Israelis and Palestinians Are Brothers

It is inhuman what these two nations are doing to each other. The massacre of infants, young and old civilians, without discrimination, in a cycle of revenge and hatred that gets fiercer and fiercer with each passing day. The tit for tat harks back to the 1900’s and the insistence of rights of both nations have been broadcasted endlessly in the mainstream media, and in more recent days, in social media. The war front has always been multifaceted and includes influencing the minds of millions of viewers in social media. 

I lament this tragic feud between the descendants of the same family. The Palestinians (and Arabs) are descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham via Hagar his slave. The Jews are the descendants of Isaac, the son of Abraham via Sarah his wife. They are brothers.

There is some scientific evidence that points to the truth of the biblical story. It is not new. An interesting research in 2000 surfaced some stunning findings from DNA studies. “More than 70% of Jewish men and half of the Arab men whose DNA was studied inherited their Y chromosomes from the same paternal ancestors who lived in the region within the last few thousand years.” Ann Gibbons who authored this article in continued to report that: “The results match historical accounts that some Moslem Arabs are descended from Christians and Jews who lived in the southern Levant, a region that includes Israel and the Sinai. They were descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times. And in a recent study of 1371 men from around the world, geneticist Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona in Tucson found that the Y chromosome in Middle Eastern Arabs was almost indistinguishable from that of Jews.” Read her full article HERE.

This certainly matches the Genesis story account which shows that the two sons of Abraham were in estranged relationships as brothers, and that both their mothers could not get along. There was envy, insecurity, anger, rejection, hurt, fear, enmity and hatred as both families tried to co-exist and find a safe space in the household of Abraham (Genesis 16,17,25). These feelings of mutual enmity and contempt have resurfaced in the lives of the millions of descendants of both sons of Abraham. More so over the Yom Kippur attacks by the Hamas into Israel last weekend, on the evening of Sunday, 24th September to the evening of Monday 25thSeptember 2023. The massacres were during the most holy day of the Jewish religious calendar, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16).

The two peoples have been slaughtering each other with bombs, bullets and broadcasts. I lament this tragic outcome of the descendants of brothers who were meant to live together in covenant loyalty and loving relationships. I do not think it will ever stop. I am pessimistic of any future rapproachment between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The only hope I harbour of these two finding real rapproachment, love and reconciliation is in Christ. There has to be internal peace before external peace can be achieved. I am sure in a Christian fellowship of Palestinians and Israelis, there can be forgiveness, reconciliation and true peace and love, despite any lingering disagreements of right and wrong. The love of Christ alone can cover all sins and enmity.

Therefore, while I lament now, I also long and yearn with hope for the day when Isaiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled: “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa 11:6-9)

Thus the weight of my prayers for both these people lean more towards the salvation of souls, that the remnant will come to the Lord in repentance and love. For then and only then, can the descendants of these Ishmael and Isaac find forgiveness and reconciliation in the bosom of their Father in heaven.

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Pray for Peace & Salvation in Israel & Palestine

“Oh dear! This is tragic. This is serious. It is going to be disastrous for all peace-loving people on both sides of the conflict. There will be an invasion. There will be great loss of lives on both sides. This conflict is going to be headline news for a few weeks. It is going to take attention away from Russia-Ukraine war. This conflict will not be settled at the negotiation table.” This was what I was thinking, feeling when I heard over the weekend about Hamas attacks in Israel and the declaration of war by the Prime Minister of Israel, and the calling of the reserves into action.

Interestingly, just this Sunday the pastor preached from Isaiah chapter 7 about a Syrian-Israel (northern kingdom) alliance that threatened to invade Judah (southern kingdom). King Ahaz of Judah and the nation heard the news and trembled like leaves shaken by a strong wind. God in his mercy sent Isaiah to encourage king Ahaz to trust in the covenant God of the house of David. Ahaz preferred to trust in his strategy instead of putting his trust in God. He sought the help of Assyria. Assyria then decimated Syria, and then Israel (northern kingdom) and finally turned on Judah (southern kingdom). The prophets saw this as God’s judgment on his chosen people because of their idolatry. Instead of worshipping God and God alone, they worshipped idols. This idolatry led to all kinds of injustice, oppression of the weak, unrighteousness and the breaking of God’s laws. It led to the judgment of God on his chosen people.

Modern Israel is no different from the people of God in the times of king Ahaz. They too are an idolatrous people that love things more than God. Hedonism, materialism, relativism, secularism. humanism, rationalism and all other kinds of worldviews reigns. The people have rejected God from the pre-eminent place in their society. These are modern day idols, the golden calf among the chosen people. There is no denying it. Pew Research Center in 2016 stated that 7.3% are Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox); 18.8% are Dati (religious); 24.3% are Masorti (traditional); and 33.1% are Hiloni (secular). Only 1.9% are Christians. A Gallup survey in 2015 determined that 65% of Israelis say they are either “not religious” or “convinced atheists”, while 30% say they are “religious” (Wikipedia “Religion in Israel”). These statistics may give us clues about how God may want to deal with the nation of Israel, and how we can pray and intercede.

  • Let “supplications, prayers, intercessions” be made for all peoples, both Israelis and Palestinians, and for those in authority and high positions, so that permanent peace may be established in the Middle East and innocent people can live a peaceful and safe and dignified life, and that people will come to a knowledge of the truth.
  • Pray for good sense, peace and reconciliation to prevail, and all invaders to be removed, the kidnapped rescued, and innocent civilians be safe and protected. 
  • Pray and feel for all who have suffered and are now grieving, in fear, anxiety, and danger.
  • Pray that all foreign powers that are involved be frustrated in their self-interests and purposes, but those that are true peacemakers to succeed in their aims.
  • Pray for the Christian churches and believers to be available to help the innocent civilian victims of war and aid them. Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit upon the Christians in both nations to empower them to help the needy and preach Jesus Christ. Pray for a good harvest of souls into God’s kingdom.
  • Pray the people of Israel will have an awakening to their need of Jesus, the Prince of Peace who alone can give them the interior peace that matters most.
  • The best way is to intercede in tongues so that we pray according to God’s will. That is if you have the gift of tongues.
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A Visit To

Paul Lee Wen Por, my nephew, an actor with Fly Entertainment, has been working at, an environmental organization in Singapore that gives plastic waste a new life. He arranged for several of us uncles and aunties and his family to visit his workspace. The church, World Revival Prayer Fellowship, is about ten minutes away, so we decided to visit on a Sunday, after the morning church service. It turned out to be an interesting visit. 

Located on the second floor of the Yu Li industrial building, we entered into a space that looked like a sizeable workshop with machines, work-tables, stools, and storage shelves. Yew Jin, the technical director was there doing his thing and we were introduced to him. Then, Paul did a presentation to us, showing us the space and explaining the step by step process of converting plastic waste into pretty and useful new products, like carabiners, coasters, and wall décor.

We had an opportunity to see the bits of plastic waste melted and pressed into a mold and made into beautiful recycled coasters (see above). These folks are very committed to recycling and cutting wastage. Even the machine that melts the waste was designed and made from odd metals and what not. The machines look like some alien lifeform with long metal limbs and spouts that excretes melted plastic lava that enters a mold and like magic…. trash becomes treasure!

I reflected on this and thought of how this is so like my life. I was useless, worthless, ugly, purposeless, rubbish. Jesus came into my life and through a process of transformation made my life meaningful, valuable, useful, relevant, and admirable. This was what the gospel did to me: it cut me to shreds with conviction of my wrongdoing; melted my resistance with the love of Jesus; and molded my life by his Spirit. 

I was glad I went for that visit. It was a lesson for me of the redeeming and transforming power of God’s love. God sent Jeremiah to the potter’s house to give him a spiritual message of warning that he was to deliver to the idolatrous people of Judah(Jeremiah 18). The message I received is one of hope and love. I hope you receive a similar message: God never gives up on you and can recycle the worst of you into the one of his millions of unique masterpieces. Trash into treasure!

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A Simple Tribute To A Simple Brother

I received this from my friend Eric Ng. It was a lovely tribute from a younger brother to a brother who lived alone and died alone. I read it and could not put it down. If it had not been for this well written tribute, the deceased would have been another statistic to add to the increasing numbers who died in their homes (unknown to their loved ones). Another tragic and worrying report in the news with surface information about the person that departed and little about the life he or she lived. This tribute I read gave a beautiful portrait of a man who zealously sought the Lord and shared the good news about Jesus Christ to others. The tribute crowned the stark report with grace and dignity. I felt moved to share this with others through this blogpost, and if it touches your heart, do share this touching tribute with even more people. Here it is:


The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once…” (Heb 9:27a). That’s the edict from the Giver of Life who also has the equal right to take back the life when it has reached a destined expiry date.

On 26 June 2023, Shin Min Daily News wrote an article with this as headline: ELDERLY MAN PASSES AWAY IN TOA PAYOH FLAT, PLANTS STARTED WILTING A WEEK EARLIER. How unceremonious an epitaph! Then came the subheading: “77-Year-Old Elderly Man Passes Away In Toa Payoh Flat, Discovered After Foul Smell Detected.” SMDN is correct to make this sad commentary: “Whenever an elderly person who lives alone passes away, it’s always heartbreaking news. This is especially as the deceased would have left this world all alone, with nobody knowing of their demise until a decaying corpse is found.”

But it’s more heart wrenching for his next-of-kin to find out secondhand about this news from others. This lonely, elderly man is my second brother. He lived an ordinary life – ranked 5th in line in a family of 7 siblings.

Growing up with him, I remember his easy-go-lucky lifestyle. He hardly gave my parents any trouble. He was liked in his kampong. His greatest passion was playing hockey. He wasn’t a brilliant student but he got a Grade II result that qualified him to take a job with the civil service.

John grew up in the Westmoreland/Dorset area. Like most of the kampong boys, he smoked, gambled, and spoke with machine-gun speed vulgarities in the Chinese, Malay, and English [his only deficiency was Tamil ]. It wasn’t until 1966/7 that he seasoned his speech with salt and gave up his few vices when he was wondrously converted to Christianity. He became an intrepid witness for Christ. Soon, some of his kampong friends joined him in embracing the Christian faith—when they saw the radical transformation in his life.

Possessed by a passion to win souls for Christ, John began to witness to many of the kampong boys. Not long, he got some of them to follow him to attend a nearby church in Moulmein Rise. The church is still there and is still called Revival Centre. At this time, I had moved out of my mother’s house to live with my sister. But I would visit my mum every week. During those times, John and I would engage in serious conversations—mostly doctrinal and theological in nature. His love for God’s Word was almost unstoppable. He would spend hard earned money to buy books directly from overseas publishers. Many of the books were written by the renowned authors like DeVerne Fromke (Unto Full Stature, Ultimate Intention), C S Lewis (Mere Christianity), Carl F H Henry (Evangelism and Theology based books.

One vicarious benefit I got from John’s enthusiastic witness was in the 1960s when at a special rally conducted by A/G Singapore. Tommy Barnette, the famous evangelist, came to SG and the rally was held at the old Victoria Memorial Hall. That day, Tommy Barnette decided to award the person who brought the most people to the rally. It turned out that John had brought the most people but he told me to go forward on his behalf and accept the ‘reward’ of an LP cut by Tommy Barnette. Thank you John for that special gift.

Some time later, I told John about my church’s weekly Wednesday Bible Study. I boasted about my teacher’s incredible expository skills. That teacher is Sis Margaret Seaward. I was then attending Bethel Assembly. That church was located at 4 Palm Grove Avenue, off Flower Road, off Upper Serangoon Road (famously called Hougang 6th Mile). It was a long journey by bus from my mum’s house in Westmoreland. Despite the inconvenience, John decided to join me in Bethel not only for the Wednesday Bible Study but also the Friday ‘Glory Meeting”, i.e., Pentecostal Prayer Meeting. He never left Bethel until he started a church and called it Lord’s Grace (I may not have this name right, but I knew he started an informal ‘gathering of saints’ to champion his belief of the Apostolic Faith.

I write all these so that my FB friends from CCC/VFC and from the Westmoreland/Dorset group, who’re also friends of my Bro John Lui, should know some of the less known facts about him. John was a recluse and lived a very private life. That accounts for his dying alone and unknown until the news became public in SMDN.

I thank God that some of my friends had read the article in Chinese and could identify from highlighted facts that it was about John. The friends on my WhatsApp group, CCC Staff, alerted me of John’s death. I was only told of this in the late afternoon. That started me doing a bit of enquiries with the police. I could confirm with them that the person identified as a 77-year old man, who died in Blk 174 Toa Payoh, was my brother. Later this morning, I’ll be collecting his body. I will give him a simple cremation and bid him a simple farewell. He’s now in a much better place of comfort and rest—safe in the arms of his loving Saviour and cradled at His bosom.

John, I will meet you soon – over there on the beautiful shore of heaven. What we didn’t get time of earth to share as we did in my younger years, we’ll have eternity to do it! You lived a life that was pleasing to God. I would be remiss, John, if I failed to mention this. As it is, I already failed to say thank you inf life. Now, I want to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU for those years you quietly put the ‘Pentecostal’ handshake and gave me money when I was short of paying my Bible School fees. God used you to be the occasional, miraculous intervention when I was hard up of money. I know God took notice of what you did privately. He will reward you publicly in heaven. Thank you, John.

You had run and completed the race. You can now take your deserved rest in the Presence of your wonderful Lord and Saviour.

I thank God for the privilege of finding out at the very last minute of your demise and body which I will be claiming in two hours’ time. Rest well my dear brother. Until we meet again,

Your brother-in-the-flesh and
Your brother-in-the-Lord
Peter Lui

An online article about this and other similar deaths can be read HERE.

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“Walk In A Relaxed Manner”: book reflection

Joyce Rupp is a retreat leader, conference speaker and author of many bestselling books on Christian spirituality. This book is her reflections about the 36 days of walking 805 km across northern Spain, from Ronscevales to Santiago. It is called the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, one of the three famous Christian pilgrimages. She walked the camino at the age of sixty and wrote about the life lessons she learned from it.

I asked myself: How do you write about a 36 days walk? Do I write in a diary format? Take journal notes every day of distance, weather, places, people, scenery, food and refugios and convert these into a kind of travel diary. How repetitive and boring! How about writing a “how to” book, a book that gives practical information and helps pilgrims to prepare themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually so as to maximise from the camino experience. Nobody would buy such a book.

The author chose to write in a “relaxed manner”: 25 short, interesting chapters captioned with the life lessons she gleaned.  I thought this was the best way to do it. The lessons were digestible and clear. At the same time, she covered the other information, details and stories in a topical and accessible format. Each chapter she unfolded the lesson she learned, and substantiated it with many instances and examples of experiences that illustrated her point. For example, one of the life lessons she learned was living in the now, not in the past, or in the future. She extracted from her journal an example of this: “It has been a hard day of walking. I did not expect to be so tired each day. I can’t have expectations of it. I just need to live NOW. Even this refugio at Estella. At first, when I saw the situation, I said to myself, ‘Just grit your teeth and think of tomorrow.’ But then, I said, ‘No, I must enter into THIS experience, NOW.’ After I did this, the situation didn’t look quite so deplorable and I found I could tolerate it better.”

The main takeaway for me was the lesson of walking in a relaxed manner, which is the title of the book. Rupp wrote: “Gradually I accepted my diminishing energy. I learned to be at peace with it. I also grew more grateful because the deliberately measured pace helped me slow down inside, causing me to become more contemplative as I walked along. This did not happen the first week, however. During the first week our sense of urgency continued to grow. Each morning we made as early a start as possible. We packed our backpacks faster. If we stopped for mid-morning coffee, we didn’t tarry long. When we met other pilgrims, we cut our conversations short. When we paused to rest our feet, we kept the stop brief. Our unspoken motto became: Push onward. Push forward. Push, push, push. Rush, rush, rush. We soon discovered that the rushing and pushing cause us to lose our enjoyment of the walk itself. We left home in order to experience the freedom of getting away from it all but we simply took the tensions with us in new forms. The place of our stress changed but we had not changed. We continued to strain and groan under the desires and expectations of achievement and accomplishment – goals which our culture thrives on and implants in us almost from birth.”

She continued: “When I came back home from the Camino, I observed how rushing and hurrying and pushing are evident everywhere. Overachievement, competition, comparison, addiction to work and duty, unreal expectations of needing to do more, the obsessive pursuit of having more – all these fell on us as heavy cultural and self-imposed burdens. When these attitudes and messages press in on us, they cause us to lose our harmony and self-satisfaction. There is far too much hurry and worry in most lives. There never seems to be enough time to complete the daily chores of laundry, lawn care, meal preparations, phone calls, and paying bills, let alone the pressure of other accomplishments that people feel compelled to do. Parents with children involved in an overabundance of activities, health care workers working double shifts, educators saddled with extracurricular tasks, managers with countless meetings, retired people with too much scheduled – these are some of the many people who need to walk in a relaxed manner, but who find their responsibilities and overextensions make it difficult to do. Undoubtedly, it will take a lifetime for me to fully learn the lesson of walking in a relaxed manner.”

I enjoyed reading this book that was given to me by pastor Thomas, and was amazed that the author was able to glean so many life lessons that will help us in our life’s pilgrimage. This book is a must read if you wish to do the camino or a part of it, or any other kind of camino, or long hikes over many days. It is a catalyst for fruitful reflection about your life’s pilgrimage, which is the most important of all pilgrimages.

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