Weekly Newsletter of Private Circulation Only
MARANATHA BIBLE-PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 23 September 2007
“Present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28)
Address: 63 Cranwell Road, Singapore 509851 Tel: (65) 6545 8627 Fax: (65) 6546 7422
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.maranatha-bpc.com *
Sunday School: 9.45 am Worship Service: 10.45 am Wednesday Prayer Meeting: 8.00 pm
Pastor: Rev (Dr) Jack Sin (HP: 9116 0948)
CARE OF THE GROWING CHILD
I must thank Rev Jack Sin who invited me to write this article. I am a pediatric
oncologist in the National University Hospital, and have been a pediatrician for 27
It has been a blessed 27 years! For those who love children, and are constantly
intrigued by their antiques, there is no better vocation than pediatrics. Along the way, I
have learned from the kids, and the parents and grandparents. I would like to share
some of these lessons with you.
1. Everyone is different! Enjoy every child!
I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, and we are all different! Similarly, our Lord makes
every child different, and we rejoice in these differences!
It is sad to see parents who have unrealistic expectations of their children. Some hope
that their children would achieve what they themselves have not been able to. Some
of the saddest people I have seen are medical students who entered medical school
because their parents want them to. Many, though they be good in many other ways,
obviously do not have the aptitude to be good doctors. To them, medical practice is
just a way of earning money. In the end, they suffer, and their patients suffer.
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he
will not depart from it." Barnes commented on this verse, 'Or, according to the tenor of
his way, ie, the path especially belonging to, especially fitted for, the individual's
character. The proverb enjoins the closest possible study of each child's temperament
and the adaptation of "his way of life" to that.'
This reminds me of the wonderful book by A. B. Bruce, a 19th century Scottish
theologian, "The Training of the Twelve". In this book, Bruce showed how our Lord
trained the disciples. It is a book of great spiritual insight, and I would highly
2. Enjoy the child at every stage of his growth
I remember when Joel (my son) was only a few weeks old, he already enjoyed being
dropped from a height and being caught halfway. He would laugh and laugh! When
he's a bit older, he would enjoy endless sessions of peek-a-boos!
It is fascinating to see children changing from day to day. Each moment is a moment
to be treasured!
3. Flu, running nose, fever etc
I would like to elaborate in some details about this, as I find that most parents are
rather ignorant about infections, and how to deal with them.
Firstly, we co-inhabit this world with "germs". This is an inevitable part of life. The word
"germ" is a dirty word to many, but this should not be so. "Germs" just mean micro-
organisms. They are not always bad for us. In fact, the vast majority are either neutral
or beneficial to us. Everybody carries germs in his body, and many germs are like our
friends - they protect us from "virulent" germs and some even help digest our food
and produce vitamins for us!
Secondly, there are 3 main kinds of germs on our bodies- viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Fungi usually do not bother us, so I will not deal with it any further.
It is important to understand the difference between viruses and bacteria, because
antibiotics only work against bacteria. So, if you have a viral infection, antibiotics are
Thirdly, the vast majority (estimated at > 95%) of infections that children have are viral
infections. So, it means that antibiotics are not necessary in most children who have
infections. The usual fever, cough and cold and diarrhoea are almost always due to
viral infections. So, we are wasting our time and money when we give antibiotics to
In fact, one of the most important job of a pediatrician when he sees a sick child is to
determine (largely by a good history and also examining the child, and sometimes with
blood tests) whether the child has a viral or bacterial infection. If it is a viral infection,
then antibiotics are not necessary and may even be harmful (as they may cause
allergy, tummy upset, diarrhea and other side effects).
Fourthly, God has given us immune systems to overcome infections. So, we should
try our best to build up good health. A healthy child can overcome almost all infections
without any medications! This point is clearly illustrated by the fact that infections is
the commonest cause of death in children in poor countries, largely because these
children are often malnourished (and so they have weak immune systems), and are
unable to fight infections effectively.
How do we ensure good health in our children? Eat well, be active and be happy!
I have always encouraged parents to introduce children to a great variety of diets
even when they are quite young, to get them used to different kinds of food. God has
obviously designed us to be omnivores! A common problem with children (and many
adults) is their aversion to vegetables. Very often this can be avoided by introducing
vegetables early (as early as 6 months of age when weaning is started).
Fifthly, whatever you do, you cannot avoid infections! It is part of life! However, it is
wise to avoid infections in infants, as their immune system is not so mature, and any
infection they get is more likely to develop into serious disease. Infants are also more
difficult to look after when they are sick.
Sixthly, most illnesses can be managed effectively by parents at home. Remember
that most infections are caused by viruses, and are (in medical terminology) "self-
limiting". It is difficult for first time parents to have enough confidence to practice this,
but it is a good idea to learn from each infection, and develop the experience and
confidence to manage these illnesses themselves. It is also important to learn to
recognize "danger signs' i.e. know when to seek medical attention.
Seventhly, most medicines that are used in children are used for "symptom relief".
This means that these medicines do not tackle the underlying cause of the disease,
but the superficial manifestations. For example, there are not many effective antiviral
medications for viral infections, but we can use cough medicine for cough and fever
medicine for fever.
Parents often ask me, "How long do I continue the cough medicine?" The answer is
that once the cough becomes rather mild and stops "disturbing" the child, it is time to
stop! This is something that the parents can determine better than the doctor, as they
are in constant contact with the child, while the doctor only sees the child for a few
Symptomatic treatment means that these medicines do not shorten the course of the
disease. If the fever is going to last 3 days, it will last 3 days whether you give fever
medicine or not. Giving fever medicine only makes the child more comfortable during
these 3 days.
Finally, remember that all medicines have side-effects. Every time you give a
medicine, ask the doctor what potential side effects the medicine has. Even better,
observe yourself. The commonest side-effects for most medicines are tummy upset
and allergy (usually skin rashes). Cough and cold medicines are particularly notorious
in causing drowsiness and irritability. So, if the symptoms are mild, it may not be
worthwhile giving the medicine as the side effects may be worse than the disease!
We thank God that we can live in a country where children can grow up healthy. He
has given us a great responsibility to bring up our children to be not only physically
healthy, but also to learn to know and believe in Christ as Saviour and Lord. "And this
is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom
thou hast sent." (John 17:3)
"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever". Amen.
Dr Thomas Quah
(Prof Thomas Quah is the Head of the Division of Haematology / Pediatric Oncology
in the Department of Pediatrics, NUH)
A God-honouring Missionary Family:
The Paradigm of Abraham
We do not often think of Abraham as a missionary, but that is exactly what he was.
Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a
place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not
knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange
country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same
promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is
God." Abraham was converted, called, and commissioned to leave his home land and
travel to a land of promise where he would erect an altar to the one true and living
God. Though Abraham failed often, he set forth a testimony of faith in the God who
called him, an example of proper worship, an ecclesiology that declared that he
understood the place of God's ordained institution in his life, and the witness of living
out the second greatest commandment in the presence of his neighbours. He lived in
the shadow of the covenant that God made with him. For the most part, he lived
confidently in that shadow, not despairing that God would ultimately fulfill all His
Abraham certainly had some difficulties in managing his family. He sinned more than
once when trying to take family matters into his own hands, even when those family
matters had already been addressed in the specific covenant obligations and
promises from God Himself. Abraham was not perfect! But the words of the Lord in
Genesis 18:17-19 ought to temper our low opinion of the Lord's servant, and, more
importantly, provide instruction on what the Lord values in a missionary (or any other)
family to bring honour to Himself. We read there, "And the LORD said, Shall I hide
from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great
and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know
him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall
keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon
Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."
The flow of the Genesis passage is significant. Abraham's ability to honour God does
not begin with his own choice or wisdom. The "bookends" of this flow are that the Lord
foreordained ("knew") Abraham, chose him out of his paganism and darkness, in
order to fulfill His own sovereign purposes in and through Abraham. The process
between God's initiation and God's accomplishment are the duties that are incumbant
upon every family that desires to serve the Lord who chose them to bring glory to
The first duty that confronted Abraham was his obligation to command. This word is
not complicated. It simply means what it says. It has to do with the proper exercise of
commissioned authority in the home. In order to honour God, Abraham could not relax
or abandon the authority God gave him to any other. Sarah called him "lord" not out of
fear, but out of proper reverence and recognition of the place he held by God's
appointment. Without being tyrannical, he expected and received obedience on the
part of his children, even when death was on the line. This duty is echoed in the
requirements for an elder in the letters to Timothy and Titus, that an elder must rule
his house well.
The second duty is to "keep the way of the LORD." Having an orderly household is
necessary, but it must be order unto godliness. As expressed in verse nineteen,
godliness is characterized by "justice and judgment." God's law comes into play here,
guiding the decisions, actions, and thoughts of a believer's family according to what is
fair and righteous in the sight of God. It impacts the way the family interacts with the
world around it. Remember that Abraham insisted upon paying for the cave and field
where he would bury Sarah, and he gave Lot the first choice of land. He also paid the
tithe to Melchizedek, and he did not take advantage of the king of Sodom in order to
enrich himself. He also insisted that Isaac marry from within his own people. When
Abraham failed to keep the Lord's way, the results were disastrous, and his testimony
before the heathen was materially damaged. But when he kept the Lord's way, the
Lord indeed blessed him and his witness and family.
For a missionary family especially, which lives in the fishbowl of the public eye every
day, an orderly and righteous family life stands in bold contrast to the fallen world
around it. As missionaries, we have an inheritance of souls and communion with God
to obtain by God's grace. God will bring us into that inheritance! He requires of us that
His authority be rightly modelled in our covenant homes, and that from that order
comes righteous living that lends credence to the message that we preach. Praise
God for the example of Abraham. May God grant every believer's family the grace to
honour Him as He accomplishes His purposes through them.
Rev (Dr) Leonard W. Pine
D. Min., Presbyterian Missionary Union, USA
(Dr Pine is the Field Representative of PMU and travels extensively for missions in
Asia, USA and Latin America.)
At the Pulpit
Theme for the Quarter:
Studies on 1 Peter: Testings In The Believers’ Sojourn On Earth
Rev Colin Wong
“A Christian View Of The After-Life”
[End of MM]