Nevertheless, have a blessed Lord’s Day Service ahead.
True Life Covid-19 Precautions (26 March 2020)
In light of the new government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Singapore, TLBPC will adopt the following practices:
NEWS FROM ISRAEL
It is spring time here in Israel! We know that spring has arrived when the almond trees (sheqidiyah in Hebrew) start to bloom. They are the Sakuras of the Middle East! Still, there are all kinds of flowers here and they are EVERYWHERE. This is probably the scene in both OT and NT times. Definitely Solomon’s clothes cannot hold a candle even to the wild flowers.
Yes Covid-19 has finally reached Israel. The number of cases reported yesterday was 633. For the past few days, we keep hearing more and more restrictions being announced. We have not reached a full lockdown yet but a state of emergency is declared. Basically, from today onwards, anyone found outside without a valid reason will be heavily fined. The government has urged all Israelis to quickly return to the country as it is likely the borders will be closed to all very soon.
As for me, I was still feeling alright when the university closed down. All lessons just moved to an online platform. However, when restaurants and cafes are ordered to close and then public transport is limited, I began to feel the dread of being cooped up at home and not seeing people. Then my German flatmate was called by the embassy to return home quickly and my other flatmate went back to her home in the West Bank soon after. Several of my schoolmates are also flying home. So I entertained the idea of flying back to Singapore this week, especially when MOH called for overseas students to return home soon. It is tempting because it is just nice to be reunited with family and friends, instead of being quite alone in a foreign land, with a crisis brewing in the backyard.
Thank God for granting me a clear mind on this. Despite the temptation, He helped me to remember that He opened the way for me to come here. For the last 5 months, God took care of me so much. I can really experience His providential care. I do feel a bit more anxious in terms of practical living and have to exercise a never-before prudence in expenses, but in the end, I really just have to learn to trust Him. My main concern is to do my studies here properly, and also to be a blessing to the many people I have met. So even though technically I can still continue studying via an excellent online platform, I know I will not be able to focus if I am back in Singapore. I will also miss out on the opportunities to be among the believers here. Needless to say, I will also not be able to practice my Hebrew.
Will always be thinking of the college and the people.
Eileen Chee (20 March 2020)
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